#PSL My Way

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pumpkin spice latteI know it is still summer but I have to share a fall favorite with you now, I just couldn’t wait any longer.  Fall is definitely one of my most favorite times of year, but one of the best things about Fall is the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.  It is creamy, rich with just the right hint of pumpkin pie spices…but I am always so sad when January comes and it is gone once again…that is until now.  This year I have decided to make my own Pumpkin Spice Creamer so I am not at the mercy of Starbucks and their seasonal delight, plus I will be saving a ton of calories, points (a latte is only 3 WW+ points) and $$.  It really is a win , win for everyone in my book.

So what started me on this pumpkin spice latte journey in late summer?   Well it was this pesky tweet I saw one day from @TheRealPSL a few weeks ago.  Starbucks and their massive marketing minds starting talking about the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte and dropping hints about when it might be making an appearance in the stores, but it has still not given any definite dates so I decided it was time that we created our own.  After poking around on Pinterest for a few days and looking at some other pinners attempts I started experimenting and then finally I had it…Pumpkin Spice Creamer as good as Starbucks.  

I use the creamer to make a latte with my Nespresso machine but you could use it with coffee and it would be AMAZING!!  I don’t add the whip cream everyday but I did for my first one, it just makes it a little more special & pretty.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Serves 1
A pumpkin spice latte as good as the expensive chain stores
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-2 shots of espresso, or 1 cup strong coffee
  2. 1/4 cup fat free milk, heated, steamed or frothed
  3. 3 tbsp. Pumpkin Spice Creamer (recipe in post)
Instructions
  1. Brew espresso or coffee and pour into a large mug
  2. Add in heated milk & creamer
  3. Stir gently
  4. Top with whip cream if so desired
  5. ENJOY!!!
Each latte is 3 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 85 Calories from Fat 25 Total Fat 2.8g Saturated Fat 1.8g Cholesterol 11mg Sodium 57mg Potassium 189mg Total Carbohydrates 10.7g Sugars 8.9g Protein 3.6g
  3. Vitamin A 20% - Vitamin C 2% - Calcium 14% - Iron 1%
  4. Nutrition Grade C-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
pumpkin creamerFor the creamer I used skim milk but did choose to use Half & Half, it adds just the right amount of creaminess and richness without a lot of added fat and calories.  Also make sure you strain the pumpkin mixture before storing it…I made the mistake and did not the first time and it made for a very grainy and lets just say not so delicious coffee expereince.   I normally use 3 tbsp. with my espresso or coffee with a little added skim milk and find that it is just the right amount of cream and makes a perfect pumpkin spice latte.

To store it I use a mason jar so I can keep the lid closed tight.  Just make sure to shake it really well before each use as it settles pretty quickly.

With all the calories and points I am saving this fall I am definitely going to have indulge some other decadent pumpkin treats so make sure a check back for more pumpkin goodies!

Pumpkin Spice Creamer
Serves 10
A homemade creamer that brings fall to your coffee anytime of the year
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup skim milk
  2. 1 cup half & half cream
  3. 3 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  4. 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  5. 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  6. 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  7. 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together all the above ingredients over medium heat
  2. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often to make sure sugar dissolves
  3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer
  4. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up 2 weeks
  5. ENJOY all year long!
A 3 Tablespoon serving is 2 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 63 Calories from Fat 25 Total Fat 2.8g Saturated Fat 1.8g Cholesterol 9mg Sodium 24mg Potassium 94mg Total Carbohydrates 7.7g Sugars 5.9g Protein 1.6g
  3. Vitamin A 17% - Vitamin C 1% - Calcium 6% - Iron 1%
  4. Nutrition Grade D+
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
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 Happy (half) Baked Day & hopes for cooler weather very soon!  MJ

 

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 chckn ench pastaMexican food is definitely my down fall.  I mean everything is loaded with cheese, there are chips, tortillas and just the right amount of heat…everything I love, but it can also be terrible for my waistline…until now.  Last week I was looking through my pantry looking for inspiration and I found spaghetti noodles & enchilada sauce…now that is a interesting combo, but then I thought to myself why can’t enchilada sauce be a base for a pasta sauce, it has tomatoes in it…so the fun began.

The beauty of this dish is it ended up being a 2 pot dish, one for the pasta and the second for the chicken and sauce.  By cooking the chicken and veggies in the same pan all those flavors have a chance to meld together and create one of the most flavorful sauces ever.  This sauce is great over pasta but it would also be great as an enchilada sauce, burrito sauce or as a base for tortilla soup.

If you wanted to sneak in some additional veggies this would be a great dish to do it with.  You could throw in some zucchini, squash or even some eggplant to the veggie mix which would add some added nutrients and some great body to the sauce.  When your ready to serve the pasta you can top it with fresh cilantro, cheese, sour cream, avocado or some green onions.  It is such a colorful dish that will make your dinner table so pretty.

