Featured Ingredient: Raspberries
Oh how I yearn for the warmer days ahead when raspberries are in season. The weather still stinks here in Ontario. We actually still have some frozen raspberries left over from last picking season that I often place in post-workout smoothies for a boost of nutrition. At this time of year, the freezer section of the supermarket is a good place to pick up raspberries.
A cup contains half the daily requirement for vitamin C and a whopping 8 grams of fiber thanks largely to all those tiny seeds. On top of its well known role to keep you more regular than Norm on Cheers, dietary fiber can help control body weight by keeping you feeling full. Further, a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that dietary fiber is associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. We all should aim for 25 to 30 grams daily. Like other berries, these red gems provide a smorgasbord of antioxidants to help fend off those pesky disease-provoking free radicals.
Add raspberries to yogurt, oatmeal and cottage cheese. Or try these little cheesecake treats for a fanciful dessert. You can also used crushed up Oreo cookies as the base if you want them to have a chocolate kick. Of course, almost any other berry or nut will work in this recipe. These cheesecakes still feel decadent even with the use of reduced fat cream cheese, so I suggest using it to shave off fat calories.
Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped finely
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar of choice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberries
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, stir together graham crumbs, walnuts, syrup and cinnamon. Divide mixture among 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy. Pour in sugar while continuing to beat. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla. With a fork, mash up raspberries. Stir raspberries into cream cheese mixture. Top each of the muffin cups with the cheese mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, or until set. Let cool before unmolding.