The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Who’s ready for a healthy, festive smoothie to kick off the weekend?

The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie is filled with tons of healthy ingredients yet tastes just like dessert!

Meeeee!!! And guys, this Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie is one for the books. It’s creamy, smooth and perfectly sweet, with all the fall flavors you could ever imagine in one frosty glass. It’s certainly won me over as my smoothie of choice for the next couple of months, and I’m pretty sure it will be yours too once you give it a shot.

I mean, who knew that something so full of healthy ingredients could taste so dreamy? We’re talking pureed pumpkin, cooked sweet potato, yogurt, etc. plus everything you’d add to your favorite pumpkin baked goods like pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla extract. If you’re a pumpkin-lover, you seriously can’t go wrong with this one.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of nutrient-loaded smoothies for my first meal of the day. Although the hubs and I usually go for this Power Protein Smoothie, sometimes (if we’re feeling like we need an extra hit of hydration) we go for this Recovery Smoothie. And now that we have The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, we have just the smoothie to turn to for the entire fall season!

You can top The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with some granola and fresh fruit to turn it into an even heartier breakfast.

Let’s talk about these ingredients real quick, because I’m guessing you probably did a bit of a double take when you saw the words “sweet potato” up there. Just trust me on this one. They are seriously THE perfect addition to this smoothie, not only for some extra creaminess and a touch of sweetness, but also because they (along with the pumpkin) add a HUGE dose of Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, plus an assortment of B vitamins and inflammation-fighting potassium.

Now you tell me, who doesn’t want a breakfast that is this healthy but tastes like a decadent dessert?

The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie is the perfect healthy fall breakfast that comes together in a flash.

The other great thing about The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (besides how delicious it tastes) is that it’s equally enjoyable served two different ways:

  1. You can drink it straight up from a glass with a straw OR
  2. You can top it with some granola and extra fruit (maybe even peanut butter?) and make it into a tasty smoothie bowl.

It’s up to you, pick your poison!

I hope you all have a wonderful fall weekend filled with lots of delicious pumpkin food and drink!

The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie is the perfect healthy weekday breakfast for fall.

The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This pumpkin pie smoothie takes all of your favorite flavors of fall and turns them into a healthy breakfast perfect for any day of the week!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 2 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 bananas, cut into chunks and frozen
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into chunks and boiled until tender
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve smoothie in two glasses with a straw or in bowls topped with your favorite smoothie bowl toppings.

Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink

Thirst quenching to the max!

This Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink is a naturally sweetened alternative to all those sugary sports drinks out there.

To be completely transparent here, I’ve started writing these posts a bit in advance since our little girl could be making her entrance into the world any day now. I came up with this Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink recipe in the hopes that I could have some on hand when I start going into labor. (My days of overly sweetened Gatorade are behind me.) For the latest updates on whether Baby D has arrived yet, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

But seriously, I’m really excited to share this recipe with you, and even more excited to have a hydrating Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink recipe in my back pocket for when I can finally get back to working out at my normal (fairly high) intensity, or even when I just need to replenish after a higher-than-normal level of partying or a long day of travel.

This Homemade Citrus Electrolyte will rehydrate and replenish you after a hard workout!

Staying hydrated hadn’t always been really important to me, but when I was spending almost every waking hour during high school playing volleyball, I learned firsthand what a difference a drink with some electrolytes and potassium can make in performance and recovery.

I think it was my freshman year the first time I experienced extreme dehydration. It was a couple of hours after I had gotten home from a long day of volleyball, and all of a sudden a horrific migraine came on…My eyesight was blurry, I had a horrible headache, and any light or noise just made everything ten times worse. Oh, and the nausea…It was INTENSE. It got so bad that I threw up and the only thing that seemed to make me feel better (aside from laying in a dark, quiet room with my eyes closed for a few hours) was a big jug of cold Gatorade.

I quickly learned that, due to the amount of sweat I was losing during training, I needed to be replenishing my body with more than just straight water DURING these times. I started bringing Gatorade with me to every practice and game, and made sure I sipped on it continuously throughout. Although the dehydration migraines have happened to me a few more times since then, it really is a one-off and I can usually pinpoint why they happened after they do.

This Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink comes together with just a few simple ingredients and is way better than any store-bought sports drink!

Of course, the peak of my athletic days (high school and college, more than 10 years ago) were way before trendy coconut water made its way onto the scene, and I am very happy to now have that as a more natural rehydration option as opposed to artificially sweetened (and colored) Gatorade. Coconut water is now my go-to when I’ve been through an intense workout or feel the need to fill my body with all the good electrolytes and potassium.

This Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink does indeed contain coconut water, but there are a few other ingredients that make it extra-special and hydrating, namely citrus juice, Himalayan pink sea salt and some maple syrup for a touch of natural sweetness.

A frosty serving of this Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink is all you need after a tough workout!

Here’s everything those components contribute to us when put them together in a big ol’ Mason jar and chug it down:

Coconut water – Contains more potassium than a banana

Fresh citrus juice – Also contains potassium and immune-boosting Vitamin C

Himalayan pink sea salt – Creates an electrolyte balance

Maple syrup – Contains antioxidants and fights inflammation

As you can see, not only is this Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink perfect for athletes/workout enthusiasts, it’s also going to be a godsend for me as I go through this crazy thing called labor. It also comes together quickly and can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a few days, so you can prep it and have it on hand at a moment’s notice!

A serving of this Homemade Electrolyte Drink will get you back on your feet in no time.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited to have this to sip on during labor and throughout my recovery. It’s such a better alternative than sports drinks and I’m all about getting back on my feet (and in the gym) as soon as I’m medically cleared to do so.

Tell me, do you have any tips for rehydration and/or making it through labor? I’m all ears!

This post contains affiliate links.

Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This homemade version of a replenishing sports drink has tons of health benefits and way fewer artificial sugars than any store-bought version.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 drink
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup coconut water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Mason jar (with a lid) and shake to combine.

  2. Add ice and enjoy immediately or place in the refrigerator to have on hand at a moment’s notice (just be sure to shake again before drinking.)

Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink | CaliGirlCooking.com

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar

It’s the final countdown!

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar are the perfect healthy breakfast for busy mornings on-the-go.

Two weeks (plus or minus a few days) until Baby D’s due date and things are getting real. I’m rushing around trying to get a bunch of things done before she gets here, but I’m also trying not to stress myself out too much because I know right now I need to be focusing on relaxing and not being too exhausted whenever I go into labor. I’ve got a few meals (and baked goods) stocked in the freezer and I have to say that one of the things I’m looking forward to the most are these Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar, so naturally I wanted to share them with you!

I’ve had these in my mind to make for quite some time, and I figured there’s no time like the present to give them a shot. I mean, who doesn’t want single-serve batches of brown sugar and maple-flavored oatmeal ready to go at a moment’s notice when they’ve got a newborn baby in their arms?

Not only is it a quick and easy breakfast or snack solution for what I’m sure is going to be a crazy time for us, I also hear oatmeal is good for lactation and, since I’m trying to breastfeed as much as possible, I want to get that milk flowing!

Two bowls of Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal with Maple and Syrup ready to be devoured for a healthy breakfast.

If you’re as much of a fan of Trader Joe’s as I am, then you may have come across THEIR version of freezer oatmeal packs which I absolutely love. I haven’t made them much since I’ve been working from home since I have a little more time (and the hubs likes his Protein Power Smoothie in the morning), but when I was working my 9-to-5 I loved being able to pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes and have a delicious bowl of non-instant oatmeal on days it would otherwise be impossible time-wise.

There’s really not anything tricky about my version of Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar. In fact, they’re a meal-prepper’s dream come true. You’ll simply cook up some high-quality oatmeal on a morning you have a little extra time, flavor it with tasty (and very seasonally appropriate) maple syrup and brown sugar, dollop a hefty scoop of said oatmeal in some jumbo muffin tins, and pop them in the freezer.

Once they’re set, you can pop them out of their tins and wrap them up individually for an easy grab-and-go breakfast that everyone in your family is sure to love, not just busy breastfeeding moms!

Create your own Make-Ahead Oatmeal Freezer Cups by scooping homemade oatmeal into jumbo muffin tins and freezing!

Seriously, though, they are like a little taste of homey comfort food that you can enjoy on any day of the week. As long as you have a couple of minutes to give the cups a quick spin in the microwave, you’ll be setting yourself up for a REALLY good day with a tummy full of healthy, filling oatmeal that tastes like it took you at least an hour to make.

Now, enough about delicious Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar, on Friday I promised I would tell you about the fun, surprise-filled weekend we had. It was one we’ve had on tap for at least 5 or 6 months now, basically ever since we found out I was pregnant. Chris’ mom’s 70th birthday is this week (tomorrow, to be exact) and we wanted to do something really special for her.

Unfortunately, since I’m ready to pop any day now, we knew we wouldn’t be able to travel to celebrate with her, so we decided to bring the party here to Santa Barbara. We talked all of Chris’ siblings into coming to town (yes, all four of them, even his sister from Texas!) and rented a sweet house just up the road from ours.

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar make the perfect balanced breakfast for a busy morning.

