blackberry lemon cheesecake bars

Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

 I was so excited that my research was accepted at the big ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) conference this year! The conference is always held in Chicago in June, and this was my first time going. I presented research on end of life care/medical aid in dying in lung and head and neck cancer patients. 

blackberry lemon cheesecake bars top view

I was very pregnant when I attended – people were very nice to me, helping me with luggage on the flight, offering me seating at the conference (which I very gladly accepted) and security letting me drop off my poster when we were waiting to set up, so I didn’t have to carry it around. My mentor stopped by my poster while I was explaining my research to people walking by and took photos of me in action (as well as some selfies of us).

blackberry lemon cheesecake bars sliced

I was hoping to stay with a good friend from residency, but she got very sick with a virus (even though she tested negative, we thought it might be COVID19). Since it was close to my due date, we both agreed it was best for me to stay elsewhere since I didn’t want to get sick, nor did I want to bring COVID19 to a conference with 40,000 oncology providers and expose cancer patients.

I stayed with my co-fellows who were also attending ASCO, which was a lot of fun. I also got to meet up with my cousin for dinner and some hematology-oncology friends from residency for lunch. 

blackberry lemon cheesecake bars close up

There was a dinner social for the Fred Hutch Cancer Center, and it was the first time many attendings had seen me in person since I got pregnant. The dinner was held at Quartino Ristorante, which is where B and I had date night so many years ago!

I listened to a lot of lectures as well as attending career development workshops/lectures for trainees. I’m a bit nervous since this coming year I need to figure out what I’m doing and find a real job as an oncologist! 

blackberry lemon cheesecake bars sliced

Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake Bar recipe adapted from Baker by Nature

 Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

2 and 1/4 cups graham crackers
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 8-ounce blocks of full-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
CRUST: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease baking pan (I used 8×8) with non-stick baking spray; set aside.
In a food processor, pulse graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add sugar melted butter and stir well to combine. Press down evenly into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
LEMON CHEESECAKE:  With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until completely smooth. Add in the sugar and eggs and beat until smooth and creamy. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour, stirring until combined. Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the partially baked crust. Set aside to make the blackberry swirl.
BLACKBERRY SWIRL: Stir the blackberries and sugar in a skillet on medium heat. Cook until the juices thicken slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour the blackberries over the cheesecake and swirl with a knife.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cheesecake layer is set at the edges and only slightly wiggly in the center. Let pan cool to room temperature. Place cheesecake bars in the fridge until completely chilled. When ready to serve, cut cheesecake into squares (I recommend placing pan in freezer for 15 minutes prior to make the cleanest edges when cutting). Enjoy!

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