Je-diet Mind Tricks

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cakelette

Hi, friends. It’s the weekend. Woo hoo! Finally some time to catch my breath. It’s been a busy week. Let me catch you up in a hurry. Oh, and the photo at the top is a teaser. I’ll tell you about it in a minute. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • I’ve just finished 10 days of level of one Jillian’s notorious 30 day shred workouts. So far so good. I’m trying to shock my body a bit with some new tricks in my weekly routine, so I’m replacing 20 minutes of my usual cardio with 20 minutes of shredding. I’m still working out with my trainer, and I’m not shredding on those days. I haven’t worked out without resting days in between in a long time, and I’m only planning to do it for a few weeks. I’m not out to create any overuse injuries, but I am trying to shake things up a bit. So far, I feel stronger and I have more energy. The workouts are tough, but I like a challenge. Have you shredded?? What did you think?
  • I just finished the second week of participation in a stair climbing contest at work. One of my favorite co-workers organized us into teams of five, and, each week, we compete to be the team to log the most flights (only ascending flights count). Prizes are awarded weekly. Last week, my team won the contest with nearly 700 flights!! This week, I wasn’t a very useful team member since I was out for training on Thursday and Friday, but I’m sure my team rocked it again this week anyway! They are awesome. Getting a little exercise throughout the day has given me a real boost. It has also made me realize how easy it is to park in front of the computer for hours at a time without moving. Honestly, I’ve also realized that it’s pretty easy to get up and move around too. I hope I can keep it up when the contest is over.Β 
  • Last Sunday, I went to the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show here in D.C. I attended Tyler’s Ultimate Food and Wine pairing, and had some very tasty nibbles.

The Stage is Set

TylerOk. So, Tyler wasn’t a nibble, but he is rather tasty. Yes? We were also treated to a visit by another Food Network favorite…

SamplingTyler has started making wine, and he was giving Paula a little sample of his wares. πŸ˜‰ I had a great time at the show, and I sampled a ton of stuff at the expo too. I’m definitely going to try to go again next year!

Now that I’ve given you the quick catch up, I want to talk a bit about the title of this post “Je-diet Mind Tricks.” Over the past few years, I’ve looked for ways to make my food more enjoyable without piling on lots of extra calories. I’ve learned a number of tricks. For example, I’d always heard that serving your food on a smaller plate or in a smaller bowl would make you think you were having more. I’m sure I’d read that in magazines in the past and dismissed it with an “Oh please!! I’m way too smart for that” kind of attitude. The thing is, it does work. I have lots of small bowls, and I use them often. I like eating smaller meals off of smaller plates, and I tend to eat ice cream out of tiny little heart shaped bowls I picked up at Crate & Barrel.

My Heart is Empty?One fourth of Β a cup of ice cream really does look like a lot more when it fills up my small bowl than it would if it were sitting in a little blob in the middle of one of my big oat bran bowls.Β These bowls are also great for little nibbles of granola, trail mix, almonds and that sort of thing. I’m a fan!

Another trick I’ve learned comes into play in my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cakelettes. I could just call them muffins, but they are much sweeter and more like cake. Truth in advertising, right? πŸ™‚ Have you ever made a lightened up recipe involving chocolate chips? Often, these just seem to involve using a smaller portion of the chips you might use in a regular recipe. That’s not a bad strategy, but it can lead to a treasure hunt type scenario for the three little chips that might have made their way into your muffin. There is an easy solution to this, and I think it makes a huge difference with regard to the satisfaction factor– mini-chips!

Mini YummiesLook inside this muffin. See all those brown specks?

Chocolate Bonanza!Those are the mini-chocolate chips. There are several bits of chocolate in each bite, and a great deal of satisfaction. Employing another je-diet mind trick, I also used turbinado sugar in the topping because the crystals are bigger and add a nice crunch. I’ve made this with granulated sugar in the topping, and it doesn’t maintain its character nearly as well. It certainly seems like a bigger treat when I see the sweet little crystals and feel them crunch in my teeth. Tricky? You bet!!

I started with a recipe I’ve used for a long time, and I gave it some pretty significant tweaks. I love remaking an old favorite. The cinnamon and chocolate combo gives it a slightly Viennese twist, and the pumpkin just tastes like fall. Here’s the recipe:


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cakelettes


Dry Team:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup teff flour (or 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour)Β 

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Wet Team:

1/2 cup egg beaters (or two eggs, beaten)

8 ounces (1 3/4 cups) of canned pumpkin

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. canola oil

Team Chocolate:

1/2 cup semi-sweet mini-morsels


1 Tbsp. turbinado sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 12 unit muffin tin with cooking spray.Β 

In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients in the “dry team.” Make a well in the center.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the ingredients in the “wet team.” Pour the wet mixture into the well in the center of the dry mixture, and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide the mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups.Β 

Mix the turbinado sugar and cinnamon together to form the topping, and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the muffins.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when pressed lightly in the center. Remove the muffins from the pan and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

Based on my calculations, these come out just below 150 calories a piece. Not bad for a sweet treat in my opinion!

