Pineapple Right Side Up Cupcakes

Did you know that April 20th is National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day? I totally didn’t! The moment I found out (via a tweet or blog or something), I became mildly obsessed with the notion that I MUST make something involving pineapple, cherries, cake and brown sugar. And so I do! I find a healthy pineapple cupcake recipe on my favorite healthy eating blog,, and adapted it to be a pineapple upside down cake-esque dessert. I fed these to a bunch of college girls and they all loved them.

Pineapple Right Side Up Cupcakes

Original recipe by Skinny Taste (I made mine to be more Pineapple Upside Down Cake-ish).



  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice (do not drain)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 20 oz can of pineapple in juice, drained (squeeze really well in your hands to get out all the juice)
  • 1 1/2 cup marshmallow cream
  • maraschino cherries for garnish (optional)


Mix cake mix and 1 can of pineapple WITH the juice. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer. Use an ice cream scoop to fill lined cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake according to cake mix directions or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set aside to allow to cool completely on cooling racks.

Drain the other can of pineapple. Like super crazy drain! I drained it in a mesh strainer and then put it in my hands, freshly washed of course, and squeezed out the excess juice. Combine cream cheese, crushed pineapple and marshmallow cream and mix until combined well. Again, used my stand mixer. Spread on completely cooled cupcakes.

For a fun garnish and to get the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day theme across, I added maraschino cherries. I took the stems off half of the cherries and stuffed one inside each cupcake for a little filling surprise. I garnished each with a stem on cherry. On a couple that I presented to others, I dusted a little brown sugar on top to set in the purpose of the cupcake even more.

Cupcakes with no icing are 3 points each according the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder. With just icing they are 4 points each. With icing and cherries they are 5 points each. Even at their highest, they are way better than any regular cupcake a far as points values go.

Yields 24 servings. 

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Perfectionism & Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

I have a confession…
I’m not perfect.
I’m just not. I try to be, even though I shouldn’t try to be and in no way can I ever be. I struggle with perfectionism. It’s true. 
I just want to say out loud that I’m not perfect. I also want to say that I’m not always okay with not being perfect, but I’m trying to be.
In case you didn’t know, not every thing I cook comes out so well. It just doesn’t. One time I tried to make a homemade angel food cake and it looked far more like a flat frisbee than a fluffy angel cloud. 
Sometimes I drink coffee in the afternoon and stay up too late (like right now as I write this at 1AM). Sometimes I forget to put an item in my budget and it messes up my money plans. I’m really bad at calling friends. I’m even worse at sending letters. I freak out a little when plans change. I leave shoes on the floor. I lock my keys in my car. I rarely iron my clothes. 
So I just want you to know, even though I probably come across as trying to look like I have it all together with my meal plans, color coded Google calendars, documents, labels and folders, hair accessories and organized cabinets and refrigerator, I don’t. Fact – it’s hard for me to admit that! 
I know you don’t expect me to be perfect. But the beasts called perfectionism and the enemy tell me that you do, society does, the world does, Christians do, and the church does. I need to say that I know you’ll still like me despite being not perfect and not having it all together. 
I know that I’m far more disappointed that I didn’t post my meal plan on Sunday as promised than you are. However, I do promise it’s coming. The meals are planned and tomorrow morning (probably when you will read this) I will make my grocery list and shop. I have no good reason other than lack of motivation for writing for not posting. 
Sometimes motivation is so free flowing. Other times it’s just not. And sometimes it hits at random times in the wee hours of the morning. I’m encouraged. I’m reading a devotion book recommended by a dear friend called It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life. Tonight I read, 
“God isn’t the one who pressures us. He wants us to delight in our life and work – whatever it is at this season. Satisfaction and enjoyment are God’s gift to us.”
Through church and this book God is tugging at my heart. Tugging for me to surrender, to yield, to release, to trust, and to allow him to change things in me. I’m not perfect. It won’t happen overnight. But I’m encouraged and this burst of encouragement again reminded me of the gifts and desires God has given me. Cooking, baking, writing, and blogging to name a few. And thus… inspiration. 🙂 Confessional inspiration? 
Of course, I can’t leave you empty handed. I probably should post an imperfect recipe to go along with this post, but I’m not gonna lie. This recipe is pretty darn great. Can we call it imperfect because it could be healthier? We’ll go with that. 
I really do cook healthy most days. I promise I do. Even when feeding small groups of people or people who I feed all the time, I do make “healthy” desserts and they never complain (like the healthy pineapple upside down cupcakes I’ll post soon). But… every once in a while for a special event (or because I had a bad day or just because), I make a non-altered (or minimally altered) recipe. 
Monday night my apartment hosted a Dips & Dessert night for my current RAs and new RAs for next year. The current girls brought either a dip or a dessert. I made both. The dip was my go to, no biggie. The dessert however, total biggie. As in deal. Not size. They were actually quite small little bite sized pieces of heaven. 
Oatmeal Whoppie Pies
Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman
For cookies: 
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softended
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup egg beaters
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick oats
For filling:
  • Marshmallow cream 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream brown sugar, butter, and shortening. Add eggs and egg beaters. Mix. Add salt, cinnamon, and baking powder and mix. Mix baking soda and boiling water. (I’ve never done this before, but the Pioneer Woman said to, so I did. I didn’t notice a difference, but the cookies were good.) Add baking soda and water mixture to the bowl and mix. Add flours and oatmeal and mix well.
Scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets in rounded heaping teaspoons. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack, and let the cookies cool completely. 

