Easy Pumpkin Muffin Recipe – Be Carton Smart with Tetra Pak

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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With the holiday season upon us we’re busy preparing food for celebrations with friends and family, as well as seeing to the everyday family meals that keep us going during this busy time of year.  A well-stocked pantry makes it much easier to throw together a meal in a hurry. 

When stocking your pantry, Become Carton Smart with Tetra Pak cartons!  They are made of 70% paper, a renewable resource, from selectively harvested, re-grown trees that are FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) using 1/3 of the packaging compared to cans.  That makes them nice and eat to stack in your cabinets using less space.

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Not only are you saving space, but you’re also helping the environment.  They are recyclabe and result in 60% less landfill waste than cans.  And you can also minimize food waste because cartons are re-closable so you can use what you need in your recipe and save the rest for later.

I recently received products from Pacific Foods, all packages in Tetra Pak cartons, to use in my holiday cooking.  I decided to swap out my usual canned pumpkin in these super easy muffins with the Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree.  This recipe is so easy and yummy!

Easy Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

Yellow Cake Mix
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 carton Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 12-muffin tin or fill with cupcake papers.  Place cake mix in a large bowl.  Add spices and stir to distribute.  Add in pumpkin and stir until well blended.  (If it appears too thick, add a few tablespoons of water.)  Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For more info on how to Become Carton Smart, you can Tweet @CartonSmart and Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest.

What ideas do YOU have for being #CartonSmart this holiday season?

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Vanilla-Ricotta Stuffed Crepes With Orange-Maple Syrup – Perfect for Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day will soon be upon us.  Show Mom (or another special mother in your life) how much you REALLY care by making her something delicious.

To honor the woman who passed her culinary skills down to him, celebrity chef and author Rocco DiSpirito created this easy, low-calorie recipe, perfect for Mother’s Day brunch . Rocco’s Vanilla-Ricotta Stuffed Crepes With Orange-Maple Syrup are only 108 calories per portion (compared to the typical 300 calories). So not only are they yummy, they’re guilt-free!

This recipe features  Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Low-fat Vanilla.  The Coffee-mate Natural Bliss line of products are made with only a few simple ingredients: milk, cream, sugar and natural flavor.  I’m very excited that they have added the Low-fat Vanilla flavor because my husband loves Coffee-mate Natural Bliss in his morning coffee, but also prefers low-fat options.  Now he can have the best of both worlds!

Vanilla-Ricotta Stuffed Crepes With Orange-Maple Syrup

6 Tbsp. Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Low-fat Vanilla
4 tsp. egg white powder
8 oz. light ricotta cheese
1 navel orange, 1/2 tsp. of zest removed with fine grater, then peeled
1/2 cup calorie-free pancake syrup
Olive oil cooking spray
4 sprigs fresh mint (about 8 leaves), torn into small pieces

PREHEAT the oven to 350˚ F. Pour all but 2 teaspoons of the Natural Bliss in a small mixing bowl and whisk in the egg white powder until fully dissolved; set aside. In another bowl mix the ricotta cheese with the remaining 2 teaspoons of Natural Bliss and 1/4 teaspoon of the orange zest; set aside. With a sharp paring knife, cut the sections of orange flesh out from the white membrane that encases them in the orange. Place the orange sections, remaining 1/4 teaspoon orange zest and the pancake syrup in small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the mixture simmers, about 2 minutes. Carefully remove the plastic wrap on one side to vent but keep warm and set aside.

SPRAY a 10-inch nonstick skillet for 1 second with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Pour one-fourth of the Natural Bliss and egg powder mixture into the warm pan and swirl the mixture so it forms a thin even layer on the bottom of the pan. Put it over the heat until you can see browning at the edges, about 20 seconds, and then place in the oven and bake about 30 seconds or until it has fully cooked. Pull the crepe out of the pan, cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and set aside. Repeat these steps to make 3 additional crepes.

