September 2019 // Archive

Date based archive
26 Sep

This easy pot roast recipe is tried and true. The slow cooked beef chuck is fall-apart tender and the vegetables are soft, soaked with rich beef stock, red wine, and fragrant rosemary, thyme, and bay. It’s a classic one pot recipe you’ll make over and over again! 575 calories or 11 WW points.

What is Pot Roast?

Pot roast isn’t a cut of meat itself. It’s a savory, braised beef dish made by browning the meat before cooking it “low and slow” in a covered casserole dish or Dutch oven. In most recipes, you will brown the roast on the stovetop first, then transfer it to the oven or a slow cooker.

To prevent the roast from drying out, you will add liquid (such as beef stock, broth, or water) to the bottom of the dish holding the roast. To this a complete complete meal, add chopped-up potatoes and vegetables to the dish, cooking it along with the roast.

Now, if this is your first time making a pot roast dinner, it can seem intimidating to cook but trust me, it’s relatively easy (see the step-by-step instructions below). Like other beef chuck recipes, this one doesn’t require you to be ultra-precise about timing. It will cook in anywhere from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours and you’ll know it’s done when the meat is tender enough that it can be pulled apart with a fork (so if it’s not there yet, let it keep cooking).

Which is the Best Cut of Meat for Pot Roast?

Choosing a cut of meat for your pot roast can be kind of counter-intuitive , because the tougher the cut, the better the pot roast.

You may be used to choosing tender, juicy steaks from the meat counter, but with pot roast, it’s the opposite. Tougher cuts of meat have lots of tough connective tissue, so when you cook the roast at a low temperature for a long period of time, the tissues soften.

Don’t rush the process! Allowing the meat to simmer for hours results in the tender, melt-in-your-mouth roast you’re after!

A boneless chuck roast is my favorite pick for pot roast. It has outstanding marbling, making the roast tender and juicy when braised. Cut from the shoulder just above the short rib, it is a tougher, albeit more affordable cut than those from the front part of the animal, like the sirloin or short loin.

Other cuts that are either the same (under a different name) or come from the same area are the chuck eye, blade roast, shoulder roast, shoulder steak, arm steak, arm roast, cross-rib roast, or seven-bone roast. Some butchers also sell the chuck generically labeled as “pot roast.”

pot roast in a pot on a tablepot roast in a pot on a table

How to Make Pot Roast

shot of chuck beefshot of chuck beef

In a Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Season your beef chuck roast all over with salt and pepper and add it to the pan, browning it on all sides (about 15 minutes).

shot of onions in a pot for the pot roast recipeshot of onions in a pot for the pot roast recipe

Add 1 chopped onion and 5 minced cloves of garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

stirring the onions with red wine for the pot roast recipestirring the onions with red wine for the pot roast recipe

Add a cup of dry red wine (I like merlot or cabernet sauvignon). Bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned, crispy bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

ingredients for the pot roast recipe simmeringingredients for the pot roast recipe simmering

Add 3 cups of low-sodium beef stock; bring to a boil.

top down shot of beef in pottop down shot of beef in pot

Return the beef to the pan. Add sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, and 2 dried bay leaves.

top down shot of vegetables in a pottop down shot of vegetables in a pot

Add a pound of chopped Yukon Gold potatoes and 4 chopped carrots. Cover, transfer the dish to the oven, and roast at 325 degrees F for 3.5-4 hours, until the beef is fork tender.

shot of finished pot roast recipeshot of finished pot roast recipe

What Goes with Pot Roast

Pot roast is an easy one pot meal, but if you are looking to serve t up with other side dishes, here are some great ideas:

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Fluffy Dinner Rolls
  • Roasted Green Beans
  • Homemade Applesauce
  • Creamed Spinach
  • Cauliflower Cheese
  • Roasted Asparagus

Pot Roast

A classic one pot recipe (575 calories or 11 WW points) with slow cooked beef chuck that’s fall-apart tender and vegetables that are soft and soaked with rich beef stock, red wine, and fragrant rosemary, thyme, and bay.

