Sunday, April 24, 2016

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Once again, I find myself apologizing for not blogging for a while. But I have a good excuse this time, I promise!

I'm pregnant!!! With TWINS!!! And I'm just going to be straight-up honest with you guys, coming up with new, healthy recipes really just hasn't been a priority. I'm lucky that I've been feeling pretty good so far (15 weeks 2 days today and no sickness yet) but my appetite just hasn't been the same. I don't feel as adventurous or willing to try new things. I've been exhausted, so any time I would have spent in the evening experimenting with recipes has been replaced by relaxing and sleep. My husband and I have wanted this for so long and we're so incredibly happy and excited, but life does change, and unfortunately for me, Lighter Bites took a hit.

That being said, I wanted to post today to let you know that (1) I am alive and well, and (2) you absolutely should make this smoothie ASAP because it's delicious and filled with ingredients that will give you energy all morning.

This recipe is from Gimme Some Oven and it's so easy and so, so good. Just throw all the ingredients into the blender, combine, and there you go!

I stick to the recipe ALMOST 100%. The only change I make is I use less peanut butter than recommended. I KNOW, that's weird, but I am not a peanut butter fanatic and I don't like when the predominating flavor is peanut butter. The recipe calls for a heaping tablespoon, and I use a heaping half tablespoon. Also, in these pictures, I was making two smoothies so everything is doubled. I also threw in a handful of quick oats for added flavor/texture.

Another thing I want to point out - the recipe says to serve immediately, but I never do. I make these at night and refrigerate them, then take one to work for breakfast the next day. Sometimes I make two, and one is refrigerated two nights. They still taste great.

So, that's that! I hope you enjoy this smoothie, and I want to apologize again for the long break between posts. I'm going to try to post a couple of times before our nuggets arrive in late September/early October, but please please forgive me if the posts aren't as frequent.

Until next time!


  • 1 large banana, peeled
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (I use vanilla unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Serving size: 1 smoothie
Weight Watchers Smart Points value: 4


  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 2 days until ready to consume.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cheeseburger Cups

Forgive me, bloggers, for I have sinned. I have been absolutely terrible at blogging lately. I know I say it all the time, but life really has been so incredibly busy lately! I'm finally posting today, but guess what? I only have one picture to go with this recipe! I KNOW, I fail at life. I'm sorry!

I do hope you'll forgive me, though, because these Cheeseburger Cups are SO good.

You may see the serving size and think "Two? Two cups? That's all? That's a lot of points for two cups ..." Well let me assure you, I too thought this. I made these and I had extra Weight Watchers points, and I loaded my plate up with three of these bad boys. After the second one, I was completely full (that didn't stop me from eating the third one though - oops).

So yes, two of these cups will be a tasty and satisfying meal. Promise :)


  • 1 package Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls (8 rolls)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 slice part skim American cheese
  • 1 slice part skim provolone cheese

Serving size: 2 cups
Servings per recipe: 4
Weight Watchers Smart Points value: 14


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly spray a muffin pan with no-calorie cooking spray. Separate the biscuits and line 8 of the muffin holes with a biscuit, forming a cup shape as best as you can.
  3. Spray a large skillet with no-calorie cooking spray. Over medium/high heat, cook the beef, using a spoon or spatula to break it apart until all the meat is browned and cooked. Season the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Once the meat is cooked, add the onion to the skillet. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ketchup and brown sugar and cook until combined. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  5. Spoon the meat into the crescent roll cups, distributing evenly among the 8 cups. Pop the cups into the oven and cook for 10-11 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, cut each slice of cheese (I used one American and one provolone, but feel free to switch this up) into 4 squares, so you have 8 small squares of cheese. After the cups cook for 10 or 11 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and add a cheese square to the top of each cup. Return to the oven and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until cheese looks gooey.
  7. Transfer the cups to a plate. Drizzle some additional ketchup on top and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Philly Cheesesteak Lettuce Wraps

Hello again!

I may have mentioned this before, but I only recently started eating steak. I KNOW. Weird. Growing up, I never liked it. I can't even remember what made me try it again after years of not liking it, but the important thing is that I did. And it was like a light bulb went off over my head. Like, "what took you so long?" Or, "where have you been all my life?"

Because now I'm all about <3 steak <3.

Over the summer, I tried my first Philly Cheesesteak. My dad made it. Steak and peppers and onions grilled to perfection on a roll and topped with melted cheese. It was a life-changing moment, I guess, because since then I've been a steak lover.

For this recipe, I had to cook a steak for the first time. I decided to use my George Foreman Grill to cook it, and it came out pretty good.

After the steak was cooked, I cut it up and put it back on the Foreman to melt the cheese. If you don't have a Foreman, you can grill the steak, cook it in the over, or sear it - whatever you choose. You can also use a broiler to melt the cheese when you're done.

