Tag Archives: yogurt

Grapefruit Yogurt Smoothie with Fennel Seed

Grapefruit Yogurt Smoothie with Fennel Seed from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

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Yopa! Greek Yogurt – a balanced way to start the day #YopaYogurt

Yopa! Greek Yogurt - a balanced way to start the day

Are you familiar with YoCrunch™ yogurt? Well, they’ve come out with Yopa!™, authentic nonfat Greek yogurt that’s packaged with a healthy crunch from either granola, dark chocolate or toasted almonds. Yopa! sent me a few coupons to try out their Greek yogurt and share my opinion with you. I thought this would be a great way for my family to try out a new Greek yogurt brand, especially since my husband starts out his day with Greek yogurt, a side of granola and some fruit. I’m also trying to get my kids to eat more yogurt, especially my daughter who doesn’t like drinking milk.

We tried the blueberry, strawberry and the black cherry with granola and the vanilla with almonds. Unfortunately, my grocery store didn’t have the vanilla with dark chocolate chips, but I’ll be on the lookout for that one for sure!

I liked that Yopa! had everything packaged and ready to go, which makes my husband’s day a little easier since he often takes his breakfast to work. It was very easy to undo the lid and foil and mix the yogurt and granola together, especially since they allowed extra room in the cup for you to add the granola or nuts, without spilling when stirring it. I found Yopa! to be delicious and the texture perfect – creamy and thick. (My husband agreed.) I also liked having the extra crunch from the granola along with the real fruit, as did my kids.

The Yopa! difference

Yopa! stands out from the rest of the Greek yogurt crowd because they’re committed to producing the best yogurt by using farm-fresh, regionally-sourced milk from dairies close to where they make it. Also, it takes four gallons of milk to make one gallon of Yopa! yogurt, but they think you’re worth it.

Then Yopa! adds real vanilla or fruit to their authentic, strained Greek yogurt. In addition, they pair each flavor with either whole grain granola, toasted Blue Diamond almonds, or dark chocolate, for a delicious balance of yogurt, flavors and toppings with a nice combination of crunchy and creamy. Yopa! is a “Balance Perfected” way to start your day! And it makes a great afternoon or after school snack, too.

Yopa! comes in the following flavors:Yopa! Greek Yogurt Blueberries & Granola

  • Blueberries & Granola – real blueberries and nine whole grain granola
  • Strawberries & Granola – real strawberries and nine whole grain granola
  • Black Cherries & Granola – real black cherries and nine whole grain granola
  • Peach & Granola – real peaches and nine whole grain granola
  • Vanilla & Almonds – rich vanilla and toasted almonds
  • Vanilla & Chocolate – rich vanilla and dark chocolate chips

You can buy individual cups or four-packs of each flavor. Yopa! comes in a 3.5 and 5.3 ounce sizes.

The benefits of Yopa! Greek yogurt

Yopa! is a great source of protein. The 3.5 ounce cups contain at least 16% of the recommended daily allowance of protein, while the 5.3 ounce cups contain at least 26% of the recommended daily allowance.

Other benefits of Yopa! are:

  • Good source of calcium
  • 0g of cholesterol and trans fat
  • Made with 5 cultures and 3 probiotics
  • No preservatives or artificial colors (and only one product has artificial flavor – vanillin)
  • Vegetarian
  • Kosher certifie
  • Take the Yopa! Taste Challenge

Take the Yopa! Taste Challenge

Speaking of balance, gold medalist Gabby Douglas is an expert, and she's challenging you to take the Yopa! Taste Challenge where you can win a variety of prizes, including $10,000! Just "like" Yopa! on Facebook for a chance to win and to grab a coupon for $.50 (or more!) off one cup of Yopa! Authentic Greek Yogurt.

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Disclaimer: I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Healthy St. Patrick’s Day snacks: Avocado Deviled Eggs

Avocado Deviled Eggs at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Looking for some green party food for St. Patrick’s Day that’s also healthy and naturally gluten free? This recipe healthens up a party classic – deviled eggs – by substituting avocado and plain yogurt for mayonnaise. You can sprinkle the tops with chives or blend them in for a punchier green, too!

This would also make a terrific healthy snack when the kids are reading Green Eggs and Ham at school.

Do you have a go to healthy recipe for St. Patrick’s Day?

