Posted in Bake, Quick Breads, Side Dishes

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Here’s is a recipe that I have been baking for over 10 years and it has never failed me.  It’s always sweet, moist and delicious.

You can choose to make it with or without the cream cheese frosting.  Here are both options.


Serves 16

Preheat oven to 350o

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time 50 – 60 minutes

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 180                      Fat = 2 grams                        Points: 4

Cake Ingredients:

3       cups flour

1/2 cup Stevia for cooking

1       cup sugar

½      cup raisins

2       teaspoons baking soda

½      teaspoon salt

1       teaspoon ground cinnamon

½      teaspoon cloves

½      teaspoon baking powder

1       Tablespoons low calorie/low fat butter spread, melted

1       cup egg substitute

1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1       can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree

Directions for Cake:

  1. Grease the bottoms only of 2 loaf pans.
  2. Beat all ingredients in a large bowl on low speed, scraping bowl, for 30 seconds.
  3. Beat on medium speed for 45 seconds more.
  4. Pour into pans and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  5. Cool 10 minutes.  Loosen sides and remove pans.

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 16

Preheat oven to 350o

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time 50 – 60 minutes

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 280                      Fat = 5 grams                        Points: 6

Cake Ingredients:

3       cups flour

2       cups sugar

½      cup raisins – chopped

2       teaspoons baking soda

½      teaspoon salt

1       teaspoon ground cinnamon

½      teaspoon cloves

½      teaspoon baking powder

1      Tablespoon low calorie/low fat butter spread

1       cup egg substitute

1       jar (4 ounces) baby carrot puree

1       can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree

Directions for Cake:

  1. Grease the bottoms only of 2 loaf pans.
  2. Beat all ingredients in a large bowl on low speed, scraping bowl, for 30 seconds.
  3. Beat on medium speed for 45 seconds more.
  4. Pour into pans and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  5. Cool 10 minutes.  Loosen sides and remove pans.

Frosting Ingredients:

½      cup powdered sugar

1       Tablespoon grated lemon peel

1       (8-ounce block) low fat cream cheese – softened

Directions for frosting:

  1. While bread is baking, prepare frosting.
  2. Place powder sugar lemon rind and cream cheese in a bowl; beat in a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  3. Cool completely before spreading cream cheese frosting.
Posted in Dessert, Easy

Ice Box Cakes

I recently came across an ice box cake recipe and was very curious to try it as a delicious and light dessert.  I have heard of ice box cakes before but really had no idea how incredibly easy they are.  The recipe below is for toasted coconut but you can replace the coconut with ½ cup toasted almonds and substitute almond extract for the coconut extract and have a brand new recipe.

I love the idea of ice box cakes because they are so versatile and you can change flavors as you like.  Also, there is no baking and they can be made the day before which makes them easy for company.

Toasted Coconut-Graham Cracker Ice Box Cake

Serves 12

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 7 – 10 minutes

Refrigerator Time: 2 hours and overnight

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 110                        Fat: 2 grams

Toasted Coconut-Graham Cracker Ice Box Cake


½ cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup egg substitute

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

1 ½ cup skim milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon coconut extract

12 graham crackers

3 cup fat free whipped topping


  1. Heat oven on broil.  Place shredded coconut in a baking pan and place under broiler.  Stand at oven and toast coconut until lightly browned (takes about 2 – 5 minutes).   Remove coconut from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine egg substitute, sugar, cornstarch and milk.  Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to steam.  Once warmed, increase the heat slightly to medium low, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes thick and bubbly (about 5 minutes).  While constantly stirring, cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in toasted coconut, vanilla and coconut extracts.
  4. Spoon custard into a bowl and cover with plastic (pressing directly onto surface of custard to prevent skin from forming).  Refrigerate until cool (about 2 hours).
  5. Line the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish with 6 of the graham crackers (break into pieces to fill space).
  6. Fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping to the custard and then spoon half of the custard mixture on top of the graham crackers.  Repeat with remaining 6 graham crackers and then the rest of the custard mixture.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Just before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping on top of the cake and serve cold.
Posted in Pork, Rub, Salads, Sauces, Season, Slow Cook, Spices, Vegetables

Pulled Pork with Amercian Style Coleslaw

Every year this weekend kicks off the holiday BBQ season.  To get ready, I am experimenting with some classic menus that won’t make you feel guilty.  Tonight we had pulled pork and coleslaw sandwiches.

