Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Delight Is Delightfully Delicious!

Last week I wanted to make a fall-like recipe for a dinner we were hosting. The main course was roast beef and I didn't want a heavy dessert to follow such a heavy meal. I decided to make Pumpkin Delight. It was a huge hit with my family and with our friends too. 

Pumpkin Delight


1 Duncan Hines Butter Yellow Cake Mix
1 15 ounce pumpkin puree
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 ounce Cool Whip
1 cup Heath Bits
Caramel Sauce - I use Hershey's squirt bottle


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put pumpkin puree in a medium mixing bowl and slowly add cake mix while mixing. Pour in to a sprayed 9 x 13 baking pan or casserole dish.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes. 
  • Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in to the cake.
  • Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake evenly.
  • Cool for a minimum of 30 minutes. I let mine cool a couple of hours because I had other things to do.
  • Spread Cool Whip over the top of the cake.
  • Drizzle the caramel syrup over the top. I used a zig zag motion.
  • Sprinkle Heath bits.
  • Chill for at least 3 hours but can be chilled overnight. 
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Weight Watcher Wednesday Recipe - Sick friend? Make Chicken Soup!

Our friend, Michael, has had a bad case of bronchitis. Ugh! It has been a while since I have been as sick as my poor friend. He felt so bad and of course, was coughing and feverish. What to do? Make Chicken Soup, of course! 

I made my soup with potatoes but you can substitute egg noodles for a more traditional Chicken Noodle.  I doubled the recipe and kept a pot at home for our family. It was lip-smacking yummy...even not sick. :) 


1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped green onion (about 8) or any sweet onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups cubed frozen hashbrowns or egg noodles
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 dried bay leaf
5 1/2 cups chicken broth, I use Better than Bouillon. It makes a very rich broth.

Over medium heat, heat oil and add garlic, onion and carrots.
Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer at least 10 minutes or until veggies are done. I like to simmer a little longer with the potatoes, about 30 minutes. 

This is a quick and easy but delicious and filling recipe. 

Makes 4 servings.

Weight Watcher points - 8


Thursday, October 18, 2012

DIY Scarf

Our daughter, Hanna, came for a visit a few weeks ago. We are both crafty and enjoy doing projects together. We looked on Pinterest, everyone's go-to for inspiration, and decided we would make no-sew scarves. I had this purple knit shirt that had a couple of tiny holes in it. Unfortunately they were in the front and at the top which made wearing it a no-go. But they made it a perfect top for this project. How easy is it when all you need is a pair of sharp scissors? We used Walk In Love's easy directions to make Hanna this stylish scarf.

Seriously easy! Hanna is a whiz with a pair of scissors!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Autumn Scents and Mug Swap

While in Colorado, my friend, Jill, and I made up these sweet little bags of Autumn Scents to give to her friends at a Fall Festival she helped to organize. They were easy to do, look beautiful and smell so delicious! 

Autumn Scents 

Dehydrated lemon and oranges slices
Cinnamon sticks
Star of Anise

How to:
We started by slicing lemon and oranges thinly and placing on a cookie sheet. We didn't have a dehydrator instead we preheated the oven to 175 degrees and baked the fruit for 7 hours. We put them in overnight and they turned out perfectly. We awoke to the house smelling very citrusy. Once the fruit was cooled, we placed several slices of each in to the bag. 

We broke the cinnamon sticks in half and added 3-4 sticks, 2 Star of Anise and then a small handful, probably around 20, of cloves. We gathered the bag and tied it with ribbon.

We purchased the clear bags at Hobby Lobby but you could use small jars or even snack size zip lock bags. The orange ribbon tied off with a simple knot turned out to be a festive touch. 

How to use:
Pour entire bag of ingredients in to a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer to fill your home with the wonderful scents of Autumn. You may keep the pot on the back of your stove refilling the water as needed. We boiled our trial pot all week and each day it still smelled wonderful. 

See the steam rising from the pot. It is the wonderful scent of Autumn!