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time4 hrs

Total Time4 hrs 10 mins

Course: Beef, Main Course

Cuisine: American

Servings: 8

Calories: 577

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 1/2 pound boneless beef chuck roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine (I use merlot or cabernet sauvignon)
  • 3 cups beef broth low sodium
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces Yukon Gold
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Season the beef all over with the salt and pepper. Add to the pan; cook until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove the beef to a plate.

  • Add the onions and garlic to pan and cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up the crispy bits on the bottom of the pan as you go. Let the wine simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the beef stock and bring to boil. Return the beef to pan. Add the potatoes, carrots, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until the beef is so tender that you can pull it apart easily using 2 forks, 3 ½ to 4 hours (depending on the size of your pot roast). Transfer the beef to a bowl, the vegetables to a separate platter or bowl, and reserve the cooking liquid. Discard the rosemary and thyme sprigs and the bay leaves. Use 2 forks to shred the beef or pull it into chunks. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid to the beef to keep it moist and tender. Serve with the vegetables. Leftovers will keep, stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, for 5 days.

1 serving (1/8 of recipe): 11 WW points

Calories: 577kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 877mg | Potassium: 1280mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 6110IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 8mg

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26 Sep

If I surveyed 100 meatheads and asked them, “what is the best exercise for the rear delts?” 99 of them would answer “reverse flyes.”


The seated reverse flye is the most common exercise used to target the rear delts. It makes sense because the reverse flye motion does a good job of isolating the rear delts—the exercise isn’t optimal, though.



The seated dumbbell (DB) reverse flye suffers from a couple of significant flaws and in training, the exercise does not match the muscle’s strength curve. The strength curve of the delts in isolation exercises is bell-shaped. This means that you are strongest in the mid-range and weaker at the start and end ranges.


The resistance profile of the DB reverse flye means the load is heaviest at the top and lightest at the bottom because the torque required to lift the load is greater the further from the body the arm moves. At the bottom of the lift the arm is by your side. At the top it is way out to your side. This long lever arm means the weight feels much heavier in this position.


The DB reverse flye does not match up with the muscle’s profile and, therefore, you are not fully challenging it throughout the lift. Instead, it is very easy at the bottom and an absolute killer at the top. The muscle is only being challenged through a small part of the range and the weight you can use is limited by what you can handle at the top.


Fix Your Flyes

Fixing this issue is actually very simple. Do the side lying DB reverse flye. By manipulating your body position, you can create an exercise that matches the rear delt’s strength profile and provides an appropriate challenge throughout the entire range.


By lying side on to the bench when you perform the lift you can create a resistance profile where the lift matches the muscle’s capacity closely. Because of your position, the lever arm is very small to begin with and increases as you move through the mid-range before dropping off at the end.


This is ideal and means the rear delts are stimulated through every inch of every rep. More stimulus equals more gains.


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24 Sep

Note that some links may require subscriptions.

Federal prosecutors have reportedly begun a criminal investigation into e-cigarette leader Juul Labs. (Wall Street Journal)

The measles-free streak only lasted one week; two new cases reported yesterday.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) complained that the World Health Organization has been too tight-fisted with Ebola vaccines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and called for an independent committee to run vaccination programs there.

Exact Sciences announced an expanded indication for the at-home stool DNA test Cologuard, to include adults age 45-49 as well those 50 or older.

More losartan recalls for nitrosamine contamination.

