Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food


Blood Orange and Chocolate Layered Raw Cheesecake

Dessert, Raw, Raw Dessert, CheesecakeLina Liwag2 Comments

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!  Although I've been missing in action for 2 months, there's a big reason why...let me tell you.  One of my wishes for a long time was granted.  I was able to go for four weeks to beautiful and sunny Santa Monica, California to train at the prestigious Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy.  It was a blast!  Take a look at this photo taken on my first week at the Academy with Matthew Kenney.  I will be posting some of my other iPhone photos and of course my experiences in the coming posts when I get a chance to get everything all sorted out.  

Everyone has been asking me "what now?"  As some of you may know, I am 54 years old and I work as a Team Leader in Residential Mortgage Underwriting.  I've been in this industry for almost 20 years.  My love for health and wellness came about when I was turning 50 as a result of my own health journey.  It has now become my new passion.  So I've been on a path of learning: graduating as a health coach from IIN in September 2013 and raw chef training has always been in my heart for a while.  I am so blessed to be able to have the chance to do just that.  For now, I will remain in my day job while doing my new passion in between.  As I love to say, "things will happen organically."  They always do.  So now let me share with you our Easter 2014 Dessert!

Making this dessert reminds me of the Santa Monica Farmer's Market.  Every Wednesday, it is bursting with energy, excitement, colours and abundance from the earth.  Citrus was in season when I was there.  Our class made a few trips there for our projects as it was only across the street from MK Academy.  It also reminds me of our Final Presentation. I would have made this as my dessert course...I don't know why I didn't??  Anyway, I love blood orange! They are so colourful and nutritious. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant that provides the blood orange its distinct colour.  

Blood Orange and Chocolate Raw Cheesecake

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp. lemon

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are coarsely chopped.  Add the dates and lemon and continue to process until they stick together when you pinch it.  If your dates are too dry, add a bit of water, 1 teaspoon at a time making sure it won't be too watery.  Press the mixture into an 8-inch spring form pan.

First Layer (Blood Orange)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked until soft (4-6 hours), drained
3/4 cup blood orange juice
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c.  coconut nectar or maple syrup
3 tbsp. orange zest
1/4 c. coconut butter, melted
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender.  Blend until smooth. Adjust the taste (the crust is sweet so it blends well with the not so sweet 2 layers). Pour over crust.  Place the  pan in the freezer to set for 10 minutes while you get to work on the top layer.

Top Layer (Chocolate and Orange)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked until soft (4-6 hours), drained
1/2 c. orange juice (I used regular orange)
1/4 c. cacao butter, grated or chopped then melted
1/3 c. coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 c. raw cacao powder

Combine everything except the cacao powder in a high speed blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add the cacao powder in 3 stages at the last part of blending.  Adjust the taste.  Pour over the blood orange layer.  Freeze for 6-7 hours.  Remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving.

Optional Add-On's

Candied Oranges
Slice 1 -2 oranges in rounds.  Coat the slices in 2-3 Tbsp. of maple syrup and dehydrate until they become dry, about 36 hours. Cut out the peels with a pair of kitchen scissors or sharp knife. 

Chocolate Bark
1/4 c. cacao butter, grated or chopped
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp.  raw cacao powder
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. chopped pistachios

Combine everything in a bowl  except for the nuts and place it on a double boiler to melt or  over a pot of simmering water. Spread  thinly on a pan lined with parchment paper.  Scatter the pistachios then place is freezer to set for 15 minutes.  When done, break them in different sizes.

1/2 c. blood orange
1 small Fuji apple
1 Tbsp. chopped mint leaves
pinch of cardamom
Combine everything in a high speed blender.  Blend until smooth. Adjust the taste and check for consistency.  Add more apples for thicker sauce.

Assemble:  Serve a slice with candied blood orange rounds, chocolate bark and coulis.  Some chopped pistachios are great too.  Decorate the plate as you would want to. Enjoy!


I hope you had an awesome Easter celebration with your family.  I will be sharing some of my own MK-inspired creations in the coming weeks so stay tuned!



Raw Persimmon Cheesecake With Cacao Sprinkles - Our 20th Anniversary Cake

Dessert, Cheesecake, Raw CheesecakeLina Liwag4 Comments

October 30th was an important day for my husband and I.  It was our 20th Anniversary!  Wow! I just couldn't believe how time has flown.  There's so much gratitude in our thankful for God's blessings through the years. The lessons we've learned and are continually learning in our marriage and parenting make it even more special and meaningful. 

So to celebrate the occasion, I wanted to make a special cake...something with my favourite fruit in season...with just the right flavours and ingredients to go with it.  And delicious enough for everyone.  I'd love to share it to friends, co-workers and relatives. 

With that intention, I was so ecstatic when I found a box of the freshest and nicest looking Fuyu persimmons at my grocery store. As if they were just there waiting for me. Raw persimmon cheesecake here I come!  This would be the 2nd installment to my "dessert making adventure." I wrote a bit about persimmons in an earlier post here.  For this recipe, no sweetener was necessary. Isn't that awesome?

As I write this, I'm happy to share that the cake came out very was enjoyed by our mini community.  I felt the joy as people smiled and savoured this homemade 20th Anniversary cake!




 Raw Persimmon Cheesecake  With Cacao Sprinkles

Crust :
1 c. raw  almonds 
6 pcs medjool dates, pitted and sliced into small pieces 
4 Tbsp raw cacao powder 
a pinch of sea salt 
1 vanilla pod scraped or 1/2 tsp. vanilla powder 

1. Place almonds in food processor and process until finely chopped. 
2. Add dates, cacao, vanilla and salt and process until mixture stick together. 
3. Transfer the mixture into the bottom of a 9" spring form pan lined with parchment paper (a smaller 7" pan can also be used which will yield a thicker cake). Make sure to press it well. 

2 1/2 c. raw cashews, soaked overnight or minimum 4 hours
3 c. Fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped 
1 c. fresh orange juice 
1/4 c. lemon  juice 
1/2 c.coconut oil, melted
(see #3 below on sweetener)

2 1/2 Tbsp. cacao nibs 



1. Rinse and drain soaked cashews. Prep the persimmons, orange and lemon juices, melt the coconut oil by placing it on a small bowl over a pan of  simmering water. 
2. Transfer them all into a high-speed blender. Process until smooth. 
3.  Adjust the taste.  If persimmons are very ripe, no sweetener is required otherwise add up to 2 1/2 Tbsp. of maple syrup if they are still a bit crunchy.
4. Pour over crust. Sprinkle the cacao nibs on top. 
5. Freeze until cake becomes solid, approximately 6-7 hours.
6. Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

There's also an older cheesecake recipe made of pomegranate, my other favourite fruit. You can check it at this link. 


Marriage is a gift and I am truly grateful that Angel and I are partners in this life that God gave us.  I'm thankful for the bible, a standard that both of us can trust.  Then there's our good friends who help hold our hands when we need strength and support. I can truly say that we are enjoying each other.  Happy 20th my dearest! 



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!