Mini No-Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecakes

These mini no-bake cheesecakes have a wonderfully fresh flavor thanks to both mint-infused syrup and whipping cream. They come together quickly with just a bit of advance planning and are perfect for summer since you don’t even have to turn on the oven. The entire family can enjoy these bite-size desserts with no artificial colors or flavors!

An overhead shot of a batch of Mini Fresh Mint Cheesecakes and a bottle of mint-infused simple syrup.
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that continue to make CaliGirl Cooking possible. This post also contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission when you click on them and make any subsequent purchases.

If you’re looking for an easy, refreshing dessert that’s already perfectly portion-controlled for you and your family, these Mini No-Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecakes are it! I’ve once again partnered with my friends at Sonoma Syrup Co. to come up with a tasty recipe to showcase all of the wonderful flavors of their fresh mint syrup, without any of that bright green faux mint color and flavor that shows up in most minty desserts you see. If you were a fan of my Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, you’re definitely not going to want to miss this one.

Special Equipment Needed for Making Mini Cheesecakes

Before we get into the recipe itself, it’s important to note a few pieces of equipment you’ll need to make it.

Mini Cheesecake Pan (optional)

If you want your cheesecakes to be the most aesthetically pleasing, I highly recommend investing in a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms. I have one similar to this. If you don’t feel like investing or simply didn’t plan too far in advance to make this recipe (hey, I totally get it) you can simply line a muffin tin with paper liners for ease of pulling out the individual cheesecakes once they’ve set up in the fridge.

Hand Mixer and/or Stand Mixer

To be honest, I used BOTH my hand mixer and my stand mixer for this recipe, but you certainly don’t have to. If you only use one or the other, you’ll just have to do some transferring and extra washing of dishes while you’re putting together your cheesecakes. But you will need at least one of these! No one wants to spend hours hand-whisking heavy whipping cream until it’s fluffy.

Those are all of the special tools you’ll need, everything else is pretty standard, like mixing bowls, spatulas, etc.

What You’ll Need to Prepare in Advance

This recipe comes together in no time at all, as long as you do a little advance planning. Here are the two easy steps you’ll need to take at least a few hours before you decide to put together these cheesecakes:

  1. Set out the cream cheese to come to room temperature.
  2. Steep the whipping cream with some fresh mint so it has time to cool down before you actually move forward with whipping it.

Since we’re not baking this dessert, we want to make sure everything is at the optimal temperature before moving forward with the rest of the recipe.

How to Make a No-Bake Chocolate Crust

It’s no secret that the ultimate compliment to fresh mint is chocolate, so that’s exactly the type of crust we’re going to make. A no-bake cheesecake crust is easier than ever to put together. All you need are some crushed up crispy cookies and melted butter. Once they’re mixed together, pressed into your mini cheesecake pans and refrigerated, the butter will harden up again and form a nice solid base for the mint cheesecake filling.

I used some chocolate cat cookies from Trader Joe’s for my crust, but you could also use chocolate graham crackers or even just the cookie part of Oreo’s (no filling).

An overhead shot of a mini cheesecake pan filled with chocolate cookie crust.

A Light-and-Fluffy Fresh Mint Cheesecake Filling

Once you have the chocolate crusts pressed into your mini cheesecake pan or cupcake tin, you’ll want to make the filling.

The first (and very important) step to a fluffy filling is to whip the mint-infused cream you prepared in advance until stiff peaks form. This will give your cheesecakes a silky, smooth and light texture that’s sure to please anyone who tries it. To really up the fresh mint flavor here, we’ll also whip in some of Sonoma Syrup’s Mint-Infused Simple Syrup, which is made with all-natural flavors and no artificial coloring.

An overhead shot of a mixing bowl full of whipped mint cream.

Once your mint cream is sufficiently whipped, it’s time to make the other half of the filling by combining your room temperature cream cheese and some powdered sugar.

Next (and this is important) gently fold the mint whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and – voila! –your light and oh-so-fluffy mint cheesecake filling is ready to go.