You could bake the batter in a 9×9 inch baking pan for 20-25 minutes if you would prefer to serve it like a cake. I kind of like the built in portion control I get by using a muffin pan, but I’ve made this as a cake many times. I’m also positive that cream cheese icing would be great on top if you were feeling more decadent or serving these to a festive crowd.Β 

Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe? Do you love pumpkin as much as I do? πŸ™‚

Now, it’s time for me to take my first run at doing level two of Jillian’s shred. Wish me luck! I may need it!! Ciao for now, y’all!


Filed under Baking, Cake, Chocolate, cooking, D.C., Fitness, Food, Pumpkin, Recipes, Squash, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Success Story

23 responses to “Je-diet Mind Tricks

  1. I love pumpkin as well. Pumpkin pie is my favorite kind of pie! But for some reason, it’s the only one without an upper crust. :/ Someone explain that one!

  2. I agree with you about using the small plates and bowls to make it seem like you’re eating more than you are — that is one reason I like using my bento boxes.

    Your cakelette recipe sounds so good. Kroger sometimes sells these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that are to die for and your recipe would be a great alternative.

  3. Brandi

    hey girly! Good luck with level 2 πŸ™‚

    how cool to see Tyler + Paula! That sounds like so much fun. and your muffins look AWESOME. I just made some pumpkin trail mix muffins this week! We’re on the same page πŸ™‚

  4. I love your idea of using the mini chocolate chips. It really, really works to satisfy your eye and your palette. I haven’t cooked as much with pumpkin as I should. So I’m going to print off your recipe and try it next week!

  5. You saw Queen Paula! I kind of worship her…

  6. Tj

    I puffy heart Tyler Florence! Im super jelly! πŸ™‚

    Those pumpkin cupcakes made me drool! πŸ™‚

  7. debby

    I love your term cakelettes. So much better than cupcakes! I also like using the ‘big sugar’ on top of my scones. And I LOVE your heart dishes. I Have to find some of those!

    I have some pumpkin chocolate chip bars that I made in my freezer, so I have to wait til those are gone to try your recipe…

    And the Shred. I was doing it for a while. That is a hard workout. I don’t really like Jillian very much, so I got tired of it. But it was definitely a good workout. I never even got to level 2.

  8. After learning about oat bran from you, I became obsessed with chocolate chip oat bran! We have switched 100% to mini morsels in our house. I love that it feels like you get so many in a tablespoon!!

  9. Oh gosh! I eat pumpkin all the time, but tend to only have a hankering for it once the air gets crisp and the leaves crunch under my feet. Perhaps that’s a Darwinian response to make us eat seasonally?

    I definitely gotta make these muffins–they’ll go perfectly with a hot cup of coffee with a little pump of Starbucks pumpkin spice syrup πŸ˜‰

    Glad to see you’re back!

  10. SO jealous that you got to go to a foodie event with Tyler and my girl Paula! She is a hoot- I don’t think I’ve ever made any of her recipes (butter anyone?) but just love watching her. Those pumpkin Cakelettes look great! I’m all for anything made of pumpkin.

    Haha- yes Frank is a GREAT cool down partner. Hes only allowed (by the vet) to walk 1/4 mile a day- so hes a great, quick cool down

  11. Pumkin pie has always been a favorite, and crustless is good too. Less calories/points.

    I hope you get the jump-start from all the exercise.

    I’ve got to get back to gym which is mild to what you are doing. Episodes of bronchitis are not conducive to exercise sessions, especially with no breath. Things are much better now.

  12. I love small plates and bowls! They are just so cute too! πŸ˜€

    My roomie and I are going to tackle level two tonight…let me know how it goes! haha

  13. The muffins came out great! I love the Teff flour.

    Having watched The Men Who Stare at Goats this weekend and having heard my students talk incessantly about New Moon and the Team Edward versus Team Whats-His-Name alliances, I can help but wonder if you intentionally made those two pop culture references in this blog post!?


  14. Pingback: Planning Ahead « Downsized!

  15. Wow! Tyler looks delicious…I would have embarrassed myself and asked him to marry me. Haha! Anyway, great blog as usual πŸ™‚

  16. debby

    WHERE ARE YOU, Sweetie Pie? Come on back, puhleeze! Its Christmastime, and we all need our Sweetie Pie fix!!

    Really hope all is well with you, and you are not working so hard that you can’t blog! Maybe you are on vacation and we’ll get a great travelogue when you get back! Miss you.

  17. I hope you had a great new year!

  18. I miss you. I hope you are doing ok and will start posting again soon. πŸ™‚

  19. It’s been a long time since your last post – I hope that means that you’re out enjoying the new year. Miss you and hope your posts start back up soon!

  20. AmyJoGo

    *sigh* miss seeing your posts. I thought of you today as I purchased some Oikos and Peanut Butter & Co peanut butter. It was through your blog that I first heard of both products!

    Hope you’re well!!!

  21. These look just delicious. I am a big pumpkin fan myself. I tend to bake gluten and sugar free.

    BODA lose weight

  22. Just found your blog. I know it would be good for me if I did like baking with pumpkin but I really don’t. I was inspired by your “About Swettie Pie” and I do need to get myself inspired to drop some weight. I do believe in the small plate strategy.

    I adore your cute heart shaped bowl. Like I have room in my cupboard! But if I did…

  23. I love jillian’s workouts! I noticed a difference right away! Great site!!

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