Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars

I can’t believe how much I’m loving pumpkin season.  And, it’s incredibly hard to believe that I wasn’t really into pumpkin this time a few years ago…

Sparkly Pumpkins Hobby Lobby | No Thanks to Cake

Self-proclaiming myself “the pickiest human”, by now you shouldn’t be too surprised that I wouldn’t touch that orange fruit until I began my healthy journey.  Now, I’m all over it. And, I think this is the THIRD pumpkin recipe of the season here on NTTC.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to see my pumpkin posts!

And… while you’re at it, take a look at these bad boys!

Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake

I’m sad to report…. there’s nothing healthy about this dessert.  Wait… I did use a can of pumpkin which is rich in Vitamin A, and the condensed milk is fat-free… but nope, not exactly a healthy recipe, friends.  But I promise they are DELICIOUS!!

I made them for a co-worker’s birthday, after he confirmed he liked pumpkin… and the whole team loved them!  PS… You will too!

Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars

From Inside Bru Crew Life

INGREDIENTS

Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake

1 spice cake mix
1 cup pumpkin puree, divided
1 egg
8 oz. mini Oreos
1 (14-oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mini chocolate chips
INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Combine together the cake mix, 1/2 cup pumpkin, and the egg until a soft, sticky dough forms.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
2.  Spray your hands with non stick spray and press the dough into a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with the spray too.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
3.  Top the dough with the mini Oreos.  Note:  I couldn’t find a small bag, only the family sized box.  I only used one layer of Oreos, and discarded the rest.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
4.  Stir together the sweetened condensed milk, the remaining 1/2 cup pumpkin, and cinnamon.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
5.  Drizzle all over the top of the cake.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
6.   Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 24 squares. Store in a sealed container on the counter.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Per 1/24th recipe serving:
CAL 205; CARB 29g; FAT 5g; PROT 3g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 5
Divider
Here’s a few more ways to enjoy pumpkin this season!  Click the picture you want to try!
Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes | No Thanks to Cake
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins | No Thanks to Cake
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

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4 Tips for Avoiding Boredom on Your Healthy Eating Plan

If I were a betting lady (which I can be), I’d guess that one of the main reasons that people get off track with their healthy eating plan is that they get bored.

I mean, how many broccoli florets can one girl eat, and for how many days in a row??

Now, I mean no offense to this cute little tree-shaped veggie, but in reality, repetition can get a little boring. I know I’ve experienced it before… and for that reason, I work really hard to make sure that I have variety in my menu.

While I maintain a few staples in my menu, I really try to mix up my weekly meal plans with a variety of foods to keep me both interested and satisfied.

Today, as part of the ProgressOH campaign from Progresso™ Soups, I’m sharing my “Top 4 Tips” to banish boredom while you’re trying to lose weight…

4 Tips to Avoid Boredom on Your Healthy Eating Plan | No Thanks to Cake

1. Vary Your Snacks

There are so many fruits and veggies to choose from, that I never have trouble in this area. A great way to mix up your fruit and vegetable choices are to choose based upon seasons!

Snacks | No Thanks to Cake

For example: Choose cherries in the summer, apples in the fall, and roasted brussels sprouts in the winter. While most fresh produce is available year round, they are extra delicious during their special seasons (and often times, on SALE!)

2. Mix Up Your Main Dishes

I publish two new recipes every single week here on NTTC, and I probably could share even more than that! You see, I try about 2-3 new recipes every week… by design.

It started as a way for me to constantly have great recipe content for you guys here on the blog, but it’s become a creative outlet for this very busy girl and a great way to make sure my menus don’t stall out.

This summer, for example, I was crazy about peppers. Trying all the varieties…..

All the Peppers | No Thanks to Cake

Pictured: Stuffed Poblano Peppers, Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce, and Lightened Up Jalapeno Poppers

People often ask where I get my ideas. Well, I find tons of new recipes on the internet (Hello, Pinterest), from my favorite bloggers, and from cookbooks like this one from Skinnytaste.

SkinnyTaste Cookbook | No Thanks to Cake

Get creative! Go International! Experiment with lentils! The sky’s the limit!

3. Keep a Variety of Ready-to-Eat Foods on Hand

On an ideal week, I have time to prepare a fresh meal every night, post lovely blog content, fold laundry, and bake healthy cookies… but in reality, that doesn’t happen that often (Especially the cookie part. Who has time to bake during the week??)

To make sure I’m inspired and creative even on nights when I don’t have time to cook, I make sure I have options in the cupboard and the freezer ready to go at a minute’s notice.

And, with that… I have to introduce you to my new favorite soups. Have you tried Progresso™’s Light soups???

IMG_4717

My favorite soup company offers FORTY different flavors of light soups, clocking in at 100 calories or less per serving.  My favorite flavors are the Light Beef Pot Roast, Light Italian Style Meatball, and Light Savory Beef Barley Vegetable – - Yum!!!

When my friends at Progresso™ reached out to share some of their favorite flavors with me, I couldn’t resist jumping in spoon first!

As part of this campaign, I’ve also fallen in love with the Savory Beef Barley Vegetable, and I’m keeping a spare can of this soup at my desk… for when I can’t leave the office, and I need something warm and filling for lunch. So good, and only 80 calories per serving. Yum-O!

4. Make Your Meals a Production

Regardless of what I’m eating, I always try to make sure that my food is plated up in a pretty way.

Plating Dishes Beautifully | No Thanks to Cake

Pictured: Baked Cauliflower Cakes (L) and Grilled Lime Chicken with Avocado-Corn Salsa (R)

Cooking is truly an art, whether something is coming out of the slow cooker or fresh from the microwave. And… when it’s more appetizing in appearance, I tend to enjoy it more!