Gently scoop the filling into your chocolate crust cups and refrigerate for at least a few hours for the filling to firm up a bit. It won’t be super stiff, but that’s how we get the light and fluffy texture. If you need the filling to be a little stiffer for removing the cheesecakes from the pan, simply pop them into the freezer for 20 minutes or so before serving.

A stack of three mini fresh mint cheesecakes with a bottle of mint-infused simple syrup.

More Ways to Use Mint in the Kitchen

Mint is such a fun and refreshing flavor to incorporate into recipes, especially in the summer. Here are some other great ideas for adding more fresh mint flavor to your recipes during these warm-weather months:

Use it to make Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Chips.

Make a classic cocktail like a Mojito or a Mint Julep.

Stray from your usual cup of coffee with a Mint Matcha Latte.

Or stick to your OG latte but add a dash of mint syrup.

And, finally, what better way to cool off from the heat than with some Vanilla Bean Mint Lemonade?

I dare you to try this recipe and tell me these Mint Mini Cheesecakes aren’t a breath of fresh, minty air. Be sure to check out Sonoma Syrup Co.’s full range of all-natural products here and leave a rating and comment below as soon as you give the recipe a try!

A fresh mint mini cheesecake with a bite out of it with more mini cheesecakes behind it.

5 from 1 vote
A fresh mint mini cheesecake with a bite out of it with more mini cheesecakes behind it.
Mini No-Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecakes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Refrigerator Time
5 hrs
Total Time
5 hrs 40 mins
 

These mini no-bake cheesecakes have a wonderfully fresh flavor thanks to both mint-infused syrup and whipping cream. They come together quickly with just a bit of advance planning and are perfect for summer since you don’t even have to turn on the oven.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: bite-size, cheesecake, dessert, family-friendly, mint, no-bake, summer
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 378 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookies (I used Trader Joe’s Chocolate Cat Cookies, or you could use chocolate grahams or Oreo’s without the filling.)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5-8 leaves fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons Sonoma Syrup Co. Mint-Infused Simple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • Fresh mint, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. A few hours before you want to make the cheesecakes, pull out the cream cheese to let it come to room temperature and make the mint-infused heavy cream. To make the cream, bring the heavy whipping cream and fresh mint to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat and let it cool down until it is no longer too hot to the touch. Transfer the infused cream to a heat-proof dish or container (I used a glass measuring cup) and refrigerate until completely cool.

  2. Once the cream cheese is at room temperature and the infused cream has cooled down, prepare your mini cheesecake or muffin tin pans by either spraying the cheesecake tins (with removable bottoms) with cooking spray or lining the muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

  3. Next, prepare the crust. Depending on the equipment you have available, either combine the chocolate cookies and melted butter in a food processor and process until finely crumbled, or smash the cookies into small pieces in a resealable plastic bag, then combine the crumbs in a small bowl with the melted butter.

  4. Firmly press the cookie and butter mixture evenly into the bottom of each of your tins and set aside.

  5. Remove the infused cream from the refrigerator and place in either a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the mint syrup and vanilla extract. Using your hand mixer or the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. This may take a while, 5-10 minutes.

  6. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the mint-infused whipped cream until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.

  7. Scoop the cheesecake filling evenly into each of your mini cheesecake or muffin tins. Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. If you feel the cheesecakes are still too soft, feel free to pop them into the freezer for 20-30 minutes before removing them from the pan.

Recipe Notes
  1. You can find mini cheesecake pans with removable bottoms here.
  2. Be sure to remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and prepare the mint-infused whipping cream a few hours in advance. 
  3. It's important to make sure the cream is nice and whipped - with thick peaks - before folding it into the rest of the cheesecake batter. 
  4. The cheesecakes will be light and fluffy, even after setting in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you need them to be firmer for removing from the pan and serving, place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before enjoying.
Nutrition Facts
Mini No-Bake Fresh Mint Cheesecakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 378 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 71mg24%
Sodium 345mg15%
Potassium 116mg3%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 20g22%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 818IU16%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

What to Cook with Your Kids When You’re All Stuck at Home

Whether you’re facing a bout of snow days, a widespread virus, or anything else that’s forcing you inside with your little ones for days at a time, here’s a list of 37 recipes you can easily make together to keep everyone happy and entertained. (Look for the * for recipes that are especially baby- and toddler-friendly!)

