Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers

Our answer to the sweltering long weekend ahead right here.

These Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers are incredibly refreshing and can be made into a cocktail or mocktail!

Hi! How are you all doing? Are you sweating it out in the heat like we are here in California or getting drenched by the record rains we’re having in other parts of the country? My thoughts are with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and I pray that you find yourselves safe and dry very soon. I’m amazed by the outpouring of love and support I’ve seen for Texas coming in from all over the world, and it makes me happy to see that there can be such kindness and humanity in today’s otherwise crazy world.

Whether you’re doing your best to get in some sort of body of water (and out of the heat) or avoid any sort of water altogether because you’ve seen way too much of it this past week, these Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers are for you. They’re refreshing and hydrating for those of us who need relief from the heat, and they’re healthy and uplifting for those of us who need a welcome respite from the rain and bad weather.

I talked the other week about how some of my OG flavor combinations (think your favorite Lip Smackers from when you were, like, eight) have been guiding recent mocktails I’ve created. First there was this Kiwi Coconut Cooler initially inspired by my one-time strawberry-kiwi obsession, and now we’re bringing back the cucumber-melon combo with these Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers!

An overhead shot of super refreshing Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers. Perfect for the end of summer!

I guess you could also say my recent mocktail creations have been guided by whatever fruits I can make fresh juice out of without a juicer, since at the moment we don’t have the luxury of enough space to fit a fancy juicer (or any other appliance, for that matter) in our tiny little kitchen. For that reason, easily puree-able fruits with minimal seeds have been my go-to in this time of non-alcoholic need 😛

To get started making these Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers, you’ll first want to get a hold of some of the finest cantaloupe and seedless watermelon available. You won’t need the whole fruits to make the two servings this recipe yields, but I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding a way to eat up any leftovers.

You’ll also want to track down some nice, crispy cucumbers. These add such a refreshing kick to the drink that if you close your eyes while you’re sipping you might just think you’re enjoying a relaxing spa day.

A Mixed Melon Cucumber Cooler is the perfect way to kick off a long, sunny weekend.

Simply toss these three ingredients together in a blender, along with a fresh squeeze of lime to give it some tang, and give it a nice whir to make your juice. It will turn out a little on the thicker side (like a purée), but have no fear because we’re going to top our mocktails off with a nice little splash of sparkling water. If you’re looking for even more flavor, you could even use a lightly flavored sparkling water such as La Croix or Spindrift. Creative license is yours!

And since we only add a touch of cucumber to the juice (compared to how much watermelon and cantaloupe we’re using) we add some fresh cucumber slices to our glasses to further enhance that spa-like flavor.

Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers are hydrating and refreshing. Add some vodka or gin for an extra kick!

Oh, and I almost forgot. If you’re still on the booze train, add some gin or vodka to your Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers to really knock it out of the park this weekend!

These Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers are incredibly refreshing and can be made into a cocktail or mocktail!
Print
Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers
Prep Time
10 mins
 

The perfect, refreshing warm weather mocktail - loads of fresh melon punctuated by a hint of cucumber. Add vodka or gin to make it boozy!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 drinks
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed cantaloupe
  • 3 inch piece of cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks, plus extra slices for garnish
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Club soda
Instructions
  1. Combine watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber and lime juice in a blender and pulse until a thick juice forms. 

  2. Fill two glasses with ice and divide the juice evenly among the two glasses. 

  3. Top each glass with sparkling water and slide a few extra cucumber slices down the inside of the glass for added flavor. Enjoy!

Mixed Melon Cucumber Coolers | CaliGirlCooking.com

Kiwi Coconut Cooler

Hooraaaay for Fridaaaay!

This Kiwi Coconut Cooler is the perfect, refreshing mocktail with a fun hit of color!

And for delicious kiwi-flavored beverages like this Kiwi Coconut Cooler. In fact, if you take nothing else away from this post today, I hope it’s that kiwi purėe is a fantastic, highly underutilized addition to any cocktail or mocktail. Talk about drinking the rainbow!

