Greek Yogurt: Kitchen Superstar

Hello sweeties! I hope this finds you enjoying your summer! I’m enjoying mine. ๐Ÿ™‚ As you know, part of my summer fun involves visiting the farmer’s market.ย I went to my market in Courthouse on Saturday and made a major haul:

Market BootyI bought peaches, one little nectarine, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, an onion, yellow squash, zucchini, Brandywine tomatoes, beets, garlic scapes, tomatoes, some silver queen corn (my childhood favorite!!!), a container of Blue Ridge dairy Greek yogurt, and a pork shoulder that is barely peeking into the picture on the bottom right hand side. There’s also a little piece of cherry pie that I just couldn’t resist. It was a little one, I swear! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had a plan for the peaches, and they’ve been sitting in the box with their nectarine buddy and ripening a bit this week.

What a peach!

This was all gone. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Cherry Berry "Ice Cream"Time to make more frozen loveliness! I peeled all but one of the peaches and the nectarine (5 fruits), and gave them a blitz in the blender along with 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, the juice of a lemon, the scrapings from a random vanilla bean I had in the fridge and a little can of fat free sweetened condensed milk. Today, I added a bit of extra love to the batch too: 1/2 cup of fat free plain Greek yogurt. I put the mix into the machine and flipped the magic switch.

Magic MachineWhile my mix was going for a spin, I peeled and chopped the remaining peach. It was SO ripe and juicy. YUM!

Peachy KeenAfter the freezer had been running for 30 minutes, I added my ripe peach chunks and let it run for 10 more minutes.ย 

ChunkyTake a look at this!:

Peachy Creamy LoveThis batch is bursting with fresh peach flavor, creaminess and tang from the Greek yogurt, and the smooth sweetness of the condensed milk. I will be sure to add Greek yogurt from now on. I couldn’t believe the difference it made! This is the creamiest batch I’ve made so far. I’ve tried more traditional recipes using eggs and full fat dairy before, but I can be quite happy with a slightly less creamy dessert that still tastes great and is virtually fat free. The Greek yogurt really upped the creaminess (as well as the protein!) without adding extra fat. Me likey. Me likey a lot!

Seriously, I don’t know how I made it for so long without Greek yogurt in my kitchen! It’s great for making potato salad, chicken salad and tuna salad creamy. It works well in baked goods. It makes a great salad dressing when mixed with a bit of mustard/vinegar/pomegranateย molasses/hummus. It’s yummy with honey/maple syrup/agave/jam/nuts and fruit. It works great as a sub for sour cream. It adds creaminess to curry. It makes a great dip for fruit when mixed with a bit of PB2 and jam. I’ve never asked it to make my morning cup of coffee, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it could do that too. Yes. I believe Greek yogurt has officially become a staple in my kitchen. In case you can’t find it where you live, you can always make your own! Making your own might be a cheaper alternative as well, and that’s a good thing these days.

Aside from my frozen deliciousness, I’ve had a pretty uneventful week in the kitchen. I mentioned that I bought a pork shoulder at the market on Saturday, and I’ve been eating leftover pulled pork all week. While not as lean as a pork tenderloin, it isn’t too bad, and I tried to minimize the fat as much as possible. First, I trimmed off all of the visible fat using my kitchen scissors, and rubbed the pork with some mesquite grilling spice mix:

Pork!Then, I put it into the slow cooker with 1/2 an onion, 1/4 cup of apple juice, 3/4 cup of water, and 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Then I let it cook on high for two hours. After two hours, I flipped it over and let it cook for a couple of hours more.ย 

In the PoolAt that point, my meat thermometer told me that it was done, and I pulled it out and let it rest. Easy!ย 

Yum!

