Pumpkin French Toast

I woke up Saturday morning, opened my eyes and saw how bright it was outside and threw my covers back and looked at the clock – it was 7:25!  For a second I thought it was a work day, and then I quickly remembered it was Saturday, and also a work day, but in the best possible way – I was working Apple Fest in Lincoln Square at The Chopping Block!

I stopped by Hannah’s work and she set me up with a breakfast sandwich, banana, sugar free caramel coffee and a bottle of water.  I kept taking pictures of her and she was like “Mom, I’m at work!”  I don’t care how old they get, she and Joe will always be my babies. 😀

9.30.17we 035

One thing I did forget?  How long the drive was.  It’s about 45 miles one way and because I was headed downtown on a Saturday morning the traffic wasn’t bad and I made it down there in 60 minutes – the parking?  That took me another 20 minutes to find parking because The Chopping Block surrounds residential neighborhoods and there is permit parking only on some streets.  I had given myself plenty of time, so it all worked out.

9.30.17we 039

Is there a prettier site than this shop?!  It was funny because I felt like Norm in cheers whenever he entered to bar – instead I walked into work and everyone said “Biz!”  It was so good to see my friends again – I am a hugger and I think I hugged everyone at least 10 times.  Um, just talking out loud, but I don’t think I do that at my regular day job 😀

9.30.17we 040

So many pies!  I was stationed out front and took orders for people so it streamlined the register lines.  Even still, our lines were the longest of any vendor at the fest.  People were willing to wait 20 minutes in line for a slice of this pie.  On Saturday alone we sold 400 pies – which is 8 slices per pie (one apple in each slice!) so 3,600 slices were sold.  We also sold 200 pounds of pork for pulled pork sandwiches.

When I got there at one end of the fest they were having a costume contest for dogs – I had to take a picture of this dog for Hannah and Jacob.  I couldn’t tell if this dog loved it or hated it!

9.30.17we 042

At 1:30 I got my lunch break.  The family meal was the same pork, but it was sliced thick, with bbq sauce – there were these pickled apples that were in a side salad and I put that on my sammy and it was delicious.  I don’t know where that popcorn came from, but it was called spicy bacon popcorn and I was like – yes please!

9.30.17we 047

When my shift was over, I got to enjoy this Right Bee Cider.  Holy balls is this good!  If you live in the Chicagoland area, you need to find this.  They make a dry and semi-dry version so it’s not overly sweet, just super refreshing.  Perfect way to end a gorgeous fall day.

9.30.17we 049

Not sure you can tell in this picture, but I had my chef beanie hat on all day, and it never dawned on me to put sunscreen on.  I have to remember that I am so sensitive to God’s light! 😀  Aunt Martha, if you are reading this, I still love the earrings you gave me from Key West – I wear them all the time. 😀

9.30.17we 055

The Cubs were playing on Saturday so the traffic was bad coming home.  I left The Chopping Block at 6:10 and I walked into my house at 7:50.  The kadults ordered pizza, and my legs and body were so tired, I helped myself to their leftovers, had a glass of wine and was in bed by 10:15. 

9.30.17we 057

It was a gorgeous Sunday morning.  It was warm, but not too warm, but once that calendar flips to say October, thoughts of all things pumpkin and apple start dancing in my brain.  I had some stale bread that was perfect for French Toast.  Hannah doesn’t like French Toast at all because she doesn’t like the soggy middle, but that’s my favorite part.

I realized that I took pictures on my Instastory, but they don’t save to my phone, but I used Premier Protein’s vanilla protein powder for this recipe.

9.30.17we 060

  • 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder (2)
  • 4 ounces water
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin pie mix (3) – if you use regular canned pumpkin that would be 0 points
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces sliced bread (1)
  • 1/4 cup Smuckers sugar free pancake syrup (1)

9.30.17we 063

Mix the ingredients together, then let each slice soak for about 15 seconds on each side.  I cooked mine in a non-stick skillet with Pam.  Now this didn’t have the crunchy crust that I normally get with a regular French Toast – maybe because there is no egg?  That didn’t bother me at all because this was delicious – the outside was firm, yet the inside was super moist and delicious.  I sauteed one apple for the topping and used Smucker’s sugar free pancake syrup.  This was a delicious and filling 10 point breakfast.

9.30.17we 071

Hannah and Jacob’s wedding shower is on Saturday!  I cannot believe it’s almost here already.  Hannah and I put a list of things together that we wanted to do and got our crafty pants on.  We could not be happier about how these mason jars turned out.  These are going to be part of the centerpieces on the tables at the shower.

