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Posts Tagged ‘Greek Yogurt’

Blueberry Pecan Yogurt

With my new life counting calories, I have a new favorite breakfast that falls within my 350 calorie goal for the first meal of my day. After my morning work out that lasts between 30 minutes and 2 hours given the day, I look forward to this meal. It’s sweet, fresh, and makes me feel fully recovered from a tough workout, but not like I’ve eaten too much even on days when I don’t work out at all.

BLUEBERRY PECAN YOGURT

Served alongside 1 cup Smart Balance brand Fat Free Milk with Omega 3’s and Vitamin E (110 calories) mixed with 1 teaspoon Hershey brand Special Dark Chocolate Syrup (17 calories) makes a total of 342 calories. With about 22 grams of protein between the yogurt, milk, flax meal, and pecans, this keeps me full until lunch. The live bacteria in the yogurt and the omega-3 fats in the flax meal and the milk all help to keep my digestive system calm, which is an excellent way to start my day.

Blueberry Pecan Yogurt

This morning I walked the Pup for about 15 minutes through the neighborhood. It was too hot outside to take him further. So, I brought him home and then I set off for my own walk, which was about 40 minutes of alternating a brisk walk with a jog. Now, it’s off to the grocery store before spending the afternoon making pepperoni rolls from scratch for the kids. Tonight is the 6th grade dance, so E is going to her first dance with a friend of hers. That means B gets to have a friend over since she’s not old enough for this dance. I have a house full of kids tonight, one sleeping over, and a 6th grade dance amongst it all. That means they get a fun dinner of whole wheat pepperoni rolls with a tad of spinach rolled up in them as well!

Have a wonderful weekend!

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Cherries

Dark red, sweet cherries are the candy of summer for me. I’m not sure I can think of a more favorite fruit at the beginning of summer. I even find the process of pitting them soothing, with the dark red juices dripping between my fingers, the pits dropping into the sink, the little round fruits then being tossed into either a baking dish for cherry crisp or a blender for a cherry vanilla smoothie, or simply into my mouth for a sweet, juicy treat. My last post detailed the beginnings of my new summer smoothie craze.

Cherries

This week, these jeweled beauties were on sale at my grocery store and I indulged in a bag of them, making fresh cherry vanilla smoothies every morning for breakfast.

CHERRY VANILLA SMOOTHIE
(downloadable PDF of Cherry Vanilla Smoothie)

  • Remove pits from 1 cup of fresh cherries.
  • Place in blender with 1/8 cup unsweetened plain soymilk.
  • Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
  • Pulse to liquify.
  • Add 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (my favorite brand is Fage).
  • Process until smooth.
  • Pour into a glass and enjoy with a handful of raw almonds on the side.

Heavenly summer in a glass, I tell you! And, according to some studies, cherries help make your mid-section bikini ready. If that’s not a reason to add them to your summer diet, I don’t know what is.

Cherries

With cherries linked to so many health benefits, including reducing that stubborn, unhealthy belly fat, how could you not run out and buy a bag? If pitting is the pits to you, buy a bag of frozen cherries that are ready to be tossed in the blender. Easy as a cherry vanilla vanilla smoothie!  :-)

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Spiced Mango Yogurt

I’ve been on a mango kick lately. Full of potassium, vitamins A, C, E, pre-biotic dietary fiber, and minerals, this fruit is easy on the digestive system, rich in antioxidants, and good for your skin. One of my favorite snacks is chile seasoned dried mango. I don’t buy this but maybe once a year because whole fruits are easier on my digestive system (and figure) than dried fruits. To still get that kick of the spiced dried mango, I make spiced mango yogurt.

SPICED MANGO YOGURT
Spiced Mango Yogurt (downloadable PDF)

  • Peel and chop one medium mango, placing chopped fruit in a deep bowl.
  • Using a potato masher, mash the fruit, leaving a few small chunks.
  • Add zest and juice of one lime.
  • Add 1/2 – 3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt and mix thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper on top, using as much or as little as you like, and stir to mix.