Okay let’s talk about filling. Do as she did and not as I did unless you want to be sticky and get an arm workout! She used pre-made marshmallow cream, which would have been MUCH easier. I had a bag of marshmallows I wanted to use, so I made a marshmallow cream by melting down the marshmallows and corn syrup over a double boiler. One of my coworker friends, Christine, said she liked it better that normal marshmallow cream, which she normally doesn’t like. If you want to do it my way it’s 1 bag of marshmallow to 6 tablespoons of light corn syrup. When I make these again, I’ll probably actually make real homemade marshmallow cream from egg whites. 

If you use the pre-made stuff, just scoop on careful teaspoons full (I always type teaspoon fulls first – without fail). I tried scooping and ended up wearing far more of the filling than the cookies. I messily filled a gallon ziplock with the homemade marshmallow cream and piped a dollop on the cookies. 
Step Almost Done – Sandwich the cookies and the messy stuff. The End – EAT & ENJOY! And probably share. I lost count of how many this made, but over 30. 

Nutella Fudge Pops

I’m not a huge fan of ice cream unless it’s my Papaw’s homemade ice cream. I have, however, always had a soft spot for popsicles. My favorite by far has always been the fudgesicle. It’s such a creamy, sweet Spring/Summer treat. When I saw this super easy and mostly healthy recipe for homemade ones, I knew I had to try it. Thanks Chocolate Covered Katie
Nutella Fudge Pops
(recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie – I only used different Nutella)

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (I used 1/4 cup creamy & 1/4 cup crunchy of the Kroger brand)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
I froze my bananas with the peel on. It was a tiny bit hard to peel them, but not impossible if you cut them in half down the middle and then sliced them long ways in half. The peel came off pretty easy that way. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse, pulse pulse, blend, blend, blend for a long time until all ingredients are combined and smooth.
You can eat it straight out of the food processor as a yummy, creamy ice cream, or you can freeze them for fudgesicles! I used paper mouth wash cups to refreeze mine in. They were quite large servings to me, but I don’t know of any smaller cups to freeze in. 
Yields 5 servings. If you count the bananas in the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder they are 6 points each, if you don’t, they are 4. 

Easter Goodness

This year for Easter my family (due to schedules) decided to have Easter Dinner on Saturday instead of Sunday. Thus, I get to go to two celebrations! My coworkers are getting together tomorrow night and I’ll get to attend since I already spent time with family. Which also means… getting to make more goodies! Today my family did potluck style. I brought Skinny Potato Casserole, Skinny Deviled Eggs, and Coconut Macaroons. Tomorrow is more of an assigned food type thing. I have been asked to bring dessert. I’m bringing more of the Coconut Macaroons, Strawberry Shortcake Trifle, and Orange Pretzel Salad. I am also required to bring Sweet Tea to any event with them. I’ll post those offerings tomorrow. 🙂

Coconut Macaroons
exact recipe from
I saw Gina at Skinny Taste post these a couple weeks ago and instantly had to make them. I didn’t even take the time to pin the recipe to make later. I literally went to my kitchen and made them. I love coconut. Today I doubled the recipe to have enough to take to both events. However, the recipe below is for a single batch. I also displayed them a top some pretty green Easter basket grass. The first time I used real egg whites, the second I used liquid. I really couldn’t tell a different and felt less guilty about wasting yolks with the liquid. 
  • 10 oz sweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup egg white (or 5 large egg whites)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract 
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 300. In a saucepan combine the coconut and sugar over medium low heat. Slowly stir in egg whites until combined. Note: DO NOT turn the stove eye higher. DO NOT pour the eggs in first. You will end up with coconut scrambled egg whites. Trust me. I almost did. Stir until completely combined and not soupy. About 7-12 minutes. It will still be sticky and wet. Place pan in the refrigerator on a plate or towel and let cool for 30 minutes. If you double the recipe, it will take longer. I ended up putting mine in the freezer. Spoon packed tablespoons full on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can put the cookies close together because they don’t spread. Bake for about 30 minutes. Bottoms will be golden and look like toasted coconut. The tops will start to brown just slightly. 
They are 3 points on Weight Watchers for 2 cookies. 

Skinny Cheesy Potato Casserole
recipe from
I used her recipe exactly, I just put in extra onion (I love onion). 
  • 32 oz bag of frozen cubed potatoes, defrosted
  • 1 medium chopped onion (she said 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 can of 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup 2% sharp shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup corn flakes, slightly crushed
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl except corn flakes until well combined. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper. Spread evenly into a lightly sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with corn flakes and bake for 1 hour.
For 8 servings it’s 5 points per serving. However, at a potluck no one is eating 1/8th of the casserole so it’s probably less. 1/8th is a hearty portion for a side. 
Skinny Deviled Eggs
recipe from

I used her recipe exactly, even the egg cooking method! The only thing I did differently was double the recipe and use 1/2 green onions and 1/2 chives. The recipe below is for a single batch. 
  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1/3 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayo
  • 3 tbsp chopped green onion tops or fresh chives (or 2 tbsp dried chives)
  • 1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • paprika, for garnish

Okay. I know this may sound crazy. It did to me at first too, but when I realized it was Alton Brown’s method for hard-cooked eggs, I decided to give it a try. These “boiled” eggs weren’t boiled at all! I preheated the oven to 325,  sat the eggs straight on the oven rack, and baked them for 30 minutes. Put a sheet pan under it just in case one cracks. One of mine did indeed crack, but I let it cook anyway. I was so excited to break it open and see that it actually worked!

The little guy who didn’t quite make it. 

