Tart Cherry Fro-yo {with White & Dark Chocolate Chips}

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of the Cherry Marketing Institute.

Ultra thick and creamy tart cherry frozen yogurt loaded with dark chocolate and white chocolate chips. So decadent, you’d never guess the base is FAT FREE!

Tart Cherry Fro-yo with White & Dark Chocolate Chips: Easy, ultra creamy and healthy!

After an incredible summer in Portland, I’m back in Phoenix. Back to real work, and back to 100++ degrees. And again I’m wondering…WHY DON’T I LIVE IN PORTLAND? Well, a fantastic husband, my puppies and an entire life time of family and friends make the heat livable I suppose.

Tart Cherry Fro-yo with White & Dark Chocolate Chips: Easy, ultra creamy and healthy!

Totally unreasonable amounts of frozen yogurt don’t hurt either. ;) You may have noticed that before I left I was on a bit of an ice cream kick. I finally figured out my ice cream maker, and I just couldn’t stop. The real deal, full fat ice cream is just so hard to recreate that I was a little nervous to go back to homemade fro-yo. I mean, I am a HUGE fan of soft serve, and I will eat it any time, any day, but it is just so hard to make something at home that doesn’t turn into an icy mess.

Tart Cherry Fro-yo with White & Dark Chocolate Chips: Easy, ultra creamy and healthy!

The good news? This is by far the BEST frozen yogurt I have ever made! The base is so rich and creamy, and packed with tart cherry flavor. You may remember a little bit about the benefits of tart cherries from this Tart Cherry Lime Elixir. They are said to reduce soreness and oxidative stress, and aid in recovery. Also, they are delicious. I’ve been drinking tart cherry juice plain for the 7 Day Cherry Juice Challenge, and it is the perfect amount of sweet and tart.

Tart Cherry Juice Challenge

This challenge is great leading up to a big race or event, and it’s incredibly easy to incorporate! If you love the taste of tart cherry juice, just drink 8 ounces a day, or you can use 2 tablespoons of the concentrate as a shot–college flash backs anyone? Except I like the idea of actually feeling better the next day instead of worse (the woes of getting older)–or diluted in another beverage.

Tart Cherry Fro-yo with White & Dark Chocolate Chips: Easy, ultra creamy and healthy!

Okay, back to the fro-yo. We all know that cherries pair magically with chocolate. White chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate syrup, you name it. I went for a combination of white and dark chocolate to create more flavors, but you are free to use whatever you’d like. Or, if you’d like to keep this 100% fat free, feel free to skip the chocolate all together, and it will still be delicious!

Tart Cherry Fro-yo {with White & Dark Chocolate Chips}

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Tart Cherry Fro-yo {with White & Dark Chocolate Chips}

Ultra thick and creamy tart cherry frozen yogurt loaded with dark chocolate and white chocolate chips. So decadent, you'd never guess the base is FAT FREE!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tart cherry juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ tablespoon bourbon or vodka, optional
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, tart cherry juice concentrate and vanilla extract until combined and sugar is fully dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions. Add bourbon or vodka in the last 2-3 minutes of freezing. This is optional, but recommended—it keeps the frozen yogurt from freezing hard and icy. Fold in chocolate chips. Frozen yogurt is best served immediately, but can also be stored in a freezer safe container, just allow 10-15 minutes thawing time before scooping.
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To learn more about tart cherries and their benefits, check out ChooseCherries.com, or follow their Facebook / Twitter /Pinterest / YouTube!

 

Vanilla Bean Float

This Vanilla Bean Float is an insanely easy dessert option. 2 ingredients, and ready in minutes–it’s like the root beer float’s healthier vanilla cousin!

Vanilla Bean Float

When was the last time you had a root beer float? For me it was probably over 10 years ago! They seem like one of those childhood treats that we forget about when we get older. Or we just realize that most soda is probably the worst thing we can put into our body, and that when you combine it with ice cream, it is probably less than a “healthy” choice. I mean, I will still enjoy a diet root beer (or diet coke) and pretend that they are, in fact, the healthier option, but I’m not really fooling myself. ;)

Vanilla Bean Float: Ridiculously easy simple--like a root beer float's healthier cousin!

Still, there’s something about fizzy soda with creamy ice cream that just works in a way no other dessert can replicate! I love the creamy foam that comes to the top, and trying to sip the ice cream out through your straw, or drinking with a spoon.

Ridiculously

When I went to the Blend Retreat, we had lots of great stuff in our swag bags, but I was probably most excited about the Dry Vanilla Bean Soda. It’s less sweet than normal soda–ewww, regular soda is so syrupy sweet, I can’t even handle it–and is made from only 4 ingredients. I tasted it and immediately fell in love.

