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WIAW: Pumpkin and Chocolate, Obsession and Love

Posted Oct 19 2011 6:09am

Thank gosh it is Wednesday, meaning we are half way done with the week! Normally I don’t complain about my job, because I really do love the kids, but coming back from the most magical place on earth, to three new students, an administrative search, two suspensions and a whole new dynamic in the group, was kind of a challenge.

But, we are getting through it; I only have detention once this week, and like I said it’s already Wednesday!

Which also means….

WIAW!

Thank you Jenn for uniting the blog-world with this exciting tradition, and giving me inspiration to switch up my eats a little bit as to not totally bore you all.

But I have to admit, since I have been home from Florida, my meals have not been nearly as appetizing. I mean, really, how can one compete with the delicious mixed seafood platter at Citricos? I personally can’t! But I did experiment with some yummy treats, and find a few new snacks, I want to share. I hope you enjoy!

Baking Bonanza

I like to bake when I am stressed. For some reason the methodical instructions, measurements, and feeling of accomplishment always helps ease my mind and put me in a better mood.

After coming home monday to a completely different classroom, I needed the oven!

When I was really sick, I would never, ever, ever, even think of trying anything I made. I got some weird satisfaction from watching others savor my concoctions, while I maintained strict “control” over my diet. Silly, I know!

And there are still times that I am not quite up to the challenge of trying what I bake, but the first recipe I want to share, while a bit out of my box (omg OIL!), totally fulfilled a craving I have been having for days!

Pumpkin Morning Muffies

Inspired by Health Magazine

Makes 18 Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¾ Cups White Flour
  • 1 Cup Stevia In the Raw (Or real sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
  • ¾ Cup Plain Chobani Yogurt (I used 0% but you may use whatever brand and kind you like)
  • 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
  • ¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • Cooking Spray or Muffin Papers
  • 1 Tablespoon Stevia In the Raw
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • Optional: Chocolate Chips, Nuts, Raisins, Craisins…

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine top 7 ingredients into a large bowl and mix them well.
  3. In a second bowl combine all the wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix them both together until blended.
  5. Spoon the mix into 18 muffins.
  6. Combine the remaining Stevia and Brown Sugar Blend together in a small bowl.
  7. Top the uncooked muffins with the mixture, sprinkling on each one pretty evenly.
  8. Put in the oven and bake for approx 15-17 minutes.

These are not super sweet, or cup-cakey, type of muffins, but my husband had no clue they were made without a ton of fat, or that they were actually pretty healthy!

We both enjoyed one (ok, I had two!) for dessert last night over a little more greek yogurt and a squirt of maple syrup.

If you like pumpkin but want a guilt free treat, please, please, please consider making these ASAP. I was definitely happy with the outcome!

Nanaimo Bars with Biscoff Cookie Crust

Inspired by the Joy of Baking

Makes approximately 25 squares

Ingredients:

First Layer

  • ½ Cup Butter
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • ½ Cup Chopped Salted Peanuts

Second Layer

  • ¼ Cup Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Pudding Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Confectionary Sugar

Third Layer

  • ¼ Bag of Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter

Fourth Layer

  • 1/3 Cup crushed nuts of choice

Directions:

Bottom Layer

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg.
  3. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 – 2 minutes).
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, cookie crumbs, and nuts.
  5. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of a cooking sprayed pan.
  6. Cover the chocolaty layer and place in the freezer for about an hour.

Second Layer

  1. Cream the butter with a mixture of a whisk and spatula.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together into its smooth like icing. (Feel free to add a bit more milk if it’s too thick)
  3. Spread the icing over the bottom layer and freeze for another half an hour.

Third Layer

  1. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave in 15 second increments, removing the bowl after each time to stir and not burn the contents.
  3. When melted, spread the chocolate over the bottom two layers

Top Layer

  1. Mix the cookie crumble and crushed nuts together and sprinkle over the top

**Make sure to put the whole thing back in the refrigerator or freezer (the kids in my class loved them frozen because the cookie bottom get a bit softer in the fridge)

Supermarket Food Finds!

So who is sick of me obsessing over pumpkin flavored things?!

Or are you as in love with the delicious fall favorite as much as I am?

Ok anyway, if you are in the same category as myself, then you might be excited to know I spotted these at my local grocery store…

Planters Pumpkin Spiced Almonds

Get your hands on these FAST! A little birdie told me they are only in stores until December 15th, but they are darn good and an awesome way to get in your healthy fats!

A year ago I wouldn’t have touched an almond, let alone any other kind of nut. They were a waste of calories for such a small portion and I just didn’t have any calories to spare! But now, I find that a handful of nuts (about 1/8 cup according to my awesome dietician!) is the perfect way to fuel up before my a.m. workout.

It doesn’t make me feel overly full or bloated, and at 4:15 a.m. I need a little something to start my metabolism off right! These have definitely been a favorite for the past week, especially when I mix them with a serving of Emerald’s Cinnamon Roasted Almonds…how I love the taste of fall :-)

This weekend I plan to try them crushed up over some French toast, made with Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Swirl Bread, of course!!!…(you are probably all thinking, “enough with the Pumpkin and French Toast! But I am telling you, its good!)

And finally, I have mentioned these before on my blog, but they are so tasty I have to tell you about them again.

Plus they are offering some sweet deals on their website, so if you are looking to try them, now is the time! :-)

Nugo Slim

I love chocolate. I love chocolate! I love nuts and nut butters(and obviously from the last few weeks I also love pumpkin ;-) )

But if you are in the mood for some chocolate and in need of a little pick me up, my favorite afternoon treat lately have been the Slims.

I am a huge fan of Nugo Bars to begin with. The Dark Chocolate Pretzel is literally like heaven in a wrapper. In fact, any flavor I have tried has been fabulous, so when I got a few of these babies in the mail, I was pumped to try them.

Just as I suspected, they were AWESOME.

You can definitely tell they are dark chocolate, and that there is only 2 grams of sugar, because they are not overly sweet, but I was super impressed with the nutritional profile and after having one, was excited to try the second flavor.

They aren’t widely available in stores, but like I said, check out the website for further information…they are certainly worth a look!

Any fun snacks to share this week?

I can’t wait to catch up on everyone’s menus!


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