Healthy Tips for Potluck!

Healthy Tips for Potluck
pot-luck I noun I a meal to which everyone who is invited brings food to share

Potlucks are great anytime of the year, but they tend to be more popular this time of year as we have more gatherings with friends and family for the holidays and football games. Potlucks are popular because not only is it a lot less work for the host, but it provides a wide variety of foods for everyone to try! In my family, potlucks are a must. I have a large family, so large in fact that we have to rent out a community room or an external space to host our family gatherings because we don’t fit in our own houses anymore! But, no matter where we spend our holidays, food is always at the top of mind.

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Smarter Dessert Pizza

Smarter Dessert Pizza - www.cobornsblog.com

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com
Ashley

Hey Everyone! I hope you are all enjoying summertime!  It’s a fabulous time of year! A great time to get together with friends and families to hang out at the lake or pool, and enjoy a barbeque or picnic. Many times you are asked to bring a dish to share or often dessert.  A family favorite for me for a dessert is dessert pizza.  It’s at every family event whether it’s a baby shower, wedding shower, barbeque or holiday celebration.  As you know, there are always so many recipes and variations.  For this blog, I am going to share a few of my favorites… of course they include more nutritious ingredients than the typical dessert pizza.

Crust

Dessert pizza usually includes dough, an icing for the sauce, and toppings.

For the dough, instead of using refined flour bread products or cookie dough, try making a dough from whole wheat WHITE flour, or whole wheat frozen bread dough to save time or you could also use an actual thin pizza crust that is premade… just make sure its whole grain.

Banana Graham Fruit Pizza - www.cobornsblog.com - Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with AshleyIcing

For the icing, instead of frosting, use sugar-free pudding or vanilla yogurt- Greek if you like it creamier and thicker, but make sure it’s at least low fat.  You could use cream cheese if you want, but make sure it’s whipped or reduced fat. To add some flavor for every 8 oz. of cream cheese add ½ tsp of either almond or vanilla extract.

Toppings

As for the toppings, load up on the fruit for that natural sweetness and don’t forget to include the rainbow to keep it appealing to the eye and of course that means a variety of antioxidants. I like to include strawberries, kiwis and blueberries, but any assortment of your favorite fruits would be great! Don’t forget about pomegranates, peaches, mangos, pineapple, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, they all work great! If you absolutely need to have chocolate present, add mini dark chocolate chips, remember dark chocolate is nutritious providing a good source of antioxidants. You can also warm the dark chocolate chips to make a drizzle over the top of your fruit… how amazing does that sound? Seriously my mouth is watering right now! I think I might have to run to the store right now to make this!

Why it’s smarter

These fruit pizza variations have allowed you to cut the not so good fat, reduce the added sugar, and actually provide nutrients such as fiber from the dough. The fruits provide fiber as well as other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  If you chose to use the low fat yogurt you are also getting protein, calcium and vitamin D.

Now that is a dessert that you can be sure to enjoy without feeling guilty!

Quick, Kid Friendly Option

Maybe you are at home and want to make a personal size dessert pizza or maybe you want to get the kids involved!

I would recommend using a whole wheat tortilla shell or graham cracker for the dough and then still using either the same icing options for the icing and then the fruit for the topping.  To save time and to keep things safe, instead of cutting up the fruit you can use canned fruit that is already washed, and cut.

Banana Graham Fruit Pizza

I have included a tasty and more nutritious fruit pizza recipe below using bananas and graham crackers. If you love banana bread, you will love this recipe.

Banana Graham Fruit Pizza - www.cobornsblog.com - Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley

Banana Graham Fruit Pizza
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • One Box Food Club Low Fat Honey Grahams
  • 3-4 Ripe Medium Bananas
  • 1 T. Honey
  • 6 Oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Cups Kraft Fat Free Cool Whip
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes, halved
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place grahams in a large bowl and crush to a dirt consistency using a cup, blender, chopper or food processor. A few larger pieces is okay, it will add more of a cookie texture to your crust.
  3. Mash bananas
  4. Add bananas to crushed grahams and mix with hands until your mixture is similar to that of a meatloaf.
  5. Roll banana and graham mixture into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Flatten mixture with your hands. Roll it out from center going outward. You can use your finger tips or a roller.
  7. Drizzle the honey over the crust and spread it around with a spoon. This will help to create a crispy texture on the outside and a soft chewy texture on the inside, similar to a sugar cookie.
  8. Bake crust in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. Check periodically to make sure your edges don’t burn. You want the crust to be lightly brown and crispy. The inside will be soft immediately after you remove it from the oven so allow it to cool before you try to transfer or it will break.
  9. Combine Cool Whip and Greek yogurt together, and place it in the fridge to thicken. (20 minutes)
  10. Once the crust has cooled, add the Cool Whip mixture to the center of the crust and spread evenly.
  11. Add fruit to the top as desired.
  12. Store in the refrigerator.

