Happy National Salmon Day! Salmon w/ Lemon Mustard Dill Sauce

Happy National Salmon Day!

Today Ben and I were supposed to go to Charlottesville, VA for our annual apple picking trip at Carter Mountain. Buttttt… then this thing happened called Hurricane Matthew. And the Carolinas looked like this:


So as you might expect, Carter Mountain will have to wait. I told Ben that I WILL NOT TAINT my perfect memories of 4 years in a row of sunny, crisp autumn days where there are kids running around and long lines for apple cider doughnuts. Even last year was pushing it because all the Stayman apples were at the very tops of the trees. I just about gave Ben a heart attack because I insisted on climbing all the trees to get the good ones. Totally worth it for those apples.

I just hope that Matthew doesn’t drown all the ones that are left! We still have a month of apple season left!

I needed an outlet for my disappointment. So I spent my day making chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and celebrating National Salmon Day!

Salmon with Lemon Mustard Dill Sauce
Salmon with Lemon Mustard Dill Sauce

National Salmon was completely not on my radar until a few weeks ago when I read it online somewhere. I immediately put it on my calendar. Then, when I saw this post from Anne a few days ago I knew I had to recreate it in celebration!

I’ll vouch that this recipe will not disappoint. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, as I can’t stand measuring things and decided to use a little more dill and lemon juice. I also served it over a quinoa and farro blend with roasted eggplant, zucchini, and curried cauliflower on the side. I LOVED the lemon mustard dill sauce, though! Tangy but also creamy enough to use as a dressing for the veggies as well.

Hope you enjoy like I did!

Happy National Salmon Day! Salmon w/ Lemon Mustard Dill Sauce
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Cuisine: National Salmon Day
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Happy National Salmon Day! How are you celebrating? This recipe was adapted from Anne Mauney at FANNetasticfood.com (http://www.fannetasticfood.com/2016/10/05/salmon-with-lemon-mustard-dill-sauce/) in honor of this special holiday! Enjoy!
  • For the Marinade:
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 4 small or 2 large salmon fillets
  • For the Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  1. Mix all ingredients for the marinade, then dredge salmon fillets in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Combine ingredients for the lemon mustard sauce in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Place salmon in a foil-lined baking dish and bake 15-20 minutes (if from frozen), or 10-15 (if thawed), or until it flakes easily with a fork. (Mine took about 18 minutes!)
  5. Drizzle with sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grain and veggie of your choosing!



Salmon with Lemon Mustard Dill Sauce

How are you celebrating National Salmon Day?

Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl

Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl
Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl

Happy October! Even though it’s hard every year to see summer come to a close, I can’t help but feel a little excited thinking about the hustle and bustle of fall- back to school, turning the heat on for the first time, bubble baths, crisp evenings, and all things apples. Next week Ben and I are taking our annual apple picking trip to Carter Mountain– my favorite day of the year! Bring on the winesap, stayman, and apple cider doughnuts! Crossing my fingers for good weather up there!

This week, right on cue, I started craving roasted vegetables. For some reason I’ve been super into eggplant recently. Maybe because of it’s slightly meaty texture and the fact that you can customize it with just about any spice.

For this one, I went for an Indian curry profile, using garam masala (my favorite new spice blend- have you tried it in my Brown Butter Molasses Cookies yet?) and cumin to spice things up. I tossed on a can of chickpeas, as well as some red onion, tomato, sliced zucchini, and cauliflower.


I could not stop eating this right off the sheet. #trueconfessions

You could do a lot with these roasted veggies alone, like put them in a stew, serve as a side dish for a beautiful autumnal salad, or do what I did and use them in a grain bowl! I had some cooked lentil and farro, so I tossed some of these on top of the grains with some spinach, then topped with a nice runny egg and some feta crumbles. I bet goat cheese would be excellent as well!

Roasted Zucchini Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl
Roasted Zucchini Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl

(Side note: have you tried the Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Hot Stuff Sauce at Whole Foods? I am obsessed. We are having a game night tonight and I may just have to make them.)

Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower Grain Bowl
Recipe Type: Salad, Main Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Indian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Looking for a hearty but healthy salad to celebrate the beginning of autumn? Try this spicy and savory grain bowl with a nice big Indian kick!
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into discs 1/4″ thick
  • 3-4 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1 head cauliflower, brokein into florets
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • extra virgin olive oil (about 3-4 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garam masala or other Indian spice blend
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional: cooked grain (I used lentils/farro), egg, feta or goat cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Line two large cookie sheets with silpat or cooking spray.
  3. Layer eggplant and zucchini on sheet so that they are slightly overlapping. Top with red onion and drizzle with about 2 tbsp olive oil.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together all spices until combined. Sprinkle on about half of this mixture to the vegetables.
  5. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas, drizzle with remaining olive oil and spice blend.
  6. Bake at 400 deg for 50 minutes until chickpeas are crispy and cauliflower is golden-brown.
  7. Allow to cool, then remove from pan and use on top of your favorite grains for a satisfying and healthy side, or top with poached egg and crumbled feta to make it a meal!
Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower
Roasted Eggplant and Curried Cauliflower

Peanut Butter Tahini Cookie Cake- Vegan and GF!

Why hellooooo peanut butter and chocolate gooeyness and deliciousness. You are exactly what I needed tonight.

Peanut Butter Tahini Cookie Cake
Peanut Butter Tahini Cookie Cake

Does this need any other introduction? I created this recipe based on one from Init4thelongrun, adapting it to make it gluten-free and based on ingredients I already had. The main swaps I made were natural Jif PB (yes, it is vegan- I did my research!), tahini to supplement the peanut butter, and stevia instead of coconut sugar. I also subbed out whole wheat flour for a gluten-free flour, since I was making these for small group and we have some dietary restrictions in our group!

I love trying out new ways to bake things to appeal to larger groups, and I’ve found that whether you are vegan, gluten-free, or a cow-and-bread-lover, many recipes (especially desserts!) can appeal to a crowd!

Peanut Butter Tahini Cookie Cake
Peanut Butter Tahini Cookie Cake
Peanut Butter Tahini Cookie Cake- Vegan and GF!
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookie, Cake
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Vegan and GF. This does not make it healthy. Just try it.
  • 1 flax egg (1 T flax meal + 3 T warm water)
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup stevia
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt (about a quarter tsp)
  • 3/4 cup (or more) vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flax egg through stevia.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly sift into wet ingredients.
  4. Grease an 8″ circular pan and pour cookie dough into pan. Top with more chocolate chips if desired.
  5. Bake at 350 deg for 25 mins or until cooked through.
  6. Cool cake before slicing and devouring.

The other nice thing about this cookie cake is that it has minimal ingredients which means less clean-up. I dirtied two mixing bowls and used a dump-and-stir method to mix the wet and dry, then spread everything in a quiche pan since I didn’t feel like rolling these into cookies! This way, everyone can sliver off a slice of “pie” however large they’d like.

You can add more or less sugar or PB, based on how sweet or nutty you’d like it. I used 1/3 cup Truvia instead of a whole 3/4 cups coconut sugar, since I knew stevia is much sweeter, so this recipe is more on the nutty side than sickeningly sweet, but I feel like it works well! Totally up to you.



Dig in! It’s Hump Day!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Summer Veggie Salad w/ Chickpeas and Lemon-Parsley Vinaigrette

Happy Labor Day! I hope you enjoyed a day of parading, picnicking, and precious time with family, neighbors, and friends! I had the most incredible weekend visiting my friend Kate in NYC, followed by a brief trip to CT to see my parents. And after all the hype about Hermine, the weather could not have been more perfect!

Back in Durham now, and another gorgeous day. Ben and I went for a 5 mile walk with Samoa and it was one of those September afternoons that you wish you could just bottle up and take out in February just to remind yourself that IT WILL NOT BE WINTER FOREVER.

So I’m kind of at a cross-roads between summer and fall. Part of me wants to hang onto the summer with its breezy evenings, don’t-even-need-a-jacket type weather… but the other part of me is anticipating the fragrance of cloves, cinnamon, and all things pumpkin spice. (Sidenote: Kate and I made pumpkin hummus this past weekend. It was epic on a piece of Ezekiel bread with half of a mashed banana and drizzle of maple syrup on top.) To marry the fresh flavors of summer produce with the warm fuzzy feeling of fall, I decided to create this salad.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Summer Veggie Salad w/ Chickpeas and Lemon-Parsley Vinaigrette

And here you have it- the marriage of summer and fall. Packed with zucchini, roasted corn, vine tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas and tied together with a light lemon vinaigrette, this is one to definitely keep making all season. I used lentils to bulk it up a little bit, since I usually eat salads like this as my entree, but you could easily leave it out if you wanted a looser salad.