Here's a tip for melting the cheese using a Foreman: once the steak and cheese are back on the grill, DON'T close the grill all the way. I just held the lid about an inch above the cheese for 30-45 seconds and it melted the cheese really fast.

This recipe is super easy. The most time consuming thing is cutting the peppers and onions and waiting for them to cook. But over medium/high heat, it really doesn't take that long.

To make these healthier, I swapped the carby rolls for iceberg lettuce wraps. 

As an optional extra, you can add some chipotle mayo to the lettuce wraps. Definitely not necessary, but it does give it that extra kick! One of my favorite blogs, Pinch of Yum, recommends Sir Kensington's so that's what I use. One tablespoon can be distributed among three wraps - you definitely don't need a lot.

And that's that! Enjoy!


  • 1/2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 medium vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • 5.5 oz lean beef sirloin, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and steak seasoning
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 slices part-skim provolone cheese
  • 6 iceberg lettuce leaves

Serving size: 3 wraps
Servings per recipe: 2
Weight Watchers Smart Points value: 7


  1. Place the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions and cook until golden brown (caramelized), stirring occasionally.
  2. While the onions are cooking, cook the steak. I cooked mine on the Foreman Grill (preheated to 400 and seasoned with steak seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder). It took about 7-8 minutes to cook through.
  3. When the onions are done, remove them from the skillet. Place the skillet back on the stove and give it a spray with no-calorie cooking spray. Add the peppers and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. You may need to re-spray the skillet and stir the peppers if they dry up while cooking.
  4. When the peppers are done, lower the heat to low. Add the onions back into the pan and stir occasionally. (NOTE: this is just to keep the peppers and onions warm while you prepare the rest of the meal. You could also remove them from the heat - they shouldn't cool off too much).
  5. When the steak is done cooking, remove from the heat (but do NOT turn off the grill). Slice the steak thin, and then return it to the grill. Add the provolone on top and let sit until the cheese melts (it helps if you partially close the Foreman - almost as if you're broiling. Don't close it all the way - you'll have to hold it, but this will melt the cheese in about 30 seconds).
  6. Distribute the peppers and onions among the iceberg leaves. Top with the steak and cheese. Roll up and enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Green Power Smoothie

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! Welcome to 2016! I hope everyone is starting the year well rested and in a positive state of mind. I know I am. 

It's been a MONTH since my last blog post. I'm so sorry for taking such a long hiatus, but I needed it. December was a crazy month! Work was really busy, I was spending a lot of time (and money) Christmas shopping, and I picked up some freelance work to make some extra money. Plus, the weekends were filled with family and friends and parties and PLENTY of snacks and drinks that shouldn't even be mentioned on Lighter Bites - oops. Dieting is HARD around the holidays, you guys! But the new year is here and with it, a time to start fresh.

Speaking of fresh, THIS SMOOTHIE.

I may not strike you as a smoothie kind of girl, and you'd be right. This is new to me. I've had them in the past, but it was never a regular thing for me. But now? With this smoothie? Yes please.

Let me back up. The path that led me to create this smoothie wasn't so straightforward. First, I've probably mentioned here that I'm a member of Weight Watchers. I've had a lot of success with this program in the past. I'd say I strictly follow the program 80% of the time - the other 20% (usually on weekends) I allow myself some leeway, such as an extra snack or drink. Well, Weight Watchers revamped their program last year - you'll see my recipes now list the Smart Points value instead of the PointsPlus value. I'm still figuring the Smart Points out, but a lot of the things I eat regularly have gone up.

Another factor: I don't eat breakfast at home. It's just not realistic for me. I get up early, get ready, and rush to make the train every day. In the past, I'd keep oatmeal packets in my desk at work and make one with hot water around 9:30 every morning. If you know anything about oatmeal, you know it's easy and convenient - and not very filling. I'd be satisfied for a couple of hours, but my stomach would start rumbling for lunch before noon.

The oatmeal I usually eat went from 4 PointsPlus to 5 Smart Points. I didn't feel like spending 5 of my daily points on something so small and unsatisfying, so I began brainstorming different ideas for breakfast.

The criteria? It needed to be easy. Healthy. Satisfying. Something I could prepare at home in advance and bring with me. And ideally, no more than 4 Smart Points.

I thought a green smoothie may be a good idea. I was never a regular smoothie drinker, but I did a juice fast before my wedding and it did not end well. I was all gung-ho to go 10 days on juice only, but after 3 days I just couldn't stomach the juices that tasted like vegetables. Smoothies are different - green smoothies, at least the ones I've tried, are FULL of veggies (like spinach) but you can't even taste it. Bonus!