Recipes to Cook With Your Kids

Breakfast

A finished dish full of Make-Ahead Breakfast Enchiladas.
CaliGirl Cooking is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

“Feed-a-Crowd” Make-Ahead Breakfast Enchiladas

Coconut Vanilla Chia Pudding Parfait

Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Date “Shake”

Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes*

Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls*

Kid-Approved Breakfast Banana Splits

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar are the perfect healthy breakfast for busy mornings on-the-go.

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar

Oat Milk Chia Pudding with Blueberry-Orange Compote*

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies*

Red, White and Blueberry Blender

Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal

Slow Cooker Cherry Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Carrot Muffins*

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups*

Weekday Festive Funfetti Waffles

Lunch

Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad is the perfect quick-and-healthy lunch for any day of the week.

Protein-Packed Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad

Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Thai Chicken Burritos

Snacks/Sides

An overhead shot of Festive Guacamole in a bed of tortilla chips.

Festive Guacamole with Cotija and Pomegranate

To-Die-For Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs

Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread*

Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread

Pumpkin Popovers

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad

Crunchy Pea Salad with Prosciutto

S'mores Granola Clusters | CaliGirl Cooking

Addicting S’mores Granola Clusters

All-Dressed Party Mix

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars

Dinner

This Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board features slow-cooked pulled lamb, pomegranate arils and refreshing sliced cucumber to make the perfect healthy appetizer for your next get-together!

Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board

Bruschetta Bar

Weeknight Beef & Veggie Stir-Fry

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding

Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes*

Island-Style Teriyaki Beef Sliders

Dessert

5-Ingredient Indulgent Date Bites

Banana, Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate “Faux-Yo”

Ways to Get Your Kid Involved in the Cooking Process

You may be thinking, “Sure, these recipes are all great, but how do I actually get my kid(s) involved?” Here are a few ideas for different ages:

A toddler and mom baking together at the kitchen counter.

Toddlers

  • Let them add ingredients to a mixing bowl
  • Have them stir ingredients in a mixing bowl
  • Let them space things out on a baking sheet
  • Allow them to prepare simple ingredients, like cutting softer items with toddler-friendly knives or shelling peas or edamame
  • This is a great time to give them a pair of tongs and let them practice their hand-eye coordination by trying to grab something
  • Have them squeeze citrus
  • TIP: Pre-measure out all your ingredients before starting to cook or bake with your toddler. Things will run much more smoothly this way!

Younger Kids

  • Have them measure out your ingredients for you
  • Allow them to prep your baking vessel – whether by spraying on cooking spray or lining a cupcake tin with muffin liners
  • Continue to allow them to cut things using age-appropriate knives
  • Let them pour things into a vessel through a funnel
  • Have them wash produce
  • Ask them to retrieve ingredients out of the refrigerator or pantry for you

Older Kids

  • Have them dice or mince ingredients for you
  • Let them go through the entire process of adding ingredients, stirring and transferring to the proper cooking vessel
  • Teach them how to safely use the oven and stove
  • Allow them to come up with the menu for a meal!
  • Let them season meat and teach them about proper raw food handling techniques

I’d love to hear your favorite recipes or tips for cooking with kids in the comments below!

 

Weekday Festive Funfetti Waffles

The BEST way to celebrate a special occasion on any day of the week, these festive waffles get their slight pinkish hue (and tasty tang) from freeze-dried raspberries and are loaded with multi-colored sprinkles to really take your breakfast over the top. The best part? They come together in almost no time at all!

A stack of funfetti waffles topped with butter and fresh berries, drizzled with syrup.

