03 March 2011

Yogurt, plain and simple

Mommy likes hers with some oats on top.

Much like I have a rule about not buying kitchen tools that have only one use, I hate buying food or stray ingredients that work in only one dish. Come on, that bottle of fish sauce stinks and big, so if you're not going to use it but for the one time, don't buy it. That's how I feel about those small cherry-berry-blasted yogurt cups. What else can you do with them other than eat super-sweet yogurt?

I don't mind berries in my yogurt, although the idea of anything tasting like a Key Lime Pie other than a Key Lime Pie creeps me out ever since I read Fast Food Nation. (I don't have anything against Key Limes, it's those tasty "Key Lime" chemicals that are a turnoff.) That's why I go for the big tub of plain yogurt. Sure, all by it's lonesome, it tastes like, (drumroll) yogurt. But did you know that much like buttermilk, it can add tang to baked goods? And imagining an gyro without the Greek yogurt sauce tzatziki is kind of cruel. And a yogurt smoothie is this sleep-deprived mama's go-to quick breakfast.

An immersion blender makes quick work of a yogurt smoothie with blueberries, banana and spinach, sweetened with honey.

Breakfast for two.

My 2-year-old loves yogurt smoothies, or smoovies as they're known around here. Maybe it's merely the fact that he gets to slurp his meal through a bendy straw, but I don't really care. Usually while he's running around the house playing trucks, I toss in frozen blueberries, banana, a handful of spinach leaves and honey in yogurt and buzz it with my immersion blender. The brilliant purple is cool enough that he never presses me about what else is in the smoothie, and I feel like a decent mom for getting a few veggies in before 8 a.m. (And let's be honest, there won't be many other veggies at all unless we've got sweet potato fries on the dinner menu.)

Here's another smoothie idea that includes avocados and bananas, which couldn't be a more perfect marriage in my book. If that sounds too strange for your tastes, check out this recipe for chocolate chip banana muffins. And yogurt doesn't stop at breakfast. Swap it for sour cream in dips or mayo in dressings. It's blank canvas makes it an excellent baby food, too.

And should you find yourself staring at a tub of plain yogurt and craving a berry-sweetened cup of yogurt, mix a few spoonfuls with some of your favorite jam. You'll be surprised how much it tastes just like the stuff in the store-bought cups. Only better.

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