Berry Smoothie Pie

Berry Smoothie Pie

Berry Smoothie Pie

Looking for a quick-to-make dessert for the weekend?  This one is it!

Smoothies are the “in” drink now-a-days.  They can contain just about any combination of ingredients that are compatible and taste good together.  All vegetables, all fruits, some yogurt, grains or seeds;  the possibilities are endless.   Most of us enjoy a smoothie because it’s cool and refreshing and if made with some thought to ingredients, can be quite nutritious.

One of my favorite kinds of smoothie is made with strawberries, yogurt and almond milk with an occasional banana added for thickness.  Today’s recipe for Berry Smoothie Pie grew out of my love of strawberry smoothies.  Wanting to capture all the luscious flavor of fresh strawberries, but without the added sugar, I started with strawberry sugar-free gelatin.  I dissolved it in cranberry juice, then added a small cup of strawberry blended Greek yogurt, and lots of sliced strawberries.  I blended this all in the blender and poured it into a cookie crumb pie crust;  let it chill until set, then served it with a dollop of low-fat whipped topping. I must say  this pie is “berry, berry good”.  It’s quick and easy to make, cuts cleanly, it’s cool and refreshing and tastes great.  What more can you ask of a summertime desert?

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BERRY SMOOTHIE PIEIMG_7603

Yield:  8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 package sugar-free strawberry gelatin ( raspberry would be good, too)
  • 1/3 cup low-cal, low-sugar, cranberry juice
  • 3/4 cup ( 6-oz.) low-fat Greek yogurt ( strawberry or raspberry)
  • 3 cups chopped berries ( strawberries or raspberries)
  • 1  (9-inch) graham cracker or sugar cookie crust
  • Fat-free whipped topping

Directions:

1.  In a small microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle gelatin over juice, let stand 1 minute.  Microwave on high 40 seconds.  Stir, and let stand 1 minute for gelatin to completely dissolve.

IMG_7604               2.  In a blender container, combine gelatin mixture, yogurt and berries. Process until blended and smooth.

 

Pour into crust and chill 4 hours.  Serve with whipped topping.IMG_7605

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SOURCE:   This is a major revision of an old recipe from Taste of Home.

 

Yogurt Pancakes

Yogurt Pancakes

Yogurt Pancakes

“Best pancakes I ever had!,  Mmmmmm!”,  says Mr. D.      “Best pancakes I ever made!”,  says me.  No Kidding!!   These are the lightest, puffiest, thickest pancakes I have ever made,  they are absolutely delicious.  I used vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt, but I’m sure other flavors of yogurt would be equally delicious, and give lots of opportunity to vary the flavor of these.  Also you could add in other ingredients like blueberries, dried cranberries, banana, chocolate chips, etc.

The recipe makes 12 – 16 pancakes, and they can be frozen and reheated in a microwave on high for 40 – 50 seconds, so they are readily at hand for weekday mornings.  I really like it that they contain so much yogurt which provides 9 gm. protein in 2 pancakes yet so little fat–only what the two eggs supply.   This is a power-packed start to the day.

Makes enough extra to freeze.

Makes enough extra to freeze.

YOGURT PANCAKES 

Yield:   6 servings

Ingredients:

You will need 4 small cups yogurt to make 2 cups (16  0z.)

You will need 4 small cups yogurt to make 2 cups (16 0z.)

  • 2 cups all – purpose flour  (I used half white whole wheat flour.)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups ( 16 oz. ) yogurt, preferable non-fat (I used vanilla flavored yogurt.)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • optional add ins:  chocolate chips, dried cranberries, sliced ripe bananas, blueberries, coarsely chopped nuts

Directions:

1.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, and water.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.   Batter will be thick.

Air bubbles start to form when the baking soda reacts with the yogurt.

Air bubbles start to form when the baking soda reacts with the yogurt.

2.  Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with optional ingredients if desired.  Turn when bubbles form on top;  cook until second side is golden brown.

Big, thick pancakes.

Big, thick pancakes.

Cook to golden brown,

Cook to golden brown,

3.  To freeze, arrange cooled pancakes in a single layer on baking sheets.  Freeze overnight or until frozen.  Transfer to a resealable plastic freezer bag.

4.  To use frozen pancakes:  place pancakes on a microwave-safe plate;  microwave on high for 40 -50 seconds or until heated through.

I served these pancakes with my blueberry sauce that I wrote about here.

Served with blueberry sauce.    Outstanding!

Served with blueberry sauce. Outstanding!