Immerse the eggs in an ice bath and let them cool down for about 30 minutes. If you want to do the tried and true boiling way, you can too! But these made the creamiest yolks, perfect for deviled eggs. Once your hard cooked eggs of choice are cooked and peeled, cut them in half and discard the yolks of 4 of the eggs. Add the remaining 8 egg yolks (16 halves) in a food processor. Add all other ingredients except egg white halves. Process until smooth and creamy. Spoon mixture into a ziplock bag. Arrange egg white halves on a plate in a pretty fashion. Cut the tip off the ziplock bag and pipe the mixture into each half. Sprinkle with paprika for garnish. 

They are 1 point on Weight Watchers per egg half. These were so good! Everyone in my family loved them, no one could tell they were lighter at all, and no one could guess the secret ingredient (cottage cheese) either! 

Enjoy your Easter celebrations. The meaning of this holiday truly is one of my favorites and the greatest. He is risen and we are forgiven. What are you cooking for your celebrations? 

Something New

Hello friends and readers who have probably given up on me and my ability to post. Yes, it’s been almost another month with no posts! Have I been making fabulous healthy (mostly) meals? Yes! Have I posted them? No! Have I taken pictures of them to post them? Some… Some of them were too tasty for me to take a break long enough to photograph.

I really am trying to be proactive at being a better blogger! I even read an article on food blogging tips that a wonderful friend gave me. I’m gonna start by committing to twice a week. At least one recipe post a week and the other could also include a recipe or some healthy eating/planning tips, possibly a favorite new product or snack, or maybe a DIY project! On the non-recipe post days I’ll probably share my two week meal plan (which consists of 5 meals for 2 weeks usually) and if there are any recipes from that list you want, just let me know!

I have learned the value of friends, support, and community in everything, EVEN the eating healthy weight loss journey. I love love love getting ideas from people. I know I’m gifted in the meal planning area and I know I need to stop keeping my ideas to myself! I promise to share more. We need each other! I’m back on Weight Watchers and pushing forward on the journey to be healthier and in the process smaller. I, a lover of food, cannot do this healthy eating thing unless it’s creative and yummy. Weekly I discover new amazing, healthy, yummy thing.

So today, to kick off my attempt at being a better blogger I share a simple sweet fix recipe.


Mini Microwave Minute Cake
This is a super easy, versatile healthy cake fix! Our Weight Watchers coach told us you can mix an angel food cake with any box cake mix in a Ziploc and mix 1/3 a cup with 3 tablespoons of water for a single serving, sweet tooth satisfying, cake that is only 5 points plus! Great info that I of course ran with and made my own. I used an orange cake mix and the angel food, poured in the Ziploc, shook and shook a little more for extra fun and calorie burning and keep it in my pantry for a quick non-guilty indulgence! I keep frozen peaches (the no added sugar kind) on hand and it’s strawberry season…. Perfect zero point cake toppings! I thawed 1/2 cup of peaches in the microwave and stirred in some sliced strawberries and Splenda. I let that get all happy and juicy while I mixed and fake baked my cake. I used a combination of unsweetened applesauce and water instead of all water. Even though there are very limited ingredients and it could be a one bowl dish, I wanted to turn mine out and not eat it in the dish, so I mixed mine separately and then poured it into a Pam sprayed ramekin, like this one that I got in a 4 pack set from Wal-mart for super cheap. You may want to put a napkin under your dish because mine overflowed a bit. I topped with a 1/2 tablespoon of fat free sweet condensed milk for an extra point (SO worth it). I poured over the happy juicy strawberries and peaches, then added 2 tablespoons of fat free cool whip (0 points) on the fruit. SO satisfying. 6 points total and a NICE portion! 
For my version: 
  • 1 Duncan Hines Orange Supreme Cake Mix (or cake mix of your choice)
  • 1 Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake Mix
Mixed and stored in air tight container. 
  • 1/3 of cake mixture
  • 1 tbsp of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1/2 tbsp far free sweet condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup thawed, frozen peaches
  • 1/4 cup sliced strawberries 
  • 5 Splenda packets
  • 2 tbsp fat free Cool Whip
Mix strawberries and peaches with Splenda, let flavors combine and juice. Mix cake, applesauce, and water. Pour into sprayed microwave dish. Microwave for 1 minute. Top with condensed milk, fruit, and cool whip. 
Tomorrow is grocery shopping day! I love that day. My list is made and my meals for the next two weeks planned. All recipes will be skinnied and weight watcher friendly!
1. Mexican Chicken Casserole & Black Bean & Salsa Green Salad
2. Crockpot Honey Bourbon Chicken, Healthy “Fried” Rice, & Edamame 
3. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps (with leftover Honey Bourbon Chicken) & Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls
4. Parmesan Tilapia, Roast Potatoes & Lemon Peppered Asparagus
5. Shepherd’s Pie & White Cheddar Broccoli 

Like I said, I won’t be posting all recipes! I’m being practical. I’m sharing meals plans to assist in your own creative meal plans. HOWEVER, I’m always willing to send a recipe your way. Feel free to comment, Facebook, or email me if you want a specific recipe listed. Thanks for being faithful! Stay focused, healthy eating is way better!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year!

Nope. Not Christmas… AUTUMN! Okay… technically it’s not until September 22nd, but almost! It’s close enough for me to begin celebrating all things fall!! Living in the Louisiana (the land of few trees and even fewer than change colors) for the past four autumns, I forgot that Mississippi and places in the south can actually have autumn! Some of the trees are starting to change already. Driving down the interstate, a breeze of wind caught the leaves of a cute little yellow tree and they magically fluttered through the air. I actually got tears in my eyes and squealed “fall” in utter bliss with a big smile while driving in my car. So in my world, it is officially time to light the fall candles, put out the fall candy (it’s so cute in a mason jar!), bake all the fall things, and hang my homemade fall wreath!