The hard part was perfecting the smoothie. I've tried recipes that were Greek-yogurt based, but I don't think I could drink this every day. First of all, Green yogurt can be bland, and when it's overpowering everything else in the smoothie it just tastes thick and blah. Plus, too much yogurt equals higher Smart Points.

So I turned to Google and searched for "green smoothies with spinach." (Spinach is my green of choice for smoothies - I know kale is super trendy right now, but I have not been able to jump on that bandwagon. I just don't like it that much, you guys.) I read through a bunch of the results, and it seemed that a lot of green smoothies had the same few ingredients in common:

  • spinach
  • a banana (frozen or not)
  • a nut milk

Then, depending on the smoothie, other extra ingredients were added in. So I started my smoothie with those three ingredients and played around with quantities and add-ins. I've been wanting to experiment with vanilla protein powder for a while, so I decided to see if I could figure out a way to work it into my smoothie.

WELL. After a few failed attempts (nothing inedible, thank goodness, because I still drank the ones that didn't make it here), I came up with a green smoothie that I really, really like. I've been back to work for a week since the holidays and I've brought a smoothie for breakfast every day. I plan to do the same this week. And hopefully for many weeks to come (#newyearnewme, right?).

And did I mention it's filling? My stomach hasn't started growling for lunch until after 1:00 all week long.

I really hope you like these! If you're looking for a quick, easy, delicious, and filling breakfast that you can prepare in advance, this smoothie is for you.


  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened vanilla-flavored nut milk (I use Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Cashew mix, vanilla flavor)
  • 2 cups baby spinach (or 2 large handfuls)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use 100% Natural Only Protein)
  • 2 tbsp plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter (mixed with 1 tbsp water)
  • 1 banana, frozen

Serving size: 1 smoothie
Weight Watchers Smart Points value: 4


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and liquefy. Serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight and enjoy for breakfast.

  • I read that putting the liquid (the milk) into the blender first helps the blades move and not get stuck, so I recommend doing that.
  • The banana doesn't have to be frozen, but freezing it beforehand helps give the smoothie a thicker consistency. I like to peel a bunch of bananas and put them in a Ziplock in my freezer so I can grab one when I need it.
  • If you're planning on drinking this immediately, try adding 2 or 3 ice cubes to the blender to make the smoothie extra cool and delicious.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pillsbury Biscuit Calzones

Is it just me, or does the end-of-the-year craziness have anyone else wishing for more hours in the day? I feel like I just posted my last recipe, when in reality it's been over 2 weeks! So I apologize again for the delay between posts. I'm hoping to be able to post more often in 2016!

Before I dive in to today's recipe, I just wanted to send a huge thank you to everyone who reads this blog and shares my recipes. This is still really new for me, and I appreciate any and all support. Lighter Bites has officially hit 250 likes on Facebook, and we are close to 100 followers on Instagram. In the grand scheme of things, that's not many people, but the support means the world to me. So thank you!

Now, the reason we're all here: FOOD. I mentioned in my last post that I love Pillsbury crescent rolls because they're so versatile - you can fill them with chocolate and make a dessert, or you can fill them with meat, cheese, etc and make a meal. I love filling them with ham and cheese or pepperoni and cheese and making mini healthy calzones.

I use Weight Watchers American cheese slices for the ham calzones and Weight Watchers mozzarella string cheese for the pepperoni calzones. Once these babies are baked and warm and gooey, you can't even notice that the cheese is low fat/low calorie.

These really are super easy to make. When I make these as a meal, I usually make four - I have two for dinner (one ham, one pepperoni) and put two in a tupperware for lunch the following day (they still taste good after being microwaved). The Pillsbury crescent rolls contains eight rolls, so if you don't think you'll use the remaining four soon, I suggest making eight calzones and refrigerating the ones you don't eat. Even in a Ziplock bag, the Pillsbury dough doesn't last very long in the fridge once it's been open. For this recipe, I made eight.

Anyway, on to this super easy, super fast recipe. All you have to do is separate the crescent rolls and lay them on a baking sheet sprayed with no-calorie cooking spray. Arrange the ham, pepperoni, and cheeses on the crescent rolls, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

Carefully roll up the crescents so that all the meat and cheese is sealed inside. They don't have to look pretty - sealing everything in is the bigger priority here. If the filling sticks out a little bit, it's okay.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 9-12 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two, then dig in!