One of the reasons I love serving this to company is because it is better if made a day or two before the BBQ.  The coleslaw should be made at least 24 hour in advance and kept cold until ready to serve.  The longer it sits in the refrigerator, the better it gets.  The pulled pork can definitely be made the day before and heated up and served in a crock pot.  So if you are looking for hassle free cooking the day of your party, this is a great menu.

The family loved it (even if it was 60 degrees and cloudy) and was asking for seconds.


American Style Coleslaw

Pulled Pork with Amercian Style Coleslaw

Serves 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Refrigerate overnight

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 55                           Fat: 2 grams


½ cup low fat mayonnaise

¼ cup skim milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons white vinegar

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon celery seed

¼ teaspoon salt

1 scallion – chopped

4 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrot


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, milk, sugar, vinegar, pepper, onion powder, celery seed, and salt.
  2. Add shredded cabbage, carrot and scallion and toss.
  3. Refrigerate overnight or for several days and serve cold.

Pulled Pork

Serves 8

Pre heat oven 250o

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Bake Time: 4 – 5 hours

Cook time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 200                        Fat: 5 grams

Pork Loin Rub Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless pork loin

1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground oregano

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon thyme

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Trim any excess fat from pork and set aside.
  2. To make the rub, combine all the ingredients. Rub over the surface of the pork loin to coat.
  3. Place pork in baking pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Cook pork for about 4 – 5 hours.
  4. Cool pork until you are able to handle it then shred the meat.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup strong coffee

1 jar (12 ounces) chili sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons molasses

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

¼ cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 – 3 dashes pepper sauce (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients in large saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium low heat.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add sauce to shredded pork and mix well.  Serve hot.
Posted in Bake, Dessert, Tips/Hints

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting

I wasn’t sure what to get my son’s “specials” teachers and thought that since it’s not customary to buy a gift, I’d bake one instead.  The dollar store sells the perfect little 4 cupcake holder boxes and that became the inspiration for this next recipe.  So if you’re looking for a delicious and light idea for someone who may be watching their weight but wants to be able to enjoy some holiday treats, try this…

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting

Serves 12

Preheat oven 350o

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 25 – 30 minutes

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 260                      Fat = 2.5 grams                     Points: 5

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting

Cake Ingredients:

1 ½ cups flour

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ cup water

¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce

½ cup molasses

¼ cup egg substitute

12-cupcake baking pan


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. Add vegetable oil, water, apple sauce, molasses and egg substitute and beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined.
  3. Insert cupcake liners into cupcake pan and coat with cooking spray.
  4. Pour batter into cupcake holders and bake for 25-30 minutes ir until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool on a rack until cupcakes are room temperature.

Frosting Ingredients:

½ cup fat free half and half

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar – sifted


  1. Sift confectioner’s sugar into a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, stir together half and half, butter and brown sugar.  Heat on medium until mixture is hot and bubbly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Turn mixer on medium speed and slowly add hot brown sugar mixture to confectioner’s until combines.  Beat on high speed for 1 minute.
  4. Allow frosting to cool and stiffen for about 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag with a decorative tip.  Squeeze frosting onto cupcakes and serve.
Posted in Main Courses, Poultry, Rub, Slow Cook

Pulled BBQ Chicken

I made this for my son’s birthday party last night and did not get the chance to take a picture because we were so busy getting ready.  I also did not write the exact measurements down when I was preparing hot sauce but remember the ingredients.  You may want to add a little more of this or that as you make the sauce per your own individual taste and heat level.

Happy BBQ’ing!

