Blackberry Cheesecake with Gluten-free Crust

Gluten Free Cheesecake | Casual Classic

I've been on a sweets kick lately. I feel like all the blog posts I have lined up are for cookies, cakes, sweet treats, etc. I mean, that's not the worst thing in the world though, is it? I guess I'll try to sneak something a little different in there to mix it up though maybe.

Today's recipe is a new one for me. I'm the kind of person that likes to stick to things that involve chocolate, but for some reason, cheesecake was calling my name (that and I had fresh blackberries in my fridge that had to be used up). It's a pretty simple and quick recipe too, and deliciously rich so it'll make enough to last you weeks. I froze half of mine to save for later which worked out nicely.

Gluten Free Cheesecake | Casual Classic

You can use any fruit you'd like but this recipe does work best with berries - raspberries or blueberries would be a great substitute, and the lemon in this cheesecake gives it the perfect tart kick that cuts the sweetness a bit. I did sneak in a few superfoods, like chia seeds, gelatin, coconut oil, and of course the lemon juice I just mentioned, so you can't feel too guilty snacking on this delicious treat. Recipe below!

Gluten Free Cheesecake | The Casual Classic

Ingredients:

Crust

Filling

  • 2 8 oz containers of organic cream cheese
  • 6 oz fresh blackberries (or other type of berries)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons, juiced)
  • 1 tbsp gelatin powder

Directions:

  1. Line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the oats in the food process and process until finely chopped up. Add remaining crust ingredients and process until well mixed.
  3. Press the crust down into the pan firmly until well packed. It's easiest to use your fingers to make sure it's even across the entire pan.
  4. Once the crust is removed from the food processor, add the blackberries and process until pureed.
  5. Place the gelatin and lemon juice in a sauce pan and heat over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until well dissolved and the mixture is warm (do not let it boil!). 
  6. In a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese and honey together. I used a hand mixer, which is kind of required, since this mixture is so thick.
  7. Add the lemon juice/gelatin mixture to the cream cheese and mix well. Lastly, fold in the pureed blackberries to create a marble like effect.
  8. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust and place in the fridge to let it firm up. You can also place in the freezer for about an hour to make this happen quicker.

*adapted from EatGoodForLife

As always, you can find most of these ingredients on Thrive Market, which is where I usually order them, since you get such a huge discount. Would love to hear feedback about how this turned out in the comments below! xoxo

Protein Packed Pasta with Pesto Chicken

Gluten Free Pesto Pasta

I'm a big fan of comfort food, especially cheesy, chewy, delicious pasta. I used to live on Kraft mac and cheese as a kid (anyone with me!?), but after reading about the scary stuff they put in their pasta and "cheese sauce", I wouldn't touch that stuff with a 10 foot pole. At this point, I've pretty much cut mac and cheese out of my diet, although I do treat myself sometimes, just with a better version if possible. 

Enter Al Dente pasta (and no this is not a sponsored post, I am just utterly obsessed with this pasta, which you will find out why shortly). This WHOLE time I've been fooled into thinking that rice or quinoa pasta was the way to go if you wanted to make gluten free pasta. Well I was freaking dead wrong! Now, I've tried almost every type of gluten free pasta at this point, from rice, to quinoa, to black bean, to chickpea, to lentil based pastas. The favorite (until now), was Tolerant red lentil pasta. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is also good, but Al Dente just tops everything I've tried, and here's why.

You know how the gluten free pastas usually are a little hard? Or gritty? Or weird flavored? Or slimy and too mushy (if you over cook them even for a second)? The texture of Al Dente is just AMAZING. It's a little bit chewy and not at all grainy, and the flavor is just so good. They also offer a few different flavors, including spinach, garlic parsley, and pure & simple. The pasta takes about 5 minutes max to cook and holds its shape, even for leftovers. No mushiness or random hard pieces here! It is made from white bean and rice flour (surprisingly), which gives it a great amount of protein and fiber. I'll admit, it's not as "pure" as the Tolerant brand, or the Trader Joes black bean pasta that only has one ingredient, but if you want to treat yourself to some yummy comfort food that you won't feel guilty about, I'd recommend this brand.

