Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes

Indulgent AND healthy???

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes |

That’s my kind of breakfast! And after such an action- (and food-) packed day like yesterday, these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are exactly what we need to get us going on an even tougher Monday morning than usual. You feel me?

We had a great time watching the Super Bowl yesterday, but as we weren’t really cheering for either of the teams, let’s be honest, we really just showed up for the food.  The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying a little break in the rain and getting outside for some beach volleyball, and a fun photo shoot with one of my new clients that I’m doing some social media work for.

We also spent some time recovering from partying all last week at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which is a huge annual event for us thanks to the hubs’ hookup with VIP tickets. Highlights included seeing the world premiere of the film “Charged” (which is amazing, BTW, so inspiring – stay tuned for more on that one) and rubbing elbows with Denzel Washington who was given the Maltin Modern Master Award for his lifetime of achievements both on the stage and in front of the camera. We always have such a blast every year and, although it goes by way too fast, we always find ourselves ready for a good deal of extra shut-eye when all is said and done.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes |

All the more reason for these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes to come into our lives! I realize I have not yet posted a pancake recipe here on the blog, although if you’ve checked out my eBook, you’ll know that I have a couple of tasty recipes for more standard, “go-to” pancakes. I also realize that we are now officially into the second month of the year, which means most folks are still TRYING to hold onto their New Year’s resolutions but are finding their strength is waning. I mean, how can it not be with all of these Valentine’s ads and displays floating around?

Well, I have good news for you folks! These Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are chock full of superfoods, yet can still easily pass as dessert (or just a not-so-savory breakfast if that’s more your jam.) You know I’m all about that balance, and this recipe is practically the epitome of what I preach.

Oh, and did I mention they’re also gluten-free? I don’t purposely try to avoid gluten in my recipes (sorry for all of my gluten-intolerants out there,) but just as some of my recipes accidentally turn out vegan, some also just HAPPEN to turn out gluten-free. Just be sure to use gluten-free oats in the batter and you’ll be golden!

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes |

Just like the aforementioned oats, most of the ingredients for these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes are something you’ll likely have in your pantry already if you’re in any way tuned into the health and fitness world (or just like a damn good smoothie in the morning.) And if you don’t have these ingredients on hand already, have no fear, because our trusty old Amazon is pulling through for you once again. I even did all of the hard work for you:


Alright kids, no more excuses. Let’s bust out our fancy blender and get to it. That’s right, I said blender. Because that’s the only thing you’ll need to whip up this recipe, aside from your nonstick skillet or griddle, of course.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes |

Seriously, the process of this pancake batter could not be any easier. Just throw all of the ingredients in the blender, give it a good whir, and you’re ready to pour said batter into your piping hot cooking vessel. Sound easy enough?

Now, we all know that a Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancake’s story can’t stop once it comes off the griddle, because isn’t a pancake breakfast all about the toppings? Yesssirreee. I opted for sliced banana, cacao nibs and high-grade maple syrup for mine, but feel free to use whatever you want! Whipped cream, butter, peanut butter and strawberries are just a few more things that come to mind.

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes |

So there you have it folks! The secret to a healthy, balanced breakfast that still tastes like dessert. Now can we agree that this Monday isn’t going to be all that bad?

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes |
Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes

These chocolate pancakes are full of healthy superfoods, yet still taste incredibly indulgent. The perfect breakfast for any day of the week!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 9 mini pancakes
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 banana
  • 2 scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate flavor will work)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  1. Begin heating a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. 

  2. Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender.

  3. Using a quarter cup measure, scoop pancake batter onto heated pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it gets a nice golden color. 

  4. Remove from pan to a heated plate and continue cooking the rest of the batter.

  5. Top with whatever you prefer! Some ideas are: sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, maple syrup, peanut butter, cacao nibs, shredded coconut and whipped cream. 

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!

Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes |

Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce

You guys, tomorrow is a big day. I can hardly contain my excitement…

We’re getting air conditioning!!!!! And we’re celebrating with these:

Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking

I know, all y’all over in the other 45 or so states that are actually already experiencing fall must think I’m crazy. Why bother getting air conditioning installed in the MIDDLE OF OCTOBER??? Well, let me just tell you that if you had been sweltering in the unusually high temperatures that Santa Barbara has been experiencing this year (in fact, the last couple of years) you would be right there with me in my utter joy and happiness. It has been over 90 degrees here pretty consistently for the last month or so, and with little to no air flow going through our house it’s just been a nightmare.

