Tastiest Bites from 2012

Happy New Year to all of you. I hope we will all reach higher in 2013 to makes lives richer for everyone.
2012 was my first entire year with a blog and it has been a wonderful experiment and adventure.
I decided to post the top five recipes from Nana Clare’s Kitchen in 2012. I determined this strictly by the number of viewings from folks like you. If you’d like to see the entire recipe, please just click on the individual link for it.
So what did folks click on over and over?

first cake in a cup

Chocolate Cake in a Cup is the all time winner. The rich dark flavor, combined with the ease of making a single serving dessert in minutes was certainly the appeal. And the photo has been pinned over and over on Pinterest thousands of times. Using the large dark Ghiradelli chips made them fall to the bottom of the cup so that when inverted they create their own frosting.

breakfast muffin in a mug

Cinnamon Muffin in a Mug – or Muggin.

MThis is one of my original recipes that is packed with nutrition, easy to make and has been very well received by folks who live alone, teens looking for a school-morning breakfast and cinnamon lovers all over. My daughter named these “muggins” and it’s an easy handle for this fun breakfast. From this recipe I created other muggins using pumpkin, gingerbread, blueberries and even gluten free muggins. Please browse the “single servings” category on the left side for more recipes.

Dr Oz dessert balls

Dr. Oz’s Peanut Butter Oat Balls, My Way.

Yes, I love to give the good doc’s recipes a try, but when they don’t deliver on flavor, I tweak and alter until we have something to crow about. Over the year I posted many variations on peanut butter balls, but this one has gotten the most attention.

honey chip cookies

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies and Tips for Baking with Honey.

Honey is a great option when you’re cutting back on sugar. This entry not only gives you my own recipe for moist cookies, but I also included hints for using honey directly from the Minnesota Beekeepers Association.

caramel apple cake in a cup

Caramel Apple Cake in a Cup.

When the Chocolate Cake in a Cup recipe developed legs, my daughter asked if I’d create a recipe for her husband who loves apples. Because apples and caramel are a perfect pairing, I created this yummy single serving cake.

Although I have also posted dozens of soups, chicken recipes, stews, breads and other great tasting food, the desserts seem to be getting the most attention. So come for dessert and stay for the main course. I’m just happy you stopped by.

Peace and Love for 2013!

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Peanut Butter and Oat Balls with Kisses or Mini Chips

I’ve posted several variations on peanut butter balls. As Energy Balls, Healthy Fudge Balls, Christmas Buckeyes, Easter eggs and Sesame Seed – Date Delights, to name a few. I’ve even played with several variations of Dr. Oz’s Peanut Butter and Oat Balls.
Some are made with powdered sugar, or dry milk for a binder. Others have oats and honey.

dark chocolate kisses in peanut butter

For the past few months I’ve been making a very simple peanut butter energy ball that goes together quickly. These seem like the perfect little dessert when you’re trying not to eat sugar. Note I said “trying.” They’re also a great energy pick-me-up.
And they’re portable. Make a batch and store in your fridge for a week or so and you can grab them on your way out the door to dance or horseback riding lessons or track or whatever your munchkins are up to.

kisses or mini chocolate

For a festive change, this time I wrapped the peanut butter mixture around an unwrapped Hershey’s dark chocolate kiss. Then I rolled them in coconut. Yes, it’s a bit messier than just dipping them out with a small scoop, but the result was a fun surprise. My hubby’s eyes sure lit up when he bit into one and found a mouthful of dark chocolate.

dark chocolate kisses

dark kisses unwrapped

Basic energy ball ingredients:
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 TBS honey
4 TBS dry roasted sesame seeds
4 TBS mini (or regular) chocolate chips (optional, but so delicious!)
1/2 cup – or more coconut (optional, but so delicious!)

Put the sesame seeds in a non stick frying pan over medium heat.
Dry roast seeds for 2-3 minutes until they turn golden. Take them off the heat to cool.
Mix together all the ingredients and form into balls.
Roll them in coconut.

dark kiss in the middle

Alternate Idea with Dark Chocolate Kisses
Leave out the mini chips.
Unwrap your chocolate kisses.
Wrap a tablespoon of the wonderful peanut butter mixture around the kiss.
Roll in coconut if you like.
Serve at room temp to get the full flavor of the chocolate.

