Easy Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies (3 smart points)!


Seems like we are right in the middle of autumn here in the Pacific Northwest. Everywhere I go I see pumpkin flavored everything, seriously everything has a pumpkin flavor now. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy pumpkin, but I’m more of a “enjoy pumpkin in more common things” kind of person. You know what I’m saying😉

So anyway, I have seen everywhere the idea where you mix canned pumpkin with a box of spice cake mix for muffins but what if you make cookies with the same ingredients…🤔

Turns out YES you can! It is a great, easy, low point weight watcher way to make some pumpkin cookies. See recipe below:

1 box Spice cake mix

15 oz of canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

1 cup Chocolate chips

Any added spices 😉 

Heat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients and mix thouroghly. Scoop out dough onto lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes.

I got 36 cookies from one batch making them 3 weight watcher smart points each. However, if you don’t add the Chocolate chips they would be much less in points.

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Easy 4th of July Cake

Happy 4th of July to you all!

We had a party to go to with friends of ours and I was looking for a quick and easy dessert to make while the baby napped and Little Diva read. I found this recipe taken originally from the Betty Crocker site.

  • 1 box (15.25 oz.) white cake mix, and ingredients to make as directed
  • Red food coloring
  • Blue food coloring
  • 1 container (12 oz.) white frosting
  • Sprinkles to decorate, optional
1. Preheat oven according to cake mix directions.
2. Make cake batter as directed on box, using water, oil and egg whites. Divide batter in 3 containers. Dye one part with red food coloring, the second part with blue food coloring and leave the third white.
3. Pour red cake batter into bottom of greased bunt pan. Carefully pour the white batter over red batter in pan. Then pour blue batter over white batter. 
When you add the batter to the pan, Do Not Mix. Just pour it in so the colors rest on top of each other in the pan.
4. Bake as directed on box or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake completely, about 30-45  minutes.
5. When cake is cool, divide the frosting evenly into 3 microwavable bowls. Microwave 1 bowl of frosting uncovered on HIGH a few seconds until smooth enough to drizzle over cake. With spoon, drizzle all of the 1st bowl of microwaved frosting all over the cake, back and forth around the cake in a striping pattern. Repeat microwaving second bowl of frosting until smooth. Stir in a few drops of the blue food coloring until well blended. Drizzle over cake, scattering back and forth. Repeat with remaining frosting and red food coloring, making sure red, white and blue can be seen on the cake. Sprinkle with red, white and blue sprinkles, if desired.

Easy / Healthy Strawberry Balsamic Salad (Low Weight Watchers Points Too!)

Easy Strawberry Balsamic Salad

I don’t know about you but I am really getting burned out on salad this summer.  So I was trying to play around with something new. I really wanted to use strawberries, especially since we had a few pounds of them in the fridge that had to be used up. Also I was looking for something that would be low in fat and calories, so that would also be a great weight watchers recipe.
After a few tries, I think I did it!
I figured it was only about 2 points plus on the weight watchers scale.  Now please keep in mind that I didn’t use the whole bag of spinach and this recipe made enough for 4 salads.

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Chopped Strawberries
1/4 Cup Balsamic Glaze
1 Bag of fresh Spinach
Optional – 1/4 Cup Fat Free Feta Cheese
1 Tbsp Pine Nuts

  • In a small pan heat up balsamic glaze for about 3 minutes on medium-medium/low heat.
  • Then add strawberries to glaze. Let strawberries and glaze cook together for about 5 minutes on medium/low heat. Remove from heat.
  • On small plates place desired amount of spinach.
  • Drizzle strawberry glaze over spinach.
  • Top with a few sprinkles of feta cheese and pine nuts if you like for some added flavor and texture.
    Enjoy!

Weight Watchers/Low Fat – Pineapple “Dream” Cakes

Well school is officially out, my girl scout troop has bridged up the brownies, the garden is growing and the weather here in the Pacific North West is much hotter than normal…yup summer has arrived like a relative kicking in the front door. BAM!
Along with all that summer brings are also the day dreams…
For some these day dreams include the beach, the smell of coconut oil and the sounds of waves and seagulls.  Others may think of breathing mountain air, the sounds of woodpeckers and walking through a forest.  But my family’s day dreams mostly consist of eating a Dole Whip from Disneyland while washing our hands at the kitchen sink for the 6th time that day with that island pineapple scented foaming soap from Bath & Body works.

So, I was digging around in my pile of recipes to see if I could make a low fat (weight watcher friendly version) of something that had that pineapple flare to it.  Something to make that was different, refreshing, healthy and satisfying.
I finally came across a recipe that is an oldie but goodie. My mom used to make it years ago and after talking to a few fellow weight watcher meeting pals they have heard of it too but never tried it.
It’s such an easy recipe, and the little cakes are so good they feel like a little treat but are not overly sweet that they taste great for a snack.
A great thing about this recipe…it’s only 2 ingredients and thats it!
But the best thing ever about this recipe is that each “cake” or”muffin” (whatever you call it) is only 1 ww pts+!!!

