Saturday, January 26, 2013

Skinny Cinnamon Chip Cream Cheese Muffins

A few days ago, I was e-mailed this delicious looking recipe for Cinnamon Chip Cream Cheese Bread, from Erin over at Making Memories...One Fun thing After Another. I've never made a recipe with Cinnamon Chips before, and Erin's bread seem like the perfect recipe to give them a try.

I lightened up this recipe by reducing the amount of Cinnamon Chips to half a bag, instead of the entire bag, as well as, replacing the full fat cream cheese for 33% less fat cream cheese. I also replaced the sugar with Splenda

I turned this recipe into muffins for portion control, to help aid in my weight loss efforts. I weighed in last Sunday, and forgot to mention I lost 3 pounds! Yay!

I thought I was being clever my baking these in individual portions, but to be honest, it created a lot more work! So, if you would like to follow the original recipe, the batter is baked in a loaf pan for 55-60 minutes.

And, before you go on a wild goose chase all over town looking for Hershey's Cinnamon Chips, Vons/Safeway was the only store that carried them in my town. They were $4.09 a bag.

Skinny Cinnamon Chip Cream Cheese Muffins

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c Splenda sugar substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 c milk ( I used 2%)
2 egg whites
1/4 c Splenda sugar substitute
5 oz.( 1/2 a bag ) Hershey's Cinnamon Chips

Cream Cheese Filling 
8 oz. 33% less fat cream cheese
1/2 c Splenda
1 egg

2 tablespoons Splenda sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water


With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, 1/2 c Splenda, and egg until smooth. Set aside.

Next, mix the 2 tablespoons of Splenda, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of water.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and Splenda together until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and egg yolks. Mix well.  
Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate the flour mixture and the milk.  Mixing after each addition.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add the 1/4 cup Splenda, 1 tablespoon at a time, until egg whites are stiff.  

Fold the egg whites into the batter mixture. 
Then, add 5 oz.(1/2 a bag) of Cinnamon Chips. Stir.

Line 2 muffin tins with 16 cupcake liners. Spray inside of cupcake liners with cooking spray. Scoop one heaping tablespoon batter into each cupcake liner. With a knife, spread batter evenly.

Top with one heaping tablespoon of cream cheese mixture. Spread to make it even. 

Add another heaping tablespoon of batter, and spread as best you can. It doesn't have to be perfect.

Drizzle a little bit of glaze over each uncooked muffin.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 14-16 minutes. Tops will not be brown, so don't wait for that to happen! Let cool completely before unwrapping.

This recipe makes 16 servings. If you are following Weight Watchers, each muffin is 5 Points Plus.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Get Your Chef On ~ Peppered Pear Scones with Pear Conserve

I'm was so happy to learn that the required ingredient for this month's Get Your Chef On challenge, hosted by by Julie at White Lights on Wednesday, and Jen from Four Marrs and One Venus is PEARS!

Earlier this month, I participated in the Spiked! Recipe Challenge, where I chose to make Champagne Poached Pear No Bake Cheesecake because of the over abundance of Bosc Pears I have in my fridge. Well, here I am a little over a week later, and I've barely made a dent in the amount of pears I have! I know, I know....this is a good problem to have!

Since I made a dessert for the Spiked! Recipe Challenge, I wanted to make a savory dish for this challenge. Peppered Pear Scones can be eaten as is, or with the Pear Conserve, which elevates the savory scones to the next level! I absolutely love the combination of savory and sweet! Yum!

I know some of you out there are asking yourself, "What's Conserve?" I asked myself this very same question. I knew it had to be a topping of some sort, but wasn't sure of the exact definition. Conserve is a preserve made from a mixture of fruit or vegetables. There, now you know!

Preserves usually contain pectin, so that the mixture can gel. I ended up using less than the original recipe called for, and all turned out fine. I just had to reduce the mixture down a bit. I also replaced the sugar in the conserve with Splenda!

The source of the original recipe is here from Better Homes and Gardens.

White Lights on Wednesdays

Peppered Pear Scones with Pear Conserve 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder  
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, cracked
1/4 teaspoon baking soda  
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter 
2 eggs 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1/4 cup fat-free milk  
1/2 cup chopped, peeled fresh pear
Peppercorn whole black peppercorns, cracked (optional)
1 cup Pear Conserve

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pepper, baking soda, and salt. 

Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

In a small bowl beat eggs lightly; stir in cheese and milk. 

Add the milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture. 

Using a fork, stir just until moistened. Fold in pear.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Quickly knead dough by folding and gently pressing for 10 to 12 strokes or until nearly smooth. 

Pat or lightly roll the dough into an 8-inch square. Cut into 16 squares.

Place scones 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle with additional cracked pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer scones to a wire rack. Serve warm. If desired, serve with Pear Conserve.

This recipe makes 16 servings. If you are following Weight Watchers, each scone is 3 Points Plus. With 1 heaping tablespoon of Pear Conserve, each serving is 4 Points Plus.

