PB&J Quinoa Bowl

The best Monday breakfast you could ever hope for.

This PB&J Quinoa Bowl is the perfect healthy breakfast to get your week started on the right foot.

That’s right. This PB&J Quinoa Bowl will change the way you view beginning-of-the-week breakfasts forever, and I don’t think you’ll be one bit mad about it.


I don’t know about you, but the weekends always feel like a crazy whirlwind of fun for me, and it’s always just a little bit tough to go to bed on Sunday night knowing I have to wake up and face the “real world” the next day. Yes, I work from home and yes, many feel that’s quite the luxury, but I promise it’s still not easy. If anything, I feel more accountable for being productive, especially after an event-filled weekend like the one I just had.

I’ve been up north at the parents’ house since last Wednesday and I’ll actually be working from up here for the next week due to a heavy influx of close friend and family obligations. I helped cater one of my good friends’ baby showers this past Saturday and next weekend we have a family birthday party, so I just decided to forego 8 extra hours in the car (no bueno for a pregnant mamma!) and stay up here for the week.

The downside of that is, now I’m here surrounded by family, and they all have fun, exciting things that they want to do, yet I still need to be sure I find the time to actually WORK and get done what I need to get done since I’m still held accountable for doing my job, even when I’m not physically at my “home base.” Does anyone else struggle with this? Please tell me you do and give me pointers!

But enough about my time management/life balancing skills, let’s talk about what we REALLY need to get out on the table today (both literally and figuratively) – these PB&J Quinoa Bowls!

Two PB&J Quinoa Bowls ready to be enjoyed on any weekday or weekend morning!

Real life talk: this is another recipe where I have to give all creative credit to a favorite eating establishment of mine. When I first moved to Santa Barbara, one of the things I remember being most excited about was the fact that they had an entire eatery based around the concept of one of my favorite breakfasts – the acai bowl! Yes, I get excited about these things because, hey, I am a food blogger. And there most definitely were no such places in Napa, where I lived previously.

Let me tell you a little bit about Backyard Bowls and why it is so amazing. Well, they literally have any sort of acai bowl you can imagine – green bowls, power bowls, tropical bowls – you name it! Then on top of that they have a whole list of smoothies, PLUS a line of non-acai bowls that are also healthy and taste absolutely amazing. This is the section of the menu where the PB&J Quinoa Bowl resides.

A big PB&J Quinoa Bowl is the perfect healthy, filling breakfast to get your week started on the right foot.

When I was still working in a “real office” full time, a PB&J Quinoa Bowl from Backyard Bowls was one of my favorite breakfasts to pick up on my way to work and eat at my desk, especially if I had a long day ahead of me where I didn’t know what time I’d be able to get to any sort of lunch.

It’s chock full of protein, yet still tastes indulgent at the same time. And the quinoa, oh the quinoa. If you have never ventured into the world of quinoa served oatmeal-style for breakfast, I highly recommend you do so soon (you can try this Banana Peach Breakfast Quinoa with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans while you’re at it.) It is so tasty, super healthy, and full of protein. And yes, quinoa tastes just as good with sweet breakfast-y ingredients as it does with savory dinner-y ingredients.

So here’s the PB&J Quinoa Bowl scoop: First off, you literally cook it just as you would oatmeal. And instead of cooking it using water as the liquid, you’ll use good ol’ cashew milk. In fact, you could really use any sort of regular OR nut milk, I just used cashew because I was trying to really capture Backyard Bowls’ take on the whole thing and that’s what they use. But it’s totally up to you!

Overhead shot of the super-creamy and delicious PB&J Quinoa Bowl. The perfect healthy breakfast!

Once the quinoa is cooked (but while it’s still warm) you’ll stir in a little additional cashew (or other) milk along with your favorite peanut butter to make it extra creamy.

That’s it as far as cooking goes! The next bit, the toppings, is what really takes your PB&J Quinoa Bowl over the edge. First off, your favorite jelly is KEY. I’m quite the traditionalist and prefer to stick to strawberry jam, but feel free to use your own creative license here and use whatever your little heart desires.

Next, you’ll want to add some texture with nicely toasted slivered almonds. They add the perfect crunch to an otherwise texturally one-dimensional bowl. And are such a fun contrast to the peanut butter!

Finally, slice up some fresh banana and fan that out over top. Because what’s a breakfast bowl without a sliced banana topping?

