Pumpkin Muffins

There are recipes that go around the Weight Watchers community and one of them involves a box of cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree. The other more famous one is a box of cake mix and a can of diet soda (in various flavors of both) which I haven’t tried yet. This one has only a handful of ingredients and is super easy to make.  The bonus, they’re only 5 points+ for a big muffin (or 1/12 of the recipe if you make a cake or breads)!


  • 1 15oz can pumpkin puree (not the pie mix)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I’ve also used spice cake mix and if you decide to use it, omit the spices below)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp each nutmeg, cloves, and ginger

Mix all ingredients together and bake according to package directions on box.



It may need a little longer as I made muffins and it took closer to 24 minutes, just check it at the time it tells you to and check every 3-5 minutes after until a knife inserted comes out clean.



They came out very moist.  If you’re making them for dessert, you can top them with a low fat cream cheese frosting, just powdered sugar, or a glaze of some sort.



You get 1 big muffin or 1/12 of the recipe for 5 points+

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers- Late Night Eating

I’m going to start off by saying that I was going to try to get this out on my lunch break, but I’m running on 3 1/2 hours of sleep including waking up 19 times (29 minutes worth) and being restless 18 times (32 minutes worth).  Why you ask? I had another gall stone.  This time at 4:30 in the morning and it didn’t go away until just after I got to work.

Combining that with a 2 hour training on a new program we’ll be using at work didn’t exactly help me with words for the rest of the day.  The gall stones really take a lot out of me.  I’m so glad I have an appointment next month.

Anyway, onto this week’s topic which is late night eating.  This is one issue that hasn’t really effected me much.  I’m not sure why, but I’m glad because I have enough problems as it is… Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments, but that’s more emotional eating than late night cravings.

Some of the reasons they listed for WHY you crave food at night are:

  1. You’re still hungry – I know personally that if I didn’t eat enough healthy foods during the day, I will feel like I’m hungry at night.
  2. Reward after a rough day – I’m the queen of rough days and I am very familiar with wanting to reward myself for certain things. (Whether I deserve it or not…)
  3. Stress – This is a big one for me.  I’m an emotional eater, and stress currently runs my life and it’s hard when you want to eat for emotional reasons.
  4. Deprivation – If you swear off certain foods (there are trigger foods for all of us that we really should stay away from but this is not what I’m talking about) like no dessert for the rest of your life (I know I’m exaggerating) or only eating a chicken breast with steamed vegetables and brown rice every night for dinner can make you feel deprived and the cravings for things like pizza, pasta, etc. can make you go insane with need.

And some of the things that can help with late night urges?:

  1. Smart snacking – clear out the trigger foods that are hard for you to be around. Anything for the family that you know is dangerous for you, put at the back of the fridge/cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind. Make sure you have lots of fruits and vegetables on hand to bulk up your snack (or if you feel it’s enough, have a piece of fruit for your snack).
  2. Keep dinner time distraction free – Eat dinner at a table instead of in front of the TV or your phone.  It keeps you from taking your time with eating and before you know it, your dinner is gone. This is something I have a problem with but I do notice that if I eat slower, I will eat less.
  3. Start your daily points+ at dinner instead of in the morning – if night time really is a problem for you, start your points at night instead of in the morning so you have those points to save you.

Some other ideas that I personally have are:

  1. Brush your teeth – I have heard this tip before and it really does work.  Toothpaste flavor mix with food is a nasty taste so I think just the mental image of that helps keep you from wanting to eat after brushing your teeth.
  2. Write in a journal/blog – if you are an emotional eater, it’s good to get your emotions out on paper.  This is a good distraction because you’re hands are busy typing or writing down things.
  3. Take up a craft – if you’re knitting/crocheting a blanket, your hands are too busy to pick food up.  I am a very crafty person and I often get involved in various projects.
  4. Drink Water – Try drinking a glass of water to see if you were in fact just thirsty.  Often times when we feel hungry, we’re really just thirsty.
  5. Art Therapy – I love coloring. I feel like a kid again and it’s a great distraction from everyday life.  Art therapy really is a thing.  It’s often used for children who went through something traumatizing but really just coloring in a coloring book or sketching something is a form of art therapy (to me anyway).
  6. Have a healthy snack – if you truly can’t stay away from food or if you’re hungry (see above) have some fruit or a piece of toast with peanut butter on it.
  7. Go to bed – if all else fails and it’s late enough for you, go to bed… Try to clear your mind and hit the hay early…

