mini pie
Pie, Recipe, Uncategorized

Mini Cheeze Cakes – Mini Pies – Raw Vegan

mini pie

Raw vegan desserts are often better than their original inspiration. Ice cream, chocolates, cheese cakes… tiramisu: I’ve experienced vegan and raw vegan versions of each of these treats that would make your big toe shoot out your boot. Just another example of how plant-based living can be easy, delicious and healthy… win, win, win.

The inspiration for these mini-pies came from a chef and friend named Dorothy. I used to stop off and stay with Dorothy and her husband Robert when traveling from Michigan to Florida and the reverse. They were living in Nashville, TN, which was a perfect midway stopping point. Upon my first visit I was lavished with miso soup made with re-hydrated veggies from their garden. And the pièce de résistance or more appropriately “pie de résistance” were mini cheeze cakes that she pulled from the freezer, all organized by flavor in various ziplock bags. She had come to the realization that full-sized pies were difficult to store and thaw. Solution: mini pies.

Miso Soup
Miso Soup and Rehydrated Veggies

Flash forward 5 years and I’m now living in Florida and Dorothy and Robert are in Philadelphia… last I checked. I’ve never forgotten those pies and the brilliance of their miniature-ness.

Mini-pies require a mini-pie form

I started out doing this with small spring forms. This method works but you’re limited by the number of spring forms you have. Quality forms cost around $3-5 each or you can get 3 or 4 for $10-18. This is the more expensive and a more tedious way of going about this. Making raw pies 4 at a time is not an efficient use of time and plus those spring forms are a bit awkward to store. On top of that they’re usually coated with teflon. If you’re making raw vegan desserts, you’re likely informed enough to know that teflon is bad news and no matter how careful you are with teflon cookware, it inevitably ends up with scratches that can potentially flake off into your food.

silicon muffin pan

Silicon Muffin Pan (Silpan)

This is one solution that optimizes mini-pie making. These forms store well, hold from 6 to 12 pies at a time and they clean up quick and easy. The one drawback with these molds versus a metal muffin pan is that they aren’t rigid and bend and twist when you lift them from the counter. This bending makes a mess of your pies before you can get them in the freezer. The solution I found was to use a rigid piece of cardboard the size of the silicon pan. You could also use a cutting board. You will need enough space in the freezer to accommodate the silpan and the cutting board.

Basic Mini Pie Recipe

  • Crust – enough for 10 to 12 mini pies
  • 1 C dates (4 oz) – pitted and chopped
  • 3/4 C walnuts (2 oz)
  • 2 TB sprouted buckwheat (1 oz optional)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (.15 oz) – ground
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp water – if crust is to dry and doesn’t bind

Pulse ingredients in food processor with S-blade until combined. Texture should be coarse. Press mixture against side of processor to see if it holds together. If it crumbles, it is too dry. Run food processor on low and add the water. Ideal texture holds together when compressed.

Use a large spoon or 2 TB spoon to measure out crust and drop it into each of the silpan cells. I fill all the cells before I tap down the crust. Extra crust can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer for later usage… or just eat it. For tapping down the crust I use the pusher from a Champion Juicer. Ideally you want something that’s round with a flat bottom that fits into the cells. Spoons don’t work. Get creative. Tap all the crusts down evenly.

Champion Juicer Pusher
  • Filling
  • 1 1/4 C raw cashews (5.15 oz)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 C agave or sweetener of choice (clear agave gives best look)
  • 2 TB Irish moss gel
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sunflower lecithin
  • pinch of Himalayan salt

Place all ingredients except lecithin in a high powered blender and blend smooth. Scrape down the sides of blender and continue blender until you have a perfectly smooth texture. Add the lecithin and blend for 5 to 10 seconds.

This is the base filling with no fruit added or coloring. It should have a sweet and lightly sour taste. We’re trying to replicate cheese cake, so that bit of sour is needed. Pour 1/2 to 2/3 of this mixture into your mini pie form. You want to fill the cells at least 1/2 way. I tend to fill them more than half. The left over pie filling will be used to make the fruit creme layer. Add a 1/2 Cup of fresh berries or thawed frozen fruit. This where you add color and flavor. Strawberries and blueberries are an easy addition but the skies the limit. You can also add CACAO POWDER to make a chocolate cheeze cake.

  • Flavored Filling
  • 1/2 C fresh fruit/thawed fruit or 1/4 C cacao powder
  • 1 TB agave
  • For strawberry I sometimes add 1/4 tsp beet powder for color

Blend smooth and top off your pie cells. Use a chopstick or tooth pick to swirl in the mixture. At this point you can also float a piece of fruit, flowers or cacao nibs on top. Once finished swirling and decorating, place the pies in the freezer for 4 hours to set. Once they’ve set you can pop them out of the silpans and store them in freezer bags. Easy as pie!