Long story short, this PB&J Quinoa Bowl is a super easy and insanely delicious recipe that needs to make an appearance in your kitchen ASAP. It’s the perfect breakfast to really turn a week around and I guarantee you won’t be mad about it once your piping hot bowl is sitting in front of you on a Monday morning before heading to work.

PB&J Quinoa Bowl topped with strawberry jam, slivered almonds and fresh bananas. The perfect healthy breakfast!

Grab the recipe below and here’s to another productive week ahead! Xo

This PB&J Quinoa Bowl is the perfect healthy breakfast to get your week started on the right foot.
Print
PB&J Quinoa Bowl
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
9 mins
Total Time
24 mins
 

Protein-packed quinoa gets a morning makeover when cooked with your favorite nut milk and swirled with peanut butter and jam, plus even more delicious toppings!

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed tricolor quinoa
  • 3 cups unsweetened cashew milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter, plus more for topping (if desired)
  • 2-4 tablespoons strawberry jelly
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 bananas, sliced
Instructions
  1. Bring quinoa, 2 ½ cups of the cashew milk and honey to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. 

  2. Turn down the heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 10 more minutes. 

  3. Turn off the heat and stir in additional ½ cup of cashew milk, salt and peanut butter. 

  4. Scoop quinoa into 2-4 bowls and top with strawberry jelly, almonds, banana and more peanut butter, if desired.

PB&J Quinoa Bowl | CaliGirlCooking.com

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!

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

Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls

All hail the hidden veggies!!

A close-up look at a delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowl from CaliGirl Cooking. The perfect healthy breakfast even the pickiest of eaters will love!

Seriously, who doesn’t want a HUGE serving of vegetables hidden into one of the most delicious acai bowls of all time? If you’re a fruit/breakfast fanatic like me and like to start your day off on the right foot, these Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls are for you.


And, speaking of hidden veggies, if you have picky eaters in your household (ahem, kids) you’re going to LOVE the fact that there is tons of broccoli and spinach packed into each and every one of these bowls.

Back in the day, when I first moved to Santa Barbara, I was living with my brother and sister-in-law and their three young kids until I found a place I could settle into on my own. As part of my “rent,” I’d try to cook for them as much as possible. As most families with young kids do, my bro and SIL were always struggling to get their kids to eat anything besides carbs and fruit. So, I took it upon myself to help them sneak some goodness into their diets in any way we could.

Some of the biggest hits I created for the kids were Hidden Veggie Popsicles. I’d basically whip up a smoothie with kale, carrots and sometimes even avocado the night before, poured the smoothie into a popsicle mold, and first thing in the morning there would be delicious, healthy POPSICLES waiting for the kids for breakfast. I mean, who doesn’t want popsicles for breakfast? They were a huge hit.

A healthy serving of Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls. Your answer to a quick, easy and healthy breakfast!

Fast forward to almost four years later, now I’m trying to sneak as many vegetables into my diet as possible with my ever-changing preggo mama appetite. Throughout my first whole trimester, veggies were not my friend. I’m normally a huge salad eater, but a big bowl of raw greens was the LAST thing I even wanted to think about eating.

Luckily, my healthy appetite for fruit has maintained throughout the duration of my pregnancy (and will hopefully continue to!) I’ve been able to drink our Power Protein Smoothies we make almost every day, which do also have some kale mixed in, and if I’m looking for a healthy snack in the afternoon, a piece of fruit (most likely paired with cheese) is the first thing I’ll grab out of the refrigerator.

On the weekends, the hubs usually spoils me with eggs, bacon, the works, but occasionally we’ll have some place we need to be in the morning and thus need a quick, healthy breakfast to get our day started on the right foot. On these days, you can most likely find us at Backyard Bowls, Santa Barbara’s acai bowl/smoothie mecca that is basically amazing beyond words.

I’ll usually order either their PB&J Quinoa Bowl if I’m in the mood for a warm, belly-filling meal, or their Green Bowl if I’m looking for something more refreshing. The Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls I’m sharing today are my own personal take on the Green Bowl, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy them just as much as I did!

These Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls from CaliGirl Cooking are the perfect healthy breakfast for picky eaters.

