Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Welcome 2015! New Year, New Blog Post

I'm back!


A huge hug hello from Creative Mama Messy House! I’ve missed you guys! I’m hoping that you all had wonderful holidays filled with family, joy, laughter, and love.

As part of my New Year’s goal for 2015, I have decided to get back into writing the blog. Not only does the blog keep me connected with other moms around the ‘net, it also keeps me and our family on track for healthy eating and living with purpose.

As I dwindled from writing in July, I realized that I was making less healthy choices for my family, as I wasn’t as active and I wasn’t cooking as much. Ordering pizza or picking up other unhealthy fast foods for dinner multiple times a week was starting to hurt the budget and my waistline. I was watching too much TV and not engaging my creative side, so my mind grew restless and bored. I was gaming on Elder Scrolls Online every night and not balancing my game-time with real life.

My 2015 New Year’s Goals

  • Get back to blogging regularly on Creative Mama Messy House.
  • Cook at home at least 5 times a week and eat less fast food and take-out pizzas for dinner. Shop for dinner with a plan and stick to it.
  • Find time to be active at least 3 days a week. Taking steps to get in shape will motivate me to get out of the house more and sit on the couch less.
  • Live a more balanced life between gaming, socializing, and housework.

Here is what you can expect from Creative Mama Messy House in 2015:
  • Recipes and Meal Planning
  • Seasonal Crafts and Kid-Friendly Activities
  • Knitting: updates on my current projects or otherwise relevant news
  • Fashion: I have signed up for monthly Stitch Fix boxes, so I will be sharing my finds
  • Fabulous Friends and Finds: This will be my opportunity to share product reviews or introduce guest bloggers. It will also be an opportunity for me to share real life events with you.

New Year’s goals: Do you make them? Are you liable to keep them? What are some of your goals for 2015?

I hope to see you throughout the year! Feel free to leave comments or visit me on any of my social media pages.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Green Bean and Tomato Salad

Here in the Bay Area, we have over 75 Farmer's Markets open to the public throughout the week. That gives locals plenty of opportunities to shop locally and seasonally. In the summertime, the number of markets are at their peak, and so are the fruits and vegetables. I partnered up with some other local food bloggers to create a Dinner Party filled with finds from our local Farmer's Markets, and I offered to bring the salad. Take a look at what I made and don't forget to check out the other courses!

When it comes to summer, I have salads on the brain. I don't want to be cooking heavy meals when the temperature spikes. Fresh vegetables and lean proteins tossed with a tangy dressing keep you cool and comfortable, and looking good in your swimsuit. This salad is fast to whip together, and can be made ahead of time, making it perfect for your next potluck.

I took a combination of farm-fresh green beans and tomatoes, and paired it with a tangy shallot vinaigrette. For added protein I tossed in some chickpeas, making it perfect for lunch or dinner. Dress this salad ahead of time and let marinate for up to 4 hours ahead of time, or enjoy right away!

Green Bean and Tomato Salad
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette, recipe below

  1. Trim stem end of green beans. Blanch in salted boiling water for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Shock in ice water to stop the cooking, and drain well.
  2. Slice tomatoes into wedges. Drain garbanzo beans and rinse well.
  3. Toss green beans, tomatoes, and garbanzo beans together with vinaigrette, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    Combine minced shallot, mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify. Season to taste.

Curious to see how the rest of our dinner party goes?

The Heritage Cook starting out our party with appetizers! See her Caprese Skewers.

Onto the main course: Crazy Foodie Stunts created a fabulous Roast Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Nosh My Way brought her Loaded Mashed Cauliflower.

And don't forget dessert! Fearless Dining didn't take any shortcuts when she wowed us with her Vanilla Bean Infused Cheesecake with Peaches in Dark Rum Sauce.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Farmer's Market Friday #9

Welcome back to Farmer's Market Friday! I hope all of you had a fabulous and safe Fourth of July holiday and are enjoying the summer. So far we have had a hot, dry summer, typical of northern California. My tomatoes are starting to come in, and I have put in a few pumpkin plants in hopes of a fall harvest. My basil has been growing marvelously, despite being ravaged by earwigs twice earlier this spring.

Summer at the Farmer's Market means lots of squash, stone fruits, and berries, plus plenty of tomatoes, corn, and more! Besides the plum jam we've been enjoying, I made a half-dozen jars of pickles to get us through the summer. The Farmer's Markets are bustling and busy this time of year, so be sure to get out and enjoy the local harvest where you live, and thank the farmers that grow the wonderful bounty!

