Garden Lites Pumpkin Spice Souffle

I spotted this Garden Lites Pumpkin Spice Souffle at Target and into my cart it went. I admit, at first when I saw the words “pumpkin spice” and “souffle” in the same sentence I was a little apprehensive. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a rewarding food experience. But there’s a little saying that says “don’t judge a book by its cover” so I tried not to.
After calculating the points plus values, I was quite excited to see the points plus values are actually notated on the box. Once I found this, it made looking at other flavor options a breeze.
One day I wanted something pumpkiny for dessert. Wrinkling my nose at the options presented to me, I decided to give the pumpkin spice soufflé a shot.  I heated it up in the microwave per the box directions. After letting it cool for a few minutes I tried it and was very impressed from that very first bite. It tasted just like pumpkin pie filling.  I decided to jazz it up just a little more with a tablespoon of sugar free maple syrup over the top … and it was sinfully delicious! It was undoubtedly pumpkin spice – but more pumpkin than spice which I truly appreciated. It wasn’t eggy in the least bit, but it did have a little bit of a creamy quality to it on the tongue which was reminiscent of custard. Overall, delicious – and so delicious that I made sure to pick up another box on my last trip through Target.
A serving (the whole bowl – 7 ounces) is 190 calories or 5 points plus values.
Have you tried any of the Garden Lites soufflés? If so, which one(s) is/are your favorite?

Bakers’ Corner Pumpkin Bread

I will truly try anything pumpkin as long as the nutrition information is worth it to me (and trust me, there are pumpkin items that just are not worth it to me).  One of the items that was worth it was this Bakers’ Corner Quick Bread & Muffin Mix – Pumpkin.  I had picked this box mix up at my local Aldi store and stuck it into the cabinet. Yesterday, I was in the mood to bake something since we didn’t have any baked goods in the house.
Deciding to skip the eggs and oil the boxed mix called for I opted to experiment with a handy dandy can of Diet Fresca. Diet soda works wonders in cake mix, so I thought why wouldn’t it work wonders in a pumpkin bread mix?  I added in almost the whole can of soda (minus, what would probably be 2 sips) and stirred it all up.  I added the contents to a Pam sprayed loaf pan and baked it off for 50 minutes.
The cake came out perfect. Moist and delicious – although I will say this is more spiced pumpkin than regular pumpkin.  You can definitely taste the spiciness in it because it’s right up there in the forefront. It’s not as spicy as other pumpkin desserts can be (such as spiced pumpkin pie) but it’s definitely noticeable.
Since I made the bread with soda, a slice (1/12th) was only 130 calories or 3 points plus values.
Do you like experimenting with baking?

Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Soup

I picked up a container of the Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Soup a while back because it sounded delicious and the picture on the container looked as such.  With it being fall, and the soup being one of my favorite vegetables (well, squash in general), I decided to finally give this a whirl.
Opening the container and pouring it into a measuring cup, I admit I was slightly grossed out – but I have to say it smelled and reminded me exactly of baby food. Baby food weirds me out in itself – but that’s a whole other story (texture/food smell issues). Trying to not form an opinion just yet, I put the bowl into the microwave and heated it through. Taste wise its okay … but I picked up more of a pumpkin-like flavoring.  It’s creamy, it’s flavorful and a serving is 1 cup.  It’s not bad, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
A 1 cup serving is 90 calories, or 2 points plus values.
What is one of your favorite soups in the market?

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Biscotti

I picked up a container of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Biscotti after spotting them rather accidentally. I was looking to grab a pack of the Five Seed Almond Bars when I noticed the bright orange container. My attention was immediately diverted so I picked up the container to check out the nutrition facts. Right then a Trader Joe’s employee walked by and said “those are delicious!” … and we can say, that sealed the deal.
I enjoy biscotti cookies and I love pumpkin – and since I have never had pumpkin biscotti I felt it would be a nice treat.  My personal favorite biscotti are chewier biscotti, not the classic hard biscotti … which these are. These particular biscotti are very crunchy and hard and are best to eat with tea or coffee … as regular biscotti tend to be best eaten.  Taste wise these are pumpkin spice flavored, whereas texture wise they’re hard, crunchy and slightly crispy.  I’m not saying these are bad, they’re good … but I’d enjoy them a lot more if they were slightly chewy, but that’s just personal preference.
A serving is 2 biscotti cookies, which are 110 calories or 3 points plus. The biscotti cookies are smaller – smaller than the size of your finger.
What is your favorite type of biscotti?

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bagels

When I spotted these Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bagels I picked up the bag and gave it a good whiff. I have this weird thing I do where when buying bread products that have a flavor to them, I have to smell it through the bag. If it smells weird, I can’t buy it because I essentially won’t eat it. But when I smelled these they smelled ah-mazing!
After opening the bag at home, I sliced the bagel in half and popped it into the toaster. I noticed throughout the bagel there are bits which resemble brown sugar pieces, taste sweet and pumpkin spice flavored.  They are nicely pumpkin flavored without being overbearing on the taste buds.  Toasting the bagels up they come out nice and crunchy, yet soft, and are perfect with cream cheese, spray butter or even peanut butter.
I enjoyed them so much I have been eating them for breakfast or brunch a good portion of the week.  I find with peanut butter they’re perfectly filling and will hold me over until the next meal.  They’re reasonably priced as well – $2.59 for a bag of 6.
Each bagel is 250 calories or 6 points plus values.
Are you a fan of pumpkin bagels?

Trader Joe’s Country Pumpkin Spice Granola Cereal

Fall brings out all the pumpkin and fall goodies at Trader Joe’s.  This meant, I was super excited to pick up a box of Trader Joe’s Country Pumpkin Spice Granola Cereal. I did not have a chance to give this a try last year and since I have a pumpkin fascination/obsession I wanted to give it a go.
I’m a big granola fan – but I truthfully don’t eat it very often at all. This has been the first box of granola I have purchased in over 3 years … and I have to say, it was well worth the wait.  I first described this granola as what you would get if plain old granola and pumpkin pie had a baby. It’s that classic crunchy granola texture mixed with chewy raisins with a very noticeable pumpkin spice flavor mixed throughout. It’s delicious, flavorful and mixes well with yogurts and assorted fruits.  I’ve had this pumpkin spice granola over pumpkin flavored yogurt, while I’ve also had it with coconut vanilla yogurt mixed with fresh blueberries, strawberries and granola on top of it.  It adapts well to the flavors it’s mixed with while it also holds up to its crunchy texture.  I have been such a fan I have incorporated this into my breakfast/snacks daily.
A serving is 2/3 cup which is 240 calories, or 6 points plus values.  Although I find a 1/3 cup serving is more than enough to accompany a serving of yogurt. A 1/3 cup serving calculates out to be 3 points plus values.
Have you ever tried Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice granola?

Beef and Bean Chili

The moment the weather switched to cooler temperatures instead of the warmer summer weather we’d been having – I was struck with a chili mood.  I know you can really eat chili any time of the year, but I personally usually only enjoy it during the fall and winter months because it’s warm, homey and comforting.
I make a homemade chili because homemade chilis are just the best in my opinion. I know there are shortcut routes like packets of seasoning, but I personally am not a huge fan of those because you can’t control the flavor (or heat).  Depending on my mood I increase the amount of chili and cumin in my dish – but this is typically my go-to “safe” chili to make when having dinner guests over. This is a larger recipe, but when I make chili I make a large pot to have to serve, for lunches and to freeze. It’s a hit, a crowd pleaser and it’s very filling.  The dish is versatile and great as leftovers (to store in the refrigerator or to stick in the freezer) and it can easily be transformed into chili mac.
You could also double your serving to 2 cups and increase the points plus value for a 2 cup serving to 8 points plus values.
Serves 17. 1 cup serving. 4 Points Plus Values.
          1 2/3 lb 93% lean ground beef
          1 large onion, chopped
          2 medium bell peppers (1 red, 1 green), chopped
          2 tbsp minced garlic
          29 oz. Red Kidney Beans (do not drain)
          29 oz. Pink Beans (do not drain)
          14 oz. tomato sauce
          28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
          2/3 cup water (optional)
          1 tsp black pepper
          1 tsp salt
          1 tsp garlic powder
          1 ½ tsp oregano
          3 tsp cumin
          3 tbsp chili powder
Place a large non-stick pot (soup/stock pot) over medium high heat.  Spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick cooking spray, add in ground beef and break up with a spoon. Season meat with black pepper and salt. As the meat begins to cook, add in onion and minced garlic.  Cook until the onions start to sweat down and begin to change color (slightly translucent), then add in the green peppers. Cook until the meat is browned and no longer pink.
Add in can of sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney beans (with brine) and pink beans (with brine). Stir to combine.  Sprinkle in seasonings – chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder – stir to combine.
Depending on the consistency of your chili you can now add in the 2/3 cup water, or you can even reduce it to 1/3 cup.
Lower your heat to medium low, cover and let simmer for 30-60 minutes.  Feel free to adjust your flavors at this point – if you like a spicier chili, add more cumin and chili powder.

