Reconstructed Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

I just so happened to glance up from my computer and caught a glimpse of what Paula Deen and her son was making.  I just had to make these today.  But I wasn’t that motivated to get off the couch.  You see, I declared today a lazy day when I got off of work last night.  It was one of those days in the emergency department where I left work feeling a little demolished.  So all I wanted to do today was to cuddle with my two little boys, catch up on recorded DVR shows, and rest.  And of course, it was just my lucky day because I had all the ingredients the recipe called for, so my lazy behind didn’t need to get off the couch to make a special trip to the grocery store.  Although I had all the ingredients for the recipe, I wanted to do more to it.  Give it a little more pizazz.  Make it a little bit more healthy.  And it just clicked… vegan strawberry cheesecake with graham crackers.

These are amazing and delicious little morsels of yumminess.  Wow.  These would be EVEN better with real cream cheese.  I think these might make the perfect dish to bring to a potluck or dinner party.  In fact, these are what we will be bringing to the next potluck we are invited to.  They were really simple to make.  It probably took us less than 15 minutes to put together.

You’ll love these.

Trust me.

Yum.

Reconstructed Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake (adapted from The Deen Brothers)

20 whole large strawberries, hulled
8 ounces Tofutti cream cheese, softened
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons cup confectioners’ powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2/3 cup graham crackers, roughly chopped

Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each strawberry so the berries stand upright. Place berries, cut side down, on a serving platter. Carefully cut the berries into 4 wedges, cutting almost to, but not through, the bottoms with a criss-cross cut. Fan wedges just slightly, taking care not to break them. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the Tofutti cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla until combined but still stiff. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag with decorative tip, fill the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, place chopped graham crackers on top of the stuffed strawberries.

Makes 20 stuffed berries.

Vegetarian Lavash Wrap with Tofutti and Hummus

I have been on a weight loss kick since August 2010.  I’ve lost about 20 pounds so far and still have about 10-15 more pounds to lose.  It’s been difficult.  Actually, that’s an understatement.  It’s been REALLY difficult, especially because I love to eat… and all I want to ever do is eat.  I also loved to not do anything but sit on the couch and watch endless amounts of Food Network, HGTV, the Travel Channel (only if it about food), and the Bravo channel.  My life was very sedentary and FULL-filling.  I went to the gym one day in August, got on the scale, and almost had a heart attack.  I realized I was at my heaviest, which made complete sense, because my “fat clothes” were starting to become a little snug on me.  So it finally occurred to me that I needed to lose some weight or else I was putting myself at serious risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.  All of which runs in my family.  Eek!

So here I am, twenty pounds lighter, and still going.  I’ve really cut down my portion sizes, and eating a lot healthier than I used to.  I’ve also reduced buying out for lunch by about 90% while at work, which I feel has helped me significantly! In fact, packing my lunch and dinner (I work 12 hour shifts) has forced me to get creative with making healthier, yet enjoyable recipes.  I’ve experimented with many different kinds of salads for lunch.  Unfortunately, I was as creative as I was getting, I started to get bored with salads.  So my new obsession is the veggie wrap that I came up with recently.

Just in case you’re wondering, I still occasionally enjoy my favorite foods.  Moderation is the key to success.  Who ever said you had to completely cut out all those unhealthy foods was wrong!  If that were true, I would have failed my diet by now.

Vegetarian lavash wrap with Tofutti and Hummus

2 whole wheat lavash
1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 roma tomato, seeded, thinly sliced
2 medium-sized artichoke hearts (in water), chopped or sliced
1 small carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
1/2 avocado, sliced
Baby lettuce mix (or whatever you have on hand)
4 tablespoons Tofutti cream cheese
4 tablespoons of your favorite hummus

Spread 2 tablespoons of toffuti and hummus onto the middle of the lavash.  Top each lavash with thinly sliced bell peppers, sliced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, carrots, 1/4 of the sliced avocado, and a little lettuce mix.  Roll each of them up tightly and cut in half on a diagonal.

Makes 2 servings.

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