Pulled BBQ Chicken

Serves 10

Oven or Crock Pot

Preheat oven 300o

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 – 4 hours

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 300                        Fat: 6 grams                          Points: 6


4 pounds chicken breast on the bone

1 pound chicken thighs on the bone

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons chili powder

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic – minced

2 cups ketchup

1 jar (12-ounces) chili sauce

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

2 teaspoons onion powder

3 – 4 dashes hot sauce

½ teaspoon powdered mustard


  1. Remove skins from chicken pieces and arrange in a baking pan.  Combine brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper and chili powder and whisk until combined.  Rub on chicken pieces.
  2. Cover baking pan with aluminum foil and cook for 3 – 4 hours.  Chicken will be ready when you can easily remove the meat from the bone with a fork.
  3. When the chicken is done, remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
  4. While chicken is cooling, heat a sauce pot on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add garlic.
  5. Cook garlic for 1 -2 minutes until slightly browned but not crisp.  Add ketchup, chili sauce, water, brown sugar, liquid smoke, onion powder, hot sauce and mustard.  Cook until heated and bubbly.
  6. Add hot sauce or other spices for taste.
  7. When chicken has cooled, shred meat off the bone by holding the chicken with a fork in one hand and scraping the meat off the chicken with a fork in the other hand.  Add chicken meat to a large serving bowl, stir in hot BBQ sauce and serve.

NOTE: If you cook the pulled chicken in advance you can re-heat in the microwave, or keep it hot in a sterno or place in a slow cooker set on “warm”.

Posted in Bake, Dessert

A taste from someplace tropical…

Pina Colada Cake

This moist delicious cake is inspired by anyplace tropical.  The little bit of shredded coconut combined with the pineapple juice makes the flavor in this cake pop!  So if you’re craving a little bit of the tropics, this is worth checking out.

Enjoy the spirit of paradise even if it’s in your backyard.

 Pina Colada Cake

Serves 12

Oven 325o

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 50 – 55 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 220                        Fat: 5 grams                          Points: 5


¼ cup shredded coconut

½ cup reduced calorie butter spread

1 ½ cup sugar

1 ¾ cups flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup egg substitute

6 ounce can pineapple juice

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 tablespoon dark rum


  1. Heat oven on high broil.  Place coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 2 minutes until browned.  Remove coconut from the oven and reduce oven heat to 325o
  2. Grease a 9”X9” baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine butter spread and sugar and cream together on high speed.  Add flour, salt and baking powder and beat on medium until well combined. 
  4. Add egg substitute, pineapple juice, coconut extract and rum and beat on high until mixed.  Fold in toasted coconut.
  5. Pour batter into oven and bake 50 to 55 minutes until lightly browned.
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve.
Posted in Appetizers, Grilling, Poultry, Vegetables

An Appetizer idea…

The other night we had some friends over to celebrate a birthday and I served Chicken Skewers with Cucumber Dip.  This is a good first course that is easy to eat because it does not require using a fork or plate. 

I always find it so awkward at wedding and parties when you have a drink in one hand and have to use a fork and plate for the hors d’ oeuvres.  Finger food is the way to make life easy for everyone.

Enjoy your easy nibbling cuisine!

Marinated Chicken skewers with Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Serves 8


6 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets

Juice of 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper



  1. Cut chicken breasts into 2” cubes and put into bowl to marinate. 
  2. Add lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  Mix well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Skewer chicken breast pieces.
  4. Grill Chicken skewers for 7 minutes on each side until browned and cooked.

Dip Ingredients:

½ European cucumber – seeded and grated

4 ounces low fat cream cheese – softened

½ cup fat free Greek yogurt

2 cloves garlic – minced

Salt to taste

  1. Remove excess water from cucumber by placing it in a double paper towel.  Twist the ends of the paper towel over the sink to allow the cucumber water to drain from the cucumber. 
  2. In a bowl, fold in the cucumber, cream cheese, yogurt, garlic and salt. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
Posted in Eggs, Salads

All those left over Easter Eggs

There are a lot of recipes that I can alter so that they are almost completely fat free but I am no genie; fat free egg salad, using real eggs, just doesn’t exist.  However, you can cut 50% of the fat in egg salad just by using all of the egg whites and only half of the egg yolks (which is where all of the fat grams exist).  Also, a food processor purees the eggs so well that very little mayonnaise is necessary.  So if you are left with a lot of hard boiled eggs, don’t throw them away and try this instead.

