These delicious cherry crumble bars feature sweet-tart cherries baked with a tasty base and topping somewhere between a pie crust and a graham cracker. The bright flavor of the cherries is heightened with lemon zest and almond extract. Flavorful, colorful, and portable, these cherry crumble bars are great for dessert, a snack, or even breakfast!
Tart, juicy cherries and sweet blueberries are layered with Greek yogurt, granola, and chia seeds to make a healthy, beautiful breakfast bursting with flavor. Mason jars make this not only pretty (I love how they show the colorful layers), but they are also practical–just screw on the lid, put the jar(s) in the cooler, and you have a portable breakfast or snack.
Summer fruit really is a special treat. There is just nothing like being able to walk out the door and pick fruit right in your own yard, or pick it up from a nearby farm stand. You can taste the bright sunshine in every bite, and something with that much fresh flavor and naturally bright color has to be loaded with beneficial nutrients!
I wanted to do a post in honor of our cherry trees this week, because they have given us such great fruit this season! We planted them a few years ago as tiny little trees, and over time we have nursed them, protected them from hungry deer, and watched them grow. This is the first summer we have been able to harvest more than a handful of cherries from them, and I am so excited about it! Tart cherries have been a favorite of mine since I was a child. Lots of good childhood memories are mixed in with the pursuit of good cherries and cherry pies. To have them now growing in my own yard feels like a huge luxury, and I know how my dad would love it.
Our two cherry trees, though still not large, are just loaded with bright red tart cherries! So far, we have been eating them too quickly to make a pie filling, but these easy breakfast jars are perfect. The sweetness of the blueberries helps balance the tart flavor of the cherries, and really, you could substitute any seasonal fruit if you don’t have cherries or blueberries.
This recipe is so simple, yet it is so delicious and so pretty that it is worth remembering and sharing. My kids, who were definitely in a breakfast rut, have been loving these jars the past couple of mornings. I think it has to do with the freshness of the fruit and the novelty of the layers instead of everything just mixed up in a bowl. You can use your favorite yogurt and favorite granola, and sweeten it all with honey if you are using unsweetened yogurt.
I hope you are all enjoying some summer air and summer fruit! We went camping last weekend, and it was just what we needed. To be away from routines and to be surrounded by nature, getting back to the basics. It felt like time kind of stood still for us for a couple of days, and we had some good family exploring new territory and sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and listening to the fire crackle and pop. The trees, the lakes, the fresh air and stars at night all soothed my soul. And the juicy, tart cherries give vitality and hope. I hope you are all having a good week! I am going to share this tasty recipe at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, where lots of great food bloggers gather to trade recipes and inspiration.
1/4 cup of honey (use if your yogurt is unsweetened)
4 half-pint sized mason jars
Wash the fruit and remove the pits from the cherries. Set out the yogurt, granola, chia seeds, and mason jars. In each mason jar, spoon in a layer of yogurt, fruit, granola, and a 1/4 teaspoon of chia seeds. Repeat the layers. Serve immediately or cover with the mason jar lids and refrigerate or take with you in a cooler. Enjoy!
Treat your body to a smoothie full of vibrant flavors and important nutrients. Frozen blueberries, tart cherries, and cranberries give this smoothie lots of flavor and antioxidants, not to mention a naturally beautiful color. Ground flax seeds and hemp seeds add Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, protein, and lignans, among other nutrients, which is probably why these little seeds are sometimes called “super seeds.” Just add a splash of cranberry juice and a handful of ice, blend it all up, and you have a bright, tasty beverage full of anti-inflammatory properties.
There is a lot of talk these days about chronic inflammation and how it contributes to a lot of health problems, including arthritis, heart disease, auto-immune disorders, and depression. And apparently, in our modern society, many are at risk of developing chronic inflammation with our processed foods, high sugar intake, and fast-paced lifestyle.
I am definitely not an expert on inflammation in the body, but what I read makes a lot of sense. According to Paul DiCorleto, PhD, in an article for the Cleveland Clinic, inflammation is the body’s natural way of fighting an illness or injury. When the illness or injury is healed, the inflammation response is supposed to shut off. However, sometimes the body’s inflammation response does not stop, due to chronic anxiety, diet, or other factors. “Over time, you can end up with too much of a good thing. With chronic inflammation, your body is on high alert all the time,” says Dr. DiCorleto. This can cause lots of problems within the body.
DiCorleto and other experts recommend making lifestyle choices that will help reduce the risk of developing chronic inflammation. These include regular exercise and eating and drinking lots of plant-based foods, which contain anti-inflammatory properties. Berries, flax seeds, and hemp seeds are all considered anti-inflammatory foods.
Sometimes when I am very stressed out and not taking good care of myself, I can feel like my body is out of balance. That is when I reach for things like this smoothie, and I feel like I am putting good things back into my body, soothing it and energizing it at the same time. It’s all about striving for that balance.
We may not be able to hold ourselves in balance for long periods of time, but we can continually try to keep bringing ourselves back into balance. It’s in that process that we feel alive. According to poet and philosopher Rumi, “Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”