Tag Archives: yogurt

Yogurt Chia Parfaits

1 Aug

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I bought a 24-pound watermelon. Luckily, I purchased this fruit-the-size-of-a-small-child at my corner store, so I only had to carry the monster up one block. Yes, I know that smaller watermelons exist, but I wanted and I needed and I had to have a watermelon at that very moment when I walked by the store.

Besides munching on cold melon cubes right from the fridge, I am brainstorming creative ways to use my giant watermelon stash. Watermelon shrub is currently fermenting on my counter. My new smoothie crush involves frozen watermelon cubes, frozen banana chunks, milk, vanilla, and matcha green tea powder. I made No-Cook Watermelon Tabbouleh Salad and enjoyed it for dinner and lunch for a few days. The recipe is from the quarterly nutrition newsletter that I edit, The Grapevine. Find the recipe on page 19. 

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Watermelon is the epitome of a cool, juicy summertime treat. And that is just what I have been craving lately, something cool and refreshing. Since we “eat with our eyes,” it is important that my meals have lots of color in them. Watermelon’s bright pink color pairs so nicely with green foods. Notice the green cucumbers in the above photograph, and the green chia pudding in the photograph below.

These pink and green Yogurt Chia Parfaits are both fun to look at and fun to eat! Plus, chia seeds, yogurt, and watermelon are all very hydrating foods. These parfaits require a little bit of prep work, but once you have a jar of chia pudding, a container of plain yogurt, colorful fruit, and some homemade or store-bought breakfast cereal on-hand, you should be ready to roll.

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I discovered two lovely blogs this summer that both happen to be raw and vegan. Laura Miller of Sidesaddle Kitchen and Gena of Choosing Raw. Good inspiration for staying cool and creative in the kitchen.

Laura’s recipe videos are both hilarious and delicious, and her produce portraits are stunning. I made her chocolate pudding with avocado this summer, and it was a big hit around here. I also made her buckwheat breakfast cereal, which I love and highly recommend as a cereal alternative. Remember to buy raw or hulled buckwheat groats because the roasted buckwheat groats (aka kasha) have a completely different flavor and cooking requirement.

While I adore chia seeds in moderation, chia pudding has always irked me a little, with all of those tiny gummy seeds. But, since I had a few samples of matcha powder sitting in my cupboard untouched for the last six months, Gena’s matcha green tea chia pudding looked like a good way to conquer my chia pudding fears and simultaneously use up some matcha powder (the matcha powder is also good in watermelon smoothies).

I took Laura’s buckwheat breakfast cereal and Gena’s matcha green tea chia pudding and turned them into a semi-vegan, healthy, and colorful mini meal. The yogurt in these Yogurt Chia Parfaits can easily be omitted or substituted for some sort of frozen banana smoothie to make this vegan friendly.

To layer the parfaits, begin with a layer of fruit (I use a mix of cubed watermelon and quartered figs), a layer of plain yogurt, a layer of chia pudding, and a layer of buckwheat cereal mixed with granola. Repeat the layers for a full parfait. No need for exact measurements, just spoon out the layers to your liking.

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Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding

from Choosing Rawmakes enough for about 4 parfaits or 1-2 servings of straight up chia pudding

I found the consistency to be a little too liquid to eat on it’s own, so I would add a touch less milk or even a scoop of yogurt to thicken it if you are going to eat it as is. Keep the portions below if you are adding this to a Yogurt Chia Parfait. 

  • 1 cup low-fat milk (I used regular, feel free to use non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

In a blender, combine the milk, matcha powder, vanilla, and agave and blend for a few seconds until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture over the chia seeds and stir to combine. Stir again every few minutes for the next 15 minutes. Then allow the mixture to sit for at least 1 hour (or overnight, in the fridge). Stir the mixture once more, and serve.

This chia pudding will be best within 4-5 days. Keep it in the fridge.

Yogurt Chia Parfaits

I am not giving exact portions here because you can layer these as you like. If you want more fruit, use more. If you like more chia pudding, use more. etc. etc. I like to use plain yogurt because there is already some natural sweetness in the fruit, and both the granola and the chia pudding have a little sweetener in them. 

  • Seasonal fruit-I used a mix of fresh, quartered figs and cubed watermelon
  • Plain low fat Greek yogurt- I like this brand lately
  • Matcha green tea chia pudding
  • Granola and/or homemade crunchy buckwheat groats cereal

Layer all ingredients into jars (I just use old jam jars). Begin with a layer of fruit, a few spoons of yogurt, a few spoons of chia pudding, and a layer of granola or buckwheat groats cereal. Repeat. I usually can only fit two layers into my jars.

I like to make these a day or even two days ahead. If they sit for longer, the granola may get soggy. A great on-the-go breakfast or snack!

Vegan Chocolate Loaf with yogurt, warmed cherries, and chocolate balsamic

6 May

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Because it’s Tuesday.