I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s a little tricky to continue coming up with fun, new, innovative drink recipes every week, especially when I’m on the no-drinking train (just a few more months!) But if nothing else, I’ve learned that there are almost just as many options for nonalcoholic drinks as there are alcoholic ones, and it’s been pretty darn fun to get creative and see what I can come up with.

My inspiration for a kiwi-based drink initially came from those OG Snapple juices (do they even exist anymore?) I haven’t seen one in ages, but for some reason I kept thinking about the strawberry-kiwi flavored one and whether or not I could make a more natural, less artificially-sweetened version from fresh fruits.

So, I set out to make a kiwi-strawberry mocktail, but once I took inventory of everything I had on hand in my kitchen to make a delicious beverage, I realized I had pulled out a bunch more tropical, coconut-y flavors. Plus, I didn’t want to mess up the color of that vibrant green purėe by trying to muddle in some fresh strawberries. I knew that clear, only slightly cloudy coconut water and milky orgeat would do the trick for not only preserving that bright green color but perhaps even magnifying it. And hey, the taste combo isn’t bad either!

A Kiwi Coconut Cooler is the perfect special, healthy drink for any night of the week.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t own a juicer, so I have to get creative when I’m mixing up my own fresh fruit juices. For the kiwis, I found that my immersion blender did just the trick to get a nice, juicy purėe that would be easily sippable. I had initially thought I would need to strain out the seeds and other pulp, but everything broke down beautifully and I decided there was something kinda fun about those little black flecks suspended in the drink.

Aside from a boatload of fresh kiwis, the only ingredients you’ll need in order to have a Kiwi Coconut Cooler in your hand in no time are the aforementioned coconut water and orgeat, plus a splash of club soda. Oh, and I couldn’t leave out the strawberries completely, so I threw some on for garnish.

If you’ve had a long week and are currently fortunate enough to partake in boozy beverages, I highly recommend the addition of some white rum to this already tropical-vibe inspiring drink. It’ll get you in summer weekend relaxation mode in no time at all and itching to jump in the pool.

As for my weekend, my mom is coming to town to celebrate my niece’s birthday, and we’ve got a Saturday girls’ brunch date planned which I’m pretty darn excited for. Other than that, we’ll just be continuing to get our house organized and finding places for all of the things we’re acquiring for baby. I can’t believe my due date is just nine weeks away! Nesting mode has finally set in and I’m excited for my travel schedule to die down a bit so I can focus on really getting ready and finding some time to RELAX and enjoy these last few weeks of us being a family of two (well, three with our fur baby.)

Kiwi Coconut Coolers are a fun treat for kids and adults alike!

What are your plans for the weekend? Hoping they involve a Kiwi Coconut Cooler or two!

This Kiwi Coconut Cooler is the perfect, refreshing mocktail with a fun hit of color!
Print
Kiwi Coconut Cooler
Prep Time
10 mins
 

A vibrant, refreshing cocktail featuring fresh kiwi puree and hydrating coconut water - it tastes just like the tropics! Add rum to make it boozy 😉

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 6 kiwis, peeled and purėed with an immersion blender to make about 10 ounces juice
  • 2 ounces orgeat
  • 4 ounces coconut water
  • Club soda, to top
  • Kiwi wheel and fresh strawberry, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Divide kiwi purėe evenly between two tallboy glasses. Add 1 ounce orgeat and 2 ounces coconut water to each glass and stir. 

  2. Fill each glass to the top with ice, then top up with a splash of club soda. 

  3. Garnish each glass with a kiwi slice and strawberry to serve.

Kiwi Coconut Cooler | CaliGirlCooking.com

Upside Down Pluot Cobbler

Humpday happiness right here ↓

Hot Upside Down Pluot Cobbler fresh out of the oven and topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I mean, who doesn’t need an Upside Down Pluot Cobbler to help get them through the week? I, for one, can tell you that I REALLY wish the fam and I hadn’t scarfed down this entire dessert in one sitting so I could still be enjoying a piece as I write this, but at least I came home to Santa Barbara with two bags full of stone fruits from my in-laws’ garden, so there will be another cobbler in my very near future. I hope the same is true for you!