CaliGirl Cooking is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

ICYMI last week, I shared some big news on Instagram – Baby Girl #2 is coming this August! We are over-the-moon about this new special addition to our family and, such as was the case with the news of our first baby girl, I felt the need to make a new special recipe to celebrate. Enter these Weekday Festive Funfetti Waffles!

I’ve not shared a specific recipe using this particular technique, but one of my favorite ways to add a festive hint of color to many baked goods and sweet treats (without a ton of artificial colors or flavors) is by mixing in some crushed freeze-dried fruit. My favorite way to use it is in a homemade frosting recipe, but I decided to branch out a bit and give mixing it into waffle batter a shot. I’m thrilled with the result!

Now, because I (like many of you) have limited free time to make from-scratch recipes these days, I decided to make these Festive Funfetti Waffles as easy to whip up as possible. They’re so easy, in fact, that you could easily make them on a weekday morning if you have something special to celebrate. So, let’s get into it!

Four quarters of a funfetti waffle stacked on top of each other and topped with butter and fresh berries with butter and maple syrup in the background.

How to Make Funfetti Waffles

Okay, friends, I told you I was going to make this an easy one. That’s why we’re going to forego the “from-scratch” mentality and instead focus on finding a healthy and tasty boxed pancake and waffle mix. I used Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix and loved it, but there are tons of healthy options out there.

Once you’ve settled on which mix you’re going to use, just follow the directions on the package (the recipe below is based off of the Bob’s Red Mill mix instructions) and also include the freeze-dried raspberries (which you can find at Trader Joe’s or on Amazon). You’ll want to mix together the batter using a blender to ensure the raspberries get properly incorporated into the batter.

A flat lay of all of the ingredients you need to make these Festive Funfetti Waffles: water, eggs, waffle mix, sprinkles, oil and freeze-dried raspberries.

Once you have the batter made in your blender, you simply stir in some festive sprinkles. I highly recommend using this type, as the non-pareils such as those sprinkled on top in the photos tend to bleed a lot in a batter.

And once the batter is made, all that’s left is to whip out your trusty waffle maker (here’s one similar to the one I use) and cook as you would any other old waffle.

Ways to Enjoy Your Waffles

There are tons of different ways you can finish these festive bad boys off. Here are just a few:

  • Keep it basic with butter and maple syrup
  • Add some whipped cream
  • Top with a variety of berries or your choice of fresh fruit
  • Turn them into a dessert and top with a scoop of ice cream
  • Add more sprinkles!

An overhead shot of Festive Funfetti Waffles topped with butter, fresh berries and sprinkles.

Other Festive Weekday Breakfast Recipes

In my opinion, celebrating a special occasion at breakfast is far too often overlooked. Here are some other fun breakfast recipes you can make for your next birthday celebration:

These Kid-Approved Breakfast Banana Splits take your kids’ favorite after-dinner treats and make them a healthy yet entertaining breakfast. No cooking involved!
We all know that heading off to school is usually NOT our kids’ favorite time of day, but what if you make it fun with these Back-to-School Papaya Breakfast Boats?
Prefer a more savory celebration? Prep these Make-Ahead Breakfast Enchiladas the night before and just pop them in the oven in the morning.
What kid doesn’t want to eat pudding for breakfast? This Coconut Passion Fruit Chia Pudding will transport your entire family to the tropics whether it’s the middle of winter or the start of a monotonous school day.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to take your waffle game to the next level? If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a rating and a comment to help other curious mamas find it!

A plate of funfetti waffles topped with butter, sprinkles and fresh berries.

Weekday Festive Funfetti Pancakes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

The BEST way to celebrate a special occasion on any day of the week, these festive waffles get their slight pinkish hue (and tasty tang) from freeze-dried raspberries and are loaded with multi-colored sprinkles to really take your breakfast over the top. The best part? They come together in almost no time at all!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: birthday, breakfast, celebration, entertaining, funfetti, kid-friendly, sprinkles, waffles, weekday
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 481 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat waffle maker and spray with cooking spray.