And so this weekend, the official weekend of the end of summer, I fully welcomed autumn with all the love I could deliver! How you might ask? A party with the kitchen, a few cans of pumpkin, and me! I’m so thankful for this season coming now! After a month of all the chaos that is the beginning of a school year in the higher education world, I’m finally back. Life has been so busy, three weeks of training, and the first hectic week of school and students moving in. I haven’t been able to workout or eat properly at all! The good news, I didn’t gain! The bad news, I didn’t loose anything but my motivation. The coming of the season I love was just what I needed to find my motivation. I literally haven’t cooked or planned a meal in a month (food provided, eating out, lots of cereal, etc.). This week, that all changed. I planned meals for the next three weeks and had a pumpkin/autumn extravaganza!


Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese

I took this recipe directly from my favorite recipe blog I didn’t have agave nectar, so I added 3 extra tablespoons of brown sugar instead of the 2 tablespoons of agave. She mentioned that agave was sweeter. So, I started with 2. It wasn’t quite sweet enough, so I added 1 more. It’s SOOO good. I’ve been eating it with apples, but I can’t wait to try it on bagel thins as well. The recipe makes a little over a cup. It’s made with 1/3 less fat cream cheese and 1 point per tablespoon. I am fairly certain I will keep this in my fridge until spring reappears! 
Pumpkin Butter

This recipe also came directly from . I didn’t make any changes at all. She suggests 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, according to your taste. I LOVE pumpkin pie spice, so I used two. She says you can use apple cider or juice, I used juice. 2-3 cinnamon sticks, I used 3. I used Libby’s canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling). Can I just tell you, this is amazing! In the comments on her blog post people asked how long it would last in the fridge, and she says 3 days. It makes A LOT, like 4 cups a lot. I plan on using it past 3 days though. I did some research and most places said you could use apple and pumpkin butters longer, up to 3 weeks. BUT still, there is no way I’d use 4 cups, so I am freezing some in ice cube trays for individual portions to store in a freezer ziplock bag. I do believe I will eat this for breakfast every day this week! It would be fabulous on pancakes, waffles, biscuits… Oh my gosh… MUST MAKE BISCUITS! My mouth is watering thinking about this yummy spread on biscuits. It’s only 3 points for a 1/4 cup! This yummy pumpkin butter is also a the key ingredient in….


Pumpkin Spiced Lattes

Another recipe straight from my favorite! Anyone else anticipate the re-release of Starbucks’ pumpkin spiced latte every year? Or the pumpkin spiced coffee creamer that only comes out around the holidays each year. I am ecstatic when this happens every autumn! Gina (Skinny Taste’s author) to the rescue again! I followed the recipe exactly, except… It makes 2 serving and I definitely drank all of it! 3 points a serving (or 6 if you drink both like me). You need this! I also looked up how to make espresso in a coffee pot. 1 tablespoon of coffee per 1/4 cup of needed espresso. So I brewed 2 cups of water + 8 tablespoons of coffee. I’ll save the rest for another batch tomorrow. 
And then, with all the yummy sweet pumpkiny things. I had to have an equally yummy fall dinner right? What better way to do that than in the crock pot?! My crock pot, Tyler Duff Crock Pot to be exact, is my favorite cooking tool for autumn and winter. It’s just so warm and cozy! Chicken was on sale at Sam’s, which isn’t a typical crock pot meat, but I worked with what I had and threw some stuff together that came out really yummy!
Fall in a Crock Pot Chicken

For sounding more professional, in the picture I named it Autumn in a Pot. But doesn’t fall in a crock pot sound so funny? Funny image for sure. But really, the ingredients kind of did fall in the crock pot! 
-1 large sweet onion
-3 sweet potatoes, cubed
-3 boneless skinless chicken breast
-1 cup dried cranberries
-3 or 4 small Gala apples, sliced
-1 package chicken gravy mix
-chicken broth
-McCormick Smokehouse Maple Seasoning
I tossed the onions in first, cut in half, quarters, and then once more. Threw the cubed potatoes on top of that. Sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and the McCormick seasoning. Seasoned the chicken breast on both sides with the same seasonings. Sprinkled the gravy mix over all of that. Tossed the apples and cranberries on top, poured over 1 cup of chicken low sodium, fat free chicken broth. I finished it with a little more of the maple seasoning, some nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick. Put the lid on, cook on high for 4 hours, and don’t touch. It was really yummy! Very much an autumn meal: cozy, warm, and filling. 
AND since I’m determined to eat healthy this week, I whipped up some fruity chicken salad to use for lunches. I usually do good with breakfast and dinner but not so good with lunch unless I have leftovers or plan! Breakfast this week will be full of pumpkin goodness! Since canned chicken was also on sale at Sam’s, chicken salad sandwiches will make my lunches happy!
I don’t use any full fat mayonnaise! I use a tad of fat free mayo and for the rest of the “wet” I use fat free sour cream.  A big can of chicken, dried chives, ground sage, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste. Red seedless grapes and 1 gala apple chopped. Perfect as a sandwich and yummy on crackers too! 
Stay tuned tomorrow for Brownie Batter Dip, Strawberry Fluff, and Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Homemade Caramel Sauce! Also, if you haven’t heard of, you are missing out! It’s a virtual pin board! You can “pin” things you find on the web and like or things you make yourself (I’ve started pinning all my recipes). BUT the best part is browsing other pins. Everything from food, to DIY projects, to clothes, to crafts, EVERYTHING! You should follow me:!
I hope you can enjoy and celebrate fall too! Or mourn the last official weekend of summer, if you must. (If you are one of *those* people, hehe kidding, I love you even if you don’t love the coming season as much as me!) Happy healthy eating!

