Mini Cherry Cheesecake Bites

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As magical as pregnancy can be, I am just about ready for this one to be over- 38 weeks, tired, uncomfortable and in need of a good workout (and a good glass of wine!). I am not even that excited about Holiday eating because there isn’t much room in my belly for it. What I am saying is I don’t think this will be my year of desserts. Maybe I will save the splurge calories for post-baby when I have room and am burning even more calories nursing.

I do love a good cheesecake so I might make an exception for my favorite pumpkin cheesecake….but when I was thinking of cheesecake I remembered these adorable mini cherry cheesecake bites that I made for the first time years ago. It’s a quick and easy Holiday dessert recipe to have on hand so I thought I’d share with you!

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They are just so cute and festive and the recipe makes a good amount so they are perfect for a party. They make a nice addition to a cookie tray and if you are good with portion control then you’re in luck!

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I am curious what everyone has on the menu this year for Christmas Eve and Christmas day?

Growing up, on Christmas Eve we used to do lots of appetizers and maybe rolls with a ham for sandwiches. I remember there always being a 7-layer type Mexican dip- sometimes cold, sometimes hot. Loved that as a kid!

When it’s just my family celebrating we have done Mexican food on Christmas eve, like homemade enchiladas or tamales along with traditional Mexican side dishes, we have also done heavy appetizers. Then on Christmas day we usually do a similar version Thanksgiving food. This year my parents will be arriving just in time for Christmas Eve (and crossing my fingers baby doesn’t come before then!) and I have put them in charge of the menu. So I really have no idea what we’ll be doing this year.

Since I celebrated Thanksgiving twice this year I feel pretty content and don’t feel the need to make all those dishes again.

Mini Cherry Cheesecake Bites

Yield: ~3-4 dozen

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 packages (8-ounce) cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 12-ounce package Vanilla wafers
  • Mini baking cup liners, aluminum works best (despite the picture)
  • 1 21-ounce can Cherry pie filling

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined, stir in vanilla and lemon juice.
  3. Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each mini aluminum baking cup, rounded side down (they won't lay perfectly flat).
  4. Spoon the batter evenly over the wafers.
  5. Bake for ~15 minutes or until edges appear set; remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Top with cherry pie filling and refrigerate.

Notes

I have researched other recipes similar to this and some people complain of the cookie wafers not fitting into the mini cup. When I placed the cookie in, round side down, it stretched out the liner a little but ended up working out just fine. You could also break up the wafer or crush them in a food processor or plastic bag and sprinkle a little into the bottom. If you use the sturdy mini aluminum liners you can place them directly onto a cookie sheet if you don't have mini muffin pans. Also, you may use graham cracker crumbs mixed with melted butter and a little sugar as the crust in place of the cookie wafer.

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

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Anyway, I’d love to hear what you are doing for your Holiday meals?! P.S. Say a quick prayer for me that I don’t go into labor in the next 6 days! Thanks!

Chocolate Almond Microwave Mug Cake

Chocolate Almond Mug Cake

So I saw some lady on Martha Stewart, or maybe it was Oprah, like 10 years ago (I think, I don’t really know when it was but it was a long time ago) and she was making individual microwave mug cakes. I thought the idea was kind of silly and figured the cake would taste pretty bad. Fast forward all these years, I don’t know what possessed me to revisit the idea but I looked up recipes online and decided to make my own adaptation. Oh.My.Goodness. Why did I wait so long to try this?

Several of the ones I looked at had 3 Tablespoons of butter (per cake). Yikes! And I am in no way implying that is is a low fat cake. It is not. It is meant to be rich and yummy (and super easy) and would be perfect to share with a friend. I think you all know me by now and from my history of recipes shared, that I love healthy food, but am totally ok with splurges. I don’t try to make everything super light because typically those dessert fake-outs don’t fake out my taste buds. That’s just me though.

