Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food

Raw Desserts

Nutella & Apple Tart (Unbaked)

Dessert, Raw DessertsLina Liwag3 Comments

Hello November!   I see your signs.  The air is crisp, the days are shorter and much darker and the leaves have fallen to the ground.  Wow, I wanted to linger much longer in a much warmer and brighter October but suddenly here you are.

I tend to have more affinity to October than November or even December as I get to celebrate my wedding anniversary on the 30th of this month.  This year, it's the 21st.  Yay, I'm so thankful that my husband and I both feel joyful towards this occasion!   Two imperfect people coming together is not easy but there's hope in becoming true friends and in having a relationship that gets better over time. 

We had a simple celebration this year.  A date at one of our favourite Chinese restaurants in our area this Saturday night.  Steamed veggie dumplings, stir-fried baby bokchoy and Singapore noodles are awesome comfort foods for me - especially when it's raining.  Then there's the question on the dessert.   I sometimes try store-bought ones but personally, there's nothing like homemade dessert!   And so as always, I made one.  "Nutella Tart." Quick and easy.  No baking, no freezing and no high-speed blending required either.  Not as complicated as making a raw cheesecake.   I thought of sharing the recipe since I know there are many busy career women and moms like me who don't have a lot of time in the kitchen.

Nutella & Apple Tart

1  1/2 cups raw almonds
6 Medjool dates, pitted
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp. water

In a food processor, pulse the almonds and dates.  Slowly add a bit of water and continue pulsing until the mixture turns sticky.  If your dates are dry, you may have to use all the water. When ready, transfer and press into two 4.75" mini tart pans or if you don't have them, you can also use a pie pan or a bigger size tart pan.  Make sure to cover the sides as well. When done, place them in the fridge while you prepare the filling.  This photo on my Instagram page shows when the crust were just done.  

2 cups hazelnut butter
6 Tbsp. cacao powder
4 -5 Tbsp. Maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. ground vanilla

In a bowl, mix the hazelnut butter, cacao powder and maple syrup until they are fully incorporated. Adjust the taste.  Take the pans out from the fridge and place the filling over the crust smoothing the top by using a spoon or for best results, an angled spatula.  Add your fruit toppings and put it back into the fridge to set for approximately 30 minutes.  It's easier to cut them this way. 

1 small Fuji apple, cored and sliced paper thin (best by using a mandolin) or your choice of fruit.
Mix the apple with 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice.  The apples will soften with the addition of the lemon and will not be a challenge when you cut and serve the tart.

This tart is great with figs or different types of berries.  See this sample of one I made on our Thanksgiving celebration.  

Here are some November images from our neighbourhood.

" Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

I'm thinking a lot about this Scripture lately.  I am humbled.  I am grateful.  My prayer is that I do not forget it or get sidetracked and take it for granted.  Happy November!





"Triple-Decker" Raw (Birthday) Cheesecake

Dessert, Cheesecake, Raw Desserts, Raw CheesecakeLina Liwag4 Comments

So January flew by fast...although it feels like the latest buzzword (in Toronto), the "polar vortex" is here indefinitely.  The media calls it "the winter visitor that refuses to leave."  But in the midst of these consistent sub-zero temps and record high snow falls, it was a time for celebration.  It was the big month of birthdays in my mini community.   I first wrote about it on this post here last year. 

So for an update, my dad who lives in the Philippines, turned 89 on January 15th.  What's really exciting to share about him is that he has started drinking green juice!  My brother and I bought him this kind of juicer here as a Christmas present.  The first juice recipe that my sister made for him was a mix of carrots, apple and the awesome moringa leaves (malunggay) -  fresh and organic from our backyard  there.  How cool is that!  You can definitely start a healthy practice at any stage in life.  I think having an open mind is the key. 

This year, the number of celebrants on my floor at work has increased to 11.  Half of that is from  my team.  Just imagine how many candles were being blown every time. Crazy! 


It's then predictable that it's also a time for making birthday treats, right?  But the real question is: how can I possibly squeeze this in to my ever so tight schedule? I managed...made a huge Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake for the birthday celebrants at work (check it here on my Instagram page) and then there's this special one for my husband who happens to celebrate his birthday back to back with me.   So here goes "Triple-Decker Raw (Birthday) Cheesecake.  Delicious and colourful bites and tastes of sunshine on this gloomy season of the polar vortex! Happy Birthday everyone especially to my soulmate, Angel! 


"Triple-Decker" Raw (Birthday) Cheesecake
Ingredients (Preferably Organic)

For The Crust:
3/4 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup dried Turkish figs, chopped
1 Tbsp. water
Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes sticky and holds together.  Transfer to a 6" x 2 3/4" springform pan and press firmly.  A 7" one can also be used.  The cake will be a bit thiner.

