Weight Watchers Friendly Pumpkin Spice Muffins

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No..not the Christmasy most wonderful time..the pumpkin-y most wonderful time.  Since I’m pretty much obsessed with pumpkin and all things pumpkin/pumpkin spice flavored and scented, I decided that I needed to get a few recipes involving this glorious ingredient out there.

 

Why pumpkin?

Pumpkin is an amazing ingredient in baking.  I have managed to chop the amount of calories in many desserts simply by using pumpkin as a replacement for most of the fatty ingredients, and the results have been amazing

 

First up for your enjoyment: Weight Watchers Friendly Pumpkin Spice Muffins

 

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Ingredients

  • One box of spice cake mix
  • One can of 100% Pure Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (to taste, but I used 1 Tbsp)

Seriously, that’s all it takes to make these awesome muffins.

 

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven as directed on box (425? I can’t remember exactly, but the box will tell you)
  2. Spray you muffin tins with nonstick spray
  3. Put all 3 ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  4. Blend ingredients.  I used the Kitchen Aid mixer, but you can mix by hand too.  Batter will be thick.
  5. Divide batter evenly making 18 muffins (one whole 12 slot sheet and the middle two rows of another if you don’t have a little 6 muffin pan)
  6. Pans1Use back of spoon to even out the batter in the muffin slots.  You will notice it kind of just sits how it plops because it’s so thick.  It will need a little encouragement to lay down flat.  You don’t necessarily have to do this step, but know that how the batter looks going in the oven is pretty much how it looks coming out, except raised a bit.
  7. Cook for the amount of time recommended on box (I think I did 13 minutes)
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool
  9. Enjoy these deliciously simple muffins 🙂

Cookedmuffins

That’s it.  They’re that simple.  Now for the Points Plus Value of these delicious muffins.

When you make 18 muffins= 3 PPV for 1 muffin; 5 PPV for 2 muffins!

I also did the math for making 24 muffins (2 PPV for 1; 4 PPV for 2) and for 12 muffins (4 PPV for 1; 8 PPV for 2) using the same amount of batter. I went with 18 muffins because it was a little more PPV friendly when I ate two, saving me a whole point.  That makes a world of difference in my book.

These muffins are amazing when you pop them in the microwave for a few seconds.  Have them for breakfast with a bowl of fruit or have them as dessert or a snack.  I love them with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee or tea.  There’s really not much to feel guilty about when you replace the oil and eggs with a vegetable.  🙂  This keeps my tummy happy, my sweet tooth happy and my waistline happy, all at the same time.

Enjoy!

Friday 5: 2 Part Edition

Because I ended up having to be up at 6:30 and off to work some Weight Watchers meetings last Friday morning, I completely forgot to do a Friday 5 post, so this week is the special Friday 10 edition to make up for it.

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Wedding Rings

Erik picked out a wedding ring! After repeatedly telling him he doesn’t have an option when it comes to wearing one (business man who wants to be traveling every week?  Come on..I’m no dummy..) We went back to a high end jeweler we visited once before and after a lot of back and forth, trying different rings on, he narrowed it down to two.  It took me taking one away and saying “what if I told you this was your ring?” to discover that the one I hid was really the one he wanted.  The smile on his face gave away that he was actually excited by the idea of having a ring, and as the bride-to-be, it’s nice to see the occasional bit of excitement show through, even when he’s not putting forth the effort to show it.  It’s those moments that mean the most.

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Rekindling a LUSH-ious Love

My face has been terribly unkind to me lately, so being on my last nerve I decided to make the 30 minute drive to a different mall that contained one of my favorite beauty stores, LUSH, to get my skin some TLC.  I haven’t gone in quite some time because it is a tad pricy, but after making two trips (in one week…I get bored on my days off sometimes) I quickly remembered that it was worth the money, and have found myself falling back in love with a brand that I had ignored for almost a year.  The fresh face masks work wonders on the skin, and my Fresh Pharmacy face soap is trying to rescue my face from disaster.  I picked up a good haul from there, but I will be writing about the products later.  I’m just glad that I rediscovered this cult favorite.  Thank goodness my birthday is coming..

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The Perks of Being A Wallflower

I am a Bath and Body Works addict, and have been since age 11 or so.  I have a strong loyalty to this brand, always have, always will.  That being said, I really disliked their wall flowers for the longest time.  I just felt like they didn’t work. Well, something this time around inspired me to get a fall themed one (Halloween wasn’t out yet) and a few scents I knew I loved just to add a little something to my bedroom.  10 minutes after plugging this baby in my room smelled like their Leaves fragrance like you wouldn’t believe (or maybe you would, if you’re smart unlike me and have been using the wall flowers).  I don’t know why I haven’t been using these, but I promise you this: I will become a collector of seasonal wall flowers to use year round.  These are WONDERFUL.  I’m sorry that I ever doubted you, Bath and Body Works.  It won’t happen again.

