vanilla bean cheesecake

You know you want it.

This is basically the same recipe I've used before, and it's become hugely popular! This time I made a simple vanilla bean cheesecake. Vanilla is underrated, don't you think? I've always loved it myself but people tend to categorize it as "plain". That's a shame (and a rhyme).

Vanilla Ice is also underrated...

That was joke. But I won't lie here - I have memorized the lyrics to this song. YOU LOVE ME, OKAY.

Ooooooh boy this is just plain freakin' delicious. I love the sour you get from the lemon, just the right amount to pair with the sweetness and richness of the maple syrup and cashews. This time I put coconut chunks in the crust and they added another texture. NOM.

Like I've said, this and the chocolate banana coconut cream pie are my family's two faves. If I were you, I'd trust their judgement. Now - if you're one of those people who are worried about many calories are in a slice of this heavenly creation... STOP IT! Who cares? You're not eating the entire thing, and all that's in it are raw nuts, dates, maple syrup (or agave) and vanilla beans.

I really just don't worry about calories. When you are eating whole plant foods in reasonable amounts - you shouldn't either. What do you think is healthier? A 100 calorie pack of Thinsations, or a 200 calorie Larabar?

I really hope you said the Larabar. 

Let's compare the ingredients, shall we?

Thinsations: enriched wheat flour, sugar, glucose-fructose, canola oil with TBHQ and citric acid, cocoa, corn starch, sodium bicarbonate, salt, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate, colour and artificial flavour.
Larabar: nuts, dates... LOL! 
Anyway the point I have to share is that "low calorie" is not necessarily synonymous with "healthy".   This is a really important fact that I think too many people in North America don't understand or think of. The corporations have drilled into us that as long as it's low calorie - it's guilt-free! Ya know what, aspartame is low calorie and it causes blindness (it also turns into formaldehyde when it enters your blood). For Pete's sake, cement is low calorie. Getting my message?
If you'd like to email me about this, please do. Back to cheescake bliss.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Almond Crust: makes 1 cheesecake 

1 cup dates
2 cups raw almonds
Surround the inside of a cake pan with wax paper or plastic wrap. Pulse dates and nuts together in food processor until you get a rough, sticky mixture that you can pat down with your hands into the bottom of the cake pan. Do so. Set in fridge.

3 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked for 3 to 4 hours)
3/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
Blend all ingredients, EXCEPT coconut oil, together until smooth and creamy. Add coconut oil and make sure it blends completely. Taste it. Yes. Pour onto crust in cake pan and set in the fridge until it has the hardness you want (probably 3-5 hours or overnight). Take out of cake pan holding the wax paper or plastic wrap and put on your favourite plate. Slice and enjoy, or eat it like a wild animal.