Pumpkin French Toast Casserole with Coffee Whipped Topping

I know what you’re thinking. Pumpkin? You? In May? I know, right? I totally broke my pumpkin belongs in the Fall and Winter months rule to make this recipe. And guess what? I loved it. It gave me the same warm and cozy feeling I get when I watch Gilmore Girls and see the red and orange leaved trees. 
Just like my Gilmore Girls, I’ll still save pumpkin for special moments out of season and bask in it like crazy in season, but I might occasionally break my rule now. I did break it for a good reason. We had one of our potluck breakfast meals at work. A coworker who started post fall, had heard about my Pumpkin French Toast Casserole and then I didn’t have a choice! I like it when people request my food! I just can’t say no. 
The other factor that pushed me over the edge to saying yes to making a pumpkin dish? Coffee whipped cream. Let’s just start things off right and talk about this! 

Coffee Whipped Cream 


  • 1 package Starbucks Via
  • 1 container fat free cool whip


Combine. Stir. Seriously, that’s it. It’s the simplest thing every but oh man is it good. I mean how can you say not to anything topped with Coffee Whipped Cream? My coworkers love to put it in their coffee too. It compliments anything pumpkin flavored magically and also just spoon. It’s the perfect topping for a good old spoon.

Did I mention it’s also guilt-free? 0 points for 2 tbsp or 1 point for 1/4 cup.

Pumpkin French Toast Casserole


  • 1/2 cup Brummel and Brown Yogurt Butter
  • 12 slices Sara Lee Delightful 45 Calorie Bread (I’ve used Multigrain and Whole Wheat)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups Egg Beaters
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk


Melt Brummel and Brown butter and pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. In a separate bowl whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla together. I like to shake in a little extra cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into the liquid mixture.

Time to layer. Layer 6 pieces of bread in the pan. Spread a thin layer of pumpkin across the bread. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture over the bread. Layer the other 6 pieces of bread on top and spread with pumpkin. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture over everything.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, cover the dish with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. It should be golden brown and set.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar to make it pretty. Serve with syrup, butter, whipped cream OR COFFEE WHIPPED CREAM.

Yields 12 medium sized servings at 4 points each or 6 large servings at 8 points each.

If the summer heat is getting to you and you’re missing fall as much as me, I highly recommend this dish now!

Pin It

Wedge Salads & Spicy Avocado Lime Dressing

More green! I do love green stuff a whole lot. It worked out well for me when I started Weight Watchers, the loving veggies and fruits thing. I quickly discovered how to make a big salad filled with 0 point things and selectively pick my point worthy toppings of choice. 
I’m always looking for ways to spice up a salad, make it main dish worthy, or tweak the flavors to make it a perfect side for any meal. One of my favorite ways to do that is to make my own salad dressing. I can eat a salad without dressing if it has the right toppings, but mostly, I have to have some dressing on my salad. Store bought creamy dressings are always high in points and so they are my favorites to make at home. Skinny Taste is the best source for healthy made at home creamy salad dressings.

Spicy Avocado Lime Dressing


  • 3 tablespoons powdered butter milk + 3/4 cup water (or 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk)
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Green. Green. Green. 


Add cultured buttermilk powder and water in a food processor first to combine. If you’re using normal buttermilk, just toss it all together. Add in all the other ingredients. Most of them don’t need to be pre-chopped. Deseed the avocado and remove the meat from the shell and just toss it in whole. Slice the jalapeno in half lengthwise and then again and toss in. Roughly chop the green onions. Add cilantro, sugar, garlic, lime juice, salt, cumin and pepper. Pulse until blended well. 
Note – If you don’t add the jalapeno seeds, decrease the amount of sugar, it would probably be a little too sweet. 
Warning – this is SPICY! Like serious kick here folks. I liked it, but it’s even spicier than the salsa I made earlier in the week. 
Last step. Don’t misspell spicy when you go to take a picture of your yummy dressing for you blog. Oops. 

Yields 1 1/2 cups and 12 servings. Each 2 tablespoons serving is only 1 point! Add to your favorite salad or make one of these lovely wedge salads I made!