Spiced Mango Yogurt

I love the mixture of the sweet mango, tart lime, creamy yogurt, and heat of the cayenne pepper all mixed together in each bite. This has been my breakfast the last few days, replenishing vitamins, minerals, and potassium after my intense morning workouts while still providing a punch of protein from the yogurt with zero fat. Sometimes I add one Tablespoon of Chia seeds to add more fiber and essential Omega-3 fats. This is easy to make the night before and tastes just as good the next morning when I need a grab-and-go breakfast I can eat at work while catching up on email.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Chilequiles with sides

Last Monday, we went out for Tex-Mex with our neighbors to celebrate one of their birthdays. I had chilaquiles con rajas and was in heaven. I have been craving that dish since, but couldn’t bring myself to go to the restaurant for the super heavy and fattening meal for the sake of my waistline. Instead, I made my own version at home for lunch today, and it satisfied my craving. Plus, I have leftovers for lunch a couple more days this week! ;-)

CHILAQUILES CON RAJAS:
Printer-Friendly Recipe: Chilaquiles con Rajas

PREHEAT YOUR BROILER.

SAUCE:

  • Husk and rinse 8 tomatillos.
  • Place in medium saucepan with 1 Serrano chile and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Spoon tomatillos into food processor with about 1/4 cup of the liquid from the saucepan. Discard remaining liquid once no more is needed after the pureeing process.
  • Cut stem off Serrano chile and add to processor.
  • Add 2 large cloves garlic.
  • Puree until smooth.
  • Pour tomatillo sauce back into saucepan.
  • Add 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Tomatillos

RAJAS:

  • In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  • Add 1/2 julienne-cut yellow onion and cook until it starts to caramelize.
  • Add 1 7.5-ounce can of poblano pepper strips and 3/4 cup frozen sweet corn, and continue to heat on low, stirring occasionally.
  • Add 1 large clove minced garlic and salt to taste. Set aside.

TORTILLAS:

  • In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
  • Cut 20 white corn tortillas in half, then each half into about 5 strips.
  • Toss 1/3 of the strips in the oil and cook until brown and crisp, stirring frequently.
  • Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining strips, adding more oil as needed.

ASSEMBLY:

  • Ladle a thin layer of sauce in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Top with 1/2 of the tortilla strips, 1/2 of the rajas mixture, a sprinkle of low-fat shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (your desired amount), and 1/2 of the sauce.
  • Repeat one more layer, ending with the sauce.
  • Place in broiler and cook until sauce is bubbly and tops of tortilla strips showing turn deep brown, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Chilequiles

Serve with refried beans (I bought a can of nonfat refried beans and heated with a little added water to keep them smooth), and shredded iceberg lettuce salad topped with tomatoes.

Chilequiles with sides

Using the nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in the sauce reduces the fat in the recipe. I also use reduced-fat Monterrey Jack cheese, and less of it than the restaurant does. I also added sweet corn because I love the combination of poblano peppers and sweet corn.

Hubby had two helpings of this! I’m so happy I can make this lower fat version at home because I’m totally in love with it and will be making it any time the craving strikes.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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What a weekend! One day was spent gardening. Check out my new potted herbs:

Herbs

Another day, I boxed and moved almost our entire upstairs to our dining room. Because tomorrow we are getting new carpet upstairs. When will everything be moved back upstairs? Who knows! I have to go back to work and will be very busy with a multi-day event, so our house will stay disheveled for a while.

After a day of seemingly 100 trips up and down the stairs with boxes of books, it was time to make dinner.

Vegetable Lasagna

VEGETABLE LASAGNA:

  • Finely chop 1 cup carrots, 2 cups zucchini, 1/3 cup celery, 1/3 cup onion.
  • Heat a large, deep skillet with 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
  • Add carrot and cook a few minutes.
  • Add celery and cook a few minutes.
  • Add onion and cook a few minutes.
  • Add zucchini and continue to cook all until starting to get tender.
  • Add 1 26-ounce jar low-sodium tomato pasta sauce to the vegetables with 3 cloves minced garlic and salt and  basil to taste. Let simmer while you prepare the noodles.