Hannah printed out 8 pictures at Walgreen’s for .80 cents.  We already had the jars.  You just place the pictures in the mason jar, pour vegetable oil – yes, you read that correctly, vegetable oil and then we used rafia around the top.  We found these cute cut out sayings in the scrapbook aisle at Walmart for $5.00.  The tiny clothes pins cost $1.99 for 50.  

I am so in love with these!

9.30.17we 078

I’ll be sure to show you the final product after next weekend of how the whole centerpieces look with the flowers.

9.30.17we 079

9.30.17we 081

I am so grateful for all the friends I’ve met because of this blog and other social media outlets.  I met someone on WW Connect, and after she started following me for a while realized that I must live near her – which we do!  We met for lunch about a month ago because she works downtown as well.  Her step-son got married in their backyard over the summer and she asked if I wanted to borrow any of her wedding stuff for Hannah’s shower.  So thoughtful!  Hannah and I met her and her husband at the parking lot at Bed Bath & Beyond, and she had so much stuff for me – string lights, lanterns, even hand towels!  Thank you so much Chris for your hospitality.

9.30.17we 092

Needless to say, my eats were not the greatest this weekend, so I am looking forward to getting back on track this week.  Goal – blue dots M-F this week, and gym 3 times this week and 100 ounces of water each day.   

How was your weekend?  Happy Monday – make it a great day!

Mini Banana Poppy Seed Bread

Good morning!  I have a little bit of a late start this morning as I have my semi-annual diabetes doctor appointment at 11:15 this morning, so I got to sleep in a bit this morning.  Enjoying a nice cup of coffee on what hopefully will be our last 90 degree weather of 2017.  Chicago broke a record for longest hot streak for this late in the season.  I am ready for a cool breeze over my face with my bedroom window open, and will be glad to turn off the central air.  I love all the flowers by my train station – wish I could grow flowers, but I have a black thumb.  If anyone is looking for a great travel coffee mug, Aladdin is awesome.  I have an hour train ride in the morning and my coffee is still hot to the last sip.

9.25.17 001

Even though the temps were in the 90s that didn’t stop me from baking over the weekend.  I had bananas that needed to be used up, and I bought these mini bread loaf pans over the summer and hadn’t used them yet.  I am a sucker for tiny food!

9.25.17 005


Mini Banana Poppy Seed Bread

Who doesn't love tiny food?!  These mini loaves are 8 smart points each, but half is plenty for breakfast with a hard boiled egg and some fruit.

Course Breakfast
Servings 16
Author Biz


  • 4 large bananas very ripe
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Splenda no calorie sweetener
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, poppy seeds and salt together and set aside.

    In a large bowl, add the bananas, apple sauce, butter, brown sugar, Splenda, egg whites and with a hand mixer, mix until creamy.  There will be chunks of banana, that's okay!

    Bake in a mini loaf pan - I used a 1/2 cup of batter in each loaf pan.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Let cool slightly before using.

Recipe Notes

If you don't have super ripe bananas, just slice a banana through the skin and microwave for 45 seconds, and proceed with the recipe.  It will be easier to combine in the batter when the bananas are softened.

I thought I’d eat a whole baby loaf for breakfast, even though it was 9 points, but half a loaf was perfect.  I had a hard boiled egg (2), half the bread (4) two ounces deli ham (2) and some grapes.  Perfect picky plate for breakfast.

9.25.17 004

It was already 90 degrees at lunch time, so Jenn and I walked Macy’s again.  She had a shirt to return, and we just wandered from floor to floor.  We both decided that a fruit salad would be a good choice for lunch.

9.25.17 013

Ha, I wish that fruit salad was zero points!  We walked up to the 7th floor where the culinary kitchen is.  It was empty today, but we need to find a schedule to attend a class in there.

9.25.17 015

9.25.17 017

Not shockingly I brought stuff to make tacos for lunch.  I bought these mini Mission brand flour tortillas, you know to continue the tiny food theme of the day.  These are good – but not sure they are worth the 5 points for two when I could have used a 1 point lavash, or 2 point low carb tortilla. 

9.25.17 018

My plate: 2 tortillas (5), three ounces beef (3), 2 tablespoons Weight Watchers Mexican blend cheese (1) two tablespoons refried beans (1), shredded zucchini and diced tomatoes.

9.25.17 025

I worked late last night – I agreed to help another attorney and the HR director who assigned me the project said “it will only take you 15 minutes” but it took me an hour and it was something he had to get out last night.  I had a few minutes to kill before catching the later train and wondered around the French Market in the train station – I would like one of each of these cheeses!

