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.

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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!
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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!

Quick and Fluffy Flourless Pancake for One

Happy Saturday! I had the BEST brunch this morning. I was trying to decide between oatmeal and toast w/ PB, and then I had the idea of doing a variation of the Flour Free Breakfast Pancake from Fannetastic Food. I knew I wanted some hearty oats, so I whipped up my own recipe. The best part about this is that you can add any mix-ins or toppings that you want. I chose pumpkin seeds, raisins, apple butter, peanut butter, chia seeds, banana, and a drizzle of honey!

Hope you enjoy, and have a great weekend!

 

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Quick and Fluffy Flourless Pancake for One
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Flour free, healthy, breakfast, vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
The perfect Saturday brunch for one! Top with anything you want!
Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • dash each of salt and cinnamon
  • dash of stevia to sweeten (to taste)
  • Mix-ins (optional): raisins, chocolate chips, blueberries
  • Toppings: pumpkin seeds, banana, apple butter, peanut butter, honey, chia seeds (whatever you like!)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Heat small pad of butter in skillet.
  3. Pour in pancake batter and cook on medium-low until browned (about 3-4 mins). Flip and continue to cook for 2-3 additional mins.
  4. Top with additional toppings and enjoy!

As seen on insta…

Wonton Muffin Tin Quiche

Looking for an easy, make-ahead appetizer or on-the-go breakfast? These wonton muffin tin quiches could not be easier to make, and can be frozen and reheated on your way out the door!

Happy weekend! I don’t know about you, but this week seemed super long. And busy! It’s not unusual for me to get home at 7:30pm these days, and before I know it it’s 10pm and I’m just finishing up the dishes from dinner. Weekdays that end late and start early need some careful planning, as it’s easy to let nutrition go by the wayside when I’m constantly on the go. Enter pre-prepped meals.

When I was in my 3rd year PT school internships, I started making all my breakfast and lunches ahead. Usually a kefir smoothie or a few power cookies for breakfast, or something I could quickly chug between patients in the hospital. Then for lunch I’d make sandwiches on the famously dense Ezekiel bread  (it’s so dense that you can make tuna sandwiches the weekend before and they are still perfectly non-soggy when you eat them five days later!). For more on my lunchtime meal prep, click here.

Wonton Muffin Tin Quiche

I’ve been looking to mix things up a bit with my morning meals. I find myself getting RAVENOUS around 11am, probably because I mostly wait until I get super hungry in the morning to eat. I typically bring a container of trail mix (almonds, raisins, dry cereal, and peanut butter pretzels) in the morning and snack on it between patients. And a banana around 10 or 11. But I think I need something with a bit more protein and fat to keep me full! So I decided to make a huge batch of these muffin tin quiches, easy to make ahead, pop in the freezer, and nuke for 30 seconds or so before eating. I might even bring a few to work to have on hand in the freezer there! Easy protein poppers for some good, healthy staying power to get me through my 10-hour days!

On another note, I read an awesome blog post this morning from one of my favorite bloggers, The ReaL Life RD, on “The Healthiest Way to Eat”. Robyn is an RD and NP and has such a unique perspective on dieting and what it means to be “healthy.” This post made me think a lot about what I value in my eating and what makes me feel GOOD without becoming obsessive! Great read. Thanks, Robyn!

Anyway, recipe for these mini quiches below. Enjoy the sunshine this weekend!

Wonton Muffin Tin Quiche
Recipe Type: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Easy
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 24
Perfect for making ahead, freezing and popping in the microwave for a few seconds before you head out the door for work!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped veggies of your choice (I used mushrooms, red onions, broccoli, fresh spinach and tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each oregano and basil
  • 6 eggs, whisked lightly
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • dash of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 24-30 wonton wrappers (in the refrigerated section at the store, usually near the tofu!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray. Line each cup with a wonton wrapper.
  3. In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium high. Add garlic, veggies, basil and oregano. Cook on medium until tender. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon a bit of veggie mixture into each wonton, followed by about 1 Tbsp egg mixture. Sprinkle on top with a few green onions and cheese.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes until wonton wrappers are lightly browned and egg is set. Cool and serve.
  7. (*To Make Ahead: Allow to cool completely, then remove wontons and store in an airtight container in freezer. When ready to eat, remove and microwave 30 seconds (or 1 min on low power) until heated through. The wonton wrappers may become slightly soggy when reheated in microwave, but still delicious!)

 

Turkey Sausage Egg Casserole with Sweet Potato Hash

Hope everyone had a great weekend! It was absolutely gorgeous here, and I was able to get outside for a few walks/bike rides in the sunshine after a fun Friday night at our first salsa dance class (our small group is taking lessons… it was a riot! You can follow the fun and see what we did to “re-fuel” on my Instagram page). Will have to get a video one of these days to capture the silliness… 😛

In other news, turkey sausage egg casserole was in the books for tonight! I had planned to make a Shepherd’s Pie for Ben to grab for dinners this week, but he said he’d prefer to have a lighter fare. I suggested quiche. He suggested egg casserole!

