Tag Archives: Greek Yogurt

Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

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Or in our case, it’s a bowl of chocolate-covered cherries. In smoothie form. If the idea of plump cherries diving into a bowl of decadent chocolate isn’t enough to make you smile about life for a second, then you should probably just give up on this recipe now. But if you’re like me, and love the idea of a super secretly healthy treat appearing as a great big bowl of rich cherries and chocolate, then stick around.

This recipe is great used as a substitution for dessert, a really great sweet snack in the middle of the afternoon, or if you just want an excuse to eat chocolate covered cherries for breakfast. Whatever floats your boat! I enjoyed a huge bowl of this stuff after I came home really hungry from an event I went to. I topped my smoothie with a huge dollop of Greek Yogurt (what a shock, right?), and some sliced cherries. The blend of textures and flavors added great dimension to the smoothie. Finding the fresh cherries that began to sink into the melting mess of smoothie and yogurt was like scooping out the biggest cookie chunks in a pint of cookies ‘n cream ice cream. You know that feeling, right?

I highly recommend this as a decadent smoothie treat. It tastes heavier than some smoothies, but the ingredients are super healthy and light, meaning that this is definitely a guilt-free bowl of goodness. Feel free to sip the smoothie out of a glass like a normal person, but I’ll go right on ahead and eat this smoothie out of a bowl.

Here’s the recipe for this chocolate-covered cherry smoothie. I hope that life is as awesome as a bowl full of chocolate-covered cherries for you always!

Chocolate-covered Cherry Smoothie
Ingredients
(Makes 1 smoothie)
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced in half
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Ice
Optional: 1 tablespoon (or more) sugar, or sugar substitute
How To
1. Combine everything in a blender. Blend it all up and pour into your favorite glass or bowl.
2. Have fun with toppings – add some fresh cherries to the top, a squirt of whipped cream, some yogurt, granola, or oats. Enjoy!!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the drink recipes all week! To see a list of all the recipes with images, check out my new drinks page I created. Hope it helps you keep track of your favorites!

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Snacker Day Saturday: 5/26

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Alright, alright. You caught me.

I can’t get enough peanut-butter and chocolate in my life.

Every week I try to think of some new flavor combination for a snack that will really surprise your taste buds. But if we take a look back real quick, here are all of the snacks I’ve come up with: Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Pretzel Bites (the title’s a mouthful, but the snack is easy to pop in your mouth), Frozen Orange Slices, Chocolate Peanut-Butter Bars, Oven-baked Squash Chips, Peanut Butter Bars, Sinless Cinnabon Rolls, and  Healthy Chocolate Cake . That’s 4/7 snacks that involve peanut butter and chocolate. And, I’ve done it again today.

There’s something irresistible about the semi-salty taste of creamy peanut butter mixed with the rich tones of chocolate. I know that eating Reese’s 24/7 isn’t exactly the healthiest though, so I usually try to get my fix of this addictive combination in more nutritionally sound ways (note, I said try). Today’s snack mixes fiber-filled, naturally sweet fruit with protein-packed Greek Yogurt (I know, surprise, surprise). I packed the Greek Yogurt with peanut butter, a smattering of good-for-you nuts, and a drizzle of chocolate that’ll make any of you pb&choco lovers out there swoon.

I’d recommend making this snack in large batches. Actually, make it in quadruple-billion extra-large batches. So what if ‘quadruple billion’ isn’t a feasible number…it’s how much you’ll want to eat of this stuff. And really, it takes 2 hours to make, so I highly recommend making a bunch while you’ve got the oven on for that long. This snack is just one more excuse to hang out with your family on a sunny afternoon or invite a bunch of friends over for a barbeque. Oh wait- you’re probably already doing that this memorial day weekend! So go right ahead and use this recipe as a fun snack or healthy dessert. Everyone will thank you for it with huge chocolate-covered smiles on their faces. The recipe below serves one – mayyyybeeeeee two people (if you’re not a hungry snacker like I am) so keep that in mind when you’re making portions.

Apple Chips
Ingredients
1 apple
How To
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice the apple as thin as you can, getting rid of seeds and stem as you cut.
2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the apple slices out on it. Cook apple slices for 2-2.5 hours, flipping them about halfway through. Before eating, let the slices cool for like three minutes so they get crunchy.
Loaded Peanut Butter-Chocolate Dip
Ingredients
1 5oz. container plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon peanut butter
4 or 5 nuts (I used a mix of almonds, macadamia, and cashews)
Chocolate sauce (such as Hershey’s syrup)
How To
1. In yogurt container, mix peanut butter in until the two substances are combined.
2. If plating the dip, go ahead and pour the yogurt into a small dipping cup or onto a plate at this point.
3. Crush up the nuts (or cut them up with a knife) and sprinkle all over the top of the dip. Then, swirl chocolate sauce on top.
4. Grab an apple chip (or a handful), and dunk them into pure bliss. Trust me, your taste buds will love you for it.

Need a little reading snack to keep you from shoveling these chips ‘n dip faster than chocolate melts on a hot summer day? Thought so. Today, I suggest reading “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor. I love reading O’Connor because her writing is unexpected and eerily beautiful. It resonates within every reader even though the subject matter sometimes seems too strange to be related to life as we know it. In this story set on a farm, a strange man comes to town and well, things happen. I highly suggest reading it, not only because you’ll be dumbfounded by the end, but because O’Connor writes about nature in a way that is almost unparalleled by anyone else. I love the way she uses nature in figurative imagery to project what she is trying to say.

With that said, enjoy your snacks of literature and food and have a wonderful weekend with family and friends! Try not to eat too much of this dip over the long weekend.

Oh, who am I kidding? Go ahead – stuff your face with this snack! It’s healthy!

Snacker Day Saturday: 4/28

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This week we’ve had a mix of spring showers and sunny days, meaning that I’ve been alternating between craving warm comfort food and light, delicious treats to keep me cool. The only problem? I always crave ice cream when I come back from a long walk in the sun. Don’t get me wrong – craving ice cream is no problem, but if I were to give in and eat a pint each time that I wanted some, I’d probably start to resemble a nice, round scoop of the delicious stuff.

This week I came up with a snack that looks as beautiful as a freshly decorated cupcake, but is simple and cool. So get outside and enjoy the sunshine, because when you come back from your walk, from mowing the lawn, or from lounging poolside you can whip this up and enjoy a nutritious snack!

Frosted Grapefruit Coolers
Ingredients
1 grapefruit
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar, lemon and lime zest
How To
1. Cut the grapefruit in half. With a knife, cut around the edges of the fruit. Then, cut the fruit into segments, but leave all of the fruit inside of the peel.
2. In a small bowl, mix yogurt with cinnamon.
3. Top the grapefruit with the yogurt mixture. If you want it to look prettier, Put the yogurt in a sandwich bag and then pipe it onto the grapefruit. Next, sprinkle with optional toppings if you’d like.

Hope you enjoy the snack! And to keep this post citrus-y and sweet, here’s your little snippet of literature for the day. It’s a poem that’s a lot heavier than the snack I just suggested, but it’s an interesting one to think about. It’s called “Sunday Morning” and it’s by Wallace Stevens. Hope you enjoy!!

Breakfast = Brain Power

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I hope that’s true because I’m counting on a good breakfast to get me through the GRE this morning. If you aren’t familiar what this is, it’s like the SAT or ACT on steroids. It’s a long, standardized test that you have to take if you want to get into grad school.

Breakfast is an important part of every day. I know you’ve heard that from commercials for Cheerios or Wheaties, but for me, breakfast is really a time to get geared up for the day and prepare my mind and body for what I’m planning on doing. When I used to run competitively, I’d have my race-day oatmeal breakfast down to a science; there was something about that brown sugar oatmeal with a huge glass of water on the side that would lead me to believe I was going to be successful.

My breakfast routine has changed a little bit over the years; I went through a phase of sampling a new brand of cereal every time that I went to the store, a passion for all things oatmeal, and a routine of making homemade shakes for myself each morning. No matter what my routine may be during the time, I always try to aim for a healthy, well-rounded breakfast full of protein, fiber, and nutrients to get me through my day.

I figured since I am putting so much emphasis on getting a great breakfast in me before my test this morning, I’d share a few of my breakfast ideas with you!

Greek Yogurt Parfait: Love dessert? How about a breakfast that looks (and tastes) like one? Here’s how to do it: grab some plain Greek Yogurt (or vanilla if you can’t take the plain flavor in the morning) and a bowl, jar, or glass. I like to make it in a clear serving dish so I can see the parfait layers. Scoop a layer of yogurt into the bowl, then a layer of a fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, and bananas work well), then a layer of yogurt, and then sprinkle cereal or granola on top. Some topping/layer suggestions: cheerios, a drizzle of honey, nuts of some kind, granola, fresh fruit, a dollop of jam or jelly, a tablespoon of nut butter (heated slightly or mixed with almond milk to make it a little runny), or anything else! It’s fun to come up with new combinations!

Banana Cake: This might not look or taste like breakfast, but it’s a filling, healthy option! Basically all you’ll need is a banana, some baking powder, a little water, and either chocolate or cinnamon and vanilla. Here’s the recipe!