9.25.17 031

I got home late, so I decided to do my workout at home instead of spending an additional 20 minutes of travel to and from the gym.  I had upper body on my workout menu last night, so this 45 minute DVD worked out perfectly.  I watched it with the sound off and Hannah made a workout play list for me.  So sweet.

9.25.17 041

I am walking on October 21 in Chicago – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer as a Weight Watcher Ambassador.  I received a goody bag of stuff I’ll share later this week, but I am loving this headband.  My hair stayed back the whole time and I never had to adjust it once.  If you live in the Chicago area and want to walk it with my and my fellow Chicago ambassador Liz, email me at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com.  If you could donate anything, I would appreciate it too!   My donation page is here.    My sister in law Laura is a breast cancer survivor, and sadly, my cousin Pam lost her battle in January 2015.

9.25.17 047

I had more ground beef to use up or freeze, so made bunless burgers for dinner.  While mine looks like a hot mess, it was delish!  Romaine on the bottom with sauerkraut, my 5 ounce burger topped with a slice of Weight Watchers American cheese, and sauteed mushrooms, mustard and Bolthouse Farms blue cheese dressing

9.25.17 051

I have loved every Bolthouse Farms dressing I’ve tried, but this blue cheese and the avocado salsa verde are my two favorites.

9.25.17 055

Now I am off to make taco soup for my lunch with more leftovers from my Mom’s birthday dinner.  I am the leftover queen!

Make it a great day!

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Cups

I woke up 30 minutes early yesterday and got a quick walk in before work.  It was gorgeous – no breeze, 50 degrees.  I loved the fog hovering over the river.  It was such a great way to set the tone of being on track for the day.

9.18.17 006

I didn’t do a full grocery shop this past weekend because I had plenty of food to use up.  I am the queen of doing a full grocery shop every.single.week until Hannah is like Mom, you can’t fit one more thing in the pantry!  Okay, I get it 😀

I meal prepped these ham, cheese and veggie breakfast cups over the weekend.  So easy and delicious and the best part is that each cup is only 2 smart points (but 5 for two and 7 for three).  This would be perfect for a brunch because everyone could add their own favorite veggies and it bakes all at once.  

I am having trouble with my recipe plugin, so below is the recipe.  I love the crispy edges of the ham.

9.16.17we 190

Feel free to use any veggies you like 😀

9.16.17we 192

Yesterday was such a busy day, I didn’t have time to set up any pretty pictures of my food.  I had two breakfast cups (5) with fresh fruit on the side.

9.18.17 008

Luckily my sister and I got together to walk – it was sunny and 72 – perfect!  By the time I got back from our lunch walk, I had already walked 11,000 steps!

9.18.17 009


9.18.17 012

In meal planning through my fridge/freezer/pantry I found this . . . soup?  chili?  Not exactly sure, all I know is that I wrote “5 points per cup” so I had that with an ounce of tortilla chips for 9 points.  I think it must have been a vegetarian chili because there wasn’t any meat. 

9.18.17 015

The day flew by.  I had a Premier Protein on the train ride home because I had goals to get to the gym before dinner.  Hello stranger!

9.18.17 023

I did the 30 minute circuit first:

9.18.17 024

And then finished it off with 30 minutes (5 minutes cool down) on the treadmill.  I start out at 3.5 mph hour for 4 minutes, then “sprint” one minute and repeat.  My last sprint was 6.1 mph – which is about a 9:40 minute mile pace.

9.18.17 027

I didn’t eat dinner until almost 9:30.  I decided to use leftover steak to make a steak, egg, cheese and hashbrown brinner panini.  I used the Joseph’s Lavash bread (2) two ounces of steak (2) one egg (2) 3/4 cup Ore Ida hash browns that I cooked with Pam (1) and an ounce of muenster cheese (4) then put it on my panini maker to get it all crispy and melty.  I dipped this into spicy salsa and this was a super filling and delicious 11 point dinner.  

9.18.17 040


9.18.17 043

I ended up with a few steps yesterday 😀  I remember when I first got my Fitbit that I thought it would be impossible to reach 10k steps!

9.18.17 044

Day 1 of Biz 2.0 was great.  I was tempted by apple cider donuts, leftover pizza, gummy bears that were on sale at the store, and I chose me over the food.  Now let’s see if I can continue that another day.  Just taking it one day at a time, but it feels good to be in control.

