Skinny Mini Chocolate Cheesecake

 Cheesecake is one of those perfect summertime desserts. Served chilled, this light and airy yet decadently rich dessert will knock your socks off and keep your waistline in check!

Just 5 simple steps and, wha-la!

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Skinny Mini Chocolate Cheesecake
(1 large or 17 mini cheesecakes)

8 ounces low fat cream cheese, room temperature
16 ounces fat free cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup organic pitted dates
1/2 cup organic maple syrup, grade A dark amber or honey 
2 tablespoons milk
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Graham Nutty Crust
(optional)

5 chocolate or honey graham cracker sheets
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup organic coconut oil or organic butter

Garnish
(optional)

fruit
chocolate ganache
chocolate graham crackers sheets, crumbled
whipped cream
dark chocolate chips

 Skinny Mini Chocolate Cheesecake How To:

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

1.) Heat dates and syrup/honey in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes. Allow dates to plump and cool for about 5 minutes before pureeing with a blender or food processor.

skinny mini chocolate cheesecake

2.) Line cake molds with paper cups or oil, then crumble all crust ingredients together in a blender or food processor. If you’re aiming to be extra skinny, omit the crust if desired. The cheesecake alone is very tasty. Otherwise press 1 tablespoon of crust into the bottom of each mini cake mold or create a single crust in a spring form pan wrapped in foil.

Quick tip, ice cream scoopers make repeated exact measurements super simple (for mini crusts, cheesecakes, cookies, etc.).

skinny mini chocolate cheesecake crust DSC02775

3.) Melt chocolate chips and milk in a double boiler, stirring until melted and smooth.

skinny mini chocolate cheesecake gnache

4.) Mix all cheesecake ingredients with a mixerblender or food processor until smooth and creamy, then scoop a half cup of cheesecake into each of the mini cake molds or for a single cake, dump the entire mixture into a spring form pan.

skinny mini chocolate cheesecake

4.) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes for cupcake-sized and 50 – 55 minutes in a water bath for one giant cheesecake.

skinny mini chocolate cheesecake

5.) Cool cake(s) completely before transferring to an air-tight container for 24 – 48 hours allowing flavors to develop. Garnish directly before serving if desired.

skinny mini chocolate cheesecake skinny mini chocolate cheesecake skinny mini chocolate cheesecake skinny mini chocolate cheesecake

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As of lately this recipe was shared at a dinner party, lunch out and on Father’s Day. There’s no wrong occasion for chocolate cheesecake!

 skinny mini chocolate cheesecake skinny mini chocolate cheesecake

 Treat someone(s) you love to a slice of chocolate paradise sometime soon!

5 Excellent Eats in Long Beach

Our favorite feature on the menu in Long Beach, California is the vast selection of waterfront eateries, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Plenty of delectable options can be found inland as well. Following are five excellent eats we experienced stopping through.

a long beach excellent eats

1.) The Lighthouse

Long Beach Excellent EatsWe pulled up a seat at Parker’s Lighthouse just in time for happy hour and stayed to savor the gorgeous bay views through dinner.

Long Beach Excellent Eats

Located at the very end of the pier, Parker’s offers up marvelous views of Queen Mary, Long Beach Harbor and its lighthouse. On the menu there’s creative cocktails, fresh catch a’plenty  and lots of happy hour deals to be had.

 Long Beach Excellent Eats  Long Beach Excellent Eats  Long Beach Excellent Eats Long Beach Excellent Eats

Whether dining inside of out, Parker’s offers amazing views from nearly every seat in its two-story house. Hands down the best harbor views in Long Beach!

Long Beach Excellent Eats

2.) The Skyline

Long Beach Excellent Eats

The Sky Room has been serving up delicious views of the Pacific coastline from the 18th floor of The Hilton’s first West Coast establishment since 1926. We didn’t leave enough time to visit this go round, but would definitely love to sometime! Above is a view of The Breaker’s and its Sky Room (flying an American flag on top) from our hotel room.

3.) The Boatyard

Long Beach Excellent EatsYard House has a long list of beers and a little of everything on their menu. A wall of windows and a good sized patio offer up beautiful marina views while the big screens give the place a bit of a sports bar vibe. Great service, food and views!

