Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes (Baby-Friendly!*)

With whole grains and naturally sweetened, these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes are the perfect make-ahead bite for you AND all the little ones in your life. Who doesn’t like carrot cake for breakfast?

These Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes (with no added sugar) are the perfect recipe for baby-led weaning, but all babies will enjoy them!

*This post is the first in a series of recipes I’ll be doing that ascribe to the philosophy of baby-led weaning, which is the method we have chosen to introduce solids to our little one. We’ve already tested her on all the potential allergens included in the ingredients (eggs, wheat, etc.) and she shows no sensitivity. Please use your discretion to decide if these recipes will be right for your babe. Mother always knows best!

All right mamas, you’ve been waiting so patiently and it’s finally here: my first baby-friendly recipe post! If you’re following me on my @caligirlkids (formerly @caligirlmomma) account, then you’ll know that we’ve been doing baby-led weaning with our little one. If you’re not familiar with baby-led weaning, the basic gist of it is trading in purees, mashes – your typical baby food – for solids and whole foods, essentially whatever you’re eating. You’re meant to allow your kid to explore, feed themselves and have a sense of autonomy about what they do and do not eat, which will (hopefully) set them up to be a more adventurous eater in the future.

We started our little one on solids shortly before she turned 6 months old, and it has been so fun watching her explore, try new things, learn how to chew and swallow, etc. She’s eaten curry-roasted squash, salmon, omelets, so many things. In fact, we have yet to find something she absolutely refuses to eat.

In the few months we’ve been doing baby-led weaning, one of my favorite things to make Raia is some sort of baked good with a hidden veggie inside. She loves grabbing on to pancakes, muffins, etc. because they are fairly easy for her to grasp, and I love the fact that she is getting a serving of vegetables at the same time (and, let’s be honest, what kid doesn’t love carbs?)

You won't be able to keep little hands off of these baby-friendly Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes!

The only thing I have NOT loved about the “hidden veggie” method is the fact that you usually have to roast or steam the vegetable before you blend up the batter and, quite honestly, I usually don’t have time for that! So when I had a bunch of leftover carrots sitting in the refrigerator, rather than turning on the oven or stove, I decided to grate them and then throw them into the batter.

Since babies are more sensitive to sodium than adults, I never add salt to Raia’s baked goods (or really anything I make her, for that matter.) Instead, I get creative with herbs and spices. For these Carrot Cake Pancakes, for example, I added the OG spices clove, nutmeg and cinnamon.

These Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes are easy to make and perfect for baby-led weaning. They're freezer friendly and super healthy!

I’m also really cognizant of how much sugar goes into everything I bake her. Banana and unsweetened applesauce are always great ways to add a touch of sweetness without too much added sugar, but in this particular case I opted to use some unsweetened apple butter we had sitting in the refrigerator. Finally, eggs and just a couple of tablespoons of flour (whole wheat, oat or almond would all work) bind everything together.

I love how every ingredient of these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes is just thrown into a blender and poured directly into the baking pan. Once baked, I often throw all of the goodies into the freezer and defrost as needed to cut down on food waste. It’s also great to have a stash of different things to choose from.

Make a batch of these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes the next time you do food prep and you'll have healthy kids' snacks for the rest of the week!

I’ve got a lot more baby-friendly recipes coming your way soon but, in the meantime, if you have any questions or special requests, shoot me an email or leave them in the comments below!

Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes (Baby-Friendly!)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
18 mins
 

These healthy pancakes are every child's dream. They taste just like carrot cake but use only whole grains and have no added sugar - the perfect breakfast or snack for babies and adults alike!

Course: Breakfast
Keyword: baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, carrots, healthy, pancakes
Servings: 6 pancakes
Calories: 58 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour (whole wheat, oat or almond)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened apple butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Unsalted butter for the pan
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except butter) in a blender and blend on high until everything is combined. 

  2. Melt a small pat of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted and pan is hot, ladle in the batter to make silver dollar size pancakes.

  3. Cook pancakes over medium heat until edges begin to set, then flip and cook until batter is no longer runny. 

  4. If you are working in batches, add another pat of butter when you start a new round.

  5. Enjoy!

 

Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole

Good thing it’s Friday, because I’ve got an incredibly Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole to rock your weekend!

A hearty dish of Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is delicious, easy to assemble and sure to feed a crowd at brunch!

That’s right, I’ve taken just about everything that goes into your favorite bagel breakfast – we’re talking cream cheese, chives, smoked salmon, the works – and turned it into a tasty casserole that will feed a crowd. I mean, what’s not to like about that?