Chris was able to convince his parents to come visit, but mom thought she was just coming to see us and stay at our house. Little did she know that the whole family would be here, and staying at a beautiful vacation home to boot!

Long story short, we had such a great time hanging out with everyone and celebrating my MIL, but now I think we’re ready to slow down and really take in these last few days as a family of two (well, three if you count our fur baby). We have a couple of date nights and lots of relaxing in our future…Any other suggestions as to what we should do to savor these last few days before our little babe arrives? Let me know in the comments below! (And go make some Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar ASAP!)

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar are the perfect meal-prep for busy mornings on-the-go.

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

These convenient, single-serving oatmeal cups are laced with maple and brown sugar and make the perfect on-the-go breakfast for busy mornings!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 18 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups coconut milk (two 13.5-ounce cans)
  • 8 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Bring coconut milk, water and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add oats. 

  2. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has absorbed into the oats, stirring occasionally, then stir in the brown sugar and maple. 

  3. Spray some jumbo muffin tins with cooking spray and scoop oatmeal evenly into the cups. Place in the freezer until solid, at least a couple of hours or overnight. 

  4. Remove the tins from the freezer and, using a butter knife or small offset spatula, gently loosen the oatmeal cups from each tin. Wrap each cup in plastic wrap and place back in the freezer.

  5. When you’re ready to heat up your oatmeal, take one of the cups, unwrap it and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally if needed and top with any additional toppings you desire. Some of my favorites include nuts, peanut butter and more maple syrup.

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar | CaliGirlCooking.com

Virgin Raspberry Mojitos

Who’s ready for a drink??

Virgin Raspberry Mojitos are a quick and easy, refreshing way to kick off the weekend.

Meeeee!! Oh my goodness, yes please. This has been a long week and I am so ready to kick my feet up and relax (well, as much as possible with all the fam in town) with a Virgin Raspberry Mojito in hand for the next couple of days.

Not only has it been a crazy one workwise this week with me trying to get things prepped and ready for maternity leave, but our precious little fur baby was fixed on Tuesday so we’ve been playing nurse to her and trying to keep her as calm as possible the past few days. Not an easy feat with a 6-month-old golden retriever!

On top of all that excitement, my parents came into town yesterday and my hubs’ parents get here today, so we’ve been hustling trying to get our house (and lives) organized to host them all and be able to spend some quality time with them.

But enough about me, let’s talk about these Virgin Raspberry Mojitos that have become one of my absolute favorite non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy both at home (thanks to this super-easy recipe) and as a special treat at restaurants whenever we go out to eat.

A Virgin Raspberry Mojito is the perfect mocktail - not too sweet and very refreshing!

I love virgin mojitos because they are refreshing and tasty without being overly sweet. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again, I’ve noticed I’ve been extremely sensitive to sugary drinks during this pregnancy, so I would much rather enjoy something like a mojito – with that hit of fresh mint and some acidity from fresh lime juice – than some fruity, blended concoction that’s sure to leave me with a headache minutes later.

For these Virgin Raspberry Mojitos, the only added sugar I used was a little bit of simple syrup to just give a slight balance to the fresh, tart muddled raspberries and sour lime juice. Other than that, you’ll just need some fresh mint and soda water. That’s it!

You’ll muddle the fresh raspberries in a cocktail shaker with the mint, simple syrup and lime juice, shake it up real good, dump it into a glass and top with the club soda. Ready in a flash.

These Virgin Raspberry Mojitos taste as good as they look!

This drink is really unbelievably tasty for how easy it is, so if I were you I’d whip it up just in time to celebrate the weekend. And if you feel like jazzing things up with a little booze, I wouldn’t be one bit upset if you decided to throw in some of the classic white rum.

So what are YOUR plans for the weekend? Does it feel like fall yet where you are or are you in the middle of a late-September heat wave like we are here in Southern California? No matter what the weather’s like, I hope you make time to whip up a Virgin Raspberry Mojito or two!

A Virgin Raspberry Mojito ready to be enjoyed.

Virgin Raspberry Mojitos
Prep Time
5 mins
 

These tasty mocktails strike the perfect balance between sweet, sour and refreshing with loads of fresh raspberries and mint. Add rum to make it boozy!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 14 fresh mint leaves, plus additional sprigs for garnish
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Club soda, to top
Instructions
  1. Muddle the raspberries, mint leaves, simple syrup and lime juice in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Top with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. 

  2. Divide shaker’s contents into two glasses, add more ice if necessary and top each with club soda.

  3. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs and enjoy!

Virgin Raspberry Mojitos | CaliGirlCooking.com

Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

What’s green and orange and purple all over and tastes perfectly in season?

