The magic of yogurt (and other probiotic banter)

Before I start my own rambling, I encourage anyone reading to check out my friend Jessie’s blog. She’s also a registered dietitian but studying to be a certified yoga instructor.  If you live in Seattle, she teaches at the Northgate 24 Hour Fitness.  We’re not only RD friends, but we were roommates in college.  The two sides of our refrigerator could not have looked any more different (mine filled with diet foods, hers filled with a bunch of expensive organic stuff) but we are both passionate about nutrition.

Ok, moving on to yogurt.  I’ve featured it a lot on my blog, mostly mixing it with things like flax and fat free whipped topping and berries and almonds and you get the point.  I love a yogurt from Fred Meyer and QFC (Kroger stores) called “Carbmaster” because it’s low in sugar and has the same nutritional stats (as far as cals, protein, fat, calcium, etc) as other yogurt.  I also love it because it’s regularly on sale for $0.30 or $0.40.

I’m sorry dear Carbmaster, but you’ve been upstaged.  By Fage (which yes, I frequently pronounce FAY-JE) pronounced “FA-YEH” Greek yogurt.  It is thick and creamy and a little tangy and delicious.  The 0% variety has 100 calories, no fat, and 18g protein per 5.3 oz container – it is magical.

(giant Costco sized container)

I discovered the magic of Fage at work.  I get a certain credit worth of free food at work (I know, I’m incredibly lucky) and decided to get one of these little beauties.  I mixed a couple packets of Splenda in with it and have eaten the same thing 2-3 times a day since then.  I wish I were joking.

It reminded me of cream cheese frosting but without the nausea afterwards.  Or maybe like the sugar sweetened dip that people serve with fruit, or the “sauce” on Fruit Pizza (please someone tell me you know what I’m talking about).  It’s glorious, and it keeps me satisfied for hours.

Guess what? I found a combination that keeps me even MORE satisfied.  I do not get hungry for four hours (this is a big deal for me) after eating the above yogurt + Splenda + 1/8-1/4 c SF maple syrup + 2 scoops TJ’s Soy Protein powder.  It has the consistency of cookie dough or cake batter for no more than 250 calories.  I’ve been eating it twice a day, so I’m sure I’ll get sick of it eventually, but for now, I’m in love.

I’ll post some of my other yogurt creations on the recipe page.

Another reason yogurt rocks?  Probiotics! You’ve probably heard tons about them, but probiotics are “good bacteria” that help keep things functioning properly in your intestines.  There has been research to support the use of probiotics in a clinical setting (not acute, but for other patients).  If you decide to buy a pill probiotic, look for something that is in the refrigerator.  This means that the cultures are live and active and will actually work.  I find them in the natural foods section of Fred Meyer in that refrigerator.  They are more costly, but they will work.  You can also find probiotics in yogurt (make sure the label says “contains live active cultures”), refrigerated pickles (look at the label), kombucha, kefir, and other fermented products (like kimchi).  Nancy’s brand yogurt is a particularly good source of live active cultures.

I was buying kombucha at the store for $3/bottle and got tired of spending so much on it.  I really liked the taste (although a lot of people don’t like it, it is kind of vinegar-y.  The dietitians I work with hate it) but again, it just wasn’t worth it.  So, I decided to get on Etsy and buy some Kefir grains.

(The floaties are raisins.  Read my last post if you’re looking for poop)

I chose to buy water kefir grains, but you can also buy milk kefir.  They are really easy to maintain.  I should have killed them about 15 times and they’re still kicking.  It goes a little something like this:

Add kefir grains to jar.  Stir in 1/4 c sugar (I usually use less to keep the calorie count down, but mine don’t replicate as quickly either) and 1/8-1/4 c dried fruit.  Stir with a wooden or plastic spoon.  Let sit for two days (or two weeks if you are me).  Strain your kefir + raisin (now practically grapes), put the liquid into a separate jar to drink later and rinse your kefir grains.  Repeat.

(kefir close up)

This liquid is a little brown because of the raisins.  You can use any kind of fruit, or even use fruit juice instead of sugar water.  The possibilities are really endless, and the more sugar you add the more your kefir will duplicate.  When you get too much (you only need about 1/4 c per batch) you can share with friends!

What other ways do you get your “healthy” bacteria?   What is your favorite kind of yogurt/greek yogurt?  I’ve heard good things about Chobani, but have never had it.  Let me know!

A Day in the Life of Gertie

I wrote this post back in February, but thought I would post since I took the time to write it… I would like to be back in blogging action soon!

My life is busy.  Now that ski season/lessons are just about over, I can start thinking about the other parts of my life that I enjoy, you know, like sleeping.

I’m super jealous of Gertie, who seems to get to sleep all the time…

(In a pile of Brian’s dirty clothes)

(On a computer with a “Cone of Shame”)

(Her eyes are open but she’s probably actually sleeping)

(Not sleeping, but rediculously adorable)

Gertie’s day revolves around eating and going pee, one of which she does only at the time and location we determine.  (She didn’t get the nickname “Gert and Squirt” for no reason!).

