Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte (No Sugar Added!)

The ultimate Thanksgiving treat!

A couple of Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Lattes are the perfect treat for the holidays!

Because every pumpkin spice latte deserves a little bourbon in it for a long holiday weekend. Am I right? Seriously, though, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Yes, me, the queen of spiking my coffee with Bailey’s and enjoying hot toddies like my OG favorite, Boilo. It only makes complete sense that we should dress up the annual favorite espresso drink with a little sumpin’ sumpin’, and bourbon sure fits the bill!


Annnnndddd, we’re making this Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte CaliGirl Cooking-friendly by using only REAL pumpkin and spices…none of this super-sweet syrupy stuff you get at your neighborhood chain coffee shop (not gonna name names here.)

A Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte will spice up any holiday get-together!

That’s right, this five-ingredient recipe contains no added sugar, so it can basically be called a health food (save for the bourbon of course, which I suppose you could leave out if you really want to be SUPER healthy, but where’s the fun in that?) So here are those five ingredients we’re looking at:

Espresso
Pumpkin purée
Bourbon
Milk of your choice
Pumpkin pie spice
And, if you’re feeling fancy, a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or cinnamon stick to garnish

Pretty easy, right?

This Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte has been largely responsible for keeping me out of the coffee shops that become so addicting with their “red cups” and special holiday drinks this time of year (well, that and the fact that I have a three week-old on my hands :-P) It’s creamy and delicious, with a wonderful pumpkin spice flavor that won’t leave you with a sugar hangover. Let’s leave that to all the pie and other fancy desserts we’ll be indulging in this weekend.

If you don’t have an espresso machine, feel free to just use a little bit of regular coffee as the caffeine source for said Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte. It won’t be quite as potent, but who needs tons of caffeine on a lazy holiday weekend, anyway?

This Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte has no added sugar and is made with REAL pumpkin!

Speaking of the holiday weekend, what are your plans? We are headed up to NorCal tonight to spend the long weekend with our families, and it will be Raia’s first long car trip. Any tips or tricks on how to make it through a four-hour drive with an almost one-month old? So far our plan is to just take our time and have no expectations about when we’ll get there. Hopefully that relaxed attitude about it all will make the trip a breeze!

We’ll be spending Thanksgiving day with my husband’s family, then heading over to Santa Cruz to see my family on Friday, with a stop to cut down a Christmas tree in between. The hubs and I have been cutting down our own tree every year since we started dating, so we’re very excited to continue the tradition with the newest addition to our family.

Other than that, we plan on doing lots of relaxing, eating and I’m sure watching allll the football, which means we’ll have plenty of time to whip up some tasty Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Lattes while we’re at it. Who else is with me?

A Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte is the perfect treat for fall festivities.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

*Programming Note: I’ll be taking a break from posting on Friday so we can really enjoy the weekend with our family and friends. I’ll be back in action on Monday and can’t wait to tell you all about our trip! Xo

A couple of Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Lattes are the perfect treat for the holidays!
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Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte (No Sugar Added!)
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This spiked version of the classic fall espresso drink contains real pumpkin and no added sugar - the perfect balanced treat for the holidays!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 drinks
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 espresso shots (or more if you want the extra caffeine!)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 8 ounces milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon or cinnamon stick, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.

  2. Divide mixture into two mugs and microwave until hot, 1 ½ - 2 minutes.

  3. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or cinnamon stick and enjoy immediately!

Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte (No Sugar Added!) | CaliGirlCooking.com

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy

I hope you’re ready for a cocktail that’s as easy as it is delicious!

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the most delicious, easy fall cocktail!

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is quite likely the drink of any fall-lover’s dreams. After all, the two ingredients involved include pumpkin and apple, which we all know are the stars of the show for the months of at least September, October, November and maybe even December. And who doesn’t want a crowd-pleasing beverage that can be whipped up at a moment’s notice?


In case you’re not quite familiar with what a shandy is (aka “radler” in German), it’s basically a low-octane cocktail made with a mixture of light lager and some sort of citrus juice. Now, I’m not one to normally want to mix my beer with anything, but when it comes to pumpkin-flavored beer mixed with my favorite apple cider, I can certainly make an exception!

