Cooking with Siggi! (+how to choose a yogurt)

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A word about yogurt

Here’s the sad truth: most yogurt on the shelves in the US is basically a light dessert, at best.  Many brands add tons of sugar (or artificial sweetener), colors, flavors, and stabilizing ingredients so that the resulting product is far from the nutritious, versatile food that it should be!  Siggi’s is one brand I like a lot – their claim is “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar,” and in fact their cups always contain more protein than sugar.

What to look for in yogurt

Those criteria alone will get you far (and rule out most of the options on the shelf), but read the ingredient list to make sure they don’t contain gelatin, starches, gums, carageenan – all just thickeners that are hiding low-quality yogurt.  Milk, cream, and active cultures are all you need to make yogurt!

With lots of flavors and several in the 2% and whole milk categories (I’m partial to the whole myself), Siggi’s is competitive with other brands out there.  And with the outreach they do for dietitians, they’re at the top of their marketing game!  Today they hosted a lunch based on Nordic cooking – we got to see how to filet a whole fish, and then cooked in groups.  My team had the mushroom and arugula salad, which had just a dollop of plain yogurt to give some tangy creaminess.

Best of all, Siggi himself was there – he is a jolly Scandinavian fellow, and it’s amazing how he’s grown the company in just 6 years.

The whole meal was delicious – thanks for having us, Siggi’s!

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The full meal – mashed sweet potatoes, roast root vegetables, arugula and mushroom salad, and the pan seared salmon with edible flowers, seasoned yogurt, and raspberries (an amazing combo!).

*This event was sponsored by Siggi’s Dairy.  I was not compensated for my time financially.*

DIY shiny hair masque (+cinnamon yogurt quickbread)

yogurtmaskIt’s been a long time since I posted a Skin Edition recipe!

Winter is fully upon us here in the northeast, and so is the less-loved phenomenon of brittle, dry hair.  My hair seems to be more sensitive…there’s a lot of it, but it’s very fine and even with a trim every 3 months the split ends are hard to keep away and it loses its luster.  This recipe is for a moisturizing hair masque, and the leftover yogurt mixture folds nicely into a lovely quickbread loaf.  Enjoy!

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After shot: the shine is back!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions

Combine all ingredients, whisking until evenly mixed.  Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and rub gently into the bottom 2/3 of hair shaft (over a sink! over a sink!).  Gently wrap into a bun and secure with a loose hairtie; cover hair with a shower cap to avoid smearing. (Alternatively; wrap your hair in plastic wrap.)  Wash normally after 30-60 minutes.

Cinnamon Yogurt Quickbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a loaf pan. Add milk to the rest of the yogurt mixture and stir.  Combine the other dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then pour the wet ingredients in.  Stir until just combined and then scrape into loaf pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until light brown and set.  Remove from pan to cool before slicing.

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Soft and spongy!

What’s the Real Seal? (+sweetpotato & yogurt gnocchi with buttery sage)

There are so many logos, trademarks, and animations on products today it’s no wonder people are confused by packaging!  The Real Seal is one of the older ones, created over 30 years ago by America’s Dairy Farmers, and here’s what you can be sure of when buying a product with this logo:

  • REAL® Seal dairy products guarantee your product is produced in the U.S.
  • REAL® Seal dairy products meet the standards of identity outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations for milk and dairy products.
  • REAL® Seal dairy products guarantee no casein, caseinate, vegetable oil, non-domestic dairy protein or ingredient, or any cheese substitute or cheese analog.

RealSeal

The words “real” and “natural” don’t mean much anymore, but the Real Seal has clearly defined terms a product must meet before using it.  As the Real Seal site point out, “It’s not that [other] products shouldn’t be available” – or that they’re bad for you.  But if dairy is what you’re trying to buy, this seal ensures you’ll get it.

If you’re a dairy consumer, greek yogurt is one of the most nutrient-rich products out there.  I’m a huge fan of using in as a substitute for sour cream, butter, mayonnaise, and cream cheese…it’s incredibly high in complete protein, potassium, calcium, and creaminess.  Check out my recipes for Three Sweetpotato Chili, Aloe-Mango Popsicles, Microwave Cheesecake, Healthy Coffee Cake, Coconut Cheesefake, Silky Green Gazpacho, and Guilt-Free Ranch Dip, all featuring plain greek yogurt.  None of those were sponsored posts, but this one was sponsored by the Real Seal – inspiring me to go outside the box!

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Gnocchi is basically a thick, potato pasta.  Most thick, starchy pastas are low in fiber and other nutrients, and very high in calories.  The trick is to beef up the vitamins and minerals while keeping the portion size reasonable – this is more of a side than an entree!  It has a sweet-and-savory element to it – the sweet potato is played up with cinnamon and allspice, and buttery sage and spicy feta offer a perfect balance.

Sweetpotato & Yogurt Gnocchi with Buttery Sage

Ingredients:

  • 7oz plain 2% greek yogurt
  • 1.5 c cooked sweetpotato (2-3 sweet potatoes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 c all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese

Directions:
Cook sweet potatoes in the microwave (~7 minutes on high).  Scrape insides out with a spoon into a blender.  Add the yogurt, spices, and eggs; puree on high.  If your blender or food processor has a dough setting, add the flour 1/2c at a time on this setting; if not, put the mixture into a large bowl and stir the flour in 1/2c at a time by hand.  Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove, and set a bowl with water and ice nearby.  Separate the dough into three softball-sized parts and roll each into a cord about 1 inch thick on a floured surface.  Using a sharp knife, gently cut each cord into small, 1/2″ wide pieces, about the size of your top thumb joint. If you like, press a fork into the top to create some texture. Drop into boiling water one piece at a time; they will sink to the bottom.  When they’re done cooking, they’ll float up – using a slotted spoon, fish them out and put directly into the ice water bath.  Repeat with other two cords’ worth of pieces.  Combine olive oil, butter, and sage in a large pan on the stove, heat until sizzling, then add the drained gnocchi, stirring or flipping to coat, until heated through.  Sprinkle feta on top and serve with sage garnish.  Serves 6.

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2014-01-15 16.51.25 2014-01-15 16.52.39 2014-01-15 16.56.45 2014-01-15 17.16.35Tricky tip: if your pot starts to bubble up (due to starch in the water), put a wooden spoon across the top and it won’t overflow!

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