You knew it was coming: fans of candy-flavored e-cigarette liquids are frantically buying them up, in anticipation of an imminent ban. (CNN)

A test of Newark filters showed they were 97% effective in reducing lead in the water, but only to the manufacturer’s standard of 10 parts per billion. Officials caution that no amount of lead is safe to drink. (Reuters)

An appeals court weighs blocking the Trump administration rule banning taxpayer-funded clinics, like Planned Parenthood, from making abortion referrals. (AP)

Drugmaker Servier faces trial in France over accusations that its drug benfluorex (Mediator) — a fenfluramine analogue never sold in the U.S. — killed up to 2,000 people. (AP)

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said the United Nations should avoid using “ambiguous terms” like sexual and reproductive health on policy documents because it could “promote practices like abortion.” (CNN)

Naltrexone is approved as an addiction therapy, but some patients are using it in very low doses for chronic pain. (NPR)

A runway model silently protested Gucci’s straitjacket-like clothing at Milan Fashion Week, then went on Instagram to explain that “mental health is not fashion.” (The Guardian)

Morning Break is a daily guide to what’s new and interesting on the Web for healthcare professionals, powered by the MedPage Today community. Got a tip? Send it to us:


last updated 09.24.2019

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24 Sep

There are so many ways to practice yoga for free.

Free Classes in Your Community

It might take some sleuthing, but there could be a variety of free yoga classes offered in your town. If you’re enrolled in an academic institution, go online or visit the fitness center to find out what’s being offered. But, no need to stop there! Local libraries and churches often offer free or donation-based classes. Many yoga clothing stores like Lululemon and Prana offer free weekly in-store classes. If you’re into Kundalini Yoga, sadhana (daily morning practice) is always offered free of charge.

Thanks for watching!

Work Trade Programs

Many studios offer exchange programs where you can exchange time working in the studio at the desk or cleaning after class for a free or discounted membership. Many studios have this opportunity listed on their site, but for those that don’t, reaching out to studios and inquiring is definitely worth it.


There are many skilled yoga instructors that have their own YouTube channels offering high quality and free video classes with a wide variety of styles and lengths. Some great channels to check out are (links) Yoga With Adriene, Body Positive Yoga, and DOYOUYOGA.

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24 Sep

People with periodontitis have a greater likelihood of high blood pressure (hypertension), according to a recent study published by scientists at UCL Eastman Dental Institute

The study was published in Cardiovascular Research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Senior author Professor Francesco D’Aiuto of UCL Eastman Dental Institute, UK, said: ‘We observed a linear association – the more severe periodontitis is, the higher the probability of hypertension.

‘The findings suggest that patients with gum disease should be informed of their risk and given advice on lifestyle changes to prevent high blood pressure such as exercise and a healthy diet.’

High blood pressure affects 30–45% of adults and is the leading global cause of premature death, while periodontitis affects more than 50% of the world’s population.

The driver of the heart attack

Hypertension is the main preventable cause of cardiovascular disease, and periodontitis has been linked with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Professor D’Aiuto added: ‘Hypertension could be the driver of heart attack and stroke in patients with periodontitis.

‘Previous research suggests a connection between periodontitis and hypertension and that dental treatment might improve blood pressure, but to date the findings are inconclusive.’

A total of 81 studies from 26 countries were included in the meta-analysis and moderate-to-severe periodontitis was associated with a 22% raised risk for hypertension, while severe periodontitis was linked with 49% higher odds of hypertension.

Lead author Dr Eva Munoz Aguilera of UCL Eastman Dental Institute said: ‘We observed a positive linear relationship, with the hazard of high blood pressure rising as gum disease became more severe.’

Average arterial blood pressure was higher in patients with periodontitis compared to those without.

This amounted to 4.5 mmHg higher systolic and 2 mmHg higher diastolic blood pressures.

Professor D’Aiuto said: ‘There seems to be a continuum between oral health and blood pressure which exists in healthy and diseased states.

The evidence suggesting periodontal therapy could reduce blood pressure remains inconclusive.

In nearly all intervention studies, blood pressure was not the primary outcome.

Randomised trials are needed to determine the impact of periodontal therapy on blood pressure.’

Regarding potential reasons for the connection between the conditions, gum disease and the associated oral bacteria lead to inflammation throughout the body, which affects blood vessel function.

Common genetic susceptibility could also play a role, along with shared risk factors such as smoking and obesity.

