The Siren Song of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte




There is an insidious evil in the world and thy name is…

the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte!

The morning started innocently enough. Laura and I had an out of town appointment and, due to a comedy of errors and some early morning lack of communication, we were over an hour early. And what can you find around every corner, a hip place to consume empty caffeine filled calories and while away the time to the latest alternative crooners: our best friend – Starbucks!

So of course one found us. And, pumpkin addict that I am, I HAD to have that once a year “Pumpkin Spice Latte”. But I did get the smallest size (well next to smallest), the “Tall”. And then, of course, right beside the barista is the large case with the pumpkin sweet trio of scone, muffin, and bread. Well, the muffin has a cream cheese center so it’s a pretty easy decision. It’s an irresistible siren song of pumpkin, sugar, butter, and cream cheese.

The shame. I admit I was tempted and I fell from grace. But in life I try to look for the lessons in even the smallest, and most addictive, of places. Enter the Pumpkin Spice Latte. First, it doesn’t taste as good as it smells. Forget that at your own peril. Second, by the end of it, it’s cold and all the tasty stuff is gone. Third, the muffin is amazing so that’s worth it, but go for a plain coffee and you (and your wallet) will thank you!

On the good news front, on our way home, rather than being tempted by the dozens of restaurants, we drove to Publix and picked up a much healthier lunch (ok, except for the cookies!) and enjoyed it, chatting, as we drove along.

Pretty sometimes isn’t as pretty as it seems. Resist the Pumpkin!


Grit Teeth, Get Through It

A Brief Overview of A Challenging Few Days:

The last few days have not been super-fly. Swinging like a backyard swing-set, b/c pill (for PMS swinging) not working, and a desperate need for chocolate, and banana cupcakes.

Wednesday was the first challenging day, even with an incredible 207.8 weigh in. My ankle was really bothering me so forewent the boot cast and rested it. Maybe the whole b/c thing was having a greater impact than anticipated because I finally sent La out on a cupcake run. Of course I ignored the “1 cupcake per episode” rule and felt quite ill after cupcake #2 (chocolate mint – yum!). Willpower had taken a short hiatus.

Yesterday was a “break” day – no carbs, no workout. So of course I tried a super easy brownie recipe and added a cream cheese swirl on one side. Ate two of the three pieces on my side of the pan (small 8×8) in the afternoon, leaving the last one for dessert. Dinner was an fairly low cal chicken with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, white wine, capers, and a tiny bit of butter. So, so good! And then having a brownie with fat free whipped cream dessert wasn’t too awfully bad. And I had a homemade green juice for lunch. Let’s rationalize: it all evens out, right?!?

Today, started off with a super-green juice, coffee, and for an early lunch, egg beaters with half a chicken/apple sausage link. On the way out to completely overhaul my “do”, I will have a small bowl of granola with soy milk to hold me over and power an afternoon workout. A light dinner should make the scale happy tomorrow.

An Episode Is Like A Box…Real, But All Perspective:

Like the “box” that looks completely three dimensional in the sand, it’s easy to forget that our perspective, and mood, can color a situation, obscuring actual reality. Birth control pills that aren’t working right, a missed workout, all these are little challenges and our challenge is to keep them little, in perspective, and remember they are short term, whereas that “cupcake weight” is not. I mentioned in another post that episode-related eating continues to be a challenge. However, limiting it as much as possible and having a “reality check” statement or person can help tremendously. Hence the “1 cupcake” rule and my sweetie asking the “are you totally sure you want the cupcakes? will you regret this tomorrow? is there something else we can do instead?” All these help. Not yet, but they will. Just keep challenging those urges, as I will, and know they will lose much of their power over time. Would love to hear how some of you combat the “sugar rush”!

A Special Treat to Transform a Boring Thursday Dinner:

(You can cut this in half easily but recommend keeping the original amount of artichokes and mushrooms. Portabellas work beautifully!)

Romantic Chicken with Artichokes and Mushrooms

“Easy, moist, flavorful and aromatic — the white wine, artichokes and mushrooms make this chicken dish the to way to any man’s heart! Delicious served with buttered noodles and fresh greens.”

Original Recipe Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (14 ounce) can marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon capers


  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken in oil and butter for 5 to 7 minutes per side; remove from skillet, and set aside.
  2. Place artichoke hearts and mushrooms in the skillet, and saute until mushrooms are brown and tender. Return chicken to skillet, and pour in reserved artichoke liquid and wine. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
  3. Stir in capers, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat; serve immediately.