I don’t know why (maybe because they’re not that widespread yet?) but I love a good tea cocktail. Whether served cold or hot, I think they’re a fun, semi-healthy way to kick back and relax while enjoying a good drink. This Tropical Tea Zinger is perfect for summer, served cold over ice with the refreshing addition of spicy ginger beer and fresh orange juice.
I first ventured into the world of tea cocktails with this Pineapple Green Tea Martini, which I must say would also be a fantastic one to whip up this time of year when the weather is warm and tropical flavors sound like the best thing ever (and if you can actually drink booze right now!)
Then, during some of the colder months, I ventured into the boozy hot tea category with this Warming Ginger Tea Whiskey Cocktail and this Elder-Berry Tea Cocktail. I love both of these on cool fall or winter afternoons and evenings, which I might mention are just around the corner! [Side note: Has anyone else been seeing pumpkin slowly creeping back onto the scene already? On one hand it feels so soon to me but on the other I can’t wait for everything pumpkin season to arrive!]
This Tropical Tea Zinger is a perfect balance between the cold boozy tea martini and the hot toddy types that we need to shelve for another month or two. It’s cool and refreshing, yet does not contain any of the hard stuff. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t object if you wanted to perk it up a bit with some whiskey 😉
My mom always has some homemade iced tea sitting in her refrigerator whenever I visit, and this time I was excited to find some decaf Lipton Tropical Iced Tea waiting in a huge pitcher. It’s been so refreshing to sip on during this warm weather, I immediately knew I wanted to use it to make this week’s mocktail!
While I love unsweetened iced tea, in order to make it mocktail-worthy I felt like it needed a little sweetness and spice. I turned to my good ol’ non-alcoholic friend, ginger beer, for some unexpected fizz and that gingery tang, and then added some fresh orange juice to sweeten the deal and give the tea a whole other dimension. Let’s just say I immediately fell in love, and I’m pretty sure you would, too.
Plus, it’s Friday, which means a Tropical Tea Zinger – whether you booze it up or not – is the perfect way to reward yourself after a long week and kick off a relaxing weekend. I know I’ll be kicking up my feet with a few of these at the ‘rents’ house. What exciting things will you be bringing these Zingers too this weekend??
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Tropical Tea Zinger
A refreshing iced tea-based mocktail full of tropical flavor and plenty of zing from spicy ginger beer and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
3ouncesLipton Tropical Iced Tea, brewed and brought to room temperature (or chilled)
1ouncefresh-squeezed orange juice
Citrus leaves and an orange wedge, for garnish (optional)
Pour all ingredients into a tall glass filled with ice. Stir gently to combine.
Garnish with citrus leaves and an orange wedge, if desired.
The best Monday breakfast you could ever hope for.
That’s right. This PB&J Quinoa Bowl will change the way you view beginning-of-the-week breakfasts forever, and I don’t think you’ll be one bit mad about it.
I don’t know about you, but the weekends always feel like a crazy whirlwind of fun for me, and it’s always just a little bit tough to go to bed on Sunday night knowing I have to wake up and face the “real world” the next day. Yes, I work from home and yes, many feel that’s quite the luxury, but I promise it’s still not easy. If anything, I feel more accountable for being productive, especially after an event-filled weekend like the one I just had.
I’ve been up north at the parents’ house since last Wednesday and I’ll actually be working from up here for the next week due to a heavy influx of close friend and family obligations. I helped cater one of my good friends’ baby showers this past Saturday and next weekend we have a family birthday party, so I just decided to forego 8 extra hours in the car (no bueno for a pregnant mamma!) and stay up here for the week.
The downside of that is, now I’m here surrounded by family, and they all have fun, exciting things that they want to do, yet I still need to be sure I find the time to actually WORK and get done what I need to get done since I’m still held accountable for doing my job, even when I’m not physically at my “home base.” Does anyone else struggle with this? Please tell me you do and give me pointers!