Professor D’Aiuto said: ‘Further research is needed to examine whether patients with high blood pressure have a raised likelihood of gum disease.

‘It seems prudent to provide oral health advice to those with hypertension.’


Aguilera EM, Suvan J, Buti J, et al. Periodontitis is associated with hypertension. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Cardiovasc Res. 2019.

2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. Eur Heart J. 2018;39:3021–3104. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehy339.


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24 Sep

appreciate a nice cold glass of water. And you rely on a steady flow of
electricity to your home and work. Many of us also admire how modern technology
keeps us not only engaged and productive but also organized. But when is the
last time you reflected upon the most precious natural resource in our country:
Freedom! I think about this frequently and certainly every time I work with
military families.

Costs of War

Estimates are that 6,900 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since the Iraq War began in 2003. As a consequence, scores of families will fail to form or grow — we’re talking about infertility in its most disastrous and absolute form.

An additional 30,000 troops have
been injured during these three military operations, and about 1 of every 20
injuries affected the male reproductive tract, causing near absolute
infertility. Over a 12-year period ending in 2013, 1,367 men
in our military had genital injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a
recent military
. The most common injuries were to the
scrotum, testicles and penis. Over 10% of men lost one or both
 from these injuries. And, over 94% of
men injured were in peak reproductive age of 35 years or younger. It’s hard to
stay fertile when parts down there are missing or not working anymore.

Keeping the
Jewels Safe

Thankfully, there are systems in place to protect not only the
lives, but the fertility of our troops at war. The most notable of these are:

Sperm banking before deployment. This has long been encouraged by the Pentagon and now they are
thinking about actually funding it.

Pelvic armor. Given the
abundance of ground-level mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the
military now uses Kevlar underpants. There’s the PUG (protective undergarment)
on the inside and a thicker POG (protective outer garment) worn over combat

Funding infertility care. In
2016, a bill passed in Congress that
provides infertility treatment (up to 3 cycles of IVF) to disabled veterans.

There are some very special fertility doctors doing
amazing work to preserve fertility in cases of catastrophic genital injuries.

Our servicemen not only put their own lives on the line, they
also indirectly place their future families on that same line. As the
award-winning American writer Cynthia Ozick once said, “We often take for
granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” It is absolutely my
honor to tend to the fertility needs of our military.

This article first appeared on Dr. Turek’s blog.

by N I F T Y A R T ✍🏻
 on Unsplash

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24 Sep

Shochu continues to make slow inroads into the U.S. market, and to further those aims, Iichiko, the leading barley shochu brand in Japan and the one which American drinkers are most likely to be familiar, has released a new expression: Saiten. The unusual concept is that Saiten was designed specifically with the U.S. palate in mind — much higher in proof than the typical shochu and, get this, “rich in umami character.” A savory white spirit from Japan? Intriguing at least.

Some details:

Shochu, a clear spirit distilled from barley, sweet potatoes, rice or buckwheat, is traditionally bottled at 25% ABV, since it is designed to complement Japanese cuisine, not overpower it. However, its lower proof has made it challenging for mixologists. In contrast, iichiko Saiten is 43% ABV and comparable in proof and cocktail versatility to Western spirits.

“We have created iichiko Saiten as a new kind of shochu specifically for mixology,” says Mr. Masahiko Shimoda, President, Sanwa Shurui, Co., Ltd. “Our goal is to make shochu a clear spirit that is celebrated around the world, on par with the best gins, vodkas, tequilas, rums, piscos and mezcals. Saiten brings a toasty and flavorful barley character that is truly unique and stands out in any cocktail. Moreover, we craft Saiten in keeping with iichiko’s highest quality standards for which we are renowned.”

“At 43% ABV, iichiko Saiten is a game-changer,” says Andrew Chrisomalis, CEO and Co-Founder, Davos Brands. “Japan has produced shochu for more than five hundred years, but from a mixological standpoint, this is Day 1, a remarkable watershed event. The cocktail possibilities for iichiko Saiten are limitless and we look forward to unlocking the creativity of the U.S. craft bartending community to harness its vast potential.”