Peace and Wellness,
Ashley
Coborn’s Supermarket Dietitian, R.D.

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What is Greek Yogurt?

Wha isG reek Yogurt? www.cobornsblog.com

A Natural Approach with Cheryl - www.cobornsblog.com
Cheryl

There’s a funny thing about Greek yogurt…it’s not Greek! A more appropriate term for this smooth, rich yogurt would be Strained Yogurt. In Greece, strained yogurt is known as ‘straggisto’ and is used throughout Greece as a popular ingredient in many ethnic dishes.

It’s Healthy

Yogurt in general is a nutritious and healthy food: an excellent source of protein, calcium and potassium, and it is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt per day for individuals aged nine or older, children four to eight years old should consume two and half servings. Eight ounces of yogurt is considered one serving.

Probiotics

What really makes yogurt such a shining star is probiotics. Because yogurt is a cultured or fermented product made with the starter cultures Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Steptococcus thermophiles, it contains probiotics. Probiotics (think Pro versus anti, as in antibiotics) are good and necessary bacteria that help to maintain a healthy digestive system.

What makes it different?

Now, back to Greek yogurt. As yogurt is strained, the watery substance of whey is separated from the yogurt, leaving a thicker, creamier and more tart product that we call Greek yogurt. When the whey is removed, there is less sugar, fewer carbohydrates and more protein than in regular yogurt.

A little something extra

If you don’t care to eat yogurt plain, try adding your own fruit pieces and /or granola for a healthful way to enjoy it. Usually when the yogurt is sweetened up by the manufacturer, it will be higher in calories and sugar than if you put in your own fresh or frozen berries or fruit. I often use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise in recipes.

What to watch for

Remember to read labels when shopping in order to avoid purchasing imposters.  The term “Greek” is not regulated and thickening agents like corn starch can be used to create the thick and rich texture of truly strained yogurt. Also, not all yogurts really carry the healthful probiotics I mentioned earlier, so if probiotics are important to you, make sure the label says “live active cultures.”

Below is a comparison of the labels from Dannon’s Greek and a regular non-fat yogurt (note the difference in serving sizes):

Greek Yogurt VS. Regular Yogurt Nutrition Comparison. www.cobornsblog.com

So you make the choice and enjoy yogurt – Greek or Regular – for its great taste and healthful benefits. Just remember to read those labels so you know for sure that you are getting the real deal!

Cheryl
Coborn’s Natural Foods Manager – Clearwater, MN

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A Natural Approach with Cheryl - www.cobornsblog.com

Greek Avgolemono Soup – A Lemony Treat

Avgolemono Soup Recipe - A Lemony Treat www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Fun with Family with Rebecca
Rebecca

One of our neighbors recently commented that we are the cultural mutts of the community and that we seem to have the most fun with all our ethnicities. Although I married a full-blooded Polish man, I have at least a dozen countries of origin in my blood. Along with heritage comes tradition, and we love to sample them all.

Technically, I don’t have any Greek in my bloodlines, but we do have a strong Greek influence. My aunt married a man who was 100% Greek and growing up, our families spent a lot of time together. My Greek uncle’s mother, Grandma Nikki (Nicoleta) had a beautiful strong accent, a round tummy, and the sunniest attitude around. She passed away a few years ago, but not before making a lasting impact on my taste buds.

Grandma Nikki introduced me to Dolmades, which are grape leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, dill, mint, and lemon, as well as moussaka, which is sort of like an eggplant and potato lasagna. My very favorite Greek dish is a refreshing soup called Avgolemono (Avgo for short). During these cold winter days, it’s my absolute favorite comfort food. Some people make it with rice, others with orzo.

Greek Avgolemono Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1-2 Cups Cooked Orzo (cooked for 7-9 minutes, then drained)
  • 1 Lb. Skinless Chicken Breast, cooked, shredded or diced
  • ½ t. Lemon Zest
  • Juice from one Lemon
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • Fresh Parsley for garnish
  • Dash Nutmeg for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a 5-quart pot, combine the chicken stock and orzo, then bring it to a simmer.
  2. Add the shredded chicken breast and lemon zest.
  3. Let this cook 5-8 minutes.
  4. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl.
  5. Whisking constantly, add the lemon juice to the yolks.
  6. You will need to temper the yolks before you add the egg-lemon mixture to the soup. It takes both hands to do this, so with one hand, whisk the egg-lemon mixture vigorously. With the other hand, slowly pour in a ladle of hot broth while you whisk.
  7. Turn the heat off the soup.
  8. Whisk the soup with one hand while you pour the hot egg-lemon mixture in with the other.
  9. Serve at once, garnished with parsley and a sprinkle of nutmeg.