Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Popsicles

I figure now that the first day of fall is literally around the corner, I might as well share the summer recipes I’ve been sitting on for, oh, months.

I’ve had a pretty excellent summer, all things considered (pandemic, political unrest, a consistently hefty workload)! Some highlights since we’ve last chatted: Driving with my best friend to my summer cabin in Wisconsin for the best socially-distant 10 days with my family; re-doing my bedroom decor; spending every opportunity by the pool with a good book; slumber parties; a socially-distant weekend trip to the beach; getting a bike; FaceTiming with friends that are far away that I can’t visit; lots of hikes; a week-long stay at a beach house on Figure 8 Island which was technically work but felt like a girl’s trip because I’m so freakin’ lucky. I mean, not bad right?!

So obviously I was busy livin’ and not too worried about writing and I’m not sorry about it! Just like I’m not sorry for sharing a popsicle recipe in the middle of September. It may be in the 60’s this weekend in North Carolina (and my apartment may be decorated for Halloween already) but we all know it will be back up to the 80’s next week so let’s just accept what we have here.

So there’s this fast food chain here called Cook Out – it’s like elite fast food. Better than anything except for maaaybe Shake Shack (but only the Shake Shack on 72nd street in NYC) Yeah, I said what I said. Anyway, they have all these specialty milkshake flavors like “banana pudding” and “orange push-up” but my favorite is their raspberry cheesecake. So obviously I recreated it in popsicle form.

I mean, how precious are these?! That marble effect! And they taste even better than they look. Honestly you should just make them in general but they’d be perfect to serve for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day so file these away for next summer for sure!

Raspberry Cheesecake Popsicles

Ingredients:

RASPBERRY SAUCE:
12 oz fresh raspberries
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
Juice from 1 lime

ICE CREAM BASE:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz graham cracker crumbs

Directions
1. First make the raspberry sauce by combining the raspberries, sugar, and lime juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and heat until the mixture reaches a gentle boil. Cook until the berries have softened and the sugar has dissolved completely. Then remove the saucepan from heat and allow to cool.
2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree. Then strain the puree over a large bowl to remove any seeds. Toss the seeds and chill the sauce completely in the fridge.
3. While the sauce chills, make the ice cream. In a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s smooth and creamy.
4. Add the milk and heavy cream to the cream cheese and mix until well combined. Put the mixture in the fridge and let chill for 30 minutes.
5. Transfer the cream mixture to your ice cream machine and follow manufacturer instructions. Don’t add the raspberry sauce during the churning process!
6. Once the ice cream is finished churning, it should be milkshake-like consistency.
7. Pull the raspberry sauce from the fridge and find your popsicle molds.
8. Fill the popsicle molds about 1/4th of the way with ice cream, then add a tablespoon of raspberry sauce, and continue to alternate between the two until the popsicle molds are filled.
9. Add popsicle sticks to the molds, cover them, and place the molds in the freezer to allow everything to freeze for a few hours at least (but ideally overnight)
10. Once ready, remove a popsicle slowly and carefully from the mold and enjoy!

Valentine Themed Mini Crunch Hearts & Rose Chocolate Truffles

It’s Mark’s birthday! Let’s celebrate by talking about the Valentine’s Day treats I made for him, failed to send him, and then ate all by myself.

I know. I’m a real catch. ūüėČ

IMG_2389-2.jpg

I had every intention of sending them. I really did. But the post office was closed for two days after I made them…and also they tasted so good. I didn’t want them to go bad, you guys!

Anyway, I just had to share them. Even if it’s past Valentine’s Day. Because they’re so so easy (7 total ingredients for both candies!)¬†and too freakin’ cute.

IMG_2375-2.jpg

My best friend often makes fun of me because my favorite chocolate bar ever is a crunch bar. I guess it’s an unpopular opinion. But last year, on Valentine’s Day, Mark showed up with a bunch of roses & a whole bag of mini crunch bars. We ate them in bed while we watched tv and drank lattes, and I’ve never felt more understood.