I let it cool and then gave it a good shred with a couple of forks.ย 

This pork shoulder was about 2 1/4 pounds before cooking. I put in enough liquid to keep the meat moist, but the meat was really just dipping its toes in the puddle. My goal was to allow the fat and juices to run off into the bottom of the pan instead of later appearing on my plate. I grew up eating Memphis style barbecue, which isn’t typically swimming in grease or sauce. I saw a number of recipes on line for cooking a pork shoulder in a slow cooker, and most of them involved adding bottles of barbecue sauce. I think that is no bueno from a calorie perspective and also from a yumminess perspective. I didn’t need that much sauce, and there would have been no way to avoid any of the fat that had cooked off if the drippings and sauce were all incorporated. I wanted to be able to taste the meat, and I was surprised at how much I liked this given that I cooked it without the benefit of a smoker. It was moist, delicious and, maybe by virtue of its ecofriendly upbringing, it really tasted like pork. Perfect!

My friend, Inga’s mom, came over for dinner Saturday night, and we each had a big plate of summer:

Plate o' SummerI’ve enjoyed something similar for my dinners this week, but now it is all gone. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’m going to have to do this again sometime soon!

I’ve had one other blogworthy eat this week. I picked up a little package of this wondrous stuff at Whole Foods over the weekend:

Awesome!I nibbled some by itself, but quickly realized its proper place:

Outstanding Oat BranThe. Best. Oat bran. Ever. It has chocolatey nibs, coconut, sweet raisins, berries and oat bran goodness all in one big bowl. Sadly, I’m out of this yummy little mix, but I will definitely be buying more on my next Whole Foods visit!!

So, now you’ve seen the highlights from my week. I know I’ve become a once or twice a week blogger this summer, but I’m finding so many nice outdoor activities to keep me occupied. Last night, I decided to walk home from work instead of taking the metro. It took two hours, and I was pretty pooped when I got home. However, the weather was great, I enjoyed my stroll through the city, and I got some exercise without hitting the gym. I’m trying to find more opportunities for that sort of activity, and it was a fabulous day for a long trek home. What’s your favorite way to get in some exercise without going to the gym?

I’m also trying not to focus so much on food. I think that, while useful, keeping a photo journal of my eats each day was putting way too much of a focus on my food and making me a little crazy. I’m sure to go back to that eventually, but, for now, I want to focus on new dishes and treats in my posts. I loved everything in this post, and I loved telling you about it!

Now, it’s time for me to head to bed. I did something weird to my shoulder the other evening, and I don’t think this evening’s strength training workout did me any favors. I believe that some ice may be called for, and then I’m heading to bed.ย 

I hope you have a great weekend, and I hope you stick with me and my infrequent posts. I think I just need to take it easy a bit and go from there. I’m sure I’ll be in the kitchen this weekend, and I’ll want to tell you about it for sure. Until then, ciao for now, y’all! ๐Ÿ™‚

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21 Comments

Filed under Arlington, Farmer's Market, Food, Greek Yogurt, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

21 responses to “Greek Yogurt: Kitchen Superstar

  1. EnglishGarden

    The shoulder looks like Memphis pulled pork on the plate. Uhmm

    My gardener brought in couple of zucchini -big zucchine- tonight. Not sure what I will do with them as they are rather large.

    Always Chocolate-zucchini cake. LOL but guess I will put them on the griddler.

    • I wish I had some “real” barbecue for sure, but this kind of hit the spot. You can’t go wrong with the griddler… or with chocolate zucchini cake! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. My favorite “unexercise is shopping a WalMart supercenter. Most are a mile if you walk the perimenter and walking (strolling) gets me WW exercise points.

    I did it this a.m. in Springfield for 1.5 hours.

  3. I love hiking! Actually I prefer outdoor cardio to the gym: jogging or hill walks or hikes.

    And I thought this was a great post, so you keep doing what you do! I only post once or twice a week too, and honestly I don’t think that’ll change..ehhh whatever ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Pingback: Greek Yogurt: Kitchen Superstar ยซ Just Sweet Enough | kitchensolvers

  5. That pork looks amazing! I can’t wait to try this out.

    And you should definitely post more ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. that ice cream looks amazing! I’m glad you’re enjoying your summer and the weather and the amazing things you get at your market! I wish I could get yogurt at mine – that would be awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. AmyJoGo

    I recently began buying greek yogurt after reading your blog and l.o.v.e. it. I shared a bowl of grogurt(with berries and agave nectar…another new thing for her) with my mom earlier this week since she wanted to know the difference. She immediately said ‘I could have this every day for breakfast!’. There’s just something about it that can’t be described. I am super excited to read that I can turn it greek at home since it is a bit more expensive than plain FF yogurt. Thank you so much for that tip!

