August 20, 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Popsicles

I’m back with another summery recipe featuring Chobani (again, nothing to declare here – no free yogurt went into the making of these recipes!).  What says “hello, summer” better than cooling off with a nice, cold popsicle?  Nothing, right?  Check out Chobani’s recipe page for even more healthy Greek yogurt recipes designed by fellow food bloggers, and if you happen to have some of your own, share them on social media with the hashtag #madewithchobani.

These aren’t what you think of when you think of frozen yogurt or popsicles.  In fact, I’m going to go ahead and call them breakfast popsicles.  Breakfast popsicles?  Yes, indeed.  But not just for breakfast.  These could also be after school popsicles. Or post workout popsicles.  Or avoiding lots of sugar dessert popsicles.  Or an I’m-up-pumping-at-3am-and-want-a-snack popsicles.  (Maybe that last one is just me.)  The point is that these popsicles are anytime popsicles, unlike traditional frozen yogurt or most yogurt-based popsicles.

mint chocolate chip breakfast popsicle IMG_2464

My husband and I have a nice little routine down when it comes to food purchasing and preparation.  I cook all the meals in our house… he does all the dishes and cleans the kitchen afterwards.  I do all the meal planning and make detailed grocery lists… he does all the grocery shopping.  Knowing how much I love mint chocolate chip (if you’re also a fan, check out my extra minty mint chocolate chip ice cream!), he tossed a package of mint chocolate chip yogurt bars into the cart on one of his recent grocery shopping trips.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they were good… really good.  Soft and creamy, nice and minty, as sweet as you would expect from a traditional dessert frozen yogurt, but not as rich as ice cream.  Plus, the popsicle form was perfect – as a new mom, I spend a lot of time trying to do things one handed, and the portion control was pretty nice as opposed to digging into a container with a spoon (breastfeeding hunger is seriously out of control). 

mint chocolate chip breakfast popsicle IMG_2526

I’ve been working on a mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt recipe for a while, but these bars inspired me to change direction a little and try yogurt popsicles instead.  And I wanted the recipe to be easy – something you can whisk together and pour into molds, rather than churn in an ice cream machine.  If you’re looking for the perfect recipe for soft, creamy, minty, sweet, frozen yogurt style popsicles… well…. so am I.  This is not that recipe.  What this is, however, is a recipe for easy, healthy, protein-rich popsicles that you won’t feel guilty about eating for breakfast (or a snack, or after dinner, or at 3am… or at all of those times on the same day).  {If you’re in need of popsicle molds, I use the Zoku Classic Pop Molds – just run the mold under hot water for a few seconds and the popsicle releases beautifully.}

mint chocolate chip breakfast popsicle IMG_2517

I originally made them thinking about a not-so-sweet after dessert treat, but after walking the dog yesterday before work, on an especially hot and humid morning, I found myself craving one.  I kept telling myself that you can’t have a popsicle for breakfast, but then I thought about the ingredients.  Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt – well, I usually eat Greek yogurt for breakfast anyway (coconut is my favorite!).  Nonfat milk – that’s a normal part of breakfast.  A little vanilla and mint extract – no reason that can’t go into breakfast.  Okay fine, so there’s a little sugar and some chocolate chips, but a few chocolate chips in the morning never killed anyone, right?  So yeah, I can totally justify a popsicle for breakfast!  And it was awesome.  This morning was even better – I realized the portability allowed me to eat breakfast while walking the dog, something I can’t do with my normal breakfast of yogurt or oatmeal.  Delicious, (mostly) healthy, and portable?  Now that’s a winning idea!

Mint Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Popsicles
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, nontfat milk, vanilla extract, mint extract, and sugar until smooth.  Whisk in the green food coloring, one drop at a time, until desired color is achieved.  Stir in miniature chocolate chips.  Pour into popsicle molds.  Freeze for at least 6 hours before consuming.

(Amazon links are affiliate.)

