Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins (Baby- and Kid-Friendly!)

An easy-to-make muffin loaded with pumpkin puree and shredded carrots. Naturally sweetened with applesauce, these muffins are perfect for kids, babies and adults. A great on-the-go snack!

These one-bowl Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are super simple to make, freezer-friendly and naturally sweetened. They're both adult and kid-friendly!

If you’re looking for a simple, healthier snack for fall, these Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are for you! In fact not just for you, but for your kids, babies, kids’ friends, neighbors, babysitters…Well, you get the idea. They’re sure to please even the pickiest eaters and, since they’re only sweetened with applesauce, you don’t have to worry when your kids keep on going back for more.

As I mentioned in this Healthy Carrot Cake Pancake Recipe post, we opted to do baby-led weaning with our little one and she has shown no sensitivities to eggs, other dairy, gluten, etc. If your little one HAS shown sensitivities to any of these, obviously use your best judgment. Again, mother always knows best!

These one-bowl Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are super simple to make, freezer-friendly and naturally sweetened. They're both adult and kid-friendly!

Since these Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are SUPER easy, and since we’re in Texas busy getting ready for my sis-in-law’s wedding tomorrow, I’m going to keep things short and sweet today. I mean, if you know how to stir a spoon and you know how to operate an oven, you’re in pretty good shape.

These muffins also happen to freeze well, so if you have a minute to bake some up this weekend, you’ll have the perfect treat for your whole family for the next week (if you’re lucky.)

These one-bowl Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are super simple to make, freezer-friendly and naturally sweetened. They're both adult and kid-friendly!

Read on for the recipe!

Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins (Baby- and Kid-Friendly!)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

An easy-to-make muffin loaded with pumpkin puree and shredded carrots. Naturally sweetened with applesauce, these muffins are perfect for kids, babies and adults. A great on-the-go snack!

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: after-school, baby-friendly, breakfast, carrot, freezer-friendly, kid-friendly, muffin, naturally sweetened, pumpkin, snack
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 100 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup spiralized or grated carrot
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. 

  3. Add eggs, pumpkin, applesauce, milk and orange zest and stir until combined. Stir in carrot.

  4. Scoop batter evenly into prepared muffin tins and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 

  5. Cool in muffin tins for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. 

Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

These Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly bars have a honey roasted peanut and oat crust and a jammy strawberry filling. The gluten-free treat is sure to please adults and kids alike!

These Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect gluten-free after-school snack for both kids and adults alike!

Is there any combo more classic or delicious than good ol’ PB&J? I don’t think so. And if you beg to differ, these Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are here to show you what’s up.

To all my fellow Trader Joe’s fans, I know you won’t blame me when I say one of their kitschy products inspired me to make this totally addicting, no-bake recipe. Sure, I’d enjoyed my share of honey roasted peanuts back in the day when my dad would take down that classic Planter’s can from the kitchen shelf after a long day at work, but my indulgence in those sweet and salty goobers stopped as soon as I was responsible for buying my own groceries. It’s not that I didn’t like them, it just never crossed my mind to throw them in the shopping cart.

That all changed, of course, when I saw a gleaming bag of Honey Roasted Peanuts staring back at me from the “What’s New” section of my local TJ’s (anyone else ALWAYS get sucked in by that section?) Let’s just say they’re now a regular item on the hubs’ and my weekly shopping list, and we enjoy them almost daily in the same way my dad always did – as a little late afternoon nibble to hold us over until dinnertime.

I’d been racking my brain trying to figure out some delicious way to work them into a recipe when my Instagram feed was suddenly filled with all my friends’ kids starting their first days of school, holding up those cute letter boards saying what they wanted to be when they grow up, showing off their cute new back-to-school clothes. Almost immediately, I realized the perfect recipe would be something easy and semi-healthy that all these mamas and papas could make as a treat for their little ones after a long day in the classroom.

These Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect gluten-free after-school snack for both kids and adults alike!

We all know that PB&J is a quintessential back-to-school combo, and I was going to make it into something special that these kiddos would look forward to coming home to. Hence, these Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars were born!