I keep saying to myself, “Maybe this will be the last heat wave of the year?” One can only hope.

As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about this air conditioning and the fact that soon I may be able to get in a good night’s sleep without tossing and turning in a fevered sweat all night. In the meantime, I’m celebrating our last night in an oven-like house with one last (almost) no-cook recipe. And it still manages to sneak in a little bit of fall!
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
These Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce are pretty legit. They are fresh, full of healthy proteins and vegetables, and accompanied by a lip-smacking sauce that is definitely not your average peanut-dipping-sauce-from-that-hole-in-the-wall-takeout-Thai- restaurant. Just saying.
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
Because it just makes me giddy, let’s talk about this sauce for a minute. I used this recipe from Salt & Wind, and just subbed in peanut butter for the almond butter. I wanted to make a riff on the average peanut sauce, and the red curry was just what I was looking for. I also liked the addition of the pumpkin puree to make it qualify for the “fall recipe” category [as this may be one of my all-time favorite recipe categories.] These three main ingredients give the sauce the perfect combination of sweetness, salt and spice and really liven up such a healthy, raw dish as Summer Rolls.
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
Speaking of Summer Rolls…For these, I had a really hard time deciding which fillings to include and which fillings to omit. I settled on two types of protein: shrimp and tofu. Since this was my first time attempting Summer Rolls, I ended up going the fairly traditional route for veggies with carrots, cucumber, cilantro and avocado. [Full disclaimer: I also bought some Swiss chard to include but ended up omitting it because after laying out all of the other ingredients I felt I had more than enough.] But that’s the cool thing about these rolls! They’re totally customizable and you really can use whatever veggies and protein you want. Go wild!
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
The whole process of wrapping up the rolls was completely new to me, but I started to get the hang of it, oh, around the second to last one. There is a certain finesse to getting those fine rice papers to roll up tightly without tearing!
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
But really, there was no noticing any rolls that might have had some spillage at the seams once they got dunked in this dipping sauce. And there’s no need to hold back. This sauce recipe makes MORE than enough for this batch of Summer Rolls. After lavishly drowning your rolls in this dreamy sauce, you’ll still have enough leftover for a second dinner this week…I did!
Either way, you won’t regret making this. And it is so nice and healthy! My thoughts are that you can really eat as much as you want of this stuff.
Do any of you have a Summer Roll recipe I should try? I’m dying to keep working on my wrapping skills!

Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce

Yield: Makes about 10 summer rolls


    For the Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce:
  • (adapted from Salt & Wind)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (it's best not to use fresh ground for this, I prefer [Earth Balance|
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup hot water
    For the Summer Rolls:
  • One dozen medium shrimp (can be pre-cooked or you can cook them beforehand yourself)
  • One package extra firm tofu, patted dry with paper towels then cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil or bacon grease*
  • 1 package rice paper wrappers
  • 2 large carrots. shredded (I used my food processor, or you can always buy pre-shredded at the supermarket!)
  • 1 medium to large cucumber, julienned
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • *This may sound absurd, but trust me. Every time we cook bacon, rather than trying to find an environmentally sound way to dispose of the grease, we put it in a mason jar in the refrigerator (be sure to let it cool to room temp first!) We then pull it out and use it as "oil" for anything we want to saute/roast/grill with an added taste of umami/salty/savory goodness.