The only thing I was lacking yesterday was water – I might have only had 60 ounces, so I am going to fill up my gallon container and keep it on my desk as a reminder to drink up!

How was your Monday?  What are your goals today?  Make it a great day!

Bubble Up Breakfast

As I was walking into work yesterday morning, I got this text from Hannah.  Ignore the part where I texted her the sales at our local thrift store over the weekend 😛  

Pickles, the baby squirrel that Hannah tried to save, died overnight.  She feels she did everything right, she read how they like to burrow when they sleep, she had it in a box with plenty of ventilation.  She buried it in the backyard.  I am sure it is only a matter of time before the dogs figure out where it is – fingers crossed they don’t find it!

9.11.17 012

Jacob asked if his Dad could come over for dinner on Sunday.  So I bought one more steak.  The kadults were working until 6:00, so Jacob told his Dad to come at 6:30.  Guess what time he showed up at?  4:00!   So I don’t have any pretty pictures of my take on this bubble up breakfast from Daily Dose of Pepper (which I now realize she calls a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit bake!)   Let’s say I was “inspired” by her recipe to come up with this one.  Her original recipe was 8 smart points per serving.  My version is 10 points for 1/4 of the cast iron skillet.

So while I had hoped to make this with plenty of daylight and get good pics, I was a good hostess and hung out with Jacob’s Dad.  Who now wants to do this EVERY Sunday.  I don’t mind Sunday dinner, but hopefully he’ll come at the required time so I can finish the stuff I want to.  This recipe is so easy though – I put it together in a matter of minutes, popped it in the oven, and 30 minutes later it was done.

My first substition was to use Jennie-O turkey sausage.  Only 1 smart point per two ounces vs. 1 point per piece of bacon in her recipe.  The second substition was that I used only 4 eggs and used 1 cup of egg whites.  And lastly, I used Trader Joe’s lite mozzarella (one point per ounce) in place of the American cheese she used.  So you can see, mine was inspired by Star – thanks for the inspiration though!

9.10.17 346

Oh, and I had a zucchini that needed to be used up, so I added that in with the sausage.

9.10.17 347

Just mix, pour and bake!

9.10.17 348


Bubble Up Breakfast Bake

A great meal plan breakfast - 4 servings at 6 WW points each.  Cook once and breakfast is set for the week!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 1/4 of skillet
Author Biz


  • 1 cup liquid egg whites
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 ounces Jennie-0 turkey sausage, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 ounces Trader Joe's lite mozzarella
  • 8 portions reduced fat refrigerator biscuit


  1. Cut the refrigerator biscuits in quarters and toss them in a big bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients except the cheese and mix well.  Pour into a cast iron skillet, or casserole dish.  Top with cheese, another sprinkle of dried parsley, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

I wish I had a better picture to show you, but this was delicious.  Only one tiny problem.  When I entered this into my recipe builder, I forgot to add the reduced fat biscuits, so instead of being 6 points for 1/4 of it, it’s 10 points per quarter.  But I was only able to eat half of my serving yesterday, so 5 points for 1/8 isn’t too bad! 

9.11.17 001

I added two points to my tracker yesterday 😛

9.11.17 017

Jenn and I walked at lunch – it was an absolutely gorgeous day.  We walked north on Wabash and never saw this sculpture before.  Hi Jenn!

9.11.17 025

It was a tad windy too 😀

9.11.17 028

While I know you’ll look at this and think “that’s lasagna soup!”  Nope.  This is tomato soup with baby cheese ravioli and spinach.  I had a giant pot of marinara I made last weekend that had to be either used up or frozen.  I froze two cup portions and had about a cup leftover, so mixed that with one cup of chicken broth and viola!  Tomato soup.  My store sells their homemade ravioli that is 6 points for 1 cup and delicious.  I only reheated the cooked ravioli for about 30 seconds, just to get the chill of from the fridge, then when I heated up the hot soup, just poured the ravioli into the soup and it heated through as it sat on my desk.

9.11.17 039

It was a busy day at work, so it went by fast.  Jacob is back doing low carb/keto and when I mentioned I was making Michael Symon’s Cinncinati chili he asked if that would work in his diet.  Yep!  The only difference between Michael’s recipe and mine was that I left out the onions (duh) and I only made half a batch using 95% lean sirloin beef.

Jacob had his served over sauted cauliflower.  Hannah tasted it and thought it tasted like ass, or in her words “it tastes like chili pasta sauce.”  It is a different consistency then regular chili, because it’s meant to be chili mac, but the flavors are amazing – cinnamon, cocoa powder, sherry vinegar.  Yum!  I have some for lunch today.

