Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Fluff

I love pumpkin, even when it isn't Thanksgiving!  And so I have come across some great pumpkin recipes that I am dying to try.

This is a great recipe for dipping fruit, graham crackers or anything else that you desire and if you are eating skinny, it is a great snack.  If you use graham crackers you basically have a Pumpkin Chiffon pie!  I have used apples, bananas and graham crackers and they all taste great.

My husband had my father-in-law try this recipe with baby carrots.  I wouldn't recommend this though...I think he was little confused as to what a sweet treat this was, rather than a veggie dip! :)

The entire mixture is only 8 Points+ and so you can create 4 large servings for only 2 Points+ each.  What a bargain if you are counting points!
Pumpkin Fluff
You will need:
  • 8 oz light whipped topping
  • 15 oz can pureed pumpkin
  • 1 box sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
  • pumpkin pie spice to taste
Blend pumpkin, spice and pudding mix.  Fold in whipping cream until blended and chill for an hour or two.  Someone suggested putting it between graham crackers and then freezing it to make a pumpkin ice cream sandwich...yum!

That is it!  You can also put into several small containers and freeze until you are ready to use! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Candy Corn Countdown {Halloween Board}

17 Days Until Trick or Treating!!!

That's what my new sign says that I put on the porch this morning!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I really enjoy decorating my front porch for the trick or treaters.  We don't have many houses in our new neighborhood, but there are TONS of kids and so I want to make sure to get my decorations out!

I left some room at the bottom so that I could set some pumpkins in front of it, but all that I have are tiny ones and so I still need to get some big ones and a few more decorations to finish off my porch!

You will need:
  • 2 - 2 x 2 pieces of wood 
  • 4 - 1 x 3 piece of wood (great for reusing old fence posts too!) 
  • hammer
  • 2" finishing nails
  • white, orange, yellow and black paint
  • paint brushes
  • paper to create letter stencils (cardstock is best)
  • Circut (or other letter cutting machine if you have one)
  • something to have numbers with (mini clipboards, binder clips, pushpin, etc.)
  • cute paper to make number
First you have to decide how big you want your sign and how much room you have.  I made mine about 5' tall and so that is how long you will want to cut your 2 x 2 pieces of wood.  Lay them on the ground with the ends flat against the wall and decide how wide you want you sign to be.  I cut my 1 x 3 pieces aboout 19" long  which gave me 5 pieces per board.  This will be how wide my sign will be.  I only needed 16 pieces so I had quite a bit of wood left over, as I only cut one piece from the 4th board.  (If you want to maximize your wood, you can cut your 2 x 2 pieces longer than 5' and have a taller sign.)  The sign in the post that I orginally got my idea from was a bit larger, but for storage purposes after the holiday, I wanted mine to be a little smaller and more easy to handle.

With the 2 x 2 posts up against the wall, lay your smaller pieces in line with each other so you can see what it will look like and can make any changes before nailing it together.  You dont want the boards to be perfectly in line with each other though so offset them a little when you start nailing them down.  Your boards will move as you start nailing so make sure to line them back up before nailing each one. 

When your boads are all nailed together you may chose to paint your board or white wash it as was done in the example that I saw.  I did whitewash mine and then didnt like it at all.  I did my best to sand it all back to its original color, but it did still end up with a slightly white tint to it. 

You can start painting!  I searched online for candy corn clip art and printed those to cut out for stencils and it worked great.  The template that I used can be downloaded for free here.  I printed two different sizes so that they weren't so uniform.  Using the stencils, paint your cand corn wherever you would like it on your board.

While that is drying, start cutting out your word stencils.  I used my Cricut to cut out the words, but you could get them online and cut them out yourself.  Once the other has dried you may then tape your word stencils to the board and paint them on as well.  Get excited because you are almost done!!!!

You may then paint any other designs that you would like.  I liked the pennant flags and spider that Laura's example had and so I copied those for myself.  I also added a few glow-in-the dark skeletons.  Glitter paint might be cute too!

You now need to make your countdown numbers, since that is the whole point of the board to begin with.  I wanted to use paper that I already had and so I simply took bright orange paper and cut it into little squares and used a Sharpie to draw on the numbers.  I tried to find some cute little clipboards, but haven't made it to an office supply store and Wal-Mart didn't have any so I just used some binder clips!  I think that look fine, but I live in a very open area in the middle of Oklahoma and so the wind kept blowing them off!  I finally used a pushpin instead of a nail to hold on the clips are they are working great now.  You could use scrapbook paper of anything else that you like, but I just wanted to make some simple numbers.

If you would like some step-by-step pictures, check out Laura's version here.  I hope you enjoy your board and have fun making it!!

~ Candace

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup {Crockpot Recipe}

I have never had chicken tortilla soup before though I have always wondered what it taste like since I do LOVE Mexican food so much!   I was also never sure what was really in it and I have a things for not trying foods that don't look good or that I don't know what it is...this is why I never tried that lumpy looking cottage cheese and now it is one of my favorites! 

Anyhow, I decided to try to make chicken tortilla soup since I have been looking for foods that are low in Points Plus and also trying to use my crockpot more to make easy dinners.  It was amazing!  My husband and I both loved it and he has asked me to make it several more times and that was just a few weeks ago!