Pumpkin beer and apple cider are the only two ingredients you need for this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy!

And now that I’m breastfeeding our little one, I’m all about the low-octane drinks. Less alcohol + more liquids equal better hydration, which we all know is really important when you’re feeding for two!

At this time of year there is certainly no shortage of pumpkin beers out there, so feel free to use your favorite. To be honest, I’ve been a little bummed that Trader Joe’s hasn’t had a bigger selection this season, but I’ve still been able to find some of my favorites at stores like BevMo and Gelson’s. Right now the two I really like that I can seem to find fairly easily are Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale and Ballast Point’s Pumpkin Down, so if you see either of those, I highly recommend you give them a try.

As far as the apple cider goes, you can either buy some from the store (preferably with as little added sugar as possible) or make your own using my super-easy recipe for From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider (which you should honestly have on hand at all times during this holiday season anyway.)

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the perfect low-alcohol cocktail to serve over the holidays.

Aside from the fact that this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy involves, yes, just TWO ingredients, I also love it because it is sooo easy to make. I mean, you don’t even need to break out the cocktail shaker or jigger! You can totally eyeball the amounts, or just adjust the ratio of pumpkin beer to apple cider however you happen to prefer. I prefer a little more beer to my cider, but if you want more cider to your beer, by all means go ahead!

One final tip when making this delicious drink: Be sure your ingredients are well-chilled before mixing them together. I don’t often like to use ice in beer cocktails because I feel it waters them down too much, so you want to start out with your beer and cider being as cold as possible.

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the perfect cocktail to serve at any time of day during the holidays.

I hope you enjoy this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy as much as I have been!

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the most delicious, easy fall cocktail!
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Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This easy cocktail may be low on alcohol but it's certainly high in flavor! Two favorite fall ingredients come together to make one delicious drink.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 9 ounces of your favorite pumpkin beer, chilled
  • 6 ounces apple cider, chilled
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a large glass and enjoy!

Spiked Pear Cider

I’ve fallen hard for the homemade cider this year…

This Spiked Pear Cider is made in the slow cooker and can easily be made virgin for kids to enjoy!

And for this version I’ve even brought on the booze! That’s right, this Spiked Pear Cider is just as tasty as any hot apple cider and has a splash of bourbon to boot. My kind of cool weather treat!


In case you missed it, a little while back I forayed into the world of homemade ciders with this From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider and I was more than pleased with how it turned out. It wasn’t too sweet and had just the right amount of spice. It made me start thinking about what other types of homemade ciders I could create, and a pear version was the first thing that popped to my mind.

And now that I’m back (at least a tiny bit) in the drinking game, I thought it only appropriate to make my pear cider into somewhat of a hot toddy by adding some tummy-warming bourbon. BUT, if you are not a drinker or not drinking at the moment for any reason (I feel ya) then I’m happy to say that this Spiked Pear Cider tastes just as delicious when it’s just plain ol’ “Pear Cider.” In fact, you don’t even add the booze until the end, so it’s easy to make a batch for a crowd and then just add the booze to the mugs of those who want it.

A couple of mugs of warm Spiked Pear Cider are just what you need on a cold fall or winter's night.

Aside from a little difference in the spices, the directions for making this Spiked Pear Cider are nearly identical to those for the apple cider. And whereas my apple cider recipe had no added sweetener, I did decide to add some honey to the pear cider to help counteract the booze a little bit. Which means it’s that much closer to a legit hot toddy and that much more acceptable to drink if you’re ever feeling a little bit under the weather this winter. Am I right?

So what I’ve done here is included the recipe for the pear cider itself – which you’ll make in the slow cooker – and then also the ratios for boozing it up. Plan on making the nonalcoholic pear cider in the slow cooker at least one night before you want to drink it (or first thing that morning since it takes 7 hours to cook) and then you can easily just keep it warm in the slow cooker or refrigerate it and reheat it when you’re ready to enjoy it as a cozy adult beverage.

A mug of Spiked Pear Cider is the perfect hot toddy for the holidays.