4.) Crème De La Crepe

Long Beach Excellent Eats

The name does not lie. This quaint place is perfect for a drink, meal or light bite any time of day. Situated on a side street, Crème de la Crepe serves up delicious fair, amazing cappuccinos and the only dog friendly patio we encountered in Long Beach.

Long Beach Excellent Eats Long Beach Excellent Eats

5.) The Room

 Whether dining in their restaurants or rooms, The Westin consistently delivers deliciousness no mater the location. Over the years we’ve relied on this dog friendly chain to provide accommodations more times than I can count, country-wide. They have never disappointed. Long Beach Excellent Eats

Room service to the rescue!  After almost 4000 miles over 40 days topped off with a full day of beachin’, we felt super lazy our last night in Cali. More on the whole trip coming soon!

Cheers to excellent eats and adventures!

 

 

10 Reasons to Love Long Beach, CA

Although we’ve flown through Long Beach, California many times, we’d never stayed long enough to look around town until now. Low and behold, Long Beach has a lot more to offer than just a awesome airport!

a long beach

1.) The Airport

Long Beach boasts our favorite Southern California airport. The small terminal, located just south of forever-slammed LAX, is seamlessly quick and convenient in comparison. LGB also tends to host unbeatable D.C. flight deals!

Long Beach

2.) The Pier

A pathway of towering palms lead to Shoreline Village Pier where there’s a little something for everyone to love in addition to the gorgeous views looking out onto the Pacific.

Long Beach Excellent Eats

3.) The Bay-View Dining

Long Beach has lots of delectable waterfront dining to choose from, including the many restaurants lining the pier. Look for our list of “excellent eats” in Long Beach coming soon!

Long Beach Excellent Eats

4.) The BoatsLong Beach Excellent EatsLong Beach houses a HUGE marina and ship port. In fact we were first drawn to this town for our honeymoon cruise (below) and more recently to pick up my parents from a cruise.

cruise ship

Commercial, private and rentable watercraft of all sizes line the slips here. Whether you like to get out on the water or just watch from the shoreline, down by the dock is a great place to be!

Long Beach Excellent Eats

 5.) The Waterfront WalkLong Beach Excellent Eats

Beyond the pier, a path strolls along the edge of the shoreline. Walkers, joggers, bikers and bladers alike can exercise while enjoying the amazing views. Hubs and I enjoyed the harbor area so much, we had to bring Mom and Dad back to experience it too! (below)Long Beach Excellent Eats6.) The Birds

Long Beach Excellent Eats

Even the birds love Long Beach. Pelicans, gulls, cormorant and other water fowl can be found frolicking throughout. Long Beach Excellent Eats

Our feathered friends provide fun opportunities to bring out the zoom lens and binoculars!

Long Beach Excellent Eats Long Beach Excellent Eats Long Beach Excellent Eats Long Beach Excellent Eats

7.) The Sunset

Like most of the west coastline, Long Beach is no stranger to gorgeous sunsets. The lovely lighthouse backdrop is a unique bonus!

Long Beach Excellent Eats

8.) The Catalina Express

DSC07096Transportation to the beautiful Catalina Island brings many to Long Beach, including us on our 4th anniversary (above)!

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9.) The Entertainment

There is endless entertainment to be had in Long Beach between the convention center, aquarium, amusement park, Queen Mary and countless other activities.

Long Beach Excellent Eats

10.) The Beach

Given the name, there has got to be a beach! huntington dog beach

There is a beach but we haven’t seen it yet. Our all-time favorite beach (above) lures us a few minutes south every time we’re in town. (More on that to come!)

Rosie’s off-leash Dog Beach in Long Beach is definitely on Molly’s bucket list though! I’ve read Paul Rudd is to thank for this celeb dog walking hotspot.

Long Beach Excellent Eats

  Whether you’re flying, cruising or just passing through, there are so many great reasons to stop by Long Beach. Please share your favorites in the comment section!

Long Beach

We liked the place so much we came back for seconds, closing out our 40 day crazy California road trip with another stay at the luxuriously affordable (water-proximity-wise) Westin, Long Beach.

Our next dot on the map was possibly the friendliest of them all. Look for a post on charming Idyllwild, California in the near future!

