Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Spooky (and Cherry-Inspired!) Halloween Party

With all of the candy and sugary desserts consumed during Halloween weekend, incorporating tart cherries is a great way to still enjoy delicious and festive treats while fueling your body with nutrient-rich antioxidants. 

Enough black and orange this Halloween, red is a creepy color that will make your party look just as spooky! And remember, here at Cheribundi, we always say, GO RED INSTEAD with tart cherries!

Here are some fun and simple recipe ideas to get you and your party into the spirit:

Red Punch with Tart Cherry Creepy Crawler Ice Cubes
Ice cubes:
2 packages gummy bear worms
1 (32-ounce) container tart cherry juice

3 (12-ounce) bottles strawberry smoothies
2 quarts orange juice
3 cans lemon/lime soda

Ice cubes:
Stick 1 gummy worm in each cube, with half of the worm hanging out. Pour tart cherry  juice into the ice cube trays. Place in freezer 2 hours before mixing the punch.

Pour the strawberry smoothies, the orange juice and the lemon/lime soda into a large punch bowl and stir. Take the gummy worm ice cubes out of the freezer, and add half of them to the punch. Place remaining cubes into glasses and fill each glass with punch using a ladle.

Monster Eye Cupcakes with Cherry Filling

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds only) or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Cherry Filling:
1 cup frozen cherries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cranberry or pomegranate juice, or water
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, sift together flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together oil, coconut milk, vanilla bean, and almond extract. Add sugar and mix until incorporated. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth (batter will be slightly lumpy). Fill cupcake liners with 3 tablespoons of batter (papers should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Top with any kind of white frosting you like - buttercream, vanilla, or cream cheese are delicious!

Add frozen cherries to medium saucepan along with sugar and juice. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and slightly mashing some of the whole cherries. Meanwhile, mix 1 tablespoon cool water with cornstarch in a small dish and set aside. When cherry mixture starts bubbling, add cornstarch mixture and stir until filling is thickened and is no longer milky. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Move to refrigerator and chill until ready to use.

Pork Chops with Brandied Cherry Sauce and Zucchini with Walnuts
(15-ounce) fresh tart cherries
2 rounded spoonfuls sugar -- for fresh cherries only
large boneless center-cut pork chops
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2
1 large shallot, finely chopped
Splash of brandy
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

Zucchini with Walnuts:
1/2 cup, chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 medium zucchinis, sliced into disks, 1/-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Put cherries in a small bowl with the sugar
Heat a skillet with an oven safe handle over medium high to high heat or, cover a the handle of a rubber handled pan with tin foil and preheat over same setting.
Season chops with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, to a hot skillet. Place chops in skillet and sear meat on both sides to caramelize the chops. Place a loose tin foil tent over the pan and transfer the chops to oven to finish off, 7 or 8 minutes, until meat is firm to touch, but not tough. While chops are in oven, place a second skillet over medium high heat. Toast nuts 1 to 2 minutes, shaking pan frequently. Remove nuts to cool and add extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and 1 tablespoon butter. Add zucchini disks, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook until tender, tossing discs occasionally, 6 or 7 minutes.
Remove meat from oven and transfer to dinner plates. Cover chops with foil to keep warm. Place chop skillet back on stove over medium heat. Add a tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan. Add shallots and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add cherries and warm through. Add brandy by removing the pan off the burner to add the alcohol, then flame the pan. Burn off alcohol for 1 minute, then add stock. reduce stock a minute, then add butter in small pieces. Toss sauce to combine and sprinkle in mint. Pour sauce down over chops and serve the zucchini with walnuts along side.
Vampire Bite Cherry Mocktail

2 cups tart cherry juice, chilled
1/2 cup apple juice, chilled
1/4 cup grenadine
1 1/2 cups seltzer water, chilled
1 tube red candy gel
4 gummy vampire teeth

In a pitcher combine cherry juice, apple juice and grenadine. Stir together then add the seltzer water.
Squeeze the candy gel onto a small plate. Rim the edges of 4 low-ball glasses in the candy gel. Pour in the
drink evenly into the glasses. Garnish each glass with the gummy vampire teeth and serve.

Cherry Gooeys
For cookie dough, beat 1 1/4 dark brown sugar and 1 stick butter until fluffy, then beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder; stir into the butter mixture. 

Then add 4 ounces melted semisweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons buttermilk with the eggs. Add 2 cups chocolate chunks and 1 cup dried cherries to the finished batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls and chill 30 minutes; bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Choose Tart Cherries to Help Beat "Fruit Fatigue"

From and The Cherry Marketing Institute

Just four fruits – oranges, bananas, apples and watermelons – account for nearly half of America's fruit intake (for adolescents and adults).
Eating a variety of rich-colored fruits is essential to an overall healthful diet, but most Americans are falling far short of the daily recommended consumption of fruit. Only one in five Americans is currently getting the recommended 1 to 2 cups of fruit each day (depending on age, sex and physical activity level).2 In fact, Americans only average 42 percent of the recommended fruit, so the gap is significant.

