Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

81. Yogurt with Custard

My kids cared very little about the cute faces I made with the garnish. They knew to go straight for the custard and were uncharacteristically focused while eating these. The few minutes of silence, save the sound of spoons hitting the bottom of the bowl, were followed by big smiles.

I partially followed a recipe for Vanilla Creme Anglaise from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for the custard. 

1/2 cup whole plain yogurt
1 teaspoon sugar
Scant 1/2 cup chilled vanilla custard sauce or filling (such as creme Anglaise or pastry cream)
Berries for garnish

Mix the yogurt and sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Divide yogurt between two ramekins or small bowls. Top each with a scant 1/4 cup of the custard. Garnish with fresh berries. Serve.

 

82. Quick Berry Rice Pudding

This rice pudding tastes best if the rice isn’t too old (say under 24 hours).

Since the berries completely overwhelm the appearance of the snack, I took a photo of the “pudding” while I was mixing it up.

1/3 cup cooked brown rice, cooled to room temperature
1/3 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup fresh blueberries, strawberries, and/or raspberries

Stir together the rice, yogurt, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Top with berries. Serve.

 

83. Lemon Basil Yogurt

Lemon basil is my new best friend. I picked it up at a farmer’s market in Hartford. My apologies for taking up your time with an “exotic” ingredient. But really, if you could bury your face in a bunch of lemon basil like I have been for the past 48 hours, you’d understand.

This snack could be even more tasty if the amount of strawberries and lemon basil were doubled or even tripled. The yogurt would be more of a dressing for what I’m sure would be an incredible fruit salad. Add different kinds of berries to the mix as well. Report back.

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
3 – 4 medium strawberries (or more), chopped fine
5 – 6 leaves fresh lemon basil (or more), chiffonade

Mix the yogurt, vanilla, and sugar in a small bowl. Top with strawberries and lemon basil. Serve immediately.

Web morsels

Kids Radically Changing the Food System by Paula Crossfield for Mark Bittman.

In defense of (some) processed foods by Ezra Klein for the Washington Post via Food News Journal.

The Magic of Yogurt from It’s Not About Nutrition. Dina provides a roadmap for introducing your kids to new foods using the ideas from Fix Me A Snack’s Yogurt 101.

Panel Suggests Ways to Improve Nutrition by Eliza Grey for the Wall Street Journal. News flash: “A federal nutrition panel says Americans should consume more vegetables and whole grains.”

Frozen Banana Pops, Four Ways

The key with frozen bananas is to use ripe, but not over ripe, bananas. The bananas in the picture below are perfect canidates. These are full of natural sugar, but not extremely mushy.

Peel two or three bananas and cut them into thirds. Insert wooden popsicle sticks into each piece of banana. Lay the pops in a flat-bottomed airtight container. Make sure that the bananas are not touching so that theydo not freeze together. Freeze for one hour or longer. If the bananas have been in the freezer for more than a few hours, you may want to let them sit out at room temperature for 5 or 10 minutes in order to make sure they are soft enough to eat.

 

1. Honey Crunch Banana Pops

I found this lovely treat at Baking Bites. It’s easy and a beautiful alternative to chocolate-covered bananas.

 

 

2. Chocolate-covered Banana Pops

Those of you who are pure of heart and more savvy than I in the kitchen would use some Valrhona melted in a double boiler. Me, I am haunted by a vague memory of the melted chocolate getting all clumpy when I made frozen banana pops years ago. If one bit of moisture sneaks into the chocolate or onto the banana, the chocolate goes from smooth to hellish in no time. Therefore, for this recipe, I enjoy the insurance policy that the coconut oil provides. Maybe I’ll work past it someday. But I doubt it because it’s pretty darn tasty as is.

It goes without saying that these treats are even more appealing rolled in sprinkles, finely chopped peanuts, or toasted shredded coconut. The banana pop in the picture above is covered with candy coated sunflower seeds.

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chocolate bar, chopped into small bits)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (optional)

Microwave the chocolate and coconut oil in a cup on low power (10 or 20 percent) for 2-3 minutes. Stir well and microwave further if necessary, checking and stirring frequently. Dip the frozen banana into the melted chocolate once. (Excessive dipping creates a really thick chocolate shell that overpowers the banana.) Remove the banana from chocolate and allow the shell to set for one to two minutes. Roll in sprinkles, chopped nuts, or coconut before the chocolate sets, if desired. Serve.

 

3. The best of both worlds

Less apt to send your kids into a sugar coma and full of sweet crunchy goodness. Just drizzle some melted chocolate over #1 Honey Crunch Banana Pop.

 

4. Frozen Yogurt Banana Pops

This snack feels easier because you start with an unfrozen banana, throw it together, and pull it out of the freezer 6 hours later or whenever you need a quick cold treat.  

The jam and the ripe bananas make this healthy snack pleasantly sweet. It’s like eating a banana dipped in a thin layer of ice cream.

2 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into thirds
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon blueberry jam

Insert popsicle sticks into the base of each banana piece. Mix yogurt and jam together in a ramekin or small bowl. Dip each banana into the yogurt mixture or coat the banana using a spoon.

Place dipped bananas in a flat-bottomed airtight container on top of a sheet of wax paper. Allow to freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

 

More yummy banana possibilities I’ve seen around the food blogosphere recently:
Frozen Banana Bites from (never)homemaker via the healthy cooking goddessDebra Zambetti.
Frozen Bites (scroll down for Chocolate Peanut Butter Bananas) from Simple Bites.

White Cherries

How cool is it that I’ve found a food that perfectly matches my sidebar?

My family is having a grand time eating these cherries I picked up at the Billings Forge farmer’s market. After I ate a small bowl of them this morning I was overpowered by the sense of having eaten a lemon, but in a good way.

The vendor told me they are called white cherries. My best guess is that they are White Nanking Cherries. I’ll have to get more details from her next week.

While this is an exceptional time of year for fresh fruits and vegetables, I am happy to be reminded that we need not look to the latest designer cereal or energy bar when we are craving something new. There’s all kinds of crazy stuff growing out of the ground already. Use the summer’s bounty to get your kids excited about trying new foods. Or be a good role model and sample it all yourself!

Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

78. Banana Chocolate Chip Popsicles

The chocolate chips, even the mini kind, always sink to the bottom of the popsicle mold. But it’s fun to try to distribute them evenly by adding them last. I’ve thought about replacing them with chocolate sprinkles. But mysteriously, the children actually eat the entire popsicle and not just the chocolaty top. So we’re happy with this snack the way it is.

1 cup plain yogurt
1 ripe banana, pureed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Stir together the yogurt, banana, and maple syrup in a small mixing bowl. Fill 6 2-ounce popscile molds with the yogurt mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of yogurt mixture. Seal and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Removing the popsicle from the mold is easier if you run the mold under warm water for 5 seconds.

 

79. Smore Yogurt

The idea for this delightful yogurt treat came from Dina Rose of It’s Not About Nutrition.

My oldest kid has been insisting on eating anything but yogurt for the past couple weeks. I don’t blame her. I’m getting pretty sick of it myself. But the lure of Smore Yogurt proved too much for her this morning and she caved in with abandon.

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 graham cracker, crumbled
2-3 teaspoons chocolate sauce
10-15 mini marshmallows

Place yogurt in a small bowl. Top with graham cracker, marshmallows, and chocolate sauce. Stir it all up and serve.

 

80. Blueberry Lemonade Popsicle

My bet is that you could replace the lemonade concentrate with maple syrup and call it Maple Blueberry Popsicles. I should have gone the more simple route, but the frozen juice concentrate’s siren song was too powerful.

1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
2 tablespoons lemonade concentrate

Mix the yogurt, blueberries, and lemonade concentrate together in a small bowl with an immersion blender. Distribute yogurt mixture between 6 2-ounce popsicle molds. Freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Removing the popsicle from the mold is easier if you run the mold under warm water for 5 seconds.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

I don’t know about you, but our summer is off to a good start…

Gone are the orange and brown days of winter. The berries are finally here! 