To be honest, I’ve been wanting to make something along the lines of an Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole for a looooong time, but have been struggling to find just the right excuse to make it – or enough people to feed it to. So when my Santa Barbara Foodie Gals decided it was time for our first picnic of the warm weather season, and a brunch picnic at that, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to test this recipe out on a critical yet incredibly appreciative crowd.

One little piece of this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is all you need at brunch to start your day off on the right foot!

We opted to hold our season opener of a picnic at the Santa Barbara Mission Rose Garden, which is probably one of the most beautiful open, public spaces you’ve ever seen. It’s our favorite spot for picnics, with a large, open grassy area framed by a lush rose garden and our own historic mission, which still functions as a church today. If you’re ever in the Santa Barbara area and looking for some scenic spots in addition to your eating and drinking, this Rose Garden (along with the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, home to the Sunken Gardens) are not to be missed.

We had quite the spread at our SB Foodie Gals get-together, and my Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole was a huge hit (although not the only star of the show as quiche, mimosas and donuts were also in attendance.) Needless to say, I got the approval on the recipe so I’m super excited to share it with you today!

There's quite a bit of deliciousness in a hearty slice of this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole!

You know I’m the hugest fan of balanced living and whole foods eating whenever possible, so you should also know I’m not messing around when I call this dish indulgent. Gluten, dairy, cheese, CARBS – we’ve got it all in this bad boy, hence my emphasis on enjoying it only once in a while, in great company. It’s a dish that can serve a crowd, so it would be the perfect addition to an otherwise balanced brunch menu. In fact, a fresh fruit salad and crudité platter would be the perfect accompaniments!

I roughly based this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole recipe on my savory bread puddings, however I increased the quantities of certain things to account for the crazy absorption rate of the bagels (and to make it a bit more egg-y and “breakfast-like.”)

When it comes to bagels, feel free to use whatever flavor you prefer to pair with your lox. I used a combo of onion and pretzel, but I also think everything bagels, rye, salt or even plain would be just fab here.

A boatload of bagels form the base of this tasty smoked salmon breakfast casserole, perfect to serve a crowd for brunch!

Also, I baked the casserole pretty much right after I assembled it, but I’m venturing to guess that prepping it a little bit in advance (maybe even the night before?) might be a VERY smart idea. After all, after everything is mixed together and loaded in the casserole dish, your Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is pretty much “set it and forget it,” and who doesn’t want that when you’re trying to entertain a crowd?

This Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is the perfect make-ahead dish to serve at your next brunch!

Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

This make-ahead casserole is loaded with bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese and all your other favorite bagel toppings, and is perfect to serve a crowd!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 530 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 9 bagels (your choice of flavor), cubed
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed and softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 additional cup for topping
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus 1 additional tablespoon for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour melted butter into a 15-quart baking dish and turn to coat dish. Set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (except the 1 cup of Parmesan and 1 tablespoon of chives for topping.)

  3. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish and sprinkle 1 cup grated Parmesan over top.

  4. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until eggs are fairly set (they may continue to cook a bit after removing the casserole from the oven so don’t fret if they’re still a tiny bit runny.)

  5. Let cool slightly and sprinkle on additional tablespoon of chopped fresh chives before serving.

The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles

I’m not kidding when I call them “The Ultimate”…

This delicious recipe for Thanksgiving leftovers is the perfect dish to serve up over the long holiday weekend!

We’re talking perfectly crispy potato-laced waffles topped with all your favorite Thanksgiving fixings – juicy roast turkey, sweet and tart cranberry sauce, your favorite stuffing, even gravy if you please. Basically all of the delicious things we look forward to for arguably the biggest food holiday of the year served up in one delicious dish that is perfectly acceptable for to be enjoyed as breakfast, lunch or dinner – Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles, your day has arrived!

Well, on Friday it will have arrived, but I’m planning on taking a little break from this here blog for the long weekend so we can really enjoy our time up north with our family – and introducing everyone to our newest little addition! Plus, I figured everyone would be either (a) too busy Black Friday shopping or (b) too lazy watching football on the couch to be catching up on their favorite blogs the day after Thanksgiving, hence why I’m hitting you with my new favorite Turkey Day leftovers recipe today while we’re still craving alllll those foods and wondering what we’re going to do with the monstrous amounts of leftovers.

Make an Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffle as soon as your second craving for turkey strikes!

Okay, to be honest, The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles don’t REALLY involve that much of a recipe, because they are totally customizable to whatever types of leftovers you have on hand. The one constant that I highly recommend is the potato waffles. I adapted them from Justin Chapple’s recipe for Food & Wine and they are the perfect hybrid of a typical Belgian waffle and hashbrowns/your favorite potato latke.

Even better, they can easily be made in advance and frozen until ready to use, so if you know you’ll be low on cooking steam by Friday, whip some of these waffles up in the next couple of days so you can just pull them out and defrost them in the toaster or the oven as soon as you start craving that first hit of leftovers. I mean, I wouldn’t even blame you if you turned to these for a late-night snack on the big day itself!