Recipe below. Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Summer Veggie Salad w/ Chickpeas and Lemon-Parsley Vinaigrette

Roasted Sweet Potato and Summer Veggie Salad w/ Chickpeas and Lemon-Parsley Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Summer, Fall, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
The marriage of summer and fall! Packed with zucchini, roasted corn, vine tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas and tied together with a light lemon vinaigrette, this is one to definitely keep making all season.
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 3 cobs corn, husked
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • dash of salt, to taste
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 4 ripe on-the-vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • feta cheese, for topping (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Roast corn on lower rack for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, mix lentils and quinoa with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or until al dente, then drain.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sweet potatoes, red onion, 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic, paprika, and salt. Toss to combine.
  4. Spread potato mixture on a silicone-lined baking sheet, then roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until tender. Remove and cool.
  5. Zest lemon into large bowl and squeeze in half of its juice. Add zucchini and tomatoes.
  6. In a food processor, combine parsley, remaining lemon juice, 1 tbsp remaining oil, red wine vinegar, and honey. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until liquefied. Stir in chickpeas, then pulse for 3-4 pulses until chickpeas are just sliced a little (do NOT over-pulse here or you will end up with hummus!).
  7. Stir chickpea and parsley mixture into bowl with the zucchini and tomatoes. Stir in sweet potatoes, corn, and grains.
  8. Toss and serve with feta cheese. I also drizzled on a little balsamic vinegar!
Roasted Sweet Potato and Summer Veggie Salad w/ Chickpeas and Lemon-Parsley Vinaigrette

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Brown Butter Molasses Cookies

Happy Monday!

Today it was finally not 1000 degrees and 100% humidity outside. Ben and I got back from the beach on Saturday and all we wanted to do was sprawl ourselves out under the ceiling fan, it was that hot. Even with the AC blasting, you couldn’t lift a finger (let alone think about unpacking or cleaning up around the house) without breaking into a dripping sweat.

Thankfully, today was the first day it actually felt like fall is coming. While it wasn’t exactly cool outside, I was able to sit out on the patio to write this post without instantly regretting it. This time of year always brings back fond memories of back-to-school shoe and supply shopping (I could spend an entire afternoon meticulously organizing pens and pencils in the pockets of my backpack and snapping plastic dividers into binders). Which was almost as enjoyable as putting on new, white cushy socks for the first time after wearing out the ones with holes in the heels!

Since I no longer get to go back-to-school-shopping, I have to get my fall fix by baking. Which is why this recipe is so appropriate for today. These chewy brown butter molasses cookies will make you almost believe it’s October, and they don’t even have any pumpkin spice in them! Perfect for dunking in coffee, tea, or sprinkling over a mug of vanilla ice cream, these will not disappoint.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Brown Butter Molasses Cookies
Melt-in-Your-Mouth Brown Butter Molasses Cookies

The process of browning butter is a fairly new one to me, I think because it’s so easy for the butter to burn if you don’t watch it closely. It’s actually pretty cool how the butter goes from yellow, to greenish, to toasted brown in the process. You’ll know it’s done when it starts to give off a nutty (not burned!) aroma and looks a little like caramel.

The other part of this recipe I love is that it literally just takes two pans, a whisk and a cookie sheet. You can easily stir the dry ingredients into the saucepan you used for melting the butter, which cuts down on cleanup time! Anything to speed along the process so you can get to the TRULY important part- eating!

I highly suggest enjoying these right out of the oven, or nuking for 5-10 seconds until they’re warm.

Chewy Brown Butter Molasses Cookies
Recipe Type: Cookie, Dessert
Cuisine: Fall, Autumn
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3 dozen
Fall is coming! Brush up on your autumnal baking skills with this easy and delicious molasses cookie. Perfect for dipping in coffee or tea!
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup molasses1 large egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, for rolling
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter on medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it begins to foam. Whisk continuously until it turns brown and has a nutty aroma (this happens quickly- make sure to watch closely to prevent burning!). Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in brown sugar, molasses, egg, applesauce, vanilla, and milk. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Whisk together flour through nutmeg. Slowly stir into the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  4. Stir in raisins and walnuts. (If mixture is too wet, you can also add a little more flour!)
  5. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.
  7. Roll dough into small balls and gently roll in sugar. Place about 2″ apart on prepared cookie sheet, then bake 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire cooling rack.
  9. Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on size of cookies.