I participated in a mug swap and had to hurriedly get mine in the mail before leaving on our trip. In fact, I took it to the post office and then we promptly headed to the airport. In my hurry, I forgot to take a picture of the mug I sent. :(  It was a bright lime green SC state mug. I included some hot chocolate packets and a SC postcard. I received my mug while I was gone. It was so fun to have a package waiting on me! I received this wonderful owl mug and goodies. I am sooo looking forward to filling this mug with my soups and stews this winter. Isn't it the cutest? The little owl faces are so adorable. Thank you, Kayla from Kayla's Creations! I love it. :) And I love Kayla's blog. Go check it out. 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weight Watcher Wednesday Guest Post with Marsha Baker

I am so excited to have Marsha from The Better Baker share a scrumptious brownie recipe today. I know you will want to give it a try. I plan to this week!

Thanks Pam - I am thrilled to be able to do a guest post here at The Best Laid Plans. I thrive on time in the kitchen and love trying new recipes.  I had my first cookbook published 2 years ago and hope to do another one day. I am all about quick, delicious & healthy recipes. My sweet hubby of nearly 45 years is diabetic - 100% disabled because of the affects of Agent Orange during 3 tours of Vietnam as a Marine, so I cut back on sugar & fat as much as possible. 
Weight Watchers recipes have proven to be very tasty and this one is definitely a favorite recipe that I have shared often.  I would love for you to come visit my blog and check out the yummy recipes there. 

I sure do!
Especially when it's ooey gooey...and only FOUR Weight Watchers Points (Plus).
It's simple to make and surprisingly you can have it on your 'diet'!
I found this awesome recipe at Hungry Girl online in one of the 'tips & recipes' I get in my email daily. It's like the best part of German Chocolate Cake landed on top of an ooey gooey brownie! OH MY!!!
For the base you mix a cake mix (I used a lowfat brownie mix) with a can of pumpkin and use these simple ingredients for the topping.
I do have to confess - I doubled the topping ingredients, just because I had them on hand..and I like lots of GOOEY!
AND...I cut the pieces bigger than 1/16th of the dessert.
(I wasn't counting points the day I made them=)
I know..I'm sooo bad!
This is still a real treat, even if you ARE counting WW Points!
1 - (18 ozs) box moist-style devil's food cake mix
(or low-fat brownie mix)
1 - (15 ozs) can pumpkin puree
1 sugar-free caramel pudding snack (60 cals. each or less)
1/4 c. light or fat-free caramel dip
(I used caramel syrup cause it's what I had)
2 Tb. finely chopped pecans
2 Tb. shredded sweetened coconut, chopped
Preheat oven to 400. Spray 9" X 13" baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside. 
In large bowl, combine cake mix with pumpkin. Stir until blended.
(I like to rinse the can with a little water and add that too)
(Batter will be thick). Spread into prepared baking pan and smooth out the top (using a spatula sprayed with cooking spray works nicely)
Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 - 25 minutes. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine pudding, caramel dip, pecans and coconut. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until brownies are ready to serve.
Evenly spread pudding mixture over brownies.  Slice & enjoy!
(Because it's just the two of us, I added the topping each time I served these luscious bites of WOW!)
Yield: 16 servings - 4 WW Points Plus each

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

We are home from our 8 day vacation to Colorado. We were so blessed to share the time with friends and we went somewhere each day as a tourist. Each evening we dined on Jill's gourmet dinner and enjoyed our time with the family. The best way for me to describe our week would be in pictures. Here are just a few of our fun times.

Our view every morning. Our friends, Jill and Mark, have this wonderful sight from their back balcony. If I lived here full-time, I can't imagine getting anything done. I would just want to sit and look at this incredible view.

 Our friend, Sarah, a student at the Air Force Academy, gave us a tour of the campus on Sunday afternoon.
Sarah and Stan in front of the 9/11 memorial.

Sarah and Allan on our first stop.

Inside the chapel using the Panoramic option.
The chapel.
Garden of the Gods or as our sweet little friend, Kenna, said, Garden of Jesus. :)

Stan and Kenna

The view from the railway window. The Aspens were just glowing.

The view from Pikes Peak with snow on the ground!
The Cog Railway we road to reach Pikes Peak.

On the Cog headed back down the mountain.
After leaving Pikes Peak, we decided to drive an hour further to the little Western town, Cripple Creek. We didn't realize it was a mini Vegas.
Having never gambled, I decided to risk a whole $2.00's! I won $10.00 and then lost $12.00. Easy come, easy go. :)

We rode this across and walked the bridge.

View from the bottom after taking the incline railroad.

Walking back to our car we came across this huge, hairy tarantula look for a cool spot to rest! Yuck!
View in Breckenridge.