How to make recipes that call for raw cashews without a high speed blender

Bag o Cashews

I use raw cashews in my cooking a lot. Like, a lot. Like, I just bought my third 4-lb bag of cashews since early August, which means that we go through about two pounds of cashews a month. See? A lot.

I use them to make plant milk when I need it, occasionally culturing that milk into yogurt, I use them to make creams and aioli, raw cheesecake, salad dressings, a mind-boggling variety of creamy pasta sauces and soups, and so much more. Raw cashews are one of the most versatile ingredients that exists. Period.

One of the things about using raw cashews in these ways is that, to achieve the best results, you almost always need a high-speed blender. I’ve made things for friends and family that they’ve wanted to replicate at home, and I always have to tell them that it’s probably not going to be the same. For instance, my mother-in-law loves this smooth, creamy, totally killer cashew ranch dressing that I make, but, when she tried it in the food processor at home, it came out a bit chunky and disappointing by comparison. Since cashews are the base for so many of the things I create, I’ve always felt bad that these recipes remain inaccessible to those who haven’t invested in something like a Vitamix.

I’ve had a sneaking suspicion for a while that there may be a way around this, but hadn’t actually tried it until about a week ago. The secret to making recipes that call for raw cashews when you don’t have a high-speed blender is this:… 

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Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie3

Every year, fall doesn’t really feel like fall to me until I’ve had my chai. For some people, it’s the pumpkin spice latte that marks the turn of the season. But once those leaves start to turn and the air takes on a chill, I am all about the spicy sweet warmth of the chai.

I will admit that this year I’ve also been all about the pumpkin. From pumpkin butter, to cake, to cereal, to pumpkin mac (oh yes, folks, there is a mac), to half a dozen other applications, it seems I too have caught the pumpkin bug…. 

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Smoothies vs. Juice


My sister-in-law, Amy, left a comment/question on my What Vegans Eat post yesterday, referencing the photo above, that prompted me to start getting into the nitty gritty of smoothies versus juice. It occurred to me that this could be something that others might be wondering about as well, and, true-to-form, my response was becoming long-winded.  So I asked and she gave me permission to re-post her comment and answer it in a post.  Thanks, Amy!


Jeff and I are looking to put a vitamix on our registry… Which one do you have? Did you make that juice with the vitamix or a juicer? We want to also put a juicer on our registry, unless the vitamix can juice too.


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Mommy’s Little Helper

Roman loves to help me with chores around the house.  When FreshDirect comes, he is all over those boxes, eager to reach inside and hand me each grocery item, one at a time.  Likewise, if I’m unloading the dishwasher, he’ll come over, pull each of the dishes out, and hand them up to me.  Occasionally he’ll help me to wipe things down.  We even got him his own mini Dyson to match ours so that he can vacuum right alongside me.  He used to squeal in delight every time we brought ours out and did the same thing the first time he saw his–might be the best toy we’ve gotten him to date.

Some of the ways in which he helps are more helpful than others, though.  While he’s great at unloading the dishwasher, he’s not so great at leaving it loaded as I’m trying to fill it.  Over time we arrived at a compromise: he leaves the dishes, pots, and pans alone, but the utensil rack is fair game.  So, while I’m carefully arranging glasses and bowls, Roman pulls all of the utensils out of the holder…and does this…. 

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Raw Summer

Today I read an interview with Boy George in which he talks about how he is now a raw vegan. He says that he looks and feels better than he has in his entire life. While I’ll have to take his word on how he feels, I will say that he does indeed look pretty spectacular.

This article stood out to me because, somewhere deep inside, I’m pretty sure I’m a closeted raw foodist. I don’t know that it’ll ever become a way of life for me, but I absolutely adore the fresh, vibrant flavors of well-prepared raw food. And I love the way it makes me feel. When I’m eating mostly raw I feel energized in a way that I don’t otherwise. It’s like every cell in my body lights up—my vision improves, my head clears, and I feel bouncingly, buzzingly alive.

Reading that interview today made me crave a week’s worth of raw foods and long for that light, bright feeling—especially since it was dark and rainy and we were cooped up inside all day.


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Weekly Links

Purple Autumn

I’ve decided that, in addition to posting a day’s worth of meals each Wednesday, I’m going to start doing one of these link round-ups each week.  I read a fair amount of articles throughout the week on a wide range of topics and will pick my favorites to share here.  Obviously a lot of them will be oriented toward animal welfare and plant-based recipes/nutrition, but I’ll also include others that I found especially fun/interesting/thought-provoking.  Sunday seems like a good day for this, so here we go!


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Body & Soul Vegan Bakery


After having an extremely productive week, I decided to take the morning off.  Sort of.  I still made breakfast, but, instead of jumping up immediately after we finished and starting on the dishes, I decided to sit and finish my coffee.  This of course meant that lunch would either be a total hassle or we’d be picking something up.

You see, we live in a two loads of dishes per day household.  Our dishwasher is on the small side, but I also cook and serve three to four meals a day (including snack).  Doing one load each day will leave me with a sink full of dirty dishes at pretty much all times.  So two it is—one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

It also happened that I was too busy to get my afternoon load of dishes in yesterday. So, not doing my post-breakfast load of dishes today meant that the kitchen was a bit of a mess, thus complicating lunchtime.  Uff.


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Coffee Date

Coffee date

This week I decided to take my little man out for an afternoon coffee date at the new Starbucks in our neighborhood.  We swung by Juice Generation first to grab a couple of gluten-free, vegan pumpkin muffins, since, despite their efforts to fit in with the neighborhood aesthetically, Starbucks’ baked goods selection still lacks these options.  When we arrived, I snagged a cute little container of blueberries in case Roman wanted something in addition to his muffin and ordered a soy chai for myself and some steamed soy milk for my date.  We pulled a high chair up to a small, round table for two and enjoyed our afternoon snack.

After finishing off his muffin, Roman fed me his entire container of blueberries and then began to eavesdrop on the two men talking behind him.  Every time they laughed, he let out a loud, fake guffaw in response.  Shushing him only made him do it louder, which made me laugh too.  I was clearly not going to be effective in deterring this behavior, so I pulled out a book to bring our attention back to our little table.  After reading it for about the sixth time, Roman looked up and said “Ah-geh?”  I suggested that we go out for a walk instead, before it got too dark.


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Four & Eight


Today Chris and I celebrated our fourth anniversary of marriage as well as our 8th anniversary together (yep–we were married on the anniversary of our first date!).  We didn’t do anything fancy.  Chris took the day off of work, and we spent it chasing Roman through the playground and walking around our neighborhood as a family.

Chris had some really lovely ideas for things that we could have done just the two of us, but that kind of time can be difficult to coordinate.  And while doing those things would have been nice, it felt totally fitting that we spent the day with our son.  He did surprise me with an incredibly thoughtful gift, though: a replica of my bridal bouquet.  I loved the one I carried four years ago, and this one was a beautiful reminder of that day.