Uncategorized

Santa Hat Crispy-Treat Cheesecake Squares

Health and WEllness Associates

 

Santa Hat Crispy-Treat Cheesecake Squares

cheesecake

Crunchy and gooey rice cereal marshmallow treats are an unexpected yet delightful crust for a creamy cheesecake topping. Fresh strawberries on top form cute Santa hats and also provide a burst of bright acidity to cut through all of the richness.

Ingredients

Cheesecake Squares:

Cooking spray

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 ounces mini marshmallows (about 1 cup tightly packed)

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Kosher salt

4 cups crispy rice cereal

One 1/4-ounce package unflavored powdered gelatin

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

25 medium strawberries, hulled

Frosting:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Special equipment:

a piping bag or a resealable plastic bag

  1. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Lightly coat the foil and a wooden spoon with cooking spray.
  2. For the cheesecake squares: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the marshmallows, honey, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt, and stir with the wooden spoon until the marshmallows have completely melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice cereal, and stir until the mixture is fully combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, and press into an even layer while warm. Let sit at room temperature until firm, about 20 minutes.
  3. Combine the gelatin with 2 tablespoons water in a small microwave-safe bowl, and set aside to soften, about 5 minutes. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the the sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt, and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Microwave the gelatin in 10-second increments, stirring as needed, until it dissolves, 30 to 50 seconds. Pour the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture, and beat on medium-high speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crispy treat layer, and spread out evenly with an offset spatula or butter knife. Wrap the pan loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the cheesecake layer is set, about 2 hours or up to overnight.
  6. For the frosting: Whisk together the butter and cream cheese by hand in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk until smooth and creamy.
  7. Cut the cheesecake bites into twenty-five 1 3/4-inch squares. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag or resealable plastic bag. Cut a 1/4-inch hole in the corner of the piping bag. Pipe a circle of frosting on the top of each square, about the diameter of the base of a strawberry. Place a strawberry cut side-down on top of each frosting circle, pushing down gently so that the frosting comes up around the bottom of the strawberry and resembles the base of a Santa hat. Pipe a ball of frosting on the tip of each strawberry for a pom-pom.

Health and WEllness Associates

Dr Gail Bohannan Gray

healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

Advertisements
Foods, Uncategorized

Pasta With Prosciutto, Edamame, and Carrots Recipe

Health and Wellness Associates

Pasta With Prosciutto, Edamame, and Carrots Recipe

 

pasta

Very Similar to Pasta Carbonara

 

This colorful pasta dish bursting with veggies is reminiscent of pasta carbonara, but with a healthier nutrition profile and lighter taste. Aside from the carrot ribbons, which could be prepared earlier in the day, it is not a make-ahead dish, so it may be best suited for gatherings which revolve around the kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups lactose-free whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 4 teaspoons garlic-infused olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 ¼ cup frozen shelled edamame
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces uncooked low-FODMAP
  • pasta, short shapes like penne or rotini
  • 5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cover the pot, and turn heat down to hold water at a simmer.
  2. Peel the carrots and trim off the root ends. Hold a carrot firmly at one end and lay it on a cutting board. Place your vegetable peeler midway down the carrot and with very firm pressure, make a single long stroke down the carrot to the end to make a thin ribbon. Repeat, turning and rotating the carrot as needed until the entire carrot is turned into ribbons. Repeat with the second carrot. Set ribbons aside
  1. Place cornstarch in a medium bowl and add water. Whisk until no lumps remain. Whisk in milk and cream and set aside.
  2. Prepare the prosciutto by cutting the sliced meat into ribbons, lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. In a large 10- to 12-inch skillet or sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil on medium-high. Add the sliced prosciutto and stir until it is ​crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the prosciutto to a plate and set aside.
  3. Turn heat under the skillet to medium, add the remaining oil and tilt to coat the pan. Whisk the milk mixture again to re-mix cornstarch, and pour in about 1 cup. Whisk until milk starts to thicken, just below the boiling point. Whisk remaining milk mixture again and add to the skillet.
  4. Stir in the lemon zest, basil, edamame, salt, and pepper and continue to heat with occasional stirring until milk simmers and thickens; do not boil. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently for 2 to 3 minutes, reducing heat if needed.
  1. Add carrot ribbons to the sauce, stirring to separate them from each other. Adjust heat to hold the skillet at a low simmer.
  2. While the edamame is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water in the large pot and cook it to just under al dente (it will cook some more in the next step).
  3. Combine the drained pasta and the sauce in the larger of the two vessels, and simmer on medium-low, stirring occasionally until sauce is reduced and the pasta is tender, 2 to 4 minutes more. Stir 2/3 of the prosciutto into the pasta. Divide pasta evenly onto 4 plates and garnish each serving with the remaining prosciutto. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Pancetta can be substituted for prosciutto. Since this can be purchased already diced, it saves a step.

