Balance isn’t something I’ve excelled at in life. When I would be working on something I’m passionate about, I would throw myself in to it so completely that I’d burn myself out. I was a bit of a workaholic and it would literally take me half of any vacation to be able to even begin to quiet my working mind to be able to unwind. Two days later I’d be chomping at the bit to get back to work/life at home.
Relaxing was not my forte. It’s taken me years to get to a point of being able to relax on command and to actually be able to embrace it. Finding balance in food proved equally difficult when I was trying to figure out what worked best for me while also being able to live my life normally (ie, travelling, going out, etc.). So often people get wrapped up in their ‘diets’ or their way of eating that it impacts their day to day living and that’s not something I’m willing to do anymore.
I have zero issues with refined sugar. I consume it in chocolate and I’m sure I consume it when I’m eating outside of my own home but I do keep it to a minimum in general just because I don’t love how I feel when I’m eating more of it. I’ve found a balance of protein, carbs, fiber, fat, etc. that feels best for me and keeps my blood sugar under control which keeps my body calm/at peace. So in general, I stick to it because I enjoy it but if I eat out my norm and I don’t feel excellent afterwards, I don’t freak out about it.
At home, I make desserts with coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, whole grains, etc. most of the time. It isn’t a rule that I have to 100% of the time. I prefer my scones with white flour, I also eat buttered white bread and baguettes several times a week and I do still bake with white flour often. I just don’t eat it every single day and I DO want dessert every single day. I aim for balance with my white flour and whole grains to feel my best.
Enter healthier pumpkin cheesecake bars. We had just finished off some regular pumpkin cheesecake the week before and since we both eat something sweet after dinner daily, I set out to make a healthier version of cheesecake. We were pleasantly surprised at how amazing it turned out.
With these healthier pumpkin cheesecake bars, every bite is as delicious and satisfying as regular cheesecake. We’re kind of obsessed. They’re creamy, lightly spiced, every bit as cheesecakey as you want them to be and taste completely of fall. They’re the definition of nostalgia.
They’re not quite gone yet and we’re already looking forward to the next flavor I’m going to make on Sunday.
Can’t freaking wait.
Happy weekend lovelies. We’re heading to a deck party at my mom’s this afternoon where there will be an excessive amount of excellent food, wine, family and friends. There’s also a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake because apparently we can’t be stopped.
- 10 golden oreos (I used Trader Joe's Joe Joe's)
- 5 tsp coconut oil
- 1 8oz package full fat brick style cream cheese
- ¾ C 2% plain greek yogurt
- ¾ C coconut sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- pinch of cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- ½ C pumpkin puree
- 2 TBSP all purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 325F
- Grease and line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pulse cookies in a small food processor until they're fine crumbs. Pulse in coconut oil until it begins to form a loose 'dough'. Press mixture in to the baking pan and set aside.
- In a mixer, beat the cream cheese and coconut sugar together until the sugar completely dissolves and the cream cheese is fluffy. Stop to scrap the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the greek yogurt and pumpkin and beat until well combined.
- Add the spices, vanilla and egg and beat until light and creamy. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Lastly add the flour and mix until completely combined and no lumps remain. Pour in to prepared baking pan and place on the center rack of your oven for 40-45 minutes or until the center is set. It will still wiggle a teeny tiny bit but not much.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for minimum 4 hours but preferably overnight.
- Cut in to desired sized squares and serve chilled.
Craving more pumpkin? Click HERE for all the pumpkin things!
Want more cheesecakes? I’ve got you covered with THESE