No Bake Mini Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

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Monday Morning Confessional:  I had cheesecake for breakfast.  Yep, it was a lovely mini cheesecake with raspberry sauce. Sorry not sorry. I hosted a bridal shower for my future daughter in law last night and never got around to having dessert, so decided to have it this morning with my coffee.  It might be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and what a great way to start the week!
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I fell in love with these pretty little cheesecakes from Spoonful of Flavor and decided they were perfect, all pink and pretty, to serve at a ladies only party.  Of course, now that I’ve actually tasted them, I can think of many occasions where they should, and probably will, end up on the menu.  They are delicious, cute and very easy to make, although I need to work on my drizzling skills.  It only takes about fifteen or twenty minutes to assemble them but they do require at least thirty minutes chilling time.  I made them the day before and added the raspberries and raspberry sauce before serving.  Don’t skip the raspberry sauce which is the perfect blend of tart and sweet. My leftovers are going on ice cream or plain yogurt, yum!
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I followed the Spoonful of Flavor recipe for the graham cracker crust and the raspberry sauce.  Her original recipe calls for creme fraiche and heavy cream in addition to cream cheese which I’m sure is delicious, but I opted to make a filling with cream cheese and Greek yogurt and I was pretty happy with the results.  Greek yogurt is more nutritious than cream and its easier to find in stores than creme fraiche.  Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. What distinguishes Greek yogurt is its thicker, creamier texture because the liquid whey is strained out. Also, it contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.  It’s thick creamy texture is what makes it work in this recipe.  Of course it wouldn’t be cheesecake without cream cheese, but hey, it’s dessert….
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TIP:  Make sure your yogurt is very thick.  You can test it by sticking a spoon into to it.  If the spoon stays up, you should get a good result. I don’t think regular yogurt would work very well in this recipe.  You could end up with a filling that is more like pudding or custard than cheesecake. I recommend removing the graham cracker crusts from the plastic while still frozen to prevent crumbling, however, once the cheesecakes are assembled, you can store them in the refrigerator before serving.
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NO BAKE MINI CHEESECAKES WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE
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CRUST

3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 14 graham crackers)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

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FILLING

2 – 12 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsn vanilla
2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

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RASPBERRY SAUCE

2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup water
12 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
fresh raspberries, for garnish

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  • Line 12 muffin tins with plastic wrap

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  • If you are using graham cracker crumbs, combine them with the sugar and stir in melted butter. If you are using graham crackers, break them into smaller pieces and process in a food processor or blender into crumbs.  Add sugar and melted butter and process on low until combined.

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  • Divide the graham cracker mixture among the prepared muffin tins.  Using the back of a spoon, press mixture into bottom and sides, forming a small cup. Place in freezer to chill while preparing filling.

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  • Place cream cheese (at room temperature), yogurt, vanilla and sugar in a bowl or food processor and stir until well blended.

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  • Spoon or pipe about a quarter cup of the filling into each muffin tin.  If you don’t have a piping tool, you can cut the corner off of a plastic baggie, fill it with cream cheese mixture and squeeze  into cups.

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  • Cover and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

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  • While the cheesecakes are chilling, prepare the raspberry sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, sugar and water. add the raspberries and cook over medium heat. stir constantly until the mixture boils.

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  • Once boiling, cook and stir for one additional minute.

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  • Carefully strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl to remove seeds. Cool to room temperature or chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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  • Remove cheesecakes from muffin tin by gently pulling up on the plastic wrap. remove from plastic.

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  • Place a raspberry on top of each cheesecake.

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  • Drizzle with raspberry sauce.

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  • Serve with extra raspberry sauce on the side.

No Bake Mini Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20150531_144324

CRUST

3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 14 graham crackers)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

FILLING

2 – 12 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsn vanilla
2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

RASPBERRY SAUCE

2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup water
12 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
fresh raspberries, for garnish

  • Line 12 muffin tins with plastic wrap
  • If you are using graham cracker crumbs, combine them with the sugar and stir in melted butter. If you are using graham crackers, break them into smaller pieces and process in a food processor or blender into crumbs.  Add sugar and melted butter and process on low until combined.
  • Divide the graham cracker mixture among the prepared muffin tins.  Using the back of a spoon, press mixture into bottom and sides, forming a small cup. Place in freezer to chill while preparing filling.
  • Place cream cheese (at room temperature), yogurt, vanilla and sugar in a bowl or food processor and stir until well blended.
  • Spoon or pipe about a quarter cup of the filling into each muffin tin.  If you don’t have a piping tool, you can cut the corner off of a plastic baggie, fill it with cream cheese mixture and squeeze into cups.  Cover and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  • While the cheesecakes are chilling, prepare the raspberry sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, sugar and water. add the raspberries and cook over medium heat. stir constantly until the mixture boils.
  • Once boiling, cook and stir for one additional minute.
  • Carefully strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl to remove seeds. Cool to room temperature or chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Remove cheesecakes from muffin tin by gently pulling up on the plastic wrap. remove from plastic and drizzle with raspberry sauce. garnish with fresh raspberries, as desired.

