Carrot Cake Cookies w/ Cream Cheese Glaze (GF + V)

I absolutely love Easter. Everything about it- the aisles at Harris Teeter filled with egg dyeing kits and chocolate bunnies, the little girls wearing white, wide brimmed Easter hats, and the reverence of the holiday. Our debts are paid, we’ve been set free!

Last year at this time I was going crazy trying to prepare a feast for members of both sides of our family who were visiting. While I absolutely love hosting, our house all of a sudden seemed VERY small. And I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of chatting while making sure the honey ham, potatoes, and gravy would all be hot at the same time.

I had a lot of relief last year by making many of my sides in advance. Made-in-advance meals are essential. But this year, we elected not to host since our house is currently reminiscent of a large storage unit. We are moving in 2 weeks, and figured we’d keep Easter low-key this year. We are going to a potluck at a friend’s house instead.

I knew I wanted to bring something sweet, but also wholesome. The idea of carrot cake crossed my mind, but who has time (in between boxing up the linens) to bake an entire cake? And besides, I find most times I go to parties and no one wants to be the person to cut into the cake, let alone eat a whole slice with so much other good food around.

Enter carrot cake cookies.

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Glaze

Inspired by a recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, these carrot cake cookies are wholesome enough to eat for breakfast, I swear! Minimal oil, no eggs, no butter. Oat flour and flax for staying power, and grated carrots, raisins and chopped walnuts to get that carrot cake texture. I saved about half the batch to freeze for grab n’ go breakfasts at work. Does that make me a meal prepper?

These can also easily be gluten free (using GF oats) and vegan (using almond milk and without the glaze).

To make these a little more “desserty” (and also more like true carrot cake), I whipped up a cream cheese glaze to drizzle over the cookies when ready to serve. The glaze will harden slightly as the cookies continue to cool, but will stay drizzly, not like the gross frosted molasses cookies you buy in a box.

And you will probably have leftover glaze, which gives you complete license to put it on top of your cereal, dip graham crackers, or just lick it out of the bowl.

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These are husband and kid-approved. Well, I don’t really know if they’re kid-approved, since we don’t have any kids, but just trust me on that one.


I promise my next recipe will not include anything carrot.

But in the meantime, enjoy every bite! Recipe below. Happy Easter!

Carrot Cake Cookies w/ Cream Cheese Glaze (GF + V)
Recipe Type: Cookie, Breakfast
Cuisine: Healthy, Gluten Free, Vegan
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Celebrate Easter this year with a simplified version of a just-as-tasty carrot cake! These cookies are made with wholesome ingredients and can be made vegan with just a few subs. Make ahead and freeze for an easy, on-the-go breakfast!
  • 3 cups GF old fashioned oats, divided
  • 1 cup GF flour (or almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 very ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup veg oil
  • 1/4 cup milk (almond milk if vegan)
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • For cream cheese glaze:
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, pulse 1 cup oats until a fine powder.
  2. In a large stand mixer, combine the oats, oat flour and GF flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine.
  3. In the same food processor, use grating function to grate carrots finely. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk banana, applesauce, honey, maple syrup, oil, and milk. Stir in carrots, walnuts, and raisins. If mixture is too runny, add a little more flour.
  5. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet with 1/4 cup scoop. Bake 8-10 mins until golden brown on top. Cookies will still be soft.
  6. Allow to cool completely.
  7. While cooling, prepare glaze. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and milk until runny. Drizzle onto cooled cookies.
  8. Note: To make ahead, wrap individual cookies (without glaze) in plastic wrap and freeze. Microwave 10-20 sec in the morning for a wholesome breakfast!

He is Risen!

Three-Cheese Turkey Pizza Roll

Disclaimer: There is nothing healthy, wholesome, or vegetarian about these pizza rolls. They are the epitome of quick, easy, and processed, and they’re probably filled with more saturated fat than is recommended for your entire day.

But boyyyy are they delicious! And they’re not completely unwholesome, since I used greek yogurt cream cheese for the filling, which has 1/3 less fat and calories than the regular version. And there’s some spinach in there too. Because green things poking out of the nuances of crusty bread makes one think that it’s healthier. Or moldy. Either way you get more probiotics probably.

Three-Cheese Turkey Pizza Rolls
Three-Cheese Turkey Pizza Rolls

These can be rolled up and sliced into four or five pieces for a calzone-like entree, or you can slice them much more thinly to be served as appetizers.

