By Elke Probkevitz
A new year signifies a new beginning, and for a lot of people that means starting your diet off on a new foot. Choosing healthy options like fresh fruits and veggies, and low-fat proteins and dairy, is a good start. Yogurt is a great go-to option for breakfast, lunch, or a midday snack. Instead of prepared yogurts with added sugar and artificial ingredients, purchase plain regular or Greek yogurt and mix in any number of ingredients and toppings to create your own concoction.
Roasted peaches and pecans. Pit and quarter peaches, toss with a pinch of cardamom, and drizzle maple syrup over it. Roast in oven at 350° until tender. Top yogurt with warm peaches and chopped pecans. Keep extra peaches in fridge in airtight container for later use.
Red-wine cherries. Pit and chop fresh cherries. Place in saucepan with a few tablespoons of dry red wine and a pinch of sugar. Simmer until thickened and cherries start to break down. Cool before serving over yogurt.
Nut butter and jelly. Swirl in peanut butter or almond butter and grape or blueberry jelly. Top with halved red grapes and peanuts.
Pistachio, chocolate, and orange. Toast shelled pistachios, let cool, and coarsely chop. Cut orange into segments. Combine pistachios, orange segments, and chunks of dark chocolate. Sprinkle mixture over yogurt, drizzle honey over it, and top with fresh mint. You can also mix honey, orange juice, and orange zest to make a sauce to mix into your yogurt, and then mix with chocolate and pistachios.
Blueberry chia walnut. Add fresh blueberries, chia seeds, and toasted walnuts to yogurt. Drizzle with agave or honey.
Blueberry lemon. Mash blueberries with fresh lemon juice and a little sugar. Swirl into yogurt and top with whole blueberries and lemon zest.
Strawberry and granola. Make a big batch of homemade granola or use store-bought granola, fresh strawberries, or another berry of your choice, and drizzle with honey.
Coconut chocolate. Toast large flakes of coconut in 350° oven until lightly browned. Stir cocoa powder into yogurt and top with toasted coconut and shaved chocolate.
Toasted coconut, pineapple, and hazelnut. Cut up fresh pineapple, add to yogurt, top with toasted coconut flakes and chopped hazelnuts, and drizzle with agave.
Fig and walnut. Cut up fresh or dried Turkish figs, sprinkle with walnuts, and drizzle with honey.
Almond apricot. Swirl honey into yogurt and top with chopped almonds and dried apricots. v
5 cups rolled oats
2–3 cups slivered almonds or pecan halves
1 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
⅓ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. canola oil
Preheat oven to 300°F. In large bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger; mix well. In small bowl, whisk applesauce, corn syrup, honey, and canola oil. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread mixture on two rimmed baking sheets. Bake 35–40 minutes until golden brown, rotating and mixing granola every 10 minutes. When well browned, take out and mix right away so it doesn’t clump up and solidify. Let it cool and become crispy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and use with fresh berries to top Greek yogurt.
Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to elke@TakeHomeChef.net, or visiting www.TakeHomeChef.net.