PLACE a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the center of each crepe and spread it out evenly over the crepes. Fold crepes in half and then in half again and place one crepe each on four plates. Spoon the warm orange syrup over each crepe and garnish with mint leaves.

Per serving: 108 calories, 3.9 fat (2g sat, 0g mono, 0g poly), 17mg cholesterol, 157mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 8g protein

Coconut Almond Muesli Recipe

This delicious recipe can be eaten as a breakfast cereal or as a snack.  You can also add dried fruit to the recipe, just toss it in during the last 10 minutes of baking time. This recipe makes a LOT (approximately 5 quarts) so feel free to halve the recipe.

Almonds6 C. uncooked oatmeal
3 C. untoasted wheat germ
1 C. grated coconut
1 C. sliced almonds
1/2 lb dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp. vanilla
1 C. sesame or sunflower seeds (or 1/2 C. each)
1 1/4 C. safflower oil
2/3 C. water

Preheat oven to 350°. Stir all ingredients together. Bake in a large shallow pan for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes.

Easy Low Fat Corn Muffin or Cornbread Recipe

This simple and easy low fat corn muffin recipe is both easy to make and much lower in fat than traditional recipes. We like to make these and store in the refrigerator to be toasted or microwaved in the morning for a quick breakfast.

Low Fat Corn Muffin Recipe

1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
2 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 12 muffin tins with cooking spray or cupcake liners. (Or spray an 8×8 inch pan for cornbread.) Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl (use a whisk to mix well). Add in yogurt, honey and beaten eggs. Stir just until blended. Pour into prepared tins or pan. Bake 18-20 minutes for muffins or 20 to 25 minutes for cornbread. Tops should be golden and spring back when touched.

Easy Whole Wheat Waffles Recipe – Great to Freeze for Quick Breakfasts

This easy recipe makes approximately 8 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle-maker. They are great to freeze and later pop in the toaster for a quick breakfast. To make the recipe a little more healthy, you can replace half of the oil with applesauce.


1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C milk
3/4 C water
1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs then stir in milk, water, oil and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until well combined. Cook according to the directions for your waffle-maker.

Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe – Great Make Ahead Breakfast

This recipe is perfect for an on-the-go breakfast, conveniently made into individual sized portions with the aid of muffin tins.  You can make them ahead of time and store in the fridge (for up to a week) or in the freezer.  In the morning, just pop in the microwave to heat.  Choose your favorite oatmeal add-ins to customize to your liking.  Recipe makes 12 muffin-tin sized portions.

Baked Oatmeal Recipe


Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe


2 c. quick-cook or old fashioned oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. “add ins” – raisins, nuts, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc (your choice)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. applesauce
2 tbsp. butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 375°.  Prepare muffin tin with liners or cooking spray.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg.  Add in the milk, applesauce and butter.
  • Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir well.  (Final mixture will be very wet.)
  • Fill muffin tins using a ladle or ice cream scoop.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly beginning to brown on the edges.
  • Let cool 10-15 minutes and then remove from tins.

Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe

Easy Pecan Coconut Granola Recipe with Molasses

This is an easy granola recipe that makes a yummy breakfast. You can also eat it as a snack or as a topping for your yogurt or ice cream.

homemade granola1/3 cup molasses
2 Tbsp canola oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together molasses oil, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add in oats, coconut and pecans, stirring until well coated. Spread in an even layer on a cookie sheet with rim/jelly roll pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occassionally, or until lightly browned. DO NOT overcook. Set pan on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Easy Breakfast Potatoes Recipe

This recipe was submitted by reader Alicia. She writes, “I love making these potatoes for Sunday breakfast served along side scrambled eggs and sausage or bacon. If you are vegetarian you can have these with a side of eggs and if you’re vegan…you can just have the potatoes…” Thanks, Alicia!

