Friday, December 4, 2009

My Big Fat Greek Yogurt

I love Mediterranean/Greek food especially the joys of Greek yogurt.  As a vegetarian, it can sometimes be difficult to find healthy, low fat, low calorie sources of protein and Greek yogurt provides an excellent option to get a large  percentage of my daily protein intake.  I have tried numerous types of Greek yogurt but  my absolute favorite is Chobani Greek yogurt especially the plain and vanilla flavors.  Chobani has the best flavors and is typically the cheapest Greek yogurt ($1.25 for 6oz at Giant Food opposed to $1.99 for 6oz of Oikos).

Here are the nutritional stats for 6oz No Fat Plain Chobani: 100 calories and 18g protein!  6 oz No Fat Vanilla Chobani: 120 calories and 16g protein.  Both are low calorie, fat free sources of protein (excellent for vegetarians).  I've tried all the flavored Chobani yogurts and my favorites (beside the plain and vanilla) are the peach, honey, and strawberry.  The flavored yogurts typically have higher calories and lower amounts of protein but are still excellent additions to any meal or snack.  The Chobani website has all of the nutritional values for all of their products.

Here are a few ways that I like to use Greek yogurt:

Greek yogurt and cereal:
Mix 6oz of your choice of Greek yogurt with a serving (or two) of your favorite cold cereal.  I love mixing the plain Chobani with a serving of Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal.  Another of my favorite mixtures is the vanilla Chobani with a serving (or two) of Nature's Path Kamut Puffs (more in another post about my love of Kamut puffs).

Greek yogurt and veggies:
Mix a couple tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and some garlic (I love garlic).  Toss with a variety of veggies.  Stuff mixture into a whole wheat pita or tortilla shell.  For you non vegetarians this would be really good with a serving of grilled chicken.

Greek yogurt and baking:
You can use Greek yogurt as a replacement in baking.  The Chobani website has a ton of recipes!  I've made this banana bread recipe for my father and brothers except I used Ener-G egg replacer, whole wheat pastry flour instead of a mixture of all purpose and whole wheat flour, Splenda instead of sugar, and another half banana to replace the butter.  My Dad and brothers who are very picky junk food eaters loved the bread and devoured it without realizing the lack of fat and extra calories.

You can also use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise on sandwiches, potatoes, and tacos.  Or  you can just eat it plain as part of your meal (or a super healthy snack).

Have you ever tried Greek yogurt?  If so what's your favorite brand?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm Thankful For aka Oatmeal

My Love of Oatmeal
What kid actually likes/d oatmeal?  To me it was one of those foods I wouldn't touch even if I starving.  It would glare at me all gooey and nasty with its lack of taste and sugar.  Come on, I'd harass my mom, where are the Lucky Charms (did anyone else try to save at least a couple marshmellows for the last spoonful)?   And why would anyone choose an oatmeal cookie over chocolate chip?   But as I grew up, I realized that oatmeal had its appeal whereas sugary cereals like Lucky Charms gave me a sugar high for thirty minutes and then I was starving again.  However, I can not just eat plain oats and water.  I need substance in my oats to hide the overly oaty taste and keep me full till lunchtime.  So I've decided to give you all a few of my favorite oatmeal combinations.
Oats with Applesauce and Cinnamon
Combine 1/2 cup cooked oats with 1/2 cup unsweented natural applesauce and a dash or five (I love cinnamon).  Microwave for 20-30 seconds and enjoy!
Peachy Vanilla Oats
Combine 1/2 cup cooked oats with 1/2cup vanilla yogurt (I typically use Dannon Light 'n Fit) and a ripe peach.  Microwave for 30 seconds and enjoy a peachy keen breakfast.  Just a quick note: greek yogurt does not microwave well so use another type of yogurt if you plan on microwaving after mixing.
Chocolately Banana Oats
Combine 1/2 cup cooked oats with 1 medium ripe banana and 1 scoop of Chocolate Amazing grass powder.  Cook for 45 seconds then smash banana with a fork.  And smile at your inner child for realizing you would have eaten oatmeal had your mother added chocolate and banana!
Now you can almost do any combinations you want with different milks, nut butters, fruits, powders, etc.  I just wanted to share some of favorite combinations.  I typically buy a huge container of instant oats from Wal-mart and cook them in water for 1-1.5 minute(s) then add my extra ingredients.  What are some of your favorite oatmeal combinations?  And did you eat oatmeal as a child or were you as disgusted by it like me?
PS Sometimes when I'm super lazy/tired I will whip up a huge batch of oats for dinner typically with huge amounts of fruit and chocolate :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Better 'N Peanut Butter

