Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins

I recently tried Kodiak Cakes pancake mix (Power Cakes, Protein Packed) and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I’ll make pancakes for breakfast once in a blue moon, but this mix boasts 14g of protein for 3, 4-inch pancakes…so I wanted to give it a try. I prepared the batter with milk (which brought the protein up to about 18 g) and a little cinnamon and they came out great! A healthier alternative if you enjoy a classic pancake breakfast every once and a while.

I decided to make muffins using what was left of the pancake mix and added my own fall flare to the recipe listed on the box. Here’s my recipe:

Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes flapjack mix
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup non-fat or 1% milk (I used 0% fat fairlife milk)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (not melted)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Grease muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full with muffin batter. Bake for about 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

power-pumpkin-muffinNutrition Information: 1 muffin – Calories: 139 cal  Total fat: 5g  Saturated fat: 3g  Sodium: 148mg Carbohydrates: 19g  Dietary fiber: 3g Sugar: 8g Protein: 6g – calculated via MyFitnessPal

Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins: Tara Tested, Tara, family, and friends approved! At the request of a colleague of mine, I made these muffins without banana and used pumpkin instead. The flavor worked well with the cinnamon and created a moist texture in the muffin. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of the Power Cake mix, but I was running low and decided to use old fashioned oats to make up the difference. If you are after a lighter, more airy muffin, you might want to use regular or whole grain flour. I am happy with how these came out and look forward to experimenting with different variations and recipes! Dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and peanut butter anyone??

Apple Nachos!

Have a little fun with your afternoon snack and try these Apple Nachos! I tend to crave something sweet in the afternoon and this snack hit the spot. I used a combination of Peanut Butter & CO’s White Chocolate Wonderful and Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter – absolutely delish. If you don’t have oatmeal, you could top the apples with granola or sliced almonds!


Apple Nachos

  • 1 apple
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Oats

Slice the apple into wedges, spread evenly on a plate. Microwave peanut butter in a small dish until melted, about 30 seconds. Drizzle melted peanut butter over the apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon and oats. Enjoy these fruity nachos come guilt-free!

Apple Nachos: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! Apples with peanut butter is an all-star snack, you can’t go wrong with the combination of sweet and salty, fruit and protein. Serving them this way makes it fun and a little more fancy looking. Another bonus – this recipe is SO easy. You could even serve these fruity nachos as an appetizer at your next potluck or party. Happy snacking!

Fully Loaded Banana Bars


4 lbs of oats!

I went a little overboard with produce purchasing this past weekend and I’ve found myself with a whole bunch of bananas that I haven’t even touched. A few of them felt borderline overripe, so I decided to whip something up before they all go to mush. Inspired by my pantry stocked with plenty of oats (4 lbs!) and a jar of Peanut Butter & Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter, I decided to try making a banana-chocolate-peanut butter-peanut-cranberry-oatmeal bar…Fully Loaded Banana Bars for short.

Fully Loaded Banana Bars

  • 3 small bananas (soft enough to mash with a fork)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp peanuts


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray to prevent sticking. In a large bowl, mash together the bananas and apple sauce until somewhat smooth (a few lumps are okay!). Add the sugar, egg, vanilla, salt, and baking soda; mix well. Next, add the whole wheat flour and old fashioned oats, stir to combine. Add the peanut butter and mix well, then add the dried cranberries and peanuts. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Let cool. Makes 12 bars.

Fully Loaded Banana Bars: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! These bars were so easy to throw together and are extremely tasty. They are very soft and moist – the perfect hybrid between banana bread and granola bars! I love the surprise crunch from the peanuts and the subtle chocolate peanut butter flavor in every bite! The possibilities for altering this recipe and playing with different combinations of mix-ins is endless: walnuts, diced apples, & cinnamon OR almonds, white chocolate, & dried cherries, I could go on and on. Enjoy these bars for breakfast, a midday snack, or even dessert! Banana Bar a la mode anyone?!


LOVE parchment paper – no mess!

Nutrition Information: 1 bar – Calories: 128 kcal Total fat: 3.3 g Saturated fat: 0.6 Sodium: 168 mg Carbohydrate: 23 g Dietary fiber: 2.7 g Sugar: 6.1 g Protein: 3.4

Back in Action with Overnight Oats!

After a summer hiatus, I’m back in action! The past few months have been extremely busy with fun summer excursions and a cross-country move to Missouri. I am now settled in Springfield, completing my dietetic internship through Missouri State University and happy to be back in action on Tara Tested!

I have heard a lot about overnight oats lately but was hesitate to try. Cold oatmeal? Morning mush? I just wasn’t sure about it. Anyway, I went ahead and bought all of the ingredients the other weekend and set out to try Peanut Butter Pumpkin Banana Overnight Oats. I had a few near-empty peanut butter jars, so I decided to assemble everything in one of those so that no peanut butter went to waste! It can’t get any easier, toss everything in the jar, put the lid on, set it in the fridge, let the magic happen overnight, and voila! A delicious, hearty, no-hassel, breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

photo 1Peanut Butter Pumpkin Banana Overnight Oats

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup yogurt (I used Greek vanilla)
  • 1/3 milk
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1-2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

Tara Tested, Tara Approved: I’ve loved having this breakfast ready for me after getting back from an early morning run! The perfect meal for busy mornings when you don’t have much time to cook or need to take something on the go. The opportunities for different flavors and varieties are endless! I’m excited to experiment with berries and different fruits, even adding nuts or granola. YUM!