This is a smile guarantee. And maybe you’ll get a kiss:)

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Sesame Seed, Peanut Butter, Date Energy Balls

Sesame is one of those flavors that grabs you by the throat. I’m addicted to it, which, I’m hoping, is legal. Unlike poppy seeds, there are no limits to how much of it you can buy. And so far, I don’t have to show my picture ID when I buy it by the pound.

Sweet crunchy treat

I figured out that when you purchase it in those tiny 2 oz red containers, you are actually paying about $20 per pound. Then I found them in bulk for $3.99 per pound at a health food store and I knew I was in heaven.

So now, rather than just sprinkle a few into my granola and my energy balls,(recipe coming soon) I can literally roll peanut butter balls in them – bathing them in sesame crunchiness.

And dates – nature’s candy – are the perfect sweetener for these, with just a touch of honey to hold them all together.

dates – nature’s candy

sesame balls

sesame balls and dates

But first, I like to dry roast the seeds. Just pour a cup of sesame seeds into a clean non-stick frying pan and “roast” them for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. The color goes from white to golden and it really brings out the flavor. And the little crunch is the bonus round.

This recipe makes several dozen balls made from my 2 tablespoon scoop. You can easily cut this in half – or double it!

Ingredients for Sesame Seed, Peanut Butter, Date Energy Balls
1 cup roasted sesame seeds
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup quick oats
1 cup chopped dates
2 TBS honey

Roast the seeds and set them aside to cool.
Put the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
Form into balls and roll each one in the sesame seeds.
Store in the refrigerator between feedings.

You’ll be so happy you have these ready to go. They’re great for:
• Breakfast
• After school snacks
• After soccer, track or piano practice
• A sweet treat that won’t set your blood sugar on a roller coaster
• Before dinner to hold off the hunger pangs

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Dr. Oz’s Peanut Butter and Oat Balls, My way


choc covered oat balls

A few days ago I posted two recipes for energy balls. The first was a dessert ball promoted by Dr. Oz that mixes peanut butter and dark chocolate. But I couldn’t find exact measures on his site, so I did my best to recreate them at least to test the taste. In that case I used two parts peanut butter to one part dark chocolate.

The second energy ball was one with peanut butter, honey, flax meal and mini chocolate chips along with a few other ingredients. These are delicious for a snack or for dessert. You can check them both here: http://www.nanaclareskitchen.com/2012/04/24/great-balls-of-energy/

But today on Dr. Oz, he suggested mixing equal parts of peanut butter and oats and rolling them into balls to eat for dessert.
So I tried it and they just tasted like a spoonful of peanut butter. Which I adore, but I wouldn’t call it dessert.

mix oats and pb

makes six balls

So I got out my Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips, measured some into a bowl, melted them and dipped the little balls. After a few minutes in the freezer, they were ready to be tasted. Both my hubby and I felt they qualify as a delicious treat.

I wanted to find out what the nutritional count was, so I took the numbers off the containers and did the math. After the directions, I’ll tell you what I found out. (Yes, you can skip ahead if you need to :) )

melt chocolate chips

dip and roll


4 TBS chunky peanut butter (I used Skippy.)
4 TBS quick oats (I used a store brand.)
32 dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli, so 32 chips are two servings and amounted to about 3 TBS)

Mix the oats and peanut butter in a small bowl.
Roll into six balls.
Chill in freezer for a minute or two.
Melt chocolate in microwave.
Roll the balls in the chocolate and put back into the freezer for a minute to set up.

So each ball contains the following nutrients:
Calories – 101
Fat – 7.5 g
Sugars – 3 g
Fiber – 1.6 g
Protein – 3 g

The fiber and protein help offset the sugar and fat. Also because the chocolate is on the outside, it’s the first thing our tastebuds encounter, so your brain may register this as more sugar than it is. (My brain did!)

So here’s another fun and easy dessert you can enjoy with my three favorite foods – peanut butter, oats and dark chocolate. Make these in minutes – double or triple the recipe so you have some to share. You’ll be glad you did.

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