Because I’m in the thick of finals (last semester of grad school!).

Because I like to eat “healthified cake” for breakfast. 

Because sometimes, I like to plate my food up fancy. 

I ate a slice of this chocolate loaf for breakfast today. No shame. Vegan chocolate loaf cake with some plain, low fat yogurt, frozen cherries that were warmed in the microwave and poured on top, the juices seeping into the cake, and a final glug of chocolate balsamic vinegar that I re-discovered I had in the cabinet. This could easily be dessert.

Healthy decadence is my jam.

Nicole from CucinaNicolina and I are on the same page in terms of our mindset that life is too short not to have a slice of something sweet, especially when that sweet something is homemade, with a little bit of health mixed in. Throwing in some whole wheat flour and a sprinkling of ground flaxseeds helps make cake an acceptable breakfast in my opinion. Oh, and there’s a cup of coffee in hiding in the loaf, too. I always have a little extra from my morning French press, so this was a great excuse to use it up.

This weekend, I tasted the Brooklyn based White Moustache yogurt in sour cherry flavor. The yogurt company is a father-daughter business, and the yogurt is made from Hudson Valley Fresh whole milk and live probiotic cultures. While the price is steep, this yogurt was a real treat, and was worth every penny. Plus, you get to keep the container to re-use.

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This sour cherry combo got me craving cherries. Since cherry season is not quite here, I found some frozen cherries and just heated them up and poured them over this vegan chocolate loaf. Cherries, chocolate, and creamy yogurt were meant to be together!

Since I gobbled down my jar of White Moustache yogurt, I served the cake with my other favorite brand, Wallaby Organic Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt. If you want to keep everything vegan, just omit the yogurt or make some sort of coconut based cream.

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Vegan Chocolate Loaf

adapted from Cucina Nicolina

makes 1 loaf or ~8 servings

Nicole says, “As always, replace the whole wheat pastry flour and/or spelt flour with all purpose if that’s all you have. A non-dairy milk or plain water can be swapped for the coffee, but I love the coffee note in there and would be loathe to miss it.” I used whole wheat and all purpose flour to keep things simple, and yes, I LOVED the coffee note.

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used slightly less)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup room temperature coffee

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a standard sized loaf pan with oil or butter (omit butter if keeping this vegan) and lightly dust with flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, flaxseeds, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together coffee, olive oil, and vanilla.

Dump the wet ingredients all at once into the dry and whisk until just combined. The batter will be more firm than wet.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Serve with a dollop of yogurt, some warmed cherries, and a glug of chocolate balsamic vinegar (regular balsamic vinegar would work, too). 

Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote + A Fun Compost Workshop With Seniors

22 Mar

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After months of planning and a handful of snow-day cancellations, this morning I helped Project Director Chris Pawelski, Ed.D conduct a “composting and healthy snacks” session for seniors with mild memory loss in conjunction with The Memory Tree Program, Teachers College, and the Morningside Gardens Co-op.

The Memory Tree is New York City’s first program devoted to people with mild memory loss, and their family and caregivers.

This morning’s session was the beginning of a series of “Going Greener” workshops, continuing a previous project about nutrition, cooking and farmer’s markets. “Going Greener” came about as a way to learn how to keep the world healthy, seeking out composting operations in the community.

In short, we kicked off the first session with the idea that if everyone could start saving just one thing, it would help reduce waste and contribute to the idea of composting and giving back to the earth. After watching a video of how a local family organizes their food waste, we were inspired to designate a special bin where everyone could drop their used tea bags. Throughout the next few weeks, we will document how many tea bags we collect altogether.

Sometimes just starting with one small change makes a big difference.

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I prepared a snack for the group to complement our “save your tea bags” theme: Ellie Krieger’s Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote. The recipe involves heating water with tea and honey, and adding in dried fruit, cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon. A very simple recipe that requires little effort–just measure, dump, and simmer (need a knife just to cut a lemon wedge).

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Throughout the “Going Greener” journey, we will encourage the seniors to share and document their experiences through picture-taking and media, so we provided digital cameras today for them to take pictures of the recipe ingredients, the finished recipe, and each other! Can’t wait to upload all of their pictures, but for now I am sharing my pictures.

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Each participant received their own easy-to-follow copy of the recipe so they could see how it was made, and maybe even make it themselves at home.

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Who knew dried fruit could be so gorgeous?! Even though it is technically spring now, the New York fruit season is not quite ready. The markets are still heaping with end-of-season apples and there is not a berry in sight yet. Until the spring fruit arrives, this spiced fruit compote is a great way to pack it in.

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During today’s session, we served the compote with plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of granola. Water with lemon wedges for a refreshing beverage. I was impressed that everyone gobbled down the compote, and there were even requests for seconds!

Leftover compote is excellent atop pancakes, stirred into oatmeal, or spooned over a simple cake. Feel free to mix up the dried fruit, and add nuts or a splash of alcohol (rum, bourbon…) for a little kick.

