Celebrating National Cherry Month

Maybe it’s the months of long cold that make the sweet-tart taste of a cherry bursting from under a cheery red skin sound so refreshing in late February.  Maybe it’s the often repeated (though incorrect) legend of George Washington cutting down a cherry tree and confessing the deed to his father that brings this favorite fruit to mind in time for President’s Day.  Either way, cherries truly are a fruit to celebrate:  stocked with vitamin C, potassium and fiber, they make a great, healthy snack by themselves, and they work equally well served in parfaits and smoothies and as toppings for salads and poultry.  Dried and frozen cherries make it possible to enjoy their goodness year-round, so if you’re dreaming of cherry season mid-winter, try making President’s Day Couscous.  For an easy lunch or dinner, layer a tortilla, wrap or pita pocket with 1 cup fresh salad green and ½ cup chopped, cooked chicken or turkey, and top with the couscous.  Or, make the couscous as a healthy class or family project in celebration of George Washington’s birthday, and have your “helpers” use plastic utensils to assist in chopping and preparing the ingredients.  To save time, choose quick-cooking couscous, and follow the package directions to prepare in the microwave.  For a gluten-free version, use Lundberg Farm’s brown rice couscous http://www.lundberg.com), or substitute instant brown rice.  And, be sure to check out http://www.mountvernon.org/ for more information and classroom resources on George Washington.  Happy Birthday, George!

President’s Day Couscous

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 cup couscous

1 medium red apple, diced

1/3 cup diced cucumber

½ cup dried cherries

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons brown mustard

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Cook couscous in microwave according to package directions, leaving out the fat and salt.  Place couscous in a bowl with a lid to cool, and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.  Add apple, cucumber and cherries to chilled couscous, stirring to mix everything together.  To make the dressing, combine olive oil through salt in a container with a lid.  Cover container and shake well.  Pour dressing over salad, and toss to combine.  Cover and chill salad 4-6 hours before serving.

 

Per Serving: 68 Cal (31% from Fat, 7% from Protein, 62% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 2 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 11 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 7 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 70 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol

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