Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don't have to feel guilty about eating.
Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.


Have I mentioned that I LOVE THE FALL ~ well, I haven’t mentioned it yet today, so there it is. Guilty!

My husband would tell you that I have been distracted as of late. My kids would likely say that I have not been a “good listener”. Well, if you could be a fly on the wall of my brain, you would know perfectly well that all this spaciness is due to the pumpkin eclipse that occurs once a year in October!  All I can think about is pumpkin : how crazy we should get with carving, which grocer to grab from, which patch to patron, and mostly, what creative pumpkin concoctions can I come up with in the kitchen?!

This year, I really wanted to test out an idea for a pumpkin cheesecake. Being dairy free, this would be a pumpkin cheesecake without cheese. Yes, you read that right. Many of the dairy-free cheesecake recipes call for vegan cream cheese. This is not my favorite option. I really wanted to find a different way to do a dairy-free cheesecake, one that seemed somewhat healthy and had no artificial ingredients and no cane sugar. So, my creative juices started to flow down a pumpkin path of a freezer cake, a layered freezer cake, and I thought about the creaminess I can get from chia seeds, like with the chia pudding that I sometimes make.  This is what I came up with:

This recipe is done in stages, but it is not difficult, so please don’t let the long explanation scare you off. I suggest reading through the instructions before you begin so that you can plan for each step.


Prior to making your cake/pie, soak 1/2 cup pecans and 1 cup of cashews in the refrigerator (seperately) for two hours. If you can plan ahead, it is easy to simply soak them in the fridge over night.


{This part is a work in progress. I loved the flavor of this crust, but the consistency was a bit too gooey to me and made the pieces hard to serve, I will revise when I come up with a better solution, but my next try will be more nuts and less dates} :

1/2 cup pecans (or nut of choice), soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
10 medjool dates
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine in food processor or blender. Press a thin, even layer into a glass pie pan or a 6-cup pyrex dish (8x6x2)*
Set aside and move on to the PUMPKIN PIE LAYER.

1 can of organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup coconut milk, full fat
1/3 cup organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
pinch salt
I always opt for the simplest method possible. I combined all the ingredients into my Vitamix and blended until smooth. (You may see some specs from the chia seeds. This is okay)  Spoon the mix over the crust and smooth out with a spatula. Stick in the freezer while you rinse out your blender and move onto your ChiasCAKE LAYER.

1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours and rinsed)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Combine all the ingredients for the ChiaSCAKE Layer into your Vitamix or blender. Blend, starting on low and moving up to higher speeds, until you reach a thick, creamy consistency. There may be some specs from the chia seeds again. This is okay. Take the dish out of the freezer and add this layer to the top.

Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, take the freezer cake out of the freezer and thaw on the counter for 20-30 minutes, just until it is thawed enough to cut into pieces. Cut and serve.

The first time we tried this, I was not sure how the flavors would go over for the kids (they are 5 and 7). They looked at it skeptically at first, which could always go either way. After the first bite, I could see it written all over their faces. We had a winner, folks! They were soon licking their forks clean and asking {politely, of course} for another piece.  {Music to a momma’s ears.}  2 pieces each for breakfast the next morning and 1 more for an after-dinner-dessert and we managed to polish off this cake in close to a 24 hour period. Not too shabby!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

~Happy Dairy-Free Cheesecake eating ~

Ole’ to Olive Oil Done Right!

Ole’ to Olive oil done right!


I’m not talking about those warehoused bottles of oiled-down-with-not-so-olivy oil, smacked with a sticker of an italian flag but not actually from italy, completely rancid, stored in a clear glass, or worse yet plastic, bottle to oxidize and lose its vibrant health benefits, stored on a store shelf for way too long until it gets stored on your pantry shelf for way too long OLIVE OIL.

I am talking about a beautiful fruit, a gift of nature, at its very finest peak of perfection, being harvested the way only artisans can and juiced of its gold-standard, health-rewarding oil and handled like gold kind of OLIVE OIL.

Our Selections    
Our Selections

Here’s how we got on the topic:

My husband and I had a fantastic day-date yesterday,  just the two of us, to celebrate our nine-years of being co-conspirators to this wildly ordinary marriage. We zoomed away from that noon teeball game in the jeep, feeling wild and free {at least I was feeling free, being away from the daily grind of three kiddos and all}.  “Where to?” he asks. “I don’t care.” I give my robot answer. Then it hit me. I do care. And I have a fantastic idea!

To the oil shop I saw a few weeks back! That’s “where to!”  It looked very interesting when I drove past a few weeks ago and there is really nothing I enjoy more than getting to peruse!! Perusing does not happen with three children in tow. The word peruse escapes from the dictionary entirely.  I adore a good perusing. So on to the artisan oil shop to peruse we a-went.

My idea was not a disappointment. These olive oils were fine and rich and the fantastic assortment alone was enough to seal the deal. We must stay and test and touch and smell and give this store the undivided attention it deserves.

Bottoms Up!

We asked the attendant, a suitably congenial host, how “this thang” worked. “Do you do tastings? Do you have recommendations?  Through the quickest smile he could manage as his upper lip hastily stiffened and I believe one eyebrow raised, the party began. Tasting oils – by mouthful – yes, a drink of olive oil. And in as artful of a way as one would taste a fine wine and all-the-while instructed by the paradingly proud oil expert. Never would I have considered gulping down what seemed like near a half cup worth of oil at the beginning of a date, but I am certainly better for the experience.


We tasted a handful of the offerings – walked away with an Italian Gremolata {infused with lemon and garlic and herbs}, A Nevadillo Blanco, our very favorite – Leccino Chile. We also picked up some infused salts and some handmade organic olive oil soaps, scented with organic essential oils.

Hand-Made Olive Oil Soaps

The far wall was lined with aged balsamic vinegar. We let several of the flavors roll over our tongue one by one. So sweet. and such delicious combinations. We opted for a Maple infused, although we really enjoyed the Tahitian Vanilla and the Espresso. I have some wonderful idea in store for future dishes and will MOST definitely be back from more.

Thanks you to The Virgin Olive Oiler for a wonderful start to our date day and a post-date-day-day-dream-fest. I have LOTS of yummy ideas. :9   I am a fan. Here is their website  www.thevirginoliveoiler.com.

According to this article by Dr. Mercola, “Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is One of the Most Commonly Adulterated Foods”. Its worth the read, especially the signs that your oil is rancid or molded.

~Happy Oily Eating~