Vanilla Bean Float: Ridiculously easy simple--like a root beer float's healthier cousin!

So much love that when I was at the grocery store back home and the same soda caught my eye, I immediately grabbed two cans. Then the next time, I bought a 4 pack of the bottles.

Vanilla Bean Float: Ridiculously easy simple--like a root beer float's healthier cousin!

I started with a couple of scoops of nonfat vanilla bean frozen yogurt and paired it with the vanilla bean soda. Ummm, it was gone in seconds. In fact, it’s so easy to make, and so easy to drink that it could end up being pretty dangerous. But whatever, fro-yo is healthy(ish) and the soda is only 60 calories, so you get a pretty huge dessert for under 200 calories and zero fat! Win, win.

Of course, you can also use coconut milk ice cream or an other nondairy option if that’s your thing. And you could try chocolate ice cream for a nice combo of vanilla and chocolate, because, to be honest, this really isn’t a recipe. It’s more of a suggestion. I suggest you add this vanilla bean soda to your favorite frozen dessert and then enjoy your dessert. ;)

Vanilla Bean Float

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 2 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Vanilla Bean Float

This Vanilla Bean Float is an insanely easy dessert option. 2 ingredients, and ready in minutes--it's like the root beer float's healthier vanilla cousin!

Ingredients

  • 2 scoops nonfat vanilla bean frozen yogurt (or coconut milk ice cream, or any alternative you desire)
  • 12 ounces Dry Vanilla Bean Soda

Instructions

  1. Place frozen yogurt in a glass, top with soda, and drink up!
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Ricotta Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {with Honey & Vanilla Bean}

Rich, creamy ricotta ice cream loaded with mini dark chocolate chips with underlying flavors of honey and vanilla bean. All the flavors of a classic cannoli in ice cream form!

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {{with Honey & Vanilla Bean}

Do you ever love something so much that you feel like no matter how much you try to describe it, you can never quite put it into words? It’s how I feel about Mia Michaels’ choreography, or when I saw One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Broadway, or when I first discovered CILANTRO! I can’t tell you how good it is, you just need to experience it with me.

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {{with Honey & Vanilla Bean}

That’s how I feel about this ice cream. I felt like no matter how many pictures I took, or adjectives I thesaurus-ed, nothing could quite capture my new favorite ice cream. I loved it more than any ice cream I’ve ever purchased at a homemade ice cream shop, and definitely more than anything I’ve ever bought at the store.

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {{with Honey & Vanilla Bean}

First of all, I am OBSESSED with ricotta cheese. Once upon a time, I spent like an entire year on phase 1 of the South Beach diet. It was not a good year. I can tell you, however, that my favorite part was “snacking” on low-fat ricotta cheese. And by “snacking”, I mean opening the tub, grabbing a spoon, and looking down to see half the container had disappeared. Whoops.

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {{with Honey & Vanilla Bean}

But it’s not just the ricotta that makes this so special. It’s the hint of honey, the little specs of vanilla bean that carry a bold flavor (one of my very favorite flavors), and the multiple dark chocolate chips you get in every bite. I don’t know what it is about the mini chocolate chips that make them so much better, but they really do make a difference here, and although you are free to use whatever chip you like, I highly suggest the tiny guys for this recipe. Mini chips = more chips in every bite = automatically better.

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {with Honey & Vanilla Bean}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours

Yield: 5-6 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {with Honey & Vanilla Bean}

Rich, creamy ricotta ice cream loaded with mini dark chocolate chips with underlying flavors of honey and vanilla bean. All the flavors of a classic cannoli in ice cream form!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon, optional
  • 3/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, combine whole milk and sugar over medium to medium-low heat. Stir constantly until sugar is fully dissolved and incorporated. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Add heavy cream, honey, ricotta, cream cheese, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract and blend in a large blender or food processor. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
  3. Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions. If desired, add bourbon during the last few minutes of freezing. Fold in chocolate chips then transfer to freezer safe container to finish freezing completely.
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Tart Cherry Lime Elixir

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of the Cherry Marketing Institute.

This sweet & sour cocktail has all the flavor of a refreshing cherry limeade, spiked with cherry vodka and filled with recovery-boosting 100% tart cherry juice. 

Tart Cherry Lime Elixir: A sweet and sour spiked cherry limeade with recovery boosting benefits!

I’m pretty sure I have created my ideal drink for all time. A recovery drink that’s spiked with booze? Yes, please. Here’s the thing, I loooove working hard. I’m kind of a freak like that, but I genuinely love to beat myself up a little so that I can have fun later. In fact, Long Run Day would not be complete for me if it didn’t end with a cocktail. Usually involving bourbon, but I made an exception. ;)

Tart Cherry Lime Elixir: A sweet and sour spiked cherry limeade with recovery boosting benefits!