Chocolate Almond Mug Cake

Instead of using butter I substituted some of the fat with the healthy kind from natural almond butter and kept around 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to keep it moist and rich, but again, this is not meant to be one of those crazy healthy make-overs. It’s still a cake and has plenty of fat in it. Just want to make sure we are all clear on that because when the Dietitian recommends a cake, I don’t want to mislead anyone! Haha.

This is what you need to make it (minus the mini chocolate chips)!

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If you don’t have almond butter you could try Nutella! If you have nut allergies, you could omit the ingredient altogether (note: I haven’t tried it that way but have seen other recipes).

(This is the second cake I made, the first one I pressed the chocolate chips into the batter, this one I did not. Didn’t matter much but I kind of liked the chocolatey coating when the chips were just sprinkled on top)

Chocolate Almond Mug Cake

What is just amazing is that this cake is ready in under 5 minutes! Oh and the fact that it’s rich and delicious is crazy too. I NEVER would’ve believed! I had to make it 4 times to get the recipe the way I wanted it and I was very pleased with the final version. The key in my opinion is not microwaving it too long. The first three times I did 1 minute and although it was tasty, it was a tad bit too dry. You’ll think it should look dry like cake does, but don’t make that mistake. I ended up preferring 45 seconds (can you believe this cooked it under 1 minute?!). You want it to look just slightly undercooked (think chocolate lava cake).

I will have to experiment with making a healthier version of this but I’m not making any promises, lol! Enjoy this as a treat, when you have a hankering for chocolate pronto, especially when you don’t feel like baking a big ol’ cake which is great because then you won’t be tempted by leftovers. Make sure to eat it warm and share with a loved one to cut back on some calories!

Make this soon, and please when you do, come back here and tell me how good it was and how you will love (and hate) me forever for encouraging you to make cake.

Chocolate Almond Microwave Mug Cake

A reminder to those who missed this post about ZipList’s online recipe box, see that save recipe button on my recipe below? If you click that you can save the recipe to an online recipe box powered by ZipList (if you look up in the top menu, the far right says “Recipe Box” and that is where you can access ALL your saved recipes. Look for it on your favorite blogs and websites because once you create your box you can access it from any blog or website that uses ZipList.

It’s a great feature for those of you who want to save recipes in one handy accessible space. I am still working on getting all my old recipes set up in the new format so you might come across some that don’t have it. I am sorry, I will try to get to all of them.

I also like the “save recipe” feature because if I ever update a recipe you will always have the most up-to-date version versus if you were to print off the recipes. Check it out!

Chocolate Almond Mug Cake

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Yield: plenty for 2 to share

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tablespoons self rising flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons natural almond butter
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/2 extra-large egg or 1 medium (beat in a separate bowl and add to mixture)
  • 2 teaspoons mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a small bowl. Pour half of batter into mug, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips. Pour remaining batter on top and sprinkle with another teaspoon of chocolate chips.
  2. Microwave for 45 seconds (more or less depending on the strength of your microwave).
  3. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle of chocolate syrup and/or a scoop of ice cream.

Notes

Re cooking time, obviously all microwaves have different strengths. I imagine the low end cooking time would be 30 seconds and the high end would be ~1 minute 30 seconds. Just keep checking every 10-15 seconds or so until you figure out what works for you. Mine cooked perfectly in 45 seconds. The more you microwave it, the drier you're cake will be. You want it to look a little glossy on top- think chocolate lava cake. You could even add some frosting to the top of this if you want!

If you don't have almond butter, you could sub Nutella. For those with nut allergies, you could omit the almond butter.

Self-rising flour is just all-purpose flour mixed with salt and baking powder. If you don't have any (but I highly suggest keeping some in your pantry) I will update this recipe in the next couple weeks with the ratio of all-purpose flour to salt and baking powder. Check back!

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Please PIN and share this recipe! Spreading the word about Nutritious Eats helps me to continue creating recipes to share with you! Thank you!

Question: Have you ever tried the microwave mug cake? Are you skeptical like I was? Have you ever used Zip List to save your recipes?

