Cherry, Date and Nut Muffins

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A batch of cherry, date and nut muffins piled together
I remember sitting up late at night thinking about how I was never going to fit in this society. That is, the red, white and blue society of the United States of America. I constantly thought about how I could become more American. I was 11 years old when we came to the States and at that age it’s kind of rough: you have to make friends, but you can’t speak their language, you go to the bus stop and you have no clue what a “quarter” or a “dime” is. Or, you sit down in the school cafeteria with your piece of bread that has a red pepper spread on it, while everyone else has this buttery light brown spread with some yummy jelly on top. (That was a tough day – they were all looking at me and saying “ewwww!” – all because of my Ajvar sandwich).

I started watching and observing – I wanted to see what it took to become an American, or at least Americanized. I noticed that most of the girls were shorter than me, so I started to pray night and day that I wouldn’t grow taller. I also noticed that they were mostly blond, so I decided that I also was going to be blond – eeeek not so fast! – said Mama. (I had to wait till I turned 18 to dye my hair … my parents were pretty strict.) Then my lunchbox started looking more like theirs; bologna and cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, PB and jelly sandwiches, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.
One day a girl named Sarah opened up her lunch box and took out a roundish-cake-looking thing that had blueberries sticking out of it. At the beginning I had a deep foreign accent (which got better with the years – now I don’t even have an accent) and because of that accent I was too afraid to talk. But, I somehow gathered up enough courage that day to ask Sarah what that was that she was eating. With a huge surprised and disgusted look on her face, she said, “What the hell do you think it is, you stupid foreigner!” Oh I was crushed… As proud as I was/am of my heritage, at that point I just wished that I could be like the rest. The girl on the other side of her came to my rescue – she said something to Sarah (I wish I understood exactly what) that made Sarah turn around and apologize. And she told me that her yummy treat was called a Muffin. From that day on I started to make nut muffins…lots of them! Savory, sweet, cheesy, meaty – you name it, I’ve tried it in a muffin. It was the roundish-cake-looking thing that was going to make me American. Gotta love a child’s mind. πŸ™‚
Side view of a few cherry, date and nut muffins
I wish that I could go back and tell that little “foreigner” girl that everything was going to be more than alright: That she was going to be accepted for who she was and not to force herself to become somebody else. Eh, live and learn!

Nut Muffins to the rescue!


Cherry, Date and Nut Muffins

7 7 7
WW Freestyle: 7
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Cherry, Date and Nut Muffins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 Makes 12 Muffins
Calories: 203
Author: Katerina | Diethood


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of Milk
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup dates , chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts , chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries , pitted and chopped, or 1 (12-ounce) package frozen cherries, defrosted and chopped


  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • In a deep mixing bowl, mix milk, egg, and oil.
  • In a separate bowl add in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once. Stir until dry ingredients are moist but not smooth.
  • Mix in the dates and walnuts.
  • Fold in the cherries.
  • Fill greased muffin pan 2/3 full.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes, then remove them from the muffin pan and finish cooling on a baking rack.
Nutrition Facts
Cherry, Date and Nut Muffins
Amount Per Serving
Calories 203 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 17mg6%
Sodium 117mg5%
Potassium 269mg8%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 80IU2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 92mg9%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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50 Responses
  1. Amy

    I moved every 2 years in school .. dad in army .. and wouldn’t you know that my favorite food was lima beans. I’ll never forget moving in 6th grade and pulling out a thermos of lima beans when everyone else was eating chips and sandwiches. One girl walked over and said “you are weird” and “I’m not going to be your friend.” Never forget it! My mom had the kind of experience you had; she was Italian in Texas and the kids made fun of her food. Your muffins look great! I have some frozen cherries now, and will have to make some πŸ™‚

  2. A little bit of everything

    I wasn’t born in Us either but came here when I was already in collage. Even after all these years I still have the accent, the funny part is everyone ask me first if I’m German since I’m blond and pale white :))

    Your muffins look so good, i love this mini round cakes and always tempting by the new combo.