Pear Conserve

2 1/2 cups chopped, peeled fresh pears
1/2 cup water  
3 tablespoons lemon juice  
1 - 0.4 ounce package regular powdered fruit pectin ($1.59 at my grocery store)
1 cup Splenda
1/2 cup raisins  
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

In a large saucepan combine pears, water, and lemon juice. 

From the tree in my backyard

Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in pectin. Bring back to boil, stirring constantly. Stir in Splenda and golden raisins. Return to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in ground cinnamon. Cool slightly. Store in an airtight container.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hot Lips Game

Click to enlarge

Happy Saturday Everyone!

So, are you looking a fun game to play with your sweetie on Valentine's Day, or maybe a date night at home? Well, look no further!

The Hot Lips Game is fun, and completely free to make! You just need any craft and/or scrapbooking supplies you have on hand, to create this game.

This game came out of 101 Nights of Great Romance by Laura Corn. I love this book! Inside, there are "secret sealed seductions" for both you, and your hubby. Each seduction has a title on the outside, with the label or either "his eyes only," or "her eyes only."  There are also icons such as a $, to let you know how much the seduction will cost, if any.

How to play the Hot Lips Game:

The day of your romantic evening, text your hubby letting him know what he is in store for. I simply texted, "Hot Lips Game, Tonight @ 9pm." We played on a weekday, so I texted him while he was at work. Giving him a little hint beforehand builds anticipation, and he won't stop thinking about you!

Choose a TV show that you would normally watch together anyways. This show needs to be an hour long with commercials. So, no HBO, Showtime, etc., since those shows are commercial free.

Create your game. As you can see from my photos, I use cardstock, and various scrapbooking materials I had on hand. I wrote down the rules of the game, types of kisses and a scorecard.

How To Play: During the first commercial break, you are going to give your hubby a kiss. He then has to give you the exact same kiss, and follow it with a different kind of kiss. Then, it's your turn again. You will repeat your first kiss, then his, then add a third one. He has to repeat all three of those, perfectly, plus add a fourth, and so on, until the commercials are over. Whoever goofs, and delivers the wrong kiss, or gets one out of order, the other person gets a point! Next, commercial break start a new sequence.

Click to enlarge

Types of Kisses:
Peck on the Lips
Nibble on the earlobe
Butterfly kiss (use your eyelashes)
European Kiss ( a kiss on both cheeks)
Eskimo Kiss (rub noses)
Vampire Kiss (kiss, or bite! on the neck)
Movie Star Kiss (long, passionate kiss like on the end of a chick flick)
French Kiss ( you all know this one!)
Or, create your own!

Click to enlarge

That's basically it!

I made the game more fun by including a "prize" for the winner. Included in 101 Night of Great Romance, are "passion coupons." You can easily make up a passion coupon with your craft/scrapbooking supplies. My passion coupon says, the bearer of the coupon is entitled to one clothes on quickie! I tucked the coupon inside a card with some heart confetti.

Click to enlarge

I wasn't sure how my hubby was going to respond to this. I thought maybe he would think it was "cheesy," but he loved it! I highly recommend choosing a show that you both LOVE! I let my hubby pick the show, and he chose something on History Channel about the Mayan Indians. Lets just say after a few rounds of kissing, he wasn't really interested in watching the show anymore!

Have fun with this!

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Improv Challenge: Banana Biscoff Rice Krispie Treats

This recipe was created for the January Improv Challenge, hosted by Kristen at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Please see her lovely blog here.  The required ingredients for this challenge are bananas and nutmeg.

My recipe for Banana Biscoff Rice Krispie Treats, was inspired by this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Rice Krispie Treats at

These Rice Krispie Treats are delicious, and different from any other Rice Krispie recipe I've ever tried. The flavors of the banana and nutmeg really come through. These treats are wetter and gooey-er than traditional Rice Krispie Treats. Enjoy!

Banana Biscoff Rice Krispie Treats 

6 cups of Rice Krispies
5 cups mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 banana (2.5 oz, approximately ½ of 1 large size one,) mashed
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1 tablespoon butter
banana (2.5 oz, approximately ½ of 1 large size one,) mashed
2 tablespoons creamy Biscoff Spread
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Base: Place marshmallows and butter in a non-stick pan, and melt over low heat. Stir to combine. Add  Biscoff spread; stir until melted. Add banana and nutmeg; stir. Quickly add Rice Krispies, and stir to combine. Press mixture into a greased 11 x 13 pan. Set aside.

To make topping: Place marshmallows and butter in a non-stick pan, and melt over low heat. Stir to combine. Add banana and nutmeg; stir. Pour topping over Rice Krispie mixture. Melt Biscoff spread in the microwave in 10 second intervals. With a spoon, drizzle Biscoff spread over topping. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or the topping to set.

This recipe makes 16 servings. Each square is 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus.

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