sour cherry tart

Jeanne here.

Every summer there is a bounty of beautiful bright red super sour cherries bursting from a tree in our front yard.


 And every year, we harvest them and wonder … now what?

Three years ago, I harvested them.  Then waited to long and didn’t do anything with them. (AAAARRRrgh!  Procrastination wins again!)

Last year I tried dehydrating them.  (I wish I had a photo of the sad little not dried, but burnt to a crisp little cherry bombs … it was an EPIC fail.)

This year … I’ve learned a few tricks about dehydrating in our oven that doesn’t have a temperature setting below 170 degrees.  But I totally chickened out.  I just couldn’t risk the loss of time it took to harvest these little beauties (which is basically quadrupled when you’re doing it with a 4 year-old and a 21 month-old).  Plus … they were so pretty and plump.  I wanted to celebrate their jubilant perfect sweet-tartness!

Now I’m going to warn you … this tart may not be pretty.

cherry tart

But if you’re looking for a dessert to pair with savory summer dinner?

This might just be the ticket.

cherry tart a la mode



For the Filling:

  • 2-3 cups of pitted SOUR cherries (Bing cherries will change this tart dramatically … this is really about SOUR cherries.  But if you use Bing cherries, reduce the amount of maple syrup and add the juice of 1 lemon to the water)
  • 1/2 cup of grade B maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water.
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca pearls

For the crumble topping:

  • 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cold pastured butter

In a medium non-reactive bowl, combine the cherries, maple syrup, water and tapioca pearls.  Cover and set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to start making the tart, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the macerated cherries into your tart pan.

Combine the sugar, flour and chia seeds until well-mixed.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold pastured butter until it’s crumbly.  (I used salted butter because it’s what I had on hand.  If you are using unsalted butter, you’ll have to add a little salt to the mixture.)

Spread the topping over the cherries and bake for about 30-35 minutes (until the cherries and juice are bubbling up through the topping).  NOTE:  I generally put a pan in the oven on the rack below the tart because undoubtedly the juice bubbles over and I’m not looking for excuses in the summer to turn on the self-cleaning-oven option.

This tart is GREATLY complimented by a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  Perfect summer-evening-dessert-on-the-patio crazy day topper.

Do you have fruit trees in your yard?  How do you use the yield?

Shared at:
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
This Chick Cooks
The Nourishing Gourmet

last minute cookout inspiration!

I heard on the news this morning that Americans will eat more than 150 million hot dogs today.

Which is a lot of hot dogs.

And I’m hoping that if you’re eating hot dogs, they are made with beef raised with no added hormones or antibiotics, from cows that ate a vegetarian diet.  Uncured, unpreserved and that have no nitrates or nitrites added. (Applegate Farms makes a good one.  And so does Painted Hills Natural Beef.)

But don’t stress about it.


One day …

One hot dog …

Today’s a day to think “Big Picture,” like our forefathers did 🙂

And for those of us not eating hot dogs today, or for those of us looking for last-minute inspiration for something nourishing and tasty to bring to the family cookout, here are a few ideas culled from our archives and the archives of our favorite real food bloggers …







paleo yam brownie

I didn’t grow up camping.

And I didn’t camp a lot ever as a young adult living in Los Angeles (unless you count two weekends on a luxury houseboat floating Lake Powell with a bevy of my co-workers and friends in 1998 and 1999 … and I don’t think they count as camping since someone was there to prepare our food and supply our entertainment).  (The Cowboy tells me that’s called “glamping” … glamour-camping.  Okay.  It was super fun.)

But now that I’ve become so rugged and out-doorsy (read: sarcasm), we go camping as often as we can during the summer.

A few days in the hills (better known as the Rocky Mountains) with the horses, dogs and kiddos …without phones, computers and the stress of having to keep up with the laundry.  Ahhhhh.

Mountain Yoga

But I still don’t think we’re roughing it too hard.

We sleep in the gooseneck of a horse trailer on a higher quality mattress than we have in our home.


And just because we’re in the woods, doesn’t mean we stop taking food seriously.

In fact, we often pack some of our favorite near-gourmet meals to cook over the campfire (like braised short ribs a la Ad Hoc At Home, Sonora refried bean tacos with roasted pasilla peppers and queso fresco inspired by master chef Diana Kennedy’s Essential Cuisines of Mexico, and our favorite sourdough pancakes that seem to taste even better cooked in cast iron over a fire).

Same goes for desserts and snacks, too … we bring the usual popcorn (non-GMO kernels popped in Coconut Oil), of course.  And fruit galore.  We pack pre-made green-smoothies in a cooler.  But I like brownies on the trail … and I’m just not ashamed to admit it.

I am, however, reluctant to admit that until about a year ago, I relied on a boxed version of this treat to satisfy this camp craving.  Not because I particularly love the boxed version (there’s an organic version for sale at our local Town & Country that’s totally acceptable and perfectly tasty) … I just hadn’t figured out the right homemade version, I guess.  Until the Cowboy brought home a copy of Paleo Magazine and I saw a recipe for brownies made with sweet potatoes.


So based on that recipe, I started working on my own.

