Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers

Have you guys heard that there is a new Laughing Cow Cheese on the block??

Your favorite wedged cheese now comes in SPICY PEPPER JACK!!!  OMG…

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

My friends over at Laughing Cow were sweet enough to send me a few wheels of cheesy goodness to try out and to share the spicy, cheesy news with all of you!

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

I continue to use Laughing Cow as my go-to snacking cheese.  Whether I’m pairing it with veggies (cucumbers, carrots, and peppers are my faves) or a light cracker (34 Degrees crisps!), I’ve established a deep-rooted love for these little triangles!

As part of their Pepper Jack campaign, Laughing Cow challenged me to come up with a fantastic new way to snack on their creamy wedges… and I’ve come up with a REALLY tasty recipe for all y’all!

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Just in time for football season, you’ve got a new go-to healthier jalapeño popper to enjoy!  It’s not fried or breaded like it’s high-fat cousin… instead, it’s loaded with veggies, white-meat chicken, and, of course, our star:  Laughing Cow Spicy Pepper Jack cheese!

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers featuring Laughing Cow Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

5 jalapeño peppers, halved horizontally with seeds removed

2 wedges Laughing Cow Spicy Pepper Jack flavor

1 1/2 Tbsp. white onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup baby spinach, chiffonade

2 Tbsp. cooked white meat chicken, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. reduced fat Mexican cheese

cooking spray

salt

pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Slice and remove the seeds of your peppers.  You should have 10 halves to work with.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Take one of your pepper halves, and dice it finely.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Add your onion, garlic, and diced jalapeño to a skillet and sauté on medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook entire mixture until spinach has wilted, about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Add your chicken, and cook another minutes.  Note:  I prepared my chicken in a crockpot the day before, and then simply chopped it finely and added to the pan.  You could also very easily use rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken breast.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Remove mixture from the heat to a small bowl.  Add your Laughing Cow wedges, and mash with a fork to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Using a spoon, scoop the mixture into the peppers.  Place the stuffed peppers on a baking sheet, sprayed with cooking spray.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

8.  Carefully top the peppers with 1 Tbsp. of cheese.  Just a few shreds per pepper will add a touch of added cheese goodness.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

9.  Bake these bad boys in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until peppers soften and cheese melts.  Garnish with sliced grape tomatoes and finely chopped cilantro, if desired.

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

10.  Serve hot, and enjoy!!!

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Jalapeño Poppers | No Thanks to Cake

Per about 5 stuffed pepper halves:

CAL 103; CARB 4g; FAT 5g; PROT 9g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 2

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For more tasty Laughing Cow Cheese recipes, check out my recent Recipe Roundup

Recipe Roundup: Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Note:  The Laughing Cow provided me with product and a gift card for this review.  However, thoughts and opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the brand.

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Meal Planning and Jenny News

Looking back at the past two weeks, I’m pretty proud for how I’ve been eating.  The planning has been HUGE for me… and while I made an awesome list of foods that I would be eating, I got a little distracted…. by pizza.

First this one…

Jenny Craig Pepperoni Pizza | No Thanks to Cake

And then this one…

Jenny Craig Margherita Pizza | No Thanks to Cake

While I had a perfectly detailed plan set forth, I got distracted by the tasty, cheesy goodness that was this pizza.

Here’s the part that just might blow your mind.  Both of those pizzas above… they’re Jenny Craig pizzas!  Cooked in the microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds, and topped with my new favorite pizza seasoning from William Sonoma.

Jenny Craig launched several new foods this month, and everything I’ve tasted has been incredible… like SERIOUSLY incredible.  While I know that these foods easily fit into my meal plan, the cheesy goodness of pizzas like this make me question myself and even take a second look at the box.

Pepperoni Pizza | No Thanks to Cake

Truth be told, I ate these pizzas (the Pepperoni and the Margherita) for lunch and dinner for two days in a row…. until they were gone.  This weekend, I went back to Jenny to get more of these treats and to see what other choices had shown up!

Baja Style Quesadilla | No Thanks to Cake

The quesadilla… it’s REALLY good too.  The updated Jenny menu is rounded out with a new Breakfast Burrito, a Cherry Chocolate Walnut Breakfast Bar, and all the recurring Pumpkin treats that make their way back each fall:  Pumpkin Cakes and Pumpkin Cranberry Mini-Loaf.  My freezer is bursting with all the new products, and an overload of pizzas!!

New Jenny Craig Foods | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve written before MANY times about my experience on Jenny Craig:  How I got started, the volumizing recipes that kept me going, and why I still lean on the program heavily today.  In light of the new foods and how GOOD they are, I feel like it’s time again to write a little bit about this fantastic program that helped me to shed 60+ lbs over the past four years.

