Homemade Cherry Sauce

Well I just keep playing around with the cherries.  I think I am doing this partly because I stocked up and as it seems Little Miss Mixture has been into other fruits this week.  I am not complaining, but remember I had three bags of cherries.  One of our staple breakfast items is a homemade yogurt parfait.  These parfaits are often as simple as yogurt in a bowl topped with a couple strawberry slices and granola.  Other times as they are more like this. Using a homemade fruit sauce, some fresh fruit, and granola nicely layered for all of us to enjoy.  This was our breakfast on the 4th of July.  It consisted of plain greek yogurt, layered with strawberry sauce, blueberries, and granola.  It was a perfectly balanced red, white, and blue meal. IMG_3312   I am the early riser in the house.  Well actually the earliest riser is the dog, who seems to have taken a liking to the six o’clock hour.  Regardless once I am up I am up, so it is just easier to oblige the dog and let her out to play than to listen to her whine.  Besides I have always enjoyed the quiet of the house as a way to start my day – coffee in hand of course.  Since it is summer this is when most of my best writing takes place as it is almost like I have the house to myself. I find I ponder things to make during this time as well, especially on the weekends when I am waiting on others to wake for breakfast.  This past Friday morning Little Miss Mixture was catching up on some much needed sleep and I had several hours to myself.  So, I began to create something with the cherries.  I was not sure when I started what I would use it for, but it occurred to me they would make a great sauce. I saw this recipe and thought about making it.  Until I realized I was missing enough almond butter or sun butter and I make enough things with peanut butter.  I have also wanted to try making an ice cream such as this or this as both sound really good. So being who I am I started tossing things together and came up with this. DSC_0362 Homemade Cherry Sauce/ Topping

1 1/2 Cup Cherries

1/3 cup Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp. Water

Please note the measurements are estimates and could be altered to fit personal flavor. In a small saucepan over medium high heat add all ingredients.  Stir and using a spoon cut the fruit (cherries) in to pieces so as to release the juice in the saucepan. Continue cooking until a rapid boil.  Lower temperature slightly and continue to boil at a slow rate, stirring frequently until the fruit (cherries) and sauce combine and the sauce thickens. * This is the basic recipe I use for making any fruit sauce.  It is simple and uses natural ingredients. Homemade Fruit Sauce has a number of uses such as in a yogurt parfait, in a milkshake, atop a bowl of ice cream, atop pancakes or waffles, or as part of a recipe such as this. IMG_3420IMG_3262DSC_0360

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Chocolate Cherry Milkshake

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Well I just went back and read my About Me page.  I must apologize as I failed to mention a favorite food … Milkshakes.  I have a vague memory that I spoke about my love for milkshakes and liquid meals in one of my smoothie post, but if not there it is.  I have always loved milkshakes and before smoothies were a popular breakfast item , I can remember my mom making fruit shakes for my breakfast.  I was and never have been a great breakfast eater.  As an adult, I know how to get food when I need it, but as a child I do not think my parents liked sending me off to school without breakfast.  Thus I can remember fruit shakes, toaster strudels, carnation instant breakfast, and a variety of other items being given to encourage me to eat breakfast.  I probably ate mixture for breakfast as early as middle school and continue to do so at times.  I like cereal.  I just never learned to enjoy it covered in milk and turning soggy as I eat it.  Funny as I think about it.  I love milk and still consume it on a regular basis with meals, but cereal and milk are two foods I do not mix.  However as I am typing it just occurred to me there is one way I would probably enjoy milk and cereal together… in a milkshake.  That is an idea for another day.

Well I love milkshakes, but they are just too filling to accompany a meal.  I actually consume them more in place of a meal.  I used to get them for snacks or as quick bite when I was busy working and sort of missed meal times.  As a kid I remember having milkshakes for lunch on a summer day for occasion, and this is something I have continued to do.  Well it is more of a year round occurrence than a summer thing.  It is just so easy and many times it is the perfect amount of food if we have had a later breakfast or bigger breakfast on the weekends, but need something with substinance to hold us to dinner.  I do have some guidelines with our milkshake meals – they generally always contain a fruit, banana mostly.  Nay sayers go on, but all food has a place and just as I remember it as a memory as a child, so will Little Miss Mixture.  Besides there are worst things that could be consumed than a combination of fruit, milk, and ice cream.

 

The other day Little Miss Mixture and I were invited to have lunch with my mom.  We went to a local restaurant that specializes in sushi and burgers.  Yes it is a strange combination, but it works.  The menu had some unique milkshake, including some adult only ones, but I was there for lunch and did not need that much.  However the idea of a shake seemed to stick with me for the remainder of the day.  Having eaten a somewhat late lunch, not being that hungry, and no pressure to make dinner as Mr. Mixture was out of town.  I decided to eat some of the leftover food we brought home and make milkshakes.  Perfect dinner for a hot night.