First Layer: Persimmon Cheesecake
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked for 6 hours
1 cup Vanilla or Fuyu persimmon, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh clementine or orange juice
2 Tbsp. coconut  butter, softened
1 Tbsp. coconut oil melted
2 tsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. vanilla powder
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until the mixture becomes very smooth. Adjust the taste.  Pour into the crust and place it in the freezer while you get to work on the next layers.

Second Layer: Matcha Green Tea and Avocado Cream
1/2 cup young coconut meat
1 medium size avocado
2 tsp. matcha green tea powder
3 Tbsp. coconut water
1  1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp. maple syrup (or more depending on your taste)
Dissolve the green tea with the coconut water and set aside.  Rinse either your food processor or high speed blender and process all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Adjust the taste.  Take out the pan from the freezer and pour the avocado cream on top of the persimmon layer. Return the pan into the freezer.  

Top Layer: Blueberry Cheesecake
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked for 6 hours
1 cup  fresh or frozen (then thawed) blueberries (see suggestions)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh clementine or orange juice
2 Tbsp. coconut  butter, softened
1 Tbsp. coconut oil melted
1  1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup 
1/8 tsp. vanilla powder

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until the mixture becomes very smooth. Adjust the taste.  Pour on top of the avocado cream layer.  Freeze the cake for 2-3 hours.  To serve, remove from freezer at least 30 minutes (or more) before serving.   Run a knife under hot water and cut into slices.    Enjoy!

1.  If young coconuts are not available in your area, you can use cashews as a substitute.  I would say use 1/3 cup and soak them.  The coconut water can just be replaced with filtered water.  
2. If you want the colour of the top layer to be more vibrant, use organic frozen blueberries and thaw them first.  A mix of fresh and frozen is also great.  This is my second time to make this cake so I noticed the difference. 


I usually take the time to meditate on the things that I'm thankful about every time I turn a year older.  Here are the big ones:  the Lord's kindness and blessings, my family, my friends. Canada, my job and my health.  It's been pretty amazing for a 54 year old I must say!  I hope you're enjoying the first part of the year.  Let me know what you think of this Birthday cake!



Chocolate Cups with Creamy Persimmon Filling

Dessert, Raw DessertsLina LiwagComment

I'm not big on desserts.  The customary after lunch and dinner "sweet thing" as I was growing up in rural Philippines was either some slices of ripe mango or maybe some bananas, usually from our backyard.  Chocolates were unheard of then.  

Lately, I've been making desserts for the occasional indulgence to serve to friends and relatives.  I find that sweets usually get a lot of people excited.  I try to pick good ingredients.  Personally, desserts should only be enjoyed once in a while and not an everyday fare.



 I've been experimenting on chocolate cups lately...with different fillings.  First I tried almond butter but the hubby thought it was "too rich" for his taste.  Then at another time, I used homemade cranberry jam with a mix of nut butter which some of my co-workers enjoyed... but it still wasn't perfect for me and  the hubs.  


Then a few days ago I was inspired... PERSIMMON!  It's my favourite fall fruit so why not?  Combined with cashew into a mousse-like consistency makes a perfect filling.   So I made it and my husband loved it!  Freshncrunchy turned one year and we're celebrating it this weekend.


Chocolate Cups with Creamy Persimmon Filling
Ingredients (Preferably Organic) 

Makes 10-12 small cups

1/2 c. raw cacao powder
1/2 c. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. cacao butter, shaved
1/2 tsp. vanilla powder
1/3 c. maple syrup or your choice of sweetener
a pinch of salt

1/4 c. raw cashew
1 large (or 2 small)  Fuyu persimmon, peeled and chopped  
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1. Prepare the filling by crushing the cashews into powder using a personal blender like a Nutribullet (for quick processing and easy clean up).  Add the chopped persimmon and lemon juice and process until creamy and smooth.  It should be thick like a mousse.  Refrigerate the mixture until ready to use. 
2. To make the chocolate, melt the coconut oil and cacao butter in a double boiler or by placing them in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the cacao powder, vanilla and salt then the maple syrup and whisk to combine well.  
3.  Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake papers.  I had the large size ones so I was able to make 11 pieces.  Pour about 2 tsp. of the liquid chocolate into the bottom of cupcake papers, or at least enough to cover the bottoms.  Put in the freezer for 10 minutes or until the chocolate hardens.
4. Place about 2-3 teaspoons of the filling onto each chocolate base.  Spread and smooth the filling by using the back of a teaspoon but making sure it does not go to the edges. Cover with the remaining liquid chocolate. Put  back in the freezer for 20-25 minutes to harden.  Enjoy!  Store any leftovers on a sealed container in the freezer.  


You can omit the cacao butter if it's not available.  It just adds a deeper flavour to it.   Coconut oil should work on its own...just add 2 more tablespoons. 



