With the Winter Olympics opening ceremony tonight and Valentine's Day around the corner, our Chef's Tasting Table landed with perfect timing yesterday!
I love how it all came together: Sue - my school nurse sidekick - inspired me a few weeks ago when she forwarded me a yogurt and cherry smoothie drink recipe. Then, I remembered how Northwestern Performance Nutrition posted about using tart cherry concentrate with their athletes and also how the Olympic athletes are using tart cherry (and beetroot) concentrate and their performance training (article). Here is a recent instagram post where a Mackenzie Wilson, an NU cross country student athlete topped yogurt and bananas with a drizzle of the tart cherry concentrate - YUM!
Want to learn more? Here is another great article about cherries and the science behind why tart cherry concentrate has risen to "super endurance food" status (article). We also talked about cherries natural melatonin levels and I was pleasantly surprised how a few students knew about melatonin and how it helps you to sleep!
In honor of Valentine's Day, I added a little raw cacao powder to the drink and garnished with some cacao nibs. Many students remembered the chocolate avocado pudding I made last year with the cacao powder and I knew I had to bring it back in a different taste context. I wanted them to experience the true bitter and pure dark chocolate taste along with the tart/sour and sweet taste of the cherries.
A Tart Cherry + Cacao Booster Drink
2 cups milk of choice (I used organic rice milk) or water
1 cup frozen black cherries
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Tart Cherry Concentrate
1-2 dried pitted dates
1-2 Tbsp raw cacao powder (optional)
1 tsp white chia powder (optional - I did not use this in the school tasting but put it in my drink yesterday!)
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. Garnish: Fresh Cherries + raw cacao nibs.
I'll see you back in the lunchroom in March for a super fun, GREEN taste:)
To the Mullies we go...
All ingredients were found at Jewel. Thank you Dan for your help sourcing the large amount of cherries!