cherry bars 2 edited

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

Life has been BUSY lately! School started a few days ago and this teacher is extremely overwhelmed with enjoying the fast-paced world of kindergarten, cooking meals to eat later, keeping up with race training, and adding at-home CrossFit workouts at night. My usual morning CrossFit classes are put on hold until I get everything settled at school. As you can see, I need all the help I can get.

One activity I did complete during this busy time is finishing the 7-Day Tart Cherry Juice Challenge. Several studies have shown that tart cherries aid in recovering from workouts, reducing inflammation, and reducing muscle soreness. This sounded promising, but did it work for me?


I drank 8 oz of tart cherry juice or 2 Tablespoons of tart cherry concentrate twice a day for 7 days. I had one serving before breakfast and the other serving post-workout. I timed this so that my 7th day of the challenge would coincide with a long trail run of 8 miles. In fact, the week of the challenge was one of the most physically challenging weeks of my entire year. According to my pedometer, I was averaging 13,000 steps a day with setting up classrooms, school shopping, and of course, the actual first 2 days of school keeping up with 25 kindergarten students. That 13K was my average before my running and workouts. I went from the couch to walking 6-7 miles a day plus workouts. So, what were the results of the tart cherry challenge?

  1. By the 4th day, I noticed a decrease in overall fatigue. This was surprising since my activity level dramatically increased. This benefit continued through the rest of the week.

  2. I did not experience any muscle soreness during the week. I also did not have any soreness, delayed or immediate, after my brutal trail run. It was a tough workout with a lot of hills and technical single track.

  3. One surprising effect was the dramatic improvement in my knee. I strained the MCL when I fell on ice back in June. I had a steady increase in range-of-motion for about 2 weeks and then all progress stopped. I could walk and run on it, but I had to be careful with twisting or rotation of that knee. During the 7-day Tart Cherry Juice Challenge, I slept through the night and did NOT wake up with a knee twinge. I noticed my range-of-motion has started to increase again. That was a very pleasant and surprising result of this challenge.

I enjoy tart cherry juice in smoothies and protein shakes like the my peach pie smoothie. I also like eating dried tart cherries. I decided to create this chewy granola bar as a perfect snack for the school day. I need a bar that is gluten-free but packed with protein to carry me through an early lunch with the kids until I could have my break in the afternoon to eat my lunch. This is also a perfect recovery bar after a long grueling trail run.

cherry bars edited

Cherry Pecan Chewy Bar

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats

  • 1/2 cup oat flour

  • 1/2  cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup of coconut flakes

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup melted butter

  • 1/2 cup almond butter

  • 1/4 cup honey

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 9″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper. Spray paper and any exposed pan with oil spritzer or baking spray.

2. Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, oats, spices, fruit and nuts) in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a saucepan over med-low heat, melt the butter. When the butter is almost melted, add the honey and almond butter. Stir slowly to combine. Add vanilla after the other wet ingredients are combined.

4. Pour wet ingredients over bowl with dry ingredients. Stir to FULLY combine wet and dry.

5. Add to pan. Push down into pan, pressing with fingers.

6. Bake 30-40 minutes until firmly set.

7. Cool on counter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set. Cut into 9 rectangles.

Putting these in the refrigerator to set will allow them to set into a bar consistency. They will cut easier and maintain their shape.

cherry bars 3 edited


For more information about the 7-Day Tart Cherry Juice Challenge, and The Cherry Marketing Institute, check out the following links.







One day closer to Fall

August 18, 2014
2014-08-18 15.56.21

Today is one of these days.. I knew when I ordered this cover for my planner, I would need this reminder at some point in my year. I just didn’t know the circumstances. Now that I’m feeling like cooking and eating again, I have a new cookbook from the publisher to review! This one is so down-to-earth with ingredients you can find in most stores and EASY recipes. I can’t wait to do some weekend cooking with this. Monday went by FAST! I have a great group of kids and they fill my day with laughs and excitement over the smallest things. That’s how Kindergarten should be   I gobbled down some apple and cheese at lunch. I hope we get the lunch line moving faster in the next couple of weeks. I’m ready for some good hot food that […]

Keep Reading!