I streamlined the process by using a pre-made pizza dough sheet (already rolled out on a big rectangle of parchment paper) which I then topped with my ingredients (cream cheese spread mixed with Ranch seasoning mix- which Ben lovingly refers to as “drugs”- and two types of shredded cheese, turkey, and spinach). Stick it in the oven for 15 or so minutes, then cool and slice.





IMG_8060 (1)

One of the best parts about these is that you can choose whichever ingredients or toppings you want to add to customize them. They’d be great with the traditional “pizza” ingredients like tomato sauce, black olives, and pepperoni, or a Greek version with kalamata olives and chickpeas. Have fun with these!

Three-Cheese Turkey Pizza Roll
Recipe Type: Entree, Appetizer
Cuisine: Easy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-8
Serve as appetizers or slice a bigger piece for a handheld calzone-like entree! Have fun customizing these with whatever floats your boat!
  • 1 prepared pizza crust (I used one that was already rolled out on a big rectangular parchment paper)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt cream cheese spread
  • 1 packet ranch salad dressing or seasoning mix
  • 5-6 slices turkey (or other thin-sliced meat)
  • 1/4 cup each mozzarella and cheddar cheese
  • handful of spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Mix together greek yogurt cream cheese and ranch mix.
  3. Unroll pizza dough and spread the cream cheese mixture over entire surface in a thin layer.
  4. Top with turkey, cheese, and spinach.
  5. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper if you want.
  6. Tightly roll the dough from one of the long ends, until you get to the other side. Seal edges by pinching between fingers.
  7. Transfer to baking sheet, seam side down, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool before slicing.


3 Minute Microwave Paleo(ish) English Muffins

Don’t worry, I haven’t decided to go all paleo on you. While I know the Paleo diet has lots of benefits in that it encourages lean proteins, non-starchy veggies and fruits, I have to admit… I like dairy and oats too much.

I saw a version of this recipe on The Big Man’s World this morning and decided I felt like being creative with my Sunday brunch. The original recipe came with three different versions- paleo-free, gluten-free, and vegan. I settled on the paleo version because I didn’t have peanut flour! Other variations I made were adding raisins, using 1 egg white instead of a full egg (or 2 whites), and a handful of oats instead of the full amount of almond flour. I realized after I made these that the fact that I used oats completely goes against the Paleo principles… oops. So I guess these aren’t really Paleo. But they’re still delicious. And gluten-free!

3 Minute Microwave Paleo English Muffins
3 Minute Microwave Paleo English Muffins
3 Minute Microwave Paleo(ish) English Muffins
Recipe Type: Brunch, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
An adapted-from-paleo, gluten-free english muffin recipe that serves one and is simply to make! Serve with natural PB, honey, and jam or applesauce. This version is unsweetened, but you could also add a dash of honey, sugar, or maple syrup to make the muffins a bit sweeter!
  • 1 T almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground flaxmeal
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp oats
  • 1 egg white
  • 1-2 T almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 T raisins
  • Toppings: peanut butter, applesauce, jam, banana, honey
  1. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients, followed by egg white whisked with almond milk and vanilla.
  2. Sprinkle in salt and raisins.
  3. Spray a small ramekin with cooking spray, then pour mixture into ramekin. Microwave 3 minutes or until firm. (I had to turn the muffin halfway through to make sure the bottom cooked all the way! I also used a fork to periodically stab holes in the batter so it didn’t spill over the sides of the ramekin).
  4. Slice in half and toast (oven or toaster) to crispness of your choice.
  5. Top with PB, applesauce, jam, fresh fruit or honey!

The result was not exactly as I expected, but better! After toasting in the oven for a few minutes, the english muffin was hearty, savory and a bit like a pancake! I love that you can make one serving of these when you only have one mouth to feed, and that you can really play with the ingredients based on what you’re in the mood for. I decided not to add any sweetener because I was serving it with honey, banana and the homemade applesauce I made with my friend Natalie yesterday, but you could also add a pinch of sugar or maple syrup in the batter if you wanted a sweeter muffin.

Enjoy this paleo(ish) Sunday!

Pumpkin Apple Muffins w/ Raisins and Walnuts

Good morning, all, and happy Saturday! I hope you will enjoy a few of these muffins with a nice big mug of coffee, a fall-scented candle, and a juicy book. Fluffy blankets recommended!

Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts
Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts
Pumpkin Apple Muffins w/ Raisins and Walnuts
Recipe Type: Muffin
Cuisine: Breakfast, Brunch
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A fall-inspired muffin recipe with just the right balance of salty and sweet.
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 can unsweetened pumpkin puree (15 ounces)
  • 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl add the pumpkin, yogurt, applesauce, butter, vanilla, eggs, and brown sugar, and whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Fold in apple, walnuts and raisins.
  4. Pour batter into muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts

Three-Cheese Ham & Pepperoni Rolls

Whenever I have something casual to cook for- like a picnic or one of Ben’s game nights- I have all these spectacular ideas for new recipes to try. Bruschetta with crudites, pimiento-stuffed olives, bacon-wrapped dates… you name it. There are so many good ones out there to try! But I always run out of time, and I always come back to some of the same ones. For example, any version of pinwheels work like a charm, and I think I tend towards things that I can make in bulk and then cut into smaller pieces for bite-sized snacks.

Pepperoni rolls are another example. And they are ALWAYS gobbled up in a flash! I can’t remember the last time we had these hanging around our house for more than a day.

Three-Cheese Ham & Pepperoni Rolls
Three-Cheese Ham & Pepperoni Rolls

These are so incredibly simple. Just roll out the dough, layer the ingredients and bake in a preheated oven until golden brown. This time I used french bread dough with cream cheese, ham and pepperoni. But you can also experiment with the spreads and spices- I’ve done crescent rolls in the past (though it’s a little flakier), as well as pimiento and hummus with greek seasoning. These can’t really go wrong.


Three-Cheese Pepperoni Rolls
Recipe Type: Snack
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 24
These are my go-to “guy pleaser” snacks when I need something simple and quick! They are always gobbled right up!
  • 2 rolls refrigerator French Bread dough (e.g. Pillsbury)
  • 1 container spreadable cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning (I used Penzey’s Creamy Peppercorn Dressing
  • baby spinach
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • sliced pepperoni
  • sliced ham
  • blue cheese crumbles or cheddar slices
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Roll out dough onto a nonstick surface into two long rectangles. Use fingers to spread outwards if needed.
  3. Spread cream cheese, sprinkle seasoning, and layer remaining ingredients (in order listed) on dough. Roll the dough tightly, starting from one of the long sides. Pinch together edges with fingers.
  4. Bake at 350 for 18-20 min, or until golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool before slicing.
Layer cream cheese, seasonings and olives on dough.
Layer cream cheese, seasonings and olives on dough.
Add spinach and pepperoni on top.
Add spinach and pepperoni on top.
Top with remaining ingredients.
Top with remaining ingredients.


Into ze oven!
Into ze oven!
Cool before slicing.
Cool before slicing.
Slice, serve and arrange!
Slice, serve and arrange!

Snow Day Pumpkin Raisin Bread

Happy Snow Day, my friends! Did everyone have a nice Valentine’s Day?

Since our parking lot is a giant sheet of ice, and the clinic is closed today due to Snowmageddon 2015, I decided it was a great day to use up that leftover 1/2 can of pumpkin that’s been sitting in my fridge for about a month. Originally I used it for my “Everything But the Kitchen Sink” Weeknight Stew, but that was only half the can, and there are only so many bowls of oatmeal and yogurt that you can add a dollop.

I felt so cozy last year after making my Savory Snowmageddon Crepes, so naturally I had to bake something else to feel all warm and fuzzy inside (and to procrastinate from studying for the NCPTE). I hope that wherever you are on this chilly day, you can enjoy a thick slice of this pumpkin bread with a big mug of tea and a good book nestled in your lap!

Thankful for this day to relax and enjoy the snow from inside my warm house!

Snow Day Pumpkin Raisin Bread
Recipe Type: Bread, Pumpkin
Cuisine: Brunch, Breakfast
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Warm up to a big mug of tea and a thick slice of this Pumpkin Raisin Bread on this snowy Tuesday! Adapted from and
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or one small carton)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • handful of raisins and/or chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk the dry ingredients and spices.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a spatula until combined.
  5. Stir in raisins and/or chocolate chips.
  6. Pour into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Even out with the spatula and sprinkle a few more oats on top.
  7. Bake at 350 deg for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out cleanly.
  8. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.