    Thanks for sharing Kate, hope you’re having a wonderful week

  3. Mateja

    I can relate to your story through my three children. They were 8, 13, and 16 when they came here. And coming to USA and starting junior year here was quite a challenge for my older son, but I liked his attitude: go to school, absorb as much knowledge as one possibly can, and prepare yourself for college. It paid off, he is studying Pharmacy now, but not here in the states, he went back to Slovenia. My daughter, she is graduation from high school this year, had a totally different approach: this is who I am, like or don’t like me, just don’t try to change me! The youngest just went with the flow, but he was lucky to find a classmate, a newbie just like him, today his best friend! As for me, I still have an accent (and I will probably always have one) but people mostly think it is cute.
    Thank you for sharing your childhood story with us Kate πŸ™‚

  4. Anna

    Oh Dear! I know what you mean. I’m Brazilian and had to get used first with the Australians when I was living there. It was easy they are adorable people, and latter the States….not a problem…most of the time… but sometimes you find a mean person to give you the stink eye. I love this country and all the yummy treats. Your muffins look delicious.

  5. emily (a nutritionist eats)

    I can’t believe that girl was so mean!!! Ugh, makes me really scared to have kids. πŸ™
    Your muffins are beautiful though! They look so smooth…not sure if that is the right term (probably not)!

  6. Melissa

    I loved your story behind the muffins – it reminded me of a lot of the stories my old boyfriend used to tell me about when he moved to Canada from Poland when he was in his early teens. Kids can be so mean but fortunately, most of us grow up to realize it’s those differences that make us interesting and unique and we wouldn’t change them for anything!
    Plus, the muffins sound amazing!

  7. Tiffany

    GREAT story! (and amazing looking muffins!) I would tell the mini-me than everything gets better in your 30s! πŸ˜€ Happy Tuesday Kate!

  8. Sprinkled With Flour

    Reading through your post, I found myself transported back to my own childhood. Except I was the “foreign American girl”, and the kids were saying “ewwww” to my PB& J Sandwiches. I remember being made fun of for my accent – so I learned to speak with theirs – and laughed at for my weird lunches. Kids! These muffins sounds so yummy, and being healthy is an added bonus!

  9. zerrin

    I love the story! And I love to read the strategies of that little girl to adapt to the new culture she was in. Praying god not to get taller, I love that!
    And these muffins look definitely fantastic with cherries in them.

  10. Cajun Chef Ryan

    Wonderful story on your early years in America, thank you for sharing that experience with us. These muffins are all about good wholesome ingredients, and great flavor, love the cherries, dates, and walnuts.

  11. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines

    I’m still saddened when I hear about the mean things kids will say. I’m so glad that didn’t deter you. What a sweet story. Your muffins look fantastic. So glad you didn’t lose your heritage though, it’s what makes people who they are. I knew we had a lot in common the first time I saw your blog. Hope you have a great week!

  12. Christina

    Kids can be so mean! I’m glad the other girl made Sarah apologize to you though! Your muffins look so moist and tasty! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  13. Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox

    Bless your heart. What a horrible introduction. Kids can be so cruel without even meaning to be. I think your muffins are beautiful. But then again I’m also the nosy little kid who would’ve asked all about what you were eating that was so different.

    1. Kate @

      See, those were the kids that I loved. They were so interested to meet the foreigner and try the foreigner’s food! πŸ™‚ You would’ve been my best friend!

  14. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    Your story broke my heart. I was born in France, but came to the States when I was a baby. However, then we moved to Lebanon when I was around 7 and when I came home, I was in the position of being given moussaka for lunch and even though I didn’t have an accent, I definitely stood out. Even so, I think if it hadn’t been that, there would have been something else. Some kids are just mean and it’s an awful age of trying to fit in, be on top and make others like you, even if it means at some else’s expense. The feelings I remember from being hurt from that will aid me now as we raise our daughter. She will be kind and gentle with others and their feelings. I hope and pray that she will be the one to come to the little foreigner’s rescue when it’s needed.

    Your muffins look so, so very good. It’s obvious that you’ve been making them for a long time because they’re perfect. I love the fruit combination. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and your story.

    1. Kate @

      It’s best that we teach our kids to accept others no matter what – it is really tough on those that feel or are different.

  15. Claudia

    I love the remark about the wax paper under the cherries! Good idea! These are both lovely to look at and tasty to eat. Is muffin-making American? I suppose. I grew up in NYC where everyone seemed to have accents so that was the norm. Still I remember being so awkward and later I would tell my children – you will find your niche. And it will be wonderful because you won’t have changed yourself to fit in. As you look back, do you wonder why that young girl was so angry? What had she learned at home?

    1. Kate @

      I had the opportunity to meet Sarah’s parents at a Parent/Teacher conference and her dad was really rude to my mom – my mom couldn’t speak English very well and he seemed annoyed by that. At the time we had only been here a few months…he should have been more patient. So I think it’s just what she learned at home.