 

mint chocolate chip greek yogurt breakfast popsicles

August 18, 2015

Nectarine Upside-Down Yogurt Cake

A few weeks ago, Chobani reached out and asked if I would create a fresh, summery recipe featuring Chobani Greek yogurt (nothing to declare here – bought said yogurt myself just like everyone else).  In fact, the exact quote was “We want to say ‘Hello Summer’”… and how better to say “Hello, Summer!” indeed than feature fresh produce from my weekly CSA share?  If you’ve been following along with my kitchen experiments for any length of time, you know that I’m a huge fan of swapping in Greek yogurt in salads and casseroles – just check out my extra-crunchy broccoli salad, corn, crab, and tomato salad, or horseradish dill coleslaw.  But this time, I wanted to try something sweet instead.  I’m working on converting my favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream into a recipe using Greek yogurt, but it’s not quite right yet… so I decided to make a lighter, less-syrupy version of an upside-down cake featuring the perfectly ripe nectarines we picked up from our CSA share last week.

nectarine upside-down yogurt cake

This is a far cry from your grandmother’s pineapple upside-down cake.  Traditional upside-down cakes have a brown sugar glaze covering the fruit, adding a sticky and sweet syrupy coating.  There’s nothing light or fresh about a brown sugar glaze, so that was the first to go!  Ripe, in-season fruit is sweet enough, no glaze necessary.  The cake is usually a pretty simple white cake, but I opted for a slightly denser (think a solid muffin) cake, flavored with vanilla and almond, and lightened with Chobani Greek yogurt.  You could certainly use any in-season fresh fruit with this – peaches are an obvious swap for nectarines, but it would also be delicious with any sort of berries as well.  I’m already daydreaming about making this in the fall with some apple slices and a hearty shake of cinnamon mixed into the batter (but maybe that’s just because I’m desperately craving the cooler temperatures!).

nectarine upside-down yogurt cake

Even better, this cake is easy.  As in, mix everything by hand, easy.  As in, one mixing bowl, one whisk, and one rubber spatula to wash easy.  I debated if I wanted to do a more cookie or pound cake texture by beating the butter with the sugar, or a more muffin-like approach with melted butter. I was leaning towards the former, but then realized that nope, I wasn’t in the mood to use my mixer and wash all those extra things, so I went with the melted butter, mix-by-hand version.  And you know what?  It came out perfectly.

nectarine upside-down yogurt cake

Oh, and just in case you were on the fence about whether or not to make this cake, I dropped off a big slice to a friend in the neighborhood, and this was the response:

Untitled

So yeah, you should probably go ahead and make it.  Enjoy a nice big bite of summer while nectarines are still in season.  Be sure to check out other summer-themed Chobani recipes over on their page, and if you happen to create any of your own, share them on social media with the hashtag #madewithchobani – l can’t wait to see what everyone else is creating, as well!

nectarine upside-down yogurt cake

Nectarine Upside-Down Yogurt Cake
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Chobani plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-3 nectarines, sliced into wedges

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Coat an 8- or 9-inch springform pan with nonstick vegetable spray (both bottom and sides).
  2. Add the butter to a large glass mixing bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until melted.  Whisk in the Greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract.  Once smooth, whisk in the sugar.
  3. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until combined.
  4. Arrange the sliced nectarines along the bottom of the springform pan.  Pour the batter over top of the sliced fruit and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan and invert onto a wire cooling rack.  Carefully lift the bottom of the pan off the top of the cake, sliding a long knife along the pan bottom to loosen any fruit that may have stuck. 
  7. Store airtight at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

nectarine upside-down yogurt cake

August 12, 2015

Marshmallow Fruit Dip

We spent Father’s Day this year with family friends of my husband at their annual Father’s Day potluck dinner.  (Sidebar: another way in which women get screwed just by being female – Mother’s Day is first, so of course you have to spend it with your family because how could you deny the new grandmothers the chance to spend the day with their new grandson?  Then Father’s Day rolls around a few weeks later, and your husband declares that since you just hosted your families for Mother’s Day, you really don’t need to see them again so soon.  I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.)  Dinner is simple – usually grilled hamburgers, or ordering in pizza and hoagies – but everyone else contributes some sort of appetizers or desserts.  While I waited for my husband to hear back about what we should bring, I brainstormed ideas of what exciting new party food I would make.  And then the text comes: “We could use a fruit tray.”

marshmallow fruit dip

A fruit tray.  Don’t get me wrong – I love a good fruit salad – but asking someone who enjoys cooking and baking enough to run a food blog to bring a fruit tray is borderline cruel.  There I was, all set to whip up a new dip with a homemade baguette, or perhaps bake a rhubarb pie with some fresh rhubarb from the CSA… and I get fruit duty.  Harumph.