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear from you. Leave comments and even requests. – Keep It Live!


Book Launch Party


Last Saturday we had a rawkin good time at the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raw Food Detox book launch party. About 25 people showed up for a eat, meet and greet event. There was a tasty sampling of recipes from my new book and some delicious “mocktails” that I made up as well. Since mint is growing in abundance I created a Mojito style “mocktail”, then of course there are the berries that are in abundance in these parts. That inspired a Very Berry Lemonade and finally we had to bring in the chocolate with Maca Mudslide. The recipes below are for a 1/2 gallon or one full vitamix worth of mocktail.

Raw Mojita

  • 1 C lime juice
  • 1/2 C palm sugar
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 10 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 t salt
  1. Add all the ingredients to your blender.
  2. Top with cold water and blend.
  3. Serve over ice.

Very Berry Lemonade

  • 1 C lemon juice
  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 1 C blueberries
  • 1/2 C raspberries
  • 1/2 C blackberries
  • 2 T goji berries or goji powder
  • 1 t fresh ginger
  • 1/4 t salt
  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and cover with water and blend.
  2. Strain through a seed mylk bag to remove seeds.
  3. Pour over ice and decorate with berries.

Maca Mudslide

  • 1 C cashews
  • 1/4 C cacao powder
  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 2 T maca
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 t vanilla powder/extract
  • 1/4 t salt
  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and cover with water and blend.
  2. Pour over ice and decorate with a sprinkle of maca or cinnamon.

If any of you out there want to treat yourself to a “Live Food Experience” immersion be sure to visit Camp Rawnora in Watervliet, Michigan and check out our schedule of upcoming events. I’m the director of the Summer and Fall programs and we have some fun stuff coming up… like…

Yoga Camp for Adults 

 August 5th-7th

 September 23rd-25th

 October 14th-16th

Raw Food Detox Camp

 August 12th-18th

Green Juice Feast

  September 9th-15th

We’re located 100 miles from Chicago. Any of my subscribers that sign up for an event and mention “The Live Food Experience” will get %15 off and a signed copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raw Food Detox. Come join the fun… and Keep it Live!


Spain adventures :Nerja

Cherimoya Treat

Let me tell you about a favorite fruit of mine… cherimoya.
A delicate and delicious treat, cherimoya is juicy and sweet. Outer green, inner white with seeds of black, it’s quite a site… to behold is nice but to taste is sublime. It melts in you mouth and stops all time. Pick them firm and let them soften. Split in half and eat them often.

Nerja BeachesIt must be Paris that is inspiring me to poetry. Before I share my Parisian adventures I must wrap up my time in Spain. The second full day of the Spain retreat had us going on a field trip to Nerja. This quaint Spanish town spans a hillside over looking the Mediterranean Sea. It’s winding streets all seem to thread their way down to the waterfront where cafes and plazas sprawl out and cove tucked beaches dot the meandering shoreline. We started off as one group but eventually splintered into several groups. I ended up on a solo mission in which my task was to get a swim, bask in the sun, visit an internet shop and make it back to the bus stop in time to catch the last bus back to Benajarafe. A simple task indeed that only became a bit challenging after I made a wrong turn on my way back to the bus stop. I underestimated the narrow twisting streets of Nerja and found myself in uncharted territory. solo travelerFortunately I found a large tourist map in my wanderings and was able to pinpoint my location.The cool thing about Nerja was that if you wanted to get back to the city center you just had to keep walking up, which I did and I made it back with time to spare.

dried carob podsOn our way home we had to change buses in Torro del Mar, another coastal town. I wandered off for a stroll and found a lovely park and a carob tree. I noticed the unripe green pods on the tree and then looked down at my feet to see I was surrounded by hundreds of ripe brown pods. Many of them were broken and half eaten by critters but I managed to gather a few keepers which I brought home to wash and dehydrate. One thing I found amazing about the cities I visited in Spain was the abundance of fruit trees in public places. Citrus was standard on all of the parkways and in Torro del Mar one area had dozens of peach trees loaded with tiny unripe fruits. Looks like I’ll have to time my next visit to coincide with the peach harvest. Back on the bus, we returned to the villa for a light dinner with nori rolls and a chocolate, cherimoya, mint parfait… quite the live food experience.

