Strawberry Dessert Bites 007
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For Memorial Day I wanted to make a quick, easy and healthy bite size dessert. I found a lot of recipes for stawberries filled with a cheesecake type filling that looked delicious, but had entirely too much saturated fat, calories and sugar for my liking. But I loved the idea of filling a strawberry to make a bite sized treat. Strawberries are full of fiber, vitamin C, and multiple other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Research shows that eating strawberries may decrease cancer risk, improve cardiovascular health and boost cognitive functioning so you can definitely feel good about eating these tasty treats! For my filling I decided to use neufchatel cheese (like cream cheese but with 1/3 less fat), nonfat plain greek yogurt to cut the fat and calorie content further, a small amount of sugar (1 teaspoon) and pure vanilla extract. Everyone seemed to enjoy them and they were so simple and easy to make.

Strawberry Dessert Bites

Ingredients
1 -16 oz box of Fresh Strawberries (approx 20 berries)
4 oz Neufchatel Cheese
1/4 Cup Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Directions
Clean the strawberries and remove the center of each strawberry with a small paring knife to make a hole for the filling. See picture below. Combine remaining ingredients (cheese, yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract) together in a bowl and mix well. Once well blended, scoop filling into each berry with a small spoon. If you want it to look more professional and fancy you can try using a cake decorator or icing bag. (I just scooped the filling in with a spoon because I was in a rush…. that is why mine look a little messy) Refrigerate until ready to serve. Super easy!
 
Strawberry Dessert BitesStrawberry Dessert Bites
Nutrition Info
Serving Size: Approx 4 Strawberries
Calories: 95
Carbohydrates: 7.6 g
Protein: 3.7 g
Fat: 5.4 g
Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
Fiber: 1.4 g
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greek yogurt 008
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I love greek yogurt. The first time I tried it, I remember thinking it was very different. Growing up we mostly ate the flavored yogurt that was sweet and creamy. I remember putting lemon and strawberry yogurt in the freezer and waiting eagerly for it to freeze. Then I could have a special treat that my brothers and sister would be jealous of and wished they thought of my good frozen treat idea. 😛

Both regular nonfat or low fat yogurt as well as regular nonfat or low fat greek yogurt are both low in calories and chock full of calcium as well as live bacteria cultures making them both healthy choices. Studies have shown that dairy products can help with weight loss and live bacteria cultures are important for a healthy gut and immune system. Greek yogurt does have a slight edge over conventional yogurt, it is thicker and has more protein which can help you feel fuller longer and also has less sugar due to the straining process. Extra sugar can be added during processing for flavor so make sure you check your labels and avoid the ones with lots of added sugar. I prefer to just go plain so I buy the nonfat greek yogurt without any flavorings or additives. Here are some of my favorite choices:

greek yogurt 004

The Dannon Oikos Greek Nonfat Plain Yogurt (5.3oz container) has 80 Calories, 15g Protein, 6g Carbohydrates, 0g Fat and 15% of your daily Calcium needs.

The Fage Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt (6ozs) contains 100 Calories, 18g Protein, 7g Carbohydrates, 0g Fat, and 20% of your daily Calcium needs.

The Chobani Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt (5.3oz) has 90 Calories, 15g Protein, 7g Carbohydrates, 0g Fat, and 15% of your daily Calcium needs.

I do like a little bit of sweetness in my greek yogurt so I usually like to add some fruit and a little drizzle of honey. I prefer adding my own flavorings because I can use fresh fruit and control the amount of sugar. Here is a recipe that is only 135-155 calories to get you started:

1 container Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt (5.3-6oz)

1/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries

1/4 Cup Fresh Sliced Strawberries

1 Teaspoon of Honey

Scoop yogurt in a bowl or parfait glass. Top yogurt with blueberries, strawberries and honey. Enjoy!

greek yogurt 008

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SAM_0026
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I have tried making buckwheat pancakes a few times but couldn’t get them to taste exactly how I wanted until today :)  I used a recipe I found from Cookie and Kate (http://cookieandkate.com/2013/buckwheat-pancakes/) for guidance and made a few adjustments until they tasted exactly how I wanted.  Buckwheat flour actually is not wheat and is gluten free so those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity can consume buckwheat safely. It is a whole grain so it contributes more fiber and vitamins than regular all purpose flour. I did not use sugar in this recipe, which is normally added to most pancake recipes. I used no sugar added applesauce (fruit contains natural sugar along with vitamins and many healthy plant compounds) which I thought made the pancakes more moist and cake like. Enjoy!

Buckwheat Pancakes

Makes approximately 8-10 4 inch pancakes

Ingredients

Canola nonstick spray

1 Cup Buckwheat Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1  Egg

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Skim Milk

1/2 Cup No Added Sugar Applesauce

Fresh fruit for topping

Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg in a smaller bowl and mix in wet ingredients (vanilla, milk, applesauce) with whisked egg. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly blended.  Spray large skillet pan or griddle with nonstick spray and preheat to medium heat. Pour batter in pan to form 4 inch pancakes. Flip over after about 1-2 minutes, when small bubbles appear. Cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Put on a plate and top with fresh fruit. Drizzle lightly with pure maple syrup if desired.

SAM_0024

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