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

I LOVE strawberries. As soon as spring arrives and the cost drops you better believe they will be in my refrigerator. They are a “free” food on weight watchers and like candy! I was browsing recipes to make for community group and didn’t want to purchase any ingredients. I wanted to work with what I had and happened upon a strawberry shortcake cookie recipe! Um.. yes please?! If you want the full fat recipe (which is totally acceptable sometimes particularly when feeding other, hehe) you can find the one I based mine from here. I adapted the recipe quite a bit to make it Weight Watchers friendly!

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Ingredients with points: 

6 tbsp Brummel and Brown yogurt butter (6 points)
2 tbsp fat free sweet condensed milk (3 points)
little less than 1/2 cup of fake buttermilk (1 cup milk + 1 tsp vinegar) (3 points)
2 tbsp sugar (2 points)
1 cup whole wheat flower (8 points)
1 cup all purpose flour (8 points)
1/2 cup sugar (8 points)
“Free” Ingredients: 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp splenda


Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the splenda and set aside. In a large bowl (or stand mixer mixing bowl with flat paddle) mix together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Spoon the Brummel and Brown into the flour mixture 1 spoon at a time until you have coarse crumbs. Add fat free sweet condensed milk and 1/2 cup of fake buttermilk to the bowl and stir until the dough starts to come together. Gently fold in the strawberry mixture. If the mixture is too dry add more of the fake buttermilk, but not much! I used 2/3 and it was too much, they were too moist. 

Spoon a tad over 1 measuring tablespoon of dough onto a prepared baking sheet or cooking stone. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool for a few moments then transfer cookies to wire racks to continue cooling. The cookies are best the day they’re made, but can be kept in an airtight container for 1 day.

38 points / 3 dozen / 1 point each
A little side note. Don’t know what to do with the rest of that fat free sweet condensed milk? Add a tablespoon for 1.5 points to a bowl of sliced fresh peaches, nectarines or strawberries or add it to your iced coffee! A decadent treat!

The Best Not-Berry Desserts

I always say the strawberry is my favorite berry, BUT it’s not actually a berry! It’s an accessory fruit, whatever that is. I love that little luscious juicy red fruit, berry or not. It’s so yummy it needs no friends to make it better at all! But oh how much yummier desserts are when the strawberry makes an appearance! I find myself unable to make a summer dessert without the use of strawberries! And so… I must share these desserts with you.

Red White and Blue Trifle
I used’s exact recipe. Only hers was a lot prettier than mine. This is sooo good and EASY! I sliced my strawberries on my mandolin for even easier preparation. You should definitely make this for your 4th of July celebration! It’s only 4 points for an entire cup! I promise no one will be able to tell it’s low fat and Weight Watcher friendly!

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
I made this one for my RAs last semester. It was their favorite dessert and they attest that it does not taste figure friendly at all! I used this recipe with a few modifications. I used a premade reduced fat graham cracker crust. I made the filling exactly the same. I used Kroger brand honey flavored greek yogurt instead of vanilla. It was so yummy! 5 points a slice. A “normal” slice of cheesecake can rank up to 12 or more points a slice!

Strawberry Trifle
This recipe is all me. I had the vision for it and thought it would be called a trifle, but did some research to be sure. The cake part of traditional English trifles are soaked in some sort of liquid, normally an alcohol. This (the soaking not the alcohol) inspired my recipe to perfection!

1 box angel food cake mix
1 pkg sugar free french vanilla pudding
2 8oz tubs of fat free cool whip
1 1/2 cups of skim milk
juice of 2 oranges
zest of 1 orange
2 pts of strawberries

I baked a box cake mix angel food cake and let it cool. FYI, I tried making a completely homemade angel food cake and it’s not worth it! I always like to try to do everything from scratch at least once to see if it actually is better. OFTEN it is better homemade, like in the case of pound cake or spice cake etc. But I am not afraid to use a box ever, particularly if it’s equal in taste and costs less. In the case of angelfood, it does! To do homemade angelfood you have to use 12 whole egg whites. A. That’s a lot of eggs! B. That’s a lot of egg yolks to do what with? So I say, go for the box or a premade one, I prefer making the box one to a premade one. While it’s baking and cooling slice strawberries (I of course use the mandolin). I let their juices form a little in just a little splenda, you don’t need much. It doesn’t need to produce as much juice as you’d need for strawberry shortcake. Prepare the pudding with 1 1/2 cups of fat free milk. Fold in one container of cool whip and let it soft set. I use my Kitchenaid mixer to do all of that! Just easier AND I love using it. Use the wisk for mixing in the milk and the flat beater attachment on low to fold in the cool whip. Once cake is cool, break it into bite sized pieces. Pour the juice from the oranges evenly over the cake, tossing to make sure all the cake gets saturated in some juice. Layer half of the cake, half of the strawberries, all of the pudding, rest of the cake, rest strawberries and top with the other container of cool whip. Sprinkle orange zest evenly on top. I’ve made this twice and everyone loves it! It’s so light and fluffy and the orange is a perfect compliment. It’s about 5 points per cup.

My last suggestion is always have a box of angel food cake on hand! It’s a fat free cake and there is so much you can do with it. Mix it with a can of crushed pineapple and bake in a 9×13, top with cool whip, yum! Mix it with crushes strawberries and bake topping with cool whip and strawberries juiced in splenda. You can also mix it with a can of pumpkin! It’s a great thing to have around for baking up a sweet treat that taste indulgent without indulging all your daily points (or calories) in something you will regret! (Though I do highly recommend making room for those decadent splurges every once in a while! Don’t deprive. Diets are for depriving. Weight loss is more effective and healthier as a life style change!)

