Pumpkin Seed Cranberry “Cheese” Log with Thyme

by Susan on November 20, 2013

Vegan Pumplin Cranberry "Cheese" log @Rawmazing.com

I’m in a holiday mood. It feels so welcome and refreshing because I haven’t felt this way in a while. For the last two years, I have been in the process of getting ready to move or had recently moved and I was simply too exhausted to put my normal holiday effort forth. Everything felt last minute and I had an attitude of “just get through it” which is completely out of character for me. 

Back in Minnesota, Thanksgiving was a huge feast that brought family and friends together. Shortly after Thanksgiving, I would start decorating for Christmas, my favorite time of year. Every room was touched with candles, lights, or ornaments. Each fireplace had elaborate pine swags that I arranged, little piece by piece. Berries, holly, pinecones, all created a magical picture. 

Often, even though I swore I would get the outside lights up before the first snow, I would find myself on the steep roof, standing in a couple of feet of the white stuff, clipping the strings to the edge of the roof. I know it sounds strange, but I loved it. The wind might be blowing and the snow falling but how can you feel bad when your arms are full of little white twinkling lights and snowflakes are blowing all around?

My first Christmas season in California was a struggle. I missed the cold and the snow. I missed the grey November skies have a beauty all of their own. The winter light playing off of the dark bare trees can be breathtakingly beautiful. These are the skies I was used to. The skies I love and missed horribly.  

I also missed the silence. When the earth freezes and is covered by a blanket of snow, it is quiet. Blissfully quiet. You may hear the occasional winter birds or the wind in the pines but the daily hum of summer completely disappears. There is silence and it is peaceful. And restful. And a wonderful time to settle in and slow down a bit. 

Somehow, looking out the window at palm trees (transplanted since we are in Northern Ca but here none the less) just wasn’t doing it for me. November would hit and I would get grumpy. I was tired of the sun and hearing crickets and lawn mowers in November. It just didn’t feel right for this Minnesota girl. 

But this year something is shifting. I feel a little ember of desire. I am looking forward to getting the holidays in full swing. It took me by surprise yet delighted me at the same time.

Where I notice it the most is in the kitchen. Everything I am inspired to make has a holiday or entertaining theme and I am loving it.

I am grateful to be once again inspired by the holidays. And with a daughter now only 3 hours away in the mountains, snow is back on my happy-happy-joy-joy list!

Today’s “raw cheese log” recipe is a great recipe for entertaining. It is easy, beautiful and  full of flavor! Pumpkin seeds, cranberries and pecans marry beautifully and the sharpness of the cashew cheese sets the sweetness of the pecans and cranberries off in the most tasty way! You will need to start this in advance but it refrigerates and even freezes well which is great when entertaining. 

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Chelsea//TheNakedFig November 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

This is inspired!

Joan November 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Are the probiotic capsules necessary? Which brand do you use and where do you buy them? Thank you…

Susan November 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Thank you Chelsea! Joan: you can use any probiotic capsules. I don’t have a specific one to recommend. You could leave them out but it will change the flavor and not have all those wonderful properties. Cheers!

Virtually Vegan Mama November 21, 2013 at 6:22 am

this is amazing and looks so easy…I’m am definitely going to attempt making this and I’ll let you know how it comes out..can I share it on my blog?? come say hello if you get a chance! nice to meet you!

xoxo

Jen

Jenica November 21, 2013 at 11:13 am

I love the idea of this cheese log, I have been watching your cheese recipes for quite some time but haven’t actually tried to make any of them yet. I have a fear that I will do something wrong & it won’t work lol. I believe I’m ready to conquer that fear! Thank you for your inspiring recipes, I get excited each time I have new one in my email.
Have a lovely thanksgiving, I’m looking forward to sharing this with my guests!

Isis- Little Mountain Haven November 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm

oh that looks yummy! My favourite nuts to use are definitely cashews as some of the other ones upset my stomach. For some strange reason I start craving raw foods in November, a strange time for my body to want to eat clean food as I live in a Northern climate!?

