The blog has been a little quiet lately. I have enjoyed my summer vacation and unplugged for a bit. Let me bring you up to speed on what I have been up to and also share with you a Black Cherry Pie recipe (since a lot of my time in Michigan has been spent in the Northern area, I found this recipe fitting).
We packed up the dogs and headed over the Mighty Mac (my first time crossing it) and rented a very cute little cottage near Escanaba in northern Michigan. If you are looking for a simple, this place is it. We enjoyed swinging on the hammock, hikes, nightly bonfires and endless games of rumikube. One huge feature we enjoyed here is the ability to leave all items at ‘home’ and walk into a ‘home’ and start our vacation. That means no linens to take/wash, endless kitchen utensils and no cell phone service/internet. It felt rustic without the phone service, yet the cottage was just what we needed after wrapping up another school year. If you are interested in visiting the Upper Pennisula and crossing the Mighty Mac, I highly recommend renting the little cabin we visited. If you do, please tell James and Jules hello for us!
We then headed a little south to the Traverse City area to enjoy time with friends and family. Needless to say, time was consumed with water sports, the Blue Angels, hikes, conversations, TRX classes and relaxation. I need to give the instructors Liz and Stacy a shout out at Total Results Training…their classes are kick butt! When you think you are going to die…they start jumping around and talking louder allowing you to push deeper and accomplish the goal. Best part of my vacation is staying on track while enjoying endless fun!
Then we headed home for a week, celebrated the baptism of our God Daughter and packed the car up to head to the East Coast. We visited the Cape Cod area. Staying in a cute quiet B&B (fresh served cooked bacon daily) called SeaBreeze. From there we traveled up to Boston and boarded a cruise ship to sail to Bermuda. Bermuda has been on our bucket list, although we have crossed it off the list…we will be back soon! I’ll post about my food sailing experience in another post! All and all, we’ve had an amazing summer vacation which is slowly coming to an end. However, Black Cherry Pie will always have a special spot in my heart and remind me of summer and our trips to Northern Michigan! I hope you enjoy our favorite summer treat!
Place cherries and water in a large pot over medium heat. Cherries will begin to cook down after 10-15 minutes. As the cherries cook down, some will split and become soft and others will keep their shape. Once cherries are very soft, remove from heat.
Add remaining ingredients and mix together, creating the cherry pie filling.
Allow mixture to cool for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour cherry pie filling into the pie crust.
Bake the pie for 25-30 minutes, until pie crust edges are light brown.
It was brought to my attention I have not been eating an abundance of greens. This could be in the form of lettuce, spinach, kale, collard greens and the list goes on… I decided to take the challenge of incorporating greens into my daily food. I already consume 8oz of coconut water a day for re-hydration. Then I go thinking…why not add some spinach into it? It just so happens on the day I was thinking about doing this, I jumped on a treadmill at the gym next to a friend who was talking about her green smoothies. However, she puts a scoop of almond butter in them to add healthy fat and protein, making them more sustainable. Then my mind go thinking further, I have a ton of pitted black cherries from the summer, why not add them in too. Next thing you know, I’m drinking a green smoothie daily. However, let me talk about timing, it is very important. I recommend you make this smoothie and drink immediately. If you can not drink it immediately, it separates and starts to foam a grungy taste after the separation has occurred.
Now, you can do some variations to this recipe. My soon to be sister-in-law puts blueberries in her smoothies. I know she also puts in seeds (she is allergic to nuts). Seeds would be an alternate to the almond butter. When creating this recipe, I would recommend coconut water, loosely packed greens, fruit and your choice of fat/protein.
We are still getting local cherries in our CSA box! I love adding them into a fruit salad, but today I decided I was hungry for a muffin and I created the Paleo cherry muffins for a treat. One ‘thing’ I sometimes miss being Paleo is a good muffin, but then I remind myself how my stomach feels after consuming gluten (awful).
The recipe below has coconut flour in it. If you are not familiar with coconut flour, continue reading. Coconut flour does not set like a wheat flour. It needs time to sit and absorb. It also makes products look uncooked, but when you use a toothpick and check the center they are done. If you wait for your muffins to have a ‘brown’ baked look, they will be over cooked.
Paleo Cherry Muffins / Bread
1 cup unsweetened Cinnamon Applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Almond Extract
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
2/3 cup Coconut Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup minced Cherries (make sure pits are removed)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Put all wet ingredients together and mix well.
3. Mix all dry ingredients together and then add into the wet ingredients. Make sure to mix well, you may have a few small clumps and it is ok.
4. Fold in minced cherries
5. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken
6. Place mixture into muffin tins.
7. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Use a toothpick and check the center.
My new favorite toy is a cherry pitter. It does 4 cherries at ONCE and clean up is very easy. Clink on the link to see it. Progressive International GPC-5000 Cherry-It Multiple Cherry Pitter
This morning I experimented on our guests and my mother. I decided I wanted to try making muffins without adding sugar in. These do have natural sugar from the fruit. They tasted great to us and our guests, but we are use to non-sugary items. If you want to add sugar into them, you could probably add honey to taste. The cherry zucchini muffins paired great with a Paleo Quiche and fresh fruit.
Cherry Zucchini Muffins
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup all natural unsweetened applesauce
1/4 coconut oil
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup minced fresh cherries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine eggs, oil, apple sauce and vanilla in a large bowl and mix together.
3. Add in cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
4. Next stir in the coconut flour, making sure there is no lumps of flour.
5. Then, fold in the zucchini and cherries.
6. Fill mini-muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes for miniature muffins. Regular muffins would be about 23-26 mins.
*I got 40 mini-muffins out of this mixture. I use a cookie scooper to drop the mixture into the tins. This allow every muffin to have the same amount of batter.