Red, White and Blueberry Blender

Smoothies all around!!

Two glasses of a refreshing Red, White and Blueberry Blender.

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!

A glass of healthy Red, White and Blueberry Blender garnished with a fresh strawberry.

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!

An overhead shot of two Red, White and Blueberry Blenders garnished with fresh strawberries and flaked coconut.

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.

The Red, White and Blueberry Blender is the perfect healthy yet festive way to celebrate the Fourth of July!

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
Prep Time
5 mins
 

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
Servings: 2 smoothies
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut cream
  • 3 cups frozen berries (I used blueberries, strawberries and cherries)
  • 1 tablespoon orgeat
  • 1/2 cup ice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until combined. Divide mixture evenly among two glasses and garnish each one with a fresh strawberry.

Red, White and Blueberry Blender | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chocolate Cherry Bread

I’m becoming your one-stop shop for cherry recipes!

A loaf of delicious Chocolate Cherry Bread, fresh out of the oven from the kitchen of CaliGirl Cooking.

I don’t know what it is (maybe the fact that I finally realized how easy it is to actually pit cherries?) but this year I have been on such a cherry recipe kick. Isn’t it funny how that works sometimes? Some years, you become so absolutely obsessed with an ingredient that the ideas just keep flooding in. I suppose I have pregnancy to blame for my obsession with certain foodstuffs, and when those foodstuffs involve things like red, juicy cherries, I don’t mind one bit.

To be fair, this Chocolate Cherry Bread is a recipe I’ve had in my back pocket for ohhhhh, over six years? You see, when I lived in Honolulu, it was a weekly ritual for my friend Leslie and I to go for a Saturday morning run around the base of Diamond Head, and then hit up the Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market (one of THE best farmer’s markets around if you ask me) to stock up on yummy goods for the week (okay, and maybe enough samples to count as breakfast.)

Now, this farmer’s market is seriously no joke. Not only will you find a ginormous selection of local fruits and vegetables, you’ll also find rows and rows of prepared food (we’re talking fried green tomatoes, roasted Kahuku corn and the like) PLUS my favorite: baked goods!

One of my favorite stops was the Ba-Le stand, which is a French-Korean bakery/deli with stores throughout the island. I was still in the midst of my food obsession/eating qualms at the time, so heaven forbid I splurge and buy a whole loaf of their delicious bread to eat on my own, but what I loved about the Ba-Le stand was the SAMPLES. Man, oh man, the samples. They would cut up every single flavor of bread they made and have them all sitting out there for everyone to try. As you can imagine, after a long run (and as someone who had not been nourishing myself properly for these runs) I was alllll about the bread samples.

A partially sliced loaf of tasty Chocolate Cherry Bread.

One of my very favorite flavors that Ba-Le had for sale (and to sample!) was the Chocolate Cherry Bread. I don’t know about you, but whenever I had imagined a Chocolate Cherry Bread, I would think of a quick bread, with a dense, pound cake-like texture. But this Chocolate Cherry Bread was different. It was a yeasted bread, which meant it had plenty of heft and was perfect for toasting and slathering butter or cream cheese on.

On one of my Dad’s many visits out to see me, I took him to the market and made him try this bread that I had so madly fell in love with. My Dad is my confidant when it comes to recreating recipes I try out in public at home. His palate is spot on and he knows exactly what it will take to make our own version of whatever we’ve fallen in love with. Needless to say, the next time I was home visiting my parents in Santa Cruz, we tackled the task of making our very own version of Chocolate Cherry Bread.

The result is this recipe I’m sharing today, which has finally made its way off of the piece of scratch paper I had scrawled it on and into my “official” recipe archives.

This recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bread offers a dense loaf studded with chocolate chips and dried cherries.

Our Chocolate Cherry Bread is a dense, chocolate- and molasses-flavored loaf studded with dried sweet cherries and semisweet chocolate chips. It’s just as irresistible fresh out of the oven as it is two days later, toasted and slathered with your favorite spread (butter, cream cheese and jam are all equally acceptable.)

