Sleepytime Lavender Milk

This one’s for all my sleep-deprived mamas out there!

A mug of Sleepytime Lavender Milk is the perfect bedtime treat for a good night's sleep.

Or sleep-deprived anyone, for that matter. After all, who doesn’t want a warm, comforting glass of lavender- and vanilla-scented Sleepytime Lavender Milk after a long and tiresome day?


Even though by now I’m very much hoping we’ve welcomed our little girl into the world, since I’m writing all these posts in advance all I can do is guess that at this moment I’m in that awkward state of delirium and bliss as we work to adapt our lives to this new little miracle we created. I can also guess that I’m craving all the comforting foods (and all the sleep!) to help us get through this special transition that I hear goes by in the blink of an eye.

Being the foodie that I am, I spent a lot of time during my pregnancy reading up on the best foods to eat while pregnant, after pregnancy, while breastfeeding, etc. One of the most helpful books I read about postnatal diet (and care in general) was The First 40 Days by Heng Ou.

A warm mug of Sleepytime Lavender Milk will help give you a perfect night's sleep.

It spends a lot of time talking about how other cultures welcome new babes into the world, which frequently happens to be by the mother and baby retreating to their home and just plain RELAXING for the first 40 days after birth, allowing others to help with common household duties and cooking so that the mom can recover and the new family can spend time getting used to one another.

It also talks a lot about foods that will help get the mother’s digestive system back on track and recovered from labor, while providing important and helpful nutrients to the baby via breastfeeding. Many of these foods are warm, easy to digest and full of nourishing ingredients like homemade broths.

I’ve made a couple of soups that we have waiting in the freezer to defrost at a moment’s notice, and of course there were also these Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups that I have waiting for us (as oats are known to promote lactation.) I haven’t figured out a way to make this Sleepytime Lavender Milk in advance, but it’s so easy that we can whip it up fairly quickly whenever the mood strikes.

Warm Sleepytime Lavender Milk comes together quickly and easily for any after-dinner treat.

Here’s how we do it: Simply put a small pot of your favorite milk on the stovetop laced with some honey and half of a whole vanilla bean. Then you’ll need to get your hands on some culinary lavender and cheesecloth to make your own little sachet. This easy sachet will sit and soak in the milk as you heat it up on the stove, much like steeping a tea bag.

That’s it! Incredibly easy and the perfect healthy treat for after dinner to get you in the bedtime mood. It’s bright and early in the morning here but I’m already looking forward to whipping up a batch of this Sleepytime Lavender Milk tonight. How about you?

Sleepytime Lavender Milk is a healthy alternative to dessert.

This post contains affiliate links.

A mug of Sleepytime Lavender Milk is the perfect bedtime treat for a good night's sleep.
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Sleepytime Lavender Milk
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

This warming drink is laced with comforting lavender, honey and vanilla - It's the perfect bedtime treat for a great night's sleep!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or your favorite milk)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 of a whole vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon culinary lavender wrapped in a small square of cheesecloth
Instructions
  1. Place milk, honey and vanilla bean in a small saucepan over medium heat. 

  2. Add lavender sachet to milk and bring to a heavy simmer.

  3. Turn off heat and let cool slightly before serving.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese

I promised to balance out all that healthy stuff I brought you on Monday, didn’t I?

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Well, let me tell you, this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese truly delivers. We are, after all, in the season of comfort food (and Super Bowl Sunday!) so there’s no time like the present to indulge just a little bit. Plus, we’ve got to bake allllll of the things before the weather once again gets too warm for us to even think about turning on the oven.


As I was dreaming up this recipe, I originally thought I’d just make my loaded cornbread in a classic glass baking dish and serve it up in thick, hearty squares. But then, as I was putting away dishes and reorganizing all of my pots and pans, my eyes fell upon my extremely neglected cast iron skillet and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to give it some lovin’.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

The last time I used my trusty Lodge cast iron skillet for a recipe on this site was way back in April of last year, when I brought you this incredibly delicious (and still a reader favorite) Greek Skillet. It turned out so well, and has continued to serve me well in times of easy, healthy dinner needs, that I’m not sure what has taken me so long to break the skillet out again and put it to good use. Now that I’ve done it, I’m eager to start trying even more cast iron skillet recipes in the very near future…Do you have any suggestions of recipes I should try??

Not only is this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese incredibly decadent and drool-worthy, it’s also soooo easy to make. Yes, the batter is made from scratch, but I kid you not when I say it comes together in less than 15 minutes flat. With only 20 minutes of baking time, the cornbread would be a welcome addition to an easy weeknight dinner. I’m thinking it would be the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of Warming Minestrone Soup or a big Winter Kale Salad.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Oh, and did I mention we grease the pan with bacon fat? I know, I know, it sounds indulgent, but I’m really just jumping on the “no waste” cooking trend that’s predicted to be a huge trend in the world of food in 2017. I don’t know about you, but the hubs and I have a huge Mason jar full of bacon grease leftover from our weekend breakfasts, and prefer to put it to tasty use as opposed to having to discard of it in an old tomato sauce can. That being said, if it sounds just a bit TOO indulgent for you, you could always use butter (just know that you’ll be missing out on some delicious bacon-y flavor in this already indulgent dish!)

