Cherry Salsa

A fun take on everyone’s favorite Mexican condiment, this cherry salsa uses the season’s best fresh cherries in lieu of tomatoes – a delicious twist!

A bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa just waiting to be eaten with your favorite tortilla chips!

My cherry obsession is still going strong…I honestly can’t get enough! Do you ever obsess about a certain produce item coming into season so much that your list of what to do with it is about a mile long? Hi, yea, looking at me right here. This Cherry Salsa is just another in the long list of recipe ideas I’ve been dreaming about since cherries went out of season last year, and I’m so excited about the way it turned out!

I know I’ve been inundating you with the cherry recipes lately, so I can only hope that you’re enjoying these Cherry Bourbon Breezes and this Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini as much as I am. If so, I’m confident that you’ll be totally digging on this Cherry Salsa as well.

It’s an easy recipe, with no cooking involved, that can easily be served up on its own as an appetizer or snack, or as a topping for your favorite barbecued meat (I have some juicy grilled pork chops in mind.) Might I also mention it would be the perfect addition to your Father’s Day menu this weekend?

This Cherry Salsa is the perfect appetizer or snack for any barbecue or family get-together you're having this weekend!

Speaking of, what are your plans for celebrating Dad on Sunday? We’re so lucky that both of our dads live relatively close to each other, so we’re heading up to the Bay Area to spend some quality time with them, and of course to make them some delicious food!

I think some Cherry Salsa might definitely need to make an appearance alongside the tri tip, chicken and sausages we’re already planning on serving. Still need to think of some more sides and dessert though. Any fun suggestions?

As I mentioned above, this Cherry Salsa is a breeze to make, and you can have it ready to serve in under 20 minutes. It involves basically all of the same ingredients as a regular pico de gallo salsa, but subs in fresh, pitted cherries instead of  tomatoes. That’s it! So easy, right?

Fresh cherries, rinsed and ready to be made into delicious Cherry Salsa!

And if you’re looking for another, more traditional salsa to serve alongside (or instead) of this one, be sure to check out my Spicy Homemade Salsa. You could even go with a fancy selection and add this Mango Salsa to the mix! Clearly I’m a salsa-lover and I’m not ashamed to show it.

Even if you have no plans for Father’s Day, this Cherry Salsa needs to make an appearance in your household in the next week. Cherries are at the top of their game right now and you wouldn’t want to miss out on another great opportunity to use them.

An overhead shot of a big bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa.

Happy Monday and I hope your week is made even better with this delicious recipe!

Cherry Salsa
Prep Time
10 mins
Refrigerator Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

A fun take on everyone's favorite Mexican condiment, this salsa uses the season's best fresh cherries in lieu of tomatoes - a delicious twist!

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: appetizer, cherries, salsa, snack, summer
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces fresh red cherries, pitted and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for a half hour or so for best results. Serve with tortilla chips!

Cherry Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars

Say hello to your favorite new work, school, travel and just plain everyday healthy snack!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars have been a total game-changer for me and I’m preeeeetty sure they will be the same for you. Anything that is filled with protein and whole grains yet tastes like dessert is a winner in my book, plus they’re so easy to grab and go you really can enjoy them anywhere you are, at any time of day.

Remember when I made these Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers and went on and on about how I’ve always aspired to make all of my foods from scratch rather than buying the pre-made, preservative-laden stuff at the store? These Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars also fall under that “totally-easy-stuff-I-can-make-at-home” category.

Really, they’re made with ingredients that you should already have on hand in your pantry (maybe save for the sunflower seed butter, but you can find that at any Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s) and require NO baking. That’s right, just a little bit of time in the freezer to set up and you’ll be stocked with healthy, filling Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars for days to come!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

I think it’s also very important to mention that these bars are both gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats) AND nut-free, which means just about anyone can enjoy them. (Sorry if you’re allergic to chocolate, but you could always just leave out the chocolate chips!) And let me tell you, that sunflower seed butter is legit and will not make you miss peanut butter or any other sort of nut butter at all. Promise.

So I bet by now you’re wondering, what all goes into these uber-delicious Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars? Let me tell you – just seven ingredients! Seriously, guys, I don’t think I could have made this any easier for you.

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

We’re talking rolled oats, dates, honey, coconut oil, sunflower seed butter, chocolate chips and vanilla extract. That’s it! So many nutrient-packed ingredients all packed into one little bar. That’s my kind of snack/breakfast/late-night nosh.

We take all of the ingredients (save for the chocolate chips) and throw them into a food processor, where we pulse until a crumbly dough-like texture forms.

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

We then transfer the mixture to a large bowl to work in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon (or even better, our hands.)

