Sunday, September 5, 2010

Modify to Healthify!

I don't think I would argue with anyone who said to me, "Gina, you never follow any recipe 100%!". I think it's true. If I know of a healthier ingredient, or a great way to modify a recipe to make it more healthy, I will go that route. Why not?

I wanted to make buckeyes this week before the game, and I found this recipe on Three hundred and thirty calories per buckeye? I would rather eat a hot fudge sundae, thanks.

I decided to recreate the recipe by using this butter:


Long ingredient list, but I'm not going to get too picky. At least I know what all of these ingredients are!

Since I refuse to eat Smart Balance peanut butter anymore (the fish smell is back!) I've switched the Reduced Fat Smucker's. You're probably thinking; "Gina, you posted about how reduced fat peanut butter isn't better than regular, and in fact is worse!". Yes, this is true, but the Smucker's variety still has very little sodium and sugar, unlike most reduced fat peanut butters. True, it has less of the healthy fats, but I don't eat this stuff all the time.

I'll talk more about this soy nut butter that I used in the buckeyes, at a later date.


6 T Reduced Fat Smucker's Peanut Butter
6T Soy Nut Butter
1/2 cup Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend sicks
2 cup + 2 T confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


In a large bowl you will mix together the first five ingredients (you'll have to soften the butter and perhaps the nut butters). Next you will roll the dough into ~1 inch balls and place on a piece of foil or waxed paper on a large cookie sheet. Press a toothpick in the center of the balls so you can dip them in chocolate later on. Next, place the cookie sheet (with the rolled balls) in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, stiring frequently. Get the balls out of the freezer after the 30 minutes is up, and start dipping! Make sure to leave some of the nut butter balls showing (hehe, lots of "balls" in this recipe!).

Put them back in the freezer after dipping, then eat them after about another 30 minutes.

Nutrition for One Buckeye

Calories: ~85
Sugar: ~9 grams
Fat: ~5g
Fiber: ~.5 gram

I think I could still make these healthier (use dark chocolate? carob chips? make them even smaller?!). But until I do that, I hope you can try these out and enjoy them as much as my co-workers and I did!

Here is another fun recipe that I sort of threw together.

Chicken salad with ~5-6 ounces grilled chicken, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, 2 hard-boiled eggs, ~1/2 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt, and a dash of salt and pepper.

** You can add more or less of each ingredient, depending on how you like your chicken salad!**

Who needs mayo when you have Greek yogurt?!

Question: Do you love to modify to healthify?! What do you modify?? Any fun Labor Day recipes?


  1. Oh no?!?! The fish smell is back? Awful news. I remember you advised me on Twitter that it was gone, I bought some, and the PB was just as delicious as I remember it pre-fish smell. I can't believe it's back. Devastating I tell you, devastating.

  2. As you've seen, I always try to substitute for a healthier alternative whenever possible! Those buckeyes look yummy!

  3. Buckeyes!!! My college boyfriend had Ohio family, and they always sent us buckeyes for Christmas! So yummy!

  4. hmm....i'm not sure if i'd know how to modify a recipe, good think i never use them :)

    soy nut butter? wow, that's new to me! lookin' forward to hearing more about it :)

  5. I definitely modify most recipes - I typically always substitute whole wheat flour and rarely use butter in cooking...your recipes look great!

  6. Those buckeyes look AMAZING!!
    I never use heavy cream if it's in a recipe. I find fat free half and half works really well! And, the classic applesauce for oil in cakes always works!

  7. if i have my way, i do make substitute just to make my food healthy :)

    have a nice day!

  8. The buckeyes sound delicious! And you did a great job at skimming down some of those calories from the overloaded original recipe.

  9. Chocolate and peanut butter..enough said. I have never had these before but they sound and look delicious!

    I love using Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream and mayo!

  10. I'm exactly the same way when it comes to modifying recipes!! I will try to cut down oil and butter as well as sugars. I love swapping butter out for vegetable oil based margarines (not sure if they're healthy...), and using a little less oil or butter than a recipe calls for. I've never felt that it caused any problems. I also use light soy milk in place of milk in a recipe. I am pretty calorie-conscious and I know not everyone else is, but it matters to me!
    The Buckeyes look awesome- I have never had those but I don't see how you could go wrong with PB and Chocolate!

  11. Great re-do on this recipe. You significantly cut back those calories. I have never had a buckeye before. I am sure yours were super tasty.