Obviously, I needed to add a little something to the fruit tray, so I made a berry marshmallow fruit dip to accompany it.  It’s based on the fruit dip that is sold with fruit trays at many grocery stores, which I suspect is as simple as a jar of marshmallow fluff mixed with some cream cheese.  I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t happen to have a jar of marshmallow fluff sitting around, so I went ahead and made my own.  Homemade marshmallow fluff is incredibly easy, made with ingredients you likely have in your cabinet (the corn syrup depends on whether or not you bake pecan pies!), and tastes even better than the stuff in a jar.  I also had some berries that were rapidly nearing the end of their lifespan and a little softer than I wanted to include with the rest of the fruit, so I went ahead and pureed them and added them in to the dip to add a subtle berry flavor, thin the dip just a little, and tone down the sweetness. 

marshmallow fruit dip

The dip was delicious, although as one might guess, in light of the many cakes, ice cream, cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels in attendance at the party, the fruit and fruit dip were mostly overlooked.  But it meant that most of it came back home with me, which was a-okay because I ate all of it over the next week.  Every last blueberry, pineapple chunk, and slice of mango.  And probably licked the dip bowl when it was done.

Marshmallow Fruit Dip
Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup berries

Directions:

  1. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whisk together egg white, corn syrup, and salt on high speed until the mixture has doubled in volume, about 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add in the confectioners sugar, mixing until thoroughly combined.  Add in the vanilla extract.
  2. With the mixer still on low, beat in the cream cheese until just combined.
  3. Add the berries to a blender and puree until liquefied.  Drain the berry puree using a mesh sieve placed over the bowl with the fruit dip.  Gently fold in the strained liquid by hand using a rubber spatula.
  4. Refrigerate the dip until use.  Tightly covered, the dip will last for one week.

marshmallow fruit dip

August 11, 2015

Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad

Every year, my lab takes a day off of work and has a big picnic at a nearby state park.  Our boss grills hot dogs and hamburgers, we bring lots of snacks and desserts, and we all gorge ourselves before an afternoon of volleyball and cornhole.  The past two years, I brought along my dog – this year, I brought the baby, and we all enjoy a hot, toasty day outside of the lab.  Every year, I toy with the idea of bringing something new and different, but my coworkers all insist I continue to bring the same thing: this sweet potato black bean salad.

sweet potato black bean salad

And it’s with good reason that they continue to request the same thing, year after year.  I’m going to make a bold claim and declare this the best summer salad.  That’s not to say that there aren’t other very, very delicious summery salads out there that are perfect for your picnicking needs – I’ve even shared quite a few with you, like a roasted balsamic onion salad, horseradish dill coleslaw, grilled steak salad, or an extra-crunchy broccoli salad, among others.  But this salad… well… it trumps them all. 

sweet potato black bean salad

It’s so simple, but the flavors mesh so well – the crunch of the peppers, the buttery soft sweet potatoes, the tang of the mustard-lime dressing.  It’s become my go-to contribution for summer gatherings and picnics and it’s always been a huge hit amongst the boring potato salads and macaroni salads.  Added benefit: there’s no dairy in the salad, so it can sit out for a few hours with no concern of making all your guests violently ill, and since it’s both vegan and gluten free you can serve it to just about everybody.  It’s even tastier a few days later, so it’s perfect to make ahead and bring with you wherever you are headed this summer. Or this fall… or winter… or spring… it’s really too good to limit to just one short season a year!

sweet potato black bean salad

Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad
adapted from What Would Cathy Eat?