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

The next step is to line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and press the mixture in nice and tight. A one-hour turn in the freezer and your Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars are ready to be cut and consumed!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

One important recipe note: Since I tried to use as whole ingredients as possible in these bars, they do turn a bit crumbly after they’ve been out of the freezer for a while. I’ve found that the best technique is to slice the bars after the initial freeze, then wrap them individually and keep them back in the freezer for storage. I may be the only weirdo that does this, but I actually really like munching on the bars straight out of the freezer. However, if you are packing them to-go for work or as a travel snack, just be prepared that they may get a little crumbly as they come to room temperature. Don’t worry, they still taste fantastic!

Basically, you should go whip up a batch of these Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars ASAP so you have them on hand to get you through the rest of the week. There’s nothing like a couple of good ol’ bites of healthiness to give you the power to get through the day!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars
Prep Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

These nutrient-packed protein bars are full of filling oats, sunflower seed butter and a touch of chocolate. Plus they're gluten- and nut-free!

Course: Snack
Servings: 12 bars
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 8 pitted dates
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Combine rolled oats, pitted dates, sunflower seed butter, honey, coconut oil and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse until a crumbly dough forms.

  2. Transfer dough to a mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix in the chocolate chips. 

  3. Line an 8x8-inch glass or metal baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a little extra hanging off the sides to make it easy to pull the bars out once they are set. 

  4. Transfer dough to the prepared baking dish and press it in tightly with your fingers. Place in freezer for at least one hour.

  5. Remove from freezer and, using the parchment paper, remove the bars from the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut the bars into 12 pieces. 

  6. For best results, wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap or wax paper and store in the freezer until ready to eat. 

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

Portobello Hummus

The ever-popular hummus gets a huge flavor boost from sauteed Portobello mushrooms and fresh garlic and rosemary. Portobello Hummus is the perfect healthy snack!

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

It’s been far too long since I’ve brought you a homemade hummus recipe, so today we’re changing that! This Portobello Hummus will make any hummus hater do a complete 180 (true story) and want to eat chow down on this healthy snack nonstop.

But first, how was your weekend? This was the second weekend in a row we stayed in town (shocker, I know) and I have to say we’re kind of getting in the groove of this whole relaxing and having no plans thing. We did have a couple of fun activities up our sleeve, though. If you were following along on my Insta stories, you probably saw that we took a little road trip out to Ojai for a friends’ birthday party at Topa Mountain Winery. We always have a blast spending time in the quiet little mountain town. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Santa Barbara and is literally just 45 minutes away.

Other than that, I had a work meeting on Sunday and we literally just relaxed, which was amazzzzing. After a year of wedding planning, wedding-related activities, starting my own business and tons of travel, I’ve realized I almost forgot what relaxing is! I’m soaking it all in while I can because who knows how long this will last 😉

One other thing we did this weekend was eat a TON of this Portobello Hummus. I mean, we’re talking two of my favorite things coming together in one healthy snack. What could be better?

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’ve been reading the blog for any significant amount of time, you’ll know that I’m no stranger to fun flavor combos in my hummus. During the fall pumpkin season, I love whipping up this perfectly spiced Pumpkin Curry Hummus. Once we get into the warmer weather months, I tend to make this zesty Mango Sriracha Hummus. But my go-to year-round flavor has always been this Roasted Cauliflower Hummus with Rosemary and Garlic. Until now, that is! With the addition of this tasty Portobello Hummus, I now have TWO all-weather hummus flavors up my sleeve to whip up at a moment’s notice. And so do you!

So here’s the trick with this hearty, savory Portobello Hummus: You’ve GOT to saute the Portobello mushrooms in a luxurious bath of olive oil, salt and pepper before adding them to the white bean mixture. This gives the hummus a much deeper, more intense flavor than if you were to just add raw Portobellos to the mix.

It also gives the hummus an incredibly silky texture, which is part of the reason my sister-in-law’s dad was found dipping his carrot sticks in it when he is an alleged hummus-hater. He claimed that he usually doesn’t like hummus because it is “gritty,” but he said this was nice and smooth and full of flavor. I think I may have made a convert out of him!

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

[It is worth noting that I also used Great Northern beans instead of the usual garbanzo beans in this recipe, which could have been another contributing factor to the consistency of the dip.]

The other keys to this tasty, creamy spread are what have come to be my go-to’s for almost any homemade hummus I make – fresh garlic and rosemary!  I seriously don’t know what it is, but these two ingredients are natural compliments to the white beans and tahini and make a WORLD of a difference in almost all of the hummus I’ve made.

Aside from the key ingredients I mentioned above, all you’ll need to make this delicious Portobello Hummus is some olive oil, lemon juice and the requisite tahini. Oh, and some salt and pepper (always) and a food processor or high-powered blender. That’s it!