Here’s what you’re going to need: some banana for creaminess, and one more for your toppings (because aren’t the toppings some of the best things about basically eating a smoothie in a bowl?), frozen acai (find it at your local Whole Foods or TJ’s), frozen broccoli and fresh spinach (there’s your veggies!), frozen cherries, pineapple juice, lime juice and some fresh ginger (if you’re feeling adventurous.) I love the ginger for the zinginess it brings to the bowl, but you can easily leave it out if you or your kids aren’t really into such a distinct flavor.

Throw everything into a blender, top with the banana, some sliced strawberries, granola, honey and, my favorite, PEANUT BUTTER, and you’ll have such a delicious, crowd-pleasing breakfast that Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls will soon become the most requested breakfast at your kitchen table. Promise!

An overhead shot of delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls. They'll be a huge hit with kids!

A close-up look at a delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowl from CaliGirl Cooking. The perfect healthy breakfast even the pickiest of eaters will love!
Print
Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

This healthy breakfast is packed with filling fruits and vegetables that will keep even the pickiest of eaters happy and full until lunch. 

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen acai pack
  • 1 banana, plus 1 additional for topping
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • Sliced strawberries, your favorite granola, honey and peanut butter, for topping
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except toppings in a blender and blend until smooth. 

  2. Pour blender contents into one larger cereal bowl (or two smaller ones) and garnish with desired toppings.

  3. Enjoy immediately!

Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls | CaliGirlCooking.com

Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables

It’s summer time and the cooking is easy!

A close-up view of Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables, featuring Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf.
This post is sponsored by Frontier Co-Op.

At least that’s what we like to think, right? Memorial Day is behind us, which means we’re heading full-throttle into warm weather eats. And what better way to #SpiceUpSummer than with top-quality herbs and spices?

Today I’m partnering with Frontier Co-Op to bring you this incredibly fresh and delicious Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables, which I can guarantee is going to become one of your go-to meals over the next few months. It’s loaded with the best in-season flavor – Frontier’s own Oregano Leaf, tons of lemon juice and a touch of cayenne pepper – and since it uses just one dish, it’s incredibly easy to whip up on any night of the week with minimal cleanup. If you ask me, there’s no better way to #CookWithPurpose, one of Frontier’s main initiatives this summer.


I love working with Frontier Co-Op because of this very message. To them, it’s all about working together to create sustainable, high-quality products that bring people together through delicious food. And you know I’m all about that!

Beautiful Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables made with Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf. The perfect one-dish meal for summer!

Herbs and spices are some of the best tools we can use to accomplish this. They add so much incredible flavor to a recipe for very few calories, which makes healthy, delicious cooking easier than ever. They’re also perfect for those hot summer days when you want to pull together a wholesome, nutritious meal with minimal time spent slaving away over the stove or in the kitchen.

This Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables most definitely falls into the quick-to-make/easy-to-cleanup/loads-of-flavor category. All it takes is a half-hour marinade for the fish, 20 minutes in the oven, and a tableful of hungry people.

An overhead shot of Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables featuring Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf.

I opted for sea bass for this particular recipe because it looked the best at the store, but you can really use any firm white fish. Just make sure all of your filets are about the same thickness so they cook evenly in the oven.

The sea bass (or whichever fish you opt to use) gets marinated in a tasty blend of Frontier Co-Op Oregano Leaf, fresh garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. This imparts all of those delicious flavors throughout the filets, so you get all of the deliciousness in every single bite. Plus, since we’re working with fairly delicate fish, it only needs a half-hour marinade. Because when we’re trying to #CookWithPurpose, we don’t want to waste away an entire evening waiting for our dinner to be ready!

Once you have the sea bass part of your Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables ready to go, prepping the vegetables is easy. Feel free to use your creative license here, but I opted for zucchini, red baby potatoes and fresh corn. Oh, and shallots, because shallots make everything better. The “do” for these is even easier than the marinade for the fish. We’re bathing our veggies in a simple dressing of olive oil, more oregano, salt and pepper. It really doesn’t take much when we have all of those amazing flavors going on with our fish.

We give the vegetables a little head start in the oven to make sure they have time to cook all the way through, then we add the sea bass for the last 12-15 minutes. It won’t take long for all of the delicious smells from the Oregano Leaf and lemon juice to start wafting through the house, so it’s a good thing you won’t have to wait too long before enjoying!

Individually plated Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables featuring Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf.

What are your favorite warm weather recipes featuring herbs and spices? How are you going to #SpiceUpSummer this year?