Key Lime Cheesecake + Double Dad’s Day Ideas

Ready for the sweet taste of summer? Oh my, it’s time to dig into Key Lime Pie -skinny cheesecake style!

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

Skinny Mini Key Lime Cheesecake
(17 mini half-cup cheesecakes)

8 ounces low fat cream cheese, room temperature
16 ounces fat free cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup organic pitted dates
1/2 cup organic maple syrup, grade A dark amber or organic raw honey
2 tablespoons organic ground flaxseed or chia seed
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lime zest
2/3 cup organic lime juice (about 6 fresh-squeezed limes)

Graham Nutty Crust
(optional)

5 low fat graham crackers sheets
1/2 cup macadamia (or your favorite) nuts
1/4 cup organic coconut oil or organic butter

Key Lime Glaze
(optional)

1/4 cup organic lime juice (about 2 fresh-squeezed limes)
1 cup organic powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon organic butter
1 lime zested

Garnish
(optional)

low fat graham crackers sheets, crumbled
whipped cream

 Skinny Mini Key Lime Cheesecake How To:Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

1.) Heat dates and lime juice in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes. Allow dates to plump and cool for about 5 minutes before pureeing with a blender or food processor.

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

2.) Line cake molds with paper cups or oil, then crumble all crust ingredients together in a blender or food processor. If you’re aiming to be extra skinny, omit the crust if desired. The cheesecake alone is very tasty, promise! Otherwise press 1 tablespoon of crust into each bottom of the cake molds.

Quick tip, ice cream scoopers make repeated exact measurements super simple (for mini crusts, cheesecakes, cookies, etc.).

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

3.) Mix all cheesecake ingredients with a mixerblender or food processor until smooth and creamy, then scoop a half cup of cheesecake into each of the cake molds.

 Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014 Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

4.) Bake 350 at degrees for 20 – 25 minutes for cupcake-sized and 50 – 55 minutes in a water bath for one giant cheesecake.

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

5.) Cool cake(s) completely before transferring to an air-tight container for 24 – 48 hours allowing flavors to develop. Add glaze and garnish directly before serving if desired.

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

Full disclosure, the idea of serving key lime “pie” on Father’s Day was inspired by dessert ordered out at one of our local favorites on Mother’s Day (below).

IMG_4054

Since at least half of the taste buds in our gene pool prefer chocolate above all else, there’s also a (much delayed) Skinny Mini Chocolate Cheesecake recipe post coming very soon!

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014 Dad’s Day Idea #1: Each skinny mini was marked with a “D” for Dad to be extra fancy (as an excuse to pre-make/freeze shortcakes for my cousin’s visit next week).

Dad’s Day Idea #2: For good measure another father favorite could not be forgotten, chocolate chip cookies! Each dad was sent home with his very own bottomless jar of cookies.

Double Dad's Day Ideas

Hubby‘s sister hosted the whole family for BBQ. We had a most fabulous time together celebrating fatherhood and family!

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014 Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014 Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014 Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

We hope you had an amazing Father’s Day as well. Cheers to all the great dads out there including Brian’s and my own!

Key Lime Cheesecake & Father's Day 2014

Trim Double Chocolate Cake

Trim Double Chocolate Cake

Decadent double chocolate cake capped off cousins Alyssa and Jenna’s graduation luncheon at a local favorite on none other than Friday the 13th.

Alyssa & Jenna Graduation Chocolate Cake CupcakesIs it odd that the cute cupcake display (above) happens to hold 13 cakes?

Alyssa & Jenna Graduation Chocolate Cake Cupcakes

My go-to chocolate ganache didn’t set up in time, but sans frosting the double chocolately goodness was still outstanding.

Alyssa & Jenna Graduation Chocolate Cake CupcakesThe family had a fabulous time celebrating together over a delicious lunch and scrumptious double chocolate cupcakes.

Alyssa & Jenna Graduation Chocolate Cake Cupcakes Alyssa & Jenna Graduation Chocolate Cake Cupcakes Alyssa & Jenna Graduation Chocolate Cake Cupcakes Alyssa & Jenna Graduation Chocolate Cake Cupcakes

Alyssa & Jenna Graduation Chocolate Cake Cupcakes

Cheers to the grads and dads! Have a great weekend celebrating, relaxing or doing what you love to do!