I’m all for a little indulgent treat now and then, but I also believe that there are tonnnnns of delicious healthier options we can all choose from every day. So in creating this recipe, I wanted to find the balance between indulgent treat and healthy sweet. The recipe is also extremely easy and requires no baking, so you can make it at any time during the day (or even the night before) and it will be ready to be enjoyed by your hungry little ones as soon as that dismissal bell rings.

These Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect gluten-free after-school snack for both kids and adults alike!

Everything for these Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars comes together in just a couple of easy steps.

First, you’ll want to make a strawberry “jam” that will serve as the top layer of the bars. This is an easy, stovetop process that takes only 20 minutes or so (mostly unattended) so don’t stress because I mentioned the word “jam.” Once you’ve simmered some strawberries, maple syrup and water until everything is broken down and combined, you’ll simply stir in some chia seeds to help it all thicken up and not make TOO big of a mess when you go to cut into everything.

Strawberries simmer over the stove to make a delicious jam for Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.

While your jam is simmering, combine those OG honey roasted peanuts, oats, butter and some dates quickly in a food processor to make a crumb mixture that is then pressed into a baking dish to form the crust. Spread the “jam” over top, pop everything in the refrigerator and, voila! You’ll have these Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars sliced and ready to feed some very hungry little mouths.

A honey roasted peanut and oat crust makes up the base of these Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.

Now, I know I’ve mentioned the kids gobbling these up, but be sure to set aside a few for yourself. You’re not going to want to miss them. Plus, they’re gluten-free! Even more reason for every single person in your family to enjoy them.

These Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect gluten-free after-school snack for both kids and adults alike!

Read on for the recipe!

Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Prep Time
30 mins
Refrigerator time
2 hrs
Total Time
30 mins
 

A tasty, no-bake bar with a honey roasted peanut and oat crust and a jammy strawberry filling, this gluten-free treat is sure to please adults and kids alike!

Course: Dessert
Keyword: after-school, dessert, gluten-free, jelly, kid-friendly, no-bake, peanut butter, snack
Servings: 12 bars
Calories: 200 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the jam:
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds OR 1 teaspoon tapioca flour
For the crust:
  • 1 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 dates, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving enough on each side to assist you in pulling the bars out. Set aside.

  2. Combine the strawberries, maple syrup and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer until fruit is broken down and forms a jam-like consistency. Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds. Let cool slightly. 

  3. While the strawberries are simmering, make the crust. Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles the texture of wet sand. Dump contents of food processor into prepared baking dish and use your fingers to press it evenly along the bottom. 

  4. Spoon cooled strawberry jam on top of the crust and spread evenly. Cover and chill for at least two hours, if not longer. 

  5. Cut into 12 bars and enjoy!

Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers

Today I have for you your new go-to recipe for all your entertaining needs!

These Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers are the perfect accompaniment to your next cheese and charcuterie board!

Once you try these Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers, you’re never going to want to go back to store-bought crackers again. Seriously though, who knew something like homemade crackers could be so easy?

We’re talking seven ingredients, very little prep and bake time, and at least a day’s worth of delicious cheese accompaniments. Your holiday appetizer spread? Never been better.

I’m not sure what possessed me to try making my own crackers, it’s just one of those realms I felt I should venture into at one point or another in my cooking journey. That’s part of what this blog is all about, after all – getting people (myself included) to step out of their comfort zone and learn how to make delicious food that would otherwise seem intimidating or out of reach. I can guarantee that when you tell your holiday houseguests that the crackers gracing your cheese and charcuterie platter are homemade, they’ll be completely wowed and think you’re the most inventive cook on the planet. Promise.

A bowl of Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers.

I’m all about the recipes that seem fancy and complicated but really aren’t, and these Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers most certainly fit into that category. From start to finish, they take under an hour to make, making them totally attainable on any day of the week, no matter your schedule.

There are really no special ingredients in these bad boys, just the usual culprits: flour, salt, buttermilk and, of course, olive oil and rosemary. Oh, and a little maple syrup for a touch of sweetness! All of the ingredients get incorporated into a (somewhat dry) dough, rolled out as thin as possible and cut into the desired shape before baking. After a quick 20-25 minute turn in the oven, you’ll have a tray full of delicious Homemade Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers ready to serve to your hungry troops.

Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers ready for a quick turn in the oven.

This recipe makes enough for two very hungry or four mildly hungry guests, but if you’re entertaining a crowd, I suggest doubling up because these puppies are going to disappear FAST. The only caution I would give you is that they are best served the day they are baked, so only cook up as much as you think you’ll need. Since they’re so easy to make, you’ll be able to whip them up anytime the desire strikes!

Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers adorn a delicious cheese and fruit platter.

I hope this weekend has been treating you well. It’s been an eventful one over here at CGC headquarters, with one of my good friends giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, our fur baby getting spayed (:() and me cooking up a storm to get a bit ahead of the game for when baby girl comes in just a few short weeks.

We have our second baby shower here in Santa Barbara this weekend and are looking forward to seeing a bunch of our family and friends and of course eating a ton of delicious food. I may even see some Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers in my very near future…

Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

These homemade crackers are studded with rosemary and olive oil and so easy to make - the perfect addition to your next cheese platter!

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl, then stir in the remaining ingredients to form a somewhat crumbly dough. 

  3. Using your hands, mold the dough into a thick square or rectangle. 

  4. Sandwiching the dough between two pieces of parchment, use a rolling pin to roll it out as thin as possible, keeping it in as much of a rectangle or square as possible. 

  5. Once you have your dough as thin as you can get it, remove the top piece of parchment paper and cut the dough into the desired shapes. (I cut mine into small rectangles.)

  6. Place cut cracker dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the crackers take on a golden brown color. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. Best if served the day they are baked. 

Homemade Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers | CaliGirlCooking.com

Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam

I’m back and I have the most summery, refreshing recipe to share with you today!

Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam packaged up in cute little Mason jars make the perfect gift!

This Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam is the perfect condiment to stock up on in your refrigerator for these hot months to come, especially if you’ve got a slight phobia of the whole canning process and can’t bring yourself to make true, legit “jam” (oh hi, hello, that’s me!)

Yes, that’s right, even yours truly has a few things on her “yet to conquer in the kitchen” list, and homemade jam is one of them. To be honest, my in-laws are experts in this regard and always keep our pantry loaded with allll the flavors of fresh jam you can imagine – grape, strawberry, blackberry, you name it! So I’ve really had no reason to make my own. Until now, that is.

But first, let’s catch up on our lives for this past week-and-a-half! I so appreciate your patience and understanding as I took a much-needed break from allll work. It was really nice not having to break my back getting content pre-loaded before I left, and being able to (mostly) stay away from my computer and phone during our entire trip which, speaking of, was AMAZING. Much more like the honeymoon we expected and dreamed of – no hurricanes for us to get caught in this time!

I’ll be working on a Travel Diaries recap all about Kauai soon, but in the meantime I want to tell you all about this Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam!

A dish of Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam at the ready is the perfect addition to your breakfast spread!

I’ve had the idea of cantaloupe jam on my content list for a while now. In fact, it’s been so long that I can’t even remember what my original inspiration was. But it’s safe to say that cantaloupe jam isn’t a jam flavor you see every day, and it becomes even more of a treat when it involves no “canning” and fresh vanilla extract and chia seeds. Plus, it’s so delicious!

So here’s the scoop: All you need as far as special equipment is a blender and a couple of resealable glass containers. I used Mason jars (which do not need to be sterilized for this recipe like most jam recipes require) but you can really use any sort of glass Tupperware.

And, aside from the special equipment (which, let’s be real, is not that “special”), this Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam involves only FIVE ingredients!! That’s right, just five. The hardest part about it is going to be waiting overnight for those chia seeds to expand and really set that jam up so it’s the perfect, spreadable consistency.

Once your Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam has set up overnight, the possibilities are endless. Spread it on any baked good, or toast up some bread and slather it with cream cheese before adding a layer of the jam on top. You could also swirl it into some Greek yogurt and top with crunchy granola. Any way you eat it, it’s going to be delicious!

Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam is perfect to spread on a fresh piece of sourdough toast.