Jenny Craig Progress Pictures | No Thanks to Cake

I know that there are many of you out there who are THINKING ABOUT what your next step is going to be, many of you that are LOOKING to find a program that will help you finally lose the weight.  For me, Jenny was that program.

Before-After | No Thanks to Cake

I’d attempted to lose weight many, many times… and found myself falling back to my old habit.  Cheating on Weight Watchers, sneaking carbs while on the low carb diet, and ultimately… punishing myself for not getting with the program.

In an effort to end the madness, I decided to try something completely different… something that few of my friends had tried… something that would have me looking at my meal plan in a completely different way. So in November 2010, I began my Jenny journey.

Before - After | No Thanks to Cake

I leaned on my consultants for support, eliminated all the trigger foods from my kitchen, and started to re-introduce physical activity into my life.   It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened… and during the time when I lost the most, I was traveling 3 weeks a month, living out of hotels.  And, I still made it work.

And, if you’ve read my blog for any period of time…. you should know by now that I LOVE GOOD FOOD and have a very picky palate.  Again, I’ve totally made it work.

Before-After Rockstar | No Thanks to Cake

Every day, I’m thankful I made the choice to call Jenny.  Every day, I’m grateful for how far I’ve come.  It is for that reason, I’m sharing my story with you today.

Jenny Craig is actually running a “Pay It Forward” referral promotion right now through 12/31/14.  If you happened to get inspired by this post and by my journey and head to Jenny, tell them Kelly Guy sent you!  Getting referred to the program allows you to get $25 in free food, and telling them I sent you gets me $25 in food too!   We both win! :)

Jenny Craig Pay It Forward | No Thanks to Cake

Knowing how much my life has changed since joining, how much I love where I’m at today, I couldn’t resist once again sharing my story… and talking about how I got here.  With the introduction of the new foods I mention above, the program has gotten EVEN BETTER.  If you haven’t tried Jenny, I encourage you to give it a try…. she’ll take good care of you.

Progress Pictures | No Thanks to Cake

Note:  Jenny Craig did not compensate me in any way for this post.  Instead, I am wildly inspired by their tasty new menu items and wanted to share the news.  

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Ask Me: How to Curb Sweet PM Cravings

Today, I’m running a VERY special edition of ASK ME.  It’s been a long time since I’ve run this type of post, and frankly, I’m to blame for it.

Ask Me | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve written before about how crazy this summer has been… and if you’ve kept up with this blog, you’ll know that I shared quite the whirlwind of a 2014.  Vacations, work travel, fun sales competitions, there’s been so much!

So, confession: I’m quite the workaholic and a major busy-body.  Capricorn by birth, it’s what we do… and often times, I can’t make everything happen as I’d like.  Wow, I don’t like seeing that in writing.  I’m still not taking off my cape! :)

Enter my inbox for a moment:  I absolutely love getting notes from new products to try, but they’re hard to find between the tons of spam that arrive every day.  Ugh!  And buried even further within this mix are the absolutely lovely email I get from you guys… which legitimately make my day and should NEVER get lost.

I found a few tonight that got lost in the mix, that I never got back to!  (OMG… I know!)  So, while I always say my blogging space is no space for apologizing for living life… I truly apologize to each of you that reached out that didn’t get a timely response!

So, tonight I’ve written everyone back… and I found a question in the midst that I thought was a good one to share with all of y’all!

Ask Me:  How to Get Started on Your Weight Loss Journey | No Thanks to Cake

Haley wrote me from the midwest, seeking advice on how to control evening cravings for sweets!  This is something I suffer from as well… I mean, who doesn’t love dessert at the end of the night.

Here’s an excerpt from Haley’s email:

Ask Me: Sweet Cravings   No Thanks to Cake

Haley -

I completely get where you’re coming from.  There is something hugely satisfying about having a sweet treat at the end of the night.  There is something about my taste buds that really crave something sweet right before I go to bed.  Maybe it’s the fact that most of my dinners are on the savory side, but I definitely can relate to that sweet need.

In my days before joining Jenny Craig, everything I wanted I ate.  So, it might have been a Fiber One Bar before bed, or a mini banana bread, or maybe a cookie from Starbucks.  I ate it all, but in my own way, I ended up conditioning myself to enjoy something sweet before bed.

So, considering that I’ve built a habit… these are my recommendations.

Don’t Fight the Sweet Craving Completely

When I tell myself I can’t have something… it makes me want it more.  Maybe it’s part of the stubborn capricorn in me, but I get to a point where I just HAVE to have it.  And with too much deprivation, that can quickly manifest into a binge.  That’s not doing me any favors.

