Happy 1st birthday Too Precious For Processed! Today marks the first anniversary since I launched the blog. It's hard to believe 365 days have passed since then. Over the past year, I learned SO much. I hardly know where to begin. Before we dive into this delicious cheesecake recipe, let me take a moment to share with you how the blog has impacted my life.
I have always been a creative person. But there haven't always been opportunities in my life to express that passion. You know how it is, life gets busy with family, chores, events, etc. In my earlier days, my creativity could be expressed through fashion. I loved clothes!!! Over the years, my priorities have changed a bit, and going to the mall is not #1 on my list. Don't get me wrong, I still love shopping and clothes. But my priorities have certainly shifted. My interest in eating clean started about 13 years ago. The information was overwhelming but so very interesting. I started off taking baby steps and the transition would change shape over the years. I found myself constantly adapting recipes to suit my needs and pretty soon, it became an entirely different recipe. Several people would always tell me to start a blog. It was through that continuous support and encouragement that I finally decided to go for it.
There have been many surprises since launching Too Precious For Processed. Probably my biggest challenge right off the bat was how time consuming it is. I am already a busy person. "Being bored" is something I never experience. When I do something, I want it done right, therefore giving more than 100% of myself. I take that course of action with everything on my plate. Yeah, I know, bummer. My type A behavior can not only be annoying to people around me, but it drives me nuts as well. Creating one recipe involves recipe developing and testing, making adaptions when needed, getting opinions from others, making the recipe again, take photos, edit the photos, write up the blog post and recipe, publish the recipe, and then tackle the social media portion of it. The time that goes into one recipe is hours worth of work. By my second month in, I considered quitting. The reason why I didn't is because that is not really what I wanted to do. I was just feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to balance the demands of a blog into my life. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could manage all the things on my plate without making anything suffer, including my sanity.
Balancing it all has gotten much better and my life is in a healthier rhythm, thankfully. I still feel pressure sometimes though. It is self induced pressure mostly due to the fact that I have so much I want to create and share with you, but not enough time. So many ideas occupy space in my brain. My kids often ask me what will happen when I run out of ideas. I just laugh and say, "That will never happen."
Another thing to master was photography. That is still a work in progress but I have learned a great deal over the past year. Having good images to represent a recipe or other blog post are huge! And when taking a good photo, there are many factors to consider. You need good, natural lighting for starters. And know your angles. Believe it or not, most people have only touched the surface of what their camera can do. In this past year, I have gotten to know my camera so much better and realized it has more capabilities than I realized. The funny thing is, my husband just bought me a really swanky professional camera. I think it will take me weeks to learn how to use it! I will get there though. When I look back on some of my first photos, I cringe. In time, I hope to re-shoot some of the earlier recipes and replace the old photos with better work. For now, the original photos symbolize progress.
The blog has not only been a good platform to share information along with clean eating recipes, but it has also opened the door to building new relationships with readers and other bloggers. I have received numerous emails and comments from others that have made it all worth while. Knowing there are people out there who my blog is actually helping is so meaningful to me. That is the number one reason why I started it in the first place. I was surprised by the support I have received from other bloggers as well. It's like a tight knit community. Everyone knows this is hard work and they have your back. How cool is that!
To date, I have posted 153 blog entries and of course that number will continue to climb in this next year. During that time, I hope to master photography and my new camera, dedicate more time to social media outlets (so time consuming!), and continue with developing relationships and inspiring a clean eating lifestyle. Thank you for your loyalty and starting this journey with me. The personal growth I have experienced is priceless, along with being able to creatively express myself.
To celebrate my blogiversary, of course we need a delicious dessert! And with this cheesecake, there is no oven required. Hooray! Probably the most important thing you need though is time. Not that it will physically take you a lot of time. It's just that there is a lot of down time while waiting for the different phases of this recipe. The crust is made simply with some almonds, dates, coconut, and sea salt. The rich cheesecake filling is to die for! Who knew cashews and blueberries could create such decadent treat!
Crust before pressing, cheesecake mixture, crust after pressing.
As I mentioned, this recipe can't be rushed so plan in advance. Here is how the recipe breaks down: The cashews require 4 hours of soaking. Once the crust and cheesecake filling is made, the cheesecake itself needs an additional 5-6 hours to firm up. So basically, if you want it for a certain day or event, make it the day before.
Top the cheesecake with some homemade coconut whipped cream for the perfect finish. And just like that, you have created a fabulous cheesecake that is sure to be a favorite!
So again, thank you for being a part of my first year in the world of food blogging. It has been quite a learning experience as well as a fulfilling one. Help me blow out the candles and let's get started with year #2!
- 1 1/4 cup pitted dates, soaked in water if softening is needed
- 2 cups raw almonds
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- pinch of sea salt
Blueberry Cheesecake Filling
- 3 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours minimum
- 3 cups fresh, organic blueberries (for frozen, thaw and drain excess water)
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 4 lemons)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- lemon zest
- fresh blueberries
- dried lavender
- coconut whipped cream
1. Start by soaking your cashews for a minimum of 4 hours in filtered water. Rinse thoroughly after soaking.
2. While your cashews are soaking, use your food processor to make the crust. You will place the dates (soaked to soften if necessary), almonds, and pinch of sea salt in your processor. Grind well until the ingredients are of a fairly fine consistency. Then add the shredded coconut. Pulse a few times until incorporated.
3. Line a 9 inch springform with a parchment round. Press the crust ingredients firmly into the bottom and place the pan in the refrigerator until firm and ready for the cheesecake filling.
4. To make the blueberry filling, place the soaked and drained cashews in your Vitamix, along with the blueberries, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Blend until creamy and smooth. You might need to stop your Vitamix a couple of times to scrape down the sides, making sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Use your tamper to help expedite the process. Note, you will not add the coconut oil until the other ingredients are mixed first. Once blended and smooth, add the coconut oil and mix well.
5. Take your springform pan out of the refrigerator. I like to line the sides of the springform pan with parchment paper to ensure an easy removal of the pan from the cheesecake. Once your pan is thoroughly prepped and the crust is firm, add the cheesecake filling and spread evenly over the crust. Cover the cheesecake and place in your freezer for about 5-6 hours, or until your desired consistency is reached. You can keep it in the refrigerator as well, it may take longer to firm up though.
6. Remove from freezer about an hour before serving. Top with optional garnish if desired. Slice and enjoy! Store leftovers in either your freezer (for longer storage), or refrigerator.