Happy Halloween to all! 



Birthday Cake and Welcome to a New FreshnCrunchy

Dessert, Cheesecake, Raw DessertsLina Liwag7 Comments

Wow, what a big month for birthdays!  I could actually count 15 January birthday celebrants among family members, relatives and friends.   So I thought it was a good enough excuse to make a birthday cake.  And before my favourite fruit goes out of season, might as well create a cake out of it - why not a raw cheesecake?  I've written about how obsessed I've been with pomegranates...eating them  almost everyday with my chia porridge.  I've also made some drinks out of these wonderful seeds  and if I had more time in my hands, maybe a mousse recipe as well.  That should be a good project in the future.  

 My husband loves raw brownies; I love raw cheesecakes.   I had to learn how to make them since I can't always pay top dollars to get them from my favourite raw food restaurants.  I've made a few raw cheesecakes using berries before but recently I've been experimenting with pomegranates and have come up with this version with the help of Blendtec, Omega 8006 juicer and my old food processor. 


Leading the birthday celebrants for January is my dad who lives in Northern Philippines.  He turned 88 on the 15th.  I thank God that he has reached this age and that he is much healthier now than in 2011.  My brother took him to a naturopath in Manila after his health deteriorated. Part of his treatment was to take quality supplements regularly like medicinal mushrooms (cordyceps), omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and Multivitamins with added antioxidants like alpha-lipoic acid and cathechins.  He has since bounced back.  I truly believe that his better health is attributed to this holistic approach that he has received. 

Here’s a big shout out to the other celebrants: My 2 uncles Romy and Ernie in California, my nephew Marco,  the very cute Quinlan and my good friend Tess who is celebrating a milestone year. To the 5 lovely ladies at work  who may not want their names mentioned here, Happy Birthday again!  However, special mention goes to the youngest of us all...the lovely Amanda, my dedicated hot yoga buddy (she wouldn’t mind me saying)  with whom I share the same birthday.  Yes, it's also my birthday and my husband's birthday.  We're actually celebrating back to back today and tomorrow...a very convenient and a much cheaper affair for the whole family.   And by the way, I hope you will be enjoying FreshnCrunchy's new site.   A big thanks to our cousin Dex who has been the tech genius helping us.


Pomegranate and Tangerine Raw Cheesecake

Ingredients: (preferably organic)

For the crust:
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconuts (I used dehydrated raw coconuts)
6 Medjool dates, pitted (can also be increased up to 8)
For the filling:
3 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight or at least 4 hours)
1  1/2 pomegranate juice (from 2 pomegranates)
1 cup tangerine juice (I used 2 organic Mineola tangerines)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1  Tbsp. organic vanilla powder or alcohol-free vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
pomegranate seeds for toppings


  1. Juice the pomegranates and tangerines.  Blend the pomegranate seeds if you don’t have a juicer and strain the pulp by using a nut bag, cheese cloth or a sieve.  You can always squeeze the tangerines to get their juice.
  2. To make the crust, place the raw almonds, coconuts and dates in a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes sticky and holds together.  You can test by taking a small amount and roll or press it in your fingers.  Add 2 more dates if you want your mixture more sticky.  I find that 6 dates is just perfect for my taste.  Transfer to a 9” spring-form pan or pie plate and press firmly.  Use the back of a spoon to spread out the mixture evenly.  
  3. To warm up and melt the coconut oil, place it  in a small bowl.  Boil some water in a small pan and put the bowl into the water.  It will take about 3-mins. to do this process.  If you live in a much warmer place, this may not  even be necessary since your coconut oil is just ready to go . 
  4. Place all the filling ingredients into a high speed blender.  If you have a Vitamix, that would be perfect.  I have a Blendtec and it works well.  Blend until it becomes very smooth.  Be patient as it may take a few pulses to get the mixture exceptionally smooth.  If you happen to have a personal blender like a Nutribullet (I’ve used it before) it has to be done in two batches. 
  5. Pour the mixture over the crust and place in the freezer until it becomes solid. 
  6. To serve, remove from freezer at least 30-40 minutes before serving.   Run a knife under hot water and cut into slices.   Top with pomegranate seeds.  Enjoy!


  1. Pomegranate juice comes out as pink in the juicer so the colour of this this cake   is lilac.  If you desire a brighter red cake,  try adding 1/2 cup of beet juice. Mineola tangerine is like an orange so you can definitely use orange or clementines.
  2. For a variation, experiment with berries or you may also  mix berries with a bit of cacao powder.  I have made blueberries and cacao before and they can just be blended, no juicing necessary.
  3. This is a big cake, 9”  in diameter and about  1 1/2” thick.  If you want  a smaller size, make half of the recipe.  You can’t really go wrong with this cake...just taste and adjust before placing it in the freezer.