Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes

Indulgent AND healthy???

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s my kind of breakfast! And after such an action- (and food-) packed day like yesterday, these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are exactly what we need to get us going on an even tougher Monday morning than usual. You feel me?

We had a great time watching the Super Bowl yesterday, but as we weren’t really cheering for either of the teams, let’s be honest, we really just showed up for the food.  The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying a little break in the rain and getting outside for some beach volleyball, and a fun photo shoot with one of my new clients that I’m doing some social media work for.

We also spent some time recovering from partying all last week at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which is a huge annual event for us thanks to the hubs’ hookup with VIP tickets. Highlights included seeing the world premiere of the film “Charged” (which is amazing, BTW, so inspiring – stay tuned for more on that one) and rubbing elbows with Denzel Washington who was given the Maltin Modern Master Award for his lifetime of achievements both on the stage and in front of the camera. We always have such a blast every year and, although it goes by way too fast, we always find ourselves ready for a good deal of extra shut-eye when all is said and done.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

All the more reason for these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes to come into our lives! I realize I have not yet posted a pancake recipe here on the blog, although if you’ve checked out my eBook, you’ll know that I have a couple of tasty recipes for more standard, “go-to” pancakes. I also realize that we are now officially into the second month of the year, which means most folks are still TRYING to hold onto their New Year’s resolutions but are finding their strength is waning. I mean, how can it not be with all of these Valentine’s ads and displays floating around?

Well, I have good news for you folks! These Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are chock full of superfoods, yet can still easily pass as dessert (or just a not-so-savory breakfast if that’s more your jam.) You know I’m all about that balance, and this recipe is practically the epitome of what I preach.

Oh, and did I mention they’re also gluten-free? I don’t purposely try to avoid gluten in my recipes (sorry for all of my gluten-intolerants out there,) but just as some of my recipes accidentally turn out vegan, some also just HAPPEN to turn out gluten-free. Just be sure to use gluten-free oats in the batter and you’ll be golden!

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Just like the aforementioned oats, most of the ingredients for these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are something you’ll likely have in your pantry already if you’re in any way tuned into the health and fitness world (or just like a damn good smoothie in the morning.) And if you don’t have these ingredients on hand already, have no fear, because our trusty old Amazon is pulling through for you once again. I even did all of the hard work for you:

MACA POWDER
PROTEIN POWDER
CHIA SEEDS

Alright kids, no more excuses. Let’s bust out our fancy blender and get to it. That’s right, I said blender. Because that’s the only thing you’ll need to whip up this recipe, aside from your nonstick skillet or griddle, of course.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Seriously, the process of this pancake batter could not be any easier. Just throw all of the ingredients in the blender, give it a good whir, and you’re ready to pour said batter into your piping hot cooking vessel. Sound easy enough?

Now, we all know that a Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancake’s story can’t stop once it comes off the griddle, because isn’t a pancake breakfast all about the toppings? Yesssirreee. I opted for sliced banana, cacao nibs and high-grade maple syrup for mine, but feel free to use whatever you want! Whipped cream, butter, peanut butter and strawberries are just a few more things that come to mind.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

So there you have it folks! The secret to a healthy, balanced breakfast that still tastes like dessert. Now can we agree that this Monday isn’t going to be all that bad?

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes

These chocolate pancakes are full of healthy superfoods, yet still taste incredibly indulgent. The perfect breakfast for any day of the week!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 9 mini pancakes
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 banana
  • 2 scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate flavor will work)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Begin heating a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. 

  2. Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender.

  3. Using a quarter cup measure, scoop pancake batter onto heated pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it gets a nice golden color. 

  4. Remove from pan to a heated plate and continue cooking the rest of the batter.

  5. Top with whatever you prefer! Some ideas are: sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, maple syrup, peanut butter, cacao nibs, shredded coconut and whipped cream. 

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platter

I bet you’d never imagine the words “best ever” in front of the words “vegetable platter,” but today I’m here to rock your world and prove to you that this is an incredibly appropriate statement.

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platte | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s right, I’m going to show you not only a vibrant array of winter vegetables (that don’t need to be cooked before enjoying) but TWO life-changing dipping sauces that are not only incredibly tasty, but VEGAN to boot. Hummus and queso, step aside. My Garlicky Cauliflower Almond Butter Dip and Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce are going to change your life.

But, before I get to these super-duper recipes, let’s talk a bit about a very important food event that’s coming up this weekend. Yes, I just referred to the Super Bowl as a food event as opposed to a sporting event, because when there isn’t really a specific team you’re rooting for, your focus turns directly to the snacks (and drinks!) that are being served. Am I right? It’s basically an excuse to make all of the delicious things (usually not so healthy) that you’ve been dreaming about since last year’s Super Bowl.

