Behind Brown Eyes

21st century flogger. That's food-blogger, fyi. Now if it were the 17th century...
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Posts tagged "snack"

The idea of this healthy, whole grain muffin came to fruition, during one of my late-night pantry raids. I have been so dissatisfied with my meals lately; I’ve consistently told one of my co-workers, “Like, how many times can I eat an omelette for dinner?” I mean I love omelets, obviously, but after dinner I’ve been flailing around like a sweet-toothed SAVAGE trying to find something satisfyingly sweet to gnosh on. Ideally on the healthy-side but more often just empty cals that I don’t need to be copiously consuming out of boredom between 9-11pm.

After din, is the piece of dark chocolate…so I can end my meal on the sweet note I desire and demand. Around 1.5 to 2 hours later, comes the cup of hot decaf tea, coupled with two honey graham crackers and peanut butter. And after that, it progressively goes downhill: the carrot, the plain Cheerios, the handful of Oat Meals’s homemade granola (that Quaker so graciously sent me). Then maybe even another small piece of chocolate—perhaps white for a change—since it’s 100% artificial and more sweet than dark.


At which point, I’ve binge sweet-snacked. Again. (And frankly, again). So I say to myself, “Well maybe it’s not sweet that I want. Maybe it’s salty that will satisfy?!” So I grab a pretzel rod, or a single serve bag of 94% fat free Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn, and some carefully chosen assortment of salted nuts from BJ’s. Ugh!! What. Do. I. Want.

OK. You get the picture—which visually doesn’t fit in your standard 4” x 6” picture frame. This is all true, btw. Fact, not fiction. But I’m not going to binge blog about my plentiful pantry raids any longer. Because after all, you came here for a muffin recipe!

So let’s cut to the kitchen, eh?

After lots of Google-Pinterest-Yummly-Food Gawker-etcetera-ing, I based my recipe mostly off of A Dash of Compassion’s Lemon Poppyseed Muffin Recipe. Then I modified it with some familiar, fat-cutting substitutions, a well-researched sugar swap, the proportion of ingredients I saw in similar recipes, and my own two-cents (after combining the wet and dry ingredients yielded a thick, non-pourable, dough-like batter). Here is the end result:


  • 2 cups spelt four
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (scant)
  • 2 tbsp. poppyseeds
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (one lemon was perfect)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (Almond Breeze Original - 60 cal.)
  • 1/4 cup Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (overflow)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tray with 12 cups and spray each cup with Pam/non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together spelt flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppyseeds and lemon zest.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, almond milk, Greek yogurt and vanilla.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture. Mix just until no large clumps remain. Don’t overmix.
  5. Pour batter into sprayed muffin cups, filling each almost to the top.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Mine took 5 more minutes, for a total of 20 minutes).
  7. Transfer muffins from pan to wire cooling rack. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy—with a small spread of butter, too!


  • I used 1/2 cup heftily packed dark brown sugar to replace the 1/2 cup Sucanat that the original recipe called for. I changed the amount of sugar above to 2/3 cup because by the time I overflowed the cup, that’s about what I used.
  • When I was trying to thin the batter, I decided to add 1 tbsp. of canola oil. Next time I will omit the canola oil entirely—that’s why it is not listed above. I added an extra 1/4 cup of almond milk, which did the trick! No need for the extra fat and calories from the canola oil; the 0% fat Greek Yogurt keeps the muffins super moist and healthy. (I will try and post the nutrition soon).
  • I forgot to spray the muffin cups with Pam or some sort of non-stick cooking spray. Next time I will definitely do this because the muffins did stick to the paper. (But that may have been because I couldn’t resist eating a warm muffin, right out of the oven!)
  • The finished product was VERY dense. Next time, I’d try cooking the muffins another 5 or so minutes more to ensure it’s cooked all the way through—for a total of about 25 minutes. I can’t tell if the reason for the texture is that the muffin needed to cook longer, I used Greek yogurt instead of oil, I used dark brown sugar instead of Sucanat…or maybe my ingredient swaps threw off the baking powder/soda ratio? I can’t put my kitchen mitt on it, but this recipe warrants a second try! The taste was there, as I’ve said, the texture was just a bit off. (Sidenote: I did post a comment about this on A Dash of Compassion’s blog. I’m really hoping she replies with a rationale, so I can perfect this recipe! I will certainly provide an update if I hear from her. Stay tuned).
  • Interesting article I found on different types of sugar when I was researching Sucanat substitutions: “Technique: How I Replace White Sugar" via Organic Spark’s blog.

[Post updated on 1/29/14].

Today I stumbled upon Chocolate-Covered Katie’s blog in search of one healthy dessert recipe that would trump the three to four (obviously dissatisfying because I have so many) snacks I typically indulge in after my workout, dinner and shower. So routine. So…habit.

I justify healthy binge snacking late at night by my long runs, but know it needs to end here and now if I want to lose 10 more pounds. I was talking to my friend Katie (this one I actually do know—and coincidentally, I often refer to her in the form of chocolate, i.e., Brownie) about it today and came to a simple conclusion. I put it quite nicely, if I do say so myself:

"My problem is habit over hunger. If I write a book, [edit: which I really want to do] I’ll call it, ‘Hunger Over Habit: Conquering Your Late-Night Snacking.’”