“Its challenging to get the recommended amount of fruit, and a variety of fruit, so finding new ways to incorporate fruit in your daily eating plan is key to fighting what I call "Fruit Fatigue, " said Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of a new book, MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better. "The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the USDA's MyPlate icon encourage Americans to 'make half their plate fruits and vegetables',  and to do that we need to think about variety, taste and form when focused on fruit.”

Tart cherries – one of today's hottest Super Fruits – can be a powerful way to add variety, flavor and unique health benefits to a daily menu and help beat Americas “Fruit Fatigue.”

A Versatile Super Fruit

Fruit provides a number of benefits to the daily diet – from contributing important nutrients, to reducing risk factors for many diseases, to aiding in weight management – yet people cite numerous barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption. These include limited access to fresh produce, lack of prep time or energy to plan, inconvenience and high spoilage of fresh fruits and vegetables, among other factors.3 According to Ward, buying fruits in multiple forms, like tart cherries – which are available dried, frozen or as juice year-round – can help ensure that you'll always have a supply on hand.

Go Red Instead for Taste and Health

Most importantly, taste remains the top driver of America's food decisions, making it essential to find great-tasting fruit options. Eighty-seven percent of Americans name taste as the
top consideration for food purchase, according to the IFIC Foundation 2011 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health. And, new/unique flavors and flavor combinations are in demand, driving three-quarters (75%) of the best-selling new foods and beverages introduced in 2010-11.4

Tart cherries have a unique sweet-tart taste that can help fight America's “Fruit Fatigue” beyond the current top four picks. Ward says cherries taste profile and year-round availability make them a versatile ingredient that works for any meal or snack occasion. Ward says one of her favorite meals for lunch or dinner is the Farro Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Dried Cherries – a recipe featured in her book.

Powerful antioxidants in tart cherries have been linked to anti-inflammatory benefits, and they're also a good source of much-needed potassium – one of the “nutrients of concern” identified in the Dietary Guidelines.

“As a dietitian whose goal is to help improve America's health and nutrition, I know that people need a variety of fruit every day, but getting the fruit they need should be easy, like choosing tart cherries.”

The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) is an organization funded by North American tart cherry growers and processors. CMI’s mission is to increase the demand for tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product development and research. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Give Fall a Warm Welcome with these Seasonal Recipes

The leaves have changed colors, seasonal crops are piled high in the grocery store, and Halloween costumes are on everyone's minds. Fall has arrived! But we can't forget that this change in season also makes way for some seasonal baking! 

We found a lovely collection of seasonal recipes that not only incorporate the fall favorite: pumpkins, but also our beloved tart cherries...

Cherry-Pumpkin Seed Muffins

6 tablespons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole milk
8 ounces fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted in a skillet or oven

Preheat oven to 375. Grease or line 12 muffin cups. Beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy, either in a mixer or by hand. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Gently mix half of the flour mixture into the butter, then half of the milk, then the remaining half of each.  Stir in the cherries and toasted pumpkin seeds. Distribute the batter into the muffin tins, and top with the raw pumpkin seeds. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

White Chocolate, Cherry & Pumpkin Seed Bark
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
Pinch of salt
12 oz. white chocolate
¼ teaspoon Allspice
¾ cup pitted, dried tart cherries

Toast the pumpkin seeds by placing them in a pan over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning (be careful as the seeds may crackle as they heat).
Remove the toasted seeds, toss them with the salt and and set them aside to cool. Make a double boiler by first boiling a large pot of water. Break the chocolate bar into pieces then add the pieces to a smaller pot. Hold the smaller pot over the boiling water to melt the chocolate, careful not to let any water leak into the smaller pot. Stir the chocolate continuously until it is smooth. Add the Allspice and mix until well incorporated. Pour the chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Use a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate out until it is roughly ¼" thick. Immediately top with the toasted pumpkin seeds and dried cherries. Let the bark harden in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry place for at least 4 hours, or until firm.

Cherry-Walnut Pumpkin Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter loaf pan. Line bottom and 2 long sides with waxed paper. Whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until blended. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin, then vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions each. Fold in Brownwood Acres Dried Tart Cherries and nuts. Transfer batter to pan. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake bread for about 1 hour 10 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Pumpkin Cake with Sage Ice Cream and Pumpkin Cherry Compote

For pumpkin cake
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup safflower or canola oil
1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin purée or canned solid-pack pumpkin
For compote
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 lb fresh pumpkin (preferably sugar or cheese pumpkin), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

October is Non-GMO Month!

Even though tart cherries are not a genetically engineered crop or at risk of becoming one (thank goodness!) we would still like to bring awareness ­ to this movement and help you understand the facts about GMOs. Here at Cheribundi, we are happy and proud to be able to provide a product that is pure and natural, but we can’t always count on other products to do the same. In fact, products are not required to label GMO ingredients for the public, which brings up the issue of consumers having the right to know what they are buying.  Let’s break down what exactly GMO means...