I was actually inspired to make a cobbler by a peach one my mother-in-law made for us a couple of weeks ago. We walked into the house after a long day of travel and it smelled heavenly in there, and as soon as I took a bite I knew exactly why. It was the perfect mix of soft, crunchy, sweet and doughy and, although this isn’t her recipe here, this Upside Down Pluot Cobbler is equally as delicious, especially with the boatload of fresh pluots they gave me straight from their backyard.

I had never made a cobbler before, but after tasting my MIL’s, I knew I was up for the challenge. I wanted to keep it easy for this first go-around, so I trolled the Internet for a bit of inspiration. I really liked the idea of dumping everything – fruit topping and biscuit topping – into a baking dish at once and baking it altogether. Of course, I also had to make it photogenic, and I’d say this upside-down technique – with the pluots peeking through the center of the batter – did the trick!

A sweet, fruity filling peaks through the center of this Upside Down Pluot Cobbler.

My main inspiration for the biscuit-like batter came from this Paula Deen recipe for Peach Cobbler. But of course I couldn’t make it #basic and had to sprinkle drops of marzipan throughout. That extra kick of almond flavor compliments the pluots perfectly and is a welcome surprise when you bite into the finished product.

For the pluot filling, I simmered the fresh fruit over the stove with some sugar and water, plus a good dose of cornstarch to make the filling extra-syrupy and thick, perfect for oozing throughout the batter as the cobbler cooks.

For baking, first spread the biscuit batter throughout the pan (don’t forget the marzipan!), then carefully dump in the simmered pluots. The fruit may seem completely covered at first but have no fear, as your Upside Down Pluot Cobbler bakes, the pluots will peak through, just enough to give you a good little tease of the delicious tastes to come.

This one-dish Upside Down Pluot Cobbler is the perfect end-of-summer treat!

Of course, no cobbler of any kind, and especially no Upside Down Pluot Cobbler, should be served without some high-quality fresh vanilla ice cream, so be sure you have some on-hand before you embark on your little baking journey.

And don’t be shy to swap in other stone fruits for the pluots – nectarines, peaches and the like will all still pair beautifully with the marzipan, depending on what you happen to have on hand in your kitchen right now.

A serving of this Upside Down Pluot Cobbler will turn any week around!

With less than an hour of baking time and a list of ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be whipping up an Upside Down Pluot Cobbler this very evening. Not only is it mind-blowingly delicious but, with many schools starting up again next week, it’s the perfect treat to cap off a summer well-spent. Here’s to an ultimate end-of-summer treat!

Hot Upside Down Pluot Cobbler fresh out of the oven and topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Print
Upside Down Pluot Cobbler
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
55 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

This summer stone fruit cobbler has a wonderfully sweet and crunchy dough and a thick, oozy filling of perfectly ripe pluots. 

Course: Dessert
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the pluot filling:
  • 1 1/2 pounds pluots (about 6-8), pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
For the biscuit batter:
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted plus 1 tablespoon for greasing baking dish
  • 3 ounces marzipan
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12- by 8-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside.

  2. First, make the pluot filling. Combine pluots, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until pluots break down and begin to form a syrupy mixture, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cornstarch, breaking up any large clumps. Set aside while you make the batter.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the self-rising flour, almond meal, sugar, milk and ¼ cup melted butter.

  4. Pour the batter into your prepared baking dish. Break marzipan into small balls and sprinkle over the top of the batter. 

  5. Next, pour in the pluot filling so that it fairly evenly spreads throughout the batter, but is a bit more condensed in the center. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the top of the cobbler is a beautiful golden brown. 

  6. Cool just slightly before serving with vanilla ice cream. 

Upside Down Pluot Cobbler | CaliGirlCooking.com

Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam

Boy, have I got a treat for you today!

This Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam is delicious fresh out of the oven and topped with fresh arugula.

