I recently had the opportunity to meet the fabulous, clean-eating brunette, Lynette, of Nettie’s Naturally. Her company consists of organic, gluten-free and low glycemic desserts offered at local Richmond, Virginia vendors including Pearl Raw Bar, Lamplighter Roasting Co., and my favorite The Daily Kitchen.
Lynette welcomed me into her beautiful kitchen downtown and we clicked immediately; with a mutual appreciation of clean eating and organic healthy cooking how could we not? After a quick chat about our love for Richmond (did I mention we are best friends now?), she made good on the invitation for me to join her in making raw, vegan (INSANE) raspberry cheesecake bites!
Her kitchen is spotless (lots of stainless steel, granite) and meticulously organized (neatly arranged glass display jars, uniformly labeled), yet warm and inviting at the same time. It smelled sweet and clean and was filled with light from uncovered windows. Her food dehydrator in the corner was a surprise until I learned she uses it to dry nut milk bags…brilliant!
We tied on our aprons and went straight to work; she was all set up for our cooking demo when I arrived. A few other things I noticed immediately: Lynette never uses preservatives, soy, agave or cane sugar (and no microwave—hallelujah!), her packaging and cookware were all BPA-, Phthalates and PVC-free, and repurposed and recyclable items were omnipresent.
As with most people by whom I’m inspired, I was curious as to how she got her start in clean eating, but even more so into the business of clean eating. Lynette was born in South Africa and has lived all over including the UK and Australia. While backpacking in Europe, Lynette was eating whatever was available and feeling lethargic; she knew it was from the junk she was putting in her body. Diabetes runs in the family so she knew it was time for a change.
Being the problem solver that she is, Lynette bought a 30-day detox book and FOLLOWED IT TO A TEE. Pretty impressive. She adjusted her diet and lifestyle and in her research discovered U.K.’s raw chef enthusiast Russell James. This was a game changer.
When Lynette moved to Richmond her business really began to take shape. Her sweet tooth and family health history drove her to experiment with clean ingredients like raw fruit, coconut sugar, oil, and nectar. I had never heard of nectar but loved learning about this incredibly nutritious-packed ingredient! It is filled with magnesium, protein, and minerals and has a low glycemic index. Super sticky and delicious—perfect for dessert!
All of her treats contain salt, sweet, acid and fat to give a well rounded flavor. In the raspberry cheesecake bites that we made, the sweet comes from the nectar, the fat from oil, the salt from himalayan sea salt (the only kind she uses) and the acid from fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Lynette suggests swapping an acid for an acid or a fat for a fat to make different flavors. Oh and never, ever forget the salt in desserts! Lynette informed me that a little bit of salt actually makes the sweets taste sweeter, without the addition of more sugar. She also loves to use super foods in her treats (do you love her as much I do yet?!). The raw vegan cheesecake is sliced into bites after it has been chilled and each bite then topped with a white mulberry! I had never heard of such but it was so good! Floral, sweet, chewy…I am ordering some today! She is a wealth of healthful knowledge and did I mention she is also a licensed optometrist?!
Richmond is a better and sweeter place because of Lynette and her budding, beautiful business. Right now you can shop her desserts at Ellwood Thompson’s and local restaurants, but by the end of the year she will have her own space in Jackson Ward on the corner of Clay and Adams Streets. Can’t get to Richmond? You can make this awesome raw, vegan cheesecake at home, right now. I made it with her and it was fun and easy (promise)! A huge thanks to Lynette for sharing her time, recipe, kitchen and love with the Blondes!