Since we couldn’t be together this year, I thought it would be cute to send him homemade crunch bars in the shape of hearts. As a little reminder of that sweet memory of ours! Then I decided to add in the truffles, for a little bit of variety and some festive flare.

Valentine's Day Themed Chocolates

ingredients:

17 Oreo cookies

6 oz softened cream cheese

pinch of salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon coconut oil

dried edible rose petals

1/2 cup rice cereal

directions:

for the truffles

line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper

pulse the oreos in a food processor until they are a fine powder. add in the cream cheese and a pinch of salt and mix till combined.

scoop a tablespoon of the oreo-cream-cheese batter into your hand and roll it into a perfectly round ball. place the truffle on the baking sheet. repeat with the rest of the batter.

place the baking sheet in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the truffles to harden.

in a microwaveable bowl, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in 20 second increments. after each 20 second run, pull the bowl from the microwave and give the chocolate a good stir.

once the chocolate is completely melted with no chunks present, pull the truffles out of the fridge. dunk each truffle in the chocolate bowl, coating it entirely. use a fork to remove the truffle from the bowl and allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. transfer the truffle back to the parchment paper.

once all the truffles are covered with chocolate, sprinkle the tops of with crumbled oreo cookies and flecks of rose petals. place the baking sheet back in the fridge for 1 more hour, so that the chocolate can fully harden.

for the crunch hearts

coat heart-shaped candy molds or ice trays with a little coconut oil. set aside for now.

use the leftover melted chocolate from the truffles (there’s no way you would have used it all! but if you did, just add more)¬†and add the rice cereal. stir until all of the cereal is coated in chocolate.

carefully transfer the chocolate to the candy molds/ice trays. level off the tops using a knife.

place the chocolate molds in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

once hardened, pop the hearts out of the molds. freezing just makes them harder and easier to do this. you can store them in the fridge from here on out.

enjoy!

IMG_2395-2.jpg

 

7 Self-Care Tasks I’m Making More Time For Lately

It’s the month of looove, you guys! Hopefully you’re feelin’ the v-day vibes but also what a good month to start making self love a priority.

In this society that glorifies being busy all the time¬†(I’m sooo guilty of this)¬†I think there’s a huge problem of people over-exerting themselves, pushing themselves to the limit, going going going without taking stock and assessing if they’re doing enough to keep themselves healthy and happy. In a sense, we’re all pouring ourselves out without taking enough opportunities to refill our own cups!

So here are some ways I’ve been practicing self care and filling my cup back up. Some are trendy af (#wellness lol), but the reasons behind them really aren’t. Maybe it will inspire you to make your own lil’ self care routine!?

1. Using Vitamins/Supplements

At the beginning of the new year, I finally acted on a promise I had been making myself for a while now: I started taking vitamins. Specifically, I wanted some help managing my stress and energy levels. Stabilizing these feels like my life’s greatest challenge, and I know¬†they drastically affect my overall wellbeing.¬†I started using the company Care/of, and after taking a simple quiz about my lifestyle + needs, was recommended rhodiola and ashwagandha. I also started taking melatonin supplements at night, so I can get to sleep sooner and sleep more soundly.

Some of you might think putting this on the list is a stretch. It’s hardly a luxurious or even groundbreaking self care task. But having better sleep and more regulated stress is the foundation of my self care regimen, and this is such an easy way to achieve that. Plus, when I drink my morning warm lemon water and take my vitamins I get the same feeling as I do when I have a matching bra & underwear set on. Ladies, I know you know what I’m talkin’ about. It’s like my inner monologue suddenly turns to¬†“I am a goddess among mortals and I have my whole life blissfully together and I am officially a true grown up.”¬†That’s a thought worthy of chasing!

If you’re thinking of giving this one a try, I couldn’t recommend Care/of more. It’s so convenient and I really trust the vitamins I’m ingesting. Plus, taking the quiz is fun!

