To be very honest with you, I don’t think I tried cherries until I was out of college, living on my own. Outside of maraschino cherries on ice cream or in Shirley Temples, I wasn’t aware they actually existed! I can’t recall when the first time I had a fresh or dried cherry was, but I know I was instantly hooked.
When I set out to begin this blog, it took me days, weeks even, to come up with my name. Once I finally had it, I began to dream about how my page would look. This is a work in progress, but I knew I wanted the theme to center around food, since that’s something that I love to work with. I love being in the kitchen, cooking and baking away. Cleaning dishes, not so much – I prefer to make be mess and have someone else clean it up. Sadly, I don’t have someone to do that for me – yet.
As I was envisioning my blog, I also thought about my logo and my picture. About this same time, I was baking a lot and complaining about how often I would spill flour on my clothes. And then I had a wonderful thought – I should get an apron! I went to Joann’s Fabrics with only a faint idea of what design I was looking for and eagerly searched through the fabrics they had. I spotted a cute pink print with cherries on it and fell in love. I quickly found a pattern and sent all the materials to my mom. She’s a veteran seamstress and always likes a new craft project.
And so I decided that cherries would be a part of my theme. Thinking of this made me realize how much I missed eating the delectable little berries, so I began to dig through my recipe books and boxes for something to make. There are so many ways you can use cherries in a variety of dishes! Now, if you’ve been shopping lately, you’ll notice that cherries aren’t the most reasonable of fruits on the market. Of course, I had to get a hankering for them after they were in season, so I had no hope for fresh ones. But even the frozen and dried versions cost more than comparable fruits!
This didn’t deter me though; I had a hankering for cherries and I would not be stopped! I opted for frozen and dried cherries and used them in place of fresh in my recipes. I personally think the dishes still turned out fabulous and there was no fear of eating a cherry pit! Next summer, I won’t wait so late to work up an appetite for them. Until then, I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I did!
Cherry and Banana Oat Smoothie
Total Time: 5 mins
1 large chopped banana, previously frozen
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cherries, halved and pitted
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place frozen banana, cherries, oats, milk, and vanilla into a blender or food processor.
- Pulse for 1-2 minutes until everything is smooth.
- Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy immediately!
Dark Cherry Smoothie Bowl
Total time: 10 minutes
1 cups of frozen cherries, pitted
1 banana, chopped
1/3 cup coconut water
8 additional cherries (for topping)
2 T coconut flakes (for topping)
2 T sliced almonds (for topping)
2 T raw cacao nibs (for topping)
- Place the frozen cherries, banana, and coconut water into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the smoothie mixture into a bowl and sprinkle with toppings. Enjoy immediately!
Super Summer Detox Salad
Total Time: 30 minutes
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large or 2 small lemons)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups kale leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
1 cup pitted cherries, halved (fresh or frozen)
15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, rinsed and sliced into quarters
1/4 cup toasted walnut halves, roughly chopped
- Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 25 minutes.
- Transfer to a large serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until well combined.
- Pour over the warm quinoa, then toss to coat.
- Add the kale, cherries, chickpeas, red onions, and artichokes to the quinoa and toss to combine.
- Sprinkle the walnuts over the top.
- Serve immediately or store up to 30 minutes in a refrigerator before serving. Enjoy!
Cherry Summer Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Total time: 15 minutes
6 cups kale leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
6 strips bacon, diced
1 cup cherries, halved (fresh or frozen)
½ cup blueberries
½ cup diced granny smith apple
¼ cup pecan pieces
1 T Dijon mustard
½ T honey
½ tsp dry basil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to season
- Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add bacon and cook for 5 minutes until crispy. Remove and place on a paper towel to let grease drain.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Whisk to emulsify to ensure that the oil and vinegar aren’t separated.
- In a large bowl, mix together all salad ingredients. Toss salad with dressing or serve with dressing on the side. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Bars
1/3 cup honey (do not substitute with agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond meal
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 T almond butter
2 cups almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix together first five ingredients (through butter) until combined.
- Next, fold in almonds, cherries, and chocolate chips.
- Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in the pan for 1 hour.
- Transfer pan to the refrigerator and chill for 1 more hour.
- Remove bars from the pan and cut into bars. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment.
- You can store at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
BBQ Cherry Pork Chops & Quinoa
4 pork chops
1 cup quinoa (dry)
1 cup organic chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup cherry juice
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp BBQ rub/seasoning
Sea salt & pepper to taste
- Rinse quinoa. Combine broth and quinoa in a stock pot or dutch oven pot.
- Clean and trim pork chops if excess skin is on them. Place pork chops on top of quinoa.
- Pour cherry juice evenly over pork chops and quinoa. Add remaining ingredients to the pot.
- Cook on medium low for 70-90 minutes. About halfway through (35- 40 minutes), flip pork chops. if you want them coated with more broth/sauce on the other side.
- Serve with desired vegetable and enjoy!
Cherry Almond Broccoli Salad
Total time: 20 minutes
½ large peeled avocado
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 T water + more as needed for desired consistency
2 slices turkey bacon, cooked and diced
4 cups fresh broccoli, cut into very small florets
2 cups cherries, seeded and halved (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup finely diced red onion
½ cup almonds, coarsely chopped
- To make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. If needed, add an extra tablespoon or two of water to achieve desired consistency.
- To make the salad: combine the bacon, broccoli, cherries, onion and almonds in a large bowl. Slowly pour the avocado dressing over the salad and mix. Enjoy!
No-Bake Cherry Cheesecakes
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, finely ground
2 T vegan butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
14.5 oz can cherry pie topping
- In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Stir until well blended and press into the bottom of 3 mini dessert glasses or tumblers.
- Beat the cream cheese until it has a smooth consistency. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until combined.
- Add sour cream and vanilla extract; mix well.
- Carefully spoon the mixture into the wine glasses and smooth out. Spoon cherry pie filling over top.
- Place glasses in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.