Happy 2nd Birthday Nutritious Eats + a GIVEAWAY!

Nutritious Eats turned TWO last month. I meant to celebrate earlier but I’ve already mentioned how crazy October is for our family. I can’t believe that I have only been blogging for 2 years yet I can’t believe how fast the time has flown. I dreamed of starting this blog years before I actually did. I would sit at work (on my breaks of course) and look for available domain names. Of course all the potential blog names from my original list were already taken. It literally took over a year to find a free name and one that I really liked. Come to think of it now, it would be fun to look back at that list to see what I hoped for in a name because of course now I can’t imagine anything but Nutritious Eats.

Why did I want to start a food blog? I’ve always loved to eat but my passion for cooking was really ignited when I was newly married and living in San Diego. I didn’t have kids yet and would spend any extra time watching the Food Network. I couldn’t get enough. I was working as a Dietitian at the time (in the wellness/weight management/corporate sector) and I wanted a place to send my clients for great recipes. I remember trying to describe healthy meals I had made for me and the hubs, but it wasn’t enough, I wanted to show them.

Fast forward a couple years, I had my second child and had to cut down on my work hours. Being a stay-at-home mom was more important and just made more sense financially. Then we moved to Hawaii and I still hadn’t gotten around to starting the blog yet but I figured it would be the perfect time (being a stay-at-home mom) and I could start doing some online consulting too. That never happened because I simply never had the time. It would take hiring a babysitter to get any hours free for consulting. In the end, I was home with the kids and needed, I mean really needed, a creative outlet. I finally got organized, found a name that I liked and started a food blog. I knew I wanted to share healthy, scratch-made recipes, but also some delicious splurge-worthy recipes too. If you have read my about page you know that I love food way too much to omit food groups from my diet.

I want my readers and clients to have a healthy relationship with food and have the desire and inspiration to make healthy eating and cooking a priority in their life. That is why I focus on recipes rather than nutrition articles. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so to me sharing healthy recipes speaks volumes. You might find it challenging at times, but you won’t regret the effort you make trying to cook food at home. It will nurture you inside and out and living a healthy lifestyle will fall into place.  I hope I have inspired some of you to cook more, eat healthfully and be a little more adventurous in the kitchen.

What have a learned from blogging? It’s hard yet very rewarding! Cooking, taking pretty pictures, creating recipes from scratch and writing  is definitely time consuming, but I am thankful for some of the job opportunities it has provided me with. I am also so very thankful for the friends I have made blogging. I have contacts all over the world through blogging and it is such a wonderful supportive community. That is truly something I never imagined! It’s so easy to compare yourself to other more successful bloggers but in the end I am doing this for me. I come here just as much as a loyal reader might to look up my favorite recipes and meal plan….and for that alone I am content.

I do hope you feel welcome to grow with me by commenting, keeping in touch, letting me know what you’d like to see more of or what you don’t like. I love my readers but if I don’t ever hear from you it’s hard to know where to go with future content. It might not seem like it to you when you read blogs, but blogging is definitely meant to be a two-way street. I was once that person that only stalked read blogs until finally I learned how much more fun it was when I got to know the blogger and that was by interacting with them….whether it’s through twitter, facebook, blog comments or instagram. Don’t be shy…just say hi!! (ok I did not mean for that to rhythm but it does and now it will be stuck in my head).

My goals for the next year:

  • double my readership (yikes!)
  • be consistent with 3 posts a week (recipes and increase my fitness posts)
  • start online nutrition consults
  • study food photography and styling
  • improve open communication and dialogue with my readers
Now onto the good stuff! the recipe and giveaway! 
P.S. Before I forget, please make sure to visit my last post where I will send you some love mail if you leave a comment: a recipe for roasted acorn squash sent on a Thanksgiving card from Cardstore! Very fun idea I think.

