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don't miss dairy

Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.

Low Sugar

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

For the past three Novembers, cooking for Thanksgiving has been very last minute and a lot harder. I was reluctant to even get into the holiday spirit until December 1st.

I’ll tell you why, and I’ll also tell you why this year is different. But first, the recipe to look forward to at the end of this post:

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

Have you ever heard of this little thing called NaNoWriMo? It’s short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s true, I am an aspiring novelist. I have been since I was in middle school, although practicality and life always got in the way of trying to achieve my dream.

Then I heard of this NaNoWriMo thing: a non-profit organization that challenges you to write an entire novel in November. 50,000 words that is. In thirty days.

The first year I heard of it I thought maybe I’d give it a shot. I toyed with the idea. I wrote down some stories that had been fighting for recognition in the back of my mind. 

But I never went through with it. Maybe I was just focused on other things. 

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

The year after that, 2012, I put my foot down. I was going to do it. But when I picked my story and sat down to write, I had a huge wake up call. Writing 50,000 words is hard. Writing them well is even harder. I had an embarrassing collection of 25,000 words by the end of the month.

But last year, that was when I finally did it. I wrote 50,000 words, adding to my previous attempt at the same story for a total of 78,000 words. I had written a novel. Check one box off the bucket list.

The problem was, it was absolutely horrible. I spent the next year going back to it again and again, editing and editing and trying to make it readable.

I don’t regret all this time spent editing. It was a major learning experience. Because this year when November came around, I found my writing to be majorly improved. 

Not only have I written 45,000 words before Thanksgiving, but I’ve also kept my apartment clean, gotten into the holiday spirit, and have even kept up a regular social schedule, along with posting blog entries and doing my day job. To be so much more improved has been a huge confidence booster. It is true that hard work pays off. 

I’m looking at a really great story right now, one that I am not reluctant to share unedited. One that I am in love with. And here I am comfortably posting another recipe, with Thanksgiving only days away. 

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

I just want to say to follow your dreams. It’s going to be hard. There are going to be things in the way. And maybe you won’t get it on the first go. But keep trying. Eventually, practice may not make perfect, but it will get you farther than you ever thought possible, even in your darkest moments of despair. Three years ago, writing a novel was a daunting task. But now? 50,000 words in a month? No biggie. I got this.

And just to prove it, here’s a deliciously thick and fluffy smoothie with a tart, creamy finish, made from the Thanksgiving dinner ingredients you already have in your kitchen, to help get you into the holiday spirit, too. 

Happy NaNoWriMo! Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup raw cranberries, rinsed and drained
  2. 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  3. 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  4. 1/4 cup walnuts
  5. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  6. dash allspice
  7. dash cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

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Mini Vegan Key Lime Cheesecakes

Mini Vegan Key Lime Cheesecakes from dontmissdairy.com

I’m on a key lime flavor kick this summer. 

I’m sure you know these are not actually cheesecakes, but they really taste like them! There’s just something about cashews that imitate that cheesecake taste and texture. 

These delicious desserts are dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and mostly raw. They are made with cashews and coconut oil with a maple walnut crust. Fresh lime juice and lime zest give them their tropical key lime flavor.

While we are on the topic of lime zest, let’s talk about something.  

Does anyone know of a high tech/futuristic/affordable tool that automatically zests citrus for you? ‘Cause I could really use one of those. Maybe there’s something on Kickstarter? Please help! You know I like to keep my recipes as simple as possible.

Zesting is about as fun as folding laundry. And unless you are one of those people who like folding laundry, you get what I’m saying.

I tried to think of ways I could make this taste like key lime pie without having to zest a single lime…but, yeah, I got nothing. Taking the time to zest a few limes is so worth it. That tart, limey zest just pops in your mouth.

Mini Vegan Key Lime Cheesecakes from dontmissdairy.com

I served these key lime cheesecakes at a shopping party and they were a big hit among dairy eating folks! My little food processor was able to handle this noble task. They aren’t super smooth, a texture you would get by soaking the cashews for hours or by owning a Vitamix–the 1st option requires advance planning, the 2nd requires, well….a Vitamix. 

Ahhh Vitamix…I picture it standing tall on my granite countertop like the Lombardi Trophy of kitchen appliances (is it football season yet??). People will ooo and ahh and say things like, “Wow, you could sell these mini cheesecakes in a shop! They’re so perfect and smooth!”

But really, they don’t have to say anything. An empty plate where mini cheesecakes used to be is all I need to encourage me to keep making delicious dairy-free desserts–Vitamix or no Vitamix. They can always be smoother, but they still taste incredible.

These cheesecakes prove that you do not need a Vitamix to make this dessert. You do, however, need a food processor. If you don’t have a mini cheesecake pan, use a muffin pan lined with cupcake wrappers for easy removal. 

They are soft, so keep them in the fridge until you are ready to eat. I hope you enjoy these yummy desserts as much as I did!

Mini Vegan Key Lime Cheesecakes from dontmissdairy.com

Mini Vegan Key Lime Cheesecakes
Serves 12
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For the Crust
  1. 2 cups raw walnuts
  2. 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Filling
  1. 2 cups raw cashews
  2. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  3. 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or more to taste)
  4. 1/2 cup key lime juice
  5. zest of 4-6 key limes
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, pulse raw walnuts until finely ground. Add maple syrup and vanilla and pulse until ball begins to form.
  2. Press 2 teaspoons of the walnut crust mixture into each bottom of the 12 cup mini cheesecake pan, or into a muffin tin lined with cupcake wrappers.
  3. Clean out your food processor to prepare the filling. Add cashews and pulse until finely ground.
  4. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, lime juice, and lime zest, and pulse until well combined. Spoon mixture evenly on top of walnut mixture. Sprinkle with extra lime zest for a pop of color and flavor.
  5. Freeze for one hour and then store in refrigerator. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Adapted from Coconut Lime Cream Cakes
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Mini Vegan Key Lime Cheesecakes from dontmissdairy.com

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