It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age.

*Plops down and begins to ramble on endlessly about changes, new things, food, and Taylor Swift*

Well, I have neglected you Julie. (In case you forgot, like I did, Julie is the blog’s name. I had to go back and remind myself what I re-named her.) But… in my defense I did move to a new state, live in a new apartment, have a new job, and am eating a new diet. I gave you a pretty make-over! That counts for something right? Okay good. I’m glad we settled that!

In case you haven’t heard, I moved! I was living in Slidell and had been a social work case manager for a year. God definitely used me, I learned so much and grew as a professional and a person. Everything just sort of perfectly (and divinely) fell in to place for the new job. I am now a Resident Director at my Alma mater. Which means I’m the “grown-up” that lives in a female residence hall at Mississippi College. There are a lot more details about the job I could bore you with, but that’s the jest.

Moving was a roller coaster of crazy! I love love love my church and the family I’ve made in Slidell. It was impossibly hard to leave, but God continuously affirmed that this was where he was leading, and continues to do so every passing day. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to this one song on Taylor Swift’s newest cd’s and just cried my eyes out! I even had to pull the car over a few times. I am an expert crier. The song is called Long Live. She wrote it to her band about the night they won several awards at one of those award shows. It captures the perfect sentiment of how I feel about my time in Slidell and just the journey of life and faith in general.

“And you take a moment… Promise me this: That you’ll stand by me forever. But if God forbid fate should step in and force us into a goodbye, if you have children someday, when they point to the pictures, please tell them my name… Long live the walls we crashed through. All the kingdom lights shined just for me and you. I was screaming, ‘long live all the magic we made.’ Long live all the mountains we moved. I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you. I was screaming, ‘long live the look on your face.'” 

Of course I haven’t said “goodbye” to any of them, but it’s a change. I’m probably not the best person when it comes to change. But not all change is bad. Not every move is goodbye. Looking back over the last four years of my life that the body of Christ at Northshore Church invested in and became such a huge part of, I can’t help but to remember it all with such joy! I see the “walls we crashed through.” I see how the “Kingdom (big K of God’s kingdom as opposed to the little k in the song) lights shined on us.” I see “the mountains GOD moved.” I did have the “time of my life fighting dragons with you.” Okay so not literal dragons. But the struggles of life! And the fun times of life. They aren’t over either, just further away. Family is forever. All of life is like this! Being back on a college campus, I can’t help but think of the time I was here with my friends (who are still my best friends!). We too had the time of our lives “fighting dragons” together. We continue to do so every time we reunite. Life is a big, on-going book.

The beginning of the song also says, “it was the end of the decade, but the start of an age.” It was the end of December when I moved, the end of 2010. My new job started on January 3rd, the beginning of 2011. I got so excited as I thought about using that as my “I moved” blog title, thinking it was so relevant and perfect. Then I realized 2010 was not the end of a decade. Duh. I decided to use it anyway in honor of one of my many “oh.. wait” moments. There are no ends though. Just new chapters in the book of life, which luckily is not over yet. Former chapters can always be revisited (and will be in a couple weekends!).

So I’m here, in Clinton, Mississippi at the best college ever! I LOVE my job. I studied women’s ministry at seminary. How perfect is it that I get to live in an all girl residence hall at a college?! I have a nice little kitchen too! I get to cook and bake for people often. I get to invest in the lives of girls. It’s just great. I’ve gotten gas in car once since I’ve moved here! AND my apartment is really cute! Soon I’m going to buy a camera (mine has been broken for a couple years) so I can take pictures of the apartment and my food.

Speaking of food… I started Weight Watchers two weeks ago. One of the wellness benefits of working here is that every two years they will pay for you to do Weight Watchers at Work if you want. There was no way I was passing up that opportunity. In two weeks I’ve lost 7 lbs! I’m actually really enjoying it. The tracking feeds my obsession with organizing nicely. So my recipes will likely all be Weight Watcher friendly now :). It’s a trial and error process as I try new recipes and tweak things. I do have a recipe for you today though! It’s a dessert of course. My weakness will always be sweets. I love baking for others and inevitably when you bake for others you eat some too! I decided to try a Weight Watcher muffin/cupcake recipe I found. They are 5 points for a normal size muffin or 2 points for a mini. Which is really good considering a small piece of cake with icing is 14 points! In case you aren’t familiar with Weight Watchers, based on your height, weight, gender, and age you are a assigned a daily points value. You can eat whatever you want as long as you have the points for it. So obviously you aren’t going to waste half of your points for the entire day on one piece of cake. But don’t get scared! All fruits and most veggies are zero points. It’s such a doable “diet” that doesn’t feel like a diet at all. No starving!

Pumpkin Muffins/Cupcakes

1 box of Spice Cake mix
1 15 oz can of pumpkin

Chocolate Muffins/Cupcakes

1 box of any kind of Chocolate Cake mix
1 15 oz can of pumpkin

Mix. Fill cupcake liners. Bake as directed on box. THAT’S IT! Did I mention how easy they were? The chocolate ones don’t taste like pumpkin at all and the pumpkin ones taste perfectly warm and cozy spicy and pumpkiny. I dusted the chocolate ones with powdered sugar and the pumpkin ones with cinnamon sugar. I tested them on my Resident Assistants today and they loved them too. You really can’t tell they are way less fat and calories. Just make sure you let them cool completely before dusting them and storing them. Mine got sticky. Yummy, but sticky.