What I love about homemade hummus is that it’s such an easy, healthy snack to whip up in no time at all, and most of the ingredients are things you’ll already have on hand in your pantry. In just as much time as it takes to go to the store and buy some big brand hummus with who knows how many ingredients, you can mix up a batch of Portobello Hummus where you have complete control over what goes into it.

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

That looks like the perfect weekday treat if I’ve ever seen one!

5 from 1 vote
Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com
Portobello Hummus
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
18 mins
 

The ever-popular hummus gets a huge flavor boost from sauteed Portobello mushrooms and fresh garlic and rosemary. The perfect healthy snack!

Course: Snack
Servings: 2 cups
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium Portobello mushrooms, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can Great Northern white beans
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add diced Portobello mushrooms and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms until soft and fragrant. Turn off heat.

  2. Combine beans, garlic, rosemary, tahini and lemon juice in a food processor. Add sautéed Portobello mushrooms and pulse until mixture begins to break down. With food processor on, slowly stream in remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Continue pureeing until hummus is smooth. 

  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers, pita chips or fresh cut veggies. 

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways!

A simple recipe for homemade whole wheat crackers with two flavor-filled variations – Rosemary Sea Salt and Everything Bagel! 

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m about to blow your mind. Because today I’m bringing you a super easy recipe for Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers, and starting you out with two flavor combinations that will make you never want to use store-bought crackers ever again. That’s right, I’m taking your cheese and charcuterie platters to a whole new level.

Do you ever fantasize about being a domestic goddess that has her world super together and the energy to make all her foods from scratch? I sure do. When I was working a 9-to-5 desk job, I’d often sit there are think “When I quit my job and work for myself full time, I’ll make homemade bread and homemade energy bars and homemade fruit snacks…” or, “When I have kids, I’ll make all their food from scratch and sneak in all the veggies and superfoods and they’ll love it and will eat everything I give them” (ha!) You get the idea.

Now that I AM working for myself, I’ve had a bit more time to work on this “food from scratch” idea, but it’s been a bit of a slow process. I’ve been making more yeasted breads, overnight breakfast pastries and homemade ice creams, and I must admit they’ve all been so much better than the store-bought versions, but I still find myself taking the “easy out” more often than not. But having checked quite a few of these “To Conquer” items off of my list, I decided it was finally time to tackle one essential that we ALWAYS have on hand because of our deep love for all things cheese and charcuterie – homemade crackers!

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

This actually wasn’t the first time I’ve made homemade crackers. Back in December, I made a few batches of Molly Yeh’s Slice and Bake Cheese Crackers to take to our parents’ houses for the holidays, which were a huge hit. But as much as I loved those (because, CHEESE) I wanted to come up with a cracker recipe that could pair with ANY type of cheese (or meat, or fruit spread, etc.)

My initial internet research led me to this article from TheKitchn: “How to Make Crackers at Home,” and I used this along with a couple other bloggers’ recipes for inspiration in making my own version of Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers.

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

And let’s talk about the whole “Two Ways” thing, because it may just be the best part of this recipe! Yes, I wanted my crackers to pair well with all cheeses, but that doesn’t mean we can’t jazz them up a bit! I chose two flavors that I felt would really compliment most (if not all) types of cheese – hard or soft, stinky or sharp.

I laced my first batch of cracker dough with chopped fresh rosemary, then topped the crackers with Maldon sea salt. Yum!!

I left the second batch of dough plain, but then topped the finished crackers with my new favorite product from Trader Joe’s – Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend! Seriously, if you have a TJ’s anywhere near you, I highly recommend you go out and grab a jar of this right away. (It’s also a new favorite of mine for jazzing up avocado toast!) If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, you can hit up Amazon, or TheKitchn’s got you covered yet again with this article on How To Make Everything Bagel Spice. Even if you have to make your own, it is soooo worth having on hand.

The process of making this Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers is as easy (if not easier) than making a batch of cookies. Once you have the technique down, you’ll be pumping out dozens of crackers in under an hour. So worth making for your next party!

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

The one thing I will say about this recipe is that, unlike store-bought crackers that are usually pumped full of preservatives, these crackers won’t keep for weeks on end. I highly recommend eating them within a couple of days of making them, or they may get a little chewy. This will also happen if your cracker dough is too thick when you cut it. Really make sure it’s thin enough so you get that fantastic crisp!

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

And with these pointers, I leave you with the recipe(s). I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did!

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!

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways!
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A simple homemade whole wheat cracker recipe with two flavor-filled variations - Rosemary Sea Salt and Everything Bagel!

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baking, crackers, entertaining, holiday, kid-friendly, meal prep
Servings: 8 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
For the Rosemary Sea Salt Crackers:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Maldon sea salt
For the Everything Bagel Crackers:
  • Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend OR
  • Homemade Everything Bagel Spice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, salt and rosemary (if using.) Add the oil and milk.