My recommendation is to identify treats that you can enjoy that are well within your eating plan, whatever that might be.  For example, on my eating plan I put into place last week, I made sure that my evening snack was something sweet… and it helps.

Find Some Frozen Goodness

There’s something decadent and delicious about frozen treats.  Whether it’s ice cream or a popsicle, if it comes out of my freezer, I’m in.

Yasso | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve recently found the Yasso Greek Yogurt bars, and I’m a huge fan. This is my go-to at night these days.  I rotate between the Peanut Butter Cup and the Mint Chocolate Chip, depending upon what I’m in the mood from.  Peanut Butter wins most nights, as I’m a PB-aholic!

I’m also a huge fan of Skinny Cow Ganache Ice Cream Cones and their Salted Caramel Pretzel Bars.  There are so many “light” versions out there of your favorite treats, you can really find an appropriate substitute.

Fruit… Naturally Sweet!

On a night where you may not have as many calories/points/macros left to enjoy, you can also look at fruit for a natural sweet treat.

watermelon | No Thanks to Cake

A small bowl of watermelon, some frozen grapes, or even a cup of cherries, any of these sweet juicy fruits can give you that sugar fix that you’re looking for before bed.

Sweet Supplements

A few years back, I had a chance to try Adora calcium supplements.  They are CHOCOLATE DISKS, and amazing!  If you’re taking calcium every night anyway, what a great way to take it!  Note:  The Milk Chocolate is my favorite… 

Adora Calcium | No Thanks to Cake

When It Doubt, Brush it Out

During a trip at Target where I was just wandering… I found this Mint Chocolate toothpaste.

Crest Be Adventurous Mint Chocolate | No Thanks to Cake

It is made by Crest and is called BE ADVENTUROUS.  As the pickiest human ever, I was a little skeptical about it, but in its own weird way, it’s AWESOME!  When I’ve got nothing left for the day, I switch out my regular toothpaste for this stuff.  I know your eyebrow is raised, but trust me… 

After You Get Your Allotted Sweet Stuff, GO TO BED

The worst thing I can do when I’m having a night of cravings is to stay awake.  Assuming the sun has gone down for the night.  Do yourself a favor… but away your tablet and your phone, and close those eyes.

Haley, That’s how I do it… now, I’m asking the rest of y’all.  How do you handle those late night cravings?

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DISCLAIMER:  I mention a lot of products above, but they’re just ones that I really like and truly use.  No affiliate links, no paid promotion, just good honest LOVE.

Also… Do you have questions that you’d like me to feature here on NTTC as part of my “Ask Me” series?  Email me at nothankstocake@gmail.com. 

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

Fall in Colorado is beyond gorgeous… and almost here.

Of course, as in previous years, the world is in a hurry for fall to show up.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes and pumpkin everything showing up all over town…

While I don’t enjoy the Pumpkin Spice Latte (I know, it’s nearly sacrilegious), I prefer the Salted Caramel Mocha, which to me is ten times more delicious!  It wouldn’t be a season if I didn’t remind you of my doctored-up, long-winded, high-maintenance, yet totally-delicious-and-healthier version.  Refer to this post for the details, but I had my first one on Friday.  Yum-o!

Lightened Up Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha | No Thanks to Cake

With the cooler weather we’re starting to see… I just couldn’t resist getting in on the early pumpkin-ing that’s going on.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

Baking pumpkin cakes and pumpkin cookies and even pumpkin bread can be a little dangerous in my place, so I opted for a lighter breakfast pumpkin dish.  These waffles are AWESOME.  The frothy egg whites make them fluffy and thick.  The whole wheat, grainy flour that it includes give you mileage.  The pumpkin flavor makes you want to curl up on the couch under a blanket and knit… oh wait, that might just be me. 

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

Adapted from The Happy Gal

INGREDIENTS

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

2 egg whites

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 cup skim milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

2 Tbsp. honey

1 1/2 Tbsp. natural, no-sugar applesauce

1/2 tsp. vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat.

2.  Place the egg whites in a mixing boal and beat on high until frothy.  Note:  Mix it a few minutes beyond this point, so you have light peaks.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

3.  In another bowl, whisk the the soy milk, pumpkin, honey, oil, and vanilla.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the egg whites until combined.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Place ½ cup of batter on a preheated waffle iron. Close and bake until done.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Serve with sugar-free syrup and butter spray.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/2 cup batter made into a waffle:

CAL 189; CARB 41g; FAT 1g; PROT 8g; FIB 6g; WW Points Plus: 5

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