No-Bake Energy “Dump” Bites

Looking for a good way to use up the crumbs in the end of that cereal box? The one that you spent way too much money on because it was all “organic” and fiber-licious? Now you don’t have to let all that good flax go to waste! ūüėõ Here’s a quick and easy no-bake recipe that you can whip up in minutes! Just dump all these ingredients in a big bowl, stir, chill and form into balls for a perfect on-the-go breakfast, snack or dessert!

No-Bake Energy “Dump” Bites
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Healthy, No-Bake
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 16-24
Looking for a good way to use up the crumbs in the end of that cereal box? Here’s a quick and easy no-bake recipe that you can whip up in minutes! Just dump all these ingredients in a big bowl, stir, chill and form into balls for a perfect on-the-go breakfast, snack or dessert!
  • 3/4 cup creamy PB
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup leftover hearty cereal (I used the leftover crumbs at the bottom of a box of Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch!)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. In a medium bowl, microwave PB, honey, and vanilla for 30 sec and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Feel free to add your own mix-ins like other types of dried fruit/nuts!
  2. Stick in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, then press tightly into balls about 1″ wide. There’s a lot of heft and not a ton of sticking power to this recipe, so make sure to really pack those things tight to avoid them falling apart!
  3. Store in the fridge or freezer and enjoy as an on-the-go breakfast, snack, or dessert!


Harvest Apple Spice Cake

It’s that time of year where all I want to do is bake. It doesn’t help when we have about a gazillion (times three) apples in our fridge from our annual apple picking trip to Carter Mountain Orchard, just begging to be chopped up, sliced, diced, roasted, baked, pureed, and munched as-is!

This spice cake uses a combination of apples and pears, nestled into a doughy inside. I used plain yogurt and some spiced apple cider¬†from Trader Joe’s to keep the batter moist, then stirred in some juicy raisins with the apples and pears. Topped with chopped nuts and sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar, and this cake becomes breakfast, afternoon snack, OR dessert! I’d also suggest it with a nice big scoop of my favorite vanilla fro-yo!

Note: I used some of these handy little Threshold¬†Oven-safe Paper¬†Loaf Pans that I got at Target. They are the BEST. Especially if you plan on doubling the batch to give a loaf or two¬†away, these are perfect because you can just bake the cake in the pan, let it cool, wrap it up and send it on its way! I first saw these used to display different types¬†of quickbread at a booth at the Durham Farmer’s Market, and the woman¬†selling them told me where she’d gotten them. Best invention ever! They come in the full loaf size as well as a smaller size, and come in packs of 4 ($5.99 for the larger, and $2.99 for the smaller). I got a pack¬†of each!

Harvest Apple Spice Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert, Breakfast
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
I used plain yogurt and spiced apple cider in the batter of this spice cake, then stirred in some juicy raisins and chopped apples and pears. Sprinkle a few walnuts and brown sugar over the top before baking for a sweet caramelized glaze!
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider (I used TJ’s spiced cider!)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 medium apples, chopped (I used one honeycrisp and one gala)
  • 1 medium pear, chopped
  • Extra brown sugar and chopped walnuts, for topping (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a cake pan with cooking spray or grease with shortening.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and continue to mix. Stir in yogurt and apple cider.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Stir in apples, pears, and raisins.
  6. Spread in an even layer in cake pan and top with walnuts and brown sugar. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes, then slice into squares and serve!
Calories: 187cal Fat: 7g Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 2g Protein: 3g


Cream Cheese Banana Swirl Bread

I’ve been wanting to try out¬†this recipe for a long while now, because seriously- who can resist a melt-in-your-mouth banana bread with a layer of cream cheese swirl “surprise” nestled right¬†in the middle? Best. Idea. Ever. I wish I could say I came up with it on my own, but I based this recipe off of one from Averie Cooks¬†with only a few minor tweaks (more yogurt, an additional banana, and a pinch¬†of¬†cinnamon). I also decided to “swirl” the cream cheese layer, as the remaining batter on top didn’t quite cover it all and cream cheese started to seep out the top corners. Anyway, it did not disappoint. You NEED to try this out for yourself. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever make it another way!

Happy Saturday!


Cream Cheese Banana Swirl Bread
Recipe Type: Bread
Cuisine: Breakfast, Sides
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Enjoy this deliciously moist banana bread, swirled with a smooth cream cheese filling, on a rainy Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee and a good book! Actually, this bread is good at ANY time of day!
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup flour + 3 tbsp, separated
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • pinch of cinnamon, to taste
  • 4 oz soft Neufchatel or cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk 1 egg, brown sugar, oil, yogurt, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Stir in mashed banana.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together 1 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gently fold into the batter with a spatula until just combined.
  5. Pour about 2/3 of batter into bottom of loaf pan and even out the top.
  6. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese, remaining egg, 3 tbsp flour, and granulated sugar. Beat until smooth.
  7. Spread cream cheese filling into the loaf pan.
  8. Top with remaining bread batter and gently smooth until even.
  9. Using a knife or skewer, “swirl” top of batter just about 1/2″ down into the cream cheese filling.
  10. Bake 50 minutes or until top of bread is golden and cream cheese filling appears to be set. Cool about 10 minutes before gently releasing the sides of the bread with a knife and inverting the loaf to remove from the pan.
  11. Slice and serve!



Star-Spangled Vanilla Chex Bars (No-bake and Gluten-Free!)

