Kramer and I had a wonderful vacation. Now, sadly, it’s back to reality, although we were smart enough to plan things out so that we can ease into said reality. We only have work on Friday this week, so it’s a good way to slowly transition back to normalcy. I can still feel the sand between my toes. Not to worry – that feeling will replaced with the smell of New York City’s famous summer hot garbage aroma soon enough. Ah, yes. It’s good to be home. It’s not that I don’t miss New York or think it’s the greatest place to live, but when you’re away from the subway for a while, you start to think that maybe you should leave your apartment and daily schlep behind in favor of something a little slower. Then you get behind a guy at the local supermarket who feels like telling his life story to the cashier when all you want it your gallon of cinnamon ice cream and bottle of rose. Those are the times when I can’t wait to get back to NYC. I’ll have to set aside some time to go through my many photos from the trip at some point this weekend, but for the time being, please enjoy this sickeningly sweet photo of Kramer and myself below from a party a few weeks ago. Look at us. So young. So naive. So full of beer. Those were the days, indeed. Little did we know we’d be longing for just one more day of vacation paradise while we try to squeeze a degree or two more out of our A/C unit in Brooklyn.
Hey, look at us!
Okay – enough about how much I miss vacation. Let’s talk cherries. I love cherries and I crave them all year long, not just in the summer. I love sour cherries, especially. Their bright red color and sweet-and-tart flavor call to me. Thankfully, you don’t have to eat your way through carton after carton of sour cherries all at once to get your fill. Tart cherries can be frozen, dried or made into a juice concentrate, which allows you to enjoy them all year round. What a novel idea. I had tried frozen and dried tart cherries before, but never the cherry concentrate. It’s tart, sure, but there are still some trace amounts of natural sugars in there, so it’s been a great way to sweeten things without feeling guilty. I’ve also been mixing some of the tart cherry juice into a cocktail here or there…but that’s for another post. I’ve been having a great time coming up with recipes and snacking on a variety of tart cherries for the past week or so and I hope you’ll join me in trying some tart cherries, too.
In the spirit of sharing my adoration of tart cherries with you, I’ve partnered with the Cherry Marketing Institute to create some recipes using a variety of differently preserved tart cherries. I’m basically in cherry heaven right now. I’ve got a huge bag of frozen ones in my freezer, a king’s ransom of dried tart cherries in my cupboard, and a big jug of tart cherry concentrate in my refrigerator. I had to start working on these recipes fast, because it was really hard to not just eat away at my ingredients! I figured that I’d start with a green smoothie. If you’re like me, you try to get your greens in but need a little motivation. The first thing I thought of was chocolate covered cherries. Tart cherries pair perfectly with chocolate, but I wanted to do something healthy. How about a green chocolate cherry smoothie for breakfast? A little unsweetened cocoa powder is a great pick-me-up in the morning, and the tart cherries contain plenty of Vitamin C, so you can swap out this smoothie for your AM orange juice. This is the perfect smoothie to down before a workout, too – it’ll make you feel full without weighing you down and the tart cherry juice can help with muscle recovery. You’re welcome!
Gather your ingredients. I used a mixture of kale and spinach for this smoothie, but you can use whatever suits your fancy.
Add everything to your blender and pulse until you have your desired consistency.
I spy with my little eye a Kramer lurking in the background.
You won’t even know that there’s plenty of green goodness in this smoothie!
- 3 cups mixed greens (kale, spinach, etc.)
- 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup frozen tart cherries
- 1⁄2 cup cherry concentrate
- 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- ice, as needed
- Combine all of your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, adding ice as needed. Taste and adjust flavors to your preference.