Healthy Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with a lovely vanilla bean cream cheese glaze!
I spent last night catching up with one of my best friends; we don’t live near each other so it’s wonderful being able to chat for an hour or two. Unfortunately I haven’t seen her in almost a year, but I think a trip to Chicago for New Years is in the works now!
Speaking of Chicago, I’m actually headed there over Thanksgiving and couldn’t be more thrilled! Michgan Ave, high rises, shopping, incredible food, and that gorgeous water. For some reason that city speaks to my heart.
It just so happens that food also speaks to my heart (obviously). Lately, I can’t get enough pumpkin! Wait a sec. I can never have enough pumpkin. If you guys have been reading my blog, you know it’s just one of my serious obsessions. I’m even asking for pumpkin pie for my birthday this year! Weird, I know… but what else can you expect from me?
I’ve been hoarding these pumpkin oatmeal muffins for a good month! Shame on me. I’m sorry to do that to you.
To be honest, I couldn’t even remember what they tasted like so I convinced myself to test the recipe once more before posting; I will never forgot these again. The muffins were superb, full of pumpkin and chai flavors, and incredibly moist. Seriously probably my favorite muffin ever. EVER you guys!
In search of healthy muffin recipes? Look no further…
Hope you guys all had a great weekend!
Yesterday my Mom and I went on a lovely 20 mile bike ride through gorgeous Minnesota trails. I loved riding outdoors again; it had been too long! Of course now my legs are killing me, but I suppose that’s a good thing.
It occurred to me that I get incredibly hungry both during and after my rides, and so it’s probably a good idea to pack healthy snacks with me to provide me with extra energy. Granola bars are great and all but come on, who doesn’t love a lovely little muffin to snack on?! Obviously I’m a MUFFIN LOVER FOR LIFE and today I’m sharing my favorite muffin recipes from my blog.
All of these healthy muffin recipes have a few things in common: they’re healthy, focus on clean ingredients, and are all under 200 calories! They really are the perfect breakfast or snack — plus they’re freezer friendly, too! It’s great to have grab ‘n go breakfasts just in case you wake up late, or even for a kid’s lunchbox treat! Just pop them in the microwave for about a minute and you’re good to go!
Ahhhhh I live for the weekends, and this last one was just so lovely and relaxing. I mean who doesn’t love laying in bed an extra half hour on Saturday mornings? These days, it’s a luxury.
That being said, I’m starting to realize that I can no longer be sleep deprived, over-caffeinate myself, and still function like a normal human being. My habits of staying up until 1AM on the weekdays are starting to wear on me. Also, I should make a note to stop checking my email at 3AM. Clearly I have no idea what the term ‘unplugged’ means.
Oh well. On to more exciting things…
On Saturday I found 10 bananas in a brown paper bag that I had purchased eariler in the week. Thank goodness because I was in a baking mood! MUFFINS, BREADS, COOKIES… I can’t stop.
Bananas are my absolute favorite! They pack potassium and digestible (good-for-you) carbs. So, what does this mean? Well, they give your body fuel and pretty much make you feel like a rock star. But not the kind of rock stars that do drugs.
In all seriousness, I love baking with bananas because they add moisture, act as a binder, and have enough flavor where you don’t need to add additional sugar.
Have you guys seen all of the new peanut butter flavors popping up? What a dream.
Wait, maybe that’s just a dream for me? You know I love my nut buttahhhhhhhhhh. Here’s a confession: I secretly want to have a pantry devoted to all of the nut butters I can hoard. (Probably a bad idea for my waistline, although I think my tastebuds would appreciate it very much.)
Did you know that today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day?! You think I would have made you a cookie recipe but nope; you get good old healthy bran muffins.
In reality, they’re actually really, really good bran muffins! Come on, you know I wouldn’t lie to you.
This past weekend was tough! I was in the midst of a juice cleanse and could not stop thinking about how much I wanted a salad the size of my face. Or grilled fish with a glass of wine followed by some Fro Yo with major amounts of sprinkles and pink-frosted animal crackers.
Then to make matters worse, I watched The Food Network again. They were playing Red Lobster commercials which nearly caused me to drool on myself. I guess you could say my cravings were pretty ridiculous; then again it was probably my own fault for watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
There is good news though: I truly feel incredible and since I enjoy sharing my discoveries with you, I journaled my experience with the cleanse. I plan on posting it sometime this week. Perhaps it will inspire you, too!
Every week on Instagram I’m posting some new photo of muffins that I’ve baked. You’d think I’m running some sort of bakery out of my house but nope, just a huge fan of compact little flavor bombs for breakfast.
And yes, I just referred to muffins as “compact flavor bombs”… Who the hell am I?
Do you know who I wish I was? Beyonce. I mean did you guys see her last night during the half-time show? What a goddess! Seriously, can someone just explain to me how to jump around with 6-inch heels and a microphone in some tiny outfit? These are skills they need to teach you in college. Maybe I can practice next time I make muffins? Yes, definitely… look for the Instagram pics.
Just kidding, I’ll stick to the things I do best for now. You know like baking muffins with fresh strawberries, sweet bananas, healthy oats, and a bit of chocolate chips? That’s just how my brain works.
In fact, I think it may be one of the best combinations out there. However whatever they put in my margaritas is also up top on my list. But margaritas and muffins aren’t quite the same so we’ll revert back to the subject of baked goods. I apologize, it’s Monday.