9.11.17 056

I wasn’t hungry for dinner yet, so I went to the gym.  Here is the obligatory next to the janitor closet, gym selfie.  I did two miles on the treadmill.  Five minutes of 3.8 mph, then each additional five minutes I jogged – my last 5 minutes was at a 6.2 mph pace!  

9.11.17 067

I got home a little after 9 p.m. and the thought of having chili made me want to throw up.  So I made toast!  One savory:  7 grain bread (5 points for 2 slices) topped with 2 ounces deli turkey (1) and 1/2 container guacamole (2) and the second sweet: 1 tablespoon peanut butter (3) strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.  I could have that for any meal any day of the week.   11 points of deliciousness.

9.11.17 073

I haven’t been on Half Baked Harvest’s blog for a while, but I saw this on Instagram, and this is going to happen this weekend – doesn’t it look amazing?!  Honey, apple, cheddar, and bacon panini.  Um, yes please!

9.11.17 021

As far as I know, my parents in law are still without power.  I am going to get in touch with them sometime today to see how they are doing.  Just so glad they are okay!

Alright, the train is almost into the station – happy Tuesday – make it a great day!

Banana Streusel Muffins

I took 238 pictures from Friday night until last night.  I may have a bit of a problem. 😀  It was a good long weekend.  I didn’t really have any plans except with my Mom yesterday.  It was a nice balance of productivity, cooking and lazy.  I will admit that we ordered pizza on Saturday night and I may have eaten half of a small pizza and three glasses of wine.   I tracked it, but I had wine Friday, Saturday and Sunday and yesterday decided to ditch the wine.  It’s just empty calories and I have a goal to lose 6.6 pounds this month.  

One of the things I made this weekend were these 4 smart point banana streusel muffins.  I am a sucker for the bananas on the discount rack, and bought 17 bananas for $1.79.  

9.4.17we 114

I used the Premier Protein bananas and cream shake in place of milk in this recipe.  I absolutely love how the crust came out on these – slightly crunchy but tender on the inside. 

9.4.17we 120


Banana Streusel Muffins

These won't break the smart points bank - only 4 smart points each.  Pair with some fruit and a hard boiled egg - breakfast is served!

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12
Author Biz


  • 2 1/8 cup flour divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened divided
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • .5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1/2 cup Premier Protein bananas and cream shake
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5.3 ounce greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1/2 cup Splenda (zero calorie) sweetenedr
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar


  1. MIx 1/8 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/8 cup sugar together and set aside - that is the streusel topping.

    In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, Splenda and salt.  Add the butter, bananas, Premier Protein, eggs and greek yogurt.  Using a fork, mix just until combined.  It will be quite thick.

    Divide the batter between 12 muffins.  Divide the streusel topping over the top, pressing down a bit to get it to stick, and sprinkle the tablespoon of cinnamon sugar divided over the top of each muffin.  Bake at 425 for the first 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 375 and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

I spent yesterday morning sipping coffee, hanging outside with the dogs.  The weather was perfect.  I took a shower and got ready to meet my Mom for lunch at Big Bowl and a movie.  I went as Sporty Spice – I wore sweat pants and a comfy t-shirt.  #klassy

9.4.17we 218

Only one tiny problem with that – because it was Labor Day, Big Bowl didn’t open until noon and our movie was at 12:45.  So on to Plan B – Uncle Julio’s.  I am not sure how long this chain has been in Illinois, but this was our first time there.  Such a cute bar area!

9.4.17we 225

We sat outside and tried to contain ourselves over the super thin tortilla chips and salsa.  

9.4.17we 226

We both were in awe at how thin these chips were.  The salsa wasn’t too spicy, and I was going to ask if they had a spicier one, but then that would mean I would eat more chips, so I decided not to.

9.4.17we 228

We both got the shrimp tacos.  So good.  Mine came with a habanero mango sauce which was so good.  I didn’t care for the rice too much – lots of onions but for some reason it had no flavor to me.  The beans were amazing though.  We both said next time though we would order the tableside guacamole 😀

9.4.17we 230

It’s been a while since I saw a movie, and was a bit shocked at the $11.87 cost for a matinee!  But then I was reminded that the seats are super comfy, so that in itself is worth the ticket price.  This theater also has beer and wine that you can bring into the theater too.  I think they are trying to compete with iPic.

