Apple Pie Cheesecake

This fall I decided to join a local CSA.  It was such a great decision because it was surprisingly affordable and my husband and I are now eating healthier than either of us have in a long time.  The only down side to it is that sometimes we are inundated with a particular food, and of course with it being fall, we have had apples coming out of our ears.  

While trying to come up with new ways to use the apples I kept dreaming of an apple pie/cheesecake hybrid.  I didn't want a cheesecake with some apples in it or and apple pie with cheesecake mixed in, but something simpler: a layer or crust, a layer of cheesecake, a layer of apple pie, and maybe a crumb topping.  Would you believe there was no such thing on the web?  I searched through pages and pages of google search results and couldn't find anything like what I was after!  I knew I was just going to have to make one myself, but I had no idea that it was going to turn out this yummy on the first try.  My family actually fought over the last piece!

Miss Collins

I am not quite sure what it is about the summertime but it really brings out the gin fan in me.  It must be all those summers growing up spent poolside while the adults in my family enjoyed gin and tonics.

My gin drink of choice is usually a Tom Collins but sometimes I want something a little more fruity so I crafted this drink with a passion fruit tea-flavored simple syrup.  I like to think of Miss Collins as the trendy daughter of Tom.

Sweet Refrigerator Pickles

Recently I found myself in one of those moods where I wanted some homemade pickles.  Ever get into one of those moods?  Not necessarily for pickles, but when you just have a craving for something awesome from your childhood?  My grandmother used to make refrigerator pickles every summer.  There were a few certain things I could always count on being in her fridge and homemade pickles was one of them.  Sadly I don't have her recipe, but after a bit of experimenting I think this one comes close.

Breakfast Egg Muffins

I have been pinning a lot of make-and-take breakfast recipes lately because I am not a morning person.  For some reason I decided that I need to wait till I get to work in the morning to have my coffee, so making my own breakfast in the morning at home is just not going to happen.  I have seen the egg muffin  recipe a few times on the internet and it always seemed like a great thing to try - bake them on Sunday night and have breakfast for the whole week ready to go?  Count me in!  So here is my take.

Garlic Lime Tilapia

Happy Thursday, everybody!  As my workweek winds down my life tends to get busier so I always try to have some basic ingredients on hand to throw a quick dinner together when I don't feel like cooking.  Tilapia is one of the things that is always in my freezer.  It's a very mild fish so you can do just about any kind of sauce on it and it will taste yummy.  It's also fast cooking.  So last week when I came home and wanted a quick dinner I pulled some tilapia out of my freezer and had dinner ready in 20 minutes.  How awesome is that?!

Green Pea Dip Two Ways or, The Journey of a Thousand Miles

Happy New Year!  I figured I'd start this year off a little differently and tell you a little story about myself, something I don't often do on this blog, and especially not about this topic.

Throughout most of my childhood and all of my adult life I have been overweight/fat/obese.  Normally I don't write about it on my blog because at the end of the day I want this blog to be about food, but today is going to be one of the exceptions.  Don't worry, you'll still get your recipe.  If this is TL;DR feel free to scroll down to the bottom and follow the jump for it.

For those of you who aren't lucky enough to know me in real life (or maybe that makes you lucky?), I have recently undergone a lifestyle change.  Actually, lifestyle overhaul is more like it.

At the end of October 2012 I went to a Women's Expo event to watch my beautiful niece in her first runway show.  As luck would have it I won a $459 gift certificate to a local gym.  I have never been into gyms, but I figured I might join one if it was free.  The gym called me a week later to set up an appointment for my tour and so on November 6, 2012 I joined a gym.  Something tells me I'm never going to forget that date.

With my membership came several weeks of free sessions with a personal trainer, also something I'd never thought I'd be interested in, but what can I say?  I'm a sucker for free.  So with a healthy dose of skepticism I began working with a trainer. 

I think a trainer was exactly what I needed.  Sure, he was there to show me how to use the weight machines, correct my form, and count my reps for me, but I think the best thing for me was the accountability and encouragement from somebody who does it for a living and knows what he is talking about.

Since November 6 I have been going to the gym an average of 4 times a week, either for training sessions, by myself, or with one of my amazingly supportive friends/co-workers.  It feels weird to be writing that sentence about myself, but it's completely true.  In the past several weeks I have found that I have more energy and I actually look forward to going to the gym.  I have even gotten up early on the weekend (which admittedly is 9am for me) to go workout.  Yep, I've become one of "those people".

The other big factor in my lifestyle overhaul has been my diet.  I started using a free app/website called Lose It!, where I track my foods and exercises daily, and socialize with others who also have goals to lose weight or be healthy.

I don't have any plans to turn this into a fitness blog or one that only features healthy recipes.  Yeah, my daily eating habits have changed, but I still love spam casserole and chicken french, so I'm gonna keep posing recipes like that, even if they are decadent as hell.  I mean, have you seen the series I did on the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies??  Talk about sugar overload!  Occasionally I want to also throw in some recipes that are healthy, too, but A Dash of Nutmeg's focus is still going to be on food that is just plain awesome.

So, now to the food.

Christmas Coal, Day 7

Coal is not usually something kids look forward to on Christmas, but what kid wouldn't like to find rice crispy treat coal in their stocking on Christmas morning?  Just add a little black coloring to your marshmallow mixture and voila!  And surprise surprise, it's another pinterest recipe! 

1/4 cup butter
10.5 ounce bag mini marshmallows
1/8 tsp. black icing
4 cups rice cereal (regular or cocoa)

In a large pot melt butter and add marshmallows. Stir until melted, add black color and mix in well. Add rice cereal and stir until blended. Drop by small spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Be sure they are in odd shapes. Cool.

Note - If you want a true black color like in the picture you need to use either black icing or food coloring paste, the liquid food coloring is not dark enough for this,

Happy Baking and Merry Christmas!

Mexican Ribbon Cookies, Day 6

Ok, I am taking a break from Pinterest recipes for a while.  Today's entry for the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies blog series is a Mexican-inspired twist to a ribbon cookie recipe.  It's not as pretty to look at as the original because both layers are chocolate, but it's very tasty because who doesn't love chocolate?!

So go ahead and check out my recipe for Mexican Ribbon Cookies, and if you're just joining the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies party you need to click that link to see the rest of the yummy recipes!

Happy Baking and Merry Christmas!

Scandinavian Almond Bars, Day 5

Today's recipe is yet another one I got from Pinterest.  The original source is this recipe.  Can you tell I love Pinterest??

This recipe is really awesome not just because I am Scandinavian, but because it makes a TON of really delicious cookies.  If you love almonds and cookies that aren't super sweet than this is a recipe for you!

Candy Cane Blossoms, Day 4

Another delicious Pinterest find, today's Christmas Cookie comes from fellow food blogger Baked Perfection.  These cookies are as yummy as they are cute!  Like yesterday's Reindeer Noses I think these would be easily adaptable to lots of other seasons and holidays.  And I wish my stepson had been around because I really think he would have had fun helping me bake these - my hands were covered in colored sugar by the time I was done and what little boy doesn't love to make a mess?!


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