  3. Divide the dough in half so it’s easier to work with. Take the first half of the dough and roll it out to about 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface or another sheet of parchment paper. 

  4. Using a 2-inch round culinary ring or cookie cutter, cut out the crackers. Gather and re-roll dough as needed until you have cut as many circles as you can.

  5. Brush crackers lightly with water using a pastry brush and add toppings (sea salt or Everything Bagel Seasoning.) Place crackers on prepared baking sheet (they don’t have to be too far apart, they won’t spread too much) and bake in 450-degree oven for 10-12 minutes, or until crackers are just golden. 

  6. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before transferring to a resealable container or plastic bag for storage. For best results, enjoy within a couple of days.

Recipe Notes

Head to TheKitchn to learn How to Make Everything Bagel Spice.

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers- Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey

These bite-size Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are perfectly balanced with sweet, salt and tangy flavors. Pistachios, goat cheese and apricots are a match made in heaven! 

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Sometimes bite-size foods are the best foods. These Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are no exception! They’re salty, sweet and tangy, and fit in the palm of your hand. They’re portable and the perfect addition to a cocktail party or get-together (did someone say Oscars?)

I’ve always been a snacker. When given the choice between a gigantic meal that will likely leave me bloated and sluggish or light snacks throughout the day, I’ll 100% of the time go for the latter. Plus, that way I get to try allll of the different things. Don’t pin me down, I want to taste all the food!

Speaking of snacking, the hubby and I are especially good at it on the weekends, and this past weekend (wait, are we still in “the weekend” since today is President’s Day?) was no exception. We were up in NorCal for a baby shower on Saturday, then took advantage of the long weekend and being so close to Napa and headed up to Wine Country on Sunday. We’re headed back to SB but will be back up in NorCal next weekend. It’s turning into quite the frequent commute for us, but we don’t mind the drive. We always joke that we’d rather make the 4-6 hour drive up to the Bay Area than the 2-3 hour drive down to LA because we never hit any traffic.

Anyhow, we really enjoyed seeing so many of our NorCal friends this past weekend. It seems like with the craziness of the holidays and the subsequent need to just hibernate and do nothing in the beginning of the new year, it’s been ages since we’ve seen everyone. Now we’re celebrating babies and multiple engagements and I can’t believe all of that has happened since we’ve last seen everyone!

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are just the type of thing I like to make for casual get-togethers with our friends, no matter where we are. They’re pretty darn easy and require almost no actual cooking, so you can really whip them up anywhere. Might I also add that they’re the perfect things to munch on when you’re sipping on some delicious Napa wine? Let me tell you, these crostini and a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc are a match made in heaven.

The hardest part about this recipe is literally toasting up the sliced baguette to make crostini. If you can toast bread under a broiler without burning it, you’re in good shape. If not, just add the toppings to untoasted bread and these puppies will still taste absolutely divine.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

After you have your baguette slices toasted, simply spread each one with a hefty dollop of chevre (that’s creamy goat cheese for all you non-cheese snobs out there), top with the apricot and pistachio mixture, and drizzle on some honey. That’s it!

I’d also like to point out the absolutely necessity of a couple of things:

  1. Toast your nuts. I know, this technically requires more cooking, but it’s a must for ANY recipe that involves nuts. Just trust me.
  2. Chop your dried apricots. Nobody wants a crostini where they have to gnaw through a huge chunk of something so they can be sure to get a taste of it in every bit. Also, I’m a huge fan of the fatter, juicier dried apricots as opposed to the flatter, more dehydrated ones. They are definitely a must IMHO.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, now that you have the down-low on all that goes into these drool-inducing Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey, I’ll let you get to it! It’s a holiday after all, so you deserve a little something to go along with that bottle of wine you’re sure to pop the cork on today 😉

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

These bite-size hors d'oevures are perfectly balanced with sweet, salt and tangy flavors. Pistachios, goat cheese and apricots are a match made in heaven!

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: appetizer, apricot, crostini, entertaining, family-friendly, goat cheese, hors d'oeuvres, quick-and-easy, spring, summer
Servings: 8 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 6 ounces chevre (creamy goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nutmeats, toasted
  • 1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces honey (approximately)
Instructions
  1. Turn the broiler on high. Arrange the baguette slices on a sheet pan and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they become golden-brown. Keep a close eye on them, as they can get too dark in a matter of seconds. 

  2. Remove crostini from the oven and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch, spread about a tablespoon or so of the goat cheese on each piece. 

  3. Combine the pistachios and dried apricots in a small bowl, then sprinkle on top of each crostini. 

  4. Drizzle each piece with honey and serve immediately.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com