  2. Add first five ingredients* (waffle mix, oil, eggs, water, and freeze-dried raspberries) to a blender and blend until raspberries are completely incorporated into the batter (with no large chunks).

  3. Stir sprinkles into batter, then measure batter into waffle maker and bake waffles according to appliance directions, spraying with cooking oil after each batch to prevent sticking.

  4. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings!

Recipe Notes

*Exact ingredients and amounts may vary based on which waffle mix you’re using. Amounts for raspberries and sprinkles should remain fairly consistent for 6 waffles.

1. Topping Ideas: butter, maple syrup, whipped cream, berries or other fresh fruit, ice cream, more sprinkles!

2. Try to find a healthy, high-quality pancake and waffle mix like Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix.

3. Waffle cooking times will vary depending on your specific waffle maker and how crisp you would like your waffles to be. I use one similar to this.

Nutrition Facts
Weekday Festive Funfetti Pancakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 481 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 638mg28%
Potassium 323mg9%
Carbohydrates 64g21%
Fiber 11g46%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 119IU2%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 152mg15%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes to Wow All Ages

If there’s one thing that’s synonymous with cooler weather, it’s the fact that the season brings tons of occasions to celebrate with friends and family. Here’s a thoughtfully curated roundup of 10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes that will satisfy adults and kids alike. Mix one up for your next get-together!

Title image for 10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes to Wow All Ages.
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co.

Am I the only one who starts getting excited about all of the fall and winter holidays in the dead heat of summer? There’s something about the endless celebrations, travel, and loads of family time that just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Not to mention the FOOD and DRINKS. The cold-weather months are a time for not only comforting, hearty foods, but also belly-warming cocktails and mocktails. They’re a time for connection, celebration, and indulgence in things you only get to partake in once or twice a year. If you ask me, the food and drink we get to consume over these next few months is reason to celebrate in itself!

With all of the family time these holiday months can bring, you’re no doubt looking for a festive beverage or two for one special occasion or another (and – let’s be honest – us big kids often need something with an extra little kick to get us through all the craziness!) These 10 cocktails and mocktails are all festive and incredibly easy to make, especially with the addition of my favorite infused syrups from Sonoma Syrup Co. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re a little kid or big kid, a whiskey fan or a vodka fan.

You’ll also find a brand new cocktail recipe I created just for this roundup. My Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash features all of my favorite fall flavors (and, yes, that includes bourbon!) in one frosty glass. It’s certainly going to be on repeat in our household this holiday season. Read on for the recipe and nine other great drink ideas!

Spicy Ginger Sangria by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A glass of Spicy Ginger Sangria with glasses, ice and ginger simple syrup in the background.

Sangria is a fantastic drink for entertaining because you can make a big batch of it in advance and let adults serve themselves. This seasonally appropriate version features flavors of ginger, citrus, figs and apples – it’s like winter in a glass! And because the only booze in this recipe is red wine, the sangria isn’t nearly as strong as some of the other batch cocktails I’ve included in this roundup. Use a wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to really make the sangria full-bodied. It will warm up cold bellies (or stressed out parents) in no time! It’s also a great option to serve for a winter brunch in lieu of mimosas.

Honey Roasted Pear Sparkling Cocktails or Mocktails  by Cotter Crunch

A few glasses and a pitcher of Honey Roasted Pear Sparkling Cocktails.

I love this recipe because there’s both a cocktail and mocktail version, making it a great option when you have guests of all ages to cater to. For a fun spin on the original recipe, try substituting Infused Apple Cider Drinking Vinegar for the balsamic vinegar, or add in some Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup in lieu of the vanilla extract. Roasting fruits before adding them to cocktails gives them a whole other dimension of flavor. It’s a fun way to add an unexpected twist to whatever you’re serving!

Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash by CaliGirl Cooking

An overhead shot of two glasses of Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash on a wooden platter.

This festive, easy-to-make cocktail features all of my favorite fall flavors – apple, pumpkin and bourbon! Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Pumpkin Pie Latte Syrup is a great way to add real pumpkin flavor to drinks without the extra body of pumpkin purée, and the touch of apple cider makes this drink truly next-level. It comes together in less than 10 minutes and is the perfect libation to sip on after the kids have all gone to bed and it’s time to kick up your feet.

Pay attention to the quality of apple cider you use. I like the cloudy, unfiltered stuff (usually from smaller producers) because it adds so much more flavor than the typically more watery juice.

If you want to make this recipe kid-friendly, simply omit the booze. It would also be just as tasty served warm as it would over ice!

Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

This Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash combines the best flavors of fall to make one delicious cocktail. It takes less than 5 minutes to mix up and enjoy in front of a crackling fire.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, apple cider, bourbon, cocktails, drinks, fall, pumpkin
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 255 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces Sonoma Syrup Co. Pumpkin Pie Latte Syrup
  • 4 ounces high-quality apple cider
  • 8 dashes angostura bitters
For garnish:
  • 2 dashes ground cinnamon
  • 2 apple wheels
Instructions
  1. Combine all cocktail ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled 3/4 full with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.

  2. Fill two rocks glasses with ice and strain shaker contents evenly amongst the two.

  3. Add a dash of ground cinnamon to the top of each cocktail and garnish with apple wheel. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes
  1. Use the highest quality apple cider you can find for this recipe (or make your own!)
  2. You can easily omit the booze to make this an extra-tasty mocktail!
  3. Use your favorite pumpkin spice latté syrup if you can't find the Sonoma Syrup brand.
Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash
Amount Per Serving
Calories 255 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 11mg0%
Potassium 57mg2%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 19g21%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 10mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
The Lemon Toddy by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A lemon tree with a beehive.

I don’t know about you, but I love me a good hot toddy. This Lemon Toddy can be served as-is (without the booze) or add a healthy glug of whiskey to kick things up a notch. This is the perfect drink for the dead of winter when you’re fending off colds or snuggled up in a cozy cabin with snow falling down outside. With both alcoholic and nonalcoholic options, it’s the perfect family-friendly recipe and a great way to stay healthy in a season that is rife with sickness.

Apple Cider, Cranberry and Ginger Punch  by Martha Stewart

A few glasses of Apple Cider, Cranberry and Ginger Punch.

This is another easy batch cocktail that can easily be made with or without booze. Liven up the entire batch with a healthy glug of gin, or split it up and omit the gin from half so there is some for kids and adults alike. The combination of apple, cranberry and ginger is like winter in a glass. You can even cut down on the ingredient list by subbing in some lemon simple syrup for the fresh lemon juice and sugar. This recipe makes four servings, but feel free to double or triple the recipe for a larger group. It’s so easy to do!

Peppermint Mocha by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A woman holding a warm peppermint mocha.

Call me basic, but I’m a HUGE fan of the peppermint mocha once the cool weather rolls around. In fact, I’ve even been known to order one after the winter holidays have passed and I’m still sporting my leather boots. With this recipe, you can easily make a Peppermint Mocha in the comfort of your own home without having to trek to Starbucks. For the kiddos, just omit the espresso and they’ll have a tasty Peppermint Hot Chocolate on their hands (and hopefully not all over their clothes.) It’s also super-easy to make it dairy-free!

SPICED Vanilla Bean Steamers  by The Kitchn

A Vanilla Bean Steamer on a tables with a jug of milk and vanilla beans in the background.

If you’re not a fan of peppermint or chocolate, this is the warm winter drink for you! This particular recipe uses tea bags, but you can also simply heat or froth up your choice of milk with some delicious Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup. If you do go the tea route, feel free to branch out from just the turmeric tea mentioned here. Peppermint, chamomile and Earl Grey are all great alternatives to try instead. I love a good vanilla steamer right before bed, especially at the end of a stressful day. Think of it as an easy act of self-care when the holiday craziness gets to be too much. I guarantee it will give you a more peaceful night’s sleep, plus, this recipe is great for the kiddos, too!

Vanilla Bean Creamsicle by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A Vanilla Creamsicle cocktail in a martini glass!

While hot drinks are all the rage when the weather outside is less than ideal, this Vanilla Bean Creamsicle cocktail will no doubt warm you up inside as well. Vanilla and orange are two classic winter flavors that compliment each other nicely, and vodka will lend that extra kick you may be looking for when things get a little too hectic or stressful. This is the perfect drink to serve at an adults-only party, or even a winter lunch or brunch with your closest gal pals. Get fancy with martini glasses filled to the rim and a tasty selection of appetizers to go with!

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog by CaliGirl Cooking

Two glasses of Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog amid twinkly lights.

A cold-weather drink roundup wouldn’t be complete without a classic homemade eggnog recipe! While homemade eggnog may sound intimidating, it’s really not that hard to make. And the flavor payoff is so worth it! I encourage you to give it a shot. Don’t be shy about using the raw eggs, just pay attention to where you buy them to ensure they’re of the highest quality and, of course, don’t indulge in this while pregnant. Adding plenty of Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup and of-the-season spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves make this eggnog its own party in a glass.

Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour by HGTV.com

A punch bowl of Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour with two filled glasses and sliced grapefruit alongside.

Let’s wrap up this list with one final batch cocktail! This Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour is a true party in a punch bowl. There’s something about serving a punch that automatically ups the festive factor of any get-together, plus it’s easier on the host. I love that this recipe is brimming with fresh citrus and zesty ginger in addition to everyone’s favorite tummy-warmer: bourbon. And here’s a handy shortcut for ya: instead of slaving away over the stove to make your own ginger simple syrup as the recipe calls for, simply swap in Sonoma Syrup’s White Ginger Infused Simple Syrup! Your party prep just got that much easier.

So, what do you think? Out of all of these cocktail and mocktail recipes, is there one you’re just dying to make? I don’t know about you, but I hope I get the chance to give every single one of them a try.  Let me know which one you’re going to try first in the comments below!

Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes That Even Your Little One Will Love!

These Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes take a classic Sloppy Joe recipe and turn it into something the whole family – even your youngest eaters – will love. Sloppy Joe filling is tucked into fluffy crescent cups for a neater, handheld version of the popular weeknight dinner.

If you have questions about starting solid foods, consult a physician or health care provider.

An overhead shot of Not-So-Sloppy Joes laid out on a cooling rack.

This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.

I hope you’re ready for an easy weeknight dinner that the entire family is going to love, because these Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes totally fit the bill. They’re quick, easy, and so tasty you won’t even know they’re made specifically for tiny appetites.

That’s right, I’m thrilled to be partnering with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to bring you this baby-led weaning-friendly recipe and share all of the amazing benefits of introducing beef as a first food to your babes.

By now you likely know what a huge proponent I am of the baby-led weaning method, which encourages the introduction of ALL foods in their most natural form starting from very early on in a child’s solid food journey. With BLW, it’s recommended that foods like peanut butter, eggs, dairy, and, yes, beef are all introduced before a child turns one in order to expand their palates and set them up for optimal physical and cognitive development.

You can read more about the baby-led weaning method here. In the meantime, let’s dig into some of nutrition benefits of beef, and how it lends itself to these important developmental milestones.

A close-up shot of "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes in their baking pan.

Nutritional Benefits of Beef for Babies

Beef contains high-quality protein, iron and zinc, all of which are essential nutrients for a child’s healthy growth and development. With more than ten essential nutrients, beef can assist in improved recall skills and reasoning abilities, and also support brain health and optimal cognitive development. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of beef as a first food on BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

While beef purées are certainly an option for ensuring your baby receives all of these benefits, I wanted to create a recipe with beef in one of its more natural forms for all of my baby-led weaning fans out there. So how did I create a Sloppy Joe recipe that’s baby-led weaning approved?