Vegetable Tomato Sauce

  • While the veggies cook, prepare 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles according to package directions. I always cook mine for 3 minutes less than the package directions because I don’t like them mushy in the lasagna.
  • While all that cooks, mix in a large bowl 16-17 ounces nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 3 whisked eggs, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1-2 teaspoons dried basil, 1-2 Tablespoons dried parsley, ground black pepper, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well and set aside. HINT: Season yogurt before adding eggs so you can season to taste, then add the eggs when you have the yogurt seasoned to your liking.
  • When ready to layer, use a 9 x 13 pan, start with a thin layer of the tomato mixture on the bottom of the pan, top with 3 noodles, the tomato mixture, a layer of the Greek yogurt mixture, sprinkle that with shredded part skim low moisture Mozzarella cheese, then 3 more noodles. Repeat two more layers, and finish with noodles, sauce, and Mozzarella.

Greek Yogurt Mix Layered on Lasagna

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes.

I served this with a Romaine salad dressed with 1 Tablespoon light olive oil mayo whisked with juice of 1/2 a lemon, and seasoned with a dash of salt, ground back pepper, and about 1 teaspoon dried parsley. I made some fresh croutons out of stale whole wheat hamburger buns to top the salad.

Salad

CROUTONS:

  • Cut stale whole wheat hamburger buns into cubes and place in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper to taste.
  • Place in a heated deep skillet and brown, letting cook until crispy.  Mmmmm…

Croutons

We had the same salad with leftover lasagna for lunch today and it was oh so good! I got the Greek yogurt mix idea from here. I love how when I have an idea and wonder if others have already tried it, I can google and within seconds find someone else who wanted to make lasagna with Greek yogurt, or whatever else I’m thinking.

I’m so glad lunch was pretty light, as was breakfast (Ezekiel toast topped with cinnamon spiked Greek yogurt alongside half a grapefruit drizzled with honey and broiled) because dinner was SO heavy and SO unhealthy. It’s our neighbor’s birthday – the neighbor who’s also my hubby’s best friend – and we went out for Mexican food with them. I had chilaquiles with poblano peppers and onion, smothered in suiza sauce, monterey jack cheese, and cojita cheese. Wow. So heavy, so fattening, so GOOD! I’ll be eating soup and sweet potatoes the rest of the week to make up for that dairy-fest.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Pear and Ginger Waffles

On page 96 of this month’s (April 2011) issue of Self magazine is a recipe that I knew I had to try: Pear and Ginger Waffles. I love pear, I love ginger, I love waffles. And, ginger is yet another spice soothing to the digestive system.

This recipe is listed as one of the breakfast options for the Self Drop 10 Challenge. Below is how I made it, since I almost always make recipes different then directed.

The result? If you like ginger and pear, make these and eat these. They are so good, and quite filling after an intense work out (kept me satisfied from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Four to four and a half hours is about the longest I can usually go without eating, and generally it’s only a couple hours if I’ve completed a tough workout, so this breakfast was a hit with me to keep me from overeating throughout the day).

Today’s workout? Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred, level 3, with 5 pound weights, followed by 25 minute running pace on the elliptical machine for a toatl 45 – 50 minute workout.

There’s no way I would have been able to complete that workout 3 months ago, so I know I’m gaining strength and endurance. I need to improve the jump training, which is my weakest link in the workout.

But on to that creamy, crunchy, yummy breakfast!

PEAR AND GINGER WAFFLES:
Self Magazine, April 2011, pg. 96, with my alterations

  • Mix together 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (the Self recipe calls for low fat reduced sodium cottage cheese, but I don’t like cottage cheese) with 2 teaspoons honey and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (the Self recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon, but I LOVE ginger and wanted to increase the flavor.)
  • Toast 1 whole wheat waffle (I buy organic whole wheat with flax frozen waffles).
  • Top toasted waffle with the yogurt mixture, 1 medium sliced pear, and 2 teaspoons sliced almonds.

The first day I had this, I threw it all on the waffle and ate the overflowing goodness. The second day, I only put half of the yogurt mixture, half of the sliced pear, and half of the sliced almonds on the waffle, then ate the remaining yogurt, pear and almonds mixed together in a bowl. That way, I could still get some of the flavor and bite from the waffle. Either way, this is yummy.