  12. I went to culinary school and they told us to never modify in baking, but I always do! I replace butter with avocados or coconut butter. I also use yacon syrup instead of sugar.

  13. Hooray for Soy Nut butter! Thank you for using something I can eat!

    I typically try to make things a little healthier if I can...however, sometimes the original recipe is better. Everything in moderation!

  14. I love Brummel and Brown yogurt spread. If I could figure out a way to make my own yogurt butter, I would...have ideas?
    I ALWAYS modify. I like making my Special K adjustments to things: whole wheat or spelt flours, never use white sugar (usually agave or maple syrup)...and less of it, and usually no oil (applesauce or pureed fruit)

  15. Oh gosh, I modify ALL the time. I use egg whites a lot, applesauce a lot, and usually never butter. I try to make things pretty low fat.. but not crazy sugary either.

    I loveeeee this recipe for buckeyes.. and living in Ohio too (which next time I visit Columbus I'm meeting you Gina, lol)this recipe would be a crowd favorite -- bookmarked!!

  16. "Who needs mayo when you have Greek yogurt?!" --> AMEN!

  17. Thank you for saying that you don't follow a recipe to the "T" either. i am known to swap ingredients if I think they will make my food healthier. Love the recipe!

  18. I now have to remember to put almonds in my chicken salad spread, clever and I'm curious to see how it would taste. Sounds great.

  19. Like you, I LOVE to modify to healthify! (Much to Peter's chagrin - also, I will now be using the phrase "modify to healthify" in my everyday conversation.) I feel so accomplished when I can make small adjustments to a recipe that make it much healthier, and it tastes just as good, or better! Baked goods especially work well. I love substituting fruit for sugar and butter and adding spices to give more flavor. I love the look of your buckeyes. I've been meaning to try soynut butter but have never done so. I can't wait to read what you have to say about it!

    Enjoy your Labor Day, Gina!

  20. I love modifying or healthifying recipes! it's so much fun this fun and it lets you to add a personal touch in it! :D
    My last healthified recipe was pizza... I think thin crust so I made my own crust very thin and too much cheese upset my belly so I use tofu instead (adding nutritional yeast for flavor and taste) and it turned out to be great... I like it even more than normal pizza! ;)

    have a nice labor day Gina! Mine will involve some shopping! ;)

  21. I always sub greek yogurt for mayo, love it!

    Those buckeyes look really delicious, yum! I am clearly all for subbing more nutritional ingredients, almost always works out the same or better!

  22. Great post, Gina!!

    I go both ways with modifying recipes. If it is a savory dish- I often modify by using less oil, using healthier oil, adding more veggies and substituting a healthier whole grain.

    With baking- which I rarely do- I usually use the real butter and sugar - but often still add some whole-wheat flour, flax, and/or chia seeds to up the nutritional value. I bake so rarely that I'm hesitant to try too many substitutions in case it turns out badly- I know I may not re-make that item :)

    You know, I have a chef friend who recently told me she had tried the smart balance/butter blend in some desserts though and it turned out great!!

    Have a great weekend!!

  23. love buckeyes, but i rarely healthify them..definitely not opposed to do so, though! uggh, the fish smell is back?! so annoying!

  24. omg! This sounds delicious. I'm stealing your recipe :) ANd yes, I would much rather eat a sundae with those calorie counts.

  25. I definitely feel like if you know how to modify a recipe to make it healthier you should! I'm still learning.. haha

  26. I hate to say it--but I rarely modify to healthify. I mean, sometimes I'll reduce the amount of butter, but I eat fairly healthy and plainly where I feel that when a recipe calls for the cheese, bacon, heavy cream, mayo, etc, etc.--I am happy to throw it in there :)I love it too much!

    I don't know if I've ever had buckeyes! They look great!

  27. The buckeyes look great! And mmmm, they probably would taste amazing made with dark chocolate! Yum!

    I used to follow recipes to a T, but now that I've made a whole bunch of recipes I'm more comfortable modifying them. For example, I'll use whatever veggies I want in a soup dish, rather than the exact ones called for. Or, when I'm making chili, I'll use whatever beans I want instead of what the recipe says. I also usually reduce the amount of sugar I use when making baked goods, since usually you can't even tell the difference.

  28. I need to try those buckeye balls!!! I've actually never heard of them before you, but that is my absolute favorite combo :) I love modifying recipes to healthify if at all possible and greek yogurt is the bomb!

  29. Wow, I'm impressed with the calorie count of your buckeyes! Nice job on modifying the recipe.