cherry season

perfect cherry pancakes

Cherry season is here! How do I know? Because I have bowls and bowls of cherries picked from our tree in the front yard. I wait and wait for that deep red (which is like 9 hours of sunshine after they start turning pale red), then I race out there and get them before the birds do.

Our tree is tall, so until I rent a cherry picker I am leaving the birds enough anyway – they possess the wonder of flight, so I kindly ask them to dine on the top shelf fruit.

While I sit here pitting and [click to continue…]


cherry vanilla protein French toast

It is cherry season again.

and all I have to do is share some of my cherries with the birds in our yard. I try to get to them before [click to continue…]


If I made these just like my dark chocolate cherry galettes, can I still call them rustic tarts?

They are basically the same thing, a free form dessert filled with goodness.

I have made a second batch of this goat cheese (recipe coming soon, I promise promise!), and I have been enjoying it with all kinds of things. The best pairing? A tangy goat cheese with a sweet cherry, enveloped into a flaky warm sugared crust.

Look at that sugar.

I spared a precious few cherries from my dwindling stash. Yes, I only have two containers in the freezer, and, well, a pretty large container of dehydrated. The summer of cherries is almost over. Only a few recipes left.

It is not an accident that I chose to make my own goat cheese during August – which is National Goat Cheese Month. We are going to be celebrating every day until September. and then some.

cherry goat cheese rustic tarts

adapted from dark chocolate cherry galettes

dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan

makes four individual galettes

40-50 fresh cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar, divided
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 pie crust recipe (see below)
1/4 cup olive oil 

Combine cherries with 2 tablespoons sugar and juice, stir until sugar is dissolved. Divide cherries and goat cheese among 4 pies, arrange in the center of each pie (see directions below), leaving an inch border. Fold the border of crust up around filling, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350 for 27-32 minutes (check at 27).

easy gluten free and vegan pie crust

dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan

makes 4 individual galettes (or one single crust pie)

1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup all purpose flour (gluten free)
1/2 cup cold butter (Earth Balance – not soy free)
1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water*

Combine flours and butter with dough cutter or fork. Add water gradually* – start with 1/4 cup and add by tablespoon after that until dough is forms. Knead and form a ball, wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Divide into four equal pieces and roll into small circles. Arrange on baking sheet lined in parchment or silpat.

I wish I could share these with each and every one of you.



♪ ♫ “Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school…”  ♪ ♫

Please tell me you know what that is from? and then please accept my apology for the fact that it may be in your head for a bit.

Longtime readers know of my near obsession with pens and paper. Journals, writing pads, pens ranging from bold ballpoints to collectible fountains. When Jason and I met, one of the strange coincidences was that we both love pens. and paper. and pens.

So it is only natural that when we are in most any store, if there is a stationery or office supply section we will find it (if we lose each other while shopping, I either call him or find the pen aisle).

This time of year especially, we are interested in what might be new and interesting? The other day, on a random and fun Target visit, we saw Back to School signs, leading us to pens and papers.

Without a need or a plan for it, I came home with this:

Just so cute, right?

A dachshund. Doing yoga.

It is the (second) cutest thing I have ever seen, and it makes me smile each time I see it.

Even though my cherry supply is dwindling fast, this ice cream also makes me smile.

The fact that I found gluten free cake cones? Bigger smile.

I used a fun ingredient in this recipe – making an incredibly creamy ice cream. This one is a keeper – sweet chocolate and tart cherries are a good combination.

double chocolate cherry ice cream

dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan

4 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1 can coconut milk (canned)
1/2 cup whipped cream (Soyatoo rice whip)
1/3 cup agave (or sugar of choice)

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chunks (chips)

In high powered blender, combine cherries and coconut milk until smooth. Continue to blend and add whipped cream, agave, and cocoa powder. Transfer to ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer directions (this recipe took me 20 minutes). Remove bowl from ice cream machine, fold in chocolate chunks. Transfer to a freezer safe container, cover and store in freezer.

♪ ♫ “Back to school. Back to school…”  ♪ ♫ ♪



perfect cherry pancakes

I want the Olympics to be year round.

Not very viable, right? I wish they lasted longer, anyway.

I have been glued to the television. Tennis has me on the edge of my seat and makes me want to play again. Beach volleyball, same. Swimming is exciting and I wish I knew how (yeah, really. Long story). Archery reminds me of 7th grade PE class (I was good!). Fencing is just awesome. Awesome.

vegan cherry pancakes

All of it has been motivating for me – energizing my workouts and my whole day. I miss the camaraderie of being involved in team sports, it has been years and years. I am inspired by the passion and the drive, and I have been moved to tears (not just from the medal ceremonies and the “mom commercials”).

