Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Smoothie

FALL is here!!  And of course, as my favorite season of all, I make all things pumpkin!!   I came across this recipe on Pinterest (follow me if you are on) and just love it~  Perfect as an after workout smoothie or meal substitute I tweaked it a bit to match my tastes, you can too.. but either way, you’ll love the taste of this YUMMY Pumpkin smoothie!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 banana (peeled, frozen, diced)
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup fat free Greek vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup lite vanilla soy milk (or milk of choice)
2 tablespoons of Whey Vanilla Protein Powder
Few shakes of pumpkin spice (Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice)
Few shakes of cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
4-5 ice cubes

Toss all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth… Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

It’s FALL and I’m pulling out all my yummy recipes, including this one for Chicken Pot Pie!  This one is a mix of several pot pie recipes that I’ve tried in the past, but wasn’t happy with… finally, I got it to taste like I wanted!!  Hope you enjoy it as well!
1lb of chicken cut into bite sized pieces
1 ½ cups of Italian salad dressing
1 block of reduced fat cream cheese – cut into small pieces (easier for melting)
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1 bag of mixed vegetables
1 package of Pillsbury Grand’s Biscuits
Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
Cook and stir chicken in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is lightly browned.
Add Italian dressing, chicken stock and cream cheese.  
Add vegetables; cook 1 to 2 min. or until heated through. Simmer for 2 minutes, then spoon into 9-inch pie plate.
Cover with Pillsbury Grand’s Biscuits and cut several slits, allowing heat to come through.  
Bake for 20 to 25 min. or until golden brown.

50 Tips for Baking

I came across this list from and LOVED it - great tips (I learned alot).. hope you do too!

Recipe Ingredients:         
1. Ingredients for cakes should be room temperature (can take out of refrigerator approximately 60-90 minutes before needed).
2. To check freshness of eggs, put in a bowl of water–if they sink, they’re fresh. If they float and stand on one end, they’re not.
3. ”Eggs” typically means Grade A, large eggs.
4. “Milk” typically means homogenized.
5. You can substitute milk with yogurt or sour cream, to experiment with different textures.
6. To create a replacement for buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon vinegar for every cup of homogenized milk and stir.
7. Weighing ingredients with a digital kitchen scale is the most accurate method of baking.
8. 1 large egg white = 37 grams, 1 large egg yolk = 20 grams. Eggs separate best when cold, but whites whip best when room temperature or warm.
9. Egg whites in carton freeze well–just pull out of freezer night before you need them.
10. For best results, use pure vanilla extract (not from grocery stores)–what a difference! Heck, don’t even be afraid to double the vanilla quantity.
11. To bring cold eggs to room temperature quickly, you can put the whole eggs into a bowl of lukewarm water (not hot) for 30 minutes.
12. To bring butter to room temperature quickly, you can cut into small cubes on a plate for about 15 minutes.
13. Semisweet Chocolate = Dark Chocolate.  Bittersweet Chocolate = Extra Dark Chocolate.
14. Semisweet & Bittersweet Chocolate are interchangeable.
15. Unless otherwise listed, use unsalted butter for cake recipes.

16. Incorporate dry ingredients together with whisk before adding to wet ingredients.
17. When creaming butter and sugar, get the mixture very pale yellow and fluffy–will take several minutes (around 5).
18.  Always start and end with dry ingredients when alternating with wet ingredients (3 dry additions, 2 wet).
19. Don’t overmix once dry ingredients are added. Just mix on low speed until incorporated.
20. Kitchen stand-mixers don’t need to run at full-speed. A small mixer should run no more than speed #4, for most things. A large mixer no more than speed #6. You will add years to your mixer’s life!
21. Be careful with your sugar–too much can cause a dark crust (one of several possible causes), too little can cause too light a crust or tough texture.
22. Watch your flour–too much can cause a cracked top (one of several possible causes).
23. Beat egg yolks with fork before adding to batter.
24. To retrieve stray eggshells in mixture, use the emptied half-shell–eggshell sticks to eggshell. If you don’t get them all, they will sink during baking, so you can turn baked cake over when cool and retrieve them. 
25. A pinch of salt brings out the flavours in sweet baked goods.
26. When folding, you should always add the lighter of the two mixtures on top, using a gentle folding motion, to avoid deflating batter.
27. When mixing egg whites for meringue, wipe all untensils and bowl with vinegar or lemon juice on a paper towel before they come in contact with the egg whites (including the mixer whisk attachment). Any trace of grease, will likely jeopordize your meringue.
28. Keep an extra set of rubber spatulas that you use strictly for meringue.
29. Use the electric mixer’s splashguard for liquidy batters–that’s what it’s for!
30. If incorporating more than one flavour into a batter or icing, always start with the vanilla; vanilla enhances most flavours.