Wedge Salad


  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • handful of chopped red grape tomatoes
  • handful of chopped yellow cherry tomatoes
  • julienned cucumbers
  • chopped green onions
  • turkey bacon bits
  • reduced fat blue cheese crumbles
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Spicy Avocado Lime Salad Dressing (or your choice)
  • any other toppings you like


Assemble. Really! It’s that easy. Use a big mega knife (I used a watermelon knife) to slice a head of iceberg lettuce in half and then in half again. Cut off the hard end of edge wedge. These made BIG salads. If you want smaller ones you could cut each iceberg half into thirds instead of in half again. Carefully sprinkle on your toppings. Drizzle with your favorite dressing and splash with a little balsamic. 
The Weight Watchers points value of your wedge salad will depend on what you add to it. 2 tablespoons of reduced blue cheese crumbles are only 1 point. 1 tablespoon of turkey bacon bits is 1 point. 2 tablespoons of the dressing is 1 point. The rest is 0! My whole big salad was 3 points, and less probably! I didn’t use a whole 2 tablespoons of dressing or blue cheese, but always better to round up a little. 

Pin It

Pineapple Dreamsicle Fluff

You know I don’t love summer. I’m admittedly a little bit of a diva and I hate sweating. If I could have it my way, I’d live in a place where people had the same hospitality and helpful spirit as my great Mississippi, cooked just as well, but the temperatures would be quite different. All year round it would never be too hot to wear cardigans. In Cardiganland I’d never sweat or be hit in the face with pea soup thick humidity that makes my hair look like a mess. 
Dislike for Mississippi heat and summers aside, there are parts of summer I like. I like afternoon storms, even the ones with lightening and hail like we had yesterday. I like snow balls. I like popsicles. I like Smith County watermelons. I like paper sacks full of home grown veggies from my pawpaws garden. I like cookouts and BBQs. I like sandals. I like swimming pools. And despite my love obsession with fall and all its flavors, I actually love the flavors that go along with the rising temperatures of summer. This little easy to make treat is guilt free, full of summer flavors and reminds me of my favorite snow ball, dreamsicle! 

Pineapple Dreamsicle Fluff


  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained (in Splenda)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, not drained (in Splenda)
  • 1 package sugar free vanilla pudding (big box)
  • 1 container of fat free cool whip 
  • coconut shavings (optional edible garnish)


Stir together pudding mix, cool whip, drained oranges, and pineapple with its juice until combined. Chill and eat!

Yields 5 cups and 10 – 1/2 cup servings. Each 1/2 cup serving is 1 point on Weight Watchers! Totally guilt free. I sprinkled a little shaved coconut on top of mine. 1 tablespoon of sweetened coconut is 1 point, but I didn’t use a whole tablespoon. I’m certain I will keep my refrigerator stocked with this all summer. 

What’s your favorite summer treat? 

Pin It

Roasted Sesame Cabbage Wedges

I have to quickly share these, just because they were probably my favorite recipe from last week!

I love cabbage. Love love it in most forms. However, this is probably my new favorite and best way to love cabbage. I found the original recipe and idea on Pinterest. I adapted it to make it a zero point side and to fit with the theme of my meal. It was an Asian(ish) night, so I added sesame and soy to the recipe. I liked it so much I think I’d probably keep the sesame and soy even if it wasn’t an Asian night.

Roasted Sesame Cabbage Wedges
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s roasted cabbage wedges recipe.
Bad after daylight picture, but I had to share this recipe!


  • 1 head of cabbage
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • Tony Chachere’s Seasoning Salt (or salt & pepper)
  • sesame seeds
  • soy sauce
Preheat oven to 400. Rinse cabbage and slice cabbage into 1 inch thick rounds. I cut of the end and sliced it in half and then sliced each half into rounds. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. 
Season each wedge LIGHTLY on both sides with Tony’s (or salt & pepper). Lightly spray cooking spray over the wedges (just the top, the bottoms will get the cooking spray from the pan). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until cabbage is tender and edges are browning. 
When mine came out of the oven, I splashed them with just a tad of soy sauce. I didn’t plug them into the recipe builder, but sometimes when you cook with veggies or fruits it makes them be points. But all the ingredients I used were zero points and under the appropriate serving to be zero points, so I’m calling them zero points for me! 