But enough about my time management/life balancing skills, let’s talk about what we REALLY need to get out on the table today (both literally and figuratively) – these PB&J Quinoa Bowls!
Real life talk: this is another recipe where I have to give all creative credit to a favorite eating establishment of mine. When I first moved to Santa Barbara, one of the things I remember being most excited about was the fact that they had an entire eatery based around the concept of one of my favorite breakfasts – the acai bowl! Yes, I get excited about these things because, hey, I am a food blogger. And there most definitely were no such places in Napa, where I lived previously.
Let me tell you a little bit about Backyard Bowls and why it is so amazing. Well, they literally have any sort of acai bowl you can imagine – green bowls, power bowls, tropical bowls – you name it! Then on top of that they have a whole list of smoothies, PLUS a line of non-acai bowls that are also healthy and taste absolutely amazing. This is the section of the menu where the PB&J Quinoa Bowl resides.
When I was still working in a “real office” full time, a PB&J Quinoa Bowl from Backyard Bowls was one of my favorite breakfasts to pick up on my way to work and eat at my desk, especially if I had a long day ahead of me where I didn’t know what time I’d be able to get to any sort of lunch.
It’s chock full of protein, yet still tastes indulgent at the same time. And the quinoa, oh the quinoa. If you have never ventured into the world of quinoa served oatmeal-style for breakfast, I highly recommend you do so soon (you can try this Banana Peach Breakfast Quinoa with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans while you’re at it.) It is so tasty, super healthy, and full of protein. And yes, quinoa tastes just as good with sweet breakfast-y ingredients as it does with savory dinner-y ingredients.
So here’s the PB&J Quinoa Bowl scoop: First off, you literally cook it just as you would oatmeal. And instead of cooking it using water as the liquid, you’ll use good ol’ cashew milk. In fact, you could really use any sort of regular OR nut milk, I just used cashew because I was trying to really capture Backyard Bowls’ take on the whole thing and that’s what they use. But it’s totally up to you!
Once the quinoa is cooked (but while it’s still warm) you’ll stir in a little additional cashew (or other) milk along with your favorite peanut butter to make it extra creamy.
That’s it as far as cooking goes! The next bit, the toppings, is what really takes your PB&J Quinoa Bowl over the edge. First off, your favorite jelly is KEY. I’m quite the traditionalist and prefer to stick to strawberry jam, but feel free to use your own creative license here and use whatever your little heart desires.
Next, you’ll want to add some texture with nicely toasted slivered almonds. They add the perfect crunch to an otherwise texturally one-dimensional bowl. And are such a fun contrast to the peanut butter!
Finally, slice up some fresh banana and fan that out over top. Because what’s a breakfast bowl without a sliced banana topping?
Long story short, this PB&J Quinoa Bowl is a super easy and insanely delicious recipe that needs to make an appearance in your kitchen ASAP. It’s the perfect breakfast to really turn a week around and I guarantee you won’t be mad about it once your piping hot bowl is sitting in front of you on a Monday morning before heading to work.
Grab the recipe below and here’s to another productive week ahead! Xo
PB&J Quinoa Bowl
Protein-packed quinoa gets a morning makeover when cooked with your favorite nut milk and swirled with peanut butter and jam, plus even more delicious toppings!
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
1 1/2cupsrinsed tricolor quinoa
3cupsunsweetened cashew milk, divided
1/4 cuppeanut butter, plus more for topping (if desired)
1/2cupslivered almonds, toasted
Bring quinoa, 2 ½ cups of the cashew milk and honey to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally.
Turn down the heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 10 more minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in additional ½ cup of cashew milk, salt and peanut butter.
Scoop quinoa into 2-4 bowls and top with strawberry jelly, almonds, banana and more peanut butter, if desired.
On Wednesday, I asked if any of you would be interested in some maternity-focused posts, and the answer was an overwhelming yes. I’ve got a long list of topics I hope to share with you, but for this first post I thought I’d start off where most ladies’ minds roam to as soon as they get pregnant – where to find the best maternity clothes!