A "Not-So-Sloppy" Joe on a kids' plate with zucchini and tomato salad.

 

Let me tell you!

Ground Beef Sloppy Joes That are Baby-Led Weaning Approved

If you’re not too familiar with baby-led weaning, there are a few things to pay special attention to when offering foods to your little one:

CHEWING AND SWALLOWING ABILITY

When presenting food to a babe who’s just starting to eat, you want to make sure it’s appropriate for his or her current chewing and swallowing abilities. Ground beef – which I used for these Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes – is a great option as it’s already in small pieces and easy to chew. It’s even “gummable” for babies who may not have many (or any) teeth yet.

SALT

Sodium deserves some special attention when it comes to cooking for your little one. While adults can consume between 1,500-2,300 mg of sodium a day, babies and toddlers should be consuming much less, between 400-800 mg per day. That’s why you won’t see any added salt in this recipe, however, if you feel you want more salt in your Sloppy Joe mixture, feel free to set some “joe” mix aside for your baby and then season the rest as you wish.

SUGAR

While many traditional Sloppy Joe recipes use brown sugar as a sweetener, I try to steer away from pure sugar as much as possible when cooking for new eaters. To sweeten up the sauce a little bit, I recommend adding just enough maple syrup to tone down the acidity of the tomatoes.

THE MESS

If there’s one thing anyone who’s already gone through baby-led weaning can attest to, it’s that it makes a huge mess! In BLW, babies are encouraged to practice self-feeding from the very beginning, so things definitely don’t stay neat and tidy. The great thing about this Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joe recipe is that the mess of the Joe filling will be at least somewhat contained by those fluffy crescent cups, and babies won’t even need to wield a fork to get to the good stuff.

"Not-So-Sloppy" Joes cooling on a rack, surrounded by a blue and white checked napkin.

While the nutrients in beef offer an ample amount of benefits, tomatoes and bell peppers give the recipe an extra dose of nutrition. With less mess and babies’ nutritional needs in mind, these “Not-So-Sloppy” Joe’s will be the perfect addition to your weeknight dinner rotation, not to mention they’ll be enjoyed by the whole family!

For more great family recipes and additional information about the health benefits of beef, be sure to check out BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

I’d love to hear all about your BLW adventures with beef in the comments below!

Ground Beef "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
42 mins
 

These Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes take a classic Sloppy Joe recipe and turn it into something the whole family - even your youngest eaters - will love. Sloppy Joe filling is tucked into fluffy crescent cups for a neater, handheld version of the popular weeknight dinner.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, beef, entree, kid-friendly, main course, weeknight
Servings: 24 cups
Calories: 160 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground mustard
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons coco aminos
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (for adults)
  • 3 cans refrigerated crescent dough (enough dough for 3 dozen crescents)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven according to crescent dough package directions. Spray cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until just translucent, about 3 minutes, then add bell peppers. Once bell peppers begin to soften, add Ground Beef. Stir in pan until it begins to brown, then add garlic powder and ground mustard. Continue stirring until most of the meat is browned.

  3. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to pan and stir until combined, then stir in the coconut aminos, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. If you want to add some salt for the adults and older kids in the family, now’s the time to do it, but go as light as you can. Turn the mixture down to low and let it simmer while you prepare the crescent cups.

  4. Unroll the crescent dough from its package and separate each triangle. Cut the top off of each triangle and then reattach it to the side to make a rectangle (as shown in the photos). Press rectangles one by one into the cupcake molds.

  5. Take a tablespoon measure and scoop 1-2 tablespoons into each crescent cup. Place cupcake pans in preheated oven and bake according to the crescent package directions (typically at around 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes), or until golden. Leave in pan until cool enough to touch, then gently remove, using a butter knife to gently ease them out if necessary.

Recipe Notes
  1. DISH DENSITY: Low
  2. When serving this dish to younger babies, be sure to watch the salt content.
Nutrition Facts
Ground Beef "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 160 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 274mg12%
Potassium 82mg2%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 176IU4%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.