To Stop and Smell the…Pumpkins!

I feel like I’m always losing time.  I could swear I was just pulling out my flip-flops from their winter hiding place and planning all the awesome things I was going to do in the sunny summer months.  Now, I’m scouring my sweater shelves for something to keep me warm as the crisp fall air is blowing in, and thinking of all the things I didn’t make time to do.

I need to start living in the moment more, stop thinking about what happens next, and stop wishing I had more time to do things, and just start DOING them.  Fall is my FAVORITE season, but it’s also a quick one.  I’ve learned that if you don’t take time to enjoy it, all the leaves will be gone, and we’ll be decking the halls with Christmas lights before you blink an eye!

So, this year, I’ve made a To-Do list of things I always love to do, things I wish I’d made time for last year, and things I’ve never done before:

I’m going to hang it on my refrigerator as a reminder to “stop and smell the roses (or pumpkins!).”  This Fall, I’m going to make time to enjoy the season with family, friends, and lil’ ol’ me.

Want to do it with me?  Print out the to-do list or create your own!  What’s your favorite Fall-thing to do?

XO – Stephanie

Skinny TRICKS for Yummy TREATS!

As the kiddos prepare their finest ghost and ghoul costumes for Trick or Treat night, I can’t help feeling like we Twenty-Somethings deserve a few treats too!  But since we’re not kids, and know indulging in all that sweet stuff is bad for us, and the seams of our skinny jeans, those sweet treats can be tricky.

If you, like me, find yourself feeling guilty when you sneak a candy bar or cupcake, this post is for you!  Let’s say goodbye to the angel and devil food cakes on our shoulders and hello to these guilt-free Halloween treat recipes from SkinnyTaste.com!

The author of Skinny Taste, Gina, is just about my biggest hero.  She has found ways to make all my favorite decadent foods healthier and without sacrificing great flavor.  Check out her website when you get a chance.  You won’t regret it!

Here are 3 of her recipes I’m dying to try!

Pumpkin Sherbert

I drool over the pumpkin pie blizzards from Dairy Queen, but with a whopping 570 calories in a SMALL, I have a hard time allowing myself to order one.  I think this recipe may be my waistline’s saving grace.  There are only 153 calories in 1/2 cup of this decadent frozen treat. Sign me up!

Pumpkin Sherbert from Skinnytaste - Picture from Skinnytaste

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of clove
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Combine and heat sugar, pumpkin and milk, in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil while whisking, reduce heat to low, and simmer for thirty seconds.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla, and stir together.
  3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl, and chill in the refrigerator until cold, about an hour.  When chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Now, I’d venture a guess that many Twenty Somethings don’t own an ice cream maker. Heck, I don’t know anyone who does. So, here’s a trick to make ice cream in a bag.  I think it would work for this too.

This recipe yields 2 3/4 cup. You could eat the whole batch and still consume less calories than a LARGE blizzard. WOW!

Low-Fat Chocolate Mummy Cupcakes

Mummy Cupcakes from Skinnytaste

How stinkin cute are these?! And they are semi-homemade, meaning they use a boxed recipe, so they’re super easy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 18.25 oz Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix
  • 1.4 oz sugar free, fat free, instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/3 cups water

Directions: (Follow the link to check out Gina’s mouth-watering-good step-by-step photos.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and fill a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin puree and water. Add chocolate pudding mix and mix well
  3. Add chocolate cake mix and beat 2 minutes
  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake about 25 – 28 minutes, or until a
    toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15
    minutes.

Vanilla Frosting:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup light butter (Land O Lakes)*
  • 1 tsp white vanilla extract**
  • 2 – 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 36 M&Ms for mummy eyes

* Gina notes that some “light” butters have an added yellow coloring that can change the icing’s color and recommends Land O Lakes Light. **Using dark vanilla extract will effect the color, so she suggests using clear extract to keep the icing really white.

Combine melted butter, vanilla, confectioner’s sugar and enough water to make a frosting consistency.  Start with 2 tbsp and add more as you mix.

Put frosting in a piping bag, cut off the tip and pipe onto cupcakes.  While frosting is still wet, set your M&M eyes in place.  Done!

There are only 164.7 calories in these babies! That’s over 125 calories LESS than the boxed cake directions, and I trust that Gina’s version is just as delicious – if not more!

Pumpkin Spice No-Bake Cheesecake

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake from Skinnytaste - Image from Skinnytaste

Pumpkin cheesecake is my absolute favorite indulgence this time of year!  I’ve been fighting with my diet conscience to avoid the Olive Garden’s and Cheesecake Factory’s versions because they pack in 840 and 740 calories, respectively.  OUCH!  Gina’s recipe only has 239 calories per slice!

Ingredients:

  • 7 oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 8 oz Cool Whip Free, thawed
  • 9 inch reduced fat Graham Cracker Crust

Directions:

Using an electric mixer, combine pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin spice, brown sugar and cool whip, using an electric mixer until fluffy. pumpkin pie spice, and brown  Add Cool Whip and whip until smooth. Spoon mixture into pie crust and chill for a few hours, until firm.

That’s just about as easy as driving to one of those restaurants, right?

As always, please let me know if you try any of these recipes, and if I do, I promise to let you know how they turn out!

Have a great day dolls!

XO Stephanie