I served mine with perfect (finally!) brown rice and teriyaki meatballs (I used this meatball recipe, but used teriyaki sauce instead of bbq sauce).

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. 

Veggie Fries & Skinny Sweet Onion Dip

As a meal planning maniac, I’m always on the look out or new ways to do veggies. Veggies are good for you and many are free points on Weight Watchers. I also hate being repetitive in my cooking or getting bored with the idea of anything I want/plan to cook. Therefore, I mix it up often. As I meal plan, I always start with the main dish and build around it. When I picked BLT Lettuce Wraps as a main dish for the weekly menu, I thought it would be a good time to incorporate something still healthy, but a little less healthy than my normal zero or as close to zero point veggie side attempts.

This past September a friend and I had just discovered Pinterest. We were obsessed and looking at recipes and DIY projects like crazy. She found a baked zucchini sticks recipe with a rich onion dipping sauce. I found a cute wreath idea. And thus began our afternoon. The sticks and dip were divine! I knew someday I’d make them again. The baked zucchini sticks were perfect as is, low fat and tasty. The dip however, needed some Weight Watcher friendly adjustments calling for 1 cup of full fat mayo in the original recipe (which is exactly how we made it the first time).

I like things in threes. It’s more pleasing to the eye and it just makes sense. A meal doesn’t feel rounded to me unless it has three. What pairs well with BLT Lettuce Wraps and Baked Zucchini Sticks? Sweet potato fries of course. It officially became a meal I was super excited to make.

Anything that stars with caramelized onions is a winner in my book. Onions cooking on a stove top truly is one of the best smells in the world to me. So let’s start with the dip. (In actual chronological cooking/prep order, I wouldn’t do the dip first. Cut the veggies and let them do their assigned marinating/liquid shedding tasks first. While they do that, work on the dip.)

Skinny Sweet Onion Dip

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: EASY
  • Print

adapted recipe from kingarthurflour.com’s


  • 2 yellow or white onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 cup Kraft Fat Free Mayo
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally. Even though it’s tempting, don’t turn the temperature up to cook them faster. Medium-low, 4 or 5 on my stove, is perfect. Let them get caramelized and browned. You want to see brown. It’s essential for the flavor and color of the dip. They should cook for 25 minutes. When there is 5 minutes remaining, you can sprinkle some powdered sugar over the onions. I feel like this helps them brown a little more and adds to their sweet caramelized flavor.

Add vinegar, honey, and mustard into a small food processor. I used my big one because I enjoy using it. A blender would also work if you don’t have a food processor. When the onions finish add them to the processor. Pulse until it sort of resembles the consistency of apple sauce. Fold in mayo until onion mixture and mayo are combined, smooth, and creamy. Stir in salt.

Now to go with our amazing savory sweet oniony dip, we need things to dip.

Baked Zucchini Sticks

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Original recipe at kingarthorflour.com. I pretty much followed her instructions and recipe exactly, but I used egg beaters instead of eggs, Italian seasoning instead of pizza seasoning, and part reduced fat parmesan and part regular shredded.


  • 3 – 4 small to medium straight zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or 2 large eggs beaten)
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat parmesan


Wash zucchini and cut into 3 inch sticks. She posts a perfect picture on how to cut them (I forgot to take one during that step). The way it worked best for me was to cut it in half, not lengthwise, but down the middle. Think hamburger cut not hot dog cut. Cut off the ends. Stand each half on a flat end. Cut in nines. Like a tic tac to board sort of. Two cuts north to south and two cuts across west to east. You’ll end up with 9 pieces from each half, 18 per each zucchini. Put all the pieces in a strainer and place a bowl under it. Sprinkle the entire tablespoon of salt over the sticks. Sit the zucchini in the refrigerator for at least an hour and let the salt work it’s magic. DON’T skip this step! It’s essential for ending up with firm crisp sticks and not soggy wet ones. It really does drain a lot of water (see above picture with odd light green looking liquid).