Okay okay, so we didn’t win the soccer game yesterday. But¬†hey, at least we still have our independence! This recipe is ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS and the perfect easy take-along to your 4th of July picnic or potluck. You know how Rice Krispie Treats are ALWAYS a hit at parties, even when there are decadent cakes and gourmet pies right next to them? Who knows why… but here’s a more patriotic spin off of the original Rice Krispies recipe that is sure to please your party guests. It literally takes about 10 minutes to make, and it’s gluten-free in case any of your friends¬†are concerned about that! I got the original recipe from Iowa Girl Eats and made a few modifications based on what I could find in the store. Enjoy!


Star-Spangled Vanilla Chex Bars (No- Bake and Gluten Free!)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes” (original recipe from Iowa Girl Eats)
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12-16
The perfect picnic dessert that’s simple to make, fancy to look at, easy to eat, and gluten-free!
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 10oz bag mini marshmallows
  • 13.5oz box Vanilla Chex (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup freeze-dried strawberries (I just used the whole bag they came in)
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (you could also use freeze-dried if you can find them!)
  1. Spray a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Add Vanilla Chex, chocolate chips, freeze-dried strawberries, and dried blueberries to a very large bowl and stir together- careful not to crush the Chex!
  3. Add butter to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 second increments until melted. Add marshmallows and stir, then microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth.
  4. Immediately pour over Chex mixture and carefully stir until evenly coated.
  5. Press into baking dish in an even layer, and let cool completely before cutting into bars.


“Spring Clean Your Fridge” Challenge Day #5: Oatmeal Raisin Mash-Up Bars!

Confession: I almost considered cheating today. I signed up to bake for our DPT school’s “PT Olympics” tomorrow, a fundraising event hosted by the class of 2015, and I reallllllly wanted to make energy bites. But energy bites require a considerable amount of peanut butter to make them anywhere near decent. And they require a LOT of peanut butter to make them the little balls of deliciousness that we all know and love. Times two, because this would be a double batch. Sigh. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, as I make sure to have back-up PB in the pantry. And then a back-up PB for the back-up PB. And when you’re trying not to go grocery shopping at all, and eat the stuff like we do in our house, this is just not an option. Because currently our peanut butter jar looks like this:photo 1 (73)

As much as I love my classmates, they just would not appreciate the sacrifice that spooning out this last bit of peanut butter would require. Or the #peanutbutterknuckles that would result. (Yes I just #hashtagged that. I am sorry.)

Instead, I thought to myself, well, maybe I can make some of those applesauce oatmeal raisin muffins instead! 

But those require a good cup of milk. And currently our milk jug looks like this:

photo 2 (65)

Sigh. What to do, what to do? Break the pact, go to the store, and get the darn PB and milk? And shame myself publicly when I post a recipe full of LIES?

I decided I would make do with what we had. And luckily, what we are not anywhere close to running out of, is oats. Happy happy, joy joy. I love oats. And they love me.

I felt too lazy relaxed after my spontaneous Friday night Sangria date with my dear friend Sarah to actually make cookies, so I decided to make oatmeal raisin-esque breakfast bars. I also didn’t want to deal with waiting for our frozen butter to soften, so I substituted half of with our one lonely applesauce cup remaining. Hey- it’s healthier that way, right? You PT Olympians can thank me later.

I had a Quaker Oats Peach and Almond flavored oatmeal container in the pantry, so I decided to use that to substitute for some of the oats and sugar (the stuff on its own is a tad bit too sweet for me to eat by itself!). I also sprinkled in some leftover Easter candy- mini m&ms and two crunch chocolates (which MAY have been from last year’s Easter baskets…). Also added in some cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, walnut morsels, and dried cranberries.

The result ended up being a not-too-sweet, almost healthy tasting cookie bar that puffed up nicely!

photo 2 (64)

photo 1 (72)


Oatmeal Raisin Mash-Up Bars!
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 20
A raid-your-pantry kind of dessert, perfect for getting rid of extra leftover Easter candy!
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 6 oz. container unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 container Quaker Oats Peach and Almond Prepared Oatmeal (just shy of 1 cup)
  • 1 3/4 Old-fashioned Oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins/cranberries/other dried fruit of your choosing
  • 1/4 cup walnut (or other nut) morsels
  • ~1/3 cup leftover Easter candy (I used mini m&ms and crushed chocolate crunch candies)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a sheet cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Add applesauce and beat until smooth.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually beat into the wet ingredients.
  5. Stir in fruit, nuts, and candies.
  6. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes or until top is golden-brown.
  8. Cool and cut into bars.

Here’s to another no-grocery day! Happy weekend, and happy nibbling ūüôā

Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot Cupcakes

Make that traditional carrot cake mix a little more festive with some homemade cream cheese frosting! Perfect for Easter parties or just because cream cheese frosting is delicious any time of year. ūüôā


Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot Cupcakes
Recipe Type: Carrot Cake, Cupcakes, Easter
Cuisine: Dessert
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
Make that traditional carrot cake mix a little more festive with some homemade cream cheese frosting! Perfect for Easter parties or just because cream cheese frosting is delicious any time of year.
  • 6 oz. Neufchatel cheese
  • ~2 cups confectioner’s sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 box carrot cake mix, prepared according to cupcake directions
  • chopped nuts of your choosing, for topping
  1. With an electric mixer, beat Neufchatel cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in vanilla.
  2. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Garnish with slivered almonds or walnut pieces.