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?

Lindt Hello My Name Is Strawberry Shortcake

I had seen the new line of Lindt chocolates on display at Target and refrained from picking one up just because I wasn’t able to pick the flavor I wanted. A few weeks went by and I headed into Target to buy some groceries and happened to have a $1 off coupon, so I figured I’d pick one up as a snack to share with my boyfriend one day.  So I picked up the Lindt Hello My Name Is Strawberry Shortcake.
The candy bar is a milk chocolate bar that has a strawberry cream cheese center and it does have a little bit of a gritty crunch to the inside similar to a cheesecake crust.  The chocolate itself is delicious – the classic smooth and creamy chocolate Lindt is known for.  The filling … it’s alright, it wasn’t mind-blowing fabulous.  It’s a strawberry cheesecake flavor that has a bit of gritty crunch to it, which I assume to be Lindts stab at the texture provided from graham cracker crust.  The strawberry flavor however tastes exactly like candied strawberries – which is not a flavor I typically go for.  It wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  My boyfriend on the other hand, did enjoy it.
A bar contains 2 ½ servings, with 4 square pieces being a serving.  A serving is 210 calories, which I feel is rather high for the amount of candy you do get – which calculates out to be 6 points plus values.
Have you tried any of the Lindt Hello My Name Is … candy bars?

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?

Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

When fall rolls around and pumpkin items begin to hit shelves at Target, every year I make sure to pick up the Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese. One of my favorite things to get during fall is a Dunkin Donuts multi-grain bagel and pumpkin spice cream cheese. It’s a wonderful match, but it’s so high in points it’s something I enjoy but typically don’t have because it’s really not worth the boatload of points.
The pumpkin spice cream cheese is smooth and creamy, yet slightly softer than regular plain cream cheese.  It’s sweet and undoubtedly pumpkin spice flavored. I enjoy it on bagel slims or even light English muffins. I think it would even be a great addition to baked goods – but that’s a road I have not traveled so I’m not sure how it might turn out.
A serving is 2 tablespoons, which rings in at 80 calories or 2 points plus values. I have only spotted this at Target – but I do know there’s a store brand version at Aldi incase you have that grocery store in your area.
Have you ever tried pumpkin spice cream cheese?

Starbucks Via Pumpkin Spice

The moment fall is close to coming into the picture, fall items start arriving. One of the drinks I absolutely love, but don’t order very often is the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.  It’s pumpkin, its latte, and it’s pure magic. So when I spotted the Starbucks Via Pumpkin Spice packets on the shelf at Target, I quickly scooped up a box.
I heated up 1 cup of milk, added in the Via packet and stirred it up … and it was HORRIBLE!  Now, I love coffee, but this has a very, very bold coffee flavor to it. I actually picked up more of the coffee flavor than I did any pumpkin.  The packet of mix smelled more of pumpkin in powder form than it did when it was mixed in with my milk.  Once I mixed it with the milk it just smelled of very, very bold coffee.  Now, I admit, I love coffee BUT I’m more of a light and occasional medium roast coffee fan. This was so bold I’d have to water it down to make it palatable, but by then I’d probably end up just drinking 1-2 cups of milk with a mild flavor in the background. I’d have to give it a nice dosing of sugar free pumpkin syrup and a few Equal packets, plus some additional milk to maybe even get a pumpkin flavor.  Needless to say … I was quite bummed, especially since the Via packets are not cheap.
Each pack has 60 calories to it, which is 2 points plus values. You then need to add in your points/calories associated with the type of milk you use.
Do you like any of the Starbucks Via packets?

Ole Mexican Xtreme Wellness! High Fiber Low Carb Tortilla Wraps

I picked up a pack of the Ole Mexican Xtreme Wellness! High Fiber Low Carb Tortilla Wrapsfrom one of my local grocery stores because I’m always in the market for a tortilla that’s point friendly. I’ve tried the Joseph’s brand and enjoy those and have tried the Trader Joe’s variety, but the Ole Mexican brand has to be the largest tortilla (diameter wise) for the least amount of calories/points.
The tortillas are simply a wheat tortilla that’s higher in fiber and low in carbs. They’re pretty soft and stay pretty soft in the package.  I’ve made turkey wraps and pastrami wraps on them and I’ve even used them as side to a salad to help scoop up some of the lettuce. They’re also great to use to make egg & bacon or egg & sausage wraps for breakfast.  I enjoy the taste of these, it’s not an overwhelming wheat flavor – but I do find these tortillas are satisfying but they’re not as filling as other tortillas I’ve tried.
Each tortilla is 90 calories, which is 1 points plus value, whereas two tortillas are 3 points plus each. They can be relatively pricey depending on your store, but the 2 local stores that carry them, sell them for right under the $5 price tag – which I admit is expensive. I can pick up the Joseph’s tortillas for under $2.
What is your favorite brand of tortillas on the market?