Once the hour passes, preheat over to 425. Discard zucchini liquid and rinse the sticks well with cold water. Lay them out on a clean kitchen towel and dry. Pat gently to remove any excess liquid. Dip sticks one by one in the egg and then roll in the crumbs. Use the one wet hand one dry hand method and really do them one at a time. If you dump them all in the crumbs mixture it will get gloppy and you’ll have to add more. Place on a parchment lined baked sheet close together. Bake for 12 minutes and then flip them. You can use a spatula to flip, but I find it easier to just quickly do it by hand. Bake an additional 15 minutes until browning and crisp. To reheat leftovers bake for 10-15 minutes on 375.


Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Original recipe at tastykitchen.com. I followed the recipe exactly. I just subbed the cayenne for Tony’s like a true Mississippian/Louisianan would do.


  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Tony’s


Preheat oven to 425 (I cooked the potatoes and zucchini at the same time and same temp). Wash and peel sweet potato. Cut into 1/2 inch sticks. Toss the sweet potato sticks, olive oil, and seasonings in a bowl until coated. Arrange fries evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and turn them. Bake for 15 minutes longer or until firm and crisping.

Happy April Fools Day! Fool some people with these healthy baked “fries.” They’ll never miss the oil and deep fryers.

BLT Goodness

I’m not the world’s top expert at saying no. Yes eases off the tongue a good bit easier for me. Saying no is something I have to practice and be intentional about. If not I’ll end up on 23 committees, with 47 projects, stressed and way over committed. 
However, some things are easier to say no to. Can you give me your username and password so we can share the account that you pay for? No. Can I drink the last bit of your milk. No. Can I drink your last Dr. Pepper 10. No. Can you fold my clothes? No. Can I use your toothbrush? No. Okay. I’m mildly being silly. I probably would let you drink the last of my milk and my last Dr. Pepper 10. But I have to give myself a pep talk every time I fold my own clothes, so good look with that. And no. I really won’t give you my password and username or let you use my toothbrush. 
Even if you don’t have the Can’t-Say-No-Syndrome like me, there are just some things you don’t want to say no to. You could call them impossible to say no to. Red Velvet cake for breakfast. Just can’t say no. Starbucks iced and blended beverages. Nutella on a spoon out of the jar. And…
One word. 

Bacon. Who can resist? Not me. I actually don’t eat bacon often. I do “real” bacon bits on my salads and in green beans, but I don’t crave/need/want/must have bacon until Spring and Summer. Why? Thee letters.
B – L – T. So simple. So classic. So perfect. So irresistible. I actually don’t enjoy the traditional bacon or way of cooking it. It’s greasy and poppy and makes the entire house smell like grease. However, when I started Weight Watchers I discovered Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked Bacon. It’s center cut [read less fat], microwavable, AND only TWO points per serving. And a serving? FOUR slices! I haven’t bought or had it since fall arrived. 
My taste buds and brain are weird about crossing things I consider to be seasonal foods over to other seasons. (Examples: I can’t eat soup or grilled cheese unless it’s Winter or Fall. I can’t drink hot beverages in Spring and Summer. I don’t eat guacamole, watermelon, avocados or pineapple in the cold weather seasons.) So, I equate BLTs with Spring and Summer. Fresh tomatoes from my Pawpaw’s garden are probably to blame for this. 
Here in the HOT great South, we’ve been in full Spring swing since January. (A slight exaggeration but not by much.) I pinned Skinnytaste’s BLT Lettuce Wraps long ago, in anticipation of seasonal BLTs. I pretty much followed her recipe exactly with a few minor alterations. I used fat free mayo, the aforementioned microwaveable bacon, romaine lettuce leaves, and chopped grape tomatoes. I recently attempted my first Lettuce Wraps with iceburg leaves as she suggests. I failed! They broke and did not work at all for me. A head of romaine is $1.00 at Wal-mart and seems to be a little more substantial to me. 
BLT Lettuce Wraps
original recipe from skinnytaste.com
  • 16 slices Oscar Mayer fully cooked bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Kraft Fat Free Mayo
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves, hard ends removed
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce
  • salt
  • black pepper

Microwave 8 slices of bacon at a time for 60 seconds. Blot off excess oil. Chop and set aside. Chop grape tomatoes. I cut them in half, then little circles and discard the excess seeds and juice. Stir mayo into tomatoes. Add salt to taste to tomato mixtures. I wouldn’t add too much, because the bacon has a natural saltiness. Add fresh cracked black pepper to mixture.

