Yogurt is a popular food, but did you know it also has many health benefits? It’s rich in nutrients and proteins, helps maintain digestive health and can even enhance your immune system. To celebrate National Dairy Month, which occurs every June, here’s what you should know about common types of yogurt.
If you crave a smooth, creamy treat, then traditional yogurt is for you. It’s by far the most well-known and widely available type of yogurt. It can be made with whole or skim milk and is a healthy snack that people of all ages can enjoy.
Also known as skyr, Icelandic yogurt is high in protein and thicker than Greek yogurt, although it’s smoother in texture. It’s very low in fat and contains a lot of calcium, making it a healthy snack as well as a smart addition to your morning smoothies.
If you’re particularly interested in the probiotic benefits of yogurt, then kefir is for you. This naturally carbonated and fermented yogurt drink is high in protein, calcium, minerals, and vitamin D. Thanks to its long fermentation process, it provides a range of beneficial bacteria, which can help improve your gut health.
Yogurt is tasty food, and there are many ways to enjoy it.
Prosciutto, fig and goat cheese crostini
If you want a simple yet sophisticated starter to serve at your next dinner party, look no further than this classic Italian appetizer. Your guests are sure to love the pairing of salty prosciutto with the sweetness of figs.
Start to finish: 15 minutes
• 3-1/2 ounces soft goat cheese
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 4 fresh figs, sliced
• 8 thin slices of prosciutto
• 1 cup arugula
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Use a toaster or barbecue to grill the bread.
2. Spread a quarter of the goat cheese on each slice of bread, and top each with half a tablespoon of honey. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Atop each crostino, lay a quarter of the fig slices and 2 slices of prosciutto.
4. Garnish each crostino with a few arugula leaves. Salt and pepper to taste.
How to eat locally all year long
If you favor food produced in your region, you’ll help protect the environment and support the local economy. Plus, you’ll gain access to fresh and affordable ingredients. Though it’s often more associated with summer, eating locally can be done year-round. Here’s how.
Learn about the region
Start by familiarizing yourself with what foods grow in your area and when they’re harvested. A seasonal food list will make it easier to plan your meals. Keep in mind that some growers use greenhouses to ensure that their fruits and vegetables are available year-round. Consult online resources or speak with growers at your local farmers market to learn more.
Prepare for winter
Embrace seasonal substitutes
Eating locally year-round requires creativity and a willingness to adapt your diet to the season. Start with simple changes. Swap spinach and lettuce for nutrient-rich alternatives like leeks and cabbage during the winter. Pick up a seasonal cookbook at your local bookstore if you need a bit of inspiration.
With a little planning and effort, you can enjoy locally sourced meals year-round.
Greek chicken brochettes
Serve up these tasty brochettes at a Greek-inspired feast or as an alternative to burgers at your next family barbecue.
Start to finish: 1 hour 20 minutes (25 minutes active)
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons oregano, fresh or dried
• 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, fresh or dried
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cubed
• 1 large zucchini
1. In the sink or a large bowl, soak four wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour. (Skip this step if you’re using metal skewers).
2. In a large bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and spices. Add the chicken and mix well. Make sure the chicken is evenly coated in the marinade. Chill in the fridge for 1 to 3 hours.
3. Chop off the ends of the zucchini and use a peeler to cut fine strips. Salt generously and lay the strips flat (without overlapping) on a clean cloth or paper towel. Place another cloth or piece of paper towel and a heavy object, such as a wood cutting board, overtop. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
4. Uncover the zucchini and use a clean cloth or paper towel to dab away excess salt and water. Roll up each strip.
5. Assemble the brochettes by alternating cubes of chicken and rolls of zucchini. Cook on a barbecue or in a grill pan until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with tzatziki sauce.
For your 4th of July feast: A blueberry trifle
It’s that time of year when berries explode with color. The reds, the blues, and the blacks attract us, but there’s far more to berries than meets the eye.