IMG_1804-2.jpg

2. Reading (w/ Blue Light Filtering Glasses!)

IMG_2339-2.jpg

I like myself a lot more when I spend my time reading, instead of just vegging out in front of a television. Not only does it make me feel more confident to be well read, but getting wrapped up in a new, interesting story and actually using my imagination (something grown ups don’t get to do enough!) is a nice release from the everyday mundane. Furthermore, I’m a big fan of the self-improvement genre¬†and I enjoy reading books on professional development, how to be happier, how to be a better partner, etc. So when I read more, I’m often actively improving myself and learning new methods on seeking happiness & balance.

Most of the time I read before bed, which is a lot healthier than watching TV or scrolling through Instagram (my two worst nighttime habits).¬†Since I mostly read on my iPad’s kindle app, I also invested in some blue light filtering glasses to protect my vision and to help prevent my mind from being constantly stimulated into “awake” mode.¬†¬†I’ve linked mine here!

3. Practicing Yoga

This is definitely one of the trendier tasks on my list, but there’s a reason it’s so popular! Yoga is amazing. Countless studies exist that describe all the benefits of yoga. I love that I get a great, full body toning workout in¬†while¬†I work to quiet my mind. I feel so confident and zen walking out of a good hot yoga class. I’ve been taking yoga on/off for years, but it was only after I went from taking weekly classes in L.A to moving to Raleigh and not taking any for a while that I realized how valuable it was for my mental and physical health.

4. Drinking More Tea

I love coffee. I will never not love coffee. But, I also realize that coffee¬†miiight¬†be contributing to my anxiety. While I’m not willing to give up the stuff for good, I am willing to supplement with tea more often than I have been, for a more gentle caffeine boost. Plus, I like that different teas have health benefits that coffee doesn’t always have. I’m loving matcha, earl grey, or lemon tea in the morning and chamomile at night. I just shared the recipe for this hibiscus latte a few days ago, and it’s definitely not something you want to miss!

IMG_2283-2.jpg

5. Walking

In Ayervedic medicine, it’s said that walking is a tri-doshic exercise. This means that no matter what, it’s an exercise that can balance your body, mind, and soul without much detrimental physical strain.¬†I find I’m so much happier when I get at least 30 minutes of fresh air and vitamin D in. It’s an opportunity to slow down, clear my head, move my body, and enjoy my surroundings. Lately I’ve loved walking to my weekly microbiology lab. I especially like to pair this activity with the next item on my list…

6. Listening to Podcasts

IMG_2326.jpg

For me, listening to podcasts has similar benefits to reading books except there’s more flexibility (you can multi-task!) and less commitment (hour long podcasts vs. chapter books). I¬†listen to a pretty wide variety of podcasts: ones that tell stories, ones that provide the news in a more digestible way, ones that give business advice, ones that are truly ridiculous and only provide comic relief. My favorite by far, though, is Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert. It’s like being a fly on the wall in a therapy session between two incredibly interesting & funny people. Dax is so evolved, introspective, honest, and prompts such informative discussions. I’ve learned so much about the variety of perspective & the human experience, and I’ve learned even more about myself along the way. Plus, I laugh the entirety of every episode. Can you even ask for anything else?

7. Taking Myself Out For an “Unplugged” Date

This one is the hardest for me because it gets me completely outside of my comfort zone. Lately, I’ve been making more of an effort to take myself out to coffee, lunch, or dinner at one of the many spots around Raleigh that I’ve had on my “must do” list since moving here. Here’s the kicker, though: Instead of spending the whole time on my phone or finding some other type of distraction (for fear of looking aimless and strange to others)¬†I completely unplug. I sit with my thoughts, people watch, sometimes chat with strangers (only if they seem interested), and write down thoughts/ideas/plans. It’s really challenging, but usually I come out of it having met someone new, having dumped all the thoughts swirling around my head, and having had a great meal at a fun new spot.

 

And that’s it for me! It’s fun to talk about this kind of stuff here. How are you filling your own cup? Leave a comment!

xoxo