The past week my diet has consisted of chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers, hot chocolate, and popcorn. I was stuck in bed battling a terrible cold; and I think I ate about three giant bags of cough drops. At one point I even went to the grocery store in my pajamas because I was too lazy to change. I don’t know it was weird, I felt like if I didn’t have ginger ale my life would end or something. Clearly my fever made me a tiny delusional and a whole lot of dramatic.
Anyway I’m getting a little sidetracked here. All I really want to do is bring you healthy whole grain muffins to start your year off right.
These muffins are made with whole wheat flour, coconut flakes, carrots, raisins, and walnuts. I used applesauce instead a bunch of oil to save calories; this also keeps the muffins moist along with the almond milk.
I find these muffins necessary during those mornings when I find myself waking up 15 minutes before work. Usually I individually wrap mine in plastic wrap and freeze them so that all I have to do is pop them in the microwave in the morning.
Besides my grocery shopping obsession, I have a couple other little addictions.
One is the internet. Twitter specifically; I just love it! Also now that I’m finally getting an iPhone, (I can’t even talk about it), I’ll probably be bonkers obsessed with Instagram and every app that I’ll more than likely forget what it’s like to function as a real human being. I mean, it’s already tough enough for me to keep up with all of the new blogs I’ve been discovering online lately. My new favorite is A Beautiful Mess, a blog about everything from beauty and fashion, to crafts and photography. You totally need to check it out!
Another favorite is my friend Stephanie’s blog Frest Tart. Her unbelievably gorgeous food photography, recipes, and fun writing style immediately invites you in. Stephanie also photographs Andrew Zimmern’s recipes for Food & Wine Magazine which makes it even more fun to follow what she’s up to! Visit and tell her hello!
Something else that has been taking up a lot of my time lately? Baking! So you’ve probably noticed. Well, let me just inform you now that the sweet recipes will continue to live on this blog. I just can’t stop. I’ve always loved to bake but this is getting out of control. Seriously, did I need to make pumpkin muffins, cookies, AND apple crisp this weekend? Probably not. But you see, somedays I find that there is nothing that I would rather do then bake my heart out; my stress seems to diminish while mixing batter and browning butter. Why yes, I am a weird human being, thank you.
Mmmmm now I’m thinking about brown butter. But wait… these muffins don’t actually have any butter OR oil in them! Whatttt?!?! I know, I must explain.
I was really hoping to catch Snowwhite & the Huntsman, but didn’t get around to it. Have you seen it? Charlize Theron looks unbelievable in the previews. I hope I look that good when I’m 35. If I keep running like I have been I might get there.
On Friday my friend and I were supposed to get up at 6am for a 6-mile run. We’re attempting to train for a marathon… or just run really long distances as I haven’t decided if I’ll actually do it. Anyway neither of us could get out of bed so we opted for an evening run instead… which was awful. Miserable even! I thought I was going to die; the sun was beating on my face and I was literally sweating waterfalls. It was 90 degrees out and instead of 6 miles, we decided to run 9. I thought someone was going to have to scoop me off from the pavement and put an IV in my arm. But we made it!
Even though at times running can be torture, I always feel great afterwards; like I could run another 9 miles… or at least bake some pretty unbelievable banana muffins like these.
Baking muffins seems like the only appropriate thing to do with all the leftover ripe bananas just sitting on the kitchen counter. It happens on a weekly basis. Probably because they’re only 19 cents at Trader Joe’s — and I’m never one to pass up a good deal (especially when you grocery shop as much as I do). It’s why I make an obscene amount of banana bread, banana cupcakes… oh, and my new favorite?Banana Ice Cream. Baking things with bananas just makes my heart beat.
I first made these a month ago when visiting my grandparents. I wanted to bake something special for my grandpa–who happens to LOVE everything banana. I mean, we’re obviously related.
He’s also had a couple of heart attacks so I didn’t want to give him something unhealthy (like the bacon and muffins-the-size-of-my-head my grandma makes him EVERY MORNING). I’ve included the nutritional information for these at the bottom of this post.
Seriously even healthy banana muffins never disappoint.
I don’t know about you, but some mornings I want to enjoy a baked good and not feel guilty about it. These better-for-you banana muffins make that happen with simple swaps to cut fat and calories.
Using very ripe bananas provide natural sweetness for the muffins (meaning you don’t need to use as much sugar). Dark brown sugar is also slighty sweeter compared regular brown sugar, so I opted for that. I swapped out the butter for non-fat greek yogurt (mega protein), which makes the muffins moist and deliciously appealing. Adding egg whites vs. whole eggs reduces the fat and calories.
A brown sugar-walnut crumble was completely necessary though. The walnuts add a touch of good fats and the crumbly topping… DIVINE!
My grandpa gobbled them up in less than two days and my competitor grandma even asked me for the recipe. That says something since she makes everything delicious from scratch.
I don’t think I need to tell you that these are especially good for midnight snacking. Warm them up and spread with creamy peanut butter. Muffin heaven!
But then again, when isn’t a muffin good?
Better-For-You Banana Muffins with Brown Sugar-Walnut Crumble
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with paper cups or spray with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl combine bananas, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, non-fat greek yogurt, egg whites and melted butter. Stir banana mixture into the flour mixture just until combined and add milk. Batter will be thick. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full.
In a small bowl mix brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, walnuts and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon of butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the muffins. Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.
*Instead of butter, you can use a vegan friendly alternative, or a healthy oil such as coconut
Muffins freeze well, simply wrap individually in plastic wrap and stick in freezer
You can also sub 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour in for the regular flour, just add another tablespoon of milk