Low fat Mint Cheesecake Brownies.

Admittedly, I’m not a huge brownie fan but my girls love them!  They also both love anything mint & cheesecake.  These brownies are definitely a favorite.  I adapted this recipe from an old Cooking Light recipe.

Cheesecake batter:

1 8 oz block of Reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 c of granulated sugar
1 tsp of mint extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tbl of all-purpose unbleached flour

Chocolate Batter:
1 c of all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 c of unsweetened cocoa (I used Wilbur)
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 c of packed brown sugar
1/4 c of canola oil
1/4 c of buttermilk (low fat)
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
Cooking spray.

Preheat your oven to 350.  Spray a 9 inch square pan with cooking spray with flour.

To prepare the cheesecake batter, place the cream cheese in your mixer bowl and beat until creamy.  Add sugar and mint extract, blend well.  Add 1 egg and 1 egg white; beat that well.  Add tablespoon of flour and beat until just blended.  Set aside.

To prepare the chocolate batter, spoon flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife.  Combine flour, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir with a whisk.  Combine brown sugar and next five ingredients through egg.  Beat on high until well blended.  Add flour mixture to the brown sugar mixture and beat on low until just blended.

Reserve 1/2 c of the chocolate batter.  Pour the remaining batter into your prepared pan.  Carefully pour the cheesecake batter over top and spread completely over the top of the chocolate batter.  Dot the cheesecake batter together with the reserved chocolate batter.  Using the tip of a knife, swirl the batter.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the top is set.  Let cool for 1 hour before cutting.

Calories 210, fat 7.5g, protein is 4.4g, carb 32.3g, fiber .7g, cholesterol 37mg, iron 1.3 mg, sodium 169 mg, calc 32mg.

— Knead to Cook

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

“These are heavenly little bars!” exclaimed my youngest daughter today after she ate one bite!  That, to me, is the greatest compliment as my children are my biggest critics.  I’m not a huge fan of making full-on-fat cookies for my kids/friends but there was just something calling me to make these – plus this is why I run so much – so I can eat.  That, along with the fact that I had some cream cheese that I wanted to use up and a recipe was born!   Five ☆ rating from my kids.  Hopefully the friends that I delivered these to tonight agree :)


6 ounces of low fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 c of butter, softened
1 c of light brown sugar
1/2 c of granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
2 c + 2 tbl of all purpose, unbleached white flour
3/4 c of chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Spray your 13×9 glass pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In your mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugars until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla.   Then sift the dry ingredients into a separate bowl.  Then add to the butter/sugar mixture.  Beat until incorporated.  By hand, mix in the chocolate chips.

Scoop all of the dough into your prepared 13×9 pan and flatten out with a mixing spoon so it’s relatively level.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on the top.  Keep a watchful eye on it around 20 minutes depending on your oven.  Remove and let cool for 20 minutes then slice and serve.


— Knead to Cook

Orange cheesecake with gingersnap crust.

There are certain members of my family that ❥ cheesecake.  I thought it would be fun to create a recipe that combined her favor flavors & would allow me to use up some oranges from Florida that I received as a gift & some gingersnap cookies leftover from the holidays. Win-Win, right?  I was hopeful and enthusiastic!

The end result was fabulous!  I have to admit, the flavor combination was right on.  I did sneak a taste when cutting it.  ;)  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family will tonight.


Preheat the oven to 325 degree.
40 gingersnap cookies (small one bite sized cookies)
1 tsp of sugar
1/4 c of melted I can’t believe it’s not butter or butter

In your food processor, add all of the ingredients for the crust and pulse about 12 times.   Pour the crumb mixture on top of the parchment paper that is lining your glass 9×9 pan.  Push it down with a large spoon so it is evenly distributed and smooth.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

Next step:
I took my 9×9 glass baking square and coated it with butter.  I then cut a piece of parchment paper and placed that over the glass pan.  I pushed it down to fit inside, going up the sides as well.  See photo.