I hope some of these tips help.  I personally had a night where I wanted to eat everything in the house and I ended up eating a popsicle and going to bed and it worked.  We can get through these moments, you just have to believe in yourself and plan for those hard moments.

Oh, I almost forgot… I lost another 1.4 pounds this week!  That brings my total down to 17.6! I’m so excited!!!

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers: Change is Good

Before I start, no, they are not changing weight watchers again.  Not yet anyway.  I had yet another week where I was sure I gained and I ended up losing 2.2 pounds… That’s a grand total of 16.2!!!  Holy moly! I’m extremely happy about this considering it’s been an emotionally rough couple of weeks.

This week’s meeting forced us to be social… I wasn’t completely in the mood to be social but what could I do, walk out? I think it was to get us out of our comfort zone because that’s what changes can do.  Sometimes it’s good to change your routine to keep your body from getting used to what you’re doing. Also, if there is something in your life that is keeping you from progress (whether in weight loss, eating healthier, work, or pretty much any other aspect of your life) you probably need to change what’s keeping you from progressing in your life.

For instance, I don’t have much or a social life, and I can change that by doing more things with the Disney group, book club, and healthy living groups I belong to as well as doing more with my brother’s girlfriend. I need to change my lack of activity in my life.

I was literally just talking to my mom about how I sit all day at work, then come home and go lay down, usually fall asleep for a couple of hours, go eat dinner, and lay back down again. I’m way too sedentary and I need to get a good cycle of getting to bed at a reasonable hour (instead of writing my blog at 12:30 at night), getting at least some exercise in, and eating healthy and drinking plenty of water.  It’s a really vicious cycle for me.

There are plenty of others, but those are two big changes that need to be made in my life. Change can be a good thing so try a new exercise, a new recipe, take a different route to work, go somewhere new for vacation, or anything else you can think of that can bring better changes to your life.

Okay time for bed!

Plus Sized Empowerment

Fat Shaming Week…

By now I’m sure a lot of you have heard that Fat Shaming Week was an actual thing on Twitter…  Yep.. And some harsh, hurtful, downright unnecessary things were said.

Here is a video from Meghan Tonjes, one of my favorite Youtubers, who is very inspiring to me.

It’s disgusting that this kind of crap is okay.  It seems to be one of the few remaining prejudices that’s okay for people to talk about.  Why? What purpose does it serve to make fun of fat people, to the point of telling someone to EAT A BULLET?! Really? Does it make your life better to say that? I think Meghan explains better than I ever can how I feel about this.

I’ve also noticed it’s much more focused on women than men (in general, not just Twitter). For example, people craping all over Christina Aguilera because she gained some weight but they don’t say a word about CeeLo. I’m not promoting bullying men as much as women. I think it needs to stop all together. (I’m working on a post about this but I’m not sure when it’ll come out)

I’m so tired of the people who “care” about my weight instead of my health. Do they ask how my health is? Nope. They just see my big fat ass and think, oh she’s going to die she’s so unhealthy! That doesn’t help those of us who are over weight. People who do this aren’t making the world a better place.  Like Meghan said, go read a book. Do something actually productive with your life instead of “worrying” about someone else’s weight.

Okay, I’m going to stop but go check out Meghan Tonjes. She’s freaking amazing and I love her so much!

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers- The Unhealthiest Thing You Do?

This week’s topic wasn’t actually about unhealthy habits per say.  It was specifically about sitting too much. So the topic was a little misleading.

I’m going to start out by saying that I gained this week. It’s been an emotionally hard week for me.  Both a little hormonal and there have been some things in my immediate family that I don’t care to share at the moment.