That must of been a challenging transition, thank you for sharing your story. We live in the mountains and the weather keeps getting milder, and the snow arriving later, so I’ve been having a hard time with the lack of snow (it really helps kindle the seasonal spirit).

Marta @ What Should I eat for breakfast today November 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Christmas is my favourite period as well and I know what you mean when you write that you miss cold and snow :) Great recipe.

Faith November 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Hi Susan! I understand your feelings about the climate change. I think a lot of us don’t realize we’ll miss some of this until it’s gone….like being on facebook, with friends in warmer places….and I’m in New England. But I still have the urge to feel jealous about hearing about someone going to the beach in December…

I do think the seasons are unique and even though they can seem difficult and uncomfortable, like cold weather, it seems that we have adapted to them and developed holiday rituals that help us enjoy the weather extremes, even look forward to them …and then we can find that we miss them if the patterns change due to a move or just global warming! and yes, the quiet in the winter…can be beautiful.

that’s great that you have your daughter so close….so you can dip into the best of both worlds. Thanks for this lovely recipe. And you know how people are always asking for substitutions lol??? So , I don’t do well with nutritional yeast. Bet I could leave it out right? definitely into trying probiotic capsules…. xoxo Faith

Susan November 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Faith, you can leave it out. It is there for flavor. But I would watch the water added…you might want to cut back a smidgen.

Susan November 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Jessica…jump right in. They are amazingly simple to do.

Susan November 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm

We walked the dogs this morning to a gray sky, blustery winds and temps in the 50′s. The leaves were falling all around. I looked at my sweetie and said…feels like late September. I LOVED it.

Michele November 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I was wondering if you can use a different nut? I am allergic to cashews and hazelnuts. I am fine with all other nuts.

Dr. Jennifer Weinberg, MD, MPH, MBE @ www.JenniferWeinbergMD.com November 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm

This is so creative! Thank you for crafting delicious raw recipes that are unique! I love having great resources like your blog to recommend to patients and clients!

Faith November 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Thanks Susan, glad to hear you enjoyed the late September-ish walk. reminds me of my trip to Zion National Park in Utah in late Nov. of 1995. I lived in MN then. The weather at Zion was like a beautiful fall time of year, the aspens all yellow leaved…actually got to 70′s at times during the day, we had shorts on. but at night , it chilled way down and we were camping out, along with other people who camp at Zion for Thanksgiving every year! If you haven’t been there, it is an amazing beautiful spiritual place. And probably not very crowded at this time of year. Lots of people came there from California. So my kitchen is around 62 now or less…..if I made the cashew cheese i would hope it would still work ….should I try something like warming the toaster oven and sticking it in there with the power off overnight?

Mooinca November 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Hi, sorry to jump in on the substitution wagon but could you use Rejuvelac instead of the probiotic capsules?

thanks so much for such wonderful creations, every recipe I have tried on my omnivore friends have been met with silence as they’re demolishing the dish!

Susan November 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm

No problem… yes, you can use rejuvelac but I would then completely substitute the water with rejuvelac. As for a different nut, you could try macadamia nuts. It won’t be the same but will still be good.

Mark Sylvester November 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Susan, awesome. I have been doing nut cheeses for a while now and this is a fantastic path. I usually mold them, and dehydrate to get a nice skin on them – however, this rolling in nuts/seeds looks great. I’m going to do a combo of both – as I love the firmness the dehydration gives.
One question for you. I have tried several recipes for nut cheese and they all have the ‘sit overnight on cheesecloth’ instruction, and I do that, and in 100% of the times, there’s maybe one or two drops of liquid. So, I stopped doing it altogether. Why do you think I don’t get any seepage? I’ve tried weights (one author suggested), to no avail. Thx. Love the work – and am in love with the photos.

Susan November 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Hi, Mark,

I wouldn’t worry about it. Sometimes I get a teaspoon, sometimes I don’t get any. It is not just about the liquid it is also about letting flavor develop. Cheers!