9.4.17we 233

My Momma told me I was a great date, which without her actually coming out and saying it, she basically said “Biz, you are my favorite child.”   And spending time with my Mom?  #priceless

9.4.17we 236

I meal planned using my freezer and defrosted a sirloin tip roast.  My Mom bought me a new remote thermometer for Christmas and I love it.  It has two parts – one that clips on the grill below and a second transmitter that can be 100 feet away from the grill and I can still monitor the temperature.  That way I can do stuff in the kitchen and keep an eye on the temperature.

You have to take into consideration the residual cooking that the beef does after you take it off the grill.  Also, don’t wrap a roast in foil after it comes off the grill to rest, because you are basically continuing to steam the meat wrapped up.  I just put it on a plate and stick it in my microwave to rest.

9.4.17we 271

I had a 3 pound roast and it took about 50 minutes to cook on indirect heat.  My goal internal temp after resting is 125 and it was absolutely perfect.  The best part is that I have lots of leftovers.  Today I have leftover beef fried rice for lunch.  I had 4 ounces of lean beef (4) 3/4 cup homemade mashed potatoes (4) and I made a bone broth mushroom jus for 2 points with grilled zucchini.  Sunday dinner at its finest.  Even if I ate it alone because Hannah and Jacob were watching a movie and ate in their room.

9.4.17we 283

I am hoping my sister is able to walk today, I think we only walked once together last week.  

There’s still time to enter my blog anniversary giveaway – you can check it out here.

Show of hands how many will forget today is Tuesday and not Monday?!  Make it a great day!


Premier Protein Snickerdoodle Pancakes

So I told you I’ve been reading The Miracle Morning (check out this link for more info).  I am only 1/4 of the way through (I am a slow reader when it comes to books!) but you basically wake up earlier than you normally would to do the things YOU want to do, whatever it is.  They can be broken into 10 minute intervals – like 10 minutes of yoga, 10 minutes of folding clothes, 30 minutes on learning a new skill, or taking the time to spend on something that will help shape your future.

It’s not a secret that I love food, food photography, recipe developing, etc.  But I’ve not done the requisite work to do the behind the scenes on my blog to make the SEO higher (Search Engine Optimization), learn how to do recipe videos that you see all over social media, and make my site a bit more “user friendly” if you will.  The hope is that by working hard on that, I can start generating an income on this blog that will help me with my future goals.  This is going to be a long process, but I think by breaking it down into pieces, I’ll be able to figure it out.  I wish I was as smart as my brother when it comes to computers! Open-mouthed smile

The problem with that is during the week, by the time I come home and exercise, and put dinner together, it’s nearly dark outside.  So I got up early yesterday and made pancakes!  And not just any pancakes, Premier Protein SNICKERDOODLE pancakes.  Yes, I am shouting the snickerdoodle part because I love all things cinnamon.  My step-son loves cinnamon more than I do.  I once made him cinnamon monkey bread one time and he ate nearly half of it all by himself with three large glasses of milk!  He was probably 16 at the time? (Hi Joe!)

Anywho this recipe is super quick to come together.   The secret is using vinegar with the vanilla Premier Protein to make a mock buttermilk. 

Serves 1 pancake

Premier Protein Snickerdoodle Pancakes

Love the boost of protein with the Premier Protein shake. One pancake is 2 smart points, two is 5 points and three are 7 points.

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 11 ounce vanilla flavored Premier Protein
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or almond, soy - whatever you have)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon spice (I use McCormick), divided


  1. In a 4 cup measuring cup, pour in the Premier Protein, and add just enough of your milk of choice so that you have 2 cups of liquid. The PP is 11 ounces, or just over a cup, so my guess is 1.25 cups vanilla shake to 3/4 cup milk. Stir the vinegar into the shake/milk mixture, stir and let sit for 5 minutes. It will get nice and thick - you are making a mock buttermilk - it will look gross, but trust me, it's the secret to these pancakes.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture, and stir until the egg is blended. Meanwhile, put the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and mix with a fork. Mix in the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir just until combined. No worries if it's a bit lumpy.
  3. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, cook pancakes over medium low heat for about 2 minutes a side. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon mixture over each pancake - not going to lie these tasted like a cinnamon roll! Now if I can only come up with a low point frosting, I'll be golden 😀
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Breakfast


This batch made FIFTEEN pancakes. The batter will stay good in your fridge for up to five days, so you can cook as many pancakes as needed, or you can make them all and freeze. Once made, lay them on a cookie sheet, not overlapping, and freeze for 15 minutes before putting in a ziptop bag - that way you can pull out one or three and they won't be frozen together.