Avocado Deviled Eggs at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Avocado Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 1 fully ripened avocado from Mexico, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 tablespoon plain low or no-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • Chopped chives (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, place egg yolks; add the avocado and mash until smooth.
  2. Stir in yogurt, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in jalapeño and onion, then spoon into egg white shells, dividing equally.
  4. Arrange on a serving plate. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. (Don't serve long after 3 hours as the avocado will start to darken.)
  5. Garnish with chives, if desired.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Servings: Yield: 12 deviled eggs
  • Serving size: 1 deviled egg

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Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Curried Sweet Potato & Fig Yogurt Soup

Sweet Potato & Fig Yogurt Soup at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I’m a big fan of Greek yogurt as a healthy substitute for sour cream, so when the folks at Voskos challenged me to create a recipe using one of their yogurts, I couldn’t resist. However, since they have so many flavored Greek yogurts, why not give one of those a try? I love figs, so finding something to use their Exotic Fig Greek Yogurt in was my priority.

While figs are a Greek classic, I know several people here in Georgia who have fig trees in their yards. So it’s not too hard for me to find fresh as well as dried figs at the grocery store. Figs are rich in minerals and packed with potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese. I love using slices of fig on goat cheese pizza or just enjoy them as a healthy snack.

Figs in soup?

After checking out the recipes on the Voskos website and inspired by the cool weather, I thought a soup recipe was in order. I love butternut squash soup, but thought sweet potatoes would go better with fig. After consulting a few cookbooks, I found a recipe in the The Yogurt Bible for Curried Sweet Potato Soup that reminded me of another butternut squash soup I make with curry. I liked how the recipe also combined the yogurt with coconut milk, too.

However, I made a few changes. Instead of carrots, I used parsnips. Last Thanksgiving, my son fell in love with the smell and taste of parsnips after I made him peel five pounds of it! (Lucky for me, eh?) Parsnips also remind me of my mom’s chicken soup as she always used parsnips along with carrots and a lot of fresh dill in hers. Any chance to use parsnips makes me happy!

Another change was to use dried figs instead of raisins to bring more figgy goodness into the recipe. Finally, I healthed up my soup recipe by using Voskos Exotic Fig Greek Yogurt, which is non-fat, along with light coconut milk. I also used a low sodium vegetable broth.

Marking Curried Sweet Potato & Fig Yogurt Soup

Variations: If you’re not a fan of curry, substitute a tablespoon of Herbes de Provence instead. If you don’t like coconut milk, you could use non-fat evaporated milk as a substitute.

Meatless Monday serving suggestion: Serve soup along with some whole grain rustic style bread and a salad. For dessert, try some dried figs along with slices of goat’s milk cheese. (My favorite is Drunken Goat from Spain.)

Sweet Potato & Fig Yogurt Soup at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Curried Sweet Potato & Fig Yogurt Soup

Inspired by a recipe from The Yogurt Bible

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup dried figs, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1 1 (5.3 ounce) container Voskos Exotic Fig Greek Yogurt

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and curry powder and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to be translucent.
  2. Add sweet potatoes and parsnips to the pot. Stirring constantly, cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add vegetable broth to the pot and increase the heat to medium high. Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer with lid on, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  5. Add figs and salt to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.
  6. Remove saucepan from heat. Using a potato masher, roughly mash the vegetables. (If you want a smoother soup, use an immersion hand blender.)
  7. Stir in coconut milk and Greek yogurt.
  8. Return saucepan to stove on medium heat and heat soup through. Do NOT let the soup boil!
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe

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Disclosure: I was sent product samples and was compensated by Voskos for recipe development and photography. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comWhile I recover from shoulder surgery over the next couple of weeks (and then some), I’d like to share a few terrific fall recipes the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission sent me. As the chill of autumn starts to settle in, nothing hits the spot like a nice, warm bowl of soup!

Easy to freeze for later or to serve family style, this naturally sweet soup made with nutrient-packed sweet potatoes is a hearty and healthy way to welcome the changing weather.

You can connect with the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission on Facebook, on Twitter @Sweet_Taters and on their blog.

Tip: leave out the croutons if you're gluten free. Or make homemade croutons from gluten free bread!