This Spiked Pear Cider is the perfect drink to have on hand for the holidays when you have guests and visitors stopping by at any given moment, or when you’re just looking for a little something special to serve up for family. It’s easy to throw together and can be made suitable for kids and adults alike. Plus, who doesn’t love a great “set it and forget it” recipe for this crazy time of year?

A couple of mugs of warm Spiked Pear Cider are just what you need on a cold fall or winter's night.
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Spiked Pear Cider
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
7 hr
Total Time
7 hr 10 mins
 

This slow cooker recipe is a fun new take on cider and can easily be made nonalcoholic for the young 'uns or non-drinkers in the crowd.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cider:
  • 8 pears, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 of a whole vanilla bean
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 cups filtered water
For one cocktail:
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 4-6 ounces pear cider
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the cider ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

  2. Strain cider into a pitcher or a few Mason jars and discard solids.

  3. To make the cocktail, measure out 2 ounces of bourbon into a mug and add 4-6 ounces of the cider (depending on the size of your mug.) Enjoy warm.

Spiked Pear Cider | 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.

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

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs

We’re stepping a bit outside the Thanksgiving box today.

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is the perfect vegan side dish for Thanksgiving.

Because, although not a traditional holiday side dish, this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is completely worthy of a spot on your holiday table. It’s full of dried cranberries, whole grains, white beans and seasonal fresh herbs like fresh rosemary, sage and thyme and literally is a Thanksgiving explosion in your mouth. You’re going to get this one on the menu STAT.


I’ve been a big fan of grain salads for quite a while now, as evidenced by this Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad, this Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad and this Herbed Grain Salad with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans. I love them because they are filled with a ton of healthy ingredients and filling to boot. The whole grains give them plenty of heft to make them completely suitable as an entire meal, although they are equally delicious (and the portions go a bit further) if you serve them as a side dish among all the other delicious things you typically serve up for a holiday meal.

I’m not joking when I say tell you this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs tastes like your entire Thanksgiving menu in a bowl. Sure, there’s no turkey in there (although you could easily add some and I wouldn’t be one bit upset about it) but just the cranberries and the fresh herbs alone are enough to mentally transport you to arguably the most well-known food holiday of the year. I love allll the fresh herbs, but there’s also just something about fresh sage in a recipe that really screams fall and all the deliciousness that comes with it.

A bowl of this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is filling enough to be a delicious vegan holiday meal.

As far as making the dish goes, it couldn’t be easier. Not only does it come together fairly quickly (the longest step will be cooking up the grains) but it can also be made in advance and served cold or at room temperature, which means it’s easy to fit into an already busy cooking and kitchen schedule once T-day rolls around.

For the whole grains, I used a combination of farro and Italian couscous because they were what we had on hand, but feel free to use other varieties such as quinoa, barley or even wild rice. I also added in some toasted pine nuts, and I highly recommend you do not skip this step, even if you want to sub in some other type of toasted nut for that little extra crunch. (Pecans? Almonds? So many possibilities.)

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is an easy, make-ahead side dish for the holidays.

I would also like to point out that said Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is completely vegan, which makes it a delicious, healthy, high-protein option for anyone in your group that may have certain dietary preferences. It’s a great way to serve them up some protein and filling flavor without having to bend over backwards making some sort of interesting Tofurkey creation.

Since I was developing recipes so far in advance this holiday season due to our little one’s arrival, I served this up as a side dish at my mother-in-law’s birthday celebration we held down here in Santa Barbara at the beginning of October. Let’s just say my sisters-in-law were already requesting I make it as our contribution to the Thanksgiving meal when we go celebrate with them in a couple of weeks.  I hope you decide to add it to your menu as well!

Serve this vegan Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs as a hearty side dish or light, healthy meal during the holidays.

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is the perfect vegan side dish for Thanksgiving.
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Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This festive vegan side dish is full of filling whole grains, protein-rich white beans and pine nuts, and the freshest herbs of the season. 

Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked grains of your choice (I used a combination of farro and Italian couscous)
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans Great Northern or white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two days before serving.

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs | CaliGirlCooking.com