  1. First, make the dipping sauce. Whisk together all sauce ingredients except for the hot water. Once these ingredients are incorporated, whisk in the hot water. Refrigerate until ready to use. This will help it thicken up a bit.
  2. Heat your choice of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add tofu. Do not stir until the side of the tofu in contact with the skillet has gotten a nice golden-brown. Once it has, stir so that all sides take on this same hue. Once tofu is golden on all sides, remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Organize all of your Summer Roll fillings into an assembly line of sorts. Fill a pie plate (or other vessel of similar size) with an inch or two of water. You will need this to soften up your rice paper. You will also need some counter/plastic cutting board space to assemble the rolls. I used my marble pastry slab which worked pretty well.
  4. Place the rice paper wrappers in the dish of water one at a time. They will take about 10-15 seconds to completely soften up. Feel free to swish them around in the water as needed. Once the wrapper is soft, remove it from the water dish and place flat on your work space. Starting about one third of the way up from the bottom of the wrapper, start layering your toppings. I went in this order: cucumber, carrot, cilantro, protein (tofu or shrimp), avocado. This seemed to work fairly well.
  5. Bring the bottom third of the rice paper up towards the filling, while sort of tucking the filling back into the paper as you roll, making it as tight as possible. Once you have the filling contained in the wrapper, fold both sides over, then continuing rolling as tight as possible. When you get to the end (which should be at the top of your work space), the rice paper should stick to itself fairly easily, but if you need to help it along just dab on a little more water with your finger.
  6. As I said, I am far from a pro at Summer Roll wrapping, but the process did get easier as I went along. I also got a better feel for how much of each filling item to include in each roll. Practice makes perfect!


Wine Pairing Suggestion: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Reisling or Gewurtztraminer.

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

Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking

Practicing for my close-up…

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Pumpkin Curry Hummus

Since tomorrow is officially the first day of fall, I’m jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon and I couldn’t be more excited about it.Pumpkin Curry Hummus | CaliGirl Cooking

It has just been so ridiculously hot here that you don’t want to even fathom turning on the oven or any other sort of indoor cooking heat source. Our typical weeknight dinners have become lots of salad plus any protein we can throw on the grill.

That being said, I’ve been dying with all of the fall recipes that have been inundating the interwebs and just had to find something “fall-ish” to make on my own (without melting into a giant puddle.)Pumpkin Curry Hummus | CaliGirl Cooking

I’ve had a go-to pumpkin hummus recipe for a couple of years now and it is a surefire hit wherever I bring it. So I got to thinking of how I could expand on it (while going through the items that I already had on hand in my pantry/kitchen) and this Pumpkin Curry Hummus was born.

Not to brag or anything, but I pretty much nailed this recipe on the first try. I finally had a weekend with a free morning, and was playing around with different recipe ideas for the blog. I really had no idea how this would turn out, but I had all of the ingredients on hand and thought “What the heck?”Pumpkin Curry Hummus | CaliGirl Cooking

I tasted it while it was still room temp and hadn’t marinated in the refrigerator for any time, and I definitely thought it had potential, but it wasn’t until I brought it over to a friends’ house and they started going at it with a bag of chips that I realized I had a winner. I’m so glad I wrote the recipe down!

Thinking about it more, this is a great way for those of us living in less extreme climates (read: still sweating our you-know-whats off) to get into the fall spirit. The comforting flavors of the curry lend a subtle spice to the sweetness of the pumpkin and, one added bonus, it’s healthy! Yes, feel free to go at this with your crudités folks. Who doesn’t love a hot weather fall comfort food?

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

Pumpkin Curry Hummus

Yield: Makes 2 cups


  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • Juice of one lime
  • 3-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Place all ingredients except olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until mostly blended. Slowly drizzle olive oil into processor while blending, until desired consistency has been reached. Add salt and pepper and process slightly to combine.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy with crudité and pita chips!
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Pumpkin Curry Hummus | CaliGirl Cooking


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Travel Diaries: Yosemite

Nature is a beautiful thing.Gaylor Lakes, Yosemite

I’d been to Yosemite many years ago, when I was still just a little one, but my memory sure had faded and I was completely enchanted by all that we saw this time around.

Chris’ family has gone on an annual camping trip to Yosemite since he was born (in fact, his dad has been going since he was born), so when we were able to carve out some time in our busy schedules to make the trip with them this year, we jumped at the chance.Half Dome from Glacier Point, Yosemite

Despite a CRAZY change in the weather the day before we left (since when does it snow in Yosemite in JULY?!!) we still packed up the truck and were on the road by 3:00am Friday morning so we’d have three full days of exploring. The early wake-up call was well worth it and we were at “base camp” by about 10:00am.