Get real moment: When I first started looking for maternity clothes – which for me wasn’t until about 14 weeks or so – I was a little disappointed. First off, I felt like none of them were my style, and that in fact they looked like something someone about 10 years older than me would be wearing (and ladies, I’m 32!) Yes, there were a couple of brands with incredibly cute things, but they were GD expensive and who wants to shell out hundreds of dollars for clothes they will only be wearing for a few months? Not this gal.
Then the second challenge was my height and build. I’m 6’2”, with a very athletic build (i.e. strong quads and broad shoulders) so, although over the years I’ve found which REGULAR clothing brands fit me best, this maternity style was a whole new world to me. It took a lot of research (and ordering things online then returning them) to figure out which affordable brands worked best for my body type.
One of the things that has been most helpful to me in deciding what I need as far as maternity and nursing clothing, what we need to have on hand for Baby D. right when she is born, etc. has been suggestions from new-parent friends and other bloggers. My hope is that this post of what I’ve personally found to be my own functional maternity style will help many other expectant mammas out there as they embark on this exciting journey.
So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite wardrobe pieces and resources so far!
Gap: Great options for affordable workout tops and bottoms.
Old Navy:I haven’t bought any workout tops from them, but I have about three pairs of leggings from them that I love! They’re a really good deal (especially if you can catch a sale) and there are lots of fun color and design options available, so you’re not stuck with plain black.
Lululemon: They don’t offer maternity clothes (yet!) but some of my absolute favorite things I’ve been wearing throughout my pregnancy have been from there. As soon as you find out you are pregnant (and even if you’re not), you HAVE TO invest in some Lululemon Align Leggings. They are THE BEST!! I love them so much and they are soooo comfortable. I went up one size from the size I normally get there to be safe but you may even be able to wear your normal size throughout your pregnancy. I have also been wearing a lot of their Cool Racerback Tanks, just in a couple sizes bigger for extra length.
For day-to-day style…
Kohl’s: I honestly went to the Kohl’s website first to check out Lauren Conrad’s line of maternity clothes, but ended up buying this Off-the-Shoulder Babydoll Dress and the black off-the-shoulder top in the photos (sorry, no longer available) from the a:glow brand instead. I love them both!
Athleta: Again, not maternity clothes, but I have basically lived in my black maxi dress with built-in bra from them and I’m also still able to fit in my white linen pants (that conveniently have a drawstring waistband AND an elastic band for extra coverage.) I had bought both of these things in Tall from them a couple years ago and, although they’re no longer available, the website is worth checking out for things you can wear through maternity and beyond!
Old Navy: Basic tank dresses like this red one. Dresses have been THE most comfortable thing for me to wear throughout this entire pregnancy!
For special occasion wear…
ASOS Maternity: This website is such a gem! I don’t have photos of anything I’ve gotten from them in this post, but if you’ve followed my Insta-stories you’ll have seen I bought my baby shower dress there. Not only do they carry TALL maternity sizes, they also have a fantastic return policy and their pricing is spot on. Definitely check them out!
Old Navy: I bought this tropical-inspired maxi pictured here on a whim and have received a ton of compliments on it. It’s no longer available but keep your eye out because there are always new styles coming online!
Flash Sale Sites: Some of my best resources for stylish maternity clothes (at a slightly better than normal price) have been flash sale sites like Gilt, RueLaLa and HauteLook.
*Tip when buying bras during pregnancy: Always go for a nursing, not just a maternity, option so you can get a few more months of wear out of the bigger sizes you’re forced to get due to your rapidly changing body! I have not included regular bras in my suggestions here because I feel they are such a personal decision. I highly recommend finding a store with a big selection that you can try on. This is one thing I splurged and went to our super-expensive maternity store in Santa Barbara for.
