Chocolate Peanut Butter Spice Cake

Spice cake is one of my favorite desserts to whip up when I’m in the mood for something tasty, mildly sweet and just all around delicious. I knew I had all the ingredients I needed to whip something together, so I made my way into the kitchen and let the creativity flow.
The cake itself always comes out super moist and delicious. I add a pinch of baking soda to my cake mixes that don’t use water/oil/eggs because it helps make the dessert just slightly fluffier. The chocolate peanut butter chips definitely added a peanut buttery chocolaty goodness to the cake that made it decadent. I shared it with family and friends who came by and everyone was equally pleased with it. The next day, after the cake was fully cooled I found it was perfect to warm it in the microwave for a few seconds and top it with a smidgen of butter. Perfect combination and it made it a great snack/dessert.
You could totally make these into muffins if you prefer them portioned out that way … but I personally made it into a Bundt pan because it was faster and it looks pretty.
Serves 12. 4 Points Plus Values.
  • Betty Crocker Spice Cake Mix
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp egg whites
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 26 gm, Nestle Toll House Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven per box directions.
In a medium bowl mix together spice cake mix, canned pumpkin, egg whites, baking soda and water. Blend until smooth. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Spray a bundt pan or muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, spoon cake batter into the mild.
Gently tap cake against a flat surface to eliminate any air bubbles.
Bake in an oven per box directions. Cake is done when a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean.

Pop-Tarts Chocolate Peanut Butter

I picked up a box of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pop-Tarts after fawning over them for weeks at the grocery store.  I had tried a bite of the regular peanut butter Pop-tarts and had assumed that these could only be better.
After the first bite, I knew that assumption was wrong.  These chocolate peanut butter Pop-tarts just did not personally live up to the hype. The crust is chocolaty but more of a cocoa flavor than chocolate. They have a peanut butter filling and a chocolate frosting.  I had hoped they’d taste like a Pop-tart version of a Reese peanut butter cup … but it just did not live up to that. I was rather let down by the flavor and didn’t enjoy them very much. They were more boring than exciting … and I felt the plain strawberry Pop-tarts are so much better than these.
A single pastry is a serving (so make sure to get a Ziploc bag or find a friend to give the additional pastry to) which is 200 calories or 5 points plus values.
What is your favorite Pop-tart flavor?

LUNA Protein Bar Review & GIVEAWAY!

I was provided a few LUNA Protein Bars for review purposes, provided by LUNA to spread the word in regard to Celiac Awareness Day.

Friday, September 13th is National Celiac Awareness Day.  Incase you’re not aware – celiac disease is a condition that overtime damages the lining of an individuals small intestine.  The damage happens due to an adverse reaction to eating products that contain gluten.  Gluten is typically found in items such as wheat, barley, rye, etc.  The damage to the intestine prevents absorption of some nutrients which overtime can cause weight loss, bloating and unsettling bowel movements. It can also cause stomach pains for the individual who consumed the product containing gluten.  Unfortunately there is no cure for celiac disease; the only way to manage celiac disease is for the infected individual to eat a strict gluten-free diet.  According to research 78% of sufferers actually don’t realize they have the condition.
Luna Protein Bars are gluten free and can be consumed by individuals who have celiac disease but also by any individual who is on the hunt for a nutritious protein bar.  I personally do not have celiac disease, but I do know many folks who suffer from it. I’ve heard that an attack is by-far not a pleasant experience – while also finding gluten free products, that are truly gluten free (meaning a company does not falsely advertise items as gluten free), can sometimes be a hassle for individuals. I am however typically on the hunt for a nutritious and delicious protein bar.
Upon opening the box provided by LUNA I found the weather (we got a crazy, humid 90+ heat wave for a few days) was not kind to the coated bars. I nearly squished one with my fingertips, so I kindly set the box in the refrigerator to chill before taking it back out and letting them sit at room temperature for half the day.  So with that, please ignore the appearance of the bars in the photos … they were pretty much melted and then reset after receipt.  Once I was able to handle them, I found I was provided a bar in each of the three flavors:
          LUNA Protein Bar – Chocolate Peanut Butter (5 points plus values)