Baking Cakes:
31. For evenly-baked cakes, no domed tops, and no-fuss assembly, bake “layer-by-layer.”  This means if you’re baking a 3-layer cake, use 3 of the same size/shape pan, and bake 3 shorter layers at same time.
32. Use a small offset palette knife to spread batter evenly in pans. Don’t fill more than 1/2 full–2/3 at the most.
33. Get a separate oven thermometer for an accurate temperature reading–most ovens are either “hot” or “cold.”
34. Always wait for oven to reach necessary temperature before putting cakes in oven.
35. Keep cakes away from sides of oven, and if possible a few inches from each other (when more than 1 baking at once).
36. Rotate cakes after 20  minutes in oven (don’t disturb before 20 minutes).
37. Use middle rack, unless otherwise stated in recipe.
38. Typically, when in oven, cakes are nearing done when you can smell cake in the kitchen. Sounds weird, but you’ll see!
39.  Leave cakes in oven when testing for “doneness.” When a skewer comes clean from center of cake, it’s done.
40. Don’t overbake! This is one sure way to end up with a dry cake.

Cooling & Frosting:
41. Let full cakes cool in pans on wire racks for 20 minutes before removing from pans.
42. Remove cupcakes from pan immediately, placing individual cupcakes on wire rack to cool.
43. Once completely cooled, wrap cake layers in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 minutes before cutting and/or icing.
44. Always place cake on a thin foil-covered cake board the same size/shape as the cake for ease of icing/serving, etc.
45. Brush away any stray cake crumbs with silicone pastry brush before icing.
46. Apply even layers of filling using an 18″ pastry bag and large round tip.
47. Apply thin layer of icing to seal in crumbs, then place in refrigerator for 30 minutes before second layer of icing.
48. Use an offset palette knife/icing spatula for frosting top of cake, and straight palette knife/icing spatula for sides of cake. Use a bench scraper for super-smooth edges.
49. If you don’t have time for frosting your cake, a good sprinkling of powdered sugar does wonders! Tastes and looks great on most cakes.
50. To give your frosted cake a glossy finish, you can use a hair-dryer on medium heat over the outside of the cake (right before serving).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

As you know, I am an AVID lover of coffee, and when I came across this recipe, I was intrigued to try it – trust me, this is The BEST Coffee Cake EVER, and I’ve tried a lot of recipes!! This cake is super moist and deliciously yummy!!  You’ll definitely love the smell of your house when this is in the oven!!!   Don’t forget to pour yourself a cup of coffee with it and invite me over! J
Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1 (12 oz.) container of sour cream (I use reduced-fat)
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
Topping Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of  brown sugar
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs to the mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream and vanilla.  Mix until combined.
Then pour half of the batter into a greased 9″x13″ baking pan, and sprinkle with half of the topping. 
Add the remainder of the batter on top, and sprinkle with the remaining topping.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
NOTE:  The batter will be pretty sticky, so I recommend adding your second layer in small spoonfuls all over the pan (rather than just adding the remaining batter in one big blob).  This will make it easier to spread out over the cinnamon-sugar layer.
Recipe courtesy of:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