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 
  • 1 bunch scallions, green and white parts, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Spread the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the roasted sweet potatoes to the peppers, corn, scallions, and black beans in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, mustard, and basil. Whisk in the olive oil.
  5. Mix the dressing with the salad, adding additional salt, pepper, or lime juice to taste.

sweet potato black bean salad

August 5, 2015

July 2015 iPhonetography

July was all about settling into our new routine – I headed back to work and we’re still trying to figure things out as we go.  I’ve come to the unfortunate realization that I can either pump at work or do experiments, and I can either spend time with Ryan or go to the gym.  There is no way to make “and” work in there, so I spend most of my time feeling like I’m failing at everything.  Three 45 minute pumping sessions often doesn’t even net as much as he’s eating while I’m gone, but when I spend 2.5 hours/day pumping (not including the time spent washing parts, carrying stuff to the shower stall where I pump, etc) it’s impossible to do many of the several-hours-long experiments I need to do, so I spend an awful lot of time feeling like a shitty scientist.  And then when I do pack up somewhere around 6ish, I have to decide between going to the gym to take care of my own health or going home to spend time with my baby – either way, I feel guilty about either not working out or not seeing my kid.  Ah, the joys of parenthood.

As usual, here’s a roundup in pictures of how we spent the past month.  Many of these come from my private Instagram account, but you can follow along on my public account here.

July 2015

1) In the very beginning of July, Ryan slept through the night for the first time, meaning I did as well… and woke up in a panic in the morning, thinking he was dead.  Nope, he just went straight from sleeping 2-3 hour stretches into sleeping 7+, and aside from the week when he was quite sick, he’s stuck with it.  What a wonderful “going back to work” gift!  (He normally goes to bed around 10pm and wakes up about 7:30am.)
2) A little crafting project for Ryan’s room.
3) Happy 4th of July!  This is the first time since moving to Philly that I skipped the fireworks, but my husband was on call for the holiday weekend and I wasn’t quite sure that I was up to navigating the crowds in such hot, humid weather with a baby.
4) Ryan’s favorite place to nap – in a carrier of any sort.  Ring sling, woven wrap, Lillebaby or Ergo soft structured carriers – he’s not picky.  Now that I’m back to work and not wearing him all day, he really doesn’t nap at all.
5) I brought homemade cupcakes for my first day back in the lab, ensuring that my coworkers would be very excited to see me.
6) And returned to this disaster on my bench.  Remind me again why I meticulously cleared off my bench and put everything away before leaving for my induction?
7) I made it through two whole days at work… and then came down with norovirus.  I have never vomited so much, so quickly in my life.  A trip to the ER and two days in bed to rehydrate and I was back on my feet, and never want to repeat that experience again.  Fortunately, I had a snoozing dog companion to keep me company at home.
8) With all the rain we had in early July, my little backyard patio garden morphed into an urban jungle!  Herbs and tomatoes for days.
9) We attended the second birthday party for the daughter of a friend, and Ryan was smitten with their little girl.  Whenever we’re around slightly older toddlers, he’s fascinated.  I bet he’d love having an older sibling – sorry, kiddo.
10) Up, up and away! (I am so, so glad I decided to pain the ceiling in Ryan’s nursery – the pop of bright blue makes me so happy everyday.)
11) Three month old picture of our consistently happy baby.
12)  One of my biggest child-related fears was losing the ability to go out and do things just the two of us, but we’ve been fortunate enough to continue going out, just the two of us.  One of our nights out ended up at Spruce Street Harbor Park for some ice cream and people watching – such an awesome addition to the Delaware River water front.
13) The week after my norovirus episode, our nanny was sick and stayed home.  No nanny?  No problem.  Ryan came to work to assist with his first transformations.  He is so easy-going and well behaved, and was a total hit with my coworkers.
14) A very, very good friend (and Ryan’s godmother) came to visit for the weekend… and happened to be here on National Ice Cream Day.  So of course, we made ice cream --  blueberry pie ice cream, to be specific.  And we had it for breakfast on top of Belgian waffles.
15) Who Wore It Better: Tropical Shirt edition.  The final verdict: a tie!
16) Coolest baby at our annual lab picnic.

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