Growing up, I hated peanut butter especially PB&J sandwhiches and my siblings' favorite: peanut butter and marshmallow cream sandwhiches...GROSS (I still find this gross today as I really don't like marshmallows except on s'mores).  However, my taste buds have developed to love the taste of peanut butter but I'm picky about peanut butters that I will actually eat.  While I was losing weight, I was terrified of peanut butter and its insane calorie count of 200 calories for two tablespoons.  So I desperately searched for a lower calorie peanut butter and found Better 'N Peanut butter ( with a lower calories and fat grams than regular peanut butter.  Two tablespoons only contain 100 calories and 2g fat which is perfect for the peanut butter lover whose trying to cut back on fat and calories.  There is also a lower sodium option with only 90mg of sodium per serving.  Now the important information: watch out because this peanut butter is addictively wonderful!  Because of the lack of preservatives, jars must be refrigerated after opening which makes it a bit thicker than most PBs.  To me it's creamy and smooth and kind of like peanut butter yogurt (Sometimes I even eat it out of the jar).  I haven't noticed a difference in taste between the regular and lower sodium version.  I've made sandwhiches, sauces, and even baked with Better 'N Peanut Butter with delicious and healthy results.  WARNING:  if you are pure PB fan, you might not enjoy refrigerated PB or the slightly more sticky texture or the less sweeter taste.  However, if you a dark chocolate fan, pick up a bottle of the chocolate Better 'N Peanut Butter which is equally fantastic.  I'm not a huge chocolate fan (no one ever believes me!) so this is the perfect combination of peanuts and chocolate without being overwhelming sweet with the same nutritional stats as the original flavor.  So now I average a jar each week depending on whether I have self control or not!  Just a little note: I've discovered that Better 'N Peanut Butter is cheaper at Trader Joe's than Whole Foods.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Parisian Dreaming in Washington DC

In my attempts to pretend I'm in Paris, I suggested brunch/lunch/shopping with some girl friends Sunday morning. After non stop rain on Friday and Saturday, Sunday's sunny morning with fall temperatures made me estatic to spend the morning outside with good food and friends. We had decided to dine at Le Pain Quotidien ( before exploring the flea/farmer market. Now I have eaten at several LPQs throughout the country. My first experience with LPQ was last year in Manhattan when some friends and I discovered one close to Central Park on the West side. And I had never realized it was a chain restaurant until I discovered one in Bethesda, then Eastern market, and now below my gym in Arlington. I have a love/hate relationship with LPQ mainly due to their prices and service and amazing of their food. This is NOT a cheap restaurant for the portion of food that is served (it's probably the correct portion size and I'm just Amercanized but we are in a recession aka I want the most bang for my buck) and the service is not horrible but it can take too long to get food/refills (I've experienced this at all the LPQs that I've eaten at). So why do I eat there? Because of the amazingness of the food and the European vibe that is evident in the attitude and decor of the restaurant. First, LPQ is considered a communal/open table restaurant with a bakery. There are individual tables for private groups but also long tables that singles and other groups can sit. The furniture is light wood accented with subtle light fixtures and huge windows (I love the sun). A bakery is avalaible to purchase LPQ original breads and spreads (jam, jelly, butter,etc) and treats. But it's their menu based food that wins my heart. First, LPQ focuses on organic, homemade food with numerous healthy benefits and specified vegan/vegetarian options. I typically order one of three tartines (an open faced sandwhich): black bean hummus tartine (vegan), scallion nori avacado tartine (vegan), and the salmon tartine. All three of these are a fantastic blend flavors not commmonly found in most food. On Sunday I was craving avacado so I decided to order the scallion nori avacado tartine. It comes served on LPQ whole grain bread with slices of avacado and scallions with nori sheets, radishes, lemon, and tomatoes on the side....delicious!
It's like a mexican sushi sans rice. I try to be ladylike and eat with my knife and fork but about half way through lunch, I grabbed it and starting chowing down. One of my friends (who is vegan) ordered their six vegetable quiche which is made with a buckwheat, gluten free shell. I had to try a little sample and was greatly rewarded with a beatiful combination of some of my favorite flavors. It was a blend of carrots and sweet potatoes accented by the buckwheat shell giving the quiche a more earthy/fall flavor than your typical egg based quiche. Unfortunately, I'm now semi obsessed and foresee myself stopping at LPQ on my way home from the gym to order the wonderful quiche. The rest of my friends ordered other tartines including a tuna salad tartine (which my friend adored and ate as quickly as I ate my own tartine) and the smoked turkey tartine which was described as "an adult version of a delicious turkey sandwhich). We also enjoyed pots of coffee, mint lemonade (which I personally do like drinking mint), and fresh fruit salad (I absolutely adore honey dew). After gorging ourselves (not really-LPQ is great for portion control since everything is expensive), we strolled the market enjoying the beautiful DC fall weather. Overall, I recommend LPQ as a treat when you are craving a simple, fresh, and beautiful breakfast/lunch and you do not mind paying the extra money for the deliciousness you will enjoy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Hello! Welcome to Sarah’s Scrumptious Samplings. My blog is a unique food blog specifically to review different foods and healthy products plus any restaurants I happen to visit. I’m not a Registered Dietician or even certified by the AFPA but over the past couple of years I’ve developed a healthy relationship with food and am now maintaining a 95lb weight loss. My goal for this blog is to provide a reference and review of the numerous “healthy” products that have overtaken supermarkets. As obesity rates continue to rise, as do the number of products claiming to promote weight loss and health, etc. There is a social misunderstanding regarding healthy food choices (NOT everything in Whole Foods is healthy) and an increase use of diet pills and other substances that are good for your body. So what’s a person to do with all the options and confusion regarding what’s good for your body and what’s not?????? That’s where I’m hoping my blog will help you as I sample and describe the numerous “healthy” products that fill our grocery store shelves. Even though I’m not an RD my comments will regard taste and nutritional value based upon personal research I’ve done throughout the years.