Yeasted breads can often seem intimidating but, with a little planning, I promise they’re not. In fact, they’re probably one of the easier baked goods to tackle, simply for the fact that much of the prep time involves just letting the dough rest and rise. The actual dough-making and baking process takes less than an hour.

Thick slices of Chocolate Cherry Bread slathered with butter.

Since I’ve been preggo, I’ve needed to eat something as soon as I wake up in the morning, and this Chocolate Cherry Bread has been just the answer. We (just the two of us) can go through a loaf in less than a week, but if you don’t consume carbs at the rapid pace that we do (or simply want to save your Chocolate Cherry Bread for a special occasion,) the loaf will freeze incredibly well.

I’m thinking this is another thing I’ll have to stock in our freezer for the weeks after baby comes?

A fresh loaf of Chocolate Cherry Bread from the kitchen of CaliGirl Cooking.

Chocolate Cherry Bread
Prep Time
2 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
3 hrs
 

This dense yeasted bread has a chocolate-molasses dough that's studded with chocolate chips and dried sweet cherries. Perfect when toasted and served warm!

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Servings: 1 loaf
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried sweet cherries
  • 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients (starting with just 2 ½ cups flour) to a food processor and process until they begin to come together to form a sticky dough. Add additional flour, ¼ cup at a time (processing in between,) until you are just able to pull out the dough without it sticking all over your hands. (It’s okay if the dough is still a little sticky. You don’t want to add too much flour or the dough will be tough.)

  2. Turn the dough out of the food processor and into a medium mixing bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size. 

  3. Take dough out of bowl and knead a bit, either just between your hands or on a lightly floured surface, before placing dough in a greased 8-inch round cake pan. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm place for another hour. 

  4. Towards the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When dough is finished rising, bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until bread sounds a bit hollow when you tap on the top. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Cherry Bread | CaliGirlCooking.com

Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad

I’m letting my pregnancy cravings guide the way…

A big dish of Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad is the perfect no-cook dish to serve in the summer heat.

I hope you don’t mind. Out of the many things this pregnancy has been good for, cravings for old, almost forgotten recipes has been one of my favorites. This Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad is one such out-of-rotation recipe that I’m so glad I remembered I had in my back pocket.

Being the balanced foodie that I am, when I first found out I was pregnant, I wanted to be sure to keep my diet as in-check as possible (keeping the pregnancy weight gain in between a healthy 25-35 pounds) while still allowing myself to succumb to the nearly inevitable cravings whenever they hit. One of the best tips I received from my doctor was to be sure to get some sort of protein in with every little meal or snack I ate.

I’ve tried really hard to achieve this but, especially working from home, it’s pretty easy to run out of “healthy” protein-packed snacks over the course of a day. With cold cuts out of the question (in less I feel like microwaving them to make them “safe” and subsequently being forced to eat warm lunch meat if I need a snack ASAP), I found myself turning to cheese and peanut butter as my main sources of protein during the day.

After even getting sick of these things at times (which is quite the feat for a peanut butter and cheese lover like me!) I started racking my brain for other quick-and-easy protein-filled snacks that I could just grab out of the refrigerator at a moment’s notice. It was then that I remembered this Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad that I made ALL the time when I first moved back from Hawaii, and I knew it was just the thing I was looking for.

Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad is the perfect quick-and-healthy lunch for any day of the week.

If you’ve been following along with the blog for a while (or if you’ve just happened to view my most popular post on Pinterest for Spicy Poke Bowls), then you’ll know that I used to live in Hawaii. What you may not know is that, while I lived there, I actually worked as a Line Cook/Pastry Assistant in a cute little French bistro for a period of a few months. While working there, one of my primary jobs was to come up with snacks/dishes/baked goods that did not require any cooking that they could serve out of their deli case in the “grab-and-go” section.

You can probably guess where this is going. One of my go-to recipes for this deli case was a Chicken Waldorf Salad (which was a huge hit, I might add) and I made it more times than you can count on both hands in the few months I worked there. So much that the recipe became pretty second nature to me!

When I returned home, and was back to cooking for just myself and my loved ones, I did what I love to do with typically Mayonnaise-laden dishes like the Chicken Waldorf Salad, and made a “healthified” version that I could enjoy whenever I wanted, without the guilt.

Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad can be slathered on bread for a nutritious, filling lunch!

Just like my favorite Crunchy Pea Salad with Prosciutto, the secret to lightening this Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad up is subbing out the mayo for Greek yogurt. Sometimes (as with the Pea Salad) I like to keep in just a little bit of mayo for the creamy, savory flavor, but since most Chicken Waldorf Salad recipes call for lemon juice anyhow, I felt like the mayonnaise really wasn’t needed at all. And I was right! Adding the Greek yogurt also means that this salad is even MORE loaded with healthy protein, which is just what this hungry preggo mama needs.

Plus, the requisite chicken, walnuts, celery, apples and grapes are all full of healthy nutrients that are great for anyone, not just those of us who are expecting.

A bowl of Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad, ready to be devoured at a moment's notice.

Aside from the dressing substitute, the only other little touch that really makes this Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad stand out from the rest is a pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Don’t skip this! The spices round out the dish so nicely, it’s really a wonder why more people haven’t discovered it already.

Finally (says she sitting in her kitchen with her air conditioner blasting), as long as you have some cooked chicken breasts on hand (a must for any meal-prep situation) this is another no-cook recipe that will keep you away from the stove and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible in this sweltering summer heat.

A big dish of Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad is the perfect no-cook addition to any barbecue or picnic!

Let’s take this week by the horns with some Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad in hand!

3 from 1 vote
A big dish of Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad is the perfect no-cook dish to serve in the summer heat.
Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

A typically mayonnaise-laden dish gets a healthy makeover with the substitution of Greek yogurt and delicious cinnamon and nutmeg. The perfect no-cook meal!

Course: Main Course, Salad, Snack
Servings: 5 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 15 ounces cooked chicken breast, diced (about 2-3 breasts)
  • 3/4 cup halved red grapes
  • 2/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. 

  2. Serve alone, with crackers, chips or spread onto sliced bread as a sandwich!

Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cherry Salsa

A fun take on everyone’s favorite Mexican condiment, this salsa uses the season’s best fresh cherries in lieu of tomatoes – a delicious twist!

A bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa just waiting to be eaten with your favorite tortilla chips!

My cherry obsession is still going strong…I honestly can’t get enough! Do you ever obsess about a certain produce item coming into season so much that your list of what to do with it is about a mile long? Hi, yea, looking at me right here. This Cherry Salsa is just another in the long list of recipe ideas I’ve been dreaming about since cherries went out of season last year, and I’m so excited about the way it turned out!

I know I’ve been inundating you with the cherry recipes lately, so I can only hope that you’re enjoying these Cherry Bourbon Breezes and this Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini as much as I am. If so, I’m confident that you’ll be totally digging on this Cherry Salsa as well.

It’s an easy recipe, with no cooking involved, that can easily be served up on its own as an appetizer or snack, or as a topping for your favorite barbecued meat (I have some juicy grilled pork chops in mind.) Might I also mention it would be the perfect addition to your Father’s Day menu this weekend?

This Cherry Salsa is the perfect appetizer or snack for any barbecue or family get-together you're having this weekend!

Speaking of, what are your plans for celebrating Dad on Sunday? We’re so lucky that both of our dads live relatively close to each other, so we’re heading up to the Bay Area to spend some quality time with them, and of course to make them some delicious food!

I think some Cherry Salsa might definitely need to make an appearance alongside the tri tip, chicken and sausages we’re already planning on serving. Still need to think of some more sides and dessert though. Any fun suggestions?

As I mentioned above, this Cherry Salsa is a breeze to make, and you can have it ready to serve in under 20 minutes. It involves basically all of the same ingredients as a regular pico de gallo salsa, but subs in fresh, pitted cherries instead of  tomatoes. That’s it! So easy, right?

Fresh cherries, rinsed and ready to be made into delicious Cherry Salsa!

And if you’re looking for another, more traditional salsa to serve alongside (or instead) of this one, be sure to check out my Spicy Homemade Salsa. You could even go with a fancy selection and add this Mango Salsa to the mix! Clearly I’m a salsa-lover and I’m not ashamed to show it.