The only prep that you’ll need to do in preparation for this deliciousness is to cook up some Italian sausage, grate some cheddar cheese and slice some green onions. Once that’s all done, the batter will come together in no time flat, while your cast iron skillet is busy warming up (and getting seasoned with bacon grease) in the preheating oven.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’re looking for an easy dish that will “wow” your guests for Super Bowl Sunday, this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese is your answer. It might as well be deemed a “meal” with all of that protein from the sausage and cheese, and there’s even some “green stuff” hanging out in there. I might also add that it’s incredibly tasty with a little drizzle of honey over top, or if you REALLY want to be indulgent, slather on some creamy, high-quality butter.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

So now you have a healthy dish and this indulgent dish for your football-noshing pleasure this weekend. How about on Friday I bring you a cocktail??

Happy humpday friends!

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Cornbread gets a delicious makeover when it's loaded with sausage, green onions and shredded cheddar cheese and cooked in a seasoned cast iron skillet.

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 8 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 6-7 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (about 2 links)
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large green onion, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bacon grease in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and place in oven as it is preheating. 

  2. In a small nonstick skillet, brown the sausage, then set aside. 

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. 

  4. Add the buttermilk, eggs and butter to the same mixing bowl and whisk until combined. 

  5. Stir in the cooked sausage, green onions and cheddar cheese. 

  6. Using potholder, remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Pour in the batter and then return to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

This recipe should also work fine if you only have a 9-inch cast iron skillet. The bread will turn out a little thicker, so you will probably need to increase the baking time 5-10 minutes.

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Breakfast Banana Split

It’s time to have some fun with our food!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let’s start with this festive, tasty, KID-FRIENDLY Breakfast Banana Split. It’s got all of the fun of a classic banana split, yet it’s healthy enough to be acceptable for breakfast. That’s my kind of meal!


The idea for this recipe (if you can call it that) came to me while I was working out at the gym, as many of my great ideas do. I’m not sure what spurred it, sometimes things just pop into my head as I’m zoning out on the elliptical. But once I thought of it, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I needed to make a Breakfast Banana Split ASAP!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let me tell you a little story to set the scene for this idea.

When I first moved to Santa Barbara almost four years ago, I hunkered down in my brother and sister-in-law’s casita for a few months until my job went from temporary to permanent. I had a pretty sweet little set-up there, a futon bed, a full bathroom to myself, and a little nook with a mini-refrigerator. I did not have a kitchen, but luckily my fam didn’t mind me popping into the house and whipping something up, especially if it involved me making something that there three young kids, my niece and nephews, would eat.

While I lived there, I took a little bit of a challenge upon myself. Like most kids, my niece and nephews were not huge fans of foods that held any sort of nutritional value, so my challenge was to find ways to make food that they would love to eat while secretly sneaking in some healthy fruits and veggies. My greatest success with them was when I made “breakfast popsicles,” which were basically a big batch of smoothie loaded with greens (and sometimes other veggies,) poured into popsicle molds and frozen overnight. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to eat popsicles for breakfast?

As soon as the idea came to me for these Breakfast Banana Splits, I knew they’d be one of these dishes that kids will just jump at the chance to eat in the morning. I don’t have any children of my own (yet) but I look forward to exercising my nutrient-hiding creativity once again, and I know a Breakfast Banana Split will be making a frequent appearance on our household menu.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

So here’s how it goes down: Banana sliced lengthwise, just like the classic setup. Heaps of plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of the ice cream, because we’re making this acceptable for breakfast. Loads and loads of toppings (mostly healthy, some a little more indulgent.) Finally, we can’t forget the cherries on top!

The great thing about this Breakfast Banana Split is that it’s incredibly versatile. I decided to use toppings like flaked coconut, chopped pineapple, date caramel, strawberry jam, toasted nuts and cacao nibs, but you can really use whatever you like (or whatever you have in your pantry!) Some other ideas you could include are freeze-dried fruit, melted almond or peanut butter or hemp seeds. The possibilities really are endless.

Whether this is a true “recipe” or not, you have to admit it’s a pretty genius breakfast option, especially when you have finicky little ones.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

What are some ways you sneak nutrient-rich foods into your picky eaters’ diets?

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Breakfast Banana Split
Prep Time
10 mins
 

The classic soda fountain treat is given a healthy spin and turned into a delicious, kid-friendly breakfast. Who doesn't want dessert for breakfast?

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 serving
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, peeled and split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam, melted
  • 1 tablespoon date caramel (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 2 maraschino cherries
Instructions
  1. Place banana halves on either side of a sundae dish or larger, shallow bowl. Scoop Greek yogurt in between banana halves and add toppings. Don’t forget the cherries on top!

Recipe Notes

To make the Date Caramel (will make extra): Soak 20 pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor with 4 tablespoons water and 4 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Pulse until a smooth puree forms into a thick caramel consistency. Store any extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

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