*CHEESECAKE* [sugar-free & grain-free]

I feel loads better when I’m not eating any refined sugars or flours, so usually a few times a year I will completely avoid them for several months at a time.  I’m always trying to achieve balance in my life, but when it comes to sugar I’m definitely an all-or-nothing kind of girl.  I have yet to conquer the concept of sugar in moderation.  I can either pretend it doesn’t exist and avoid it entirely for ages, or I want sweets every single day.  I was constantly nauseous for the first several months of pregnancy and greens of all kinds made me gag and vomit.  I tried to still eat as clean and veggie-full as possible, but my no-sugar-no-flour standards really slipped during those months.  (One day I might have eaten vanilla ice cream and peanut butter for dinner.)  And then when I finally started feeling better… it was the holidays… and we all know what happens around the holidays…

So here I am with 3 months of pregnancy to go, feeling much better and ready to be rid of sugar again.  I haven’t had any since we returned home from the holidays the first week of January.  I have come to discover over the years, that eradicating refined sugars does not necessary mean no dessert.  There are, in fact, some pretty incredible desserts that can be made with sweet ingredients like dates, raw honey, maple syrup, or fruit.

After a few weeks of no dessert, I decided this weekend that I really wanted cheesecake.  I got the idea because I had some leftover cream cheese from a dish I made for a friend’s birthday and was speculating how to use it up.  I have only made cheesecake a few times in my life… I recently made one for Myle’s birthday and another one at Thanksgiving, so I kind of had the general idea down.  Since I didn’t want to use refined sugars or flours and since I never have sour cream on hand because Myles hates it, I couldn’t find a cheesecake recipe that used the ingredients I wanted.  So I decided to just experiment!  Experimentation rarely ends in success the first time around… but I do believe this time I landed a winner on the first try.  Myles says its the best cheesecake he’s ever had in his life.  I think I just might agree.  If I was a real food blogger I would post a pretty picture… but um, let’s be real… there’s only one piece left and I just made it yesterday.

{Disclaimer: these measurements are all approximate…}

For the crust:

1/2 cup of almonds or almond meal

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 stick or 4 TBSP organic butter

2-3 TBSP raw honey

dash of himalayan salt

Throw all these ingredients in the food processor, grinding to desired consistency… we like a little crunch in our crust, so I didn’t let the walnuts get completely pulverized.  Press the crust into the bottom of a round cake pan (or a springform pan if you have one.) Bake at 350 until the crust just starts to brown, approximately 15 minutes.  

For the cheesecake filling:

2 (8oz.) packages of organic cream cheese  (or 2 cups of organic homemade raw milk cream cheese!)

1 cup of whole milk plain yogurt (I make mine in a thermos, super easy… ask me how)

1/2 cup of raw honey

1 1/2 TBSP pure vanilla extract (I make my own!)

3 farm fresh eggs

Blend the cream cheese, honey, and vanilla extract together in the food processor until smooth and completely mixed.  Pour in yogurt and continue to blend. Add eggs one by one with food processor still blending.  Pour the whole mixture into the pre-baked crust.  Place the pan inside a larger pan (I use a dutch oven) and pour boiling water into the bottom of the larger pan so that the cheesecake pan is surrounded by about an inch of hot water.  (This prevents the crust from burning.)  Bake for 45-55 minutes at 350.  The cheesecake should still jiggle slightly in the middle… it will firm up in the fridge.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving and try not to consume it all in one sitting. 

** I might have had a dream last night that Myles was letting all our friends try the cheesecake because it was so good and there was none left for me… and I might have been very upset in my dream…

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