Jessica Simpson for Motherhood: Even though you technically get her stuff at Motherhood Maternity stores, I had to give a little separate shout out to my girl Jessica Simpson. I LOVE my Jessica Simpson Lace Trim Maternity Nightgown (yay for cute babydoll nighties that aren’t wayyyy too short on me!) and I have also been a huge fan of her Clip Down Shelf Bra Nursing Camis (cute, comfy and functional.)
J. Crew:Dreamy Pant in Black, Tall. Again, these are not maternity, but (a) I love that they come in the long inseam and (b) they are soooo comfy. Plus, they’re forgiving and stretchy so you can grow into them as your pregnancy progresses!
H&M: Did you know that H&M has a maternity line on their website? Great for cheap, trendy basics, and I fell in love with their MAMA Boy Shorts. And yes, you will be growing out of your chonies along with all of your other clothing! Plus, these will be great for immediately post-pregnancy as well with full coverage and a lower waistband.
Those are all of my favorites so far! Did I miss anything? If you’ve already gone through the whole pregnancy thing, what were some of your favorite resources for clothing? Share in the comments below!
That’s exactly what this Fresh Raspberry Mint Limeade is. It’s the perfect drink for summer and, yes, in case you were wondering, you can easily booze it up 😉 Just add a shot or two of vodka!
Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been a big fan of acidic drinks with just a hint of sweetness. Whenever we go somewhere that I’m ordering a mocktail, if the bartender asks me what kind of drinks I like, my answer is always “Not too sweet!” I also tend to notice that baby gets more active when I have the juicy, acidic stuff, which is always exciting and fun.
But regardless of having weird pregnancy cravings/tendencies, this Fresh Raspberry Mint Limeade is most definitely a winner. If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of processed foods (including juices) and try to make things from scratch whenever possible. No, I’m not a health nut, but I do care about quality, unprocessed food and minimal preservatives and additives.
The lemon- or limeade you’ll find at most grocery stores is often loaded with sugar, artificial dyes and who knows what else, so I always try to make my own as much as possible. And no, you do not need a truckload of citrus to make a decent glass of limeade. For example, for this Fresh Raspberry Mint Limeade, I only used about 1 cup of fresh lime juice, which is approximately a dozen limes.
And the raspberries. Ohhhh the raspberries. Don’t they lend just the most beautiful color? I couldn’t resist snapping some photos of the limeade before stirring because of that beautiful layered look you get with the raspberries on the bottom, the limeade on top and the garnish of bright green mint, but you’ll definitely want to give the drink a good stir before drinking so you can get all the flavors to meld.
As delicious as fresh limes and raspberries are, the two together can be pretty tart and acidic, so to sweeten things up a bit we use good ol’ simple syrup. We keep a stash of this brand on hand, but you can also easily make your own by boiling up equal parts sugar and water until you get a thicker, syrupy consistency. It’s a great ingredient on hand, even if you’re only making alcohol-free cocktails!
The other thing I love about all citrus is how easy it is to juice! Whether you’re going for orange juice, lemonade or limeade, you can easily make it with a hand squeezer. No fancy juicer necessary. I don’t know about you, but we have no room whatsoever for any other appliances in our kitchen so, as much as I’d love to have fresh juice of any kind on hand at any given moment, I’m happy to settle for all the citruses, like this Fresh Raspberry Mint Limeade!
By this time you may be wondering how we work the raspberries, which are clearly not a citrus fruit, into the limeade and give it that beautiful pink color (it’s electric, I swear!) Well, my friends, that’s where we turn to one of our good ol’ bartending skills – muddling! This is one of my other favorite tricks for adding fresh fruit flavor (no pre-bottled, additive-laden junk) to a drink, and raspberries are soft and juicy enough to release all their sweet flavor with just a quick little mash in the bottom of your glass.
And the mint, of course we can’t forget the mint! This is the perfect finishing touch and adds just the perfect hit of subtle flavor to an already refreshing drink. I mean, there’s no better way to make a mocktail fancy then to add some fresh herb-y flavor and a beautiful garnish, am I right?
