Strawberry Vanilla Cheesecake Bars

{fruit, cheese, cake, doughiness}

strawcheesecake

My coworker was celebrating her 21st birthday so we decided to throw a little party, potluck style.  If you have followed along with my blog for quite some time you are aware that we have these often.  A couple of things I have brought:  Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps & Mini Chicken & Waffle Bites.  I typically opt for the savory dishes as I am not a baker.

However, this time around I wanted to take a stroll down the sweet road and add a twist to my go-to dessert.  If you have ever had a pot luck style meal with me and I was bringing the dessert, you had my Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars.  I also brought this dessert to my very first pot luck at work.

I am a bit burned out on this recipe, but I love it so much I couldn’t part completely with it.  I decided to give it a twist and switch around some ingredients & try out a new crust.  The “meat” of the recipe remains the same.  The cheesecake bars make a refreshing, summertime dessert.  It is very easy to make and needs to be made the night before so the cheesecake can set.  With Memorial Weekend next weekend, I wanted to share this recipe because it would be a great item to bring to your BBQ.

I didn’t have the time to take good pictures of these so please excuse my poor quality snapshots.  I really liked these and plan to make them again so I will be updating the pictures sometime soon.

strawberry vanilla cheesecake bars

Recipe By:  Sara
Prep Time:  15 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  35 minutes   |||   Servings: 8-12   |||   Difficult Level:  Low-Medium

Ingredients:

Crust:
40 vanilla wafers
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
2 – 8oz packages reduced fat cream cheese
2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2 eggs

Topping:
5-6 vanilla wafers
1 Tbsp chocolate sauce (optional)

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a food processor, pulse the 40 vanilla wafers until finely ground.
3.  Add melted butter and pulse until combined.
4.  Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
5.  Pour in butter/cookie mixture and evenly spread over the bottom, pressing firmly down all over and into the corners.
6.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.
7.  In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, vanilla, eggs, and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Pulse until combined.
8.  Pour over cooled cookie crust.
9.  In a small sauce pan, add the strawberries and 1 Tbsp of sugar.  Heat over medium temperature.
10.  Cook, stirring often, until the strawberries have “melted” and the mixture look like jam, about 10 minutes.
11.  Stir cooled strawberry mixture into the cream cheese.
12.  Bake for 25 minutes.
13.  Place in fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.
14.  Before serving, sprinkle a few crushed vanilla wafers over the top and drizzle with chocolate sauce (optional).

enjoy.

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I wanted a Banana Split

{banana split, reconstructed}

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Last weekend, we went to Kalahari with Chase & my little brother.  On Friday, I started to get that sore throat feeling / clicking in your ears when you swallow feeling.  Great.  I was going to have a head cold while in a germ thriving 85 degrees indoor water park.  Luckily, I ended up being completely fine the day of the water park & only started to get congested Saturday evening.

On Sunday, I wasn’t feeling too hot at all.  When we came home, I took 4000mg of Vitamin C.  Since I work in a pharmacy, I am very aware that the majority of this was expelled from my body, but I also believe vitamin c cures all. Remember when I talked about eating organic after watching several food documentaries?  Well, they discussed their thoughts on how vitamins heal and cure in depth.  Since watching those, I’ve been religiously taking a vitamin C tablet and multivitamin everyday.  That being said, it may be in my head, but I instantly started feeling better after the vitamin c and a brief cat nap.

Once I started feeling better, I made myself a sandwich and spent the rest of the night on the couch perusing Pinterest and catching up on my Bloglovin’ feed.  After eating somewhat very crappy last weekend, I knew the last thing I needed was dessert.  Buttttttttttttt I neeededdddd something sweet.  I walked in and out of the kitchen convincing myself NO.  Must. Lose. Ten. Pounds.  I hate playing this game and it only makes me cranky.  So I gave in, but made myself a simple, not too unhealthy dessert.

Enter the reconstructed banana split.

Such a simple, yet delicious dessert (or snack) that won’t hurt your waistline too terribly.  You certainly can add whatever toppings you fancy / have on hand at the time too.  Another recommendation is to use Nutella instead of peanut butter!  So if you’re craving something sweet, but want to reduce your sweets, try out this dessert!

reconstructed banana split

Ingredients
1 banana
1 Tbsp peanut butter
2 strawberries, diced small
2 Tbsp mini oreos, crushed

Directions
1.  Cut the banana in half lengthwise.
2.  Smear the peanut butter overtop the banana.
3.  Top with strawberries and oreos.

IMG_3795Enjoy!

 

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#LoveYourLunch – Sweet Peach Arugula Salad [part 2]

{sweet like a peach}

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Welcome to the second installment of the Love Your Lunch series!  For those of you new to these posts – I summarized the gist of it here.  Don’t forget to check out what Marisa is posting on Cooking Like Lou too!  We are very excited to have Becca from Two Places at Once on board starting next week.  You remember Becca, right?  She posted the delicious Blueberry Scone recipe a few weeks ago on my blog.  If you are interested in joining along the Love Your Lunch series, contact me :)

love your lunch

Last week, I featured my typical Bento box style lunch.  However, like I have said before, a lot of my lunches are salads made of whatever is in my fridge.  Last week there was a sale on organic greens so I had a giant tub of arugula and mixed greens.  I came up with a bunch of different versions, but this one by far was my favorite…probably because I am a fruit addict.  It also was a nice little hint of summer that is never ever going to happen in Michigan.

These peaches were from Chili which I thought was unique and they ripened real fast and were unbelievably sweet.  I expected them to a bit more bitter with less subtle flavors, but they tasted like a small bit of summertime.

All of the ingredients in this salad are very simple to gather in the morning and throw into your lunch bag.  I suggest portioning some of the toppings the night before in a container for an even speedier morning.  Pair this salad with a Greek yogurt and I promise you’ll love your lunch.

Sweet peach & strawberry arugula salad

Ingredients:
Arugula
5-6 strawberries, quartered
1 peach, sliced
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Raspberry vinaigrette
Blue cheese crumbles [not pictured]

Direction… do I really need to put these?
1.  Make the salad.

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I hope you have a wonderful week and have planned ahead so that you can love your lunch the rest of the week!

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this & that

Happy Sunday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend & are gearing up for Christmas Day.  I have a few things I wanted to share!  So let’s get down to business…

Click Here to check it out!

  • Last week we were hit with a decent amount of snow.  We wanted to see how Toby & Ramona reacted to the snow.  Ramona would not go out and was a diva who just wanted to stay warm inside.  Toby… he is now coined our Snow Leopard.  He LOVED it and only came inside for a treat.  He was so cute & I snapped some pics that must be shared!

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Thinking about it….

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Testing it out…snowcat3

I love the snow, Mom!! I’m catching snowflakes on my kitty tongue!

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Now I’m going to dig in the snow!

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Kitty Paw Prints!

  • On Friday, we had our holiday decorating judging at work.  The theme for my row was “Santa’s Workshop”.  We spent a lottttttttttt of time making the decorations and thought we were a shoe in for 1st place.  Unfortunately, we got 3rd :-/  I snapped some pictures of our work… take a looksie.

  • For our work Christmas Pot Luck, I made a Sugar Cookie & Strawberry Trifle.  It was sort of a last minute thing, but it turned out great and perfectly sweet.  As you can see from previous posts, I am not much of a sweet tooth.  However, there are certain things I like in sweets and this recipe encompasses all of them:  fruit, cookies and homemade whipped cream.

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{Click here for the recipe}

Alright that’s what I have for you today!  Enjoy and happy holidays :)

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