          LUNA Protein Bar – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (5 points plus values)

          LUNA Protein Bar – Mint Chocolate Chip (4 points plus values)
Over the course of the last 6-months I have dabbled heavily in the protein bar world.  I’ve tried some I’ve loved and I’ve tried some I wish I never took a bite of. And I admit I had yet to try the LUNA Protein bars until receiving these.  Initially I was intrigued by the Mint flavoring because from what I understood about the brand, the protein bars are encased in a chocolate coating which make it like a guilt-free “candy bar” of protein-sorts.
One thing I can say is the bars are smaller in size.  They’re smaller than an average size say Snickers bar.  Even though they are small, they do pack a protein punch – each of the bars providing 12 grams, which can definitely be satisfying.  I wouldn’t suggest eating one of these as a meal, but perhaps as a snack, or even a before/after gym treat.  With the coating, they really do have a “guilty” vibe to them even though they’re not really guilty in that sense.
The first bar I tried was the Mint Chocolate Chip.  The center of the bar has a chewy nougat,.  The first bite you’re rewarded with a delicious mint chocolate chip flavor – reminiscent of the decadent Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. Mint flavor aside, as you chew you are left with an aftertaste which is usually found in protein bars. It’s not overwhelming, but it’s undoubtedly there – which is more than likely the soy and whey showing they’re present.
The second bar I tried was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The bar itself is definitely true to its name – providing a delicious cookie dough flavoring. The center is soft in texture and mildly chewy. The center also looks like chocolate chip cookie dough which in a weird way makes it fun to eat. There isn’t much of a noticeable aftertaste in this bar and I have to say out of the three this one is undoubtedly my favorite.
The final bar I tried was the Chocolate Peanut Butter. The center nougat has a very pleasant peanut butter flavor, but as you bite into it, you are rewarded with an unexpected crunch. It’s a crispy rice crispy like crunch, which definitely give it a unique texture.  This like the chocolate chip cookie dough does not provide a very noticeable aftertaste. This would definitely be my second favorite.
These are filling but I want to point out that the blend of soy and whey can inevitably upset your tummy. It will depend on how you digest the two, but I found a couple hours after sampling them, my stomach felt a little odd. Not queasy or sick but just … off. Then again it could have been my sampling of 3 flavors even though I only had about 1/4 of each bar.  My boyfriend took a few bites of each to sample and he said he felt full from them, but his stomach wasn’t doing the backstroke.

LUNA Protein Bars are sold at retailers like Walmart and Target and can also be found on local grocery store shelves in full-size boxes or sold individually.

To enter the giveaway, use the below Rafflecopter.  The giveaway will close Sunday, September 15that 12am (midnight). At the close of the giveaway, I will contact the winner via e-mail to inquire about the flavor of your choice (see flavors here).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: LUNA provided these products free of charge and is sponsoring the giveaway. I have not been paid to review this product, nor am I a brand affiliate. The opinions expressed, as with all my blog posts, are mine and mine alone.

Arctic Zero – Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

There has been a lot of buzz around the Arctic Zero brand of frozen novelties.  There are a lot of people who love the brand, hate the brand, or have certain flavors they just plain don’t like or really enjoy.  There are also others who don’t believe the nutritional information listed on the container.  I admit I was a little hesitant to find a store to purchase because however could ½ cup of ice cream be only 37 calories (1/2 cup = 1 points plus value)?! I’ll be honest, part of me thought if it was true, it would taste like dirt.
After seeing it for weeks upon weeks all over my Instagram feed I decided to find a store that sold the brand.  I googled and found a Whole Foods location near my work that sold them – so I decided to make a Whole Foods grocery run at lunch one day.  I found them in the freezer section, alongside the other ice creams.  This particular store only had 4 flavors available, so I picked up the Chocolate Peanut Butter and the Maple Vanilla (which I have not tried yet).  The pints have been sitting in the freezer, because I was not feeling adventurous enough.  Well, I happened to be feeling adventurous this week and I have to say I LOVE this flavor!

