Tag Archives: yogurt

Great Greek Yogurt!

17 Mar

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See this yogurt?  Greek yogurt has really become the darling of the yogurt world lately.  In fact, yogurt in general has had its health benefits highly touted recently.  We hear how it aides in digestion, its great for dieting, and a perfect snack food.  There is no downside, right?  Wrong.

The yogurt pictured represent a tiny sample of what the supermarket offers nowadays in the yogurt section of any large supermarket.  The linear feet at most grocers nowadays dedicated to yogurt is enormous.  How come?  Is yogurt, or more specifically, Greek yogurt really that good?  Lets see.

Yogurt does have health benefits, such as probiotics, which is good bacteria   perfect for the health of the gut.  Yogurt is also a good source of calcium for bone health, and since it contains lactic acid, some swear that it makes a great exfoliating facial mask.

Greek yogurt has become a media darling of the yogurt world, and there are 3 pictured here.  Yes, in general, greek yogurt is better than our americanized version.  However, greek yogurt is not created equal.  At first blush, these yogurts look similar.  They are greek style, 4 ounces, and have zero fat.  Great, right?  Wrong.

Upon further label reading, we see that the Fage yogurt has 3 grams of sugar, the Chobani 4 grams of sugar, and the Dannon Oikos has a whopping 18 grams of sugar in a 4 ounce portion.  Lets apply some math here.  4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar.  The Fage and Chobani yogurt have 1 teaspoon or less of sugar in a 4 ounce portion. Dannon Oikos greek yogurt has 4 1/2 teaspoons of sugar!  Wow!  These yogurts are not so equal after all.

My message in all of this is to look at the label of similar products.  Its great that these yogurts are fat free, but the sugar is a tipping point for sure.  Be informed, be mindful, and make smarter decisions.  Read those labels!

Seven Super Spices-Going Yellow

8 Dec

Spices pack a surprising punch of positive health benefits.  Simply adding more spices into the daily diet can be an easy way to forge a new pathway to wellness.  So far we are creating new dishes with  cumin, cinnamon, oregano, ginger.

Continuing through the rainbow of spices is fun.  We are excitedly taking a leap to yellow on this culinary adventure.  Bursting onto the scene here is an unusual but not new spice for this country.  Here comes the “Queen of Spices” as it is known.  Time to discover, or rediscover, turmeric.

Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry.  But don’t chalk it off to being limited to Inidan dishes.  Yes, it is in many of our lentil dishes.  But surprise!  Turmeric is also what gives the mustard on our sandwiches its yellow color, so it certainly isn’t just for Indian cooking.

Turmeric has been used for centuries medicinally.  It is effective as an anti-inflammatory, and, like its relative ginger, can aid digestive problems as well.  Current research has indicated that turmeric destroys some types of cancer cells.  It can help improve glucose control in diabetics.  It is also credited with being an immune system booster.  Fantastic news, isn’t it?  Time to start cooking!

I have made chicken salad and tossed in some turmeric and curry.  I am pretty light handed with it because it packs a big flavor punch, and it is absolutely fabulous with chicken.  Unlike ginger, which I usually use fresh, I tend to use turmeric and curry dried.  Take your favorite chicken salad recipe and add 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric.  Or try my chicken salad recipe.  Try it as is or adjust the flavors for you and your crowd.  But at least this provides a jumping off point so give it a go!

Amy’s Curried Chicken Salad

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 to 2 cups light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons mango chutney
  • 2-3 teaspoons curry powder (the turmeric is there)
  • 1 cup grapes cut in half (green or red)
  • 3/4 cup medium-diced celery, including leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and chill.  Serve on lettuce, put on bread for a sandwich, or grab a few crackers and savor this delicious salad.

Don’t have any chicken breasts on hand?  Go easy then, and make a smoothie using turmeric.  Here is a recipe, but feel free to customize it to your taste!

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 fresh mango, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • cinnamon to taste
  • Honey to taste for sweetening

Place ingredients in a blender.  Blend on high speed for 30 seconds.  Pour into a glass, pop a straw into it, and enjoy!

It is easy to start enjoying fresh spices.  There is no reason not to start using fresh new spices in a bold and flavorful step toward better wellness!

Simple!

24 Jan

Baking is an exact science.  A chemical reaction needs to occur for the recipe to work.  Cooking is the opposite.  It’s a little of this and a pinch of that.  Cooking and recipes can change with your mood, what you have available, or who will be eating it.  That’s what I love.

I am touchy feely, as so is my food.  I love to take a recipe and then adjust it to make it “mine”.  I try to make a recipe exactly according to how it is written the first time and then add notes.  My cookbooks are filled with notes of how recipes turned out, what changes to make, and if it should be made again.  ( I would like to think that these books will be cherished many years after I am gone and that it is what my kids will fight over..).  I write these notes next to the actual recipe.  I also have a 3 ring binder in case I print a recipe off of the internet.  I can 3 hole punch it and add it in…if it is deemed worthy!

Recipes can be simple, with very few ingredients.  Its a new year, so jump right in and start cooking…or should I say assembling!   A recipe can be something like a fresh parfait recipe:

  • Vanilla yogurt, 6 ounces
  • fresh or frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup
  • fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup

Layer 3 ounces of yogurt in a mug.  Add strawberries and top with 3 ounces of yogurt.  Place blueberries on top, and enjoy a healthy berry parfait.

Cooking takes experience, and it can be a little scary to begin.  I sometimes get frustrated if I make a dish that does not turn out and my ingredients and efforts are wasted.  But wasted is the wrong word to use.  When you learn something, it is not time wasted!  Just have a backup plan in the freezer to pull out just in case!  When starting, try a recipe that does not have expensive or complicated ingredients.  Then jump in and go for it!  Have fun!  And don’t forget to add your own personal touch!