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 large (1 pound) sweet potatoes
  • 1 large (8 ounces) tart apple (such as fuji, honeycrisp, or gala)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 can (14 to 14-1/2 ounces) vegetable broth (about 1-3/4 cups)
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 container (6 ounces) plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3/4 cups croutons, optional

Directions

  1. Pierce sweet potatoes and apple with fork tines. Microwave sweet potatoes and apple on high until apple is very tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove apple; set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. Continue cooking sweet potatoes on high under tender, about 4 to 5 more minutes Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and curry powder; stir until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer broth mixture to a food processor; reserve saucepan.
  7. Halve sweet potatoes and apple. Remove apple core. Scoop sweet potato and apple pulp from skin and add to food processor. Add salt; whirl until smooth, gradually adding apple juice through processor feed tube.
  8. Transfer mixture to reserved saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; whisk in yogurt. Reheat just until hot (do not boil).
  9. Serve soup topped with croutons, if desired.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: Makes 4 servings
  • Serving size: 1 1/3 cups

Recipe and photograph used with permission from the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Creama and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Creama and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Last week, I cohosted the #PlainKitchen Twitter Party with Mom Central, FAGE and celebrity chef Bobby Flay to let everyone know about the FAGE Total Plain Kitchen recipe contest. One of the recipes that everyone was drooling over was the  Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon FAGE Total Crèma and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, so I had to share it!

This would make a terrific Thanksgiving dish, and a great way to use leftover pumpkin puree after the holidays.

I hope it inspires you to enter the FAGE Total Plain Kitchen recipe contest for a chance to have your recipe using FAGE Total, cooked and served by Bobby at the FAGE Total Plain Kitchen grand opening event.

The contest goes through October 8. (That’s Monday so hurry!) Three lucky winners will be chosen and will receive an all-expense paid trip to NYC for the big event.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Creama and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Crèma and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Recipe by Bobby Flay

Ingredients

For Cinnamon FAGE Total Crema

  • 1/2 cup FAGE Total 0%
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Pumpkin Soup

  • 3 cups pumpkin puree (not flavored pie filling)
  • 3 cups homemade vegetable or chicken stock or low sodium canned vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons chipotle puree (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 3/4 cup FAGE Total 2%
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Cinnamon FAGE Total Crema, recipe above
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions

For Cinnamon Crema

  1. Whisk together the FAGE Total, cinnamon, honey and splash of water and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

For Pumpkin Soup

  1. Combine the pumpkin puree and 2 cups of the stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the spices, honey and chipotle puree, reduce the heat to medium-low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in a little more stock if needed to thin out.
  2. Remove the soup from the heat and let sit 2 minutes. Whisk in the FAGE Total (off the heat) and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle each with some of the cinnamon FAGE Total crema. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro leaves.
Prep Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6 to 8
  • Serving size: 1/6 to 1/8 of recipe

Recipe and photo courtesy of FAGE.

Join me TODAY at 3 PM ET for a FAGE #PlainKitchen Twitter Party

yogurt

Join me and @MomCentral  for the #PlainKitchen Twitter Party TODAY from 3-4 PM EST. We’ll be chatting with celebrity chef Bobby Flay about how to make every meal extraordinary, your favorite yogurt recipes, and the FAGE Total Plain Kitchen recipe contest!

I’ll be co-hosting along with @StacyDeBroff, @DadCentral, @MomCentralChat along with special guests @FAGEUSA and @bflay. You can use the Tweet Grid at http://bit.ly/S7z8GF.

Not only will it be a fun chat, but you’ll have a chance to win a prize pack consisting of a $25 AMEX gift card and $25 voucher redeemable for FAGE Total. Also, if you tweet this from now until the #PlainKitchen Twitter Party, you’ll be eligible to win one of the FAGE prize packs, too!

Hope to see you soon!

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Disclosure: I received a promotional item to thank me for my participating in the chat.

Healthier snacks and breakfasts with Mountain High Yoghurt #MHYMom

Mountain High YoghurtSince becoming a Mountain High Yoghurt Mom, their product has become a staple in my kids’ lives. As I explained in a previous Mountain High Yoghurt post, I used to buy it all the time until I started making my own yogurt. Since my yogurt maker is in storage, Mountain High Yoghurt has become my go to brand of choice because it’s delicious, nutritious and a great buy, especially when purchasing the bigger containers. (Check out the per ounce price!)

I also like that my kids are getting some probiotics in their diets by regularly eating it. Also, Mountain High Yoghurt is the only way my daughter, Lucie, can get calcium in her diet since she doesn’t like drinking milk.