I baked these cupcakes for my oldest son’s 6th birthday last month along with the dinosaur cake I shared with you. I know a lot of you have seen these on Pinterest or have made them yourselves but if you haven’t, keep them in mind for your next party! The kids went crazy for them.  My tradition is that I made the kids’ birthday cakes from scratch for all birthdays- they don’t have to be fancy or impressive but they do have to taste good. Since these were just extras made for the neighbors (and I wasn’t even sure we’d use them since we didn’t really organize a party this year) I threw them together with a boxed cake and an easy homemade cream cheese frosting that was delicious. Doesn’t it look like ice cream? I totally tricked the kids.

Use any cake recipe of your choice to make them! Oh and I will warn you now because nobody warned me….these suckers are UNSTABLE so if you plan on moving them around they will fall straight onto the floor causing loads of unnecessary cursing. I tried sticking them through foil to help secure them to the tray but in the end they were still very top heavy. Try to: 1) secure them to a tray using frosting or something that will stick 2) not to move them from place to place!

Ice Cream Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box cake mix, I used Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip
  • Vegetable oil, water and eggs per directions on box
  • 24 flat bottom ice cream cones
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make cake batter recipe of choice. Place paper baking cups in 24 regular size muffin pan. Divide batter evenly among cups (two-thirds full).
  2. Place ice cream cone upside down on batter in each cup. Bake according to recipe directions or until toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Let cool for 30 minutes, remove paper cups, generously frost and decorate as desired.
  4. For the frosting
  5. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. With the mixer on low, add the confectioners' sugar slowly until all the sugar is combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the vanilla and beat the mixture on high until very smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Use immediately or refrigerate, wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week and let the frosting come to room temperature before using.

Notes

Cones may tilt on batter during cooking- they will still look fine once frosted.

Recipe Source: Cake recipe from Betty Crocker website, Frosting recipe from Mom's Big Book of Baking

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and to those of you who have stuck around to this far….you can’t have a birthday celebration without presents! I wish I could send all my loyal readers a treat but that’s not possible so one of you lucky people will win the giveway….a $50 Lululemon gift card (one of my absolute favorite fitness clothing stores) and your choice of magazine subscription:  Eating Well or Vegetarian Times.

 

  

If you are not familiar with Lululemon get ready to fall in love! It’s pricey but super high quality. Below are some things in the $50 range (I think the leggings are more) just to give you an idea. How cool are those arm warmers for the cool weather? Those are definitely going on my wish list. Also the bra, Ta Ta Tamer is one of my very favorites. I am sure you will find something you like. They also have men’s clothes and always offer FREE SHIPPING!

The giveaway will start today Friday, November 16th and ends Wednesday November 21st at 12:00pm CST

Giveaaway Details: $50 giftcard to Lululemon and subscription to your choice of magazine:  Eating Well or Vegetarian Times

MANDATORY ENTRY: Leave a comment telling me what your Thanksgiving plans are!

OPTIONAL ENTRIES: You can earn additional entries by doing one, or all, of the following (leave a separate comment after you complete each item; each comment will count as an entry). If you already follow via any of the ways listed, just leave me a comment telling me so and that will count as an entry.

1. Follow Nutritious Eats on Twitter  AND tweet  the following: ” I want to win a $50 Lululemon gift card and a magazine subscription from @nutritiouseats http://wp.me/p150Ow-25d #giveaway ”

2. Follow Nutritious Eats- either by subscribing to receive emails (box at the top right side of my blog) OR Follow via RSS ( if you already do just let me know and that counts as an entry!)

3. Follow Nutritious Eats on Instagram 

4. Follow Nutritious Eats on Pinterest

5. Share this post on any social media platform

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Giveaway open to US and Canada residents. One winner will be chosen at random and will be notified by email and have 48 hours to claim prize or another winner will be selected.

GOOD LUCK!

Last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to all of my supporters, blogging friends and fans who share my blog and recipes with others and come back for more! You have made these 2 years of blogging so very rewarding. XOXO


 Items provided in giveaway were purchased with my own money. I have no affiliation with Lululemon, Eating Well or Vegetarian Times Magazine.