The good news is, this Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platter is both healthy AND delicious, and will satisfy all of your guests, no matter their dietary restrictions or preferences. This dish is both vegan and gluten-free, but even those who don’t follow either of these diets will find it a welcome healthy munch among all of the other not-so-healthy foods you might be serving (and have no fear, I have a not-so-healthy Super Bowl-friendly recipe coming to you on Wednesday – because we’re all about that balance, baby!)

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platte | CaliGirlCooking.com

So let’s talk about how I came up with the ideas for the Garlicky Cauliflower Almond Butter Dip and Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce that grace this Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platter. You might recall that back in November I took a little trip to Wine Country with my gal Hana-Lee from Wander & Wine. During that trip, we were lucky enough to grab dinner at Press Restaurant in St. Helena.

While we were waiting for the first of our many dishes to arrive at the table, we were surprised with a large galvanized metal tray, with little veggie tops popping out of a bed of crushed ice. (We later found out that these cute little veggies came straight from the farm that Press has partnered with to provide all of its produce…Amazing!) Surrounding the tray were five little bowls of dipping sauces, and we were told to try our hand at all of the different vegetable and dip combinations. It was basically a vegetarian version of shrimp cocktail, genius!

Among all of the combinations I tried, one really stood out to me: fresh fennel bulb dipped into Press’ version of Thai peanut sauce. It was so dang good it was all I could think of even as we ate all of the other delicious dishes we ordered. I have to admit, the fennel and Thai peanut is a flavor combination I would have NEVER thought of, but it was amazing. I immediately added it to my list of flavor combos to try on my own at home.

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platter Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m not quite so sure how I came up with the idea for my Garlicky Cauliflower Almond Butter Sauce, but I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making a Creamy Cauliflower Sauce a la Pinch of Yum for quite some time. I guess I figured almond butter would be a natural, delicious addition, along with some other spices and of course loads of garlic.

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platter Garlicky Cauliflower Almond Butter Sauce | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once I had my sauces down, I knew I had to get some hearty, beautiful vegetables to stand up to their deliciousness. Fennel was a shoe-in, and after perusing the seasonal produce section at Trader Joe’s I decided on some beautiful rainbow carrots, crunchy radishes and slightly bitter Belgian endive to round out the tray. Not only were all of these vegetables just perfect with BOTH of the sauces, they also make a beautiful display that whoever you’re entertaining will not be able to keep their hands off of.

The great thing about this Best EVER Vegetable Platter is you can prep both of the sauces well in advance (up to three days.) The Garlicky Cauliflower Almond Butter Sauce makes a HUGE batch, so you’ll likely have a bunch leftover, but I highly recommend you take advantage of this by using it as a dairy-free creamy pasta sauce. Once you have the dipping sauces made, all that’s left if to find the freshest winter produce you can and use your food styling skills to really make your platter pop.

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Whether you whip this up for Super Bowl or not, it’s the perfect recipe to have in your arsenal for any time you’re entertaining a crowd with health concerns or varied dietary preferences. Make it now, make it later, doesn’t matter as long as you give it a shot as soon as you can!

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platte | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platter
Prep Time
50 mins
 

A classic vegetable platter gets a winter makeover with seasonal produce and two creamy, vegan dipping sauces. 

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the Garlicky Cauliflower Almond Butter Dip:
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 7 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 medium head of cauliflower)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash of cayenne
For the Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce:
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
For the platter:
  • 6-8 rainbow carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 6-8 radishes, tops removed and cut into halves or quarters
  • 2 bunches Belgian endive (bonus if you can find one purple and one green bunch)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut into sticks
Instructions
To make the Garlicky Cauliflower Almond Butter Dip:
  1. Bring a large pot of water with 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Once water is boiling, add cauliflower and garlic cloves and cook until cauliflower is fork tender, about 6 minutes. 

  2. Using a slotted spoon or small sieve, scoop out the cauliflower florets and garlic cloves and place in a blender. Reserve cooking water.

  3. Add almond butter, almond milk, white balsamic, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne and salt and pepper to blender. Turn blender on low and slowly add ¾ - 1 cup of the reserved cooking water, until the mixture has reached a creamy consistency. Transfer to a resealable container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving, or up to three days.

To make the Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, honey, hot water and sambal oelek. Transfer to a resealable container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving, or up to three days.

To assemble the platter:
  1. Place dipping sauces in two small bowls and place in center of platter. Surround with all of the vegetables and serve immediately.

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Breakfast Banana Split

It’s time to have some fun with our food!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let’s start with this festive, tasty, KID-FRIENDLY Breakfast Banana Split. It’s got all of the fun of a classic banana split, yet it’s healthy enough to be acceptable for breakfast. That’s my kind of meal!