Thanks again to Ellie Krieger for a great recipe.

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Krieger says, “Tea and dried fruits rank among the most powerful of beauty foods. They contain concentrated amounts of compounds that protect the skin from sun damage, and they are linked with less skin wrinkling as we age.”

Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote

adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonders

serves 4

3 tablespoons honey

1 Earl Grey tea bag

1/2 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup pitted prunes

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 large lemon

1 cinnamon stick

optional: 4 whole cloves

Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the honey, then immerse the tea bag in the water. Add the apricots, prunes, raisins, the juice from the lemon, the cinnamon stick, and if using, the cloves. Return to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes. Remove the tea bag, then continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens to a loose syrup, about 8 minutes more. Remove the cinnamon and cloves and discard (or compost!). Allow the compote to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Serve with toppings. I like a dollop of yogurt and granola, or instead of syrup atop pancakes!

The compote will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Nutrition per 1/3 cup serving (without toppings):

Calories 190; Total Fat 0g (Sat Fat 0g, Mono Fat 0.0g, Poly Fat 0.1g); Protein 2g; Carb 52g; Fiber 3g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 10mg

Good source of: Fiber, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K

Savory Pumpkin Dip

19 Oct

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A quick snack for my over-worked brain.

A variation on the Yogurt Tahini Sauce from my last post. Just add pumpkin puree. This is definitely becoming my new ‘hummus’ (I usually eat A LOT of hummus, and even though there are no garbanzo beans in this recipe, it is still a nice change…).

Tear up some bread (I found a great rosemary bread at my farmer’s market) or serve with crackers or veggies.

A little dash of paprika on top makes everything pop.

This dip is accompanying me to a pot luck this weekend. I am also going to make it next week with the group of vivacious ladies and gents. at the senior center where I conduct nutrition lessons. So easy, requires no cooking, and you get all the goodness and nutrition of yogurt, sesame, pumpkin, garlic, and lemon. Hurrah!

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Savory Pumpkin Dip

a variation on this dip

1/3 cup tahini paste

2/3 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

paprika, for dusting on top

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Roasted Eggplants with Ground Lamb and Yogurt Tahini Sauce

8 Oct

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Eggplant season is still here, and I’ve seen loads of eggplant-related recipes featured on the NYTimes lately, like Martha Rose Shulman’s Lasagna with Tomato Sauce and Roasted Eggplant, Melissa Clark’s Eggplant Dip for non-eggplant eaters, and the awesome Eggplant Marinana Sandwich from Frankies Spuntino Restaurant in Brooklyn. Inspiration central.

It just so happens that while I was ‘fondling’ the beautiful eggplants at the market the other day, my eye flecked over to the Brooklyn Cured meat booth, and they had lamb sausages on special–with Greek yogurt, lemon, and parsley. Suddenly my brain switched from craving a hearty winter pasta to Mediterranean mezze. The weather has been so lovely lately, so I figured I could spare a hearty pasta for a few more weeks. And then I remembered Deb’s recipe for Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Cumin-Crisped Chickpeas from her cookbook!

Since I found this amazing lamb, I swapped my usual chickpea preference for ground lamb. With a few heaps of roasted cauliflower (I didn’t use harissa this time but if I had it around I might have…) and warm whole wheat pita, I felt very proud of my meal.

The smaller eggplants are great for roasting in larger hunks (oxymoron?!). I quartered mine because I like a greater surface area for browning on the edges but still being soft on the inside.

As you can see, I smothered my meal in the yogurt-tahini sauce. I ended up making a second batch of the sauce the next day because it was just so good for dipping and spreading. Threw some fresh mint into the mix, but you could use whatever herbs you like, or nix the herbs and go garlic and paprika! This may be my new hummus. And all you have to do is whisk.

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Roasted Eggplant + Ground Lamb

From the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

2-3 small eggplants

olive oil 

salt

1/2 onion, chopped fine

1 lb. of ground lamb or ground lamb sausage

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the tops off the eggplants, and either half them or quarter them. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil, place the eggplant pieces cut side up and brush the exposed sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, flip, and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until the skin is dimpled and the interior glazed and golden.

About 10 minutes before the eggplants are finished roasting, heat a (cast-iron if you have one) skillet. Add a touch of olive oil and saute the onion until starting to brown. Add in the lamb and cook for about 5 minutes, until no longer pink inside. Drain the fat.

Serve the lamb with the roasted eggplant (you can roast cauliflower, too!), the yogurt tahini sauce, and some warm (whole wheat) pita bread.

Yogurt Tahini Sauce

2/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Stonyfield low-fat yogurt)

1/3 cup tahini

1 garlic clove, minced

pinch of salt

lemon juice, to taste (about 1-3 Tablespoons)

fresh herbs, chopped (I used fresh mint)

Whisk everything together. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Give it a sprinkle of paprika for a pop of color!