 

1 pint (3 cups) fresh strawberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips OR chocolate chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil

Wash strawberries. Spread them out on a towel to dry completely.

Meanwhile, place the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwaveable cup, mug, or small bowl. Gently microwave the chocolate and coconut oil for 2 minutes at very low power (10 or 20 percent). Check the chocolate and stir if possible. Microwave for another minute on low power and keep checking until the chocolate is mostly melted. Stir vigorously until the remaining chocolate is melted and well combined with the oil.

If you don’t have a microwave, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium low heat.

Dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate. Place on a sheet of wax paper. The chocolate will set in a about five minutes. Serve.

Yield: approximately 24 strawberries
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

74. Ricotta Yogurt

Yogurt mixed with ricotta or cottage cheese is something I’ve run across a few times. One of the more lovely variations I’ve seen lately is a Cottage Cheese and Yogurt Parfait from Simple Bites.

1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup ricotta
1 – 2 teaspoons maple syrup
Dash ground cinnamon

Mix yogurt, ricotta, maple syrup, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Serve.

 

75. Strawberry Ricotta Yogurt

All of the bum strawberries that end up in my pick-your-own bucket end up getting crushed and turned into this lovely topping.

For the yogurt:
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons crushed strawberries (recipe below)
1 teaspoon sugar  or honey (optional)

Mix the yogurt, ricotta, strawberries, and sugar (if desired) together in a small bowl. Serve. Top with additional berries if you have them.

For the crushed strawberries:
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and crush with a potato masher. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes a great topping for waffles, ice cream, etc.

 

76. Fresh Strawberry Yogurt

The amount of sugar you need depends on the sweetness of the berries and how tangy you like your yogurt.

For the yogurt:
1/3 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons crushed strawberries (recipe below)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon sugar or honey (optional)

Mix together the yogurt, strawberries, and sugar (if desired) together in a small bowl. Serve.

For the crushed strawberries:
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and crush with a potato masher. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes a great topping for waffles, ice cream, etc.

 

77. Jamtacular Yogurt

When you’re creating a list of 101 ways to eat plain yogurt, you assemble quite the collection of fruit preserves. Here is my evil plan to get my kids to help me clear out the fridge:

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon each: fig preserves, peach preserves, blueberry jam, guava fruit spread, apricot preserves, and strawberry jam.

Spoon yogurt into a bowl. Plop the jams onto the surface of the yogurt in a circular pattern. Serve.

Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup

We are up to our elbows in fresh picked native strawberries right now. And I  wouldn’t have it any other way. Early in the season, we eat them raw for breakfast and snacks. But if this summer plays out like the last, I’ll gradually have to get more inventive in order to keep the strawberry magic alive in my household.

We served this as dessert after dinner tonight and it was a big hit. I sliced up the berries while my first-grader tended the vinegar on the stove. It was all done in a few minutes and the kids gave it a double thumbs up.

I didn’t use bargain basement balsamic for this syrup, but I didn’t use the super expensive variety either.

2 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Wash, hull and slice the strawberries. Place the berries in two small bowls and set aside.

Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes until thickened. Allow to cool slightly before drizzling over the strawberries. Serve.

Yield: 2 servings
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Traffic Light

For this simple and healthy little snack I created a circular pineapple shape by squishing two pieces of fresh cut pineapple together and rough cutting them into a circle. My guess is that your children will be perfectly happy with or without  the quasi-perfect circle shapes. Where my kids have the most fun is making it themselves, the wonkier and goofier looking the better.

Fresh strawberry, fresh pineapple, and fresh kiwi, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Thread fruit onto bamboo skewer* or lollipop stick. Serve.

*Note: I’m guessing bamboo skewers should not be put in the hands of most children under the age of 3, possibly 4. I cut off the pointy tips after assembly. A safer option might be lollipop sticks; pre-punch holes in the food and let the younger ones assemble on their own.

Yield: variable
Prep-time: 5 minutes

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