Avocado Mango Smoothie

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It’s the first day of Spring and you know what that means…Yes, it’s that time of year.   The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition is already out and soon we will be digging for our beachwear beachcoverups, bathing suits and for the bravest of the brave, bikinis. So when I ran across an article in Prevention Magazine offering 10 smoothies with MUFA’s that will shrink my belly fat, Aha!  Now we’re talking!  I couldn’t look away. Like I said, summer is right around the corner and I will take all the help I can get!   I’m not normally a smoothie kind of person.  I have more of an avocado or peanut butter toast in the morning habit.  Of course I drink a big glass of alkaline water – Lemon Cucumber Mint Water –  while I’m making my first cup of coffee.  Hey, it’s all about balance! That said I loved this smoothie.  Drank the whole thing.

So back to MUFA—the Flat Belly Diet powerhouse ingredient that specifically targets belly fat. There has been much talk recently about MUFAs (pronounced moo-fah) or MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acids, which are plant-based fats found in some of the world’s most delicious foods— avocado, nuts and seeds, oils, olives, and dark chocolate!  In my book, these are the foods that make dinner worth eating, however, there are claims they provide many health benefits. MUFA’s promote healthy cholesterol levels and help us absorb the vitamins we eat. Studies show that these good-for-you fats enhance heart health and protect against chronic disease. We are encouraged to eat a serving of MUFA at every meal.  This article offers 10 smoothie recipes but I only tried one.  Click through for more.Prevention 10 Slimming Smoothies

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TIPS/SUBSTITUTIONS:  I followed the recipe except I used full fat plain European yogurt instead of fat free vanilla which I don’t buy.  I’m always suspicious of what happens when they remove the normal fat that is supposed to be in foods and replace it with something, usually more sugar and unnatural ‘non-foods’.  For the extra 10 calories per cup, I’ll skip the extra sugar and chemicals, but that is just me.  For those weighing the decision to buy full or no fat yogurt, regular or Greek yogurt, here are some yogurt facts via SF Gate you might find helpful. Do you care more about calories, fat or protein?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an 8-ounce serving of plain full-fat yogurt provides about 140 calories, 8 grams of protein, 7.4 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbohydrates and sugar, and 275 milligrams of calcium. The same serving size of nonfat yogurt contains about 130 calories, 13 grams of protein, 0.4 grams of fat, 17.4 grams of carbohydrates and sugar, and 450 milligrams of calcium. Eight ounces of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt has 130 calories, 23 grams of protein, no fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates and sugar, and 250 milligrams of calcium.

Blossoms

According to my calendar, spring officially begins today at 3:45pm PDT.  Does anybody else think that is an odd time of day for a season to begin?  So although it is now Spring you wouldn’t know it if you lived in many parts of the country that are still buried under piles of snow.  In California it feels like spring has already sprung, but perhaps that is because we never really got winter this year. I think the East and the South got it all.  It’s possible that we will have a late coldsnap that will take out all of our delicate plants and blossoms but for now I’m going to relish the beautiful weather and lovely spring blooms.  Maybe I’ll make a smoothie and go sit in my garden and wait for my winter fat to melt away…

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AVOCADO MANGO SMOOTHIE

¼ c mango cubes
¼ c mashed ripe avocado (MUFA)
½ c mango juice
¼ c fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp sugar
6 ice cubes

COMBINE all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with sliced mango or strawberry, if desired, and serve.

NOTES: I followed the recipe except as follows.  I used regular plain yogurt, a pinch of sugar instead of 1 Tablespoon  and a bit more lime juice. I would suggest tasting before adding more sugar because I thought it was sweet enough.  I also added more ice and water since it was too thick for my tastes.  Loved it though!

NUTRITION (per serving based on original recipe) 298 cal, 5 g pro, 55 g carb, 5 g fiber, 47 g sugar, 9 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 54 mg sodium

Avocado Mango Smootie

  • Servings: 16 oz
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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¼ c mango cubes
¼ c mashed ripe avocado (MUFA)
½ c mango juice
¼ c fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp sugar
6 ice cubes

COMBINE all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with sliced mango or strawberry, if desired, and serve.

NOTES: I followed the recipe except as follows.  I used regular plain yogurt, a pinch of sugar instead of 1 Tablespoon  and a bit more lime juice. I would suggest tasting before adding more sugar because I thought it was sweet enough.  I also added more ice and water since it was too thick for my tastes.  Loved it though!

NUTRITION (per serving based on original recipe) 298 cal, 5 g pro, 55 g carb, 5 g fiber, 47 g sugar, 9 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 54 mg sodium