Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

I woke up the other day wanting to eat raw; I think I do this when I overindulge or have too much sugar. This cheesecake is an ode to nice cream, the ice cream I make from frozen bananas. The crust is a mix of fruit and nuts and is sweet and filling. This is such an awesome, lower in fat cheesecake you can whip up in case you have a crazy insane sweet tooth like me and don't want to snack on crap or high calorie sweets like baked goods. The cheese in it is simply the nice cream, no nuts, so it's totally cool, refreshing and chocolatey delish.

When you get a chance, you should experiment with a crust recipe. Raw crusts consist of sticky fruit like raisins or dates and a nut like walnuts or pecans. You can throw in spices like cinnamon or some seeds like chia seeds. For a great low fat crust (but not raw), you can replace the nuts with rolled oats. Sticky, dried fruit and another ingredient is the basis of a sweet, raw crust and is great for pies and cakes. This crust recipe is also the base for some great snacks and energy bars. You can make chocolate or peanut butter bites from a base of fruit and nuts so you can have energy packed snacks around your house. Sometimes I will pop some bites in my mouth before a run because the dried fruit and nuts sustain me during a longer run. Get a great crust recipe going by following the one below or use it as a base to make your own recipe. Raw crusts are awesome if you just don't feel like baking. Just whip up the crust and make a raw cake or pie on top of that. Personally, I think raw desserts are way easier and less time consuming than baked goods.

My training....I have done fabulous so far with my training runs but the extreme cold this week stopped me slightly. I ran a great run on Wednesday and then didn't run until today (Monday); and it was not a good run. I just felt so tired and it was freezing and I passed a carriage horse pulling some people around Central Park and I felt bad. I had every intention of running the park then running to my yoga studio but I could only do the park. I walked a little bit and was generally not feeling physical activity today. I HATE these runs, they threaten to tear down my self confidence so during these times I try to remember those super awesome runs where I felt like superwoman. It's best to not worry about "bad" long runs and not make them more than they are; everyone has bad days. This week is my birthday and my schedule is tight with plans and visitors and a trip home so I want to be able to get a long run in again at some point. It's presently snowing in NYC again....but tomorrow is warming up! I would still rather run in cold weather than hot and humid weather.

Anyway, onto this recipe, I love it and I'm sure you will too. Before you get out your blender, freeze 6-7 ripe bananas for at least six hours. You will need the following:

6-7 frozen bananas
3 tbsp of cocoa or cacao powder
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 cup of raisins
1/3 cup of walnuts or pecans (pecans are oilier)

Make your crust first. I love using pecans but as I said above, pecans are super oily so keep that in mind. Blend the raisins and nuts and it will turn into a sticky crust. Press the crust into a round cake plate. Double the recipe if you want a thicker crust.

For the cheesecake, blend the frozen bananas, cocoa, vanilla extract and cinnamon until smooth like soft serve. Smooth on top of the crust and then freeze. Freeze until the ice cream isn't melting and dripping then cut a slice.

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