Greek Yogurt Desserts March 15, 2014

*Almond Joy * Chocolate Fudge Sundae * Banana Split

                                                        Greek Yogurt… Some of the Possibilities!!

Hello my friends, as promised I am going to show you the easiest and tastiest way to turn your homemade yogurt or Fage ( the next best) into a sweet Chocolaty, Nutty, delight!  I know you’re thinking how good can this really be and how many calories am I really saving?? The answer is wonderful and a lot! So let’s start with Everyone’s favorite… Chocolate Sundae!!

It is so simple and delicious and will help satisfy those cravings we all have when we pass a Stone Cold Creamery! You can purchase a container of Fage non-fat Greek yogurt and flavor with a teaspoon of vanilla in one 35.3oz container. Or you can start with my Blog post and make your own non-fat Greek yogurt. if making your own, the only change you will make to that recipe is when heating the milk you will need to add a whole vanilla bean that has been split open or you can add pure vanilla extract. You can find whole vanilla beans in the spice section, by now you know I like the McCormick brand of spices.

If you have never worked with a whole vanilla bean, it’s easy and this is the best vanilla gets. So take a bean and split it down the center with a knife and then scrape the inside seeds out of the bean. It will look like paste, but there are tons of tasty little vanilla beans all stuck together ready to see the world! Until they find out they are going into a pot of hot milk!yikes! Mix a little of the milk with the Vanilla beans to loosen them up and then put everything back in the pot, including the whole bean you cut and scraped. The little vanilla bean seeds are what you see in premium vanilla ice creams. I am not talking about French Vanilla, which also has vanilla in it but is started with a custard base that is made with eggs. The result an extra creamy texture and the yellow color and Oh Yes a ton more calories!

Also, in baking, please never ever use imitation vanilla, it is sugar, flavoring, color added and water and is horrible. Most baking recipes call for vanilla, it costs a little more but definitely worth it. Does it make that much of a difference? Yes it does, the taste of pure vanilla is rich with natural flavors. I am not even a vanilla person,  I don’t care for anything vanilla when it stands on it’s own. Yet added it to something like yogurt, then mixed with chocolate and nuts it becomes divine!

Keep an eye out for sales on Pure Vanilla Extract at your grocery store or a coupon towards the purchase. Also, I have found great buys  on Madagascar or Bourbon Vanilla at Marshalls and TJ Max.  Remember, their spices are not expired, they buy from retail stores that are closing or bought too much of a product and they sell it in bulk to these stores.  Just like the clothes, they get a massive discount and pass it on to you! No, these stores do not sponsor me, I just love a good bargain on everything and this is where I go for most of my Kitchen supplies.

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My favorite is the Madagascar or Bourbon , both mild yet rich and creamy. Now if you don’t want to deal with a whole vanilla bean, there is an option that will still have your yogurt riddled with the beautiful brown specs of a real vanilla bean. The answer is Vanilla Bean Paste. A little thicker than Vanilla Extract and all the flavor and features of a Vanilla Bean, simply a creation from the Vanilla Bean Gods!!

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Chocolate Nut Sundae or  Make It A Banana Split

½  cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (50 calories)
¼  cup sugar & fat free chocolate Jello  (40 calories)
2 tbsp. toasted slivered almonds (70 calories)
1  tsp. honey or agave nectar  (60 calories)

Add 1 small banana (72 calories) to make it a Banana Split
1 cut up maraschino cherry (3.3 calories)

Do you believe it, only 3.3 calories in a maraschino cherry, so go ahead and splurge. Add 3 if you want that will be 10 calories….yippee!

Almond Joy Sundae

½  cup vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt (50 calories)
¼  cup sugar a& fat free chocolate pudding (40 calories)
2 tbsp. slivered almonds (70 calories)
1 tbsp.  sweetened coconut (40 calories)
I realize that these desserts are not calorie free, but they are a delicious and semi healthy version of the real thing! A true banana split starts at 700 calories but with everything you are looking at over 1,000 calories!
Remember: keep the yogurt that you have infused with vanilla in a separate container than the one that is just plain!

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Ingredients

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Chocolate Nut Sundae

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Banana Split Sundae

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Almond Joy Sundae

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Toasted Pecans, Berries and Honey

As they say everything in moderation…. Yeah right!! I can’t do moderation, but I can do a healthy eating day that follows a really bad eating day. And I mean bad as in the eating frenzy I had in Annapolis with my friend last Saturday! It was filled with Chicken Wings, Boardwalk Fries, Corned Beef Fritters made with big cubes of Corned Beef inside a beer battered crust, yummy! Then I thought ok I better eat something healthy so we ate a dozen fresh delicious oysters on the half shell. Yes this would be healthier if you did not have high cholesterol.  Well I do have high cholesterol, so just as I am slurping up one of those Eastern Shore babies I was told they are very high in cholesterol. I knew most shellfish especially Shrimp were, but I had no idea that Oysters were. So I Goggled it to be sure and yep they are on the list with shrimp, mussels, clams and certain types of fish.

Did that slow me down??? Sadly no… We then finished the day with a big scoop of Homemade Ice Cream in a Waffle Cone.  I told you I have no willpower even when it comes to my health. But I am wiser than I seem and I don’t eat like that every day. The following day I had my wonderful Greek Yogurt with some berries, almonds and a drizzle of honey. I made a protein shake for lunch and grilled chicken and vegetables for dinner.

Remember, there are many things you can do to keep your weight on track. First don’t be lazy, climb the stairs every time something needs to go up and not just once a week when there is a pile at the bottom of the steps, do leg lifts while you are watching TV or doing dishes. Find a 10 minute workout program and do it everyday, 10 minutes…a breeze! Park your car far away and take the extra walk, not only do you get the exercise it but it saves your car from dents and scratches. It’s a Win,Win situation!  The point? Stay busy and keep moving!!

And if you happen to have a day like my day in Annapolis, your waistline will not even notice!! Hope these luscious desserts satisfy your cravings and ease your conscious whether you are watching your weight or just want to indulge in your sweet cravings a healthier way!

Enjoy and Indulge,

Chef Steff

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