The idea for this recipe (if you can call it that) came to me while I was working out at the gym, as many of my great ideas do. I’m not sure what spurred it, sometimes things just pop into my head as I’m zoning out on the elliptical. But once I thought of it, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I needed to make a Breakfast Banana Split ASAP!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let me tell you a little story to set the scene for this idea.

When I first moved to Santa Barbara almost four years ago, I hunkered down in my brother and sister-in-law’s casita for a few months until my job went from temporary to permanent. I had a pretty sweet little set-up there, a futon bed, a full bathroom to myself, and a little nook with a mini-refrigerator. I did not have a kitchen, but luckily my fam didn’t mind me popping into the house and whipping something up, especially if it involved me making something that there three young kids, my niece and nephews, would eat.

While I lived there, I took a little bit of a challenge upon myself. Like most kids, my niece and nephews were not huge fans of foods that held any sort of nutritional value, so my challenge was to find ways to make food that they would love to eat while secretly sneaking in some healthy fruits and veggies. My greatest success with them was when I made “breakfast popsicles,” which were basically a big batch of smoothie loaded with greens (and sometimes other veggies,) poured into popsicle molds and frozen overnight. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to eat popsicles for breakfast?

As soon as the idea came to me for these Breakfast Banana Splits, I knew they’d be one of these dishes that kids will just jump at the chance to eat in the morning. I don’t have any children of my own (yet) but I look forward to exercising my nutrient-hiding creativity once again, and I know a Breakfast Banana Split will be making a frequent appearance on our household menu.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

So here’s how it goes down: Banana sliced lengthwise, just like the classic setup. Heaps of plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of the ice cream, because we’re making this acceptable for breakfast. Loads and loads of toppings (mostly healthy, some a little more indulgent.) Finally, we can’t forget the cherries on top!

The great thing about this Breakfast Banana Split is that it’s incredibly versatile. I decided to use toppings like flaked coconut, chopped pineapple, date caramel, strawberry jam, toasted nuts and cacao nibs, but you can really use whatever you like (or whatever you have in your pantry!) Some other ideas you could include are freeze-dried fruit, melted almond or peanut butter or hemp seeds. The possibilities really are endless.

Whether this is a true “recipe” or not, you have to admit it’s a pretty genius breakfast option, especially when you have finicky little ones.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

What are some ways you sneak nutrient-rich foods into your picky eaters’ diets?

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Breakfast Banana Split
Prep Time
10 mins
 

The classic soda fountain treat is given a healthy spin and turned into a delicious, kid-friendly breakfast. Who doesn't want dessert for breakfast?

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 serving
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, peeled and split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam, melted
  • 1 tablespoon date caramel (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 2 maraschino cherries
Instructions
  1. Place banana halves on either side of a sundae dish or larger, shallow bowl. Scoop Greek yogurt in between banana halves and add toppings. Don’t forget the cherries on top!

Recipe Notes

To make the Date Caramel (will make extra): Soak 20 pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor with 4 tablespoons water and 4 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Pulse until a smooth puree forms into a thick caramel consistency. Store any extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:

Honey Citrus Detox Elixir

Because sometimes you just need a drink that makes you feel GOOD.

Honey Citrus Detox Elixir | CaliGirlCooking.com
This is another in a series of posts I’ve done in partnership with Sonoma Syrup Co. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

I’m mixing things up today by bringing you what I believe turned out to be a phenomenal “mocktail.” This Honey Citrus Detox Elixir will leave you feeling healthy, refreshed and energized for whatever your day has in store for you.  It’s good for both your body and your tastebuds, and I promise you won’t even notice that there’s no alcohol involved.

What IS involved is Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Organic Apple Cider Infused Drinking Vinegar, which I have fallen deeply in love with ever since I started my partnership with them almost a year ago. Funny story about said apple cider vinegar: when I first got my hands on a bottle, I got so excited by seeing the words “with Lemon and Vanilla” in small print on the label that I quickly took a big glug to taste. Mmmmm…not the smartest move. It tasted like a darn good version of apple cider vinegar, but it was still vinegar and my face proceeded to screw up into a tight pucker.

BUT, the next morning, I added it to my usual lemon water concoction (let me know if you’re interested in seeing the recipe!) and O.M.G. Amaze-balls. Seriously, when combined with everything else and warmed up a little bit, it actually made my morning libation pleasing to sip on rather than chugging it all down as quickly as possible.

So, when Sonoma Syrup Co. approached me about making a drink using their Organic Apple Cider Infused Drinking Vinegar, I jumped at the chance. I was so excited to try out some other flavor combinations to showcase the uniqueness of this product, and this Honey Citrus Detox Elixir is the ultra-tasty, body cleansing result.