Now, it’s Friday, we’ve got two days of play ahead of us, and the weather is undoubtedly warm wherever you are (unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, that is) so what do you say we whip up some Fresh Raspberry Mint Limeade and call it a day?
Fresh Raspberry Mint Limeade
This citrus quencher is loaded with fresh limes and raspberries, with a touch of mint to really bring it over the top. Add vodka for a delicious cocktail!
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
4-6ouncessimple syrup (depending on how sweet you want your drinks)
10fresh mint leaves, plus 2 mint sprigs for garnish
1cupfresh lime juice (approximately 12 limes)
Divide raspberries, simple syrup and mint leaves evenly into the bottom of two highball glasses. Muddle ingredients in each glass until the raspberries release their juices.
Fill highball glasses to the top with ice. Top with fresh lime juice.
That’s right. Due to my current state, we’re going to forego the boozy drink recipe for this Friday before the Fourth of July and instead sip on a delicious, HEALTHY Red, White and Blueberry Blender. Sound good? Glad you’re on board with me.
Let’s get real for a minute: TBH, I was really nervous to stop posting boozy drinks every week once I got pregnant because they happen to be some of my most popular posts (y’all love your cocktails!) I eased into it by posting some drinks that have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options (don’t worry, those will still be making regular appearances) and, to my surprise, those recipes were still getting lots of love.
Also, a selfish part of me has been really missing cocktails these days, so I have been really into creating mocktails that are just as delicious. Because, at the end of my often crazy busy days, this gal just really needs a delicious beverage to kick her feet up and enjoy!
So, to celebrate the Fourth of July this week, I had this grand idea to create something along the lines of a patriotic version of this Twisted Tropical Blender. Alas, that turned into a massive recipe fail (I just couldn’t get the measurements/ratios of red-to-white-to-blue right) and so here I was with loads of berries and coconut cream and nothing to show for it.
But you know what? My new mantra lately has been to, in the words of Taylor Swift, “shake it off” and not stress too much about things not going quite as I had planned, so I decided to get creative and instead make a delicious, berry-licious smoothie that’s super easy to make and that everyone will love.
Look at it this way: With all of the delicious, indulgent foods you’ll be enjoying over the next four days (and trust me, I’ll be sharing some with you soon,) you’re going to be needing something simple and healthy like this Red, White and Blueberry Blender to balance everything out. You know I’m all about that balance!
I mean, if you start your day with a smoothie, that gives you freedom to indulge just a little bit more for your other meals of the day, am I right?
So here’s the deal, you’re going to want to hit up your local TJ’s (or favorite grocery store) and stock up on all of the frozen berries you can find. I used blueberries, cherries and strawberries, but if you feel like subbing in raspberries or blackberries, by all means, go for it!
Then you’re going to want to get some coconut cream. We’re not talking Coco Lopez here, which is loaded with sugar, but rather the thicker version of coconut milk. I know Trader Joe’s has a good generic brand, and you can also find it on Amazon here.
Aside from frozen berries, coconut cream and ice, there’s just one secret ingredient to this Red, White and Blueberry Blender that really takes it over the top: my favorite new mocktail addition, orgeat! Orgeat is a sweet syrup made from almonds and either orange or rose water. I’ve been totally digging it in things like this Pineapple Orgeat Fizz and it’s definitely worth adding a bottle to your next Amazon Prime order to have on hand for all your summer cocktail and mocktail needs.
Throw everything in a blender, and you’ll have a fancy, festive and healthy smoothie in your hands in no time. If you ask me, there’s no better way to kick off a day at the beach or lounging by the pool!
Red, White and Blueberry Blender
This smoothie is the perfect festive, healthy treat for the Fourth of July, full of fresh berry and coconut flavor, plus a secret ingredient!
Course: Breakfast, Drinks
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
113.5 ouncecan coconut cream
3cupsfrozen berries (I used blueberries, strawberries and cherries)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until combined. Divide mixture evenly among two glasses and garnish each one with a fresh strawberry.