Kenda November 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm

This sounds like an awesome recipe! Do you put the whole capsule in the blender or just the contents that in it? I don’t normally use probiotic capsules but will get some for this recipe. Thanks for the recipe!

Diana November 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm

i love how you loved MN. as it is rare to feel so connected to place. and MN needs someone like you!!! that is if you ever decide to return. Grateful for what you offer.

Virtually Vegan Mama November 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Wow great recipe!! I’m definitely going to try this :)

Susan November 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Kenda, that is a good question…only the contents. You do not use the shell. Cheers!

Susan November 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Diana, I love Minnesota with all my heart and soul and at this time of year, I really miss it. But honestly, the bay area is beyond awesome. I love it here, too for different reasons. Cheers!

Paula November 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Hi Susan! I hope you love the Bay Area! I miss it having been raised in SF and Pacifica. Florida is just not the same. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. I haven’t tried looking for unsweetened dried cranberries. Are they hard to find? Where do you get nutritional yeast? Thank you.

Phyllis November 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Braggs nutritional yeast doesn’t have msg in it. I purchase it at a food co-op. As for unsweetened dried cranberries, since this is a great time to buy organic cranberries I plan on dehydrating some fresh ones. Will it change the flavor, did you count on the sweetness of most dried cranberries? I ask because I’ve never seen any that aren’t sweetened. Beautiful looking dish, thanks.

Mary November 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Susan, I love your recipes. I too have been a little chicken to try making nut cheeses, but I think this will take me past that. I’ve not found dried cranberries that don’t have sugar, something I don’t tolerate – you probably dry your own but I don’t have a hydrator. I’ll probably use currants – or dates but why chop when I don’t have to. Thx for the great recipes.

Lisa November 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Hi Susan, what crackers did you use in the photo? They look like lovely with the log. I like the idea that this can be made ahead. That works well for a busy family with three boys. We like to entertain. Hang in there with your second season away from the cold. There is just something about hibernating and slowing down that the fall gives us here in Maine too:-)

Stacy November 22, 2013 at 12:22 am

Oh yummy!!! Am going to make this tomorrow!
What crackers are you using? (Lisa asked that also)

Gill November 22, 2013 at 5:28 am

Definitely going to try this as it sounds wonderfully tasty. I’m fairly new to nut cheeses but my first one worked well. Will try the dehydrator for some eventually I’m sure. I’ll substitute raisins for cranberries which don’t do well with me – or a mixture of both might do it. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

Laura-Jane November 22, 2013 at 7:28 am

What a great holiday log! I must add this to my list of appies for Christmas guests!
Winter is pretty harsh here in PEI. I think I wouldn’t mind a California Christmas once in a while! I’m glad you’re reclaiming your festive spirit!

Karen November 22, 2013 at 9:40 am

Susan I hate to be literal, but would like to get it right. The recipe calls for “probiotic capsules”. Does this mean: that you open up the capsule; include the powder in the blender and dispose of the outer casing? Thanks for sharing this – the recipe looks yummy.

Kim November 22, 2013 at 10:08 am

I want to come live in your kitchen!!! Everything I see a/o read about that you have created sounds scrumptious! A bit labor and ingredient intensive and so have not tried to replicate them but I drool over the recipes and pictures. Beautiful website and fabulous sounding food. So, thank you for those pleasures. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Ricki November 22, 2013 at 10:10 am

Glad you’re enjoying the season, Susan! I have to say, to this Montreal-born gal, the idea of a California Christmas season sounds. . . heavenly. I know, for sure, I would NOT miss the snow, gray skies, or anything else about the cold weather! Bring on the sun, shorts, tank tops and lawnmowers in November!! ;-) But that wouldn’t stop me from enjoying the celebration or the fabulous food. I think I’ll have to try this cheese so I can get a little taste of CA. :) Looks amazing!