Of course, I made it as gourmet as I could. Sun-dried tomatoes and all! I kept things easy with some pre-cooked turkey sausage and frozen spinach, day-old bakery buns, and un-skinned (but very washed!) sweet potatoes.

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Hope you enjoy!

Turkey Sausage Egg Casserole with Sweet Potato Hash
Recipe Type: Casserole
Cuisine: American
Author: Claire McCormick
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
An easy and leftover-heavy egg casserole that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Serve with a spinach side salad and dollop of Greek yogurt on top.
Ingredients
  • 4 hearty buns (I used a garlic brioche)
  • 4 T olive oil, divided (2T + 2T)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1/2 T each dried thyme and parsley
  • Pinch each of S&P
  • 3/4 cup chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 small package sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 package fully cooked turkey sausage crumbles (you could also use uncooked or links- just cook, then slice thinly or crumble!)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray, tear buns into pieces and layer in bottom of dish.
  2. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, parsley, S+P, and cook for 3 minutes or until tender.
  3. Stir in frozen spinach, tomatoes, and turkey sausage and cook for 2-3 more minutes until spinach is heated through. Pour over the bread in casserole dish.
  4. In a food processor set to shredding setting, shred sweet potatoes to medium-fine thickness. Pour into a large bowl and stir in remaining 2 T olive oil. Spread in an even layer over the top of the sausage.
  5. In same bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg and garlic powder.
  6. Pour egg mixture evenly over potatoes in dish, shaking dish a bit to make sure it’s evenly distributed (I also sometimes press down the casserole to make sure the bread gets saturated).
  7. Top with cheese, cover with foil and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (up to overnight) to allow it to set.
  8. When ready to eat, heat oven to 350 deg and bake 40 mins covered, then 15 minutes uncovered or until potatoes are crisped and cheese is melted.
  9. Allow to set at least 10 min before slicing and serving! Serve with side salad and a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.
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Cook onions, ‘shrooms, and tomatoes with garlic and spices.

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Add spinach and sausage.

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Tear bread and place in dish.

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Shred sweet potatoes.

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Whisk eggs.

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Layer sausage mixture on top of bread.

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Top with sweet potatoes.

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And cheese. 🙂

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Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and taters are tender!

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Serve with side salad, avocado wedges and greek yogurt.

Happy week!

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!
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
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Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola

Today it was starting to feel a little more like fall here in Durham. Since returning home safely after my trip across the country with my sisters last week (see my Instagram page for a recap!), I’ve been all out of sorts in terms of time zones, days of the week, and seasons. CA was springlike- cool, sunny and breezy; Utah was HOT but really not humid at all, Colorado had snow blanketing its mountain summits, and Kansas was, well… a lot of corn. And we tried to forget the rest. Except when I got us lost in Ferguson, MO after being distracted from my role as navigator. That wasn’t a very happy moment.

Even after one week of being gone, I’ve noticed that college students have started trickling back to campus, lined paper has started appearing in the “dollar deal” bin near the checkout line at Target, and commercials have started targeting teens with the latest fall trends. In honor of that back-to-school feel, I decided to recreate an old fall favorite: spiced granola. Adapted from Skinnytaste, I’ve made this a few times using different swaps based on what I had in the house. In the past I’ve used kamut to supplement the oats, but this time I used the quinoa the original recipe calls for. I also swapped in molasses (since I have a TON leftover from my Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies) and almonds in place of pepitas. I love this recipe because it hardly uses any oil at all (only 2 tsp for a double batch), yet the granola still forms nice little clusters. It irks me when I see recipes that call for over a half cup of oil… you really don’t need it! I doubled the recipe since I always end up giving some away- it makes a perfect gift!

Enjoy with sliced apples, pears, or peaches, over yogurt or with some nice cold milk. Happy (almost) fall!

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola
Recipe Type: Snack, Breakfast, Brunch
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Fall is almost here! To get you back in that pumpkin-spice state of mind, try this easy granola recipe that’s great with yogurt and fruit! Feel free to stick with the recipe here or experiment based on your own tastes and ingredients you already have.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 deg.
  2. Rinse quinoa and pat dry. Spread quinoa and oats evenly on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Toast for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 300 deg.
  5. Combine dried fruit, nuts, and flax with the oats and quinoa.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, molasses, honey, vanilla, spices, salt, and pepper. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until coated.
  7. Spread mixture evenly on the same lined baking sheet, and return to oven for 20 minutes. Stir and return to oven for 5 additional minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool, resisting the urge to stir too vigorously (this allows nice clusters to form!).
  9. Store in sealed containers for up to 2 weeks.

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola