Sour Cherry Italian Cream Sodas

Sour Cherry Italian Cream SodaItalian cream sodas were near and dear to my tweenage heart. I used to hop on the bus and make my way over to the Factory Outlets–which you would likely recognize if you have ever driven the stretch of Highway80 past Vacaville, CA, between Sacramento and San Francisco. Those outlets and the public library were where I would spend many of my weekend days (I was REALLY cool guys). At the library I would read Fear Street books and freak myself out but, at “the outlets” I would spend all my babysitting money on junk from the Sanrio store (Keroppi 4-lyfe!) and then treat myself to an Italian soda…which made me feel incredibly sophisticated in only the way creamy-syrupy soda, a few bills in my Hello Kitty wallet, and tweenage freedom could. Then I would call my mom from a pay phone (yes, real life) and she would pick me up in her minivan. 90’s livin’.

Sour Cherry Italian Cream Sodas

I’m a grown-up lady now (though the Little Twin Stars pen in my purse would say suggest otherwise) and I like to make my own dang Italian sodas. If you’ve never had an Italian soda, that’s totally okay because many iterations are way too sweet with syrups that only suggest fruit flavor. My version uses sour cherries and a good squeeze of lime to temper the sugar. The syrup is layered into glasses with ice, sparkling water, and cream making the prettiest, effervescent layers for a fancy-ass interpretation of my middle school favorite.

Sour Cherry Italian Cream Sodas

Sour Cherry Italian Cream Sodas
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You can totally make these with sweet cherries! I would reduce the sugar by a tablespoon or two and add a little extra lime juice for some extra zing.
Serves: 2
  • for the cherry syrup:
  • 1 cup pitted sour cherries (I used frozen)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • juice of ½ large lime
  • for the sodas:
  • ½ cup sour cherry syrup
  • 1 cup unflavored sparkling water
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream or half & half
  1. In a saucepan combine the sour cherries and sugar, heat over medium-high and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar and boil 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Pour into a jar to cool.
  2. Once the syrup is cooled pour about ¼ cup of the syrup and a few cherries (more or less depending on your preference) into 2 glasses. Add a generous amount of ice and nearly fill each glass with sparkling water. Top each soda with about 1½ tablespoons of cream. Add a straw and enjoy!
This makes 1 heaping cup of cherries in syrup, store any leftovers in a lidded jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

You can either just use the syrup for the sodas or use both syrup and cherries. I like to fish the cherries out with my straw and eat them at the end. But, any leftover cherries are great to save and use as a topping over ice cream!


Jumbo Blueberry Zucchini Muffins with Lemon Drizzle

Jumbo Blueberry Zucchini Muffins |

I know, I know…the internet doesn’t really need another recipe for that bumper crop of zucchini, but these guys are totally delish AND they make exactly 6 jumbo muffins. If you’re anything like me and maybe you buy that jumbo muffin tin on sale and then don’t use it for 2+ years, these dudes are for you. The thing with non-standard pan sizes is that sometimes you get a wonky number of muffins or you get one that’s a little runty or have to bust out another pan to use up the rest of the batter. These kinds of things are really NBD, but isn’t it just so satisfying when you have exactly enough batter for your tin?! I get really excited about this stuff, guys. I have a super exciting life, I know.

Jumbo Blueberry Zucchini Muffins |

Nerd-alert aside, these muffins uses up some of that enormous femur-sized zucchini your neighbor maybe gifted you and adds some juicy pops of blueberry, plus a zippy lemon drizzle that puts these guys over the top and keeps you sneaking yet another crumb until you realize you’ve eaten 2 of these jumbo bebes but, you feel okay about it because there’s a vegetable in there.

^Whoa, run-on ._.

Jumbo Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
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These are a combination of 2 favorites in a single muffin-zucchini & blueberry-plus a tart, lemony drizzle for good measure.
Serves: 6
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) melted, unsalted butter cooled to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • zest of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6-8 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  1. Butter and flour the wells of a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla until combined well. Stir in the zucchini and half of the lemon zest.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the tablespoon of flour to coat.
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter among the 6 muffin cups. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the tops spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool on a baking rack until completely cooled before turning out.
  7. While the muffins cool, make the glaze. In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice, remaining zest, and confectioners sugar together until smooth. Add more juice to thin or confectioners sugar to thicken, as desired. Drizzle liberally over the cooled muffins.


Peanut Butter & Berry Smoothie


I have been a chronic non-breakfaster most of my life. A cup of coffee (or 3, let’s be real) and good to go until lunch. Now, these days since I was a pregnant person and subsequently became a mother, I must have something to combat the hangries and get the mornings moving. Those cups of coffee just don’t cut it anymore (though they are certainly still included). The caveat is that unless it’s the weekend my motivation is pretty dang low. The clock’s ticking and I’ve got shit to accomplish and a tiny human to wrangle in the midst of it. Even cooking an egg feels like too much effort when I’m slinging baby breakfast onto the highchair and trying to chug that coffee while it’s still somewhat warm. Smoothies come to the rescue many mornings and for that I am incredibly thankful. The blender basically cleans itself–I mean, a buzz with some water and a drop of soap handles most of the work–and smoothies are wonderfully portable and don’t ask to be savored. They’re my low maintenance breakfast of choice and this version with peanut butter and berries is a standby.




It’s no secret that I love the pb&j combo and this smoothie is exactly those flavors in a wholesome, on-the-go breakfast. Like I mentioned before, this particular smoothie is a staple around here–the flavors are one of my favorites, nothing super fancy is happening in it (hemp hearts, spirulina, or greens, totally optional), and the peanut butter makes it filling enough to get you through the morning. I use a frozen fruit mix that I buy at Costco that includes cherries and pomegranate arils in addition to a mix of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. It’s an awesome deal for organic frozen fruit, which is the main reason I use this particular mix but, seriously, any mix of berries you like is perfect in this smoothie.

This post is a part of #DRINKTHESUMMER blog party hosted by Sherrie (With Food + Love) and Renee (Will Frolic for Food). So, if you’re short on summer beverage inspiration–or are into, you know, drinking things–click over for the full list of something like 40 recipes for refreshing drinks and libations. So many of these are going on the To-Drink list.

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Peanut Butter & Berry Smoothie
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I often make this smoothie with a bit of spirulina powder or a big fistful of spinach to up the health factor and make me feel good about my morning. While I can't really detect a change in flavor with either addition, the color does suffer a bit.
Serves: 2 smoothies
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 2 cups frozen, mixed berries
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts, optional
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina or a handful of spinach, optional
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth, tamping down the mixture as needed until pourable. Divide between two glasses and drink up!