As a kid we used to visit Dairy Queen.  In fact I can recall having my first blizzard and it being served upside down to show how thick it was.  I am fairly certain when we got these they replaced our meals as well.  See I am just carry on another family tradition.  I have always liked cherry things.  For years I ordered the Cherries Jubilee flavor at Baskin and Robbins, and one of my favorite blizzards was chocolate covered cherry.  I had never tried to recreate one of these flavors until the other day.  I could be in trouble because the first time was success and why wouldn’t it be.  How can you go wrong with chocolate and cherries.

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Chocolate Cherry Milkshake

20 fresh cherries, pitted

6 oz. Vanilla ice cream

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. Chocolate Syrup

Blend until smooth and enjoy.

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I wonder how many more delicious things I can make before cherry season is over.  What is your favorite way to eat cherries?

 

 

Sweet Cherry Smoothie

IMG_3219As I mentioned yesterday, it is the peak time to get cherries, so we stocked up.  I finally got some washed, pitted, and frozen so that we can use them in smoothies in a couple of weeks.  Talk about a mess.  I may rank pitting cherries up there with my least favorite kitchen task.  Boiling chicken is still # 1.  Regardless of how few or how many, I end up having to split some open because the pitter does not always work perfectly, so there is juice on my hands.  My fingers begin to look stained by the end of the process and the clean trash bag is now stained as if there was a horrible kitchen accident.  Luckily this time around I managed to not get the juice on my shorts.  As I complete this process, I keep picturing the episode of “I Love Lucy” where they crush grapes with their feet.  Okay I just dated myself some, but as a kid I loved to watch the “I Love Lucy” reruns that TBS aired.

Having made a really nice adult drink with the cherries, I decided to start our day on Monday with a family friendly drink.  Little Miss Mixture and I had somewhere to go, so it was a great morning for smoothies in the car.  Thank goodness the car is old enough I do not care about cherry juice and in a nicely topped cup the likelihood of a cherry juice mishap is slim.  I would never have fresh cherries consumed in the car in any other form.  Honestly I have often thought of serving them outside as I constantly fear the juice ending up on the upholstery or the walls.  I know too much information about how I may be a little too type A, but at least I can admit it.

We had fresh pineapple from Sunday’s dinner which gave me the idea for the smoothie; however I ended up using frozen to get the consistency I wanted.  This simple fruit smoothie had a bright and somewhat tropical flavor to it.

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Sweet Cherry Smoothie

20 Pitted Cherries

1/2 cup Skim Milk

3 Tbsp. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 cup Frozen Pineapple

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.  Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a vitamix.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into about a 12 oz glass or split into two smaller servings and enjoy.

Printable Recipe & Nutrition Info

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Cherry Margarita

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Cherry Season is short, so when I found out the local Whole Foods was having a one day sale, I decided to stock up.

Cherries are not exactly the neatest or easiest fruit to eat.  I am sure some children and adults have mastered it better than Let’s Have Mixture family.  I have learned that Little Miss Mixture does best if I go ahead and pit the cherries.  Remember the recently painted house, well I would prefer to keep things looking crisp rather than have them splattered with a nice red purple color.  I seem to make enough of a mess pitting them for the entire family anyway.  Cherry juice does not come out of clothing very easily.

As I stared at the bags of cherries I purchased, I knew we could not consume them all and I should probably freeze some for smoothies.  Well I have not yet frozen them as yet.  Once I pitted an entire bag (2.5 lbs), I got an idea to make a fun drink for Mr. Mixture and I.  It was Friday and it had been a long week.  My initial thought was a frozen mojito since I have a plethora of mint in my barrel outside, but margarita seemed more appropriate for taco night. Tonight I did exactly what I always say about taco night.  I make my own seasoning without any salt, so I Save the Salt for the margarita glass.  Indeed I did and it was worth it. We had margarita on the rocks, it was a perfect accompaniment to a summer taco night.  Possibly the only thing better would be a frozen cherry margarita – definitely adding to my recipe must try list.

Fresh Cherry Margarita 

2 oz. Lime Juice

2 oz. Water

1 Tbsp sweetener of choice

Mix together the lime juice, water, and sweetener for later use.  I used agave so there was no need to heat the mixture.  If using sugar, if will blend best if you heat the lime juice and water and stir in the sugar until dissolved.

25 Cherries – washed and pitted

2.5 oz. Tequila

2 oz. Triple Sec

Puree / liquify cherries until smooth in a blender or vitamix.  Then add the tequila and triple sec and the lime juice mixture.  Combine all in a blender.  Wet the rim of 2 glasses and dip in salt.  Then fill the glasses with ice and strain the drink over the glasses.  I recommend using a small mesh strainer or sieve.  Enjoy.

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* recipe was adapted from a recipe on Confections of a Foodie Bride.