**6/29/16 UPDATE- 4 Smart Points per cake**

IMG_3219Ingredients:
1 Box Angel Food Cake
1 20 oz Can Crushed Pineapple

Mix both ingredients together well in large bowl.
Scoop mix into 24 cupcake lined muffin or brownie pans.
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes

Makes: 24 regular sized muffins
IMG_3225(I apologize my pictures did not come out too well, so I will have some update ones on here in about a week or so)

Weight Watcher/Low Calorie – Cool Whip Cookies

Lately I have been in such a cooking rut…
I look at the upcoming week on the calendar and stare blankly, always thinking “I need to try to make some new stuff”.
April was, and still is, such a busy month for my family and I haven’t been the greatest, so motivation has been semi-low.  I have been looking everywhere for some inspiration for great new low calorie and weight watcher friendly ideas, I don’t mind tweaking a recipe to make it fit better for me and my family.
After looking at Pinterest (for way too long), old magazines and cookbooks I decided to just do it and dedicate about 20 minutes a day to find something new to try for the next coming week….we will see how long I can stick with this👍

I’ve seen so many recipes for cakes that use the cake mix, some cool whip and another wet ingredient such as pineapple, soda etc.  I think I have finally found a great cookie recipe! It’s only 1 wwpts+ and about 50 calories each!😉

**6/29/16 UPDATE-4 Smart Points per cookie or 3 Smart Point per cookie if made with no powdered sugar**
So here is all you need and what to do:
1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix
2 Eggs
16oz Fat Free Cool Whip
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine cake mix, Cool Whip and eggs in bowl and mix until well combined.
Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one hour.
Drop by using small cookie scoop into powdered sugar and roll to coat.
Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12-14 minutes.
Enjoy!

My Disneyland: Fantasmic! Dining Package Review

The past month or two I have been trying to plan out the details for our family vacation to Disneyland. One of the shows we really were really looking forward to seeing is Fantasmic! Little Diva has never seen it before and we wanted to make her first time at the show extra special and fun.  So I have been looking at the new Fantasmic Dining Packages Disneyland now offers.
There is some info on online on different types such as to-go meals, dessert only (not offered currently due the construction in Critter Country) and full 3 course dinner.  However, I couldn’t find and info on exactly what your meal options and prices would be for the full dinners offered at River Belle Terrace and especially at The Blue Bayou.  Also the full dinners you enjoy before or after the actual showing of Fantasmic.
You do not eat and watch the show simultaneously…as some people would assume.  Most of us Disney lovers probably understand that we won’t be able to eat dinner at The Blue Bayou while listening to someone riding Pirates of the Caribbean shouting “throw me a roll!” and watch Fantsmic on the Rivers of America all at the same time…but not all of us are die hard Disneyland fans and some have never been to DL before.
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The hubby said lets just try the Blue Bayou Restaurant Fantasmic dinner option and make our trip even more special for us and Little Diva!

I am happy to report we had a great time!  It did seem a little expensive when we first booked our Fantasmic dinning reservation.  However, we all enjoyed our meal so much and our seats for Fanstamic were just plain awesome it felt worth the price!
Also with this particular package each family member dining receives a Fantasmic seat cushion to keep and use when you watch the show. Here is a picture of what the seat (foam) cushion looked like:
IMG_1816Our seating was a special reserved area just for those who purchased the Blue Bayou Fantasmic Dinning package. We sat, yes in this area you sit, right in the front row in the very middle so the whole show took place right in front of us…it was awesome. 🙂
Here are a few of my tips on a Fantasmic Dining Package…

#1 Make reservations.
Make reservations…don’t forget.

#2 Check the weather report.
Although some think of Southern California having nothing but sunshine it actually can does rain a little and can have some big windy days.  They can cancel the showing of Fantasmic at any time and no they do not give out refunds for dining packages.

#3 There is a 24 hour cancellation policy.
Yes you can cancel your reservation with no penalty as long as it’s 24 hours before your reservation time. Otherwise, they will charge you a $10 fee for not showing up to your reserved time.

#4 Arrive to your dining reservation hungry.
I know that should be a given but I overheard a few people/children saying “I shouldn’t have just eaten that Dole Whip”or”I’m really not that hungry now” etc.  Try and plan out your day accordingly. Also try and book a late lunch/early dinner or late dinner for your reservation time…you get a lot of yummy food.

