Friday, February 1, 2013

Real Food: Greek Yogurt and Hearty Granola

Today's posts are tackling a couple of very popular snacks.  Now that we've talked popcorn, let's talk about yogurt.

Yogurt is everywhere, and it's a common snack for women who are watching their weight and also a go-to for kids.  Marketing would like us to think that yogurt is a healthy, calcium-filled snack that's going to get us ready for the beach.  If you investigate what most commercial yogurt contains, you realize that what it can do is make you really unhealthy.  Also, I don't know about you, but I've had my share of those little containers, and, let me tell you what, they never filled me up.

Greek yogurt is really catching on, and a little investigating online reveals it's many charms- but not all greek yogurts are created equal.  Many commercial flavored varieties are over-sweetened, or the texture is strange.  As for the brand to buy, I've tried several, and Fage Total 0% is the best (unless you want to go organic.)  I get it at Sams in a 4 cup container, and have found the same container at Target for just a bit more.  It really is better tasting and sturdier than others, and it's so basic- you can improvise with it in so many ways.  I'll also mention that most dairy- cheese, milk, etc, makes me sick, but this doesn't at all, which is good, because it's fantastic.

You need to do a little searching to investigate the myriad ways you can incorporate Greek Yogurt into your life, because it has so many uses. Today, though, I'll focus on a very traditional form. 

This is an everyday food at our house.  Hudson often has some greek yogurt with his lunch, and the girls take it to school in their thermos; sometimes as yogurt alone, sometimes as Muesli.

Here are a few things that taste great combined: Basic Vanilla Greek Yogurt, Warm Berries, and Hearty Camp Granola.*

Basic Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Prep Time: 1 min.
Total Time: 1 min.
Serves: 1
Calories: 130

1C Fage Total 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
2 t Stevia in the Raw (or your favorite sweetener)

1. Simply combine and mix. 

I like to use Stevia here because it blends in with the yogurt so nicely.  Also, it goes without saying that you can improvise and adapt this to your taste- perhaps add some pumpkin pie spice, or switch the extract flavor.  

Hearty Camp Granola
This recipe comes from a 4H camp Jim attended growing up, but I have substituted coconut oil for the vegetable oil that the original recipe calls for.

Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 1 hr 10 min.
Serves: Makes about 6.5 servings, 1/2 C each
Calories: 300 per 1/2 C

5 C Whole Oats
1 C Flaked Coconut
3/4 C Brown Sugar
2 T Cinnamon
1 t Salt
3/4 C Unrefined Coconut Oil, melted
3 T Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine all ingredients by hand or with a stand mixer.

2.  Spread the mixture out on a cookie sheet with raised sides.  Bake, stirring well and often (about every 10 minutes) until the granola is nicely toasted and no longer feels damp, about 1 hour.

3.  Cool and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or freeze a portion for later.

This is delicious alone, added to yogurt as I've done here, or with some almond milk for a hearty snack.

*To make the meal pictured, I combined 1 C of the vanilla yogurt, 1/4 C of the granola, and 1/2 C frozen berries, which I heated in the microwave before adding them in.  This meal is just 320 calories and is packed with good fat, good carbs (and a little tasty sugar to boot), and protein.


Rachel said...

So what is unrefined coconut oil and is the coconut oil at Trader Joe's any good? I actually had a dream about this last night after reading about cold-pressed oils.

Also, I tried making popcorn like that a few weeks ago for the first time ever (didn't realize how ridiculously simple it was!) and it's a big hit. But I seriously scratched up my stove with the shaking as the recipe suggested. I'll try your way and pick it up to shake.

I'm loving these recipes. Will try broiled oranges today!

Danielle said...

We live on homemade granola and yogurt and oatmeal. I love the Greek stuff but the kids aren't fans yet. I get it periodically but they tend to turn their noses up to it, sadly. So I get them Stonyfield usually.