Two Week’s Notice

I gave my two week’s notice to Kohls on Tuesday!  It has gotten to the point that going to work for them 4 or 8 hours a week has turned into one of the less productive things i could be doing with my time.  With my studio and Weight Watchers picking up I have really lost the ability to take time to enjoy things like working out, cooking healthy things and blogging.  They have all turned into a chore because of this lack of time, and when the things you do for fun start to not be fun, something has to go.  I’m willing to take the rather tiny hit to my bank account (which won’t be a hit at all if work picks up like it has been) to increase the quality of my day.  Happiness is more important. Bye Bye retail, God willing, forever!

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Saturday at a Dairy Farm

Last Saturday the MBA program had a nice evening planned for the students and their families at a dairy farm about 25 minutes away.  We got to go on a hayride around the farm, where the tour guide stopped along the way and told us about how things work.  They have about 350 cows on the farm, each of which eats 100lbs of food a day!  Craziness.  We even got to see a cow who was expected to have her baby by morning and all of the little newborns.  Major cow cuteness.  Pictured above is a ring of pregnant cows.  The mamas must feel the need to support each other.

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Real Southern Pig Picking BBQ

Guess what else was at this farm??  A real Southern style BBQ, complete with the whole pig on the grill.  I must admit, this is some of the most delicious meat I have ever eaten.  Down South I guess the thing is a vinegar based sauce that gets injected right in.  This meant was tender, juicy, and unlike any BBQ I’ve ever had before. Take a look at that plate: The pig picked pulled pork, mac n cheese, a sweet potato casserole that was decadently delicious, green bean and 3 bean salads and southern potato salad.  Needless to say, I was NOT counting PointsPlus that night.  SO good!

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0 Calorie Cake?!

Product find: Limited edition Chapstick in Velvet Cake and Cake batter flavors.  Surprisingly I like the cake batter one better than the velvet one (shocker, I know!), but they both taste yummy.  I got mine for under $1 at Wal-Mart.  Look for them in the check out line. I will be going to get more.

Mod 1 Finals!

Yesterday Erik finished up his last final of his first module of business school!  Translation: total chaos is part way over.  I refuse to believe it gets better until next year, but many have said once he makes it past interviews for his internship in January he will have more time and more of a life (to spend with his new wife, maybe??).  Finals here are odd, as they all take place in the evening.  All week he has gotten up to go to a review session, most of which he left early, and then came back home only to go take his exam from 6:30-9:30pm!  By the end of the day I would not be motivated to take exams at all.  I give props to you UNC MBA students.  Congrats on getting through Mod 1.  Added bonus: Erik has a day completely off today, which means we get to spend the whole day together shopping, cleaning, making dinner together, and watching a movie.  I think I’m going to make him sit through Hunger Games 😉

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Trader Joe’s Find: BODY Butter??

Yup, you read that right.  There’s this little section in Trader Joe’s that had bath and body products.  I read they had pumpkin body butter and had to check it out.  Turns out this stuff is pretty awesome.  Made with shea butter, coconut oil and pumpkin seed oil, this a nice moisturizing  butter, and the scent is very subtle.  It’s a barely there pumpkin smell so I still get the gratification of wearing a pumpkin flavored product while not having to worry about carrying around an overwhelming scent of food.  The best part: it’s only $4.99 for a big container.  Way to go, Trader Joe’s!

Epic Turtle Jump

Make the most of your small accomplishments.

Happy Friday!

September 2013: Favorite Things and Other Things

I can’t even believe that September had come to a close already!  With the postings of my weekly “Friday 5” I don’t know how much “life stuff” there is to discuss, but lets recap, and I do have some favorites this month (happy day!)

 

Work: The music school has opened up 2 additional days for me to teach.  I originally started with Mondays and Thursdays and quite quickly they threw Wednesday in the mix, and as of a few days ago we agreed to open up my Tuesdays as well.  The Tuesday lessons will take a little bit to get moving because it requires another teacher potentially moving her studio, but the initial planning is out there, which means I can be teaching up to 4 full nights a week.  Good news for my bank account, good news for keeping me busy while Erik is so busy, bad news for actually wanting to do things before 9pm on weeknights.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some, and this is definitely a win.

 

Wedding planning is still in full swing.  The end of October I fly home for my bridal shower and bachelorette party, we purchases Erik’s wedding ring, and I’m starting to look into the smaller details now while RSVP cards show up on a daily basis.  I would say more, but the 4th of October means a wedding post is coming (3 months!)

 

Life at home gets very stressful for us both and that makes it very easy for us to get aggressive and defensive with each other.  Despite all of the stress in the air, we still manage to be in love and looking forward to the wedding.  Once we moved to NC people kept asking us “so, are you still engaged” because it’s the first time we’ve lived in the same state.  While sometimes the stress gets to us, we both are good at trying to take care of each other emotionally when the other is on the verge of breaking down.  Ultimately we rest peacefully knowing that we’re actually surviving the hell of the first half of year one MBA and all that implies and we’re looking forward to just being married and allowing that at home dynamic to change.  If we can survive this period of stressed out chaos, we can survive anything…and we know we’ll survive with flying colors.

 

And now, some favorites things!