Instead of taking you through our day-by-day itinerary like I do with many of my travel posts, I’m going to mix it up this time and tell you the highlights of where we camped, where we hiked and what we ate. Oh, and of course, tons of photos!Clouds Rest, Yosemite

Where We Stayed:

White Wolf Campground – About an hour and a half inside of the main entrance to Yosemite, on the way to Tuolmne Meadows and at about 9,000 feet in elevation, this is a homey little camping oasis. There are over 40 campsites, but the ones along the perimeter are spaced out nicely and don’t make you feel too crowded since they back up to the meadow/forest. The campsites in the inner circle aren’t bad either, but they’re definitely not as “nature-y” as the outer perimeter sites. There are no showers at this site, but there are restrooms with running water. Reservations are first come, first serve, so we were lucky that Chris’ parents were able to head up on Thursday morning and reserve a spot for us. We encountered tent trailer-campers, RV-campers, tent-campers and backpackers alike, so all types of outdoor enthusiasts are welcome here. All campsites have a fire pit and a picnic table for your dining enjoyment. Just be sure to make good use of the bear boxes at each site as the area is home to its share of furry residents.White Wolf Campground

Where We Hiked & Explored:

Glacier PointSince our first day in Yosemite was a little sketch on the weather front, we decided to take some scenic drives and visit landmarks instead of venturing out for a full on “hike.” We drove about two hours to the highest scenic lookout in Yosemite and took our time acquainting ourselves with the beautiful valley we would be exploring for the next couple of days (there were also multiple photo shoots involved.)View from Glacier PointView of Half Dome from Glacier PointMe at Glacier Point

Gaylor Lakes TrailWe chose this trail for our first hike in Yosemite because it was short yet high in elevation to help us get acclimated to being so high up. The first mile of the hike takes you over a steep ridge to some beautiful lakes. If you continue on, you can hike to the historic Great Sierra Silver Mine. We made it over the ridge to the lake (trudging through snow! You know it!) but decided to turn back before we hit the mines due to the ominous clouds looming overhead and the fact that we could see the rain pouring down just over the mountain. Note to self: Invest in hiking boots (I was just wearing my trail running shoes – definitely not cut out for snow hiking.)View of Tuolmne Meadows from Gaylor Lakes TrailGaylor LakeGaylor LakesGaylor Lakes Trail

Clouds Rest – The most challenging, amazing and LONGEST hike I have been on in my entire life. Chris and his brother had done the hike two years before, and said it was a great option since permits are required to hike Half Dome nowadays. Cloud’s Rest is actually higher in elevation than Half Dome, so you get AMAZING views of the entire Valley AND Half Dome, from a different angle than most people see it. We set out from the trailhead shortly before 8:00AM and didn’t get back to our car until about 3:00PM. We also took a slight detour (unplanned, wrong turn) which turned the hike into not just a challenging 14-mile trek, but an even more challenging 16.1-mile trek. Not to mention there is approximately a 1,775-foot elevation change during the hike…My, were our legs Jell-O afterwards but it was soooo worth it and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Now I’m inspired to find some more long hikes to conquer closer to home!Cloud's Rest Base Camp MarkerClouds Rest AscentClouds Rest AscentClouds Rest TrailView of Clouds Rest from TrailClouds Rest Foot TrailView of Half Dome from Clouds RestView of Tenaya Lake from Clouds RestView of Half Dome from Clouds RestChris' Brother on Clouds RestMade it to the top of Clouds Rest!

Which brings us to our final point of interest…

Tenaya LakeAfter we finished hiking Cloud’s Rest, Chris’ parents had told us they would meet us at the beautiful Tenaya Lake (with snacks!! And beverages!! Hallelujah, we were starving.) This lake is absolutely STUNNING. It is so picturesque, you literally feel like you are in an issue of National Geographic. The water was a little chilly, but felt sooo good after our long hike. We saw many people paddling around in kayaks, fishing, and just splashing around. What a beautiful place!Tenaya Lake, YosemiteTenaya Lake, Yosemite

What We Ate:

Here is a list of the different campfire meals we whipped up while we were there. [Disclaimer: Chris’ parents have a tent trailer that is VERY well-equipped with many cooking essentials. But nothing is out of reach! I have listed the devices we used for each dish and tried to include links to samples wherever I could.]


Fried (or over-easy) eggs with bacon and toast (Eggs and bacon cooked with the gas cooktop attached to Chris’ parents’ tent trailer, toast grilled on a portable grill like this.)

Pancakes and bacon (can never get enough bacon!) (Both cooked on the gas cooktop attached to the tent trailer.)