Overnight Oats: If you’re a lover of all-things-blogging you’re probably already well-accustomed to overnight oats. I LOVE overnight oats, especially in situations when I want to wake up and immediately be greeted by a prepared, wholesome meal. Here’s how to do it: the night before, pour 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup oats into a small bowl/tupperware/jar or other vessel. Add as much of any milk of your choice as you added oats (ex. add 1/2 cup of milk for 1/2 cup oats etc.). Again, this is just your base, so go wild with toppings or add-ins! Some add-in suggestions: nut butter, a little brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, agave, a tiny bit of cocoa powder, fresh fruit, any type of nuts, or a crushed up lara bar or granola bar.

Donuts: Looking for a healthy alternative to packaged or store-bought donuts? I’m here to help you out! I’ve come up with a few donut recipes that are easy, delicious, and are easy to grab on your way out the door if you make them the night before. Here are some flavors I’ve come up with and the links to the recipes: pumpkin donuts, apple pie donuts, and king cake donuts. All recipes are vegan!

Chia Seed Pudding: I recently read an article in Reader’s Digest that stated that chia seeds contain Omega 3’s, fiber, and protein, all making them part of a rounded breakfast or snack! If you’ve never used chia seeds before, you’re in for a treat: these small, black seeds suck up the moisture around them and become the texture of pudding after sitting in the fridge for a few hours. I recommend making chia seed pudding the night before you eat it so that the chia seeds can reach their full potential. When I make the pudding I love to add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of sugar. I also use vanilla almond milk so the pudding obtains a really classic, great flavor.

Banana Pancakes: I used chia seed pudding as layers between the banana pancakes I made. These aren’t just any banana pancakes; rather than being chock-full of flour, the bananas are the star players in this breakfast. I’ve made two flavors: chocolate banana, and vanilla-cinnamon pancakes. Check out this post for the recipe!

Toast: I know you might be saying toast? Really? But I really do love toast for breakfast. Just think of the toasted bread as a vessel; you can really shake up your taste buds by adding an incredible array of toppings to make toast into more than just a dried out piece of bread. Here are some ways to add spunk to a healthy, whole-grain piece of toast: Savory: fry up two egg whites on a skillet and split them between two pieces of toast (add cheese or salsa if desired), or scramble up some tofu with an array of great spices to amp up the protein and keep to a veg-diet. Sweet: spread any nut butter onto a piece of toast then sprinkle with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey or agave, spread a thick layer of Greek Yogurt onto toast and then top with a little bit of fruit preserves (or fresh fruit to make it even healthier), pull an Elvis in the morning and top a piece of toast with bananas, honey, and peanut butter, spread a thin layer of butter on toast and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, or spread a thin layer of cream cheese on toast and then add a layer of jam if that strikes your fancy. The possibilities are endless!

Carrot Cake Muffins: Problem: you really, really want to eat that slice of cake that’s eyeing you from the top shelf in the fridge, but you’re worried about your waistline or the sugar-crash that will come as a result. Solution: my recipe for carrot cake muffins. Decadently topped with a Greek Yogurt “frosting”, it’s the perfect way to treat yourself to breakfast. Protein filled, full of fiber, and packed with fruits and veggies, these muffins will get you off to a great start.

Shake Things Up!: Now that summer is approaching, you might be looking for an alternative from your boring ole oatmeal routine. Here’s a simple recipe for a nutritious shake that will start your day off right! I drank these all summer when I got back from runs and they were awesome for recovery, cooling down, and providing my body with nutrients to get through the day. How to make one: combine 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons nut butter, and 2 teaspoons honey or agave in a blender. Blend until smooth. Drink up the refreshment!

I hope these breakfast ideas get your day off to a great start! Here are some additional recipes from my blog that would be perfect for a healthy breakfast: Frocomochana shakes, Sinless Cinnabons, Pumpkin Cereal Bars, Peanut Butter Pumpkin Parfait, or Cornmeal Porridge. Dig into something new today for breakfast!!

AND, breakfast wouldn’t be complete without a little something to read…check back tomorrow for a list of my favorite blogs that accompany my morning routine!

Carrots & Oats

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Sounds a little bit like horse food, right? Maybe add some sugar cubes and apples in there and you could make one pretty little pony happy. But I’ve got a better idea: look past the fact that these ingredients might look like the meal of our four-legged friends and make some of these muffins for yourself. Topped with Greek yogurt “frosting”, you can pretty much guarantee yourself a cupcake-type creation for breakfast tomorrow. I’m not sure I could tell the difference between a cupcake and this nutritious muffin if I didn’t know the ingredients!

Dig in and enjoy this carrot-cake inspired muffin! You can start your day off (or finish it) with a treat packed with veggies, fruits, whole grains, and proteins. What could be better than that?