Honey Citrus Detox Elixir | CaliGirlCooking.com

To give you a quick overview, apple cider vinegar has been on the up-and-up in the health and wellness scenes for the last couple of years, and for good reason. It promotes healthy cholesterol, can aid in weight loss and improves nutrient absorption, among other things. Experts in the health community recommend anywhere from one teaspoon to one tablespoon per day (best if mixed with water or other liquids,) so mix up a Honey Citrus Detox Elixir and you’ll have all of the recommended ACV (along with a healthy dose of Vitamin C from the oranges and lemon) that you need in a day.

I used all-natural products for this elixir, no artificial or processed ingredients whatsoever. We’re talking fresh squeezed OJ and lemon juice (many thanks to our landlords who decided to plant a plethora of citrus trees on our property a couple of years ago,) local honey for some sweetness, and turmeric and cinnamon to add even more anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting benefits.

Honey Citrus Detox Elixir | CaliGirlCooking.com

I don’t know about you, but I think I may be turning to a Honey Citrus Detox Elixir as my drink of choice a bit more often for the foreseeable future. You know I’m all about that balance after all, and when there’s a non-alcoholic option that’s THIS good, you’ll hardly even miss the buzz, and won’t even have to worry about a hangover tomorrow morning!

Honey Citrus Detox Elixir | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Honey Citrus Detox Elixir
Prep Time
5 mins
 

A fun, healthy and delicious mocktail that will boost your metabolism and deliver a healthy punch of Vitamin C, the perfect drink for this time of year!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 drink
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (the juice from about 3 oranges)
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sonoma Syrup Co. Organic Apple Cider Infused Drinking Vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds, then pour into a glass. If honey sticks to bottom of cocktail shaker, simply scoop out and stir into the poured drink (as much as possible.)

Honey Citrus Detox Elixir | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

Spicy Beet Poke

Reinventing the wheel right here ↓

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, I have to admit that this wasn’t my own inventive idea, but I do have to say I’m pretty darn excited that I’ve created my own version to enjoy WHENEVER I want. Spicy Beet Poke is going to be my jam for the foreseeable future.

I first tasted Beet Poke at Mud Hen Water on my trip to Honolulu in November. As soon as I took a bite, I kicked myself for not having thought of this idea myself. Basically, we’re talking all of the delicious flavors that go into making the classic ahi poke, but subbing in this hearty, sweet root vegetable instead of the fish. The version I had at Mud Hen Water was dressed as classic ahi poke is, but me being the heat-lover that I am, I had to go ahead and spice it up a bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I love good old Spicy Poke with fresh ahi just as much (or more) than the next gal, but I love it soooo much that sometimes I think I should cool it on my raw ahi intake (or drink a ton of green tea to counteract the mercury!) I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, balance is the key.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

P.S. Did you know my Spicy Poke Bowls are the number one pinned recipe on Pinterest??

This is also a great alternative for those who either (a) do not like or (b) cannot eat raw fish. I’m all about finding alternative versions of dishes that everyone can enjoy!

Plus, did I mention how healthy this Spicy Beet Poke is? Beets are chock full of Vitamin C, potassium and folate, and the dressing is incredibly light yet super flavorful. We use sesame oil and soy sauce, and feel free to use low-sodium soy if you’re watching your sodium intake. For the spice, we throw in some sambal oelek (aka Korean chili paste), and of course we need to add in the classic sliced green onions and white sesame seeds, for both great color AND flavor.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

In other words, this is the PERFECT dish for kicking off your New Year’s healthy eating resolutions on the right foot. And, if you roast the beets ahead of time, it comes together in less than 10 minutes flat. Healthy AND quick, how about that?

We’re heading back from Lake Tahoe today and, although it was so fun spending such quality time with our parents, I’m excited to get back home and get back into my routine again. I’m also working on my goals and content for 2017, so please let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see more of here at CaliGirl Cooking for the New Year.

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll see you on Friday with a “healthy” cocktail recipe!

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Spicy Beet Poke
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A vegan take on the classic Hawaiian ahi poke, with beets taking place of the fish and a spicy kick that will keep you coming back for more!

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 medium beets, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (or sriracha)
  • Seaweed salad, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place beets on a jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle on olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss a bit to combine. Roast in oven for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the beets with a fork. Remove and place in refrigerator until cold to the touch, at least 30 minutes.

  2. Remove the cold beets from the refrigerator and cut into cubes. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Add green onions, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil and sambal oelek and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with seaweed salad. This dish is best served cold.

Spicy Beet Poke | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

It’s so healthy you can eat the whole thing!!