Slender Red Velvet Cupcakes

In surprising news, I don’t really have strong feelings about Valentine’s Day, positive or negative. For the most part, I view it as a normal day that incorporates more dark chocolate than usual and involves a serious upgrade to Target’s dollar section. Not complaining, but it’s nothing to call home about. Slender Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Slender Student Still, I knew I couldn’t leave y’all with nothing to bake yourself or your slender sweetheart this V-day. And while this recipe won’t make everyone happy with its admittedly heavy handed use of some pretty processed ingredients, can we all just agree that there’s a time and a place for everything? And that the time is now and that the place is in my kitchen (where you’ll find me eating slender red velvet cupcakes)?

Slender Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Slender Student Slender Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Slender Student I knew you’d be understanding, my loves.

Slender Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | The Slender Student

Slender Red Velvet Cupcakes
Servings: 18 (cupcake with 1.5 tablespoons frosting) | Calories per serving: 168
Fat: 6 g (Sat Fat: 3 g) | Carbohydrate: 25 g | Fiber: 1 g| Protein: 3 g


1 box Red Velvet cake mix

1 can diet root beer or cream soda

8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese

1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup Splenda Blend

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)



1. Preheat your oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry cake mix and can of diet soda until smooth

3. Evenly distribute the cake mix (recipe makes 18 cupcakes) and bake for 15-20 minutes

4. While the cupcakes are baking, place the softened brick of cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Splenda, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, blend until smooth, adding almond milk as needed until the desired consistency is reached

5. If the icing is too runny, consider adding xanthan gum (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)

Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies

Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies | The Slender Student Since I’m Jewish, I don’t celebrate Christmas. I usually spend the 25th with my family at the movies, covertly crossing my fingers, hoping that we’ll fulfill the rest of the Jewish-family-on-Christmas stereotype by finishing off the holiday with some greasy Chinese takeout. Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies | The Slender Student

Now just because I don’t do the whole church and presents under the tree thing doesn’t mean I’m not all about Christmas. I, too, get really excited when the shopping centers around here get decked out in wreaths and Christmas lights. I, too, rejoice when Starbucks replaces their white and green cups with the red holiday version. I, too, listen to the Christmas music radio station on Spotify. Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies | The Slender Student

Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies | The Slender Student

Plus, would you really expect me not to get into a holiday that involves so many cookies? Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies | The Slender Student Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies | The Slender Student

Today’s cookie recipe is really something else. Once the semester ended and I regained some free time, I was fully overcome by the holiday spirit and my usual urge to bake returned. I set out looking for some Christmas cookies to slenderize and settled on an adaptation of this recipe from Skinny Taste. After making a few changes to the base recipe, I also swapped the chocolate chips for peppermint bark chunks. These are good enough to put out for Santa, but I don’t think you’ll want to. Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies | The Slender Student

Slender Peppermint Bark Cookies
Servings: 21| Calories per cookie: 86
Fat: 3 g (Sat Fat: 2 g) | Carbohydrate: 14 g | Fiber: 1 g| Protein: 1 g


1/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 egg white

2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark Baking Bar, chopped

PAM Original nonstick spray


1. Preheat your oven to 350° and lightly coat a cookie sheet with PAM

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together your Splenda, brown sugar, melted butter, egg white and vanilla.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in two additions, using a rubber spatula to throughly combine everything

5. Fold the chopped peppermint bark into the dough

6. Scoop your cookie dough on to the baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes until the edges have browned a bit

7. Let the cookies cool before transferring; enjoy!

Slender Sweet Nothings

Simple tips for a slender Thanksgiving! | The Slender Student

Guys, we’re T-minus two days away from T-day. For some, this marks the beginning of a whirlwind of holiday parties and pounds. But if you’re reading this, chances are you’re trying to avoid the latter. Welcome to the club.

Last week I gave you the full Thanksgiving run down with a couple of slender recipes, an accompanying grocery list, and my Thanksgiving game plan. I’ve had the good fortune of this post being mentioned in an article featured on The University of Texas homepage (hook ‘em), but that is neither here nor there.

Now that the humblebrag is over, let’s get into today’s post. In typical Sweet Nothing fashion, I’ll be sharing a few more quick tips to keep your Thanksgiving feast on the slender side. Neither deprivation or overindulgence feels particularly good, so satisfaction is what we’re aiming for here.

1. Fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies and leave the remaining half for goods like turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and a drizzle of gravy.