7.26.17 029

7.26.17 035

And here I am getting all fancy with the syrup!   Gah, going to have to work on my photography background – and I love how my Nikon camera is hiding behind the Premier Protein Open-mouthed smile

7.26.17 017

I misspoke on Instagram – while one pancake is 2 smart points, two pancakes is 5 points and three are 7 points. I ate two, with 1 point of SF syrup, the banana and blueberries, and added 2 ounces of deli ham on the side for some protein.  So breakfast was 8 points.

I was super busy at work, and didn’t eat lunch until nearly 2:15, so that extra protein from the Premier Protein really kept me full for a long time. 

7.26.17 044

This was a delicious picky plate.  Two ounces of leftover ground beef taco meat (2), baby peppers for dippers, cucumbers drizzled with Bolthouse Farms salsa verde avocado dressing (1)[you need to buy this – so good!].  Wholly guacamole mini cup (3) and 1/2 a large apple drizzled with chocolate PB2 (1).  Have you guys tried the chocolate PB2?! So good!  I found it at Walmart

I was night secretary last night and didn’t get home until 7:45.  I was a bit tired, a lot hungry, but it was only Day 3 of Insanity so I knew I couldn’t quit, because then I’d find an excuse any day to skip it.  When I did this back in 2013, I went 100 days in a row!  So only 94 days to beat that record! 😀

7.26.17 061

I meal prepped on Sunday, so these stuffed shells came together really quickly.  However, I am going to tweak the recipe – they are stuffed with fat free ricotta and chopped spinach, and while I thought I spiced it up, they were pretty bland.  I sauteed 2 ounces of smoked sausuage and zucchini for the base, and used this pasta sauce that Hannah bought at Aldi.  It’s only 35 calories per 1/2 cup (still costs 2 points), and if you have anyone who is vegan, this is vegan.   Apparently a lot of jarred tomato sauces have some type of milk or dairy in them?  Who knew?  

7.26.17 080

The shells are 2 points each, the cheese is 2 points, the sausage is 3, the sauce 2, for a total of 13 smart points.  This was very filling, and because I ate it at 9:00 last night, I wasn’t even tempted to eat anything before going to bed.

7.26.17 079

And because it was so late, it was already dark out, so I had to use the light box that my sister gave me, which is on a small table in my bedroom.  Just though you might want to get a sneak peak behind the scenes to see how professional food bloggers like myself work.  Ha!  Pretty sure Daniel Krieger doesn’t have piles of laundry (mostly clean!) around his  studio 😛  Ten minutes of my morning tomorrow on my Morning Miracle is going to be putting all that laundry away.

7.26.17 074

I’ll be going to my Weight Watchers meeting today because I love the leader, but I won’t weigh in until Saturday, my new weigh in day.  Pretty sure going to two meetings a week won’t hurt!

Here’s some Morning Motivation for you – if you don’t follow Steve Weatherford on Instagram, you should.  He has the hardest work ethic, and if that means spending time with his family and not hitting the gym until 11:00 p.m. at night, that’s what he does.  Everyone has the same 24 hours, hope whatever you do these next 24 hours gets you closer to the life you want.  Make it a great day!

7.26.17 039

Vegan Lemon Waffles and Weekly WI

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have noticed that I had an impromptu day off on Friday.  Sadly, there was another suicide on my line, and it happened on the train in front of me.  I got on the train at 7:40 a.m. – the accident happened down the line at 7:45, and within minutes of leaving our station, our train ground to a halt.  They finally got us to a station ten minutes from my house by around 9:00 a.m.  By the time the trains would have started running again, it would have made all the stops into downtown and I wouldn’t have gotten to work until  1:30, so I took PTO.  I read yesterday that it was a 32 year old woman who took her life.  So sad!  Thankfully Hannah and Jacob were working later on Friday, so they came and picked me up and took me back to my car. 

Hannah and Jacob decided to go Vegan for a couple weeks as a sort of “detox” after vacation.  I started to make myself waffles, and realized that I’d have to tweak my recipe to make it vegan friendly so I could feed them before they went to work.

Serves 1 waffle

Vegan Lemon Waffles

I put the ingredients into the WW recipe builder, and each waffle is 5 smart points.