I have a family of 6, 1 husband, 2 teenagers, 2 small children and me..so I take

8 Good sized Russet Potatoes (skinned and cubed)
4 Tbs Veggie oil
2 Tbs Butter (if you are vegan you can omit this)
12 inch frying pan with lid (I put my butcher block cutting board on top)
1 med sized onion diced
2 Tbs diced garlic (from a jar is okay if you don’t have fresh)
3 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 Tbs Salt (or more if you want)
2 Tbs Fresh cracked black pepper

Now put the pan on high heat, for me this is an “8” as I have an electric stove, add the oil and butter to the pan, wait a min or two till the butter melts and the oil is heated, add the potatoes to the pan, they will sizzle..DO NOT STIR THEM YET, make sure they are not in a pile but flat in the pan, uncovered, walk away for 5 min, then come back, flip them with a spatula, you should have a nice golden color and slight crust on the outer edges, if not they are flipped so cover them and wait another 4 min if they had a nice color, 5 min if they have not….I usually keep mine on for 5 min each side because I like the crusty crunch on the edges.  Now after they have been on for 10 min total time they are almost done, you can drop the heat down to 6 or med heat and add in the onions, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Give them a good stir/flip and cover and wait about 3 min, then add in the garlic, cover and wait another 2 min to make sure the onions have softened nicely and your potatoes are done, they should be fork tender and so good!!! My husband likes to add Tabasco on his but I like mine like this with eggs on the side.

National Eggs Benedict Day is April 16 – Celebrate with an Easy Light and Healthy Recipe

This Saturday, April 16th, is National Eggs Benedict Day!  You can take this tried and true brunch favorite to a whole new level with a delicious recipe from The Motherboard that puts a twist on the traditional by lightening it up!  It has reduced fat and reduced calories compared to the traditional version.  This recipe can also be the perfect addition to your Easter menu. And don’t forget about Easter brunch!  This recipe can be a perfect addition to your Easter menu as well!

Guilt-Free Eggs Benny (Serves Two)
2 eggs
1 light whole wheat English Muffin
2 slices Canadian bacon
1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Kosher salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon zest, for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Non-fat cooking spray 

1. In a large pan coated with non- stick cooking spray, brown the Canadian bacon over medium heat.  Remove from the pan and keep warm.  

2. Over very low heat, combine yogurt, dry mustard, and season with the salt and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan.  Whisk continually until warm.  Don’t overheat or the yogurt will curdle.  

3. Add vinegar to a pot of boiling water and reduce heat to a low simmer.  Crack one egg into a small bowl and very gently add it to the simmering water.  Repeat this for the second egg.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes until eggs are completely coagulated and the yolk looks slightly opaque.  

4. In the meantime, toast the English muffin.  Assemble by placing the toasted muffin on a plate.  Top with a piece of the Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and then top with the yogurt sauce.  Sprinkle lemon zest and chopped parsley over each egg.  Enjoy.

      Easy Overnight Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats Recipe – Way Better Than Instant Oatmeal!


      You will never go back to instant oatmeal after trying steel cut oats! I admit that I have become addicted to them – my crockpot has been getting a workout!  We have them for breakfast at least 3-4 times per week.  But there are worse things to be addicted to!  As a whole grain they are very healthy and they are a very inexpensive breakfast food.  The key to keeping it inexpensive is to buy them in bulk at your local health food store or at Whole Foods.  Yes, steel cut oats in bulk at Whole Foods are CHEAPER than buying a carton of them at Walmart.  (Only about 1/3 the price.)

      This recipe is to make two large servings.  Simply double or triple the recipe for the right amount of your family.  Or, you can double or triple the recipe and store the leftovers in the fridge to be reheated in the microwave later (just mix with a little milk or water before reheating).

      1 cup steel-cut oats used
      2 1/4 cups water
      1/4 tsp salt
      1 Tbsp butter.

      Place all ingredients slowcooker or crockpot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. (You may want to spray the crockpot with cooking spray first, but this is optional.)

      Serve mixed with a little milk and sweeten with brown sugar.  You can add anything you like, nuts, dried and fresh fruit all work great.

      I previously published this recipe on my healthy living blog, Jinxy Knows Best.