To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Making the carrot ribbons requires a little practice but is a fun way to add pretty shapes and color to dishes. Once mastered, they can be used in all kinds of dishes, from salads to grain pilafs.

Pasta is considered “al dente” when it is tender on the outside but firmer (but not hard) at its core. Al dente pasta is somewhat chewy.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Dr Gail Bohannan Gray

healthwellnessassocites@gmail.com

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holiday Season

Health and Wellness Associates

How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holiday Season

loneliness2

Tips to make your holidays brighter when you feel alone

Christmas evokes images of green and red for many. But for those suffering from loneliness, the holiday blues are also a very real thing.

Loneliness is common during the holidays. When we feel there is an expectation is to experience extreme joy or happiness, feelings of sadness and loneliness can strike even harder.

Whether you’re feeling alone or you want to be there for those around you, understanding what causes loneliness, as well as how to minimize it, can make your holidays much more joyful.

Understanding loneliness

Feeling lonely doesn’t mean you don’t have friends, family or loved ones who care. In fact, it’s very possible to feel lonely while having a loving support system in tow.

Some studies have called loneliness a disease, and others have called it a “hidden killer” of the elderly. While there are many studies on loneliness, there is no exact definition.

Loneliness is a subjective feeling. It can refer to a state of solitude, as well as the perception of feeling alone. While loneliness is a universal human emotion, it amplifies is different ways. Lonely people often dread the holidays, because of the perception that everyone around them is experiencing human connection in a way that they are not.

Examples of groups that tend to experience this more than others include those who are recently single, divorced or widowed, those who live far from family, and those who stay emotionally distant from others. Studies have shown that adults under age 30 tend to experience significantly higher levels of loneliness than other age groups, though those ages 80 and older can experience high levels as well.

How to beat loneliness during the holidays

One thing that is agreed upon is that there are ways to overcome loneliness. However, because these ways tend to involve emotional risk, many are slow to adopt them. Whether you’re feeling alone or you are in solitude, here are some tips to use this holiday season:

Tips to overcome loneliness when you feel alone

  • Practice self-care. While you may be thinking about giving gifts to others this season, don’t hesitate to give yourself the gift of a spa treatment, invest in a hobby, or other activities that will get you to socialize and enjoy the season. Taking your focus off feeling alone can help curb the feeling.
  • Choose the right people to surround yourself with. When you’re lonely, it may be tempting to call up your friend who loves to co-commiserate. But because loneliness is contagious, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Choose to surround yourself with positive people.
  • Pursue gratitude. Whether you prefer journaling, meditation or prayer, taking the time to write or say what you’re thankful for can shift your attention away from what you don’t have, and spotlight what you do have. Always remember that thankfulness is a choice.

Tips to overcome loneliness when you are alone

  • Be vulnerable. If you’re waiting for your neighbor to be the first to say hello, take the risk and say hi first. Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, or learn more about that person you always take a fitness class next to. Remembering that we’re all seeking human connection can take the pressure off the situation.
  • Give back. Helping others who have less than we do often reminds us of all we have to be thankful for. Bonus: you may meet some volunteers who have similar interests to you, and are open to helping others.
  • Release your expectations. In the age of social media, it’s easy to think the holidays are supposed to look as perfect as a Christmas card. Rethinking your expectations can stop you from playing the comparison game, at which point you may realize you have plenty to be thankful for.

 

Stepping out of your comfort zone is never convenient or easy, but it may be just the thing you need this holiday season.

Health and Wellness Associates

Dr Mark Williams

healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com