The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles will easily get you through the rest of Thanksgiving weekend.

After you make the waffles, you can really go in whichever direction you want as far as toppings. The hubs and I had a blast doing an early Thanksgiving back in September when I was working on stockpiling content for maternity leave, and I roasted up a simple turkey breast to enjoy with this Zucchini Stuffing and some simple cranberry sauce. All of these made the perfect toppings for potato-y waffles, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I’d made more of them to have ready to go this weekend.

Now, I kept it fairly traditional/simple with the toppings for my Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to possibilities. Here are just a few of the many ways to dress these waffles up:

Gravy
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Vegetables

All creative license is yours!

Serve up The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles as an easy breakfast the next day!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with one more fun Thanksgiving weekend cocktail to share with you all (HINT: It involves everyone’s favorite espresso drink of the season!) before I sign off for a few days, but until then I hope you get yourself in the kitchen and start prepping all the delicious components of The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles!

The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

These potato-laced waffles are loaded with all of your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers - turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more!

Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled, coarsely shredded and squeezed dry
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • Assorted Thanksgiving leftover toppings such as turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, casseroles, roasted vegetables, etc.
Instructions
  1. Plug in a waffle iron to heat up and preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  2. Combine all ingredients except toppings in a large mixing bowl to form the waffle batter. 

  3. Scoop batter into preheated waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s directions (about 5-7 minutes.) Once waffle is done and golden-brown, transfer it to a rack in your preheated oven to keep warm.

  4. Repeat process until all batter is used up.

  5. Top waffles with your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Justin Chapple’s Loaded Potato Waffles recipe for Food & Wine.

The Ultimate Turkey Day Leftover Waffles | CaliGirlCooking.com

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins

I hope you’re not too sick of pumpkin just yet…

These Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are full of healthy ingredients like coconut flour, pumpkin and macadamia nuts.

Because these Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are incredibly worthy of your breakfast table this week and all the weeks remaining that are perfectly acceptable to eat all things pumpkin at every meal.

True to their name, these Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are a snap to make. They are also incredibly moist (gotta love pumpkin in baked goods for that very fact alone) and not only loaded with the healthy orange stuff, but also tons of protein and Vitamin A from toasted macadamia nuts.

There’s also a fun twist to the base of these muffins that I stole from my friends at Big Sur Bakery – I used half good ol’ AP flour and half coconut flour to give them an extra tropical twist (and more healthy protein, fiber and fats.) Let me just tell you, if you haven’t tried baking with coconut flour yet, give it a shot! It adds a wonderful, crumbly texture and nice coconut-y flavor. I’m no expert in gluten-free baking, but I will say that I have found I still need to use some of the regular flour to hold everything together, otherwise everything just falls apart, but if any of you GF eaters out there have any suggestions on how to get things to hold together without it, I’m all ears!

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are incredibly moist and perfect for a fall breakfast!

I love these Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins because they are not overly sweet and therefore perfectly justifiable to enjoy for breakfast, a snack or even a healthy(ish) dessert. However, if you feel like adding a bit of indulgence, I think a dash of white chocolate chips would just be BOMB in these and if you end up doing this please bring me some because I really want to try it and right now I’m laid up in bed with the most adorable cuddly newborn ever with no heavy baking plans in my immediate future.

With the fall season in full swing, you most likely have all of these ingredients on hand or fairly readily available to you at a moment’s notice. You can find coconut flour at your local health food store (or gourmet grocery store) and the ½ cup of macadamia nuts the recipe calls for is well worth the little splurge (News Flash: Macadamia nuts are not cheap.)

A cooling rack of freshly baked Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins.

Once you have all the ingredients, the muffins come together in just about 30 minutes. I would also like to mention that they freeze beautifully, so if you’re looking for a tasty make-ahead breakfast you can have ready in a flash on a busy holiday morning, these Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins are the answer.

Long story short: You need to make these muffins ASAP and tell me what you think. Be sure to tag me in all of your CaliGirl Cooking adventures on social media @caligirlcooking #caligirlcooking. Xx

A basket of Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins is the perfect breakfast for a busy fall morning.

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

These easy muffins are full of healthy ingredients like pureed pumpkin, heart-healthy macadamia nuts and fiber-filled coconut flour.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and either line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray it with cooking spray.

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

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add both sugars and the eggs and mix on medium-low until combined. 

  4. Add in the pumpkin, almond milk and vanilla extract and mix again until combined. 

  5. Mix in the dry ingredients, then stir in the orange zest and macadamia nuts.

  6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan then remove from pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

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.