no-bake mini cheesecakes

remember a couple days ago how i talked about our summer of wellness.  well i had dinner with those same friends and we were planning on doing a potluck.  so i tried to think of a relatively healthy dessert i could bring.  well i ended up not finding anything that i loved that was particularly healthy, but i did come across a recipe for no-bake cheesecake that wasn’t particularly unhealthy.  that’s a step right?

i found the recipe on one of my favorite blogs, skinnytaste.  gina made a cheesecake/pie but i wanted to make mine into mini cheesecakes.  as you can tell from my love of cupcakes, i love little, individual servings of dessert.  i used my go to graham cracker crust and scaled it down a little.  i could have just halved the recipe but the graham crust is my favorite part of cheesecake so i wanted a thicker crust.  the crust is topped with a reduced fat cream cheese and cool whip free mixture and garnished with a few slices of fresh strawberry…

and there you have it, no-bake mini cheesecakes!  of course they don’t taste exactly like regular, baked cheesecake and but they are a great, low fat cheesecake option for days when you don’t want to turn on the stove and/or you want to be just a little bit more health conscious.  it allows you to have your cake and eat it too!  perfect!

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chicken lettuce wraps 2.0

a few of my friends and i are concentrating on getting healthy this summer, not just healthy bodies but healthy minds too.  we’ve dubbed it our summer of wellness.  my goals for this summer are to work out regularly, make healthier food choices, and do some summer reading on positive thinking.  i’m hoping all of these things will help me be a healthier and happier me.

one of the dishes my friend makes often is lettuce wraps and last week she was telling me about them and it reminded me of the chicken lettuce wraps i made a while ago.  well i wanted to try a version that is close to the lettuce wraps i ate while i was going up.  we got them from a local vietnamese restaurant and they were just amazing.  super flavorful and i loved the freshness the lettuce added.  i am happy to report that these chicken lettuce wraps are incredibly close the ones i enjoyed at home.  yippee!

these lettuce wraps are filled with ground chicken, shiitake mushrooms, and water chestnuts coated in a soy/hoisin sauce that is just divine.  i love that even though they are low carb, they do not lack in flavor.  plus they keep me full – i have 3-4 for dinner and i’m good to go!  but you could also serve this as a healthy appetizer option too (1-2 would be a perfect serving).

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thin mint cupcakes

i can’t believe it’s been more than 3 years since i’ve last made a dessert with thin mints considering it is one of my favorite girl scout cookies.  every year, chris’ nieces sell us girl scout cookies but none of them made it into desserts.  they are just too good on their own.

but after making those thin mint truffles, i found out that you can magically make them even better.

a few weeks ago, chris and i went to maine to visit with his family and we were able to pick up our girl scout cookie order.  we ordered a ton of thin mints and then chris’ mom shared a few more boxes of thin mints with us, so we had about 5 or 6 boxes on our hands.  i immediately thought that it would be awesome to make a batch of thin mint cupcakes with our abundance of thin mints.

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a couple months ago, my family and i went to niagara falls.  we had a great time checking out the falls and very interesting collection of restaurants, shops, and games in clifton hill.

i did some research prior to our trip about different kinds of canadian food.  one of the things i found was poutine.  poutine is fries, smothered in gravy and cheese curds.  sounds good right?  so while we were there, we made sure to try some poutine.  i found smoke’s poutinerie online and it was within walking distance from our hotel.  score!

there were all kinds of different poutines at smoke’s poutinerie and all of them looked wonderful.  but we decided on the regular, perogi, and triple pork (bacon, sausage, and pulled pork).  we shared 3 orders among the 4 of us and it was more than enough.  we were absolutely stuffed.

well fast forward a few weeks and my brother came to visit us in dc.  since he wasn’t able to go to niagara falls with us, i wanted to try our hand at homemade poutine so he could taste the amazing-ness that it is.  he was so kind and actually picked up some cheese curds from cornell’s dairy for our poutine.  how neat!

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maple balsamic dressing

you know, making my own salad dressing isn’t really something i think about doing often.  it’s just so easy to pick up a bottle from the grocery store.  it seems to be just fine.  until you make your own.  then it’s all over.  i’ve made various salad dressings before for somen salad and chinese chicken salad, as well as blue cheese dressing and the thai peanut dressing i made recently.  all of those are great but they didn’t convince me to just make my own regular salad dressing.

then my friend/colleague brought a maple dressing to serve with the salad she made for our office’s end of the year potluck.  i had a taste and it was the most delicious thing ever.  i knew i wanted to try to make some of my own.  but when i asked her for the recipe, she said she just throws things in a jar and mixes it up.  uh oh!  i don’t know to do  that.  you know me and how i need a recipe to follow.

so i went to the googles and found a recipe for maple balsamic dressing.  whipped it up and within minutes i had the most delicious maple balsamic dressing in the world.  i know, the WORLD!  this is a big claim but the fact that i have made probably 5 batches in the last 5 weeks says something.  plus chris even likes it and he’s usually not a big vinaigrette fan.

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