TerriLynne November 22, 2013 at 10:38 am

Did you use raisins? They are listed as being part of the chopped up pecans and cranberries, but aren’t in the ingredients list? They sound a little excessive to me, so I’m thinking you just mistyped. :) -TerriLynne

VISusie November 22, 2013 at 11:42 am

Thanks for your raw recipes, as I think they will be helpful with diabetes and IBD. This looks like and interesting first one to try, but I can’t tolerate much garlic. Could I substitute onion or just omit? As for holiday weather, I miss the tropics. My idea of perfect Christmas weather is seventies in the day and sixties at night. I miss having lots of family around to celebrate with from Thanksgiving through Epiphany… I fondly recall picking and eating cashew plums and roasting the nuts with my Mom, so the thought of making “cashew cheese is delightful!” :~) Thanks again!

Susan November 22, 2013 at 11:44 am

I would just omit the garlic. Cheers!

Silvia November 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Susan, you are TOTALLY AMAZING! I recently purchased your book “Rawmazing,” found out about your website, and signed up for your newsletter after finding out I was suffering from severe anemia and need blood transfusions. I knew I was not eating right, even though I am a vegetarian, and I immediately started including more raw recipes into my diet (including juicing and sprouting, which I have done in the past). That’s how I found out about you; I went to get a book online and found your “Rawmazing” book. I can not believe the brilliant, fabulous, recipes you put out – not just in your book but on your website! You must really have a gift for this. I am totally blown away. Everytime time I see a new recipe from you I am blown away. Thank you for this site and for giving us these wonderful recipes. I want to get ALL your books sooner or later (when I can afford it). Thanks again! I love you!

Susan November 22, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Sylvia, that is so nice of you to let me know. Happy to have you on board! Check your email for a little something from me. :-)

France November 22, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Looks fabulous ! I have been wondering, when you use the pro-biotic capsules, what strength are they?

Shannon Murray November 23, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Another awesome recipe and sounds sooo good! I’m not sure @Lisa what crackers Susan used for the photo, but I searched “crackers” and got 3 pages full of so many yummy cracker recipes. Woohoo! I didn’t know you had so many recipes available on your site, Susan! As I looked further, I see recipes going all the way back to 2009!! Incredible library Susan! Thank you for treating us all so well! :-)

Latifa November 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Susan, this looks so yummy…I’m definitely trying it this holiday season! I am wondering what crackers you are showing with it in the photo too..and do you have a recipe for them? They look great with the log!

Susan November 24, 2013 at 7:46 pm

They are a variation of the veggie crackers here: http://www.rawmazing.com/raw-lunch-ideas/ I did not write down the specific recipe. But these are very close.

talia November 25, 2013 at 5:28 am

hi susan i cannot find the probiotic capsules here, i livein a small town can i omit it?
or is there something else

Lynne November 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

This sounds delicious, and if I can get all the ingredients, I’m serving it on Thanksgiving. One question, though – are the pumpkin seeds dried? I’m the kind of gal who would rather buy a pumpkin & then use the seeds from that (double use there), so I just want to make sure.

Laura Black November 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

This looks amazing! I am very excited to try it! I love your creativity, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and cashew cheese, yum. I haven’t tried this kind of cheesemaking using a cheesecloth. I think it will turn out much better than my first vegan cheese. Thanks for being so talented.

Louise November 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Although I am from Australia and am used to to having warm, sunny Christmas holidays, you’re writing really made me what to experience a northern hemisphere one! I just have one quick question – I only have probiotic powder so I was just wondering whether you knew how much was in the capsules?
Cheers!

Susan November 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I made this over the weekend – just curious about the garlic: it’s listed in the ingredients, but not in the actual recipe steps. I did add minced garlic to mine, but think it might be good without it. Excellent consistency and taste!

Zann November 26, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Awesome looking recipe, can’t wait to try it! Question on the thyme–is that fresh or dried?

Alice G Patterson November 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm

This looks great. Do you know of any brand of probiotic capsules that are vegan?

Laura November 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Where does the garlic come into it?

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