Pear and Ginger Waffles

This tastes like creamy ginger ice cream mixed with fresh pear and almonds. The Greek yogurt makes it really smooth and creamy, but I bet, if you like cottage cheese, it would taste just as good.

The two nutrition counselors who created this meal and all the others for the Self Drop 10 Challenge are brilliant in my opinion. I’ve loved everything I’ve tried so far that fits into my dietary restrictions and the recipe portion sizes are perfect. They don’t leave me too full or too empty. I wish I could go back to school to become a nutrition counselor. I think that would help fulfill and drive my passion for healthy food; especially my passion for natural healing through healthy, whole foods. Too bad I got two liberal arts degrees. I’d have to take a slew of science classes just to be considered for a Master’s in nutrition. I’m not sure I can afford ALL that. Maybe someday!

Thank you to those who read my last post and commented about their love of sweet potatoes! I visited Veggie Grettie’s blog for the first time after she commented on mine and I’m excited to read more of it, especially after reading this post about Brenda Watson’s book and TV special of the same name, The Road to Perfect Health – Balance Your Gut, Heal Your Body. I’d never heard of Brenda Watson, the book, or the show, but I’m excited to learn more, given the health experiences I’ve had involving my digestive system for more years than I can remember. Thanks Gretchen at Veggie Grettie! I’m so glad you took the time to read – and comment – on one of my posts and excited to explore your blog.

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I know today is for the Irish, but please indulge a little tribute to the Greek. I promise I’ll share my tribute to the Irish later today with Shepherd’s Pie, Irish soda bread, and shamrock shortbread cookies. ;-)

I have a new love. The protein and zero fat of plain Greek yogurt with live cultures has become my go-to breakfast every morning, topped with crunchy, not-too-sweet granola. I complete 20-30 minutes of high intensity interval training 6 mornings out of the week, and I crave this after these workouts because of the protein. This is the only yogurt I can eat without adverse digestive problems because it has no fat, no loads of sugar like flavored yogurts, and all those beneficial live cultures.

But, the focus of this post is not the yogurt, but the granola that makes it soooo good. I am a sucker for crunchy textures. When I was a kid, I couldn’t stand the idea of custard because it was so slimy instead of crunchy. I have to have a good granola to put on my yogurt. However, after searching my grocer’s bulk section, I couldn’t find one that sounded appealing, none with flax, and none without loads of sugar. So, I make my own.

Granola

GRANOLA:

  • In a 2-quart microwave safe dish (don’t use plastic), mix together 3 cups oats, 1/2 cup flax meal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • In a large measuring cup, whisk together 1/3 cup wildflower honey, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Pour liquid over the oat mixture and mix together.
  • Microwave 4-6 minutes, removing every minute to stir the mixture. Be careful to not overcook – it toasts quickly towards the end!
  • Let cool.
  • Once cool, add your mix-ins. I add 1/2 cup each: pecan pieces, slivered almonds, walnut pieces, and dark chocolate chips.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup servings into snack-size plastic baggies, seal tight, and store in the pantry or the refrigerator.

I love how fast it is to toast this in the microwave instead of the oven. Plus, I’m usually using my oven for something else. You can add different spices from the cinnamon and switch up the honey flavor and the extract flavors, as well as the mix-ins to change the flavor of the granola. The possibilities are endless with this.

The flax in this granola is a plus for the digestive system, combined with the live cultures and zero fat of the yogurt. The walnuts, pecans, and almonds also contribute omega-3 fatty acids and a wealth of other nutrients to keep the body’s cells functioning properly.

To assemble my yogurt, I mix in shades of brown:

Shades of brown

BREAKFAST GREEK YOGURT:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon light brown sugar with 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder.
  • Add 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt and stir, mixing well.
  • Pour 1/2 cup granola over the yogurt and enjoy.

Yum, yum, yum! Complete with a piece of fruit on the side and this is my morning decadence. I love it! I hope you will too.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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