If you have had enough chicken, you can use ground beef instead and I bet the kids would love it too.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
Serves 6
A creamy, easy and pretty pasta dish that brings together all the best flavors of chicken enchiladas
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb dry whole wheat pasta (I used spaghetti, but any pasta would work)
  2. 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 2 tsp pepper
  5. 2 tsp chili powder
  6. 1 tsp cumin
  7. 1 small onion, chopped
  8. 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  9. 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  10. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  11. 1 - 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
  12. 1/2 tsp cumin, additional
  13. 1 tsp chili powder, additional
  14. 1/4 cup chicken stock
  15. 3/4 cup Reduced Fat Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
Optional Toppings
  1. Reduced Sour Cream (I only used about 1 tsp per serving and it was perfect, you could also use Greek yogurt)
  2. Fresh Cilantro
  3. Additional Cheese
  4. Avocado
  5. Green Onions
  6. Chili Powder
Instructions
  1. In a large pot cook pasta as according to package directions, drain and set aside
  2. While pasta is cooking pat chicken dry with paper towels
  3. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin
  4. Season chicken on both sides and then cut into 1 in pieces
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat & spray olive oil spray, or nonstick spray, into pan
  6. Add chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes
  7. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside
  8. To the same skillet add in chopped onion and bell peppers
  9. Cook until veggies are just getting soft, about 5 minutes
  10. Add in garlic, stirring constantly, until cooked for about 1-2 minutes
  11. Add in enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, chicken stock & cooked chicken stirring to combine
  12. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes to allow sauce to thicken and for flavors to come together, add in more chicken stock if necessary, but I didn't need too
  13. Add in cheese, stirring until melted
  14. Add in cooked pasta and using tongs toss to combine sauce and pasta
  15. Let pasta heat through for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often
  16. Serve in large pasta bowls and top with any of the additional toppings you desire
  17. ENJOY!!
Each serving is 7 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 293 Calories from Fat 76 Total Fat 8.4g Saturated Fat 3.1g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 44mg Sodium 935mg Potassium 345mg Total Carbohydrates 34.6g Dietary Fiber 5.0g Sugars 3.8g Protein 19.4g
  3. Vitamin A 46% - Vitamin C 51% - Calcium 14% - Iron 14%
  4. Nutrition Grade B-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
 Chicken Enchilada Pasta is a favorite in my house, as I am sure it will be in yours as well!!

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 Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

 

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S’moring Good

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 smore barSome of my most favorite memories as child are around July 4th.  For many, many summers we would go to our family farm in Missouri and my grandparents would have a family reunion each July 4th weekend.  We would have a golf tournament,  fun games, a show put on my all the kids and then a huge bonfire with hotdogs and my most favorite S’mores!! 

There is just something special about roasted marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers all put together into a cute little sandwich that just makes a perfect little dessert.  As much as I love s’mores made on an open fire it is a little more difficult now, I mean the folks in my subdivision kinda frown upon bonfires, so I had to come up with a delicious alternative…and these bars are that and so much more!!

With each bite you get some of the buttery graham cracker crust with the chocolate from the cookie middle and then a little marshmallow that has been perfectly browned.  If you wanted to change it up a bit you could add in some white chocolate chips or even some butterscotch chips.  If you wanted to add a little more crunch you could throw in some of your favorite nuts, a crushed up candy bar, or even some pretzels.  The possibilities are endless!!

S'more Bars
Serves 30
A delicious bar filled with all the best a s'mores treat has
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  2. 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  3. 1/2 cup sugar, softened
  4. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  5. 1/2 cup butter
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 tsp vanilla
  8. 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  9. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  10. 1/2 tsp salt
  11. 1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini)
  12. 3/4 cup mini marshmallows, divided
  13. 1 regular size Hershey bar, broken apart
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line a 8x8 square pan with parchment paper
  3. In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs and 4 tbsp. melted butter until well combined
  4. Press graham crackers combination into bottom of prepared pan
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together sugars and butter until fluffy
  6. Add in egg and vanilla, mixing until just combined
  7. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda & salt
  8. Add into batter, mixing until just combined, scraping down the sides as necessary
  9. Gently mix in chocolate chips & 1/2 cup marshmallows until just combined
  10. Spoon dough over graham cracker crust, the dough will spread as it cooks so it doesn't have to spread perfectly
  11. Bake for 20 minutes
  12. Sprinkle remaining marshmallows over bars and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until they are slightly browned
  13. Remove from oven and immediately press chocolate bar pieces into bar
  14. Cool for 20-25 minutes in pan and then place in refrigerator to completely cool for an additional hour
  15. Slice and ENJOY!!
Each serving is 4 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 136 Calories from Fat 64 Total Fat 7.1g Saturated Fat 4.4g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 19mg Sodium 121mg Potassium 40mg Total Carbohydrates 16.8g Dietary Fiber 0.5g Sugars 10.9g Protein 1.4g
  3. Vitamin A 3% - Vitamin C 0% - Calcium 2% - Iron 3%
  4. Nutrition Grade F
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
Even if you can’t enjoy a bonfire in your backyard you can still enjoy a delicious s’more made right in your kitchen!!

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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