2. Stick with wine or champagne over sugary cocktails. However, if you know what’s in your drink (fresh fruit juice, club soda, diet soda, etc.), go ahead and grab a glass.

3. When it comes to the dessert round, indulge within reason. Have a serving that will leave you feeling satisfied, not stuffed. Eat slowly and mindfully, enjoying each bite. Pecan pie is probably the most ‘expensive’ dish you’ll have on the dessert table, so if there’s something you’d enjoy just as much, choose that. If pecan pie is your be all and end all, though, go for it! Just adjust your slice accordingly.

Do you have any intention of making this Thanksgiving a slender one? Any tips to share? For my own accountability and hopefully your entertainment, I’ll be documenting my experience on Instagram so be sure to follow!

Slender Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars

Slender Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars | The Slender Student

I’m fairly certain it’s common knowledge that October and November are pumpkin-flavored, while December and January taste more like chocolate peppermint. With this in mind, let me preface this post by saying that I know I’m jumping the gun, but can you really blame me? It was like the clock hit midnight on November 1st and the city of Austin was covered in wreaths, red velvet bows, and Christmas lights. I don’t even celebrate the holiday and I’m already feeling like Mrs. Claus.

Slender Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars | The Slender Student

Beyond my general feelings of festivity, this recipe came about for a couple of reasons. First, I was asked to speak at Zeta Tau Alpha, a sorority here at UT. I never put on a speaking event without bringing some type of slender treat, but the idea of rolling out 50-100 cookies or icing pans and pans of mini cupcakes just wasn’t really doing it for me. Bar desserts are an easy go-to for big events. In perusing the interweb for inspiration, I stumbled across these Skinny Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Squares. However, I’m of the personal opinion that fruit-flavored desserts really aren’t desserts at all, so I began editing and came up with this peppermint bark version. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, but this was certainly not one of them.

Slender Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars | The Slender Student

I should mention that because I used Stevia In The Raw Bakers Bag, these bars did accumulate a bit of moisture on the top while I refrigerated them overnight. To prevent this, you can either serve the bars day of or swap out half of the sweetener for real sugar. Your call.

Slender Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars | The Slender Student Slender Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars
Servings: 54 three inch squares | Calories per serving: 92
Fat: 6 g (Sat Fat: 3 g) | Carbohydrate: 8 g | Fiber: 0 g| Protein: 3 g


18 graham crackers (1 cracker = 2 squares)

1/4 C unsweetened cococa powder

1 stick of butter, melted

24 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened

3/4 C granulated sweetener of choice (I use both Stevia and Splenda)

1 T vanilla extract

2 1/4 C nonfat Greek yogurt

6 egg whites or 2/3 C liquid egg whites

3 T flour

1/2 C dark chocolate chips

1/2 t peppermint extract

10 peppermint hard candies



1. Preheat your oven to 350° and line an 18″x26″ baking sheet with wax paper, leaving 2″ hanging off all sides.

2. Place your graham crackers in a gallon bag and using a rolling pin or jar, crush them until they’re the texture of sand.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine your crushed graham crackers, cocoa powder, and melted butter. Evenly spread the mix on to the bottom of your baking sheet and then firmly press down with your fingers or a clean glass to make sure the crust is even

4. With an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, sweetener, and vanilla extract until smooth

5. Add in the Greek yogurt, egg whites, and flour, folding until everything is incorporated

6. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the baking sheet and gently shake the pan to distribute the mix evenly

7. Bake the cheesecake for 25-35 minutes, until the sides have pulled away from the pan and the top has cracked slightly

8. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely on your counter; this is crucial for cutting and removing the bars from the pan without making a mess

9. Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, place the unwrapped peppermints in a bag and crush using the bottom of a glass

10. Melt your chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Pour in the peppermint extract and stir

11. Pour your melted chocolate into a freezer bag and just barely snip one bottom corner off; drizzle the chocolate over the cooled cheesecake and before the chocolate has hardened, sprinkle with the crushed peppermint

12. Using a sharp knife, make 6 slices long ways and 9 slices short ways, giving you 54 bars

With the butter, cream cheese, and Greek yogurt in these bars, this recipe is full of quality dairy items and the nutrition that comes along with them– essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, and B vitamins. All of these work together to keep your bones, blood, muscles, and brain healthy. For more on the best dairy products, check out the REAL Seal Facebook page.