And here’s what’s coming with us next week:

paleo brownie


  • 1 large Yam (cooked & mashed)
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Pure Grade B Maple Syrup
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Milk Chocolate Cocoa Powder
  • 1/3 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup soaked & crisped & chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt


First things first … wash and, using a fork, pierce the yam skin on all sides.  Put the yam in the oven and set the temperature to 425 degrees.  Bake for 35 minutes (or until soft and cooked through).

Reduce the temperature in the oven to 350 degrees.  Take some care to remove the yam from the oven, peel and mash the yam flesh in a medium bowl.  (I do this when the yam is still hot so it melts the Coconut Oil when it hits the yam).  Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla and mix well.  Then add the eggs and whisk until smooth and well-combined.

Next, add the dry ingredients: the coconut flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.

Fold in the chocolate chips (and walnuts and coconut).

Pour the mixture into a greased glass 8×8 baking dish.  Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool before cutting and pretend there will be some left for a snack tomorrow.

(I’m probably going to have to make a double batch if we’re going to be gone more than a day … hmmm … better get another yam.)

– Camper Jeanne

We’re linked up:

This Chick Cooks
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
The Nourishing Gourmet

taste test tuesday: strawberry rhubarb pie

Jeanne here.

It’s Tuesday.  And we’re doing that taste test thing again.


I was out of town last week and returned home to find a jungle of rhubarb growing in one of our garden beds … ready to harvest and screaming to be made into a pie.  And we had the excuse of a Memorial Day Cookout to try my hand at a strawberry-rhubarb pie.

But here’s the thing:  Growing up in New Jersey, we also had a plethora of rhubarb growing in the garden.  And my stepdad’s Aunt Ginny (God bless her … a beautiful and funny gal) would take this incredibly tart stalky plant and cook it down with loads of plump juicy red strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, sugar, a little more cornstarch and a lot more sugar and would turn this beautiful Spring harvest into a gelatinous pie that pretty much tasted like cornstarch and sugar.

So to say I was excited to learn a few years ago that we had rhubarb growing (like a weed) in the garden is kind of … well … it would actually be kind of an exaggeration.

I didn’t know that strawberry-rhubarb pie could be tangy (that’s the job of fresh rhubarb in a pie) … sweet (naturally sweet because fresh organic strawberries cook down into a gorgeously sweet, but not overly sweet, treat) … and a totally refreshing end to a holiday cookout.  Especially with some homemade ice cream.

strawberry rhubarb pie 2

But then I met (metaphorically … in the blogsphere … I’ve never actually met her) Deb Perelman from The Smitten Kitchen, and everything about my relationship with rhubarb has changed.

Because her recipe for strawberry-rhubarb pie is totally sublime.

Firstly, there’s no cornstarch (she uses tapioca instead).

She limits her use of sugar (which I reduced even more, and I used maple syrup instead of brown sugar).

And the tablespoon of lemon juice makes everything taste as fresh as it is.

strawberry rhubarb pie

Here’s what’s in it:

  • Deb uses an All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough or double-crust pie dough of your choice (we use a recipe for a butter crust from The Pie Chef that has never failed us.  It’s the best pie crust I’ve ever had)
  • rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
  • strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
  • granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar and reduced the amount by about a third)
  • light brown sugar (I used grade B maple syrup, instead)
  • lemon juice
  • salt (her recipes generally call for kosher or iodized salt.  I use sea salt)
  • quick-cooking tapioca (you can use tapioca pearls instead, but they need to be soaked first)
  • unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • egg yolk beaten to blend with water (for wash)

I’m not kidding when I say this pie is sublime.  The kiddos and I are headed out this morning to “harvest” more rhubarb so we can try a version of this in a breakfast cobbler.

One thing I should point out … Deb Perelman is not necessarily a “real food” or “nourishing food” blogger.  She may not soak her grains or use traditional cooking methods.  But her food is not processed.  It’s wholesome, delicious and clearly cooked with love.

We’re linked up:

This Chick Cooks
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
The Nourishing Gourmet 


almond joy ice cream (paleo-friendly, vegan, and awesome)

Jeanne here.

With a recipe for my new favorite ice cream.

almond joy ice cream

I probably don’t have to tell you how much I love ice cream.

Or that I make ice cream and sorbet once or twice a week.

That we can barely keep it in the house it gets gobbled up so fast.

But in case you’ve forgotten, maybe you’ll remember the perfect vanilla ice cream recipe I shared a few weeks ago?

Or the mango-kombucha sorbet from earlier this week?

What about the maple-coconut-milk ice cream I made for Abby’s birthday?

Yeah … so … I make frozen desserts.

And this week, I wanted something more decadent than usual.

I wanted something rich.

And crunchy.

And chocolatey.

And coconutty.

I wanted something that was going to be a memory-flashback to my childhood and one of my favorite almond joy coconut chocolates.

That I could make for the BBQ we’re having this weekend.

But I didn’t want to serve something I hadn’t made before.  So I had to do a test.

And now … I’m trying not to stress out about waking up at 3 am last night and eating enough of the ice cream that I’m going to have to make another batch for tonight!