They’re loaded with compounds that keep your body and brain working right and staying young. So impressed were researchers at Ohio State University that they recommend everyone eat berries every day.
When it comes to total antioxidant power, four of the top 10 fruits and vegetables are blueberries (ranked number one), strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
They are rich sources of quercetin, a potent antioxidant.
Another thing that makes berries so special is a compound called ellagic acid, which is believed to prevent cellular changes that can lead to cancer. All berries have some of it, but strawberries and blackberries have the most.
All berries are also rich in vitamin C, one of the best antioxidants. It is particularly important in preventing cataracts. A half-cup of strawberries has 42 milligrams of C. And berries contain large amounts of insoluble fiber, which keeps bowels moving.
Want to feed your brain? Researchers at Tufts University found that compounds in blueberries have actually improved the memories of aging lab animals.
Fortunately, blueberries are not only good for you but delicious.
Here is a recipe for a pretty blueberry trifle that will look fantastic on your 4th of July table:
Blueberry Trifle Recipe
1-Angel Food cake
1-bag frozen blueberries, thawed and drained OR 1-2 pints fresh berries
1-box dry instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
1-can sweetened condensed milk
1-8-oz. block cream cheese
12 oz. Cool Whip
Break angel food cake into large chunks.
Put 1/2 of cake on bottom of trifle bowl.
Sprinkle 1/2 of blueberries on top of cake.
Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add dry pudding mix and condensed milk. Beat until creamy.
Stir in about 2/3 of the Cool Whip, reserving the rest for later.
Gently spread 1/2 of mixture over cake and blueberries in bowl.
Layer again as before, keeping a few blueberries aside for garnish.
Top with remaining Cool Whip and garnish with leftover blueberries.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
4 tips for a successful Fourth of July barbecue
The Fourth of July is an ideal occasion to host a backyard barbecue. Here are four tips to ensure the day is a success.
1. Start planning early
Hosting a barbecue isn’t complicated, but waiting until the last minute to get organized can be stressful. A to-do list will ensure you don’t forget to pick up ice for the drink cooler or top up on fuel for the grill. If guests are bringing side dishes, preemptive planning can help you avoid ending up with four macaroni salads.
2. Get creative with colors
3. Keep the menu simple
Set out chips and dip for guests to snack on before you fire up the barbecue. Complement the traditional meat options with grilled asparagus, corn on the cob, or vegetable skewers. Remember, simple doesn’t have to mean boring. You can make the meal interactive with a build-your-own burger, nacho, or sundae bar.
4. Remember to relax
Independence Day is about spending time with loved ones and creating memories. Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks by assigning someone to the grill or asking guests to contribute a salad or dessert. Once everyone has a plate full of food, be sure to raise a glass to family and country.
Ideally, your barbecue should start in the early afternoon so you and your guests can make the most of a sunny day and still have time to go watch a fireworks display in the evening.
How to make homemade ice pops
Do you want to make your own ice pops? It’s easier than you think. Here’s how.
Use your favorite drink
To ensure you like the flavor of your ice pops, use a beverage you enjoy. Fruit juices, smoothies, drinkable yogurts, and flavored teas are all great options. If you’re a coffee-lover, use cold-brew coffee or dissolve instant coffee crystals in cream or milk. If the liquid isn’t pre-sweetened, you can add maple syrup, honey, or sugar.
Mix and match flavors
To make your ice pops even more interesting, layer two or more different flavors. You can do this by partially filling the ice pop molds with one flavor and letting it freeze for about an hour before pouring in the next one.
Add whole berries, slices of fruit or even candy to your ice pops. You can show off these treats by using a translucent liquid as the base. Alternatively, make these ingredients a surprise by concealing them in yogurt or an opaque drink.
To ensure your ice pops freeze all the way through, leave them in the freezer for at least eight hours. Run the mold under hot water for a few seconds before removing your ice pop to make sure it comes out in one piece.
Ice pop molds come in an assortment of shapes and can be made of plastic, silicone or stainless steel. If you shop around, you’re sure to find one you like.