  16. Carla Meine

    Your muffins look great and healthy. I will be giving them a try. Even those of us born and raised in the United States felt different & awkward at that age. We just wanted to fit in too.

    1. Kate @

      With time I saw that even those born and raised here had a tough time during those growing years – I guess that’s why they are called ‘growing pains’ πŸ™‚

  17. happywhennothungry

    Wow these muffins look incredible! I love the flavor combo. Thanks for sharing your story… children can be so mean sometimes! I was very tall when I was little and still am (I’m 5’10), but I would tell myself not to worry that I’m taller than all the boys and that men love long legs!

  18. Monet

    Such beautiful muffins…and I enjoyed hearing your recollections of your earlier days. Isn’t it amazing how hard we are on ourselves growing up? There are so many times I wish my adult self could have told child self, “Everything is going to be okay, Monet”. Thank you for sharing such a great recipe. I hope you have a Tuesday full of good food and lots of love!

    1. Kate @

      Oh I just wish I didn’t worry so much back then – it negatively affected my school life and my social life for probably the first 3 years in the States.

  19. Charlie

    I changed school every year in elementary school and in high school I was jealous of people who had childhood friends. My mom used to make me great lunches and I asked her to stop; my friends laughed at me because I didn’t have a boring ham sandwich!
    Those muffins look yummy! Love dates & cherries together!

    1. Kate @

      At one point I begged my parents to just give me $1.10 every day so I could just buy lunch at school and not worry about how foreign I looked.

  20. Chef Dennis

    I am so sorry to hear how you were treated, I am glad someone did come to your rescue. Let me say I am proud to know you and call you friend, and I am apprecative of your heritage , what makes us different is what make us special. I’m happy to hear you embraced muffins, they certainly are American, lets here it for the red, white, and blueberry!

    1. Kate @

      Thank you so much for those wonderful words, Dennis!
      I embraced muffins, bagels, ham sandwiches, mac ‘n cheese, etc…all those things that can be found in an American household! πŸ™‚

  21. Michelle

    While I was born and raised in this country, I definitely was one of a few minorities in my town and school. I definitely can relate to feeling like you don’t quite belong. It is wonderful to see the confident person you’ve become today!

  22. Amy Bakes Everything

    Gorgeous muffins! It’s so hard being age 10-18 under normal circumstances…you came out just fine and have the right idea about it: That incident just made you love muffins!

  23. beckerich

    muffins look amazing! love the story that goes along with it, kids can be cruel. I remember getting picked on and my mom told me to tell the bully to “mind your own beeswax!!” what the hell that means i don’t even know, but it didn’t really do much good!

  24. C1tr4

    your muffin is so scrumptious and tempting… I’m thinking to grab them from my screen coz I have hot tea with me now ..hehehe ^_^

  25. Mina @ Angellove's Cooking

    Your muffins look really gorgeous!! I love the combination and I should give that a try but probably with dried cherries, as I have some left :))… Oh, I and I do love a piece of bread πŸ™‚ with a red pepper spread on it!!

  26. Sandra

    I feel sorry that you felt like that..on the other side I was very welcome when I came to the States 13 years ago, at age of 18. It was fun time, and everybody was impressed with my moms cooking, it was new to most of the people that came to visit and welcome us. But I was so shy, and did not like to talk a lot, almost not at all, not because of my accent but because I was thinking too much what to say, and I was learning English since I was 8. And muffins..I also loved my first time when I tried them at Sunday brunch(which than I did not even know what is brunch LOL!) with family that welcomed us.
    Yours look so wonderfully moist and beautiful!:) Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Kate @

      Lucky you! I had it tough – there was only a handful of people that accepted me at that time. But, as I grew older things changed…people became more tolerant and they were suddenly interested in finding out more about my culture.

  27. Felice - All That's Left Are The Crumbs

    Kids can be cruel but I love that someone stood up to this girl. I also moved from another country to the US but I was much older and I still have my accent, which can make it difficult sometimes for people to know what I am saying – and I moved from an English speaking country! Your muffins look wonderful. I love that they have fresh cherries in them.

    1. Kate @

      Oh that is hilarious! When I went to Australia a few years back, I asked for water at a coffee shop and the server just stared at me…I asked again and she said,”I’m sorry I don’t understand you” … so I asked again without the “r” at the end, and she understood. πŸ™‚

  28. 5 Star Foodie

    These are gorgeous looking muffins! The combination of cherries, dates & walnuts sounds excellent! I was actually going to make muffins with cherries this morning, but my significant others requested crepes instead πŸ™‚

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