McDonald’s Baked Pumpkin Pie

McDonald`s makes hands down the best fast food pies – at least in my opinion. I do enjoy them, but I do not have them often – maybe once or twice a year. I’m a fan of their apple pie, and I am also “guilty” of occasionally sampling some of their seasonal pies. There have been some flops, but the McDonald’s Baked Pumpkin Pie is definitely a win-win for me.
I was surprised with how yummy their pumpkin pie is! It had real pumpkin filling in it and it wasn’t very sweet.  All around it was delicious. The pumpkin pie tasted like you took a slice of pumpkin pie, wrapped it in McDonald’s signature pie crust and served it up luke warm.  I find these little pies to be handy especially since it’s not always easy to find single servings of pumpkin pie in the market. Having one of these gives the flavor of pumpkin pie, but without having a whole pie sitting in your house.  A yummy treat without any added temptation.
Calorie wise a pie is 240 calories which is equal to 6 points plus.

Have you tried the McDonald`s pumpkin pie?

Yoplait Light Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again … fall is upon us, which means pumpkin everything! One of my favorite repeat purchases has been Yoplait Light Pumpkin Pie Yogurt.  This little gem is distributed by Yoplait this time of year … but oddly enough is usually only found (at least in my area) at Target locations. I first spotted this last year and have been hooked since then.  When I spotted this 4-pack at Target, I immediately put it in my cart.

The yogurt flavoring is on point; it tastes just like a pumpkin pie although a slightly tart pumpkin pie.  Before I take my first bite, I usually have to remind myself of the consistency. The yogurt is on the thinner side which isn’t the texture of pumpkin pie so it at first is a little mind boggling. Granted, if this were a Greek yogurt, I think it’d be a homerun in the park but even with it being regular yogurt it’s quite delicious.. Last year I did try these incorporated into a smoothie and it was a deliciously fabulous experience. I haven’t made a pumpkin pie smoothie yet because I ate up my yogurt and have to get to Target to get another pack soon!

One cup is 2 points plus, whereas 2 cups is 3 points plus.  Quite worth it for the average pumpkin lover!
Have you tried the Yoplait Pumpkin Pie yogurt?

Nature Valley Granola Thins – Pumpkin Pie

I was actually told about these limited edition Nature Valley Granola Thins in Pumpkin Pie via Instagram. My love of pumpkin is strong and I personally wouldn’t have known about these unless I just happened to be browsing Stop & Shop and stumbled upon the mini display … which probably wouldn’t have happened.
I have wanted to try the granola thins for the longest time but since I’m not a big fan of dark chocolate I just couldn’t justify making the purchase. But give me a milk chocolate (which they don’t sell) or a pumpkin pie granola thin and I am all on board.  When I opened the package, I was gifted with a nice pumpkin pie scent.  Taking the first bite I was rewarded with that crumbly granola texture and then a sweet frosting on the bottom of the thin.  A perfect blend of both pumpkin and granola – definitely two thumbs up!
A serving is one thin, which conveniently come packaged in their own individual packs.  A serving is 80 calories or 2 points plus values.  I did find these at Stop & Shop but have yet to see them elsewhere.
Have you tried any of the Nature Valley Granola Thins?