Egg Salad

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Refrigeration time: at least 1 hour


12 hard-boiled egg whites

6 hard-boiled egg yolks

1 tablespoon low calorie mayonnaise

½ teaspoon salt (or more as per your liking)

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon celery seed

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 celery stalks – chopped

2 scallions – whites and greens chopped


  1. Place egg whites and yolks in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Remove from food processor and place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add mayonnaise, salt, pepper, celery seed, sugar, celery and scallions and fold into egg mixture.
  3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

NOTE: if you like egg salad to be chunky instead of smooth, use the pulse button on the food processor and chop until desired texture.

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 100                                                                    Fat = 6 grams

Posted in Appetizers

Appetizer Entertaining idea…

My mother is preparing Easter dinner this Sunday so I offered to bring something.  She requested that I bring an appetizer.  This Three Cheese Spread is perfect because I can make it in advance, is travel friendly, easy to make and has always been a favorite amongst family and friends.  I usually like trying new dishes but since this is such a busy weekend for us, I am relying on the tried and true.

So if you are looking for an easy to make ahead of time recipe, check this out…

Happy Holiday!

Three Cheese Spread

Serves 12

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 24 hours (refrigeration)


½ package low fat cream cheese (4 ounces) – softened

1 package fat free cream cheese (8 ounces) – softened

½ cup fat free sour cream

½ cup goat cheese – crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh chives – chopped

1 tablespoon yellow bell pepper – finely chopped

2 tablespoons almonds – finely chopped and toasted

2 tablespoons raisins – finely chopped

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese – grated

½ cup roasted red peppers – drained, rinsed and chopped finely

Assortment of crackers


Line 3 custard molds with plastic wrap.  Beat cream cheese on high speed in mixer until fluffy.  Add sour cream and goat cheese and beat for 1 minute.  Divide mixture in 3 separate bowls. 

Bowl 1: Stir in chives and bell peppers.   Wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.

Bowl 2: Stir in almonds and raisins.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.

Bowl 3: Stir in parmesan cheese and add roasted pepper.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.

To serve: Turn over spreads into a serving platter and serve with an assortment of crackers.

Estimated Values:

Calories = 87                                                Fat = 4

Posted in Dessert

A great dessert for company…

I made this dessert last night for company in the spirit of the holiday.  Unfortunately, I got a whole lot of teasing from family and friends because Trifle is English, not Irish.  My apologies to anyone out there who is Irish; I meant no offense.  I just thought it would be a nice compliment the heavy corned beef and cabbage meal. 

Berry Trifle

Serves 12

prep and assembly time: about 30 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

NOTE: Needs several hours for custard to chill

Custard Ingredients:

½ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups skim milk

¾ cup egg substitute

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1.  Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan.
  2. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth, then egg substitute.
  3. Cook over medium heat, whisking gently, until mixture comes to a boil; about 7 – 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, whisking constantly for 1 minute longer. 
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla. 
  5. Pour into bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on the custard with the plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. 
  6. Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Assembly Ingredients:

2 cups strawberries

11/2 cup blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons Chambord liquor (optional)

1 recipe of custard (recipe above)

1 cooked angel food cake

Extra berries for garnish

Assembly Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, sugar and liquor and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  2. In a large clear round serving bowl (trifle bowls are sold at most stores if you prefer), cut the angel food cake in the middle so that you have two pieces the same height (as if you are cutting a cake in half to frost the middle).  Cut a slit in the round cakes.  Place one half of the cake on the bottom of the cake bowl, then fit around the bottom of the bow, cutting out any extra cake.  Use the extra piece of cake and place in the middle to fill the hole at the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Top cake with ½ of the berries then top with ½ of the pudding.
  4. Top the pudding with the remaining cake, then pudding then ending with the berries.
  5. Garnish with the extra berries.

Tip: Depending on the size of your serving bowl, you may have too much cake and may not need to use it all.

Estimated Calories and fat per serving:

Calories = 214                                              Fat = trace