The name of this pizza may be a mouthful, but trust me when I say you’ll be wanting to stuff your mouth full with as much of it as possible as soon as you taste that first bite. Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam, your day has come.

Okay, I know I haven’t entertained you with my travel post all about our second honeymoon/babymoon to Kauai yet, but I promise it’s coming! And this recipe can be seen as a little sneak peak of what’s in store, because I actually got the idea from one of the restaurants we visited in a little town called Kapaa.

We stopped into The Local one afternoon after a hike to some waterfalls and some glorious beach time, ready for a refreshing drink and light snack. We had scoped out the menu online, and the place had come highly recommended to us by a few of our friends, so we definitely wanted to check it out. Among other things, “The Local Pizza” had caught my eye – I mean, this gal can’t really pass up a pizza that features brie, bacon, arugula and JAM – and I was instantly curious.

Unfortunately, since we were there around 3:00pm, we were too late for lunch and a little too early for dinner, so we only had a limited Happy Hour menu available to us to order, which meant no pizza 🙁 That’s okay, though, we made up for it with a huge basket of French fries and tasty deviled eggs with crispy chicken skin on top. Nevertheless, I snapped a photo of the pizza’s description on the menu and decided I’d just have to make my own version to try it out!

No one will be able to resist this Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam!

Man, I love it when I’m not disappointed.

The original recipe for The Local Pizza included local papaya vanilla jam, brie, bacon, arugula and the option of adding sliced jalapeños on top. I knew it would be a little tricky for me to find papaya vanilla jam at home, so I raided the pantry to see what sort of tropical fruit jam we had and came across passion fruit (or lilikoi) that we had found at our local Asian market. Another flavor that is a little more easy to come by here in the states is guava jam, which would also be a fantastic option. The issue of adding in some vanilla flavor was easily solved by stirring some vanilla bean seeds into the jam when I was ready to spread it on the pizza.

The only other changes I made to the original toppings were (a) omitting the jalapeños (I’m not a huge fan unless they’re involved in some sort of Mexican food) and (b) using goat milk brie instead of the more typical cow milk brie.

Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam straight out of the oven, before adding the fresh arugula topping.

As I do with just about all my pizzas these days, I turned to Jim Lahey’s internet-famous pizza dough recipe for my base to this tasty treat. Even though it requires an overnight rise, it is soooo easy and takes less than 10 minutes to prep. You could also use some store-bought pizza dough if you’re feeling lazy (my fave is Trader Joe’s brand) but trust me when I say Jim Lahey’s dough is totally worth the slightly more trouble (if you call mixing a quick dough together harder than getting in your car and driving down to your local supermarket, looking for parking, standing in line, etc.) Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam is just a leeeetle special, so I think it’s fair to say it deserves a special crust.

Jim Lahey’s recipe asks you to break the dough up into four pieces for four smaller pizzas, but I used the entire recipe to make one big pie. This made the crust slightly thicker, so if you’re more a fan of the thin-crust stuff, you may want to break it down to two (or even the four suggested) pies.

Because there are so many delicate flavors on this pizza, I of course omitted any sort of tomato or white sauce and stuck to a simple coating of olive oil and fresh garlic before loading on the vanilla-scented jam, bacon and goat brie. After a quick 15-minute turn in the oven, your Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam is ready for its “crowning moment”: a hefty sprinkling of fresh arugula, dash of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt!

A delicious slice of Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam.

After taking your first bite, you’ll definitely notice the flavor explosion – sweetness from the jam, saltiness from the bacon, an earthy creaminess from the goat brie and a fresh bite from the arugula. So many wonderful things going on! You may also just feel like this Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam is transporting you to a tropical island somewhere, which isn’t a bad way to spend a Monday, am I right??

This Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam is the perfect lunch or dinner for any day of the week!

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!

This Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam is delicious fresh out of the oven and topped with fresh arugula.
Print
Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This pizza is a flavor explosion - sweetness from the jam, saltiness from the bacon, earthiness from the goat cheese and the fresh tang of arugula!