It’s too bad it took me so long to try it, but the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor is quite delicious.  I mean, you CAN tell you’re not eating regular ice cream. It’s lighter ice cream, there’s a little bit of iciness to it (but if you let it sit for a moment, it goes away).  It’s creamy, it’s delicious and it’s packed with flavor.  It’s more chocolatey than peanut butter – but there is a mild hint of peanut butter in the background.  The ice cream itself is definitely best to eat with something on it.  I found it was totally delicious with sliced banana and strawberries on it. It brought the flavors together and made a relatively guilt free dessert seem like a guilty one.
I did eat 1 cup servings at a time which came out to be 2 points plus.  I had another sundae later in the week and I just really enjoy this flavor.  It is a little pricy – these were just under $5 at Whole Foods, but worth it for a once in a while treat.
Have you tried any Arctic Zero products? If so, what’s your favorite flavor?

Zone Perfect Chocolate Peanut Butter Nutrition Bars

After going out “on a limb” and trying the Zone Perfect Fudge Graham bars I decided to pick up the Chocolate Peanut Butter while at Wal-Mart.  The Wal-Mart I was at, didn’t have a very wide selection – but evidently I was in a peanut butter mood so these ended up in my cart.  After trying them, I have to say, I really am glad this particular flavor ended up in my cart!
These nutrition bars are a great after gym snack as well as a great snack to have between meals because they truly do hold you over.  Lately I’ve found I’ve been reaching for them during that late afternoon hunger period where I’m hungry but dinner is not going to be ready for a while. There are 14 grams of protein in a bar, 3 grams of fiber, 24 grams of carbohydrate and 7 grams of fat.
The chocolate peanut butter flavor truly reminds me of a peanut butter candy bar.  The outside is very milk chocolatey and there’s a very nice smooth peanut butter flavor.  I was pleasantly surprised with this flavor. Definitely an A+ and it scores even more points because it reminds me of a candy bar!
The one thing I do want to say is that these WILL get a little melty if they are kept in a warm area.  The weather has been all over the place here lately and one day I found these were not melting in the packaging, but the moment I picked it up with my fingers it started basically slipping/melting right out of my grip.  I wouldn’t suggest keeping these in the fridge, but perhaps a nice cool, dark cabinet – it would keep them perfect during the hot months.
The greatest part is these are incredibly filling AND they’re only 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus values!
Have you tried any of the Zone Perfect nutrition bars? If so, what is your favorite flavor?

Spotted & Haul: Arctic Zero Ice Cream

As a Weight Watchers member and fellow Instagrammer I have heard a lot about a guilt-free ice cream on the market.  I know,  I know, at first I was all “don’t believe the hype” because I’ve learned in the past, many companies hype their products up and down the road get slapped with lawsuits for providing false information on their nutrition information. Now, I’m not saying Arctic Zero is doing this, but I’m just addressing why I at first raised a brow to it.
For 150 calories per PINT (yes, the whole thing) it is only 150 calories = 3 Weight Watchers Points Plus.  Now for many of us, a pint of ice cream looks as though it’s a serving, particularly when you have a spoon in it and you are watching mindless television.  Typically if that pint of ice cream is Ben and Jerry’s you’ve got a whole other problem on your hands (and behind!?).  So, while shopping at Whole Foods a few weeks ago I spotted a few of the Arctic Zero ice cream pints on the shelf and decided to give 2 of them a try.  They didn’t have all the flavors available (I really wanted the cookies and cream) but I picked out 2 out of the 4 available that I could see myself enjoying and/or adding to a smoothie.
I picked up the Chocolate Peanut Butter and the Vanilla Maple flavors.  They have mixed reviews from all who’ve tried (some enjoy, some don’t).  But I’ll decide once I do give these a shot.
Have you tried any of the Arctic Zero products?