My recipe yields 3 servings of  2 wraps per serving. To build a wrap sprinkle a little chopped lettuce in the romaine cup. Spoon 1/6th (a couple tablespoons) of the tomato mixture on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle 1/6th of the bacon on top. Tuck the bottom harder end in a bit and then roll the lettuce wrap over from side to side. It’s a little flimsy still, so I just wrapped mine in a napkin.

Each serving (2 wraps) is 4 points on Weight Watchers according to the recipe builder.

I served these with baked zucchini sticks and baked sweet potato fries dipped in skinny caramelized onion dip (recipes coming soon). 

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

If you’ve been following, you know that one of this week’s meals was Skinnytaste’s Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole. Oh my goodness was it good! I served it to four RAs and myself for one of their birthdays this week. They all LOVED it. They had seconds and thirds and raved about it the entire time. I even got a few more comments from the eaters the next day. You know you made a good meal when people still talk about it days later.

Chicken Broccoli Noodle Casserole
adapted from skinnytaste.com

With some basic ingredients and a little effort you can have a yummy, filling, impressive casserole. It’s a creamy casserole with absolutely NO cream of anything canned soups. I only changed the recipe just slightly. I used skim milk instead of 1% and Great Value whole wheat extra wide noodles instead of the more expensive brand. The other changes were minor as well and just based on my personal preferences. I’ll write the recipe with the changes I made, but please see the above listing for the original.
I make my own bread crumbs from lower calorie bread, freeze them, and always have them on hand for recipes.

Doing a little prep work the night before or on your prep work day is a great way to make this meal take less time to prepare. Things you can do before: make bread crumbs, make chicken stock, make shredded chicken and pre-measure it out, and chop onions to keep on hand for recipes. 
I used the shredded chicken I made on meal prep day on this recipe. I also rely on my good scale OFTEN! 


  • 6 oz Great Value extra wide whole wheat noodles
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (I used the jarred kind)
  • 14 oz bag of frozen broccoli
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, minced
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour 
  • 1-3/4 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 12 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
  • 4 oz shredded reduced fat cheddar (I used half sharp, half mild)
  • cooking spray
  • 3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs
Cook noodles in salted water until soft with a little bite. Drain and set aside. Noodles will cook in the oven too, so under cooking them just slightly is okay. Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in a skillet. Add garlic and cook on medium heat until golden brown. Add frozen broccoli and saute with oil and garlic until broccoli gets soft and a few sprigs are just barely turning brown. Set aside. In another skillet heat butter until melted. Add minced onion and a little salt to sweat the onions, cook until translucent and soft. Add flour. Cook 2-3 more minutes coating onions in the flour. I like to multitask to minimize time, so I was cooking noodles, broccoli, and onions all at the same time. I recommend doing it that way, but if it stresses you out do it at your own pace and own way. 
Add chicken broth to the onions and flour. Whisk in slowly. Stir in milk and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese and 1 tbsp of the parmesan cheese. Mix until cheese is almost completely melted. Add the shredded chicken, broccoli and noodles. Stir until everything is coated and pour into a sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with remaining parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Spray cooking spray lightly on top and bake for 25-30 minutes. 
I always have to think really hard about sides for dishes like this. Casseroles often have everything in them! Starch, veggies, dairy. Steam in the bag veggies can be great side dishes if you doctor them up a bit. I served this with two additional veggies, one starchy and one green. I made steam in the bag corn with a tablespoon of yogurt butter, a little salt, a good bit of fresh cracked black pepper. I also made steam in the bag brussel sprouts. I quartered them after they cooked. That part is a little hot, but just do it fast! It’s worth it. People will like brussel sprouts if you chop them up a bit. I sauteed them in some yogurt butter and added Tony’s with a heavy hand (I love that stuff!).