Melt-in-your-Mouth Brown Butter Molasses Cookies
Melt-in-your-Mouth Brown Butter Molasses Cookies

What’s your favorite fall dessert?

Whether you’re vacationing or standing in the lines at Staples, I hope you enjoy! And have a wonderful week!

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Why hello! Did you have a good weekend?

We did here! Friday night Ben and I headed downtown for happy hour to watch the live music at Brightleaf Square. It wasn’t as packed as it usually is, but that’s likely because we were there on the early side, PLUS it was about 398 degrees out so really, all the smart people were inside. We were exhausted, so it was nice to just chill out melt and put our feet up for a while as we sipped brews and munched on chips.

Saturday was a major errands/chores day. I made a big grocery run and did some cooking for the week (prepped crock pot chicken to use in enchiladas for Ben, plus the salad in this post), tried out my AMAZING new cordless vacuum (I think the neighbors are starting to get concerned that I have a cleaning problem… good thing it has a short battery life!), went for a run, and took Samoa for a long walk on the trail. Today it was a 20 mi. bike ride on the ATC (before the humidity set in!), church, a cat-nap, and the 2nd Rock Steady Boxing Class in Cary with a few of my PD patients. Then this afternoon we met up with a few small group folks (missed you, Tawny and Healys!) to play board games at Ponysaurus. Fun day!

Part of what I like to do on the weekends is prep one nice big salad and casserole to last us through the week. We still have leftovers from last week’s Baba Ghannouj Pesto Lasagna, but it’s nice to have another option while this dwindles (or goes bad, whichever happens first). I usually eat the salad as my entree with some roasted veggies and some type of meatless protein (my go-to is tofu, but I’m also a big fan of the fried egg or some kind of fish), and Ben will have the casserole with the salad as a side. It’s been working great for us since both of us work full-time, and it avoids the whole staring-at-the-open-fridge and shouting “honey, what do we have to eat?” problem, OR the temptation to get take-out!

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

This week an oldie but a goodie is on the salad menu. Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. I’ve definitely made this before, since it’s super easy and feeds a crowd, but I’m not sure I ever used this much lime juice. I’ve definitely never used fresh roasted corn on the cob, either. It made a HUGE difference! The roasted corn is much sweeter than frozen, and it absorbs much more of the vinaigrette.

This salad is salsa-like in texture, and I’ve also started adding a grain blend (lentils and farro are the best) to help absorb some of the extra liquid and bulk up the salad a bit. Bigger salad = fewer weeknights that I have to cook. I’m pretty OK with that. I would rather spend my time recipe-creating when I’m relaxed and have a whole afternoon to do it than when I get home at 7pm and have about 20 other things to do to get ready ready for the next day.

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad w/ Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian, Mexican
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Love salsa as much as I do? I could eat it by the gallon! Instead of stocking your pantry with Tostitos, though, why not try out a fresh take on your own? Better for you AND cheaper! Perfect for dunking chips, stuffing tacos, or eating right out of the bowl 🙂
  • 1 cup lentils or farro (I used a mixture, so about 1/2 cup of each)
  • 5 medium ears of corn
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or less if you don’t like your salad as acidic as I do!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, for spice-lovers)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (about 1/2 onion)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • fresh chopped avocado, for serving
  • additional cilantro, for serving
  • greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Husk corn and bake at 350, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes until kernels are tender. When cool to touch, slice kernels lengthwise to remove from the cob. Set aside.
  2. Combine 1 cup lentils/farro with 2 1/2 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 13 minutes until al dente. Drain immediately.
  3. Meanwhile, make vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil through garlic powder in a large bowl.
  4. Stir in red onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, beans, and corn.
  5. Stir in lentils/farro (this is best when the grains are still warm, so they soak up the juice of the tomatoes and vinaigrette).
  6. Serve immediately or store for up to 6 days in the fridge. Just before serving, top with sliced avocado, additional cilantro, salt and pepper, and a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.

This goes without saying, but you have complete freedom to experiment with different varieties of grains, beans, and veggies in this salad. Get creative! I forgot to do it this time, but a drizzle of honey would be amazing in the vinaigrette for a touch of sweetness. Although I do insist on using corn on the cob vs. canned or frozen. Makes a world of difference!

Like I said in the beginning of this post, this salad is totally versatile and can be enjoyed as a main dish, side, or garnish. I currently love dipping hearty crackers or crispbread and letting them get the slightest bit soggy before I top with a little dollop of Greek and stuff it in my mouth. Let me know how you like it. Happy week!