    So this weekend, I’ll be making my own greek yogurt and peach sorbet…since yours looks absolutely amazing. I want your ice cream maker btw.

  8. You may have convinced me to make pulled pork this weekend! It would go perfectly with the peach and brown sugar ice cream I made last weekend! (Great minds think alike!)

    I agree that Greek Yogurt is a miracle substitute. I used it in place of sour cream for onion dip. No one realized it was yogurt and they certainly didn’t believe it was fat free. I makes a great chicken marinade because it keeps chicken breasts (which don’t have fat to keep them moist) from drying out–even on the grill.

  9. Yum to the ice cream and cacao nibs!! Those both sound fantastic!

    I don’t have a gym membership so I run/walk outside and use my own body weight for strength training.

  10. WOW you got so much great stuff at the market! Outside the weather, fruit is the BEST part of summer. Fabulous looking dinner and ice cream.

    You should def give those TJs flatbreads a try- totally fabulous

  11. debby

    I have an ice cream question for you, sweetie pie. I think you have a cuisinart ice cream maker, right? But did you get it with an extra freezer bowl? Do you think its necessary to have two?

    And, have you ever tried to make frozen yogurt, using essentially yogurt and fruit? (without the sw. condensed milk.)

  12. Hi, Debby-
    Yes, I do have the Cuisinart machine. I didn’t get an extra freezer bowl, and I don’t think one would be necessary unless you needed to make multiple batches in the same day. It does take about 24 hours for the freezer bowl to refreeze after you make a batch, so I would say that, unless you had an extra bowl in the freezer, you’d be limited to one batch per day. I just leave my bowl in the freezer so it’s ready whenever I am. Being able to do that is one benefit of having cleaned out my scary and packed freezer jungle! Ha!!

    I haven’t tried using just yogurt and fruit, but I’ve heard others talk about it. The condensed milk provides the sweetener (in addition to the fruit) in my easy cheater version, so I would think you might need to add some simple syrup (like I added in the watermelon sorbet) or some other sugar source if you weren’t using flavored and sweetened yogurt. Otherwise, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work just fine. If you try it, let me know!! If I try it, I’ll do the same. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Isn’t that fat free Blue Ridge Dairy Greek yogurt amazing? It is so amazingly rich and creamy that I can never believe that it isn’t full fat. Mmm. . . your week of food looks delicious.

  14. oh my goodness!!! that yogurt/ice cream/ whatever it is.. can you come to my house and make that??
    i’ll leave the door unlocked, come in any time!!

  15. Hey there! I just found your blog and love all of your photos and ideas and journey! Wow- congratulations on losing 180 lbs! That is truly inspiring and so impressive!

    Is pork butt the same as pork shoulder? I saw the butt on sale this week and didn’t know how to make it !?!?! Yours looks fantastic!

    I also love all of the fresh produce , Yum!

    • Hi, bhealthier! Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. ๐Ÿ™‚ My understanding is that the butt and shoulder are the same. I’m no expert, so I can’t swear to that, but that was what I learned through a bit of googling. It certainly seemed the same. It definitely helped out with my summertime craving for barbecue, although, I’m looking forward to my favorite Memphis barbecue when I’m home for the holidays. December is a long time away… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I may need to make another batch to get me through!

  16. Hey!!! i love the peach sorbet/ice cream, that looks so amazing and pretty darn simple to make!
    lovely!

    btw, i made my blog private now, so how do i get an invite over to you?? my email is amychristine11@gmail.com, or i guess wordpress lets you reply back to the comment ๐Ÿ˜‰ i would love to get one over to you!!

  17. I was just thinking the other day that I need to bust out my frozen yogurt machine… this peach recipe looks great. Thanks!

  18. Totally jealous of your frozen yogurt machine!!

    Love your farmer’s market loot too! ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Ahhh GREEK YOGURT… is there anything it can’t do? ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just did my online grocery order and after all these months have finally ordered the goods to make your chicken salad with the grapes and walnuts… I’m embarassingly excited ๐Ÿ™‚

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