I celebrate every athlete, from every country. I want to make them pancakes.

Perfect fluffy pancakes with cherries from my tree. These could get a medal.

gluten free pancakes

cherry pancakes

adapted from spinach pancakes

dairy, egg, soy, and gluten free, vegan

makes 8 medium pancakes

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted*
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup agave (or sweetener of choice)

*cherries will be less than 1 cup when puréed.

In blender, purée cherries until smooth. In mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and xanthan gum, stirring out clumps. Whisk in the cherry puree, water and agave, combine completely. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop batter onto an oiled skillet over medium low heat. Pancakes will not bubble, flip after a minute or so and cook other side (less than another minute).


perfect cherry pancakes

Have you been watching the Olympics? What is your favorite event?



Cherry Mojito Milkshakes

Cherry Mojito Milkshakes and A Shiny Chic Cocktail Party – a lightened up and creamy cool twist on the classic mojito – fresh flavor just in time for summer soiree season!


Regular readers know I love to throw a party.

That we often have happy hour at home.

That I am distracted by shiny things.

When BACARDÍ sent me a big box filled with fabulous things for a shiny chic party, I was beyond excited. You should have seen me looking through the box – it was Christmas Morning When I Got A Baton excitement. Basil was there to give me the side eye. It was shiny and fun and filled with things from all of my favorite stores – zgallerie, West Elm, Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel. Squeal!

It really was like they were [click to continue…]


I am really reeeeaaally excited about these muffins.

I have been baking for many many years, perfecting recipes from bagels to croissants, muffins to cakes to cheesecakes. When I chose to remove gluten from my kitchen and most of what I eat, I had to relearn how to bake. I love doughy and dense, so I resigned myself to the thought that gluten free baking always had that result.

Recently I have made it a priority to learn the finer points to gluten free baking – what the gums do and how much to use, what flours bring what result. It is a work in progress, but I am progressing!

These muffins combine two of my favorite summer crops – cherries and zucchini. If these were not made in my own kitchen where I know there is no flour containing gluten, I would have never believed they are gluten free. Honestly.

Jason and I have been eating these with breakfast the last several days, and each day we are both saying the same thing – how fluffy and … ‘normal’ these feel.

Progress. and I’m really excited about that.

Please make these muffins. Make the crumb topping. If you are making the crumb topping, prepare it first so the muffin batter can quickly get into the oven.

I love crumb topping, did you know? Love it. When I was a kid, all desserts with a crumb topping would mysteriously end up without crumb topping. I don’t know why. Wasn’t me.

This crumb topping? I could eat all of it. By itself. Crumb topped with crumb. Mmm.

cherry zucchini muffins

adapted from blueberry zucchini bread

dairy, egg, soy and gluten free, vegan

makes 12 muffins

2 tablespoons flax seed, freshly ground
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water

1 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch sea salt
2 cups zucchini, grated
1/3 cup safflower oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and sliced

Grind flax seed in blender, coffee grinder. Place 2 tablespoons flax in a bowl, add water and stir. Place in refrigerator to set into gel (this equals / replaces two eggs).

Prepare crumb topping – recipe below.

In large bowl, combine grated zucchini, oil and maple syrup. In same bowl, add flours but do not stir in. On top of the flours, add baking powder, xanthan gum, cinnamon and salt, stirring into the flours before folding into wet ingredients. Fold in cherries. Pour into prepared muffin cups, 3/4 full. Top with crumble topping and get into oven.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

perfect crumb topping

dairy, soy, egg, and gluten free, vegan

tops 12 muffins, 2 loaves quick-bread, 1 cake

1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter (Earth Balance soy free), melted

In saucepan over medium heat (or in microwave safe bowl, ~1 minute in microwave), melt butter. Add flour and sugar to melted butter, stir until combined, resulting in a thick crumbly paste consistency. Crumble over muffins.

Go, make these. As soon as you can!



I try to drink a good amount of water each day, some days are better than others. Infusing water with natural flavors elevates it to a refreshing and pretty beverage.

On days I am home, I make a large pitcher and drink it all day. On days I am out of the house, I bring a large jar or bottle with me. My standard add ins are lemon or whatever citrus I have on hand, or mint. In the summertime especially, mint is cooling.

In class last month, one thing all us students looked forward to was the water of the day. Each day a new flavor was infused into our water pitchers, usually from fresh herbs.

One of my favorites from class was fresh basil – it brings great flavor to a glass of water!

Today I discovered that basil and cherries pair well together – the pitcher of water we are enjoying today includes chiffonaded basil and frozen cherries. Being frozen, the cherries cool the water while the basil flavors it.

Today’s motivation to drink water? A cherry snack at the end!