If you are looking for low-fat recipes I HIGHLY recommend the blog I’m loving this blog right now and intend to try out so many of the recipes. She posts the Weight Watchers point values and nutrition information with each recipe.

In other exciting news, my blog is going to be listed on! I’m really excited. It’s basically a database for all people who have blogs about food. It will maybe give me some publicity and other neat opportunities. Plus it’s a cool community of fellow cooks, bakers, and foodies.

Last thing! I am also blogging at I am a member of a team called SHE, which stands for Sending Her Equipped. We do quarterly women’s events that are just great! They each have a SHE acronym (Scaling Her Everest, Shedding Her Excuses, Shaping her Expectations, Strengthening Her Endurance, etc.). We are trying to build a SHE community and the blog is really good! Several of our teachers (including me) blog for the site. Check it out if you have time.

I promise to blog more! Or I promise to try. I made one New Year’s Resolution. It was to paint more. As I was packing to move I realized I hadn’t painted anything in the entire year of 2010. I think I want to change it to create more! Paint more, write more, cook more, create more.

Recipes Continued!


I don’t really know the definition of stewed, but we called it stewed in my family!

I use fresh squash from the grocery store, but you could use frozen too. Fresh is better though! Cut of the ends and slice the squash. Cut up a sweet onion, yellow is my favorite with it. If you want it to be REALLY yummy fry two or three pieces of bacon first. If you do that, add the onion and squash then with a little butter or margarine.  If you don’t do bacon, put a little butter or margarine in the pan and just start cooking the squash and onion down. Cook it on high first, tossing it a bit, until the onions start to not be so tough. Add a water and cover it and cook it on low. And as always, add salt and pepper. Don’t add a lot of water, you can always add more but you can’t take out. Just very little, enough so it doesn’t stick to the pan and burn. The squash will be tender and yummy when it’s done.


You make this pretty much just like the squash. Chop your cabbage up pretty small. Not like cabbage small, but small. Add some butter or olive oil to the pan. Once it’s warm add one chopped sweet onion and chopped cabbage. Toss it around until cabbage starts to wilt a little. Then add water. With the cabbage you can add more than with the squash, cover the bottom of the pan with water, but just barely. Turn on low, cover, and let it cook! It’s will melt down into yumminess. Add salt and pepper. You can do bacon with the cabbage too if you want.

Totally just made this up because I didn’t want to cook when I got home and wanted to use the crock pot. I cut up two onions, 1 red and 1 yellow and tossed them in the bottom of the crock pot. I rinsed some pork chops (which were actually pork steaks on the label but looked and tasted like chops with a different kind of bone or something) and put them on top of the onion. I poured a can of mushrooms with juice on top and then 1 can of fat free cream of mushroom soup and a half a can of water on top of that. Turned the crock pot on low and let it cook while I was at work. It was really yum! The meat all just fell of the bone and it had really good flavor.

Black Bean and Corn Salad I just threw this together to have a side dish with quesadillas. Simple. It’s nothing magical or fancy, but a good quick, cheap side dish for Mexican meals. 1 or 2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed, depending on the corn to bean ratio you like. 1 can of corn drained. 1 small red onion chopped. Salt, pepper, garlic powder. If you have lemon or lime juice squeeze some of that in. Drizzle just a tad bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your taste preferences. Can add up to a 1/4 cup of balsamic. If you don’t have balsamic you could use Italian dressing. Add some cilantro if you like and have it. Let it chill for 15-30 minutes for all the flavors to marry. You can also add green onions and chopped bell pepper if you want, or even some chopped tomato. Use what you have and want! I did mine with just beans, corn, onion, seasonings, olive oil, and vinegar.


Simple, yummy, and impressive! You can stuff them with whatever you like. I usually do spinach, onions, and Monterey jack cheese. You could do a laughing cow cheese wedge, cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you like. Or no cheese at all! You could really stuff it with anything you like, mushrooms, olives (eww for me), capers (always ew), a sauce, etc. The sky is the limit.

So you need your stuffing stuff and chicken breasts, how every many you want to make. If you want to butterfly the breasts you can, but I’m not very good at that. Knives scare me. So I choose a more fun method! Smash! Pound! I  place a chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, break out the good ol’ mallet and pow! Pound it until its flattened and thin-ish. 1/2  or 3/4 inch maybe? I’m a horrible judge of inches and such. Sounds right. I mean not paper thin or thin enough to rip, but thin.

Season the chicken on both sides. I use salt, pepper, and Chef Paul’s Magic Chicken Seasoning. You can use whatever you want and whatever flavors work with your stuffing. Next, lay out your stuffing items and roll the chicken breast up tightly. Stick in a tooth pick to keep it secure. Place chicken seam side down in a baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30ish minutes. It depends on your oven. Remove toothpicks before serving. You can serve them whole. For a pretty presentation for entertaining, slice the breast in little rounds. It’s really pretty. You can see the swirl of the yummy stuff inside.

Funny tip: If you use colored toothpicks, your chicken will be pretty and colorful aka look silly. If you aren’t trying to impress and it’s just family, who cares. But just fyi, use non-colored ones if entertaining.


This is the skeleton recipe I use to make these ribs. I’ve made them using everything listed and leaving some things out when I didn’t have them. I prefer it without the diced tomatoes. It also tastes fine without bell pepper if you don’t have it. I just use regular cider vinegar, I don’t know if it’s different from dark or not, but tastes fine too me. I think it would be fine with any kind of vinegar that you have really, and even without if you don’t have it.