With all that out of the way, let’s give it a whirl!

The nose showcases the barley above everything else, a grainy, mushroomy character doused with petrol notes. I’m reminded of a more pastoral version of cachaca, with hints of hay and tofu in the mix. The palate doubles down on savory components, grilled mushrooms and soy sauce notes dominating on the attack, with that petrol character never far from reach. As it builds toward the finish, you bet those umami characteristics do nothing but grow, notes of ramen chashu and motor oil dominating — again, shades of cachaca all around. For what it’s worth, Iichiko’s tasting notes talk about all kinds of fruit notes — honeydew, white peach — none of which I could detect in the slightest.

As well, remember that Saiten is “optimized” for cocktails, and the brand suggests drinks that would normally be built around whiskey or rum, such as the Manhattan. I tried a few of these and none clicked with me. Too beefy and too grainy. Guess I’m just fine with classically produced shochu, lower abv and all.

86 proof.

B- / $30 /

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24 Sep

Cheesecake bars hooked up with cinnamon rolls and became the best dessert you’ll have all year — Blender Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Bars!! The sweet and salty cinnamon graham cracker crust pops under the luscious and rich cinnamon swirled cheesecake.

And you thought that was all the good news…there’s more! The cheesecake filling is all made in a blender! It doesn’t get any easier than throwing everything into the Blendtec and letting it do all the work! We have discount code for you so you can love a Blendtec blender as much as we do so keep reading…


A photo of three cinnamon roll cheesecake bars stacked on top of each other.A photo of three cinnamon roll cheesecake bars stacked on top of each other.


These cheesecake bars came about because we’ve made a gazillion other cheesecake recipes and it just felt so right. I did an Instagram story (@ohsweetbasil) a while back about sitting alone in the dark at the counter eating bite after bite of this cheesecake all while Cade was at the gym. HELLO, SHAME ALERT!

I normally have slightly more self control, but this dessert obliterated every ounce of willpower I have. It is THAT heavenly!

What is a Blendtec Blender?

A Blendtec blender is the best blender on the globe, the last blender you will ever need, and something we use in the kitchen every single day. You’ve seen us post about all our favorite protein shakes, like our Orange Berry Protein Shake or our Almond Joy Protein Shake. All made easy in the Blendtec! This blender is the version we’ve had for years, but we just upgraded to the professional series and we are obsessed!


A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar.

A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar.A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar.


How to Make Blender Cinnamon Rolls Cheesecake Bars

These cheesecake bars are made in three different parts – the crust, the filling and the cinnamon swirl.


To make the cinnamon graham cracker crust, you need just 4 ingredients – graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix them in a bowl until they feel like wet sand and then press it into an 8×8 pan. Bake the crust in a preheated oven (350 degrees) for 8 minutes. Allow it to cool.


Reduce the heat of the oven to 325 degrees. Add the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla to your blender and blend it until smooth. We use the “batter” setting on the Blendtec. If you don’t have that setting, start with a slow speed setting and build to medium speed until just combined. Add the sour cream to the blender and blend until it is smooth. Then you want to add the eggs one at a time them into mixture until smooth. Now your cheesecake mixture is ready.

Cinnamon Swirl

 In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar and flour until it is smooth.

Pour half of the filling onto the crust and then add drops of the cinnamon swirl all over the filling and swirl it in with a knife. Then pour the remaining batter on top and repeat the same steps with the cinnamon swirl. Bake the cheesecake bars for 35-40 minutes or until there isn’t much jiggle in the middle. Then it needs to go into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to finish setting up.


A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar sitting on a wooden surface with cinnamon sticks sitting next to it.

A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar sitting on a wooden surface with cinnamon sticks sitting next to it.A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar sitting on a wooden surface with cinnamon sticks sitting next to it.