I am involved with Weight Watchers at work and every Wednesday, which is our meeting day, a group of us gals all go in and bring healthy dishes for everyone to try.  Someone brings a veggies, someone brings the main dish, someone brings a dessert and the others just chip in where needed.  When I told them about the soup and how much I loved it, they immediately voted for me to bring it the following week.  This is now the following week and each of them commented on how much they liked it! 

This recipe can be modified very easily to fit anyone's taste and I the two times that I have made it, I have done it differently. Below is the one that I liked the best with some alternative food options for you to try!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
in the Crockpot
Servings: 8    WW Pts+: 4
You will need:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
  • 2 cans 98% fat free chicken broth
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans Rotel
  • 1 pkg frozen corn
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning*
  • 1/2  onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 cups water (optional)
*You could also use a combination of 1 tbsp each garlic powder, chile powder, ground cumin and dried cilantro, but a package of taco seasoning the fastest and keeps you from buying an entire container of all the different spices.

Optional Fixin's:
  • tortilla chips or strips
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • fresh cilantro
Put the broth and seasoning in the crockpot and stir together to make sure that it is mixed thoroughly.  Add everything else and stir once more.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Before you serve, get a fork and shred the chicken a bit and it is ready to eat!
I usually just turn it on before I leave for work and it is ready to eat when I get home.  You could cook in on high to make it a little faster, but I am not sure about the timing since I have not don't this yet.
Alternative Ideas:
  • I tried a can of kidney beans, but it wasn't my favorite and so I just used all black beans the second time and liked it better.  I would like to try it with pinto beans at some point.
  • I used onions the first time and not the second time and I actually liked it better without the additional kick from the onions, but then again, I am not an onion girl...unless they are breaded and fried. :)
  • I also used a cup of water in the first batch, but like my soup a little thicker and so opted out of it the second time.  It was about the same, but if you add water you might get a few more servings.
  • You can substitute the second can of beans for any that you want.  I have seen pinto, black, northern and kidney beans used, though I would still use at least one can of black beans.
  • Frozen corn, canned corn...doesn't really matter.  Use as much or as little as you like.
  • And to the chicken, if you want a fast and last minute meal, canned chicken works great and it is already partially shredded.  I use canned chicken in a lot of my recipes, but I just had time to use an entire chicken breast when I did this one and I do like it better if I have the time.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my friends and I did!  Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

BOO!!! {Halloween Blocks}

I copied this project from an idea on Pinterest, just changed mine up a little bit.  If you like fast and easy crafts that look like you bought them at a retail store, then this is for YOU!

You will need:
  • 2 x 4 wood strips cut in 4", 5" and 6" heights (you can also make them bigger by choosing 2 x 6 wood strips instead)
  • scrapbook paper and letters or printed image from computer
  • sandpaper
  • black paint or spray paint
  • black ink pad and paper towel
  • ribbon
  • Modpodge and brush (I like the foam ones for this!)
After you have cut your blocks and measured the face of each one, create letters for each block.  I used digital scrapbook paper and printed the letters to fit my blocks. 

Paint your blocks with black paint...I prefer spray paint because it is easy, though I did have to go over it twice to get it dark enough.  It doesn't have to be perfect because you want it to have an antiqued look anyway, which you will achieve by using the sandpaper on the corners of the blocks after the paint has dried.

While your blocks are drying, ink the edges of your scrapbook paper using a paper towel dabbed in the black ink pad and rubbed along the edges.  This part also doesn't have to be perfect. 
Once your blocks and letters are ready for for the letter, paint Modpodge on the front of the block where you want the scrapbook paper and rub from the center out to the edges to attach it to the block.  I like to Modpodge over the letters to seal them as well, but you don't have to.  I think that it gives it a more finished look.
After your block has dried, cut a piece of ribbon long enough to go around each block.  Make sure that you leave enough on the ends to tie a little knot and still have some ribbon left. 

Click here to see the one that I used to model my own project.  Mine is a little smaller so that it doesn't take up so much room and and has some different designs, but they are both super cute!  If you start now, you will have plenty of time to finish these before Halloween...

I am already thinking of other blocks that I would like to make using the same concept!

Check out my other blocks here.

~ Candace

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Skinny Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

I love Mexican food and I could eat it everyday...except that after having a baby this year I am trying to eat better and lose the rest of my baby weight so that I can get back into some of my old clothes!

I based this recipe from several chicken enchilada recipes at and modified it to make it more post-baby friendly with 8 enchiladas at only 5 Points+ each.  It turned out great and I will definitely be making this again!

If you like enchiladas, you WILL LOVE these!

Skinny Sour Cream
Chicken Enchiladas
You will need:
  • 8 oz light sour cream
  • 8 oz fat free cream cheese
  • 1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups of cooked shredded chicken breast (canned chicken works too!)
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 8 low carb tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 1 cup chopped onions (optional)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Mix sour cream, cream cheese, soup and cilantro in a sauce pan on medium until heated throughout.  Continue to stir until ready to use.  Meanwhile, add chicken, Rotel, onion and green chiles in a sprayed cooking pan to mix flavors.

Warm tortillas in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften.  Spoon 2 tbsp mixture into each tortilla.  Top with a sprinkle shredded cheese, roll, and place in a 9 x 13 glass dish.

Spread cream mixture over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.  Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.