SOURCE:  Taste of Home

Spirit-Lifting Cherry Coffee Cake

 Cherry Cream Coffee Cake


Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

“Forget your troubles, come on, get happy,  you better chase all your cares away”

The words to that song come to mind when I think about this coffee cake.  It’s guaranteed to be a spirit-lifter for anyone who tastes it.  Just looking at it makes me happy.

This recipe was featured recently on the blog “Rantings of an Amateur Chef”.  The blog author has been using Greek yogurt in a variety of dishes as a substitute for higher fat and calorie laden foods such as sour cream and cream cheese.

That is a technique that I also use on many occasions, so when I saw this recipe for Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, I knew I had to make it, not so much because of the substitutions, but because it contains almond flavoring.  My all-time favorite flavor in the world!!   But since I, too, would be incorporating the substitutions, I purchased 0%-fat Greek yogurt in Black Cherry flavor as a match-up with the cherry pie filling that is part of the cake’s filling.

Looks luscious.

Looks luscious.

“Shout Alleluia,  come on, get happy,”

The aroma of this cake baking was so enticing I could hardly wait for it to cool sufficiently before sampling it. While still a very rich cake, the yogurt did its job in making a very creamy layer of filling below the cherry pie filling.  The over-all texture is mouth watering and tender with a little crunch provided by the sliced almonds.  And the combination of cherries and almond flavoring is a classic that I love.  This cake could be served as a dessert,  as a fancy coffee cake for a brunch, or just for breakfast.  I would not hesitate to make and take it as a gift for someone whose spirits need lifting.

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“The sun is shining, come on, get happy”.

CHERRY CREAM CHEESE COFFEE CAKE

YIELD:  8 – 10 servings

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

Crust ingredients.

Crust ingredients.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour ( I substituted in 1 cup white whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sour cream ( or 0%fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

For the Filling:

  • 1 package ( 8-oz. ) cream cheese, softened ( I substituted 8-oz. Black Cherry flavor 0% fat Greek yogurt)

    Filling ingredients.

    Filling ingredients.

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 can ( 21-oz.) cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350*F.  Pan needed:  9 – inch springform pan with removable bottom,  ungreased.

2.  In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar.  Cut in butter until crumbly.

Cutting in the butter.

Cutting in the butter.

Reserve 3/4 cup crumb mixture and set aside.

Reserve some crumbs for the topping.

Reserve some crumbs for the topping.

Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt to remaining crumb mixture.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg, then add sour cream and almond extract.  Whisk to blend.  Stir into the crumb mixture to form a thick dough.

Mix together the egg, sour cream and almond extract

Mix together the egg, sour cream and almond extract

4.  Press onto the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the springform pan.

Press crust into bottom of pan.

Press crust into bottom of pan.

5.  Make filling:  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese (yogurt), and sugar for 1 minute.  Add egg; beat just until combined.  Spread over crust.

Pour on cream filling.

Pour on cream filling.

Carefully spoon pie filling over the top.

Spoon on cherry filling.

Spoon on cherry filling.

Sprinkle with almonds, and the reserved crumbs.

Top with sliced almonds.

Top with sliced almonds.

Sprinkle on reserved crumbs.

Sprinkle on reserved crumbs.

6.  Bake at 350*F for 50 – 60 minutes or until center is set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen;  remove sides of pan.  Store in the refrigerator.

Out of the oven.  Isn't that beautiful?

Out of the oven. Isn’t that beautiful?

Looks luscious.

Looks luscious.

Tastes as good as it looks.

Tastes as good as it looks.

SOURCE:  Taste of Home via Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Soft Oatmeal Cookies with Biscoff Glaze

These cookies are so seriously good that I have to give them away. Yes, I do, because I could eat the whole batch all by myself.

Am I the only person who did not know about Biscoff Spread until now? I really hope its a new product on the market, otherwise I’ve been missing out on something so good I don’t have words to describe it. Its thick and spreadable like peanut butter, but made from Biscoff cookies, so there are no nuts in it—great for folks with nut allergies. It’s all natural and vegan, and it can be used just like peanut butter. Where to find it? Check your grocery store in the section where peanut butter and Nutella are located, or I’ve heard it can be found at Walmart, or at Amazon.com.

I learned about Biscoff Spread from another blogger that I follow and from whom I got this recipe. Ordinarily I’m not overly fond of oatmeal cookies, but these are the best I’ve ever had. Soft and moist, they melt in your mouth, and the glaze on top—oh my, its sooooo good. If you’re a little tired of run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookies, give these a try. In the words of my favorite taste tester, “these cookies offer a new experience for your taste buds”.