Nori Dinner Parfait 3 way

blog, How To, Raw Food Adventures, Uncategorized

Flush Those Stones

Liver Cleanse Gallbladder Flush

The crazy things I do while I’m on vacation… if fasting for 4 days in subzero temperatures wasn’t enough, Heathy and I decided to follow things up with Dr. Hulda’s Liver Cleanse protocol. I’ve done this liver flush 3 times prior to this but it was new territory for Heathy. If you take a moment to read through the liver flush instructions you’ll see that it is written with an air of caution and urgency. For someone who has never done this procedure it is a bit intimidating. Reading through the instructions you may think that you may explode in your pants if you don’t follow the directions to the “T”. If you do attempt the liver flush I highly recommend that you do your own research prior and feel comfortable with the instructions. After 4 flushes and many slight deviations from the “strict” instructions I have yet to have an explosive incident… other than those expected from the flush. I hope you notice the term “flush” is showing up a lot and that’s what you should expect… to be flushing, the toilet, a lot, as in multiple trips to the toilet once things get “moving”.

Heathy and I waited 2 days after coming off the fast before doing the flush. Do not do the flush during or immediately after a long fast. You can become very nauseous and sick by doing so. I’m guessing that it has something to do with drinking a 1/2 C of olive oil. Not the best thing to do immediately after a fast. That is why we ate fruit and drank green smoothies for 2 days prior to the flush. Heathy did get a bit nauseous during the night (3am) but it passed. I didn’t experience any discomfort except for stinky olive oil and garlic burps the next day.

The supplies we used were:

Flush Kit

  • grapefruit
  • orange
  • Epsom salts
  • olive oil
  • garlic

Here’s how things went down for us on Tuesday night:

  • 10 am – 1pm apples, oranges and green smoothie
  • 1pm – no more eating
  • 7pm – 1st Epsom salt drink
  • 9pm – 2nd Epsom salt drink
  • 11pm – Olive oil, grapefruit, orange and 1 clove of pressed garlic, blended and strained

We made the addition of garlic to our drink at the last minute. I’m not sure if it effects the amount of stones that come out. We just wanted our drink to taste like a salad dressing, which it did, a very garlicy dressing.

It took me an hour to get to sleep. Heathy seemed to be having more trouble falling asleep but eventually she did as well. By 3am I was up and taking a #3… that’s a combination of a #1 and #2 which is to be expected. It was just a taste of things to come… so begins the “flush”.

Liver Love Dressing

Tuesday morning:

  • 7am – 3rd Epsom salt drink
  • 8am – Panicked phone call from Heathy’s mom. Her parents’ basement was flooding and the water was out.
  • 9am – Help shop vac the flooded crawl space and take 4th and final Epsom salt drink…. gurgle, gurgle
  • 10:30 – Return to apartment in the nick of time… explosive #3

We returned to the apartment I went to the bathroom 6 times between 10:30 and 3pm. Not much to see floating though I could feel some solids coming out. Typically you get little green floaties smaller or about the size of marbles. Out of 5 trips to the toilet I saw 4 floaties, the rest sinkers. Which is good since the sinkers are true stones. Circumstances didn’t allow me to use the strainer technique to check for stones. In the past I was able to strain and rinse what was coming out and see the stones. This flush was a “faith flush”. I just have to believe that the procedure eliminated stones. For those of you needing a little more than faith to go on you can invest a couple bucks in a cheap plastic pasta strainer from the dollar store. The diameter needs to be small enough to fit inside the toilet with the seat up. Check out the pictures here to see what I’m talking about. The picture has it resting on the seat. Don’t try pooping into it like this, you’ll surely regret it. The picture is for display purposes. You lift the seat and set it inside, then close the seat. Now it’s business time. When you finish blasting off on the toilet, fill a pitcher of tap water and pour it into the toilet over what’s in the strainer. This will flush out all the smaller debris. I realize it sound pretty nasty straining your poop and all but it’s for a good cause: your health. Suck it up and be tough. The stuff came out of your body. You should be able to look at it. Put on a pair of those thick yellow kitchen gloves, goggles and do what’s gotta be done. Flush that gallbladder, heal your liver and give your body the love and respect it deserves.

Here are some helpful tips if you undertake this flush:

  1. Start early and finish early. In hind sight we would have started earlier, gone to bed earlier and would be done with all the “flushing” earlier.
  2. Be sure that the bathroom is available all day and in fine working order. Be considerate to roommates, family and guests and pick a day when bathroom traffic isn’t high and there aren’t any festivities going on.
  3. Make sure you do it on a day that is completely clear. At 8:30pm on the flush day I was still visiting the toilet. At that time it was just wet farts, a regular shart fest… which leads us to tip #4
  4. Be sure to have plenty of toilet paper on hand. If you’re spraying and flushing all day then you’re gonna burn through the rolls quicker than frat boys at a rave.

So if this post hasn’t scared you off, you should be amply equipped to cleanse your liver and gallbladder. Have fun and Keep It Live!