  • 8 Pillsbury crescent rolls, reduced fat
  • 4 slices reduced fat American cheese (I use Weight Watchers brand)
  • 4 low-fat mozzarella string cheese sticks (I use Weight Watchers brand)
  • 6 slices ham (I like to use honey ham)
  • 20 slices turkey pepperoni
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder (to taste)

Serving size: 2 calzones (1 pepperoni, 1 ham)
Weight Watchers SmartPoints value: 11


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking dish with no-calorie cooking spray.
  2. Separate the crescent rolls along the pre-cut edges and lay out on the baking sheet. Top 4 of the rolls with 1 slice of American cheese each and 4 of the rolls with 1 string cheese each (you'll need to break the cheeses apart to get them to fit on the roll).
  3. On the rolls with American cheese, top each with 1 1/2 slices of ham (you'll need to fold or tear the ham to get it to fit). On the rolls with string cheese, top each with 5 slices of turkey pepperoni. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder across the tops of all the rolls.
  4. Carefully fold the rolls so that the cheese and meat are sealed inside. Pinch edges together to seal. In some cases you may not be able to completely seal in the filling - this is okay. As long as it's mostly sealed you'll be fine.
  5. Make for 9-12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Note: nutrition information is for one ham calzone and one pepperoni calzone.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin S'mores Puffs

Hello there! I hope everyone has been enjoying fall! It's been unseasonably warm over here, and I've been pretty busy as well! Every year I say I'm going to start my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving ... and this year I actually did it! Plus, my weekends have been filled with friends and family and car shopping - all fun things, but they've been preventing me from being able to post here as often as I'd like.

So let's take a minute and celebrate fall with these Pumpkin S'mores Puffs.

I used Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls to make these. I love the crescent rolls, because depending on what you stuff them with, they can be a delicious appetizer, dinner, or dessert. These S'mores Puffs make an excellent fall dessert, or could even be served at brunch.

For this recipe, I stuffed them with pureed pumpkin, cream cheese, cinnamon, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. 

Topping the crescents off with graham cracker crumbs before you bake them to gooey perfection really gives them the S'mores feel.

Once they're done, let them cool - just slightly though - these are definitely most delicious when served warm. If you're preparing them in advance, you can refrigerate them until ready to serve - just pop them in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes (or the microwave for 15-20 seconds) before serving to make sure the center gets all warm and gooey.



  • 1 package Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent rolls
  • 1/3 cup Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 packet Sweet'N Low (or no-calorie sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips (I used Nestle semi-sweet minis)
  • 1/3 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 tbsp graham cracker crumbs

Serving size: 1 puff (recipe yields 8)
Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 4


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with no-calorie spray.
  2. Unroll the crescent dough and separate the triangles. Lay them on the baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, cream cheese, sweetener, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. Distribute evenly among the 8 crescent rolls - be sure to spoon the mixture onto the center of the rolls, as this will make folding them easier.
  4. Top the mixture with mini marshmallows (there should be enough to place about 3-5 in each crescent). Once this is done, fold the dough over so that the mixture is sealed inside. If necessary, pinch the dough together lightly at the seams.
  5. Spray the tops of the rolls lightly with no-calorie cooking spray (this will help the graham cracker crumbs stick). Sprinkle the crumbs over the tops of the crescent rolls.
  6. Bake for 9-12 minutes - you'll know they're done when the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

BOO! Brownies

Hello everyone! I know, I know, I haven't been keeping up on my vow to try to post one new recipe a week. I'm sorry! My job has been absolutely crazy and the weekends fill up so fast, especially as the holiday season approaches! (I can't believe I just typed that ... I'm SO not ready for the holiday season yet!) BUT, I'm hoping you forgive me because these brownies are about to rock your world.

These brownies are everything brownies should be. Chocolatey. Chewy. Ooey gooey. Fudgy. Stuffed with leftover chopped up Halloween candy. And an added bonus? They're low calorie.

To eliminate a bunch of the calories and fat associated with brownies, simply swap out the oil and eggs the recipe calls for and use a can of pumpkin instead (pumpkin puree - NOT pumpkin pie filling). If you're not a fan of the pumpkin flavor, don't fear: you can barely taste it once the brownies are baked. Honestly, if you didn't know there was pumpkin puree in here you'd never guess it. The consistency is fudgy and the brownies are delicious.

Then, because it was Halloween and because I grossly overestimated the amount of candy we'd need for trick-or-treaters, I took these brownies to the next level by mixing in chopped up Halloween candy. I used my favorites (and the nutritional stats provided are for the candy I used) but you can use whatever you want.

Pop 'em in the oven and you're good to go!

I promise you, it doesn't get much easier than this!

Until next time!


  • 1 box of brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies)
  • 1 15-oz can Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • Leftover Halloween candy (I used three snack size Kit Kat, three fun size Milky Way, and three bite size 3 Musketeers bars)

Serving size: 1/12 of recipe or 1/16 of recipe, depending on how big you cut the brownies
Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 6 (if making 12 brownies) or 4 (if making 16 brownies)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix and canned pumpkin. Set aside.
  3. Chop your chosen candy into small chunks. Add to the brownie mix and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the mix into the pan. Spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.
  5. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares and enjoy!