Anyway, I only gained .6 so it’s not too bad. I straight up lied about how many points some of the things I ate were.  For instance, that pumpkin pie I made, I guessed 5 when I knew sure and well that it was at least 9 or 10.  I’m back on track though and I’m not letting it destroy my progress.  I just need to keep myself focused on eating healthy especially this next week.

So, the topic is about sitting too much.  I know I do because of my job.  I work at a desk all day doing data entry so it’s important for me to get up and move around.

I know I need to move more. I live a very sedentary life and I’m sure it contributes to being tired all the time. So I am going to share a few ideas they gave as well as things that I want to try to incorporate into my work day as well as everyday life.

  • Get up and walk around for 5 minutes every hour. While this isn’t something that is possible for me as I only get 2 10 minute breaks at work, I am going to try at the very least, standing when I need to grab something from a filing cabinet at my desk or the shelf above my desk, or anything that isn’t directly in front of me at my desk.
  • Put your lunch in the furthest refrigerator from your desk at your office. I don’t put my stuff in the refrigerator at work, but that is a good idea.
  • If you work on a multi-level office, use the bathroom on the level you don’t work on, AND use the stairs to get there. This is one I will start doing.  We have a 2 story office where I work and I should take advantage of that.
  • Park further away from the entrance to your work.  I don’t park close, but I’m not completely far away so I think I’ll start doing that again.  Besides, every now and then, these gross harry spiders are on my car and I see them once I get in the car and the freak me out! I have a total conniption fit every time I drive home and those things are there and they don’t move!  Then all of a sudden they are gone and I am left thinking, they somehow found a way into the air conditioning unit and they are going to come out of the air vents in my car and I practically lose my mind thinking about that! And while we’re on the subject of parking further away, do that at the mall, grocery store, etc too!
  • Use a printer further away from you.- We don’t have one as close to us as we used to so that’s a plus for me.

That’s about all I can think of at the moment, but it’s a good list to start out with.

Day Trip Reports · Life

Sonoma Square and Family Dinner

So I got an odd fortune in my fortune cookie today.. It said, “Customer service is like taking a bath; you have to keep doing it.” What? What does that mean? Keep doing customer service? Isn’t it implied if you work in customer service? And what if you aren’t? Do you really have to “do customer service” if you aren’t working in customer service.  And how the hell is that a fortune?!

Sorry I didn’t get a chance to post about last week’s Weight Watchers… Again… I’ll add it to tomorrow’s Weight Watchers post.  It’s been a week full of good and bad things.

Last weekend, I went to Sonoma with my mom to have lunch with a couple of her cousins at a restaurant called Della Santina’s.  It was amazing and it was actually owned by an Italian.  You don’t see that often anymore.

We parked out in front of a little rental cottage it was so cute!



The restaurant is a block away from the square, and nearby Train Town which we realized that day how close it was.  We have to bring my nephew back, he had so much fun!


My mom’s cousin brought a bottle of Pinot Noir that was really good. I’m still learning about wine but I definitely want to.  It’s in my blood and I wish I would have learned from him…

I started out with an amazing bowl of minestrone soup.  It was Tuscan style and had potatoes instead of pasta.  It was so delicious!


I figured we were going to have dessert and I’ve been having gall stones a little more frequently (and I have a doctor’s appointment for it finally!) so I didn’t want something that was too oily or creamy so I went with their pasta primavera.  It was very good, however, Im’ not a big fan of artichoke hearts (when they come straight like that anyway because they are a little pickled I think) and the type of mushrooms they put in the pasta were a little too chewy…


My mom and I split their chocolate mousse tarte with an amaretto crust. Wow was it amazing! And those are sort of candied cherries on top.  They had a sticky chewy texture to them, WAY better than any maraschino cherry I’ve ever had!


They went back home after we had lunch and my mom and I took a stroll through the Square.  IMG_1322

I didn’t realize that there was a mission in Sonoma… Is that bad? In my defense, it’s really small… From the plaque below, it looks like this was the last mission that was built.