Healthy snacks and breakfasts

I love the versatility of having a couple of 32 ounce containers of low fat vanilla or strawberry in the refrigerator to make healthy snacks and breakfasts. We like combining them with berries for a special treat or using them in smoothies. They also make a nice spread on pancakes, waffles, pumpkin bread or toast. Another fun and healthy snack is to make yogurt popsicles. (Unfortunately, my popsicle molds are in storage, too, darn it!)

The Mountain High Yoghurt website is a great source for healthy snack and breakfast ideas for kids. Here are a few recipes:

What are your kids’ favorite ways to enjoy yogurt?

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Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mountain High Yoghurt. I received a gift card to purchase yogurt, a product kit, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Why I buy Mountain High Yoghurt #MHYMom

Mountain High Yoghurt

I was a regular buyer of Mountain High Yoghurt YEARS before I was asked to be a Mountain High Yoghurt Mom. Here’s why:

  • First and foremost, it’s a great value per ounce, especially when you buy it in the bigger containers. I usually buy low fat vanilla and fat free plain yogurt in the 32 ounce containers, but you can also buy the fat free plain product in a huge 64 ounce tub. Both size tubs are great to store art and crafts supplies for the kids, too.
  • Pricewise, they’re about the same or maybe a little more expensive than store brand yogurt. However, I prefer Mountain High over store brands because of its taste and quality.
  • Their yogurt, even the fat free variety, is very tasty and creamy compared to many other brands of yogurt – even the more expensive brands.
  • I like that Mountain High Yoghurt is rbST-free, meaning that they don’t use milk from cows that are given artificial growth hormones.
  • Their vanilla and strawberry yogurt are sweetened with pure crystalline fructose, a natural sweetener with a low glycemic index. They also use pure vanilla and premium strawberries.
  • Their product contains no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavors, and no preservatives.
  • Mountain High Yogurt containss three kinds of live and active cultures (L. acidophilus, B. bifidus, and L. casei) that are good for digestive health.
  • I like using their plain fat free yogurt to make Greek-Style yoghurt by draining the whey from it. Here’s how.
  • It’s versatile. Check out the Mountain High Yoghurt website for recipe ideas.

The only reason I stopped buying Mountain High Yogurt was because I started making my own yogurt at home using rbST-free milk from a local dairy. But now that my yogurt maker is in storage, Mountain High Yoghurt has become my go to brand of choice.

What do you look for when buying yogurt – quality, price, natural ingredients, taste, or all the above?

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Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mountain High Yoghurt. I received a gift card to purchase yogurt, a product kit, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Cool off with healthy Berry & Yogurt Parfaits #MHYMom

Berry & Yogurt Parfaits

Every school day when it’s hot out, the first thing my son, Nathan, asks after I pick him up is, “Can we go out for ice cream?” Inevitably the answer is no. Instead, I prefer that my kids cool down with a healthy snack, like yogurt parfaits.

To make Berry & Yogurt parfaits, just layer a few spoonfuls of yogurt with berries in a tall glass. While you don’t need fancy parfait glasses, it’s much more fun if you have them. Check your local thrift or dollar store – I got my for 25 cents each! You could also use wide mouthed high ball glasses or even Mason jars.

yogurt parfaits bw

For my berry and yogurt parfaits, I  combined low fat vanilla and strawberry Mountain HIgh Yoghurt with layers of fresh Driscoll’s blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries. You could also use frozen berries – either thaw them out fully or just enough so they’re crunchy when you bite into them. You can also add a layer of granola or cereal or other fruit like slices of bananas.

Have the kids make their own! Let them use their imaginations and make whatever combination of fruit, cereal and yogurt they’d like. They’re more likely to eat a healthy snack if they prepare it themselves.

Check out the Mountain High Yoghurt website for more recipe ideas.

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Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mountain High Yoghurt. I received a gift card to purchase yogurt, a product kit, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Bars “Summer in a Box” giveaway

stonyfield frozen yogurt popsicles One of the reasons I decided to make my own frozen treats this summer is because of all the junk found in most store bought popsicles. Even fruit bars aren’t as wholesome as you’d hope. However, there’s one brand I trust to make a delicious and healthy frozen snack: Stonyfield and their organic frozen yogurt bars - Gotta Have Vanilla and After Dark Chocolate.