How Do You Know When Cheesecake Is Done?

I’m sure there’s an exact science to this, but my foolproof way is to do the jiggle test. With a hot pad, grab one side of your baking dish and give it a gentle jiggle. If there is a lot of jiggle in the middle of your cheesecake, let it bake for a couple more minutes. When it is done, there won’t be hardly any jiggle at all.

Can You Make Cheesecake With Neufchâtel Cheese?

Yes, you can totally use neufchatel cheese in cheesecake. It is usually cheaper and lower in fat, so winning!!


A photo of three cinnamon roll cheesecake bars stacked on top of each other.

A photo of three cinnamon roll cheesecake bars stacked on top of each other.A photo of three cinnamon roll cheesecake bars stacked on top of each other.


Can You Substitute Greek Yogurt For Sour Cream?

Yes, plain Greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream in cheesecake. It is high in protein and lower in fat, so it pretty much makes these cheesecake bars healthy for you. Ok, not really at all, but it does help me feel a little better about devouring them alone in the dark!

Can Cheesecake Cause Food Poisoning?

Just about any food can cause food poisoning if not cooked or stored properly. The main cause for concern with cheesecake is the eggs in it. If it is baked properly, there is no need to worry at all. Once the cheesecake is baked, it should be stored in the refrigerator and not left out at room temperature for more than an hour or two.



A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar.

A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar.A photo of a cinnamon roll cheesecake bar.


Does Cheesecake Need To Be Refrigerated?

Yes, cheesecake should be kept in the refrigerator. With all the dairy products in it, it is prone to spoil if it reaches unsafe temperatures. These cheesecake bars need to be refrigerated to set up properly, so you’ll be serving them right from the refrigerator anyway. Then we when you are done serving, just stick it right back in the fridge…if there are any leftovers!

Can Cheesecake Be Frozen?

Yes, this cheesecake freezes great! Allow it to cool completely and wrap it in foil and then plastic wrap. Then place it in a plastic ziploc bag. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator and then devour! We like to cut these bars into individual servings and then freeze them. Then you can pull out however many servings you want!


A photo of three cinnamon roll cheesecake bars stacked on top of each other.

A photo of three cinnamon roll cheesecake bars stacked on top of each other.A photo of three cinnamon roll cheesecake bars stacked on top of each other.


Ok, the moment you all have been reading and waiting for! Go get yourself a Blendtec blender and use the discount code ohsweetbasil for 25% off your purchase! You’re welcome! Do it! You’ll never regret it!

They have settings for anything you will ever want to blend. It stops and tells you when you need more liquid. There are no sharp blades to try and clean or scoop around. And probably my favorite feature, when you’re done using it, add a little water and a couple drops of dish soap, push the clean button, and it pretty much cleans itself!  They are just THE BEST!

***ALERT***: Before we get a hundred comments and emails, the frosting drizzle on these in the photos is just a mixture of powdered sugar and cream. We wanted to love it, but we just didn’t. We like them better without it. So they make for pretty pictures, but we haven’t included it in the recipe card.



Blender Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Bars is your next favorite dessert! That cinnamon swirl is everything and the cinnamon graham cracker crust…I could eat it plain! Put it all together and you can’t resist. Nom nom nom!



Blender Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Bars

Creamy cheesecake on a cinnamon graham cracker crust with bits of cinnamon filling swirled in it.

Prep Time20 mins

Cook Time35 mins

Course: 100 Best Brownies and Bars Recipes

Cuisine: American

Keyword: bar, bar dessert, cheesecake, cinnamon, cinnamon roll, dessert, graham crack crust

Servings: 12

Calories: 459kcal

  • 2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Butter melted
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon


  • 16 Ounces Cream Cheese 2 packages, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream room temperature
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Cinnamon Swirl

  • 6 Tablespoons Butter melted
  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees

  • In a bowl, combine the melted butter, graham crackers, brown sugar and cinnamon until it appears to be wet sand.