The only word of caution I would share about this recipe is, because you do not go through the full-on canning process, there is a time stamp on it. You’ll want to keep the jam in the refrigerator throughout its lifespan, which will basically be just as long any sliced cantaloupe would stay fresh in your refrigerator. So eat up! Don’t cherish it too much because it won’t last forever 😉

Grab the recipe below, and I’ll be back in action on Friday with a brand new drink recipe to share with you all!

Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam is kept in Mason jars but requires no special canning.

Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This tasty jam requires no special canning and comes together in less than 10 minutes. The hardest part is waiting for it to set overnight!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 30 ounces
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 6 cups cubed cantaloupe (about 1 medium cantaloupe)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons high-grade maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on medium speed until well-combined and a smooth yet thick liquid forms. Pour mixture into three or four small Mason jars, seal and refrigerate overnight before enjoying.

Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Chia Cantaloupe Jam | CaliGirlCooking.com

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola

Vacation vibes right here ↓

A large batch of Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola is all you need for snack time cravings or the perfect breakfast.

We’re heading to Kauai on Thursday for our babymoon/make-up honeymoon (since we got stuck in a hurricane on the last one) so delicious, healthy travel snacks have been on this momma-to-be’s mind. And what better travel snack then homemade granola? Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola to be exact. We are headed to the tropics, after all!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of granola, and especially any homemade version since I found my favorite base recipe, Andy’s Fairfield Granola. It’s THE perfect granola recipe as it is, and it’s served as the perfect guideline whenever I’ve had inspiration strike for a certain special flavor, like my Addicting S’mores Granola Clusters.

I’ve been dreaming of a Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola for quite some time now, and I figured what better time to make it than when I’m in need of some travel-friendly snacks for a five hour plane ride?

A delicious bowl of Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola just waiting to be consumed.

But before I get to the recipe, tell me, do you have any recommendations for us for while we’re in Kauai? I’ve been there before (although it’s been at least 10 years or so) but the hubs has never been. We’re staying in Poipu, and the only thing we have planned so far is a boat ride up the Na Pali Coast. Since I’m 25 weeks now, we’re obviously not planning on doing anything too strenuous, but any pregnancy-friendly recommendations you have are welcome (and, obviously, any food we must eat while we’re there!)

Okay, back to this granola. It’s really so easy, it doesn’t need much explaining. I (very) roughly followed the guidelines of Andy’s Fairfield Granola, but with some modifications to really make it pop with dark chocolate and coconut flavors. The original recipe calls for honey as a sweetener, but this time around I decided to try out maple syrup to change things up a bit, and I’m pleased to say it worked out fabulously.

Also, cocoa powder to coat all your oats is such a must in this recipe! Being the chocolate-lover that I am, I often find myself picking out only bites that involve it when I’m eating things like granola, trail mix, etc. With the cocoa powder coating on the oats, you get delicious chocolate in every bite! My kind of granola right there.

A bowl of Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola doused in almond milk.

Did I mention this recipe is SUPER easy to make? I mean, seriously, if you’re a novice baker, this recipe’s for you. All you have to do is mix the ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon, spread the mix out on a cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes. The trickiest part is the stirring and adding of the coconut you have to do partway through the baking process, but as long as you know how to set a timer, I think you’ve got this.

Mixing up a big batch of Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola.

Oh, you’re also going to have to have the patience to let your Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola cool back down to room temperature and let the chocolate harden again, which may in fact turn out to be the hardest part since the granola’s delicious smell will be permeating through your household the entire time. But wouldn’t you say a big batch of a delicious, nutritious snack is worth it?

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola is the perfect on-the-go snack or breakfast.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A classic granola recipe gets a decadent makeover with the addition of antioxidant-heavy dark chocolate and toasted coconut.

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 310 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, applesauce, maple syrup, cocoa powder, cinnamon and sea salt until well-combined. Spread out evenly on the prepared jelly roll pan.

  3. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, give the granola a stir and set the timer for 5 more minutes. 

  4. When the timer goes off again, add the flaked coconut and stir the granola again. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. 

  5. Remove granola from the oven and add the dark chocolate chips to the pan, stirring to spread them out evenly. Let cool to room temperature before eating.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola | CaliGirlCooking.com