Course: Main Course
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 batch Jim Lahey's pizza dough, already risen overnight (Link in notes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for topping
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup passion fruit (lilikoi) jam
  • Seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean
  • 5 ounces goat brie, thinly sliced into squares
  • 5 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2-3 cups arugula, for topping
  • Sea salt, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. In a large, greased pizza pan, roll out the pizza dough to the desired thickness and shape. Spread on the olive oil using a pastry brush or paper towel, then sprinkle on the minced garlic.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the jam and vanilla bean seeds. Spread the jam mixture evenly onto the pizza crust over the olive oil and garlic.

  4. Sprinkle the goat brie and bacon pieces over the jam, then place pizza in the 475 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your crust. Remove when crust is slightly golden and feels firm to the touch.

  5. Sprinkle arugula over the cooling pizza, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on some sea salt. Serve immediately.

Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam | CaliGirlCooking.com

Tropical Tea Zinger

Time for another round of tea drinks!

Tropical Tea Zinger | CaliGirlCooking.com

I don’t know why (maybe because they’re not that widespread yet?) but I love a good tea cocktail. Whether served cold or hot, I think they’re a fun, semi-healthy way to kick back and relax while enjoying a good drink. This Tropical Tea Zinger is perfect for summer, served cold over ice with the refreshing addition of spicy ginger beer and fresh orange juice.

I first ventured into the world of tea cocktails with this Pineapple Green Tea Martini, which I must say would also be a fantastic one to whip up this time of year when the weather is warm and tropical flavors sound like the best thing ever (and if you can actually drink booze right now!)

Then, during some of the colder months, I ventured into the boozy hot tea category with this Warming Ginger Tea Whiskey Cocktail and this Elder-Berry Tea Cocktail. I love both of these on cool fall or winter afternoons and evenings, which I might mention are just around the corner! [Side note: Has anyone else been seeing pumpkin slowly creeping back onto the scene already? On one hand it feels so soon to me but on the other I can’t wait for everything pumpkin season to arrive!]

This Tropical Tea Zinger is a perfect balance between the cold boozy tea martini and the hot toddy types that we need to shelve for another month or two. It’s cool and refreshing, yet does not contain any of the hard stuff. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t object if you wanted to perk it up a bit with some whiskey 😉

This Tropical Tea Zinger is a refreshing summer mocktail with plenty of spice!

My mom always has some homemade iced tea sitting in her refrigerator whenever I visit, and this time I was excited to find some decaf Lipton Tropical Iced Tea waiting in a huge pitcher. It’s been so refreshing to sip on during this warm weather, I immediately knew I wanted to use it to make this week’s mocktail!

While I love unsweetened iced tea, in order to make it mocktail-worthy I felt like it needed a little sweetness and spice. I turned to my good ol’ non-alcoholic friend, ginger beer, for some unexpected fizz and that gingery tang, and then added some fresh orange juice to sweeten the deal and give the tea a whole other dimension. Let’s just say I immediately fell in love, and I’m pretty sure you would, too.

A tall, refreshing glass of this Tropical Tea Zinger is just what you need on a warm summer's day!

Plus, it’s Friday, which means a Tropical Tea Zinger – whether you booze it up or not – is the perfect way to reward yourself after a long week and kick off a relaxing weekend. I know I’ll be kicking up my feet with a few of these at the ‘rents’ house. What exciting things will you be bringing these Zingers too this weekend??

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!

Tropical Tea Zinger | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Tropical Tea Zinger
Prep Time
5 mins
 

A refreshing iced tea-based mocktail full of tropical flavor and plenty of zing from spicy ginger beer and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 drink
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces Lipton Tropical Iced Tea, brewed and brought to room temperature (or chilled)
  • 2 ounces ginger beer
  • 1 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • Citrus leaves and an orange wedge, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour all ingredients into a tall glass filled with ice. Stir gently to combine.

  2. Garnish with citrus leaves and an orange wedge, if desired.

Tropical Tea Zinger | CaliGirlCooking.com