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 1.75 cups flour
  • 1.5 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tabelspoons sugar
  • 1.25 cups almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together. In a smaller bowl, mix the almond milk with the vinegar - this makes a "mock" buttermilk. Let that sit for 5 minutes, or until thickened.
  2. Add the milk/vinegar mixture, and the remaining ingredients into the dry mix, and stir just until combined. Let the batter sit 5-10 minutes to let the baking powder do its magic while the waffle iron gets to temperatiure. These took 4-5 minutes to cook.
Cuisine: Vegan | Recipe Type: Breakfast

7.21.17 035

7.21.17 045

I used my very berry sauce for a syrup, so with the bacon, this was an 8 point breakfast.

I went to my local WW meeting on Saturday.  I hadn’t weighed in for 2 1/2 weeks, and with my vacation, I knew I’d have a gain. 

7.23.17 023

Remember how I talked about indulging in just ONE thing a day on vacation?   Within minutes of entering my Aunt’s house on vacation, she showed us all these delicious pimento cheeses she bought – jalapeno pimento cheese being the best of them all.  I didn’t eat any, and my brother asked “are you going to try it?”  I said I couldn’t break the seal yet, meaning if I started eating stuff on Day 1, all bets were off and I would continue to eat the whole weekend long.

Um, it took me until that first night.  I woke up around 12:30 with a blood sugar of 53.  When I went into the kitchen and saw Triscuits on the counter, I suddenly remembered the pimento cheese and ate that instead of grabbing a banana.   And so it began.  Jalapeno bacon for breakfast, burgers for lunch, wine at dinner, gelato – you get the idea.  So here I am –10 pounds lost on the year when in April I was already down 20! 

I’ve realized that I have to get back to basics – almost boot camp style, to refocus.  I know what to do, which is the weird part – but old habits kind of sneak in and take over if I am not paying attention.  I’ve decided that while I’ll continue to go to the Thursday WW meeting because I love the leader, I’ll also be going to my Saturday meeting for my weekly WI – Mickie the leader there is funny too, and I won’t have to worry about not getting to the meeting because of work. 

Friday night we had super bad storms.  I have an external pump that I plug in when we get a lot of water.  I checked the water level (too hard to explain, but I have a water “basin” under the front of my house).  If that fills up, the water comes in my basement.  It’s rare – we have to have either a lot of rain at once, or if we get a weird rain in the early spring when the ground is still partly frozen.  I went to bed at 10:30, and apparently the storms went on for hours, and as I left for WW Saturday morning, realized I had three inches of water throughout my whole basement.

The river is so high – higher than it was in 2013, the last time I got a ton of water in the basement – that time the water in my basement was 6-8 inches deep!

7.23.17 037

This is the channel across the street from my house.  The water is all the way up to these people’s back doors – they had a giant sandbag station down the street for anyone who needed it.  I didn’t notice it until I walked after the storm, I would have been happy to help my neighbors.

7.23.17 043

After we pumped out all the water in the basement and did an initial clean up, I had no desire to cook.  So I picked up a Lou Malnati’s frozen spinach pizza.  This slice set me back 15 points but it was delicious!

7.23.17 059

Yesterday morning Hannah and I did a quick Sam’s Club run – she had to do a pick up for work and I had to pick up just a few things – paper towels, egg whites, baby spinach and a rotisserie chicken.  So I made a quick iced coffee with the chocolate Premier Protein.  So good!  Two smart points and 30 grams of protein, this kept me full for a few hours.

7.23.17 078

 I love Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken.  It’s been a few weeks since I bought one.  It’s $4.98.  First thing I do when I get it home is to pick off most of the meat and make Rummy and Roman happy by letting them eat some of the chicken skin.  

7.23.17 079

With the chicken I will make:  chicken tikka masala, chicken enchilada soup, chicken tacos and a Chicken and spinach Caesar wrap for lunch one day this week.   The chicken tikka masala turned out amazing if I do say so myself – I’ll share that recipe later this week – I actually used jarred pasta sauce as the base for the tikka sauce and it turned out so good.

After doing more laundry, I finally hit up the grocery store to buy the rest of my stuff for my meal plan.  I spent $38.  When I got out of the store, the storm clouds were back – luckily the storm only lasted an hour – but it was 89 degrees when I went into the store and when I came back out a mere 20 minutes later, the temps dropped to 68!

7.23.17 122

I have all my food packed today – I bought a new lunch bag so I am testing it out this week.  I’ll post a picture later if I love it.  I am also restarting Insanity.  I was on Day 11 the Wednesday before vacation, but I haven’t done it in over a week, so I’ll start over.  I also lost the piece of paper that had my Fit Test stats, so that’s what I’ll do tonight.

How was your weekend?  Happy Monday – make it a great day!