Gluten Free Pesto Pasta

I decided to go with the spinach noodles this time around, but I did just order the 3-pack off Amazon to try other flavors next time. I topped mine with some homemade pesto (recipe coming soon!), grilled chicken, and a tiny bit of organic mozzarella cheese. DELICIOUS!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Al Dente pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2-3/4 cup pesto (you can buy, or I made mine homemade - recipe coming soon!)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the bag.
  2. Grease a pan with some type of animal fat (I use Epic), butter or olive oil. I prefer the fat because it makes the chicken more tasty and crispier.
  3. Rinse off the chicken breasts and pound them a bit with a tenderizer to make them more tender. Season with spices, salt and pepper, and place in a pan over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until center is cooked through.
  4. Once the pasta is finished, drain and rinse with cold water. Add the pesto and mozzarella cheese and mix thoroughly. Dice up the cooked chicken breast and add to the pasta. 
  5. Enjoy!

I'd also recommend ordering your pasta off Thrive, although they don't carry my Al Dente brand. Everything on their site is 30-40% off, so you if you're feeling experimental, you can grab the Tolerant pasta, black bean pasta, chickpea pasta and more at a major discount! And if you sign up today, you receive 25% off your first order and free shipping. It's SO worth it, trust me. xo

I'd also recommend ordering your pasta off Thrive, although they don't carry my Al Dente brand. Everything on their site is 30-40% off, so you if you're feeling experimental, you can grab the Tolerant pasta, black bean pasta, chickpea pasta and more at a major discount! If you sign up today, you'll receive 25% off and free shipping! Sign up here.

A Light Summer Salad

Summer Salad

The other day I grabbed some random ingredients from my fridge/pantry, threw them in a bowl, and ended up making the best salad I've ever made. So of course, I had to share this super simple and delicious recipe with you guys. Let me preface this by saying that this is a seriously basic salad... You can dress it up, dress it down, switch up the ingredients, and pretty much do whatever you want with it to make it to your liking though. You guys are going to LOVE this salad and how easy it is to make.

Summer Salad

I love using arugula, because it's so fresh, light, and has such an incredible taste. Throw a little parmesan cheese and avocado on top and dress it with my favorite homemade lemon olive oil dressing (recipe below), and you have a delicious salad. I added some lentils and of course topped it with a couple fried eggs, which just brought it to the next level. 

I frequently cook a large batch of something like lentils or quinoa and store it in the fridge so that I can add it to meals or throw it on top of a salad like I did here. I always make sure to get my protein in (2 eggs just doesn't do it for lunch), and lentils are an excellent source of protein. The cheese on the other hand, is totally optional especially if you can't do dairy. I can tolerate dairy (luckily), so I love to add cheese to the occasional meal for a little extra flavor. Nutritional yeast is a great alternative option if you can't do cheese though.

Summer Salad

As for the dressing, it is so incredibly simple and one that I make for most of my salads. You can make an extra big batch (which I recommend), and keep it in the fridge to use at later dates. Recipe below!

Ingredients for salad:

  • Bag of organic arugula
  • Half avocado
  • 1/2 cup cooked sprouted lentils
  • Pinch of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 organic, pasture raised eggs

Ingredients for dressing:

  • Juice from 1 full lemon
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. For the dressing, throw all the ingredients in the bowl and whisk until well blended.
  2. Wash the arugula and put into a large salad bowl. Top with shredded parmesan cheese, cooked lentils, and diced avocado.
  3. Pour the dressing over the top of the salad and toss to mix.
  4.  If you want to add the eggs, my favorite way to cook them for the top of a salad is fried (crispy fried). To do so, heat olive or coconut oil in a pan on high until it is almost smoking (key word, almost). Add the eggs to the pan and let them sizzle for a little bit. Once they are almost cooked through, turn the heat off and let them continue to cook until they are no longer runny on top. You can also flip them and cook the other side for a few seconds if you'd like.