Even if you have no plans for Father’s Day, this Cherry Salsa needs to make an appearance in your household in the next week. Cherries are at the top of their game right now and you wouldn’t want to miss out on another great opportunity to use them.

An overhead shot of a big bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa.

Happy Monday and I hope your week is made even better with this delicious recipe!

Cherry Salsa

A fun take on everyone's favorite Mexican condiment, this salsa uses the season's best fresh cherries in lieu of tomatoes - a delicious twist!

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces fresh red cherries, pitted and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for a half hour or so for best results. Serve with tortilla chips!

Cherry Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars

Say hello to your favorite new work, school, travel and just plain everyday healthy snack!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars have been a total game-changer for me and I’m preeeeetty sure they will be the same for you. Anything that is filled with protein and whole grains yet tastes like dessert is a winner in my book, plus they’re so easy to grab and go you really can enjoy them anywhere you are, at any time of day.

Remember when I made these Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers and went on and on about how I’ve always aspired to make all of my foods from scratch rather than buying the pre-made, preservative-laden stuff at the store? These Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars also fall under that “totally-easy-stuff-I-can-make-at-home” category.

Really, they’re made with ingredients that you should already have on hand in your pantry (maybe save for the sunflower seed butter, but you can find that at any Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s) and require NO baking. That’s right, just a little bit of time in the freezer to set up and you’ll be stocked with healthy, filling Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars for days to come!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

I think it’s also very important to mention that these bars are both gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats) AND nut-free, which means just about anyone can enjoy them. (Sorry if you’re allergic to chocolate, but you could always just leave out the chocolate chips!) And let me tell you, that sunflower seed butter is legit and will not make you miss peanut butter or any other sort of nut butter at all. Promise.

So I bet by now you’re wondering, what all goes into these uber-delicious Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars? Let me tell you – just seven ingredients! Seriously, guys, I don’t think I could have made this any easier for you.

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

We’re talking rolled oats, dates, honey, coconut oil, sunflower seed butter, chocolate chips and vanilla extract. That’s it! So many nutrient-packed ingredients all packed into one little bar. That’s my kind of snack/breakfast/late-night nosh.

We take all of the ingredients (save for the chocolate chips) and throw them into a food processor, where we pulse until a crumbly dough-like texture forms.

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

We then transfer the mixture to a large bowl to work in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon (or even better, our hands.)

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

The next step is to line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and press the mixture in nice and tight. A one-hour turn in the freezer and your Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars are ready to be cut and consumed!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

One important recipe note: Since I tried to use as whole ingredients as possible in these bars, they do turn a bit crumbly after they’ve been out of the freezer for a while. I’ve found that the best technique is to slice the bars after the initial freeze, then wrap them individually and keep them back in the freezer for storage. I may be the only weirdo that does this, but I actually really like munching on the bars straight out of the freezer. However, if you are packing them to-go for work or as a travel snack, just be prepared that they may get a little crumbly as they come to room temperature. Don’t worry, they still taste fantastic!

Basically, you should go whip up a batch of these Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars ASAP so you have them on hand to get you through the rest of the week. There’s nothing like a couple of good ol’ bites of healthiness to give you the power to get through the day!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars
Prep Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

These nutrient-packed protein bars are full of filling oats, sunflower seed butter and a touch of chocolate. Plus they're gluten- and nut-free!

Course: Snack
Servings: 12 bars
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 8 pitted dates
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Combine rolled oats, pitted dates, sunflower seed butter, honey, coconut oil and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse until a crumbly dough forms.

  2. Transfer dough to a mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix in the chocolate chips. 

  3. Line an 8x8-inch glass or metal baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a little extra hanging off the sides to make it easy to pull the bars out once they are set. 

  4. Transfer dough to the prepared baking dish and press it in tightly with your fingers. Place in freezer for at least one hour.

  5. Remove from freezer and, using the parchment paper, remove the bars from the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut the bars into 12 pieces. 

  6. For best results, wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap or wax paper and store in the freezer until ready to eat. 

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com