  • 12 oz sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 14 oz can organic coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup shredded dark chocolate (you could also use chips, but I like the texture of shredded chocolate.  I just take the bar and shave it with a small paring knife)
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw almonds
  • pinch of sea salt


Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.

Pour the ingredients into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker (we keep ours in the freezer so we’re always ready to whip up a frozen treat), turn on the machine, and pour the contents of your mixing bowl into the Ice Cream Maker and let it rip … for about 10-15 minutes.

Remove the ice cream from the ICMaker, place in a freezer safe container and let the ice cream “set up” in the freezer for at least an hour (or until the kids go to bed).

I think I’m going to go finish off that first batch to clear out our freezer container for batch #2!


We’re linked up:

Healthy Roots, Happy Soul
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
This Chick Cooks
The Nourishing Gourmet
Domestic Superhero

mango-kombucha sorbet …a probiotic palate cleanser!

Maybe you saw the EWG’s shopping guide today? Well I was so excited to see that mangos and kiwi are still in the Clean Fifteen list….mostly because I bought a case of mangos last week at Costco. And I’m relieved that I don’t have to throw them away!

But it was a CASE of mangos.

There are only four people in the house.

And I can only make soaked oatmeal with mangos and honey so many times before there’s a revolt threatened.

So what’s this mom do?

Find other uses for the mango … add it to salsa, use it for smoothies, mix it in ice cream and freeze the rest for another day… like today. When I really wanted sorbet!

Palate cleansing, refreshing, cooling, deliciously fruity, probiotic and delightful sorbet.

That’s right. I said probiotic!

photo copy

And it’s made with three ingredients.


  • 3 cups frozen mango (or fruit of your choice. Peaches would be wonderful. Or watermelon. the Costco antioxidant blend of frozen berries. it’s really up to you.)
  • 2 cups kombucha. (we make our own. I think if I were using storebought kombucha I would use GT’s gingerberry for this recipe. It’s spicy and sweet. And the most like what we make)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or organic sugar.

Combine all three ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste it. Add more sweet if you need or want it.

If you have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into the freezer bowl and let it run for about five minutes. Pour contents of bowl into freezer safe container (or serve immediately).

If you do NOT have an ice cream maker, pour contents into a non-reactive metal bowl and put in the freezer for about an hour to firm up.  Take it out, put it in a blender and blend it for a few seconds.  And then back into the freezer.

No matter if you use an ice cream maker or not, let the sorbet “thaw” for 10-15 minutes before diving in! (Talk about an easy way to get the health benefits of Kombucha … especially if you’re not a fan of Kombucha!)

Makes about 4 half cup servings.

We’re linked up:

This Chick Cooks
Kelly The Kitchen Kop
Natural Living Mamma

The Better Mom
Nourishing Simplicity

triple berry cobbler … it’s too easy

I know I shouldn’t start the week with a dessert recipe.

But this one doesn’t have refined sugar (unless you want to use sugar instead of maple syrup).

And we needed an excuse to use up some of the DIY-Bisquick that was leftover from the cornbread that we made a few weeks ago.

Plus, we were having dinner at Abby’s, I told her we’d bring dessert, and the day got away from me so I only had about 45 minutes to whip this thing together.  I had to use what we had on hand.

Sometimes … being forced to use what’s already on hand can be the very best thing … ever.

triple berry cobbler

I don’t know if you can tell from the photos, but this incredibly easy and super fast dessert is not overly sweet and totally satisfying and there wasn’t one person out of 10 that didn’t wish there was more in the pan. (Sure, four of the 10 are under 4 years old … but their vote counts just as much … especially when it comes to tasty desserts!)

Here’s the “skinny” on how it’s done:


For the biscuit batter:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup DIY-better-than-Bisquick mix
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (I melted it in the casserole dish and used it to grease the pan before adding to the batter)
For the fruit compote:

  • 2-3 cups mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or unrefined sugar)
  • 2/3 cup water


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the milk, maple syrup, non-Bisquick and coconut oil in a medium bowl.  After letting the casserole dish cool for a few minutes, put the batter in the dish.  Don’t spread it around too much.  It’s ok if it’s clumpy.

In another medium bowl, combine the berries, maple syrup and water.

NOTE: I used frozen berries (the organic antioxidant frozen berries from Costco) and found that the strawberries were HUGE so I cut them each in half so they wouldn’t be quite so unwieldy.  You could also use just strawberries, or just blackberries, or raspberries … it’s sort of up to you.  What’s your favorite?

Now pour the berry mixture over batter.  Yes … the berries go on TOP.  The batter is so light an airy.  When it cooks, it actually forces it’s way to the top.  It’s one of the great things about this treat.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
We topped the cobbler with some homemade vanilla ice cream.And there wasn’t a lick of either cobbler or ice cream left about four and a half minutes after we cut into the first piece.Happy Monday!- JeanneWe are linked up at Natural Living Mamma and Healthy Roots, Happy Soul!

We are also linked up at The Nourishing Gourmet, Nourishing Simplicity and Domestic Superhero!