I try to work in at least one turkey breast cutlet meal in my monthly meals. I was trying to not do the same baked, shake-n-baked, etc, method. The turkey cutlets are cheap and yummy and I love turkey. It’s a good variety to the normal meats we eat and use often. So I sliced the turkey cutlets into little nugget sized pieces. I gave them a milk bath and then a seasoned flour dip. I did a mix of flour, cayenne, bread crumbs, parmesan, salt, pepper, and Chef Paul’s Chicken Magic. Then I coated the pan in about an inch of a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil, let it get hot and fried them. It wasn’t a deep fry, but not a sauté either. I put them on paper towels to get excess oil off and patted them with another napkin to get even more. Yummy with some homemade honey mustard (honey + mustard is all I use and how I like it, I don’t like it with mayo).


I actually found premade beef kabobs on sale at my local grocery story and cheated and used those. But it’s simple. Skewers. Beef cut into pieces. Bell peppers cut into pieces. Onions cut into pieces. You can use mushrooms too if you want. I made a marinade of orange zest, lime juice, salt, pepper, worcheshire sauce, and red pepper flakes and let them sit in that for a couple of hours (could do longer if you had it, even overnight). I grilled mine. Before grilling I sprinkled on some steak rub seasoning. I turned them to get the nice yummy grill marks on each side. I ate mine with A1 because I LOVE A1.


These are really yummy as a snack! Just in a bowl like peanuts or trail mix at a party would be great too. I made them with my meal and loved them as well.

Drain 2 cans of chick peas then spread them out on some paper towels. With another paper towel dry them. Just run it over, rolling them around, getting them as dry as you can. Cover a cookie sheet in tin foil and transfer chick peas to the cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and toss the chick peas around to coat them in the olive oil. Sprinkle with Tony’s or Greek Seasoning or cayenne pepper, you can  use whatever seasoning you like. Roast them in the over on 400 for 10 – 15 minutes. Check them every five minutes. They can burn easily and quickly. You want them to have a slight crunch.


I was so so so proud of this gravy. I’ve made gravy, but never this good. It really is all about the elbow grease and perseverance. The best method is to use the pan you used to make some sort of meat and use the drippings. I wasn’t making meat, so I decided I try “seasoning” the pan by frying up some onions I’d use in the gravy. I coated the bottom of the pan with olive oil just barely and sliced up two onions. I sautéed them down REALLY well. I let the pan and the onions get caramelized. I took out all the onions to save for later. I added two heaping tablespoons of flower to the pan and began to wisk. And wisk. And wisk. And wisk. Elbow grease. Keep going and going and going. Let your flour brown, not burn! But brown. Not light brown, but a medium to dark brown. When you think it’s brown enough, go a little longer! When you really are happy with the browningness (yes, I made up a word), keep wisking and start to slowly add broth. You can use whatever, I used chicken because it’s what I always have on hand. You can use water as well if you don’t have broth. Slowly add it so you can dissolve all your yummy browned flour. Add a can of broth, or about 1 cup and 3/4ths. I added just a tad of beef bullion granules since I used chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Taste it! Add what it needs. I added a little parsley too. I then added the onions back. Was the best gravy ever!


I have no measurements. I just tasted and made it how I like it to taste. I washed and quartered red potatoes, leaving the skins on. Boiled them until tender, but not super mashed potato worthy tender, a little more stiff than that. I drained them and let them sit in the drainer cooling so they kept a little of their shape. Once cool, I put them in a bowl and added some mayo, a  little mustard, some sour cream, chopped some sweet and dill pickles, grated some onion in, added some dried dill, salt, and pepper. It’s all about you and what you like. Like it creamy? Add more mayo or wet stuff. Like more mustard? Add it. Don’t like pickles? Don’t add them. Make it your own! I like it with red potatoes, with skins, chunky, and not too creamy.


These are so yum! The have great depth and texture from the addition of crunchy peanut butter and chocolate chips. I made the cupcakes exactly like this recipe: The only difference was I made mini cupcakes because they feed more people usually are are just cute!

You could top them with a cream cheese icing, or just a buttercream icing or chocolate icing. I was really hooked on the idea of a banana icing. The idea of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana made me just so excited! But I couldn’t find a banana icing recipe. The icing was trial and error and will probably be for you too, BUT I think I got a recipe down. I haven’t tried it again since “perfecting” it, but I think it should work well. If it doesn’t, do you own trial and error and have fun eating the mess ups!

What ended up working the best was taking a buttercream recipe and altering it a bit to add the banana. It wouldn’t make it until second day, but it was soooo good first day.

1 banana
1/2 cup butter, softened (you can use margarine but the flavor will not be the same)
2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup half-and-half (can use cream and milk or just cream or just milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
banana chips (optional)

Ok cut the banana into thirds, or big pieces, and mix it until it’s mush. I just put it in my stand mixer and let it mix. Could easily do it with a hand mixer as well if you don’t have a stand mixer.
Cream butter with banana. Blend in remaining ingredients until desired consistency. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar. Spoon icing into a ziplock back and snip off the end. Pipe icing unto cupcakes. You can top with pieces of banana chips. Crowd pleaser! Everyone that had them loved them. The banana compliments the chocolate peanut butter flavors soooo well!


My cousin Marissa and I made these a couple years ago and just LOVED them. I mean it really is s’mores without the fire. I make it just like the recipe usually, but I do prefer dark chocolate bars to milk chocolate bars. The milk chocolate is a little too rich for me. The dark chocolate is more bitter so not as sweet. This time I also used homemade marshmallow fluff in place of marshmallows. But you can do it either way. It’s a perfect end of summer beginning of autumn dessert. Also would be great for a rainy, cold day inside with hot cocoa.