Date-Pecan Muffins (I made these in advance from the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook…I subbed coconut flour for the quinoa flour and I definitely recommend it!)

Andy’s Fairfield Granola (I also made this in advance.)

Fresh fruit and yogurt


We didn’t usually eat a formal lunch, but you can bet we snacked on our fair share of cheese, charcuterie, crackers, dips, etc. Chris’ parents also had sandwich fixings that were great to have around.


Chicken & Dumplings (Made in a Dutch oven, one of Chris’ family’s classic camping meals. I’ll have to bug them for the recipe!)

Bruschetta Bar – we went all out with this one…We brought most of the stuff pre-made from home (smoked tri tip, pulled pork, homemade pesto, homemade herbed goat cheese) and made a couple of things there (bruschetta, mushrooms) and also just brought some accoutrements to compliment everything (multiple cheeses, salami, prosciutto, etc.)

Old-Fashioneds in Yosemite
Of course we had to mix up some Old-Fashioneds to go with dinner…

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce & Kielbasa, Garlic Toast (Spaghetti and meat sauce cooked and heated up on the gas cooktop, garlic toast thrown on the portable grill.)


S’MORES! (duh) – the classic ingredients such as Hershey’s chocolate, jumbo marshmallows and graham crackers…and some not so classic ingredients such as SPECIAL DARK Hershey’s chocolate, Joe-Joes cookies, Reese’s Pieces, and M&M’s. (Obvi cooked over the campfire.)

Homemade brownies (Chris’ mom made these at home.)

Jiffy Pop (Cooked on the gas cooktop.)Campfire in Yosemite

Definitely a trip I will never forget.

I’d love to hear your Yosemite/camping stories! Anywhere we missed that we should check out next time? Any dishes we should try whipping up over a campfire?

Andy’s Fairfield Granola

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s “FEAST: Food to Celebrate Life”

I’m a cookbook hoarder. There, I said it. I LOVE cookbooks. To me, there’s nothing quite like getting a new cookbook and leafing through all of the recipes, casually dog-earing (or sticky-noting) all of the recipes you want to try. There are so many amazing ones out there these days, and I can’t seem to keep up. In fact, it’s amazing how much effort I have to put into actually walking over to my bookshelf to my collection, grabbing a cookbook, and actually choosing a recipe to try. I’m the type of person that gets easily overwhelmed with so many options and ends up just wanting to get into the kitchen and do my own thang.

Andy's Fairfield Granola |

That all being said, with the rarity that I actually cook something out of a cookbook, it is even MORE rare for me to find a recipe in a cookbook that I want to make over and over (and over) again. Enter Andy’s Fairfield Granola, which I stumbled across in Nigella Lawson’s FEAST: Food to Celebrate Life cookbook.

I originally made this recipe when I lived in Napa, and I’ve continued to make it whenever I’m looking for a yummy granola recipe. I have seen SO MANY delicious-looking granola recipes on the inter-webs and from fellow food bloggers, but I can never quite seem to pull myself away from this one. Nigella herself states that she stumbled across this granola while visiting a deli called The Pantry in Fairfield, Connecticut, and after tasting it she just HAD to have the recipe. She contacted the supplier, Andy Rolleri, and he happily sent it along to her.

Andy's Fairfield Granola |

I have made a few tweaks to the original recipe from the book, mostly for the convenience of using whatever I have in my pantry, so this recipe is not exactly like Andy’s, but I still must say you will not be able to stop eating it. We are heading to Yosemite next weekend and I’m so excited to bring a couple of mason jars of this along with us. It will make the perfect camping snack!

Andy's Fairfield Granola |

Do you have any favorite granola recipes? What are your favorite camping snacks? I’m dying to know what else we should bring! XOXO

Andy’s Fairfield Granola

Yield: Makes about 10 cups



  1. Preheat oven to 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix everything except the raisins together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spread the mixture out on two jelly roll pans (baking sheets with edges.) Bake in 310 degree oven for 45 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, stir the granola so everything cooks evenly. You want everything to become a nice golden color without anything getting too brown in one place.
  4. Once baked, allow to cool. Mix in the raisins. Store in airtight container.
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This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. As always, thank you for supporting the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Andy's Fairfield Granola |

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