You heard it here first. Unfortunately, at this time, I haven’t come up with any effective solutions to the problem. Ah, the pains of writer’s block. But I digress.

Spoonful of JIFI go to the pantry at night for a range of different things, but it all adds up to extra calories that I really don’t need. One thing is fine—meet, tablespoon of JIF.

I literally have to use a tablespoon for portion control because my spoonfuls became too heaping. I also have to deal with my mom yelling at me for constantly losing and misplacing tablespoons. I leave them everywhere. Typically on the living room table by the TV, on my nightstand, in the sink, etc. I joke about wanting an actual tablespoon on my car keys so I can always have one on hand—but then I realized, that would be unsanitary, and I don’t always have my keys on me. But seriously if you find a to-size tablespoon car keychain…

But two (rice cake), three (piece of dark chocolate), four (air popped popcorn). Problem. I eat habitually. I eat because it’s habit, not because I’m hungry. Another problem. Especially at night while it may be yummy, the truth is that it’ll all just sit in my tummy.

And so it all started with a simple Google search today for what I thought would be impossible to find: “Healthy Cookie Dough Recipe.”

In fact, quite the contrary. The winner was the number one hit. No surprise there. Thank you Google for your tried and true reliability. I’d be lost without your search engine-uity.

So tonight, with subdued skepticism about the ingredient list, I decided to dabble with my mom’s trusty Cuisinart food processor. Not to mention, I had a few sources of encouragement: Chocolate Katie’s extensive blog following, #1 Google hit recipe, and her comment thread’s enticingly positive feedback. And my Katie Brownie’s previous experimentation with similar ingredients—and confirmed “yup” to me asking if the recipe was “worth a try.”

Boy was I pleasantly surprised with the results. I believe I’ve now found what may just be…my single, sweet and satisfying late-night snack. All thanks to Google, a great healthy dessert blog, and an incredibly powerful kitchen appliance.

I almost feel like it’s a secret I don’t want to share.

Because if you never knew the base ingredient, you’d never expect it.

But fine. I’ll tell you.

Not because I want to. (I actually want to trick all of my friends into eating something healthier than they think, in an “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” type of way).

But because I have to.

I’m literally, really and truly, morally obligated to share my find with you.

It’s that good.

Oh the anticipation of the line by line, “breaking” text layout. But for real…

Here’s the recipe you’ll find on Katie’s blog. I’ve modified it slightly in an attempt to cut some of the calories and sugars, exploit my Splenda obsession, and tone down the level of sweetness. However, I recommend—as Katie first did!—that you enjoy this dip with graham crackers. I had original (honey) in the pantry and was SET with those. But cinnamon or chocolate graham crackers would also be a wild and crazy flavor fest too. Something I’d definitely like to be a part of. So here goes. Enjoy. I know you will.

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip Recipe: (Krystina’s variation)

  • 1 can well-rinsed and drained chick peas
  • 1/8 + 1/16 tsp. salt (you can probably just use 1/8)
  • Tiny bit over 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. JIF peanut butter (I prefer this brand and didn’t have any other “nut” butters to use)
  • 3 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 packets of Splenda
  • 3 tbsp. Quaker quick-cooking oats
  • 3 tbsp. semi-sweet chocolate chips (chopped)

Blend all ingredients in a food processor—except the chocolate chips—until smooth. Also, test it periodically (sayonara salmonella!) as you’re mixing it, and adjust the level of sweetness to your liking.

When you’re set with the sweet, fold in the chopped chocolate chips. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy by the tablespoon, or as a spread on graham crackers. #flawless

Cookie Dough Dip on Graham Cracker

Picture above courtesy of Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Blog.

And you’ll never believe the mystery ingredient that makes it so darn good!

Cookie Dough Dip

Who doesn’t love peanut butter? I can’t resist my new nightly addiction, and dare I admit, routine. Grabbin’ a small spoon, dippin’ it in the Skippy, spreadin’ it on a caramel-corn rice cake—and re-dippin’ for an extra spoonful on the side. Why waste a knife?

But getting back to Magnolia, you really can’t beat their divine desserts. They’re truly wonderful—tested, tried and true. And fast fact for you, my fellow bakers and chefs, room temperature ingredients (i.e., eggs and butter) truly make all of the difference. So make it a pre-prep step!

I own Magnolia’s cookbook; it’s certifiably fabulous and flawless. You better believe after seeing this recipe, I know what I’ll be baking for my post-Lent dessert! Wait for it…Peanut Butter Icebox Pie. Let me prep your palate: Nilla wafer crust, layered with caramel and peanut butter whipped cream cheese filling, topped with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Delicious!” says the Bakery.

"Agreed," says me.

Welcome back, Krystina Lynne. And from the tip of my tasteful tine to yours, Happy Peanut Butter Lover’s Day.

White chocolate covered jalapeño—seeded and absolutely delicious. The sweet definitely complements the heat! I’m going to try and make these at home. But instead of using the whole pepper, I’ll slice and dip seeded jalapeño rings in chocolate for the perfect bite-size treat!