From what I found online, this is one of 12 replica historical El Camino Real bells they placed to mark the route of the California Missions.

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The Chapel was very small, and I’ve never seen one that doesn’t have pews in it.

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There wasn’t any description of what this painting is or when it was painted, but I THINK it’s supposed to be Jesus. It’s obviously very old.

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The gardens were pretty small too.

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After a quick walk through the Mission, we walked around the square.  They had quite a few shops, but not much we wanted to look in.  They did have a small kitchen gadget store where we got these cool covers.  They are silicone and you just lay them on top of your drink or bowls (they have different sizes and we got a pair of 2 for cups and small bowls) and they suction themselves to whatever you put them on and they are pretty strong.  It’s good if you’re outdoors and want to cover your drink and food (I think it only works on round bowls and cups but I haven’t tested that theory yet.) from bugs and other elements.


I litterally lifted the bowl with just the handle of that lid.  They’re amazing!

Sunday we spent all day cleaning and had Nick, Gina, and mini Nick over for dinner.  We just had chicken, roasted potatoes and butternut squash, but it was very tasty! While dinner was cooking, Gina, Nick, and I played a round of Doctor Who Yatzee, and my mom joined in on the second round.  We love Yatzee and wanted to play a game.  I should get some more games for the future because that was a lot of fun! (and that is Cars you see on the TV in the background, as usual, was on for the little one.)


Poor guy was exhausted from a fun play date before he came over. I just love him!


And, I must say I made a pretty epic pumpkin pie for dessert! No it wasn’t very Weight Watchers friendly, but I didn’t have time to look. I used the recipe on the can of Libby’s pumpkin puree and a pre-made graham cracker crust. It was Keebler’s brand and it was a larger size (it says 2 extra servings on the package and it was just PERFECT for the amount of filling it made.). I highly recommend putting the crust on a sheet pan BEFORE filling it becasue I spilled a little trying to get it on there (it’s not a very strong pie pan and it was bowing on me) and bake it on that in the oven.


Shannon Reviews Things

Shannon Reviews Things- Whenever Bars

So I thought I’d start doing some product review type posts.  I’m calling them “Shannon Reviews Things” because my brother has a blog with that name (but with his name not mine, duh!) and I thought it was more clever than “Product Reviews…” Just short little reviews of products (not necessarily all food, or food related, it depends on what I feel like reviewing) I’ve tried and products I’ve been using for a long time that I would highly recommend.  Not all of the new products I review will be things that I love but I want to talk about them anyway in case there is someone out there that would enjoy them.


My first review is about Pamela’s Whenever Bars.  They caught my eye at Nugget Markets when I was in Roseville last Sunday and I thought I’d try them for breakfast for the week.  The fact that they had coconut and chocolate chips in them sold me.  I am not a big “bar” type person.  To me about 99% of them are way too sweet (I know with my sweet tooth that’s odd…) but these aren’t too bad. They are 5 Points+ plus which isn’t too bad when you think about the fact that they have coconut and chocolate in them.


They are decent sized for a bar, they are gluten and dairy free for those who can’t eat that kind of stuff.  I threw away the box but I do remember that there weren’t that many ingredients on the list so that’s a definite plus.

Taste wise, they are a little dry, but the flavor was good.  They come 5 in a box so I thought it was perfect for the work week and I didn’t feel like making anything for breakfast for the week. I paired a bar with a fat-free Yoplait yogurt and an apple each day and it got me through the morning pretty well. I have been wanting to eat my emotions this week so I’ve had urges to eat soon after but I’m not blaming that on the bars.

They make other flavors but these were the only ones I saw at the store so if you are interested in trying them you can go to their website for more information.  Or if you want to try this flavor and are in the Sacramento/Vacaville area, go to your local Nugget Market because that’s where I bought them.  More specifically, I got them at the Nugget in Roseville.

Okay, that’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed this new line of topics from me.  If you have any products you would like me to try, leave a comment and I’ll check it out!