Cheesecake Filling:

2 -8 oz blocks of low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice from 1/2 an orange
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 c of granulated sugar

Add to your food processor and blend for about 1 minute.  Pour this mixture on top of the cooled crust.  I then took my 13×9 pan and filled it 1/3 filled with tap water, to make a water bath.  I then place my 9×9 into the water bath.  This will help the cheesecake cook slowly and it will help it not to crack.  See photo above for a reference.

Bake this for 40-45 minutes.  When you remove it, it should be slightly jiggly but not watery.  Remove the 9×9 pan and place on a cooling rack for 40 minutes.  After the 40 minutes, place in the refrigerator for 4 hours to overnight.

To remove, gently pull up on the parchment paper and lay on a flat surface.  Slice with a large, sharp knife.  Enjoy!

I need to give a shout out to the amazing artisan that made the spoon for me…
Carrie is a remarkably talented woman!!!


— Knead to Cook

Chocolate Chip Nutella Banana Muffins.

Dare I say it?  Yes!  These are heavenly!  I kept thinking that I wanted to make a muffin with Nutella for my kids.  One child just had a yucky orthodontic contraption put in her mouth & she’s barely eating.  The other child, eats to live unless it blows her away… & this will!  Okay so Nutella reigns king in my house.  I grew up eating this, it is after all an Italian staple.  My kids enjoy it just as much as I did growing up.  So it starts there… okay but what to pair it with?  Banana, of course!  And mix in a few Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips & how bad could it be?

Again.  Heavenly!


1/2 c of granulated sugar
1/2 c of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or Butter
2 eggs, at room temperature
1c of whole wheat flour
1c of unbleached all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 c of non fat, plain Chobani
1/2 c of Nutella
1/2 c of chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bar


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your muffin pan with non stick baking Pam.

In your mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together.  Beat in eggs.  In a separate bowl, whisk together both flours, salt & baking powder.  Add to the sugar mixture.  Blend together until incorporated.  Add bananas, vanilla, Chobani & Nutella.  By hand, mix in the chocolate chips.

Fill each chamber 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Insert a toothpick and when it comes out clean… they are ready.  Remove and let sit on the counter for 4 minutes.  Then remove and place on a platter & enjoy!


— Knead to Cook

Fresh Mango Banana Smoothie

My daughter had a herbst appliance put in her mouth today by our orthodontist & knowing how painful this must be, I decided to make her a liquid after-school snack to help.  I took my mango pitter – the best tool for removing a mango pit by far – & peeled the remaining flesh.  Toss that in your blender with 4 scoops of low or non-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, 1 ripe banana & 3/4 c of low fat milk or almond milk.  I also throw in some flaxseed meal (2 tbl).  Blend that in your blender (mine has a smoothie setting).  And pour into glasses with a straw.  This makes two large servings.


— Knead to Cook

Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake

Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake

I love this time of year for many reasons, but one that really stands out is that winter yields Meyer lemons.  Okay what is a Meyer Lemon?  Well, it’s a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon.  It originated in China and was brought to the US in the early 1900’s.  These fragrant little fruits are versatile and smells beyond fabulous!

For Christmas, my family always makes a cake so we can celebrate Jesus’s birthday.  Because I had several Meyer lemons, I thought I would create a light and delectable cake with a glaze to celebrate.  The cake turned out fabulously and it was a huge hit!



Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake: 

3 c + 6 tbl of unbleached cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c butter, room temp
1 1/2 c white sugar
3 large eggs
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 c Meyer lemon juice
1/2 c milk + 1 tbl Meyer lemon juice (stir to make curdle the milk and make a buttermilk mixture)
2 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
1 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour your bundt pan. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In your mixing bowl with a flat beater attached, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by lemon zest. Stir 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, follow with Meyer lemon juice. Add in additional 1/3 of the flour mixture, follow with the milk (buttermilk). Mix in remaining flour, mix until just combined. Avoid over mixing. Pour into prepared bundt pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly golden or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let rest in the bundt pan for 20 minutes and then invert to serving plate. While cooling, mix the Meyer lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar together. Drizzle over cake.


— Knead to Cook