#5 Enjoy!
Here is the menu:
IMG_1797Here is the full kids menu:
IMG_1796Ok now for the good stuff…food pics!
First is the Blue Bayou Salad, then Island Chicken Breast, Filet Mignon and the children’s Salmon:
IMG_1798IMG_1799IMG_1805IMG_1803….and then there was dessert!!
Creme Brûlée, 8 layer chocolate hazelnut cake and the children’s chocolate cake:
IMG_1813IMG_1809IMG_1806I really hope this post has assisted you in some Fantasmic Dinning questions!
Please feel free to comment to let me know if you have more questions or if this post helped you, I would love to know 🙂

LEGO Cake Pops (at least that’s what they are supposed to be…)

Lego…yup, my kid is in love with most things that has that word in it.  It’s ok though, she probably inherited the love for them from myself and her father.  I remember back in the day building all types of structures so my Lego figures could capture some My Little Ponies…those were the days.

My daughter’s school had a function back in the fall where they asked the kids (meaning the  parents) to make a cake and submit it for a cake walk at a school fundraiser.  Little Diva said she would “help me” make a Lego cake. But that didn’t seem like it would take up too much time so she thought of cake pops…because those still count as “cake” right?  Then her 6 year old mind went into overdrive and figured out that a cake pop looks a lot like a Lego figure’s head and that should be easy for mom…

I caution you…I have never attempted to make cake pops in my life. I also am not a night owl, and making these cake pops took a few hours longer into the night than I anticipated. You have been warned!
ry=480So as a result, because I had no idea what I was doing, my Lego cake pops turned out…well…let’s call them “rustic” (a polite way of saying “crappy” right?)  In my defense it was a little last minute, and I was up way too late trying to make them, and had no idea what I was doing.
Anyway, here are a few pictures of the different steps I took to attempt these “Lego Pops”.

I hope you enjoy, learn from my cake pop mistakes or at least read through this post with a smile…

I on the other hand, am pouring another cup of coffee…

 

Ok so here are the supplies you basically need to attempt these cake pops:

(not shown are: a box of vanilla cake mix, chocolate chips I melted and then used a piping bag to make the “faces”)
ry=480

-Make the cake as directed for a 9 x 13” pan. Bake and cool.

-Then (after you did all that) destroy it by dumping the whole cake into a huge bowl and crumble it up with your hands. Yes…Im serious.

-After your cake is in crumbs, add about half of the can of frosting, mix it all together well. If the mix seems too crumbly or dry add a little more frosting. If the mixture is super sticky you can chill in fridge for a bit.

-Next form small balls to the desired size for your cake pop. Put some pressure on the side of the cake ball to give it that Lego head shape. Place on pan lined with parchment paper.

-Now melt the candy melts. I didn’t have on of those special candy melt mini crockpots I’ve seen so I just put a bowl over a small pot of boiling water.

-While melting the candy melts, cut a handful of mini marshmallows in half with scissors, put aside.
-Once candy melts are melted, dip just the tip of the cake pop stick in the candy melt and insert the stick it into your cake pop. This helps the stick stay in place a bit better.

-After all the sticks are in place, put the tray of cake pops in the fridge to fully set.

-Once fully set, place your cake pops up right. I used a piece of styrofoam from my local craft store but an upside down box with holes would work too.

-Grab your cut marshmallows. Place a dot of melted candy melt onto one side and stick it to the top of each cake pop. Now it’s starting to look like a Lego head?
ry=480

Now for the dipping:

I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, this is the part where I had the most trouble. And about halfway through I was about to give up and throw a hot cake pop at my husband…no I’m not kidding, I was so ready…

-So take a cake pop and “swirl” it into the melted candy melts, making sure the whole cake pop is covered. Then lightly tap the stick to try and get off any extra melting candy. Then set upright in a holder or styrofoam to cool.  Repeat for all pops.

(If you have a better method please do it, this was my first time working with candy melts ever, I didn’t know what I was doing!) This was my first one….total fail:
ry=480

-Now my food marker I had planned on using to make the “faces” soooooo did not work.

So I grabbed some chocolate chips, melted them, and placed into a piping bags and went to town trying to give these freak’n Lego Cake Pops “faces”…
ry=480ry=480ry=480ry=480

This was my end result…not what I had pictured in my mind at all, but they were just going to have to work.

I covered each pop with a little bag and put them in a little holder my husband put together with my childhood Legos.  He just built a Lego wall around two small pieces of styrofoam so the pops would stay upright.
ry=480
So in the end it all came together I guess, I wasn’t too impressed on how they came out honestly. But the next morning Little Diva got up and ran straight to the kitchen to see the pops, and she just smiled and smiled.  She loved them so much!

Later that day I let her eat one and she said,”Mommy these are really good, and they are Lego which makes them even better! This is what I would really like to have at my birthday party!”

Oh no………….

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