So it’s officially FALL (hooray) and I’m digging through some of my favorite pumpkin recipes… this one was requested by a friend today, so I thought I’d post!
This has got to be the easiest recipe EVER – 3 ingredients only and bam, they are done (and delicious).  My kids ask me to make dozens of these every year!  I'm sure you'll love them too!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 (15 ounce) can solid pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 (18 ounce) box spice cake mix
1 (12 ounce) package of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together pumpkin and spice cake until well blended. (Do not add the rest of the ingredients on the back of the spice cake box) Once mixed, toss in the chocolate chips to the mix. (You can also add nuts or white chocolate chips if you’d like!)
With a cookie spoon, drop cookies on greased baking sheet.  The consistency is unlike any cookie mix, so don’t freak out – this will be a moist cookie!!
Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Old Fashion Pecan Praline Sauce

So, I LOVE ice-cream… and what’s ice-cream without a YUMMY topping!  Well, here’s one that you’ve gotta try (perfect for gifts on a budget too, now that Christmas is coming)  Even if you don't like pecans, the creamy(ness) of this sauce will make your ice-cream SO much better!!   Great topping for apples, bread pudding, cakes and muffins as well!!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
7 tablespoons of butter (divided)
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of flour
3/4 cup light of corn syrup
2/3 cup of evaporated milk (heaven)
Place chopped pecans in a microwave dish with 3 Tablespoons butter. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes, stirring twice. Watch the pecans closely to not burn them.
In another microwave safe bowl (I use a glass batter bowl because it has a lip for pouring) place remaining butter and heat until melted.  Whisk in brown sugar, flour, and light corn syrup until blended.  Cook on high 6-8 minutes, stirring twice, until the sugar is dissolved.
Add in 2/3 cup of evaporated milk and the pecans, stir well.
Pour into jars. Keep sauce refrigerated and to reheat slightly in microwave to pour over ice cream.
Add a tag and you’ve got some sweet little gifts! Consider packaging with a cool ice cream scoop to make it extra special.

Yields: 3 cups of sauce

Recipe Courtesy of: Skip to my Lou

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Curly Top Fabulous Find

So, I came across these fabulous gems today at the store… They are made by KRAFT and are called “Jet-Puffed Stacker Marshmallows”.   I am IN-LOVE with the thought behind these little goodies… what a clever idea in making s’mores a whole lot easier!  These marshmallows are the PERFECT size for stacking with chocolate and a graham cracker, possibly a drizzle of NUTELLA as well… mmmm, these just make me want to pack up the kids and our swimsuits and take a trip to Newport Beach for a bonfire!   Happy s’moring!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Best Blondies EVER!!

Who said that you have to be blonde to enjoy a “BLONDIE”?? Well, this brunette has a pretty YUMMY recipe that I’m sure you’ll love. This has been my "go to" recipe for over a year now, and I'm still crazy for it. Add in mixes can create a whole new taste, I prefer them with NUTELLA, but that’s just me, I listed several choices below… regardless of the add in, they are D-licious!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Nutella – optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper (makes removing easier)

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add both sugars and whisk until combined and sugar is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly drizzle in the butter and sugar while whisking constantly. Then add the flour and whisk until just incorporated.

*Now, at this point you could fold in your favorite add-ins: chocolate chips, milk chocolate chunks, nuts, M&M's, etc..

*To make Nutella Swirl Blondies: Pour the batter into the prepared dish, then drop spoonfuls of Nutella over the surface. (I did probably 9-10 spoonfuls) Swirl the batter in the pan making “S” shapes with a butter knife.

*Other optional add-ins and drop-ins? You could swirl in peanut butter or caramel. Or you could make a batch of cookie dough (my favorite would be peanut butter cookie dough or double chocolate chip cookie dough) and press chunks of cookie dough down into the batter. The options are limitless! :)

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top cracks slightly and is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist pieces clinging to it. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Or until you can’t stand it anymore and have to dig in!