I didn’t calculate the points for my version, but it would be equal to or less than hers since I used skim milk. Her recipe is 8 points for 1/6th of the recipe. 

Sunday Brunch

As promised, I’m back! Thanks for not giving up on me. Pneumonia is a beast! All I ate for two week was Chicken and Stars, Easy Mac, and chocolate pudding cups. This weekend was one of the first times I’ve felt like cooking since the sickness attack. Now, I know I’m really better.
Last night I made an extra green and lean shepherd’s pie for St. Patrick’s Day! I’m getting better at food pictures I think. Yes, I know I go a little collage crazy, but hey, I’m a kindergartner at heart. And you guys love me anyway right? (If you want the recipe, just ask! I could easily post it.)
This morning I got up and made these amazing, tasty, EASY banana pancake muffins! I have a new favorite healthy food blogger: Emily Bites. She is amazing. She does creative and different Weight Watcher friendly recipes. I got these banana pancake muffins from her! I only made very few changes from her recipe. Also, after reading her post to make these cutie muffins, I’ve totally had the Jack Johnson Banana Pancakes song stuck in my head ALL day. 
Banana Pancake Muffins

I added more banana that she did and I used sugar free syrup. With the sugar free syrup swap (verses the light that she used) I got it to be lower points according to the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder! Her version was 4 points per serving (4 mini muffins) and mine was 3 points per serving. 
1 cup Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix
2/3 cup skim milk
2/3 cup sugar free breakfast syrup
1 1/2 large ripe bananas, chopped into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a mini muffin tin with butter flavored baking spray. Stir Bisquick mix, syrup, and milk together until smooth. Chop the banana into small pieces. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture into each muffin tin. Divide mixture evenly into the 24 cups. Add banana pieces onto each cup. Depending on the size, I put about 4-6 pieces in each cup. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. 
It makes 24 muffins, 6 servings of 4 muffins each. Each muffin is 1 points or 3 points per serving. They are the perfect sweetness for me, but if you want extra sweetness you could dust with powdered sugar or serve with extra syrup for drizzling or dipping. I had mine with some fresh strawberries and yogurt! A perfect little Sunday brunch. 

Did I mention that I’m loving this whole church on Sunday nights thing? Sunday brunch just feels luxurious and relaxing. Relaxing should take place on the Sabbath day right? I’m going with it. Now I have these sweet cutie muffins as a breakfast option for all week as well! Oh how I love prep work. And preparing healthy breakfast or lunch options to have for the week. I decided to go ahead and make my faithful crustless quiches as well while I was having a happy Sunday baking day. I used my same base recipe (linked above), but changed them up a bit. I made them big guys instead of little guys. I used fiesta 2% cheese instead of Parmesan and American, added an extra sauteed onion to make them super sweet and oniony, and added some chopped tomatoes. According to the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder they are only 2 points each! For a big filling egg muffin that’s not bad! Using a big muffin tin makes 12. 
I’ll give you one more to grow on! Just because I’ve been good about taking pictures, tried some pretty yummy things, and it fits with the brunch theme (even though I kinda sorta ate it as a dessert, oops). 

Holy cow this is good. Like I said, I actually ate it for dessert! But it’s totally a breakfast food! I got the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie, another healthy food blogger I love. I pretty much used her recipe exactly except she does vegan and I don’t. I’ll post my version, but for the original just see the link above.

1/2 cup rolled oats (I used the whole grain quick cooking kind)
3/4 cup skim milk
1 banana, smashed
1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Splenda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and cook uncovered over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally. I sprinkled some chocolate chips (a very small handful, less than 1/4 cup) over top and stirred them in just slightly. It’s a lot! Two people could eat this as a dessert or one for a hearty, filling breakfast. It’s 10 points for the entire serving, 5 for half. I also topped it with a little fat free Cool Whip for 0 points.

Try these out for your next breakfast or brunch. We should have a big brunch pot luck party. That would be fun.

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 skinnytaste.com. 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 skinnytaste.com . 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 pinterest.com, 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: pinterest.com/kasialindsay!
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!