Dark cherry wheat bread

This time of year is the end of cherry season – so I’ve been trying to load up on them before I can’t find them at the grocery store anymore. This summer’s harvest has been as fresh and delicious as ever. I usually just eat mine as is, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach when I bought quite a few pounds of them recently. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to snack on my cherries before they started to go bad, so I had to start incorporating them into some pies, tarts, and breads.

This was the perfect opportunity to have fun with my bread machine (some of you know how obsessed I am with my bread machine). This bread has a wonderful balance of components and flavors – a bit of fruity sweetness from the cherries, a bit of dense chewiness from the whole wheat flour, and just a tad of spice from the cinnamon and nutmeg. This loaf is perfect sliced up and eaten as toast with butter and jam, in the bread basket at dinnertime, or as a killer PB&J.

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Italian sausage & pepper burgers

I love a good hamburger from the grill, but lately I’ve been getting bored by the standard burger. I’ve been switching things up a bit – occasionally I’ll make chicken burgers instead of beef, I’ll experiment with different cheeses, and I’ve done pretty well with trying a variety of toppings. I’ve gone from the staples of lettuce, tomato, and pickles to pulled pork, hot peppers, and fried eggs.

The other day I found sweet Italian sausage patties in the grocery store and I just had to grab them. It’s been a long time since I’ve had sausage & peppers (one of my favorite comfort foods), and I was determined to turn one of my favorites into a burger. I decided to kick things up a notch by giving my burgers some classic garlic bread buns.

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Banana strawberry ice cream

There’s no doubt that the ultimate summer dessert is ice cream – and though I love store-bought ice cream or something from Mr. Softee, nothing beats homemade ice cream.

Strawberries have been so perfect and delicious this summer, and I have been buying tons of them. I’m not the biggest fan of strawberry ice cream, but I definitely wanted to incorporate some of them into the ice cream without overpowering it.

I was trying to come up with ideas for the base flavor, and I narrowed it down to three – chocolate, peanut butter, and banana. All three pair very well with strawberry, but I decided on banana because it has the mildest flavor and I felt it would truly let the fresh strawberries shine.

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Backyard BBQ coleslaw

As the month of August approaches its end, I’ve been trying to squeeze in as much outdoor time and BBQ fun as I possibly can.

A typical American BBQ usually has the same side salads over and over again – potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, etc. – all of which are dressed in mayonnaise. Unfortunately, mayo is one of the only foods that I really hate. So when I go to BBQ’s, I end up eating burgers and wings with no side dish, except for maybe corn on the cob. Lame!

I love those classic BBQ sides when they are dressed in a vinaigrette rather than all that mayonnaise goop. It’s just so much lighter and more refreshing – not to mention much healthier and fewer calories. This coleslaw recipe is definitely one of my go-to’s when I’m having a BBQ.

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Semi-homemade peanut butter & chocolate “sliders”

Sometimes we all need something sweet in a pinch.

For those times, I always keep baking mixes and cans of frosting on hand.

Yeah, yeah. It’s “cheating” if you truly like to bake, like myself. But it’s fast and easy – and still satisfies an immediate sweet tooth. Don’t hate.

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Spicy chick peas & zucchini noodles

I’ve been all about farmer’s markets this summer. There are a few that run weekly fairly close by, and I’ve been making it a point to go and load up on freshly grown produce (among other things).

I prefer to eat a bit lighter during the summertime. Maybe it’s because it’s hot out, or that I’m sweaty, or not as hungry – who knows. But I always see summer as the opportune time to start taking healthy eating a little more seriously and to add a hefty amount of fruits & veggies to my diet.

I have been buying a ton of zucchini. It’s pretty versatile, and can be prepared in a lot of different ways – all of them delicious, and all of them super filling.

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Birthday cheesecake mousse

I love classic birthday cake. There’s just something about a moist vanilla cake layered with super-sweet cream and rainbow sprinkles. Birthday cake flavored things are among my favorite snacks – birthday cake Oreos are now my favorite variety, the Birthday Cake Remix is my favorite thing to order at Cold Stone, and I am going through a phase where I am obsessed with rainbow bagels smeared with birthday cake cream cheese (I’ve been on the quest to find the perfect one – The Bagel Store in Brooklyn is terrific, and so is the Bellmore Bagel Cafe on Long Island). It’s safe to say I like all things birthday cake.

the rainbow bagel with birthday cake cream cheese from the Bellmore Bagel Cafe

 

Since I typically try to limit my carb and sugar intake, I’ve been experimenting with recipes that would allow me to indulge in my birthday cake cravings – without destroying my diet. I have come up with the perfect solution.

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Onion & green chile shredded pork

Using my slow cooker over the summer has to be one of my favorite things – it makes each meal simple, I can run errands without worry while my food cooks, and it doesn’t heat up the house like the oven would.

With that being said, not everything tastes great coming out of a slow cooker. To quote one of my former students, everything his mom made in the crockpot “tastes like dried butt”. That’s not what I’m going for.

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