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Trader Joe’s Rainbow Macaroons ($4.99 for box of 12)

I am completely obsessed with these delicious cookies!  You might be thinking that $5 for a dozen seems like a steep price, but have you looked for these cookies in bakeries (aka the only other place you can find them)??  They’re $2+ a piece!! Now, they’re good cookies, but that means I’d be paying almost $25 for my box of 12.  So, thanks to TJ’s this is a bargain box for the best cookies around.  They have the light, crisp outside with the soft chewiness as soon as you bite into it.  The flavors in this box are great!  You get 2 of each flavor (espresso, salted caramel, cassias (i think?), raspberry, pistachio, and orange) and they’re simply delicious.  Want to know the best part?  1 point each!! OR 14 Points Plus if you choose to binge on the entire box! Those stats are beyond amazing.  Go to Trader Joe’s and get a box of these right now!  Actually, get two…then send one to me 🙂

 

Pitch Perfect

I FINALLY saw Pitch Perfect.  It was amazing.  The music in this movie was fantastic and listening to it left me very emotionally satisfied.  Being someone who did musical groups my entire life, this was a great way to satisfy the itch of not currently being in one.  A capella music is one of my all time favorite types of music, and that’s all Pitch Perfect consisted of.  If you like music at all and enjoy a good laugh, please go rent this DVD.  It made my voice and my heart sing.

 

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Pumpkin Flavored ANYTHING

I’ve been on a HUGE pumpkin and pumpkin spice kick this month, and I anticipate that flowing right into October as well.  This is just one photo of a few of the pumpkin things I have gotten my hands on (you’ll notice this is clearly a Trader Joe’s haul) but the list goes on, and I intend on finding more.  Tell me what I need to be on the lookout for this season or try making this season.  I’m all ears.  Comment below and make my pumpkin flavored (and scented) day even better!

 

That’s about all I’ve got to wrap up this month.  Look for many more posts come October, as one of my goals is to really get my act together with this blogging business.  I hope everyone had a great September.  See you tomorrow with a post about what’s up this next month! Until then, be happy, my friends.

The Curse of the Black Mold & The Friday 5

The first edition of what I’m going to call my “Friday 5”- 5 thoughts of the week.  Here we go:

The Curse of the Black Mold

Every few days I look in my toilet and see these black streaks that inevitably creep on back despite the toilet’s cleaning a few days before.  The mold here is unlike anything I’ve experienced before.  I actually asked the admin at the music school I work at if this mysterious black toilet ring was normal or if Erik and I were just dirty people and we didn’t realize it.  Thankfully, she explained that for some reason the mold down here likes to take over our world, and she wasn’t kidding.  Every few days I have to wash my cup in the bathroom (you can literally see the curse forming on the bottom), and the once a week I wash the toilet isn’t nearly enough, but any more often feels like a waste of toilet cleaner. And yes, I have one of those toilet tablet things in there too.   I even have to wash the faucets because the mold will actually grow and disrupt water flow in the sink.  Horrifying, disgusting, and now apparently a regular part of my life….

 

 

Bauble Bar Buried Baubles

A recent discovery of mine is Bauble Bar’s Buried Baubles.  Pictured above is the necklace I got today for $10 (and free shipping, always free shipping).  I also have a really cute sparkle cuff coming for the same price.. Oh and by the way, the necklace is usually $28 and the cuff was $30.  Yeah, got them both for $10 each.  Thank you Bauble Bar for helping me expand my accessory collection.  They also have a points plan, meaning for every dollar you spend you get a point (yes, you get points for the buried baubles), and 100 points makes $10 off a purchase.  I love loyalty programs.  Visit Bauble Bar, create an account and get your hands on some buried baubles.

 

Wedding Invitations 

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Pictured above is the box of lovely wedding invitations I got in the mail yesterday thanks to a good friend from church back in Des Plaines, Pam, who has known me as long as I can remember.  I now have the daunting task of getting these babies out in the mail.  With most of the envelope labeling done, I just have to add RSVP envelopes and registry cards (custom made, super cute, should be here in a few days) to each one, get postage and send them on their merry way.  Everything else for the wedding has seemed so simple that this task actually makes me go “wow, this is actually happening!”  A stressful task, but I’m super excited to get these invitations out of my apartment and into the hands of our guests.

It’s Pumpkin Season!!!

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My favorite part of fall is the world turns into a pumpkin flavored world.  The first pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks is an event celebrated by coffee drinkers everywhere.  Okay..maybe not everywhere, but I know many people make it an event, even if it’s one no one else knows about.  My world turns into a pumpkin heaven.  Pumpkin spice coffee creamer, sweet cinnamon pumpkin shower gel, and pumpkin candles takes the edge off of the fact the world is going to get colder soon.

Which brings me to my #5

Summer in September

The last few days it has either passed 90 degrees or gotten quite  close.  While I know the temperatures are still high in many places, once September rolls around I start to dread the inevitable approach of winter.  Yesterday, as I was discussing how cold it was in my studio (and how that made dressing difficult since it was freezing inside and boiling outside) with one of my students, I asked her mother how long it would be until it actually cooled down enough to be considered fall weather.  Her answer: November! Apparently they’ve had Halloweens that were over 80 degrees down here.  Apparently I have to deal with the warmth sticking around for a while longer, and those of you who know me are well aware that this is a happy thing for me 🙂