I’m planning to do a more thorough update post, but since I  prepped this one several months ago, I thought I’d post 🙂

Meet my mom (and the tale of the “Round Bread”)

So, I must start this post by introducing you to one of the most important people in my life: my mother.

She’s a really great person and is where I inherited my love of cooking and baking.  When we go home for holidays, she cooks up a storm.  What she sometimes struggles with, however, is her sense of style.  Evidence: her outfit she wore during our travels to Mazatlan.

My sister and I informed her that gaucho pants are out of style and it’s inappropriate to wear black socks with tennis shoes.  I will be buying her some ankle socks for Christmas.

My mom can dress up too, she looked good at my wedding.

So, the reason for this post isn’t to critique every outfit she wears.  It’s to discuss this bread that she ranted and raved about.

It. Is. Incredible.  And only found at a store called MEGA in Mazatlan.  My mom and step-dad have a timeshare in Mazatlan (where we are staying this week) and have made many a trip to MEGA for groceries.  My mom discovered this bread on one of her trips and came home with this description (several times, did I mention she repeats herself?):

“There is this delicious round bread, it’s a great, big, round loaf [hands curve around to describe size and shape of bread] that you find at MEGA.  It’s really soft and just delicious.  And it’s cheap, like 80 cents.”

So, when Brian and I came to Mazatlan for our honeymoon, I set out to MEGA to find this “great, big, round delicious bread” that I had heard so much about.  We found it. And ate the whole loaf.

So yesterday we went to MEGA and bought two loaves and also wanted to try a pan dolce, because we never had and because it looked so freaking good…

We also had some yummy bread with some Chihuahua cheese as a snack.

Actually, what my mom my mom likes most is flan, and has become somewhat of a flan connoisseur.  She has determined that the hotel flan is the best.

The flan is creamy and the top is caramelized just right.  Oh my gosh, it is incredible.

I also tried something else I really hadn’t before tonight: Mole.  We went to Te Amo Lucy’s, mainly because Topolo (where we’ll be going this week) was closed.  It was AWESOME.  I highly recommend it.  They prepare all of the sauces and food on site (much like most restaurants in Mazatlan) and it is all fresh from the nearby market (which I’ll show you in a future post!).

I had chicken breast in Mole and a side of refried black beans.

My mom had chicken enchiladas, which were also incredible.

While it was definitely worth the wait, it took a little bit for us to get our food.  Lexie got behind the lens and took some pictures of my mom and me.

Serious…

Posing…

Silly…(my mom was now irritated with my sister for pointing the camera at me and not at both of us, or her)

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that I’m a little bit goofy, and so is my sister. So when we get together, things like this happen and we think it is hilarious.  It is evident that my mom does not.

After dinner we headed out for a stroll around the old Plaza before we went back to the hotel.  They created a tree out of wine bottles and it was awesome.  I think I took about 400 pictures of it.

It’s time to hit the hay.  I hope you enjoyed my mom as much as I do (most of the time!)

a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

I have been too busy with other activities this weekend to do any actual cooking.   Hanging out with friends and dating my husband and taking pictures of stuff besides food and getting pretty and running errands have taken the front seat. Oh, and I’ve been getting ready to start my new job.

Something else that I’m involved in that isn’t job related is volunteering for two organizations: Kiwanis Camp Casey and The Crew.  Camp Casey is a week-long camp for children ages 6-17 with physical disabilities.  The Crew is a social group (founded by my husband) for teens and young adults with physical disabilities to hang out and plan parties and stuff. We get together once a month and right now the group is planning a party.  Yesterday we had a Crew meeting. I took some good shots, so I thought I would share.

After Crew, we went wine tasting in Seattle, specifically at a place called the Fremont Wine Warehouse.  We tasted 7-8 different wines and guess what? It was FREE!  They have tastings every Friday and Saturday night.

We bought a bottle of red and picked a Thai restaurant nearby.  We had to pay to have them open the bottle, but overall it was less than if we had each ordered a glass or two.  The food was also delish, but I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture.  Oops.

When we got home we were zonked.  But this morning, Brian asked me a beautiful question, one I’ve never heard before:

“Can you teach me how to make waffles?”

Um, yes!

I used this recipe, scaled to make two waffles, and told him step by step what to do (I didn’t have him separate the egg and whip the whites to soft peaks though, the egg went in all together). Here is what the ready to eat product looked like just before he dove into them (he was anxious and a little annoyed that I stole his masterpiece to take pictures).

…And then Gertie peed on the couch. So I don’t have any cute pictures of her today.  But I do have a couple randoms that are kinda fun:

I’m off to bed. Wish me luck on my first day, I’m sure I’ll have lots to report tomorrow!