  • Press into an 8×8″ baking dish and bake for 8 minutes.

  • Remove to cool.


  • Turn the oven down to 325.

  • In a blendtec blender, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add the sour cream and beat until smooth again.

  • Add the eggs, one at a time until smooth.

  • Pour half of the filling over the crust, dot with cinnamon swirl and carefully swirl with a knife.

  • Repeat filling and swirling one more time.

  • Bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes or until the middle doesn’t jiggle too much.

  • Refrigerate two hours to set.

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 951IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1mg


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24 Sep

The snobbery with which many Europeans view US wines is proving stubbornly resistant to change.

Despite monumental tastings, competitions, and positive changes in winemaking philosophy, Europeans still can’t seem to fully wrap their heads around American wine.

Even with the rise of high-quality producers in California, Oregon, Washington, and other American growing regions, the same negative stereotypes seem to prevail. So the question remains – in the mind of the European consumer, will American wines ever really be “as good” as those produced closer to home?

“American wines are still regarded as mass and huge production wines,” says Gregor Greber, owner of Zurich-based Napa Wine. Greber believes that although consumer awareness is starting to change, education on the subject is still needed. Earlier this year, Greber’s company hosted its own “Judgment of Zurich” tasting – and the results were surprisingly in favor of the States; five wines from Napa took the top slots amongst the group of tasters.

Greber’s importing business and restaurant, Napa Grill, focuses exclusively on wines from Napa. “The restaurant really gives the wines a true home. It’s a place for people to discover – and fall in love with – Napa Cabernet.”

Yet somehow, the stereotypes still remain. In Norway, Pal Dahle, owner of Tramontane Vinimport, notes that many people still regard American wines as “lower quality” than European wines.

“Part of this is due to history,” he explains. “The wines that drifted into Norway (and Europe as a whole) 15-20 years ago were indeed of inferior quality.” Dahle explains that while this is currently changing, regaining consumers’ interest takes time. “There is an enormous amount of American winemakers making wines in an Old-World style these days, that is, early harvest, low alcohol, high acid, etc. Quality is increasing steadily and the price is still fair.”

Dahle currently works with 12 different American wineries that he believes represents this style, including Kutch Wines, Black Sheep Finds, and Rhys Vineyards.

“Europeans actually view American wines as a luxury product – I’m saying this on behalf of the British market,” says Michael Sager, owner of London based wine bar Sager + Wilde. “This is because of the strong work done by IPOB and Jon Bonné in the past, as well as the work of Roberson Wines and Flint Wines as importers. They changed the perception of California wine post-Robert Parker.”

Sager explains, however, that many British consumers have come to compare the value (or lack thereof) of American wines to that of Burgundy, in that they are almost seen as “worse value” due to their rising prices. “This is why the third wave of natural and affordable US wine will be quintessential to the overall perception of US wines,” he states. Sager works with the wines of Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi (Rajat Parr & Sashi Moorman), Pax Mahle, Jaimee Motley, Steve Matthiasson, Abe Schoener, and more.

Keith Kirkpatrick, buyer at Roberson Wine, feels that Europeans’ inferior views of American wines isn’t just exclusive to America. “As a whole, I would say Europeans from winemaking countries view US wines as lower quality, but that would be the same for wines from anywhere else in the world, even other regions of their own country!”

He finds that, historically, there has been a view that US wine is either mass produced and low value or very expensive (100-pointers) and meant for collection, with nothing for the average consumer in between. “At Roberson, [we] show the huge variety of wines from small and medium-sized producers that sit in this middle ground and offer the best quality and value. Hopefully we have helped change this view at least in the UK.”

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| The perception of US wine in Europe is that they are two-dimensional and over-extracted.

Kirkpatrick believes that there are certainly wines from the States that do indeed rival some of Europe’s best, both in terms of quality and value. However, it took some personal experience for him to form that opinion. “It was not until I started to spend time with the winemakers in California and explore the different terroirs for myself that I really understood the incredible potential of US wines.”