Farmer's Market Friday #9

Features from last week
1. Fresh Fruit Sorbets by Gluten Free A-Z
2. Easy 5-Step Window Box Tutorial by The Little Farm Diary
3. Fresh Peach Sorbet by To Work With My Hands
4. Strawberry Rhubarb Blondies by From Scratch 
Now it's your turn to add your links for a chance to be featured on next week's Farmer's Market Friday! Each week I will feature the top two clicked posts, plus a few that catch my fancy. If you would like to help co-host Farmer's Market Friday, for just one week or a whole month, let me know! If you we featured, grab a button in the sidebar, or if you would like to add this party to your link-up page, there is a party button in the side bar as well!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sloppy Joe Pizza, combining two of my family's favorites to create a new favorite

When my teenage son came in and saw me topping pizza dough with Sloppy Joe meat, it put a huge grin on his face. He knew it was going to be awesome without even tasting it! Topping pizza dough with Sloppy Joes might not be a novel idea, but it does combine two dinners that are big hits in our household into one, easy-to-eat dinner. The thick pizza crust holds up better than soft hamburger buns, making this Sloppy Joe Pizza a little less sloppy!

Homemade Pizza and Sloppy Joes Combined

 I press homemade pizza dough out to create a foccacia-style crust. The thicker crust tends to hold all the meatiness of thick Sloppy Joe mix loaded with onions and peppers. For an easy weeknight shortcut, I use a Sloppy Joe seasoning packet and add onion and peppers to the browned ground beef. If you prefer to make your Sloppy Joes from scratch, Diane at Recipes for our Daily Bread has a great recipe.

Sloppy Joe Pizza, easy weeknight dinner. The kids will love to eat this!

Sloppy Joe Pizza


   For the Sloppy Joe topping:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Sloppy Joe Seasoning Packet
  • 6-oz can of tomato paste

  • Pizza Dough
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mozzerella
    1. Brown ground beef, and drain well. Remove from pan.
    2. Add diced onion and bell peppers to hot pan, and sauté until softened.
    3. Return meat to pan, add contents of the seasoning packet, tomato paste, and 1 can-full (6 ounces) of water. I add less water then called for on the seasoning packet to make a thicker sauce to prevent my pizza crust from becoming soggy.
    4. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is hot and thickened.
    To assemble the pizza, top your favorite pizza dough or my Rosemary Focaccia Dough (prepared pan-pizza style) with shredded cheese and your Sloppy Joe topping. My family prefers a Cheddar and Monterey Jack blend, but mozzarella or any easy-melting cheese would be fantastic. Sprinkle a bit of extra cheese on top and bake on a pizza stone in a 450 F oven for 15-17 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Garnish with basil, and serve. If you like your Sloppy Joes a little spicy like we do, top your pizza with a few dashes of hot sauce or jalapeño pepper rings.

    This pizza brought Sloppy Joes up a notch and received high praise from my kids and husband alike. What are some of your family's favorite dinners?

    Friday, June 27, 2014

    Farmer's Market Friday #8

    Welcome to the last Farmer's Market Friday for the month of June! I want to thank all of you that added links to the party for the past 8 weeks. I hope you found some great new recipes and crafts over these past 8 weeks, and met a few new bloggers to follow.

    Summer is an full swing here, and for the first time in many months, I have not visited my farmer's market this week. Preposterous, you say? Maybe. Until I tell you this:
    My plum tree has graced up with at least 20 pounds of plums that I have been trying to find ways to use them up.
    I made my first batch of plum jam this past weekend, plus I used some of the leftover plum puree in a barbeque sauce (which was excellent, by the way). I have a cobbler and a tart I plan to make over the weekend to utilize more plums. I am having a plum and stone party over on my Facebook page though the weekend, to find more excellent recipes to use these gorgeous jewels that I paid absolutely nothing for.

    Now, onto the link-up!

    Features from Last Week
    Most Viewed
    Snapshots and Snippets
    My kids love helping me make our own popsicles over the summer months! I love the idea of adding yogurt and fresh fruit, to get a whole lot of nutrition into the kiddos disguised as a fun treat.
    To Work with My Hands

    Yogurt seems to be the theme of the week! Karen took a trip to the blueberry farm and came back with 6 gallons of fresh blueberries. These blueberry granola yogurt cups look like a fabulous breakfast or late night snack.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    Cherry Season Recipe Roundup

    Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, drinks and desserts, cherries are a perfect sweet and tart addition to your summer. Here I have collected up a baker's dozen of cherry recipes to excite your taste buds and keep you satisfied. All of these recipes offer a unique twist on cherries that is sure to delight! Packed with antioxidants, melatonin, and essential vitamins, cherries are said to aid muscle recovery, help you sleep, and can even reduce gout.