Recipe courtesy of:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Bread

So, I came across this recipe on my Pinterest account, and fell in-love! If you know me, I LOVE NUTELLA, maybe, Love is an understatement!?! Let’s just say that it makes me giggly inside to find a new Nutella recipe… and now that FALL is here, what better combination to add to pumpkin! YUM, trust me, this is heavenly!!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons Nutella (2 tablespoons per mini loaf) ***see note below

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 4 mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and extracts. Whisk until smooth and combined.

4. Slowly stir in the flour mixture. Mix until ingredients are combined.

5. Pour the batter into the mini loaf pans, making sure batter is evenly divided. Drop 2 heaping tablespoons of Nutella onto each loaf pan. Swirl the Nutella into the pumpkin batter with a knife. Place the loaf pans onto a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Place the loaf pans on a wire rack. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then carefully remove the loaves. Cool completely before slicing.

*Note-You can make regular size loaves. This recipe should make 2 8×4 loaves. Adjust baking time to about 60 minutes. You can also make muffins, baking between 15-20 minutes. I also recommend adding additional Nutella in the middle of you muffins or loaves (oh yea). Just fill the pan half way and swirl in some Nutella just like the recipe calls for on top.

Recipe courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Italian Pizzelle Cookies

Ok, this has taken the regular PIZZELLE to a whole notha level!  You can use this recipe for the traditional pizzelle Italian cookie (which is yummy on its own) or kick it up a notch by adding NUTELLA (my tummy is smiling) and vanilla bean ice cream!  Either way, you WILL enjoy this Italian treat!
Note: You will need a Pizzelle iron
Here’s what you’ll need:
6 eggs
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
Powdered sugar for garnishment
Nutella Spread (use as much as you’d like)
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until light. Add the sugar, butter, lemon zest and vanilla, mix well. Stir in the flour and baking powder.
Heat the pizzelle iron. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto the center of the patterns, close the lid and cook for about 30 seconds. Test the cooking time on the first one, because temperatures may vary. Remove cookies carefully from the iron and cool on wire racks.
At this point, if you want the tradional cookie, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar!
Spread cooled cookie with NUTELLA (oh yea) and vanilla bean ice cream – add a second cookie on top to make a delicious treat!
Yield: 1 ½ dozen pizzelle’s

Apple Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut muffins… I was intrigued just by the title… does it count as a doughnut or a muffin – I see a donut as a treat, and a muffin as a breakfast food… so how happy was I to have both in one (and be able to enjoy my dessert in the morning!)  Give these a try, I’m sure you’ll love them!!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of whole wheat flour
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 3/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Olive oil, sugar and cinnamon for brushing on top of muffins
1/2 pint spiced apple butter  (ah yea)
Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease and flour a mini or regular muffin tin.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, combine the milk and vinegar.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat the butter, olive oil and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add one quarter of the dry ingredients and one third of the liquid ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Repeat until only 1/4 of the dry ingredients remains. Fold in the last of the dry ingredients, mixing until just blended.
Pour into muffin tin up to the rim.   Bake 12-16 minutes for mini, 15-20 for regular. Allow to cool in the pan for 3-5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the muffins are still warm, brush each top with olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
When the muffins have cooled, use a plastic bag filled with apple butter and fitted with a pastry tip to poke a hole in the muffins and fill with apple butter.  (the best for last)
Grab a cup of coffee AND a glass of milk and enjoy!!!
Recipe courtesy of:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fruit Pizza

So, everyone loves pizza, right?? Well how about pizza for dessert?  Here’s an oldie but goodie that I’m sure your family will love!   Perfect for any party get-together!  The sugar cookie crust is perfect!!   This can be as versatile as you’d like by switching out the fruit, jelly and cream cheese topping!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup of sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla
2 kiwifruit, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup halved or quartered fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup apple jelly

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. In pan, break up cookie dough; press dough evenly in bottom of pan to form crust. Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Spread mixture over cooled crust. Arrange fruit over cream cheese. Stir jelly until smooth; spoon or brush over fruit. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. To serve, cut into wedges or squares. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pizza.
Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mini Cannoli's Cream Pastry Cups

HOLY CANNOLI!!    I love cannoli’s... and when I find a really good one, my heart jumps with excitement!!  This recipe makes me remember the trip that Mark and I took to Boston a few years ago... had THE BEST cappuccino and cannoli in their Little Italy, I wanted to order a whole box of them and take them home...Lord knows they wouldn’t have lasted all the way back to Vegas!! J 
This is a great and EASY recipe for bite sized cannoli’s – very impressive too!  Trust me, they won’t last long at any party!

Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Filling:

1 container (15 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese – if you can find this at an Italian Deli/Store... its 100 time’s better!!

½ cup of powdered sugar

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

½ of teaspoon vanilla – I use PURE vanilla

For the Cups:

1 box of refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box (for a healthy alternative, use phyllo dough)

3 tablespoons of turbinado sugar (raw sugar)

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

For the Garnish:

¼ cup of miniature semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Additional powdered sugar

  • In large bowl, beat all filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Place filling in 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag; refrigerate while making cups.
  • Heat oven to 425°F. On lightly floured work surface, unroll pie crusts. Sprinkle each crust with turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Lightly roll rolling pin over sugar and cinnamon to press into pastry. With 2 1/2- to 3-inch round cutter, cut out pastry rounds. Lightly press each pastry round into ungreased mini muffin cup.
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until pastry cups are golden brown. Cool completely in pans, about 15 minutes. Remove from muffin cups to cooling racks.
  • Just before serving, remove filling from refrigerator. Cut 1 bottom corner off bag; pipe scant tablespoon filling into cooled pastry cups. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Serve immediately.  (if taking to a party, fill when you get there to prevent them from getting soggy)
  • Store any remaining pastry cups at room temperature and filling in refrigerator.
Recipe courtesy of
 (Here's the picture of me in Boston, enjoying the Cannoli's experience)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cookie Doughlicious

Here’s a super easy dessert that your kids can help with…and if you’re not too savvy in the kitchen, you’ll feel like you are after making this!  Just enough cookie dough and chocolate to make your tummy smile and your family or friends think you are “genius” for coming up with this recipe!!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
1 container (1/2 gallon) cookie dough ice cream
2 cups of Cookie Crisp cereal
2/3 cup hot fudge topping


Heat oven to 350°F.

Line 13x9-inch pan with heavy-duty foil, extending foil over sides of pan. In pan, break up cookie dough. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan to form crust.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove ice cream from freezer; place in refrigerator to soften.
Spread softened ice cream evenly over cooled crust. Top evenly with cereal; press lightly into ice cream.
Place hot fudge topping in small re-sealable food-storage plastic bag; partially seal bag. Cut small hole in bottom corner of bag. Squeeze bag to drizzle topping over dessert. Freeze at least 1 hour or until firm before serving.
Use foil to lift dessert from pan. Cut into squares.
Recipe courtesy of

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Apple Caramel Cheesecake - oh my~

Apples, Caramel AND Cheesecake all in one?  I am SO there!!  And you will be also!  This is one of my favorite cheesecake recipes, mainly because it’s low in fat; well kind of…no one will miss the reduced calories… Perfect for any occasion! 
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 cookie sheets)
1 tablespoon egg white
1 tablespoon water
Cooking spray
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup light sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1 3/4 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces)
Dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400°.
To prepare crust, combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss with a fork until moist. Press mixture lightly into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 6 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack. Wrap outside of pan with a double layer of foil. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
To prepare cheesecake, place 1 3/4 cups sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fat-free cream cheese) in food processor; process until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time; process until blended. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan. Place springform pan in a large roasting pan; add hot water to larger pan to a depth of 1 inch.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Remove from oven; let stand in water bath 10 minutes. Run a knife around outside edge of cheesecake. Remove pan from water bath; cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
To prepare topping, combine 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and lemon juice in a small, heavy saucepan; cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Cook 4 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat. Add butter to pan; gently stir until butter melts. Stir in half-and-half. Cool slightly.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add apple to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in sugar mixture and nutmeg. Serve topping with cheesecake.
Recipe adapted from Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light  9/08,