He also notes American producers are much more keen to work the market and sell their than Europeans producers, which is beginning to give them traction both on wine lists and online. Kirkpatrick finds that less-strict appellation laws also work in American winemakers’ favor. “[These producers] also have much more freedom to change quickly and react to market trends – so they have the opportunity to continue to grab the attention of the consumer and steal more market share,” he explains.

Totte Steneby, senior wine specialist at Zachys Wine Auctions, worked the floor as a sommelier in Stockholm as of 2007. In addition to running his own import company and sommelier education program, he also consults for a handful of California wineries. “I still think the average [European] consumer has a lot to learn about American wines,” Steneby says. “The stereotypical American styles seem to be what consumers gravitate towards, [which are also] the same styles that people who dislike American wine think is the norm.” Steneby feels that sommeliers in Sweden tend to be more confident in “classic” styles of American wines, which hinders them from tasting more progressive bottles. “There’s only a handful of sommeliers in Sweden who put in the effort of expanding their knowledge base and palate when it comes to American wines,” he says.

Steneby reveals that he has spent at least one month in California every year since 2015, which has greatly helped him to understand the versatility in styles/grape varieties in the United States. “These wines should be held to a high regard,” he firmly states. “For the curious-minded, there’s a lot of exciting [bottles] to be found.” He feels that, at the end of the day, the cost of American wine is their downfall. “Unfortunately, the domestic US market is strong on American wine and prices reflect that. A wine from Europe is, in most cases, cheaper for us here then the ‘same’ wine from US. That said, there are bargains to be had at every price level and of course very exciting wines. You just have to read and listen to know what’s going on.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the French as a whole don’t seem to be nearly as progressive in their opinions towards American wine. “For us buyers, American wines are too powerful and extracted. Finding quality often means expensive,” says Jan Bussière, owner Vins Urbains wine bar in Bordeaux. “[Certain] selections have a different approach (finesse, delicacy, etc.) but only on micro-cuvées.”

Victor Vautier of Early June restaurant in Paris agrees. “[In France], American wines have a high price and little visibility on the quality,” he says. Vautier notes that consumers’ perceptions of American wines have been slightly degraded by the classic stereotypes (noting “super oaky, only classic grape varieties used, etc.” as a few.) However, he recalls a unique experience with Lewandowski wines that personally changed his mind. “The wine was very good, but I imagine that it’s not representative of the American wine scene.”

Jules Deloffre, an off-premise buyer at Saint-Germain-en-Laye’s Cémiyon (located just outside of Paris) actually finds American wines to be very good New World selections. However, their image isn’t always viewed that way by his customers. “American wines aren’t ‘foreign’ enough to be considered exotic in a French wine store,” he says.

Deloffre also notes that France’s negative view of American gastronomy is additionally unhelpful in changing consumers’ minds about the perception of the country’s wines. “When my customers come back from Argentina or Chile, they talk to me about wines. When they come back from the United States, very rarely, do they talk about the wine.”

Fabien Suquet, chief sommelier at Experimental Group, also has a good perception of American wines, though he credits this to living in the States for three years. He finds that the French are now more interested in learning about American wines than ever, though price and “psychological barriers’ ” remain problematic.

“The French will order a bottle between €30 and €60 [$33-65] without advice, generally based on a grape that they already know but, beyond a recommendation, guidance is definitely necessary,” he explains. Suquet suggests that French wine bars offer American wines by the glass, as this creates a gateway for consumers to learn about new vineyards they may not have tried. “American wines are progressing enormously, leaving the notion of grape behind and putting more emphasis on the place of origin and terroir,” he says.

However, Mathilde Goujat, buyer at Paris’ famed Cherche-Midi sums it up best, and perhaps represents the most stereotypical image of French consumers’ relationship with American wines – he doesn’t work with them at all.

“They’re oaky, very concentrated, and lack acidity,” he says. “Not very good.”

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