What are GMOs?
"Genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have been created through gene-splicing techniques that are part of biotechnology. These transgenic methods for moving genes around are also called “genetic engineering,” or GE.
This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be transferred into another species, creating transgenic organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even viral gene pools. The mixing of genes from different species that have never shared genes in the past is what makes GMOs and GE crops so unique. It is impossible to create such transgenic organisms through crossbreeding methods and would never happen in nature.

The Nine GE Food Crops on the Market:
·         Corn
·         Soybeans
·         Canola
·         Cotton
·         Sugar Beets
·         Alfalfa
·         Hawaiian Papaya
·         Zucchini

The majority of today’s GE crops contain modifications that are either :herbicide-tolerant" or engineered to express a bacteria insect toxic in plant tissues or “insect-protected, contain or both.

How Common are GMOs?
There are about 320 million acres of cropland harvested every year in the U.S., of which about 140 million are planted to GE seeds.
According to the USDA, 93% of soybean seeds planted in the U.S. in 2009, and 93% of cotton and 86% of corn seeds were genetically engineering and hence produced GMO plants. It is estimated that over 90% of canola grown is GMO, and a comparable share of sugar beets are now herbicide tolerant.
There are about two-dozen applications for new GE crop technologies in the USDA pipeline.  Monsanto has submitted eight of the pending petitions, and Syngenta, Pioneer, Bayer, BASF, and Dow all have submitted two.

Are GMOs Safe?
In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs, because they are not considered proven safe. In the U.S. on the other hand, the FDA approved commercial production of GMOs based on studies conducted by the companies who created them and profit from their sale. Many health-conscious shoppers find the lack of rigorous, independent, scientific examination on the impact of consuming GM foods to be cause for concern.

What’s Next?
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization working to offer consumers a consistent non-GMO choice for foods that are produced without genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technologies.

You can take the Non-GMO Pledge on their website and become one of the thousands of consumers that are taking part in Non-GMO month, celebrating the public’s right to choose.

Also, you can follow the Just Label It Campaign and sign a petition to tell the FDA to start labeling GMO foods and products. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Catching up with Kayaker Galen Volckhausen

Galen  Paddling the Tygart River in West Virginia
Last time we caught up with our 16 year-old star athlete, AKA “The Big Water Bandit”, we chatted about his deep passion for kayaking, his dreams of becoming a world champion on the US Kayaking Team, and how he turns to Cheribundi to soothe his aches and pains after long days of training in wild rapids.

Galen is still at it and is training, kayaking and competing more than ever. He is even attending a college preparatory high school that has a special kayaking program - a perfect fit!

We would like to share our interview with Galen to keep you up to date as we follow this dedicated teenager on his inspiring journey where he not only navigates the bumps and turns of his own life, but those of Mother Nature’s white water...

How was your summer - how much did you train and what competitions did you participate in?
I had an amazing summer. I paddled every weekday and spent most of those training. So far this summer I have been in two competitions. The first was the Canada Cup on the Ottawa River. I made it in to the finals in 3rd place. I finished in 5th place over all. My second competition was two days after the Canada Cup. It was the Labor Day Raquette Race. Which consisted of 6 rapids 3 of which are class V. I did not place well, but I hit all my lines great!

What is your next competition and when? What are you doing to prepare for it?
I am not quite sure when my next competition is. I am planning to make it to some races in Chile. There is a whole circuit down there and I  know I will be there for a couple of the races. In preparation for those I am attending Go Huge Kayaking AKA New River Academy. It is a traveling white water kayak school.

Are you still drinking Cheribundi regularly? How much and when?
I am definitely drinking still drinking Cheribundi regularly. I drink a bottle every day, I do not have a specific time I drink it but they are nice to wake up with.

With school starting soon, will it be hard to keep up your training? What will your training schedule look like during the school year?
As I said I am going to Go Huge Kayaking. I will not have as much time to paddle with this but it is not hard to train. Currently my schedule is school four times a week and kayaking for 3 days. My schedule always changes up depending on where I am. For example, we are getting ahead now so we can take more time off in Chile to paddle.

How much closer are you to achieving your goal of making it on to the US kayaking team?
Scouting the Niagara Gorge near Ontario 
If I was good at the beginning of the summer then I am great now. You really do not know until the competition but over the summer I got to the point where I can hit almost any trick. Now it is just up to getting to the point where I can hit anything anytime that I want to be able to hit it. So I would say that I am much closer to making the team. The only question now is when the team trials will be, and if they will happen soon enough that I can compete as a Junior.

Sounds like you are well on your way, Galen. 
The Cheribundi team is very proud of all that you have accomplished thus far and we love being your sponsor. We are happy to hear that drinking Cheribundi continues to aid you in your active lifestyle and we can’t wait for the next update!