Posts tagged healthy foods

No-Bake Pecan Pie Balls

All the flavor of pecan pie without all the work — or extra sugar.

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That’s the idea behind these pecan pie balls. Over the holidays, I was looking something lighter than your typical sugar-spiked pecan pie for dessert, so I decided to take a cue from my No-Cook Cocoa Granola Bites recipe. This vegan version has only a few ingredients and you can mix-and-match many of them to make these your own.

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I dipped my first batch into chocolate but the second time I never had a chance to — my kids polished them off first.

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Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes + soaking + chilling

Servings:14, 1″ balls

Ingredients

1 cup pitted dates

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 cup pecans (or any combination of nuts)

1/2 tbsp. honey

1/3 cup oatmeal

2 full graham crackers or 4 tea biscuits

1 1/2 tbsp. tart juice, like cherry or use water

Chocolate candy coating (opt.)

 

Directions

  1. Soak the dates in water spiked with the almond extract for 1 hour (or overnight).
  2. Drain the dates and place in a food processor along with the remaining ingredients (minus the candy coating). Note: You may want to add more oatmeal or juice to get the right consistency — the batter will be sticky.
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or freeze for 15 minutes). Form the mixture into 14, 1″ balls; I used a cookie scoop.
  4. At this point you can leave the balls plain or roll them in chopped nuts or cocoa powder. To coat with chocolate, refrigerate for another hour. Melt 1 cup candy coating in the microwave. Working quickly, dip each ball into the chocolate and then place on waxed paper to set. Refrigerate until you’re ready to start eating.
  5. Store for up to 5 days.

 

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DIY Greek yogurt

It’s Greek yogurt week here at MKES! Lately, I’ve been throwing it into just about everything. I even came up with a yummy banana chocolate chip Greek yogurt cake last night that my kids loved. (I’ll post that next.) But before you go out and buy tubs of Greek yogurt at Costco like me, why not make it yourself? Jessie Voigts, Ph.D., owner and creative force behind Wandering Educators (if you haven’t checked out the site yet, you should!), graciously passed along her method for making Greek yogurt at home and one of her recipes for Greek yogurt cheesecake.

Here’s her take on making one of my favorite foods:

We eat  yogurt every day – cook with it, bake with it, make smoothies, eat it with rhubarb sauce, make dips…well, the list goes on and on. But do you know what is in some commercial yogurt? More than just milk and yogurt starter. Making your own yogurt is easy, economical, and you know exactly what goes into it – yogurt, and milk. Once you get started, you’ll never buy yogurt again!

Yogurt

It’s easiest if you have a yogurt incubator, available online or in thrift stores for a few dollars. If you don’t have one, that’s ok. You can still make yogurt easily.

Equipment you will need:

A large pyrex measuring cup (8 cups) or a pan

A glass candy thermometer

A yogurt incubator with jars, or 2 quart jars, a towel, and a small cooler.

Heat 2 quarts of milk to 175 degrees. I do this in the microwave. In my microwave, it is 19 minutes at 80% power. You can also heat it on medium low on your stove, but this requires careful tending. Once it is at 175, sit on the counter and cool until it is 110 degrees. You’ll see a film on the top of the milk. Remove it with a  fork right before the next step.

When the milk is at 110 degrees, stir in 2 T of yogurt. This can be storebought yogurt or homemade yogurt. If you have Greek yogurt, even better. Whisk the milk and yogurt until the yogurt is dissolved. Pour into your containers and place in your yogurt incubator. Or, pour into your 2 quart jars, wrap in a towel, and put in a small cooler. The point is to keep it at a low temperature for 12 hours, so the yogurt cultures can grow. Once your twelve hours are up, put the jars into the refrigerator and let sit for another 12 hours, to firm up. Eat and enjoy! Be sure to make your next batch of yogurt before you run out – you’ll need 2 Tablespoons to start your next batch.

To Make Greek Yogurt:

Put a strainer over a bowl, and line your strainer with a coffee filter (or doubled up cheesecloth). Pour in your yogurt and let sit for a few hours. If it is warm out, or you need to let it sit overnight, place it in the fridge. The whey will drain out (you can use this for other purposes, but I just throw it out. No haters, please). You’ll be left with nice, thick Greek yogurt.

Recipe: Yogurt cheesecake

Here’s a delicious, easy, and healthy recipe using Greek yogurt.

2 c Greek yogurt

2 T sugar (or to taste. You might want 1/4 c or more)

1 t vanilla

2 beaten eggs

If desired, a graham cracker crust

Mix up the yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and eggs until smooth. Pour into a baking dish (pie plate, 8×8 glass dish) with or without a graham cracker crust. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the middle stops jiggling.  Cool and refrigerate for 4+ hours. Serve with fruit or jam.

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