Beautiful Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables made with Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf. The perfect one-dish meal for summer!
Print
Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 

The perfect, healthy, one-dish meal featuring fresh sea bass and summer's best produce, with tons of zesty Mediterranean flavor.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the fish:
  • 4 pieces of sea bass filet (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Frontier Co-Op Oregano Leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Frontier Co-Op Cayenne
For the vegetables:
  • 4 baby red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchini, cut into thin disks
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut off the cob
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Frontier Co-Op Oregano Leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine sea bass and all other marinade ingredients in a large, resealable plastic bag, making sure the marinade covers the fish fairly evenly. Place bag in refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Next, prep the vegetables. Toss all vegetable ingredients together in a large casserole dish. Once oven is preheated, place vegetables in for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Remove vegetables from oven (do not turn off oven) and place the marinated sea bass filets over top. Return casserole dish to the oven and bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until the sea bass is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Spicy Homemade Salsa

Hey, hey, hey friends!

Spicy Homemade Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

I am so excited for today’s post because I’ve partnered up with some of my favorite event and wedding planning babes, A Savvy Lifestyle, to bring you the most delicious Spicy Homemade Salsa you’ve ever tasted. I’m serious here. If you like spicy, you’re going to LOVE this. You probably won’t even be able to put down the chips. It’s a good thing the recipe makes a huge batch so you just might be willing to share some with your friends for your Cinco de Mayo get-together!


I have to tell you a little story about the Savvy group because they really are a special bunch. When my husband and I first got engaged, one of the first people I told was my good friend Brittany who also happens to be a wedding planner. Now, I used to be an event planner but I am definitely no expert in weddings, so I needed all of the help I could get! Brittany just so happens to work for A Savvy Lifestyle’s parent company, A Savvy Event, so I knew I would be in good hands with her.

Seeing as we wanted her to be able to actually ENJOY our wedding (and not have to work for once!) she quickly connected us with one of her amazing coworkers, Jamie, to be our actual planner leading up to and the day of the event. All spare you all of the lovey-dovey, romantic details of our wedding planning process, but let’s just say it was so special to work so closely with such an amazingly friendly group of talented ladies! So when they asked me to contribute a festive Cinco de Mayo recipe for their lifestyle brand, I jumped at the chance.

Spicy Homemade Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

Coincidentally, this recipe is one that my husband has had in his arsenal since his good ol’ Isla Vista college days, so we’re putting our marriage to work to bring you this Spicy Homemade Salsa! We whip up a batch whenever we’re having a barbecue, family get-together or pretty much any other large gathering of people, and it’s always a hit, especially with our spice-lovers!

Seriously though, the spice-level on this recipe (as written) is not for the faint of heart. But there is some great news that goes along with that so as not to totally scare you away:

  1. When I say the salsa is “spicy,” think of it as a slow, gradual buildup. It doesn’t hit you all at once, and it certainly doesn’t burn off all of your taste buds with the first bite. I’d say if you normally buy “medium” salsa at the store, you’ll easily be able to tolerate at least small doses of this recipe as is.
  2. If you’re REALLY averse/sensitive to heat, you can easily just cut down the amount of habaneros used, or even use seeded jalapenos instead. Once you take the seeds out, peppers really just add flavor and hardly any spice at all.

The most recent evolution of this recipe, which you can find here in the A Savvy Lifestyle post, is our addition of some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Seriously, do not skip this step if you can at all help it. The smokiness of the peppers adds such a fantastic flavor to the salsa, it truly makes the dish three-dimensional and out of this world.

Spicy Homemade Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

CLICK HERE FOR THE SPICY HOMEMADE SALSA RECIPE!

So what are your plans for Cinco de Mayo? I for one am headed out to Salt Lake City tonight through Sunday for the Everything Food Conference, so no big Cinco celebration for me this year, but I am beyond excited. This will be the first full-on “food blogging” conference that I’ve attended and I’ve already got so many brands and people on my list to meet I just know it’s going to be a blast and go by way too fast. If for any reason you’re headed that way as well, be sure to drop me a line so we can connect!

So since I’ll be too busy mingling with my fellow bloggers and living it up in the SLC, do me a favor and enjoy some Spicy Homemade Salsa for me, will ya? And maybe a margarita or two?

Spicy Homemade Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

And be sure to check out A Savvy Lifestyle for the recipe and tons of other great posts about events, wine country and so much more!!