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is the perfect healthy meal for fall, featuring loads of fresh produce and savory pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas!

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette!

I know it’s not technically fall yet (just a few more days!) but after I took a little trip to the Farmer’s Market this past weekend I just couldn’t resist all of the fall produce I was seeing. Okay, maybe I just became obsessed with the fact that here in Santa Barbara we are deep in the throes of a very short fresh fig season, and I can’t help snatching a bunch of them up whenever I see them because I know they may be gone the next time I head out for groceries.

So yes, this salad stars plenty of fresh figs, but it features so many other fun fall things as well. We’re talking sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) and – wait for it – SAVORY PUMPKIN SPICE CHICKPEAS!! You guys, they’re amazing. Perfectly crispy with all that fun pumpkin spice flavor and then a savory hit of garlic. Even if you don’t make the entire Fall Harvest Chopped Salad, please, please, PLEASE make these savory pumpkin spice chickpeas for a healthy, protein-packed snack. You will not be able to get enough!

Savory pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas are the perfect addition to a Fall Harvest Chopped Salad.

And can we talk for a minute about chopped salads? I love salads served in this way (i.e. all of the ingredients already chopped up into bite-size pieces) for multiple reasons, mostly because (a) you can get a taste of every single ingredient in each bite and (b) you don’t have to worry about looking like a complete dinosaur with a giant piece of lettuce hanging out of your mouth when you try to take a bite. Easy to eat, full of flavor – that’s my kind of healthy meal!

Usually I like to keep things simple with salads and keep the cooking to a minimum, but since we’re heading into fall I figured you wouldn’t mind just a little bit of oven/stove time to really make some of these flavors pop.

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is going to quickly become your go-to nutritious lunch or dinner for the season, and those savory pumpkin spice chickpeas are probably most definitely going to become your new favorite healthy snack.

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is the perfect light lunch or dinner to usher in the fall season.

So let’s talk about what all exactly needs to go on here to make this salad come to life.

The only oven time required is for roasting both our sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and the good news is that they can be roasted together, at the same oven temperature, for the same amount of time. How convenient is that?

The only other “cooking” required is toasting up our pepitas, because if there’s one thing I learned during my time as a pastry assistant, it’s that you should be toasting your nuts WHENEVER you are adding them to any sort of recipe. It seriously adds so much flavor and is most definitely worth the extra 10 minutes or so of toasting over the stove.

Aside from the roasting and toasting, all this Fall Harvest Chopped Salad requires is a good tossing in a huge bowl and a drizzle of shallot-tinged apple cider vinaigrette. And speaking of vinaigrette, this one couldn’t be easier. You may have noticed from the other salads I have here on the blog (like this Fall Kale Salad with Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette and this Fresh Fig and Burrata Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts) that I like to keep my dressings simple. I feel like you should really let all of the flavors of whatever produce and other goodies you’re using in the dish shine through and not coat it in a blanket of heavy, creamy, or otherwise overwhelming flavor.

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette feeds a crowd!

The apple cider vinaigrette we drizzle over this fall-forward salad adds the perfect touch of acidity (with a nice apple-y hint of flavor) while the shallots add an extra dimension to all of the other flavors in the mix. My only caution would be to wait and add the dressing right before serving. Since we’re using regular lettuce (as opposed to a heartier green like kale) it will wilt quickly if you leave it soaking in the dressing for too long.

But that’s it! Having this Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette prepped and ready for dinner tonight is not just a possibility, it’s a necessity!

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is the perfect healthy meal or side dish for the busy days of back-to-school.

Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

This seasonal, healthy salad is full of fresh figs, roasted sweet potatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds and savory pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas. 

Course: Main Course, Salad
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the savory pumpkin spice chickpeas:
  • 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
For the roasted sweet potato:
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Other salad ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
  • 8 cups chopped red and green lettuce
  • 6 purple figs, quartered
For the apple cider vinaigrette:
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, toss together all of the chickpea ingredients. Spread mixture over a small jelly roll pan.

  2. In a separate small baking dish, combine all of the roasted sweet potato ingredients.

  3. Place both the chickpeas and the sweet potato in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, open the oven and give the chickpeas a little shake. Roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the chickpeas are crunchy and the sweet potatoes are golden brown and fork tender. Remove and let cool while you prep the rest of the salad.

  4. Place the chopped lettuce in a large salad bowl. Add the figs, pumpkin seeds, sweet potato and chickpeas. 

  5. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a Mason jar. Seal and give a good shake. Drizzle dressing over salad right before serving. 

Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette | CaliGirlCooking.com