    Here in Northern California, our local cherry season is relatively short, from the end of spring to mid-summer, so we try to get as many cherries in as possible in those 6-10 weeks. With something this good, can anyone blame you for eating the whole bag?

    1. Almond Crusted Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce by Cupcakes and Kale Chips

    2. Flatbread Pizza with Cherries by Healing Tomato

    3. Roasted Duck Legs with Cherry Porter Sauce by The Beeroness

    4. Cauliflower Steaks with Cherry, Fennel and Caper Slaw by Finger, Fork, and Knife

    5. Cherry-Mint Spritzer by Almost Bananas

    6. The Cherry Fling by Putney Farm

    7. Cherry Pie Smoothie by Jonesin' for Taste

    8. Cherry Limeade by Laylita's Recipes

    9. Cherry and Coconut Chia Pudding by Fearless Dining

    10. Roasted Cherry and Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream by Real Food Girl: Unmodified

    11. Cherry Bomb Cake from Food is Love Recipes

    12. Honey Ginger Ice Cream with Balsamic Roasted Cherries by Carrington Lane Bakery

    13. Sweet Cherry Empanadas from Cassandra Monroe

    Of course, don't forget about my Sweet and Spicy Pickled Cherries, with hints of star anise, ginger, and spice. These things pack a bit of a wallop!

    Sharing is caring!

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Farmer's Market Friday #7

    Farmer's Market Friday Link Party
    Welcome back to another week of Farmer's Market Friday! I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am despite the fridge trying to make my life difficult. Father's Day and my husband's birthday within a week of one another makes this time of year very busy for us. I did get to the Farmer's market on Saturday morning, before celebrating Father's Day with my parents and grandparents. I picked up cherries, corn, nectarines and tomatoes. Since we were having fish tacos, I made some fresh fruit salsas to top them. We made a warm cherry compote for dessert to pour on top of vanilla ice cream and my Dad's apple pie.

    For this week, I decided to celebrate grilling season and feature posts that celebrate the summertime! Thank you to those that linked up, tweeted and shared the party. I share all your links via Twitter, and pin your links to my Farmer's Market Friday Pinterest board. 

    Bar-be-cue Skewer Recipes by Snapshots and Snippets
    Celebrate grilling with these fabulous kabob ideas. What says summer more than eating outdoors with food on a stick? I am excited to try her beef and Guinness skewers, I think my husband and my brothers-in-law would love them!

    Strawberry Lemonade by To Work With My Hands
    Karen added some great links last week, but I picked her Strawberry Lemonade to feature because it is such an iconic drink of summer! Will you try it this weekend?

    Spicy Homemade Salsa by The Kolb Corner
    Tomato season is starting, and what is better than fresh salsa? See how easy making salsa at home can be, and I guarantee you won't be buying your salsa out of a jar ever again!

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    F is for Father's Day, and Fridges on the Fritz

    Some days don't pan out like you want them too. And sometimes, it can really screw up your plans, like when the refrigerator stops working on Father's Day. My original plan for Father's Day was to let my husband sleep in and I would make pancakes for the kids and then we would finish up our Father's Day cards for him. We would celebrate that evening, by grilling steaks, vegetables, and corn on the cob outdoors and maybe have some ice cream for dessert.

    F is for Fridges on the Fritz

    F is for Fridges on the Fritz
    Here's what really happened on Sunday morning: I came into the kitchen and made banana pancakes like I do most Sundays. I grabbed the eggs and the milk, not noticing anything was wrong. We happily ate our pancakes. Sometime afterwards, my two year-old opened the freezer (looking for a popsicle, no doubt) and to discover that they were all melted. Well with a two year old in the house who tries to help himself, my first thought was that the freezer didn't get closed properly the night before. I cleaned out the freezer, taking stock in what I could still salvage and what would have to be eaten within the week.

    Among the defrosted was a roll of chocolate chip cookie dough, sheets of puff pastry, homemade apple pie filling, and whole cranberries left over from Thanksgiving. I baked off the cookies and decided to combine the apples and cranberries into a dessert. If I was going to be cleaning out the freezer, I might as well have a reward waiting for me when I finished!