OATMEAL COOKIES WITH BISCOFF GLAZE

The recipe says it will make 18 cookies, but I got 28. I guess my cookie scoop is smaller than what is specified in the directions but that’s OK, ‘cuz then I can have two.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups quick oats You can use regular oats, but the flakes in the cookies will be larger.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter ( 4 oz.)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup Biscoff Spread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 & 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup

DIRECTIONS FOR COOKIES

1. Whisk together all the dry ingredients, oats through flour. Set aside.

2. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter, oil, and sugar. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in yogurt and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed.

3. Add in the flour mixture in 3 additions, and mix just to incorporate. Refrigerate the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2 tablespoon size cookie scoop to place dough onto prepared sheets.

5. Bake at 350 for 12–14 minutes, till light brown. Cool on wire rack.

6. While cookies bake, make the glaze. Whisk or beat all the ingredients together till smooth. Add more milk or sugar if needed to achieve a pourable consistency.

7. Place a cooling rack on a parchment lined baking sheet and put all the cookies on the rack very close together.

Pour glaze over cookies. It will spread and smooth out, and after about 30 minutes will become set. Store in an air-tight container.

SOURCE: BAKE AT 350

Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake

The heat of summer has arrived !  In winter I wish for the warmth of summer, and in summer I’m looking for some relief from the heat.  One day last week when I was out doing a few errands I noted on the  time and temperature clock at the bank that the temperature was 106.  Yikes!!!  What am I doing out in this heat?   Let me get home quickly to some air-conditioning and a cold drink.

There is nothing so satisfying as unwinding with a frosty cold milkshake.  However most of the milk shakes I’ve ever known carry a lot of calories–hidden way down there at the bottom of the glass.  So,  I decided to put my milkshake on a diet by seeing if I could cut some of the calories and still maintain its cold, satisfying goodness.  Here’s what I did:  for half of the ice-cream I substituted vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt, which still made it creamy and thick.  For the milk I used non-fat milk and added  2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup, and then I also added 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.  All the flavors of a peanut-butter cup candy.  HMmmm!  How about if I add one or two. My first instinct was to throw them in the blender with the other ingredients, but I restrained myself and settled for garnishing the glass with one candy and biting off little pieces in between refreshing sips.   Pretty darn good if I do say so.

Ingredients

1/2 cup cold non-fat milk  (plain or chocolate)

1/2 cup low-fat vanilla or chocolate ice-cream

1 6oz. cup vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1-2 mini peanut butter cups

Chill a tall glass.  Place milk, ice-cream, yogurt, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter in a blender container.  Process until its thick and creamy.  Pour into chilled glass and sprinkle with crushed candy or slide one over the edge of the glass to garnish.

Make one—-you won’t be sorry!

Grab ‘N Go: Granola and Yogurt

Over the course of the last few years I’ve been moving away from buying ready made foods like cereals, soups, sauces, etc. and making more and more of these items myself.  My reasons are  threefold;  environmental:  less packaging to dispose of;  health:  I can eliminate all those unpronounceable ingredients, and have better control over what we are eating; and emotional:  I feel really good knowing I can make it as good or better than what’s in a package.  Granola is one of those packaged items that I have ceased buying and now make at home.

Granola is very versatile.  It can be added to foods, as in a crumbly topping on a fruit cobbler, put on foods to add crunch, like over fruits, or ice-cream, or eaten out-of-hand as a snack.  So with that said, I have been making homemade granola and  spreading it around  rather liberally.  My lunches consist, for the most part, of fruit smoothies, or yogurt with granola on top; and for my husband, I send him off to work with a nutritious salad for lunch, and a bag of granola for a mid-afternoon snack.  Each time I make it I vary the fruits and nuts I put in it, so it does not become boring.

For anyone who needs a quick “grab and go” breakfast, or who brings lunch to work, yogurt and granola is a delicious, good-for-you duo.  I like Greek style yogurt because it’s thicker than regular styles, and because it packs almost twice the protein, so you’re not as likely to get the mid-morning munchies.  You can also stretch your budget by purchasing the large size yogurt and putting it into smaller 8 0z. containers.  Likewise package your granola in baggies, so when you’re ready to leave the house, just grab one of each and  you will be on your way with a breakfast or lunch that is economical, delicious, and good for you.

Trail Mix Granola

Makes about 5 cups

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats


    Have all your ingredients ready before starting to assemble.

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups add-ins, like dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, raisins; coconut, nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts.

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a glass measuring cup.  Heat briefly in microwave ( 1 minute at 50% power) to blend  and melt any sugar lumps.  Stir well,  then pour over oats in a  large bowl and toss to coat.

3.  Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes.

4.   Let cool slightly, then transfer back into large bowl and stir in add-ins.  Let cool completely before packaging, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

SOURCE:  Quick Vegetarian Pleasures