They’re the first dark chocolate dipped frozen yogurt bars on the market. (Decadent!) Even better, they’re made with organic ingredients and contain four live and active cultures, keeping your gut healthy while enjoying a sweet treat. Each bar only has 170 calories, which is about 30% less than other commercially made ice cream bars, too.

Probiotics and health – free webinar

Speaking of probiotics, Stonyfield and America’s Green Nutritionist Kate Geagan, MS, RD, are hosting a one one-hour webinar, Probiotics and Health: What you Need to Know Now tomorrow, on Tuesday, July 6th at 2:30-3:30 pm Eastern. Kate will be discussing the latest science and consumer trends, including:

  • Gut Check on the Latest Science: What you need to know now about probiotics.
  • Health vs. Hype: What's the difference between organic and natural? Why is it worth it?  
  • Probiotic Product Roundup: What's new? What trends are hot, and what's not?

It’s free. All you need to do is register at here.

Win a Stonyfield “Summer in a Box”

The folks at Stonyfield were nice enough not only to send me coupons for their Gotta Have Vanilla, and After Dark Chocolate frozen yogurt bars for my kids. Even better they sent some organic, self-care items for me like Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream and Badger After-Sun Balm. Great stuff and so nice to treat my skin when my kids are treating their taste buds.

Stonyfield’s calling it a Summer in a Box and have asked me to give one away to you!

Stonyfield summer in a box giveaway

Each Summer in a Box (approximate value - $100) contains:

  • Two coupons for Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Bars in two delicious flavors: Gotta Have Vanilla, and After Dark Chocolate.
  • Badger After-Sun Balm: A certified organic treat for sun-parched skin. Made with moisturizing plant butters and infused with soothing Blue Tansy and Lavender to make your skin feel smooth and leave you feeling calm.
  • Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream: This new 100% natural moisturizer is perfect for combination skin. Formulated with extracts of melissa (lemon balm), it smells like fresh squeezed lemonade. Additionally, extracts of anthyllis, carrot, witch hazel and English daisy soothe, soften and even the complexion so shine is controlled and skin is moisturized.
  • Tom’s of Maine Simply White Toothpaste: The first and only clinically proven natural whitening toothpaste to earn an ADA seal, helps bring back the natural beauty of your smile.
  • Tom’s of Maine Daily Moisture Body Bar: It has an ultra-rich bar soap formula that contains premium moisturizing olive oil, natural vitamin E and leaves your skin clean and fresh.
  • Tom’s of Maine Beautiful Earth Deodorant: It works to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria and its natural, refreshing fragrance helps mask odor.
  • A coupon for Uncle Matt’s Organic Lemonade and Juices: By buying Uncle Matt’s fresh fruit and juice you’re helping more than 20 small growers that make up their family of farms. That's one of the reasons they’re proud to be family owned and organically grown. Use this free product coupon to pick up your choice of organic juice or lemonade and quench your thirst for summer!

Giveaway closed. Congrats to Tina R.

Here’s how to enter the giveaway:

  1. Share which Stonyfield organic frozen yogurt bars - Gotta Have Vanilla and After Dark Chocolate – you’d try first (or already love)! Include your name, email address, and blog URL (if you have one) in the comments below for ONE entry.
  2. If you have a blog or giveaways listing site/post/page, feel free to post about this contest on it for ONE additional entry.
  3. Sign up for This Mama Cooks! Review’s RSS feed for ONE additional entry.
  4. Sign up for my enewsletter for ONE additional entry.
  5. Spread the word about this giveaway by submitting a link to this post on Twitter for ONE additional entry. You must leave your Twitter username in your comment so I can check.
  6. If you have done any of these activities you MUST come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did. I will be checking!
  7. Maximum amount of entries at This Mama Cooks! is FIVE – leaving a comment here (1), posting about it on your blog or giveaways listing site (1), signing up for my enewsletter (1), signing up for my RSS feed (1), and using Twitter (1).
  8. You have until midnight MT on Monday, August 1, 2011 to enter.
  9. ONE winner will be chosen at random.
  10. You must be willing to send me your full name, mailing address and phone number so I pass your info on to Stonyfield so they can mail out your Summer in a Box.
  11. I’ll announce the winner on this blog. I’ll not share your mailing info with the public, just your name. If you have a blog, I’ll link back to it when I announce the winner.