    Later in the day, I realized our refrigerator was no longer feeling cool, and things were probably going to have to move again. My husband confirmed my suspicions and got to finding a repairman. Since I now had a fridge full of food, I got to finding ways to make sure the food didn't go bad. My mom offered to let me take up space in their fridge for the perishables and loaned us a few coolers for the essentials. To thank her, I brought her a tray of cranberry-apple turnovers. 

    F is for Father's Day

    F is for Father's Day
    Because of the fridge debacle, we decided to celebrate Father's Day on Tuesday, after the refrigerator was repaired, cleaned out and restocked. I cooked the steak dinner we didn't have on Sunday, and he got his Father's Day cards to show him how much he is appreciated!

    I included this customizable poem on the inside. To print your own, click here.
    F is for Father's Day
    See my inspiration and for more great poems, quotes and positivity!

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Farmer's Market Friday #6

    It's finally Friday again, and you know what that means: Farmer's Market Friday link party time, yay! I love being inspired from your recipes, crafts, and ideas each week, and seeing what you have been up to. Summer such a great time of year for being outdoors and enjoying the fresh air, so why not head to your local farmer's market or farm stand and admire some of the freshest produce you have seen? While you are there, pick some of it up and take it home for dinner. Make that dessert that you've been waiting to try, and top it with the freshest berries you have ever tasted. And most importantly, remember to thank the farmers that grew the food. The farmers that I have met at the farmer's markets have been some of the friendliest, down-to-earth people I have had the pleasure in talking with, and in this fast-paced age, I would hate to lose them to "big food".

    I rushed to the farmer's market this week to shop before having to rush back to pick up my son from his last day of junior high. I shopped for a few things, but didn't stop to track how much I spent, but I know it was under $30 because I had cash on me when I left. I picked up a flat of organic eggs, organic zucchini and summer squash, two types of cherries and a loaf of artisanal olive bread.

    Local Brentwood Cherries
    Cherry season is coming to a close, so I wanted to pick up enough cherries to make my Cherry-Cardamom Ice Cream for you guys (post coming soon). I am still taking submissions for my Cherry Recipe Round-Up for the end of the month. Please submit any recipes that feature cherries by June 19th via email (email button in the sidebar). I would love to have a few recipes on there that utilize cherries in any savory or unique ways. I will be borrowing one picture and posting the link to your recipe on my round-up, with proper credit to you.

    Features From Last Week

    from Melissa over at How Does Your Garden Grow?
    Melissa's family runs Russo's Fruit and Vegetable Farm in New Jersey and has been featured on Farmer's Market Friday before. She got me this time with these strawberry cheesecake parfaits. A no-fuss dessert with all the cheesecake flavor without all the work of making an actual cheesecake, and a perfect use of the season's finest strawberries! How delicious do these look?

    by To Work With My Hands
    You are never to old to learn and you are never too old to try something new! Like me, Swiss Chard was a vegetable she never ate growing up. Cooked greens were just something we didn't eat growing up. Karen took the plunge and not only cooked Swiss Chard for the first time, but cooked her own chard that she grew in her garden. How awesome is that?
    I hope you enjoyed the features I picked this week, and hope you link up some of your great posts again this week. If you were featured, please grab a button in the sidebar! You can also add my party button to your link party page to help spread the word!

    Thank you to all who entered links last week, without you this party wouldn't be possible! Keep sending those tweets and sharing the party over social media! Within a month, this party sees over 100 views per week, and we are getting more contributors each week. Do you want to help this party grow even faster? Ask me how you can be a guest co-host for a week or a month, completely free of charge!
    Be sure to not link and run! Blogging works for everyone when the "link juice" gets spread around, so visit, comment, and share the posts that catch your eye!

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Meal Plan Monday #2

    My meal plan was so helpful last week, even though I did stray a bit Friday-Sunday. Sometimes the call of hot dogs and baked beans overwhelms the desire to do the dishes, what can I say? But I persevered and wrote up a plan for this week, after a large iced coffee to clear the heat-induced fog in my brain. Come take a look at this week's meal plan below!

    We're finally in summer mode! Today is the last full day of 8th grade for my stepson, and tomorrow is his promotion ceremony. We had our first near triple-digit day yesterday, so I have grilling on the brain! I know in a lot of families it's the guys that grill, but not in mine! My dad taught me the basics of grilling, so I'm the one who "mans" the grill at home. What's the grilling situation look like in your household?

    It's too hot to cook indoors! Chicken drumsticks on the grill and cold potato salad. A crisp green salad will make sure we get some veggies in.

    Eat out with the Graduate! The promotion ceremony is at 7:30, so it'll be a late dinner (our usual dinner time is 7). Feed the kids a hearty snack at 5:30 to tide them over.

    Let's start summer vacation right with salmon, vegetables, and brown rice! My kids will always eat broccoli, so we'll include that. Do your kids have a vegetable that they surprisingly like?

    Spaghetti and Meatballs with garlic knots. Ice-box rolls are a great way to easily have fresh bread throughout the week. You make the dough the night before, and have enough for 3 nights of rolls, twists, or pull aparts.

    Bust out the grill for the weekend! Kielbasa skewers and grilled vegetables. I will bake off more ice-box rolls for build it yourself kielbasa sliders.

    Heading to the Farmer's Market first thing in the morning. My mom suggested grilled fish tacos, which would definitely fit in with my grilling theme! Fresh salsas are a great alternative to mayonnaise-based sauces commonly found with fish tacos.

    Father's Day means more grilling, this time some of my husband's favorites. Steaks and corn on the cob on the grill, plus seasonal sides like this panzanella salad, from The Complete Savorist.

    I'd love to hear what you are cooking for your family this week! What meal you are looking forward to most this week?

    Check out these other meal plans for more inspiration:
    always has meal plans with low-carb options for super busy moms
    has her meal plan with plenty of gluten-free options

    Friday, June 6, 2014

    Farmer's Market Friday #5

    Welcome back to the first June edition of Farmer's Market Friday. May breezed past and we are in the middle of finishing up the school year for the kids. My stepdaughter is already out and my stepson graduated from 8th grade on Tuesday. I can't believe he will be going into high school next year, oh my! I know I often share a bunch of mouth-watering photos of fresh produce, but with everything going on, it totally skipped my mind! I'll still breakdown my finds for you though.

    The Breakdown
    Corn $3
    The first of the season at the market! I picked up 9 ears for $3. Yup, 3 ears for a dollar, best deal around!
    Green Beans $2
    Picked up a pound and a half for this price from the same stand as the corn!
    Rainbow Chard $2
    *Broccoli $3
    *Green Onions $0.50
    *Yellow Nectarines $4.50
    So sweet and delicious! Picked up about a pound and a half.
    *Eggs $7
    My trusted egg vendor was so close to being out when I got there, but still nabbed the best deal in town for organic eggs!

    Produce marked with an asterisk (*) was certified organic. While I try to provide my family with organic produce, local produce is more important to me, as is buying it directly from the farmers who grow it!
    I posted my meal plan on Monday for those interested. Check it out!

    Features From Last Week
    from Felt With Love Designs
     Get ready for summer with these sewing projects perfect for heading to the beach or pool, or just out to the park for a picnic. Most of these have tutorials or patterns, to help you out!
    from Eliza Ellis
     If your like me, you need help organizing your cleaning routine so it actually gets done! She outlines her methods for keeping a clean house, and offers printable organizers in purple and green! This weekend I will be on a mission to map out a cleaning schedule. That way the teenagers will know exactly what is expected of them each day (and hopefully that will reduce the amount of chore-fights we have!).
    from My Pinterventures

    If you are like me, you haven't thought about Father's Day yet, even though it is right around the corner. And when your husband's birthday falls in the same week as Father's Day, you need to plan double! She has put together a great list of gifts that Dad just might enjoy, especially if he is hard to shop for, like most men I know!
    from Snapshots and Snippets
    Amber over at Snapshots and Snippets is always sharing great recipes on Farmer's Market Friday! This week, her fish pie is no exception! A comforting casserole of flaky fish and vegetables, topped with a golden brown layer of mashed potatoes would warm up anyone's soul! For the pescatarians in my life, this will be a perfect swap for that other well-known dish topped with potatoes!

    If you like this new format, and want to see more of it, let me know! Make sure to add your links, share the party, and don't forget to visit the other bloggers links in the link-up. I know new comments on my blog can make my day, and I'm sure these other ladies are the same way! Farmer's Market Friday Link-Ups will be going strong all summer. I would love to have one or two co-hosts per party this summer, to help promote the party, and share the links on Pinterest, Twitter, and any other social media. Let me know if you are interested in co-hosting!

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Give 'em the McVicker! Learning the basics of pickling at Maker Faire

    A few week's ago, our family headed to the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, California. This was our second year going, first year for our teenage son, and we already knew a little about what to expect. Maker Faire's tag line is "The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth" and it really is that! They have everything from robotic toys, flying drones, pyrotechnic displays, and even a Tesla Coil stage. While my husband went for the open source hardware, DIY drones, and 3D printers, I was much more interested in heading over to the Homegrown Village, where they hosted lectures and workshops on various culinary topics.

    For more on Maker Faire, along with the list of locations and dates head to their

    On Sunday afternoon, I headed over to the Hands-On Homegrown Workshops to attend Kelly McVicker's workshop highlighting the basics of pickling. Kelly is the owner of McVicker Pickles based in San Francisco. She sells pickles, mustards, and a bacon jam, and also offers workshops on a regular basis. Through her craft, she channels her grandmother's spirit. When teaching, she wears her grandmother's homemade apron. Her pickles are innovative and delicious, she carries varieties from dill pickles to spicy dilly beans to pickled beets, grapes, and more!

    McVicker taught the basics of both vinegar pickling and fermentation pickling. Both of the pickles she made were refrigerator pickles, not intended to be stored on the shelf. She started with the vinegar method, pickling grapes in a brine of apple cider vinegar, garlic, chili peppers, and spices. She then moved onto the fermentation method, pickling carrot slices with dill, chili peppers, garlic, and pickling spice.
    The workshop at Maker Faire was a perfect introduction course for pickling first timers, and also a great learning opportunity for those that had experience in the culinary field. Sitting at my work station was a boy of maybe 8 with his father, and 2 lovely women who were first time picklers. I came home with my carrot slices fermenting away and a jar of McVicker's Spicy Dilly Beans, perfect for a Bloody Mary. A few days later, my carrot pickles were ready to store in the refrigerator.

    Since I didn't get a chance to vinegar brine grapes, I chose to test my new knowledge on some cherries I picked up at the farmer's market. Using McVicker's ratio for the vinegar brine, I spiced my cherries with ginger, star anise, mustard and peppercorns. To see my full recipe, ingredient amounts, and method, please head over to my Sweet and Spicy Pickled Cherries recipe.

    Sweet and Spicy Pickled Cherries

    The local cherry season is something we have come to cherish here in Northern California. For a short while every spring and early summer, cherries can be found at the farmer's markets and fruit stands. A few select cherry orchards offer "pick your own" options, where you can go out with a bucket and spend half the day picking cherries and enjoying the sunshine. When you've picked enough, or your bucket is full, you can pay by the pound and be on your way. You can then take your newly acquired cherries to make cherry pies, ice creams, or use them in savory applications. Of course, that is if you don't eat the whole lot fresh from the bag first!

    Because I was buying cherries in such a volume this year, I invested in a cherry (and olive) pitter. I chose the OXO Good Grips pitter (about $13 on Amazon). Be sure to be wearing a shirt that is dark or that you don't mind staining, because while the pitter comes with a twist-on splatter guard, cherry juice will still spray out. I have found that pitting the cherries into a high sided bowl helped keep most of the spatter contained.

    I used my knowledge learned at the Maker Faire Pickling Workshop with a bold mix of spices to create these innovative Sweet and Spicy Pickled Cherries. Try these in an cocktail (with a splash of the liquid) or paired with goat cheese or on a charcuterie platter at your next party for a twist on traditional pickles. The pickling liquid also gets infused with the taste of cherries and spices, and would make a wonderful base for a vinaigrette.

    Sweet and Spicy Pickled Cherries
    Makes 2 pint jars

    • 1 pound fresh cherries, pitted
       For the brine:
    • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
       Per jar, you will need:
    • 3 coins of fresh ginger
    • 1 star anise
    • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
    • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
    • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

    1. Combine apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a sauce pan. Heat to a simmer.
    2. Place your pitted cherries into 2 pint size mason jars.
    3. Add your ginger and spices on top of the cherries. Be sure to not overfill the jar. You are looking to leave head-space in the lip of the jar.
    4. Pour the hot brine over your cherries and spices. Fill to the bottom of the lip of the jar. A canning funnel can be very useful in this step, but not necessary.
    5. Seal your jars, and leave out to let cool. Once cooled, store your cherries in the refrigerator. Let marinate for at least 48 hours before enjoying.
    Printer Friendly Version

    This recipe is for refrigerator pickles, so while my equipment was clean, it did not need to be sterilized. If you plan to can these cherries, please take caution and sterilized everything and follow proper canning procedures.

    Do you pickle at home or use any other old-school preservation methods? What is your favorite type of pickle? What is the strangest thing you have seen pickled, and would you try it?