There have been a lot of studies lately connecting tart cherries and tart cherry juice to aiding recovery, reducing soreness and oxidative stress. Okay, so as much as I love working hard, I am not super in love with the feeling of being sore ALL THE TIME. Ever since I started crossfit, I keep waiting for the day when I’m not sore, and it just never happens, so I was super stoked to put tart cherries to the test!

Tart Cherry Lime Elixir: A sweet and sour spiked cherry limeade with recovery boosting benefits!

I set out to make myself a little recovery drink. A cherry limeade type of thing (ummm also, I’d never had that before…it’s like I’ve been living under a rock), and it was AWESOME! Tart, lightly sweet, refreshing and delicious. After drinking my weight in glasses, I wanted to spice things up a little, so I turned it into a simple, cute little cocktail.

Tart Cherry Lime Elixir: A sweet and sour spiked cherry limeade with recovery boosting benefits!

The ingredients are so simple: just pure tart cherry juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and a splash of vodka. Now, normally I’m a girl who likes to taste my alcohol, but this drink is definitely on the milder side. You can always make it stronger, but it’s not meant to be a “hard” drink. It’s more like a sitting by the pool, relaxing, relishing in your accomplishments drink.

Tart Cherry Lime Elixir: A sweet and sour spiked cherry limeade with recovery boosting benefits!

The recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. because, let me tell ya, if you have friends over, they’re also going to want a glass…or seven.

Tart Cherry Lime Elixir

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup

Tart Cherry Lime Elixir

This sweet & sour cocktail has all the flavor of a refreshing cherry limeade, spiked with cherry vodka and filled with recovery-boosting 100% tart cherry juice.

Ingredients

    For the simple syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • For the cocktail:
  • 1 batch simple syrup
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup 100% tart cherry juice
  • 4 shots cherry vodka (or plain vodka)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. To make the simple syrup, combine water and sugar in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove and cool completely.
  2. To make the cocktail, whisk together simple syrup, lime juice, water, tart cherry juice, vodka and salt. Serve immediately over ice or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes

This is also delicious as a nonalcoholic drink! If you are making it for kids or don't feel like drinking, just leave out the vodka and it will be equally refreshing and delicious!

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To learn more about tart cherries and their benefits, check out ChooseCherries.com, or follow their Facebook / Twitter /Pinterest / YouTube!

French Onion Burgers

Satisfy your craving for French onion soup in the summer time with these big, juicy beef burgers stuffed with caramelized onions, then topped with melty gruyere and even more caramelized onions. 

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

Once upon a time, I’m pretty sure I thought caramelized onions actually had caramel in them. I mean, they’re sooo sweet and delicious. I just figured they at least had buckets of sugar to get them to that point!

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

Turns out, onions are kind of magical, and you probably already know that if you let em cook on low heat for a ridiculous amount of time, they transform into the sweetest and most tender veggie you will ever eat.

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

It does take a while, but it is soooo easy. Once I get them going, I generally prep everything else I have to do for dinner and then, if dinner is super easy, sometimes I just watch Netflix and go back to the kitchen to stir them around every now and then. They are totally low maintenance.

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

As much as I love onions, ya know what really makes French onion soup for me? That thick layer of bubbly cheese on top. Bubbling cheese is like the stuff dreams are made of. Put it on top of that thick slice of bread they put on top, and your meal is pretty much guaranteed to be awesome. Bread. Cheese. Onions. Done.

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

But I have to say, it’s all even better when sitting on top of a super juicy beef burger that has even more onions hiding inside! It’s so good, you totally don’t even need the bun. In fact, I won’t eat a burger unless it’s good enough to eat bunless. It’s kind of a rule in my house because 99% of the time I toss the bun after it serves its purpose of looking cute on camera, and eat my delicious burger nekked. ;)

French Onion Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3-4 burgers

Serving Size: 1 burger

French Onion Burgers

Satisfy your craving for French onion soup in the summer time with these big, juicy beef burgers stuffed with caramelized onions, then topped with melty gruyere and even more caramelized onions.

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • generous pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (94-96%)
  • pinch thyme (fresh or dried)
  • pinch paprika
  • 2-4 ounces sliced or shredded gruyere cheese
  • whole grain buns for serving (if desired)

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, cook onions and garlic in olive oil and balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl combine ground beef, 1/4 of the caramelized onions, thyme, paprika, and an extra pinch of black pepper. Form into 3-4 even patties (depending on how big you like your burgers).
  3. Grill burgers to desired doneness. Top immediately with gruyere and allow to melt slightly then top with a generous portion of caramelized onions. Serve immediately.

Notes

For even cooking in your burgers, gently press your thumb into the center of each patty before cooking.

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