Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Gift from the Gods: Greek Yogurt

The price of gas seems a real bargain when compared to the cost of a 16-ounce container of organic Greek yogurt.

I love the self-checkout at Giant Eagle, the grocery store I go to in Pittsburgh when I don’t have time to get to Trader Joe’s. The computer tells me, in a very pleasant, friendly voice, how much each item costs, and, in the case of fruits and vegetables, exactly what the food is. For instance, if you set a Vidalia onion on the scale and punch in the product code, the computer will say, “Please move your Vidalia onions to the belt.” Good thing it only announces fruits and vegetables and not condoms or Preparation H! Although I wonder if it would make more people wake up to what’s really in their carts if the computer were to announce all their food purchases out loud. “Please move your Pepsi, Tostitos, Cheez-Wiz, donuts, Cocoa Krispies to the belt.”

Sadly, I doubt it.

Anyway, I can’t buy Greek yogurt anywhere in Podunkville, so I stocked up yesterday at Giant Eagle. Thinking the tag in the yogurt section read 2 for $4, I put two large tubs in my cart. When I scanned a tub at the checkout, the computer said, “Five ninety-nine.”

“What? I thought this stuff was two for $4,” I told my daughter. I ran the second tub through and it said the same thing, “Five ninety-nine.”

“You don’t have to keep it,” said my daughter.

But sadly I did. Have to keep it, that is. You see, I’m hopelessly in love with Greek yogurt. It surely comes from the gods on Mount Olympus. Thick, delicious and packed with protein, Greek yogurt is what makes a good smoothie fabulous.

When I broke it down unto servings, it “only” costs $1.49 per half cup – a justifiable amount – and I now have eight (well, actually seven since I just had a smoothie for breakfast) servings in my refrigerator. I’ll be sure to use every single serving before the expiration date sometime in July.

Oh who am I kidding? That stuff will be gone in a week.

On to another subject: Summer salads. Why don’t we make them in winter? This one, especially. Grocery stores carry cukes and red onions in December. I’m reprogramming my salad mindset and keeping this recipe, courtesy of my little sister, in mind on cold winter days. The crunch, sweet and sour satisfies three of my four most common cravings (bread-like substances being the fourth).

THAI CUCUMBER SALAD

2 English cucumbers - the long, skinny ones wrapped in plastic – or 3-4 regular cucumbers, seeded or not, whatever you prefer
1 large red onion, halved, then sliced
¾ cup of seasoned rice vinegar
¼ cup water
1/3 cup sugar - this is to taste, so start out slowly, but the brine should be slightly sweet
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and slice. Place cucumbers and sliced onions in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a separate bowl, holding off adding the oil until the very end as to be sure the sugar and salt has dissolved in the vinegar and water. Pour dressing over the cucumbers and let marinate at least overnight, but the salad gets better as it sits longer.

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If you want to read about my latest exercise discovery, “run” on over to my ZenBagLady blog.

And….if you’re into all things maintenance, check out my new website over at Refuse To Regain.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the salad recipe I cannot wait to try it. Thanks for inspiring us Lynn.

    Mara
    http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

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  2. Hi Lynne, I read your 'running' blog, and really relate. Before I lost weight, I would have these thoughts/dreams about just getting up and running out the door, but of course I couldn't. So now that I've lost weight, I started running a bit, and felt that thrill you describe, and then I hurt my back. But just recently, I decided the same thing, I would do it once in a while just for the pure pleasure of it.

    I feel the same way about Greek yogurt. I only buy it at Trader Joe's. Is it as expensive there? I never paid attention. I like it with walnuts and dried fruit--mmmmm!

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  3. I guess when I emailed that Giant Eagle had the yogurt, I could have taken an extra second to email price. Sorry about that.

    Next time I'm in Slippery Rock I'm going to see if they have it. If they do, maybe I'll see you more often! County Market has the 5 oz containers for $2.69 (or thereabouts) if you get desperate.

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  4. Hey Lynn,
    Thanks for so much inspiration! I have enjoyed reading your blog. About 10 years ago I lost 25 lbs. on WW then I went to work for them for 5 years. When I quit it slowly started coming back on! Back to old habits! I am now trying to get off about 15 lbs. It is a lot harder since turning 50!!! Could you share your recipe for your smoothie! I tried greek yogurt for the first time a few weeks ago! Defintely worth the price!!! Thanks again~
    Sharon

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  5. That salad sounds YUMMY and I never thought of adding yogurt to a smoothie, that's the consitency I think I have been missing. Anyhoo, can you get the greek yogurt at Trader Joe's? My mom and sisters SWEAR by it but I never tried it, I think this post just pushed to making the purchase. Thanks for the always witty commentary, and thoughtfullness of your posts! Love it!

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  6. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story with all of us. You have been such an inspiration to so many. I too am beginning my journey. My blog is http://blubberyblogger.blogspot.com
    I am trying to spread the word because I need all the help and support I can get!!! Please check it out. THANKS!!!

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  7. Hi there. Thought I'd answer a few questions.

    Debbyweighsin, I believe the TJ's brand of Greek yogurt is cheaper than Fage. It's JUST as good, too, as you know. It would have cost me more in gas money, though, to save a buck or two on yogurt, unfortunately :*(

    Sharon, my smoothies are really simple. In a blender, I put 1/2 c of yogurt, 1/2 c of lite vanilla soy milk, 1 C of berries (mix and match if you like), 1/2 banana, and a packet of stevia (a natural sweetener, but you can use Splenda, too). Then I blend it up! I'm going to experiment with adding PB2 (a powdered peanut butter from www.bellplantation.com) and some kind of chocolate to a simple banana, yogurt, soy milk smoothie soon, too.

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  8. How nice! You put my recipe on here. Here's another add-on for the salad if you want a little heat: 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes - aw, yeah, that's the stuff! I have some of this salad in my fridge right now.

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