Market Pantry Pumpkin Cereal Bars

Fall is my favorite season and along with fall comes one of my favorite flavors – pumpkin!  I LOVE pumpkin and love just about anything pumpkin. This time of the year is one of my favorites when shopping because it’s seriously pumpkin overload at the stores and its fun trying new and unique items.  One of the new things I spotted while out at Target (in the Halloween section incase you want to pick it up) is the Market Pantry Pumpkin Cereal Bars.
I enjoy cereal bars every once in a while as a snack, or as a part of a meal (typically with breakfast).  These bars have the typical texture of a cereal bar – grainy and slightly chewy. They’re an undeniable pumpkin flavor (which is appreciated) and it’s sweetened up by the vanilla frosting. I know the package says filling but the bar I ate didn’t seem to have filling inside of it, just frosting on the outside.  Regardless, it gave it sweetness and really tied the bar together. It reminded me of some of the guiltier desserts that come around in the fall – such as pumpkin cake, etc.
Each bar has 160 calories in it with 7 grams of fat – which is equal to 4 points plus values. Definitely a nice treat!
Have you tried the Market Pantry Pumpkin Cereal Bars?

McDonald’s Deluxe Quarter Pounder

I was sent a $5 McDonald’s Gift Card from Klout to use to purchase any of my favorites from McDonald’s.  One night, my boyfriend and I decided to head to McDonald’s and I originally went in wanting the grilled chicken ranch McWrap but upon arriving I was told that they didn’t have any grilled chicken.  Weird, right?  So, instead of driving well across town to the other McDonald’s, I decided to just order the Deluxe Quarter Pounder without the normally added cheese and mayonnaise. The Deluxe Quarter Pounder is a newer addition to the McDonald’s menu.
Low and behold when I got home, I realized my sandwich was without lettuce, and mustard but it did have a helping of bacon (which I kindly removed and discarded).  Since I can’t eat burgers plain, I added a little ketchup and mustard onto my sandwich and ate it as such.
I have to say it’s not the greatest thing on the planet, but its okay for a burger you’d order from McDonald’s. I wouldn’t run out and order another one, but if in the future I was in the mood for a McDonald’s burger and I wanted to make a meal out of it, I’d probably order another … of course without cheese and mayonnaise but I’d ask for an extra helping of veggies.
It is hefty on the points plus scale.  The sandwich, sold as is (with cheese and mayonnaise added) is 540 calories which calculates out to 14 points plus values.  The sandwich as I ordered it (without cheese and mayonnaise) was 440 calories and 11 points plus values.
Granted, as I admitted high particularly when you can have a bigger (and essentially better) burger at home – but if out on the go and McDonald’s is the chosen fast food joint and you want to be one in the crowd, it’s an option. Just as anything in the world is.
Have you tried any of the new McDonald’s Quarter Pounders?

Strawberry Orange Banana Crystal Light with Green Tea

I’ve been considering making a detox drink for myself – you know the cucumber, mint and lemon concoction to help flush your system from the inside.  I find there are times where I am really great at getting all my water in for the day, and then there are other days where I’m questioning if I even drank any water for the day (outside of ice coffee, etc.).  Forgetting to buy extra lemons, I decided to make a different sort of drink for myself.
Green tea is a great little natural remedy which has many different health benefits.  I don’t necessarily love the taste of green tea on its own, but I do like green tea when it’s got other flavors in it (Lipton has a great line).  While at the store, I opted to pick up a box of Green Tea and then a canister of Crystal Light.
I whipped up a big double batch to have in the refrigerator and I in turn brought it over to my aunt’s house during a family BBQ.  When I do make canisters of Crystal Light or even one of those to go packets I always add extra water. If I don’t I feel the drink is far too sweet for my liking.  Each large packet of Crystal Light calls for 8 cups of water, I typically go for 10-12 depending on the flavor of the drink I am making (some are sweeter than others).
I emptied a packet of Crystal Light into 2 cups of water in a glass then poured it into my container and then poured 6 cups of water into the container.  I repeated this twice then took 9 tea bags and put 3 bags into 3 separate coffee mugs. I heated some water and poured it over the teabags (about 2 cups of water each mug) and let them steep. I let them steep for about 10 minutes before removing the tea bags and pouring the liquid into the container. Giving it a nice shake I then tucked it away in the refrigerator to get nice and cold.
I have to say, it was really refreshing, with a mild green tea flavor in the background.  You could of course increase the amount of tea or decrease per your taste.

Dinner: Shake & Bake Pork, Potato, Corn & Apple Sauce

This was a delicious and filling dinner I whipped together one night for dinner. It was honestly the quickest and easiest meal to put together and I forgot how yummy Shake & Bake was!  This was truly a “walk in the door, assemble, set it and forget it” type of meal. Dinner was done in 40 minutes – which was the amount of time it took for the pork to cook through.
I started off the meal by trimming the fat off my pork chops. Rinsed them under water then dropped them into the plastic bag that comes with the shake and bake.  I shook each pork chop up individually and put them onto a baking sheet.  Into the oven they went with the timer set.
I peeled and husked some corn, put it in a pot with a splash of milk and set it on to boil.  I then took my potatoes, rinsed them and popped them into the microwave for 8 minutes.  Yes – did you know you can have a baked potato straight out of the microwave? It’s my go to method when I want a potato because it makes it simple and I don’t have to wait 40+ minutes for it.
When everything was done, I measured out my serving and dinner was ready to rock and roll!  What I had was 4 ounces of pork with shake and bake on it (6 points plus), a 7 oz potato (4 points plus), a corn on the cob (2 points plus) and ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce (0 points plus).  Overall 12 points plus – filling and delicious!
What is a quick and easy meal you haven’t had in a while?