The giveaway is valued at approximately $100 and is only open to legal residents of the United States, 18 years of age and older. No purchase required. Up to FIVE entries per person. ONE Stonyfield Summer in a Box will be given away. Void where prohibited by law. By submitting your name and email address, you agree to receive relevant promotional emails and contest follow up communications from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet in compliance with my privacy policy and giveaway rules.

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Disclosure: Stonyfield provided me with a Summer in a Box and one to give away. All opinions are my own.

How to make coconut yogurt

Coconut Tapioca Yogurt

Due to my food sensitivities, I’ve been on the lookout for alternatives to milk-based yogurts. While you can buy commercially prepared soy and coconut yogurts, all the ones I’ve found are sweetened with cane sugar, which I have to avoid. The only exception is So Delicious Dairy Free Agave Sweetened Yogurt, made from soy milk.

I decided to make my own coconut yogurt based on the method I use to make homemade milk yogurt and this recipe from The GFCF Lady. Since she has to strain the coconut yogurt to make it thicker, I decide to add instant tapioca as a thickener. The result is a tapioca-coconut yogurt hybrid. It has the sourness of regular yogurt from the yogurt culture starter (and all the probiotic goodness), the taste of coconut milk, and the texture of tapioca pudding. Slightly sweetened with stevia, it’s pretty darn good.

Note: Yogourmet Freeze Dried Yogurt Starter does contain skim milk powder and sucrose. If you're looking for a completely dairy free alternative, you may want to try GI ProStart™ Yogurt Culture Starter. I haven't used it, so I can't endorse it. If you have, leave a comment below about your experiences with it.

A note on yogurt makers

Recently, I found a never used, discontinued Salton one quart yogurt maker at a thrift store for under $10. (You can find used units on eBay for $70-90.) I prefer the one quart size to the Salton Yogurt Maker with 7 Glass Jars that I also own. Pouring the yogurt mixture into the glass jars is messy and time consuming. Plus you have seven jars (and lids) to wash instead of one large container. Plus, I’ve broken a jar and cannot find a replacement.

If you are serious about making your own yogurt, invest in a two quart system like the Yogourmet Multi Electric Yogurt Maker. If you’re still experimenting, you can make yogurt in a crockpot or in a quart jar using everything from a heating pad to the sun. Making coconut yogurt is pretty foolproof as long as your starter is good and you don’t overheat your yogurt.

Homemade Coconut Tapioca Yogurt

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients:

Special equipment:

  • A candy or milk frothing thermometer
  • Yogurt maker

Directions:

  1. Pour coconut milk into a saucepan.
  2. Add tapioca and stevia to the coconut milk. Mix thoroughly with a whisk or spoon.
  3. Heat mixture to 170 to 180 degrees F.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool down to 110 degrees F.
  5. Mix in yogurt culture starter to coconut milk.
  6. Pour into yogurt container(s) and place into your yogurt maker.
  7. Heat for six hours or until you have the desired consistency and taste. (The longer it cooks, the more sour it will taste and the firmer it will be.)

Nutritional information

1 serving = 1/2 cup

  • 103 calories
  • 7.5 g fat
  • 6.6 g saturated fat
  • 8.3 g sodium
  • 16.7 g carbohydrates
  • 0 fiber

Weight Watchers POINTS = 3 (Nonfat milk yogurt has 2 POINTS)

This Mama’s tips

  • This is a gluten-free recipe.
  • This recipe isn't 100% casein free since the yogurt starter has skim milk in it.
  • You can buy Yogourmet Freeze Dried Yogurt Starter online or at your local health food store.
  • You can use any brand of coconut milk you can find. I chose Thai Kitchen because it’s available at most mainstream grocery stores. Also, you can buy it by the case on Amazon for $1.73 per can.
  • If you’re concerned about BPA or want organic coconut milk, try Native Forest Organic Light Coconut Milk.
  • You can also use full fat coconut milk. I tried both full fat and lite and the results were the same. Your calories and fat will be higher with full fat coconut milk, of course.
  • If you want super thick yogurt, add another tablespoon of instant tapioca. If you want thinner yogurt cut it down to 1 or 2 tablespoons.
  • There’s just enough stevia added to the mixture to give it a pleasant taste. You can add more stevia during the cooking process if you want it super sweet.
  • Feel free to substitute sugar, honey or agave nectar for the stevia, too. All will increase your calorie and carb counts, of course.
  • After the yogurt sets, you can add additional flavorings, like vanilla extract, more sweetener or fruit.