Tropical Carrot Cake Muffins (Serves 2)

Ingredients

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cups mixture of pineapple and mango

1/2 cup carrots

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons almond milk

2 teaspoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon agave

1 teaspoon baking soda

How To

1. Shred carrots into a small bowl. If you don’t have a shredder, use a veggie peeler to peel the carrot into thin strips. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine oats, fruit, and carrots in a food processor. Pulse for about a minute, or until ingredients are mixed well and of a batter-like consistency.

3. In a small dish or bowl, combine baking powder with water and allow it to mix well. It should fizzle and foam a little bit.

4. Add this mixture to the food processor, as well as the remaining ingredients. Blend them all together for about a minute. If the batter looks watery, add flour by the teaspoon and if it looks too doughy, add almond milk by the teaspoon.

5. Pop these nutritional powerhouses into the oven and watch them rise! Let them sit in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until slightly browned and firm.

6. Once they are done, take them out of the oven and let them sit and cool for a while. Trust me, they’re worth the wait. While you’re waiting, go ahead and make the Greek yogurt “frosting” below.

Cinnamon-vanilla Greek Yogurt Frosting

Ingredients

2 oz. Greek Yogurt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How To

1. Combine ingredients and stir well. For a firmer, more frosting-like texture, pop the mixture in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before topping the muffins. If vegan, skip the frosting and just enjoy the muffin by itself!

Twice as Nice

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And I mean twice-baked. And we’re talking sweet potatoes. And peanut butter. I should just stop the post here. It’s almost too good of a cliffhanger to pass up. Phew, I said almost, which means you’re in for one of the best recipes you’ve ever read about. Think fluffy mounds of spice and honey infused sweet potatoes baked in a delicious, creamy and nutritious sweet potato skin.

You might remember me talking about the yam-peanut butter combination in this post. That’s right folks, The Color Purple is responsible for this stroke of genius. More specifically, Mr. ______ is responsible for the recipe. Despite his downfalls throughout the majority of the book as a father, a husband, and just as a person in general, he gets some bonus points in my book for coming up with a combination of yams and peanut butter to feed to sick Henrietta. Remember her? She’s the one who has to eat sweet potatoes every day so that she recovers from her sickness. Trust me, if these sweet potatoes were offered to me every time I got sick, I wouldn’t mind a few more sniffly noses in my lifetime.

Let me backtrack really quickly to Mr. ______ (or Albert) and talk about his transformation. It comes about the same point in the book as his brilliant suggestion about the sweet potatoes. Throughout the whole novel, he is selfish, abusive and seemingly uncaring. He’s mean to his wife Celie. More than that, he’s cruel towards her. Some of the scenes in the book are so hard to read because Celie is pushed past her limits by Mr. _______. He constantly breaks her down and still she stays quiet about how upset she is because she thinks it is better to be submissive and bear the hardships that are given to her. Now it’s hard to believe, but Mr. _______ redeems himself a little bit at the end of the book because he expresses genuine personal change. The dialogue is beautiful, so I’ll let his transformation speak for itself. And after you read the quote, the sweet potato recipe awaits!

“Anyhow, he say, you know how it is. You ast yourself one question, it lead to fifteen. I start to wonder why us need love. Why us suffer. Why us black. Why us men and women. where do children really come from. It didn’t take long to realize I didn’t hardly know nothing. And that if you ast yourself why you black or a man or a woman or a bush it don’t mean nothing if you don’t ast why you here, period.

So what you think? I ast.

I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ast. And that in wondering bout the big things and asting bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, he say, the more I love.” (The Color Purple, Alice Walker)

Twice As Nice Double-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients (for one)

1 Sweet Potato

1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt (plain)

1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter

1 Teaspoon Honey

1/2 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

How to

Poke holes in a sweet potato with a fork. Set sweet potato on a baking sheet or casserole pan and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until relatively soft to the touch. While this is baking, mix yogurt, peanut butter, honey, and spices in a bowl. After the sweet potato is done baking, cut it in half. Use a spoon or knife to gently remove most of the sweet potato ‘meat’ away from the skin. Leave about half a centimeter attached to the skin. Scoop all of the potato into the yogurt mixture. Use a fork or a potato-masher to blend the potato with the other ingredients. It should resemble something like this when you are done mixing:

At this point, the hardest part will be resisting eating the mixture. Once blended, it smells like a freshly baked pumpkin pie drizzled in honey and peanut butter. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Anyway, after all the ingredients are mixed, scoop the mixture back into the sweet potato skins that should still be sitting on your baking sheet or casserole pan. The mixture will probably pile up to be higher than the shell. Don’t worry about patting it down. Bake the sweet potatoes again at 375 degrees or 10-15 minutes or until the fluffy mixture has browned slightly. Then, sit down and dig in.