Thrills and spills and other adventures

August 16, 2014

Taking things one day at a time is a little too daunting for me right now. I’m working on getting through a few hours at a time. When things go bad fast, they do not seem to get better fast. But, I know from experience that prayer, time, and patience are great healers. Since I do not have anything remotely resembling food or running to ramble about, how about a random photo parade? Thrills: Only 2 weeks until Alabama football. I am so ready for the games and tailgating. If only I could stop seeing all the tiny Alabama baby clothes… Spills: Did you know that hot tea burns the fire out of the skin between your fingers? I have broken fingers, cut tissue down to the bone, and carry scars from the oven element at 450*. But hot tea […]

Keep Reading!

Some sad news

August 16, 2014

Stephen and I found out some equally outstanding and excruciatingly painful news this week. We thought we could not have a baby without some medical intervention. I’m a high-risk patient due to diabetes and some other reproductive issues and the doctors told us the chance was slim-to-nothing that we could conceive. Well, we did. And then we lost it at 7 weeks. The past few days have been rough, and I’m still going through the process of miscarriage. It devastating because I’m dealing with pregnancy hormones with no actual pregnancy. I debated for a while on whether or not to share the news. People talk about every possible thing under the sun on social media, but this is not talked about. I know I’m not alone. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I thought about just keeping it to […]

Keep Reading!

Whole 30 Breakfast Casserole

August 5, 2014

This is super easy to assemble and bake. I make a variation of this just about every weekend, especially during the month of Whole 30. This one was one of the best yet! Ingredients: 1 large sweet potato 1 lb of ground pork 8 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and drained through a towel. 10 eggs 1 Tablespoon total of minced rosemary, thyme, sage 1 Tablespoon cooking fat (coconut oil, butter, olive oil) Directions: Preheat oven to 350* Prepare pork. Add herbs and salt+pepper as needed. Mix through until well distributed. In a 9×9 pan, oil the bottom on sides. Slice potato into thin circles using a mandolin or knife. Layer potato into bottom of pan, overlapping edges slightly. Add pork and spread over potato to the edges. Layer spinach over the pork. Scramble eggs in a large bowl and […]

Keep Reading!

Moving on to the big show

August 4, 2014

Today was an epic fail. All around colossal epic FAIL. Let me paint you a picture. 2:30am. Spending some time hugging the bowl. Nerves or glucose out of control. This can happen in the early days of cutting sugar completely. My pancreas doesn’t know how to handle the lack of incoming sugar. 5:30 am. Go back to sleep. 6:00 am. Get up for good. First day of teacher inservice. 7:30 Enjoy my breakfast quiche! 8:00-11:00 Listen to school policies and procedures and then….the OSHA blood-born pathogens video.   And then more policies. We were released for a 2 hour…TWO HOUR lunch block. We hightailed it to the local Mexican restaurant and that is where things went from bad to worse. Nothing I ate was Whole 30 compliant. 2 beef enchiladas (corn tortillas) are under there. source I DID get water….first. […]

Keep Reading!

Weekly Menu August 4-9

August 3, 2014

This week, I return to the classroom full time so a weekend prep day is a must. I try to pre-cook several bulk items to have throughout the week, especially for lunch. I don’t mind cooking dinner and taking my time to enjoy it. But I must bring my own food for lunch and I like having things already made and packaged. I just grab and go. Breakfast quiche Roasted sweet potato Grilled chicken thighs I also made a big pan of garlic ground beef, a stock pot of marinara sauce, and a pot of chicken soup. I think I have enough for the week! Breakfast was scrambled eggs and sausage. These are from the sausage man at the market. I had a late breakfast and an early dinner. I wasn’t very hungry today so I loaded my salad with […]

Keep Reading!

Breakfast Greens+Eggs

August 3, 2014

I am a long time Southern girl at heart and nothing is better than a big breakfast of eggs and grits with butter and cheese. I could eat it everyday. However, corn does not love me back. It is about as inflammatory as brown rice. I will enjoy it on a cold weekend but I’m aware of the consequences. I can deal with a severe bloating and achy knees and fingers knowing it will go away by Monday. I still love my eggs, over easy. I just now put them on top of sautéed greens. I need garlic and lemon to make it worth my time but the final product is worth of a long Saturday morning watching Food Network and Alabama pre-game shows. Whole 30 compliant Ingredients: 3 cups of raw kale 3Tablespoons butter or ghee (clarified butter), divided […]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Keep Reading!