A few of my favorite things: Greek style yogurt

Greek Gods Greek Yogurt I grew up eating a Dannon coffee yogurt every morning for breakfast. This was back when Dannon was the only yogurt sold in grocery stores, years before Yoplait showed up. Now there are a million types of yogurt to choose from – no fat, low fat, lite, artificially sweetened, yogurt for kids, organic, probiotic, baby yogurt, and even yogurt drinks like kefir.

Yogurt for most Americans is an overly sweetened liquid that is supposed to be good for us, but has become so processed and sugared up that it’s not. It’s a sad state of affairs, especially when compared to European yogurts and their thick, creamy, amazingly delicious goodness.

When we came home after visiting my my sister in Switzerland, my husband told me to stop buying the cheap, low fat store brand yogurt and look for something better. We settled on organic Horizon Organic low fat yogurt at a dollar a cup. Luckily, I can get it at my local discount grocery store for 20 cents – when they have it in stock, that is.

Greek yogurt – good in all its varieties

Fage Greek Yogurt Then I discovered Greek style yogurt on a trip to Boston. I fell in love with its tangy taste and found that even zero fat Greek yogurt has a rich creaminess unlike most regular no fat yogurts. I was hooked – 0%, 2%, 5%, full fat, flavored – I loved it all even though Greek yogurt is pricey. Oh well, you get what you pay for.

I started trying out different brand like no fat organic Oikos Greek yogurt, a personal favorite since it’s organic and made by Stonyfield Farm whose environmental practices I wholeheartedly support. Fage is a great brand, too, and comes in an amazing variety of styles (fat content) and flavors. (See what the BlogHer reviewers think of Fage.) There is also Chobani Greek yogurt, Greek Gods yogurt, and Voskos Greek yogurt. I haven’t tried the last three but just picked up some Voskos today at the discount market. Can’t wait to see if it’s as good as Oikos and Fage. (Just took a yogurt break – it’s delicious!)

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High Protein Yogurt Oatcakes with Pomegranate Syrup


High Protein Yogurt Oatcakes from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comStonyfield Farm’s new line of Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt recently made its appearance at my local grocery store. I love Greek yogurt for its taste and thickness as much as its health benefits. Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt has 0% fat, just 90 calories per 5.3 oz.-serving (for plain), twice the protein of regular yogurt, fewer carbohydrates, and its lower in lactose than regular yogurt.

Inspired by a recipe Fitness Surfer sent me for Eating For Life oatmeal pancakes, I thought I’d try a yogurt version. Note that Quaker Oats are the same nutritionally. They roll the oats thinner to make them faster cooking, so steel cut isn’t better than old fashioned or instant.

High Protein Yogurt Oatcakes

Makes four servings of three pancakes (3-4")

These high protein oatmeal pancakes taste great covered with a shmear of Oikos Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla, blueberry, or honey) or drizzled with with maple syrup, honey, fruit syrup, or agave nectar. I used Top Chef winner, Stephanie Izard’s recipe for Pomegranate Syrup for my pancakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant, one-minute, old fashioned, or steel cut Quaker oats*
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup fat-free Stonyfield yogurt or Oikos Greek Style yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar, honey, maple syrup or sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree.
  2. Coat a hot pancake griddle or frying pan with a little butter, oil or a non-stick spray. (I like PAM All Natural Original Canola Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray since it doesn’t gunk up my pans.)
  3. Pour approximate 1/4 cup of batter to make a 3-4" pancake. Flip over once the batter starts to bubble.

Nutritional information

Approximate nutritional Information for 3 pancakes (1 serving)

Calories – 136
Fat – 12 calories, 2g
Fiber – 1g
Protein – 11g
Carbs – 21g
Sugars – 9g

Pomegranate Syrup

Recipe by Stephanie Izard

If you don’t have pomegranate juice on hand, try orange, cranberry or acai berry juice instead. If the juice you’re using is bitter (like black currant juice) use more sweetener or add some apple juice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup 100% pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

Directions:

  1. In non-reactive sauce pan, reduce liquid over medium high heat until thickened. The sauce will still be thin, but delicious!

Yoplait Kids – getting better for you all the time

yoplait yogurt I never buy children's yogurt because I hate all the crap they put in it to make it attractive to kids. There is no reason why yogurt needs to full of sugar or artificial dyes for kids to find it palatable.

So when Mom Central sent me samples of Yoplait® Kids peach and strawberry-banana yogurt and mixed berry yogurt drink, I was prepared for something about as wholesome as a trip to the donut store.

New and Improved Indeed

I was pleasantly surprised. First Yoplait Kids has 25% less sugar than the leading kid's yogurt. That's 26 grams of sugar per 8 oz. vs. the usual 35 grams of sugar per 8 oz. I was also pleased to see that they use sugar instead of corn syrup. Yoplait Kids is low fat and has vitamins A and D, live and active cultures, and Omega-3 DHA added to help brain development. Not perfect but better than your average kids' or generic store brand yogurt.

They also use beet juice concentrate and annatto extract to color the yogurts. If your child is sensitive to artificial dyes, this may be a product for you to try. Also, the texture is smooth, with no chunks that could potentially choke young children learning to eat solids.

The Packaging

I wasn't entirely thrilled with Yoplait Kids' tie-in with characters from Nick Jr. TV programming as carton character bombardment is always annoying. Still, I was happy that I could toss the cardboard container and the #2 plastic cups and bottles into the recycling bin. Our fancy organic yogurt cups are #5 plastic, which our recycling company won't take.

I also like the serving size of the containers - 3.5 oz. for the yogurt drink and 4 oz. for the yogurt cups. This is perfect for my daughter who has trouble finishing a 6 or 8 oz. cup of yogurt.

The Taste, Suggestions and a Coupon

Of course, with all the sugar, Yoplait Kids yogurt is yummy. The kids went through the yogurt and drinks in a couple of days. I'd like to see Yoplait further reduce the sugar and add chunks of fruit for the older kids. Maybe they should have a whole milk baby version, a low fat toddler version, and then a chunky version with larger serving sizes for older children.

I will definitely be buying Yoplait Kids in the future, mostly to get my kids to stop eating their father's expensive organic yogurt. It'll be nice to pack the drinks in my son's lunch and perfect to take to the park or camping. If Yoplait Kids sounds like something you'd be interested in trying, click here to get a coupon for a free package.

Mama Hester’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Mama Hester's Roasted Red Pepper Soup at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comI love it when my readers write in with a request or a recipe. This soup sounds particularly delicious and super healthy. I'll have to make it soon!

Mother Hester writes:

Here's a recipe for roasted red pepper soup that I keep on hand and make almost every week as I take my lunch to work. I eat mostly vegetarian and if my boys want something (meat or fried) that I don't want to eat then I fix what they want and heat up some of this soup for me.

The people I work with beg for some when I bring this for lunch because it's so aromatic. I started making this because a man I work with is diabetic and overweight and is supposed to be on a low-fat diet. He complained that low-fat food didn't taste good and that he couldn't eat low fat.

I made this soup, brought it to work and offered him some when he commented on how good it smelled. After he ate two bowls of it, I told him that it was low fat and good for him. He is now trying some of my low-fat recipes. I'm not sure how much fat is in it, but I think that the olive oil is the only fat.

Mama Hester’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup variations

  • Sometimes I use two whole roasted garlic bulbs instead of the garlic cloves since they're sweeter.
  • For added kick add one chipotle pepper in adobe sauce when adding the vegetable stock.
  • Add leftover vegetables that might be in the refrigerator, like baked squash, leftover brown rice or black beans. The black beans will give it a darker color when you puree it and will add lots of fiber.
Mama Hester's Roasted Red Pepper Soup at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Mama Hester's Roasted Red Pepper Soup

This soup is very good heated up in the microwave the next day.

Ingredients

  • 1 10-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 large potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 6-ounce can low sodium tomato paste
  • 5 14-ounce cans vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Fat free sour cream or fat free Greek yogurt, for garnish

Directions

  1. Empty the jar of red peppers into a strainer placed over a bowl or in the sink. Once they have drained I slice them open and remove any seeds because I don't like the seeds in my soup. They don't puree at all.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot (4 or 5 quart). Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic (when using fresh, if using roasted then add after the vegetable stock), lightly salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the potato, vegetable stock, tomato paste and bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the roasted red peppers and simmer for 15 more minutes.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and process in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  7. Taste and add salt or pepper if needed.
  8. To garnish, add a dollop of fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt, chop the basil into ribbons and sprinkle on top of soup that's been ladled into a bowl.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: