DIY Food: Insanely Easy Low-Cal Pumpkin Spice Muffins

pumpkin muffins
So this weekend, I made the most delicious, moist, low-calorie, low-fat muffins ever! I’d seen some posts on Pinterest with variations of the recipe, but after doing a bit of research and reading people’s comments, I decided that the simplest recipe was the best one. Here’s a list of ingredients:

  • Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake Mix (Spice)
  • Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin (15 oz. can)

That’s the end of the list. Can you believe it? And you don’t even need to measure anything! All recipes should be so easy.

Pour the dry cake mix and the canned pumpkin into a bowl and stir. It will be quite thick and will take some time to make sure all the cake mix has been absorbed. I used a whisk, but I’m sure you could just use a fork as well.

I lined muffin tins with liners and filled them each about 70-75% full. (This mix won’t rise as much as cupcake mix would.) I popped them in the oven and baked according to the cupcake directions on the cake mix box, until my toothpick came out clean. I was able to make 18 pumpkin muffins in total. I decided to put two muffins per sandwich size Ziploc bag and freeze them to defrost at will. I have one with a cup of tea when I need a pick-me-up in the afternoon.

I added up all the nutritional info from the ingredients and divided by 18, and here’s what I came up with for each muffin:

Calories: 97
Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 0.5g
Sugar: 11g

Trust me, they’re moist, delicious, and just sweet enough to feel like you’re cheating on your diet. If you are looking for a lot of flavor, you could add some pumpkin pie spice to the mix before baking.

DIY Home: Coasters, Coasters, Coasters!

coasters
I came across several tutorials on Pinterest before the holidays and thought that DIY coaster sets would make excellent gifts for neighbors, teachers, and friends. (I also made a couple sets for myself.) I should point out that, in my opinion, this is a very easy craft, but it’s time-consuming, and larger quantities are your friend. I suggest you make a ton at one time because you won’t want to go back and do this over again.

What I love about this project is that you can make it as customized as you’d like. I used scrapbook paper for mine. But you could use maps, wrapping paper, etc. But be warned to not use anything you print out on your home printer because the colors will bleed. Here’s a list of supplies:

  • 4.25″ x 4.25″ white bathroom tiles from Home Depot (I think they’re like 16 cents each…get extra in case you mess up)
  • scrapbook paper (or wrapping paper, whatever…)
  • paper cutter
  • Mod Podge (I got mine from Michael’s and used “matte”)
  • sponge brush
  • clear acrylic sealant (again, purchased mine from Michael’s)
  • roll of cork (purchased at Home Depot by the contact paper/shelf liners)
  • adhesive (I used original Tacky glue in the gold tube)

Note: The cork backing is optional. You could just get some felt and cut it up into small squares to glue to the corners of the underside of the coaster. I prefer to cover the entire bottom of the tile with cork because I think it’s safer for furniture.

I strayed a bit from the tutorials I read, but here’s what I did. I know it seems like a lot of instructions, but I promise it’s really easy!

  1. Cut your paper into squares. I used 4″ x 4″ squares so that my coasters would have a white border, but you could cover the entire top if you’d like.
  2. Spread out all your tiles somewhere you can leave them for a few hours. Spread a thin, even layer of Mod Podge over the surface of your first tile using a sponge brush.
  3. Immediately place your paper square on top, centering as best you can. You literally have like 1.5 seconds to slide your paper around before it sticks, so place it carefully.
  4. Repeat for remaining tiles, one at a time.
  5. Allow Mod Podge to dry (at least 20 minutes).
  6. Spread a thin, even layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of your first tile (right over the paper that’s affixed there now). Go either left-right or top-bottom and remember which you do.
  7. Repeat with all remaining tiles, applying Mod Podge in the same direction.
  8. Allow Mod Podge to dry (at least 20 minutes).
  9. Spread a thin, even layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of your first tile again, going in the other direction as the first round (if you did left-right before, apply the Mod Podge top-bottom).
  10. Repeat with all remaining tiles, applying Mod Podge in the same (new) direction.
  11. Allow Mod Podge to dry (at least 20 minutes).
  12. Spread a thin, even layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of your first tile again, going in the same direction as the first round.
  13. Repeat with all remaining tiles, applying Mod Podge in the (original) direction.
  14. Allow Mod Podge to dry overnight. The coasters’ surface will be tacky now, but the sealant will take care of that.
  15. Take your tiles outside and lay them all out close together. I did this by placing them on a plastic trash bag in the backyard.
  16. Spray and even layer of sealant across all the tiles at once. Follow the instructions on the can for drying time.
  17. Apply two more layers of sealant, allowing time to dry in between.
  18. Once totally dry, cut cork or felt and glue to back of coasters.

I tie them up with pretty ribbon into sets of four. Good luck! Leave me a comment to let me know how they turn out. 🙂

ADVICE: If you stack your coasters to store them, slip some wax of parchment paper in between to prevent the felt or cork from sticking to other coasters. That may not apply to everyone, but I live in south Florida, and it’s hot and humid here. Better safe than sorry.