Example: When I tried my new Progresso™ soup flavors this week, I made sure that I served them up in style with my pretty Fiestaware dishes. How gorgeous is the yummy Light Chicken Alfredo when it’s dressed up in Fiestaware with a sprinkle of parsley??

Progresso Light Chicken Alfredo Soup | No Thanks to Cake

Speaking of dressing up… My new friends at Progresso™ are hosting a special Progress-Oh! MAKEOVER contest this month! I’ve just finished entering moments ago!

ProgressOH Contest | No Thanks to Cake

Oh yes, you can enter for a chance to win a wardrobe makeover for you and three of your friends, courtesy of Progresso™! Enter the ProgressOh! wardrobe makeover contest at Progresso.com/ProgressOh. Four deserving Progresso fans and three of their friends will each win a $1,000 cash card and a year-long subscription to the POPSUGAR “Must Have Box”

I hope these tips can help you battle boredom every step of the way in your weight loss journey. Adopting them helped me, and can help you too!

What are your tips for avoiding boredom on your healthy eating plan? Share them below in the comments.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Progresso™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Progresso™, all opinions are my own.

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Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew

Before we take this post any further… I’ve got some exciting news!  These two are officially off the market, and are engaged!!

Tiffany Alex | No Thanks to Cake

On a somewhat gloomy morning, Alex surprised Tiffany at Union Station along with a group of her closest friends (from near and far, I might add!)  He got down on one knee, expressed his love, and she said… “Of course!” It’s incredible to have a chance to witness something like this.  Interestingly, some tourists went ahead and set up their camera and tripod and video’ed the whole thing, too.

Ahhh… Love.  So nice to see these two have found each other.

So… after brunch and when Denver skies decided to get remarkably gloomy, I came home and filled my crockpot…. with this.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Ca

I’ve written before about Cabbage Rolls being the ultimate “comfort food” in my home.  When the twin towers came crashing down in 2001, I made cabbage rolls in my kitchen at my little apartment in Franklin, TN, while watching the coverage.  It’s warm, filling, and just tastes like a hug…. and most of all, I love them.  Let me also say, they’re saucy and (some may say) stinky… but I think they’re perfect!

The challenge I have is that I don’t always have the time it takes to make the traditional recipe, nor the desire to destroy my kitchen during the process.  So, this year, I’ve made a few different “easy” varieties.   While it still takes a while to cook, the prep time is significantly lower than the traditional, and you still get to enjoy the flavors.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew

Serves 10

INGREDIENTS

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

1/2 head cabbage

1 lb. extra lean ground beef

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 cup diced onion, more if desired

1 can sauerkraut, drained and rinsed

1 package turkey smoked sausage, diced

1 can tomato juice

salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Saute the beef in a skilled until fully cooked.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Place beef in a food processor and pulse (optional).

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Place ground beef in the crockpot, along with the diced smoked sausage.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Add onion (extra if desired.)

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Coarse chop your cabbage and add that next.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Add the sauerkraut and the rice, and stir to combine.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Add the full canister of tomato juice, and stir once again.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

8.  Turn on the slow cooker, and cook on low for 8 hours until the stew is done.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

9.  Once done, dish out 1 cup servings and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1 cup serving:

CAL 182; CARB 12g; FAT 7g; PROT 17g; FIB 3g; WW Points Plus: 4

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Spiralized Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Last weekend, my friends Deb and Matt had us over for a Huskers watching party!  When the weather gets cooler and football season begins, it gives us yet another reason to get together… and who doesn’t love watching the Huskers play while sitting outside on their fabulous patio?  Such a great night!

I always try to bring something on the healthier side to bashes like this.  And, actually, unless it’s dessert, I really don’t make anything that I don’t consider to be healthy.  The group as a whole tends to be very pro-cucumber, so I knew this would be a hit… and an excuse to get out that new spiralizer of mine (still in love, y’all!)

Spiralized Tzatziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

This salad comes together quite quickly, with the help of a good spiralizer (this is the one I bought)… I even spiralized the red onions, just to see what would happen.  I think it made the dish even more perfect.  I call it my “tzatziki” salad because it tastes like that crazy good Greek cucumber sauce you get with gyros… you know, the one you want to eat with a spoon?  Well, grab a fork, this salad will fix your craving… 

Spiralized Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Adapted from First Home Life Love

Makes 5 cups

INGREDIENTS

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

2 English cucumbers + 1 regular cucumber

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup fresh dill, minced

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tsp. sugar, salt and fresh black pepper (more to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Peel your cucumbers and cut them in half to prepare them to be spiralized.  If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can always simply thinly slice by hand or with a mandolin.

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Use the blade that creates noodle-like cuts, and spiralize your cucumbers, catching them in a large bowl.

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

3. Use the same blade to cut your onion, and great ready to see pretty pretty spirals…

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Place the onion and cucumber spirals in a large bowl.  Toss them, and break them up every once in a while (so as to make sure that it’s not just one big cucumber noodle.)

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

5.  In a medium bowl, make your sauce.  Mix to combine the sour cream, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and dill.  Whisk until combined well.  Note:  I added the full 1/4 cup dill, but tested it along the way… for some reason, I was nervous about all that fresh dill.  It was amazing in the end, don’t be afraid! 

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Add the dressing to the vegetables.  Note:  Do not mix the veggies and dressing more than 1 hour before you want to serve it.  Also, the dressing will thin out significantly due to the cucumbers having such a high water content.  You’ll have tons of dressing leftover, but it’s all good… I actually saved it and added it to another batch of cucumbers for a second round of salad!

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve (no more than 1 hour for best results.)  Note:  I ate the leftovers the next day and they were completely soupy and marinated and tasted amazing!  

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Spiralized Tzaziki Cucumber Salad | No Thanks to Cake

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