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Figs With Greek Yogurt and Raw Chocolate

The May 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living had a small feature on dates that caught my eye;  I liked the healthy simplicity of her recipe for dates with strained ricotta and cocoa powder, and  I adapted it using figs, Greek yogurt, and raw cacao.

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Figs are high in natural sugars (which makes them sweet and delicious) but they also contain many nutrients including the minerals calcium, iron and potassium. They are high in fiber, too. You can make this recipe with fresh or dried figs: you’ll find dried figs in markets year round, while fresh figs are only available seasonally.

I love Greek yogurt because it is  thick and creamy and so high in protein and calcium. When dolloped onto figs and dusted with magnesium-rich raw cacao (chocolate) powder, this is a tasty and nutritious snack or dessert.

I recently came to the conclusion that I am a bit obsessed with smoothies! Smoothies are just so easy to make and so easy to pack with good nutrition– plus my kids love them so I make them for breakfast and/or snacks just about every day.

I often make my smoothies dairy-free (using coconut milk, a nut milk or water), but my kids generally prefer those that are made with yogurt.

If you are not sensitive to dairy, adding yogurt to your smoothies is a good way to boost your intake of probiotics, calcium, and protein.

I recommend organic plain yogurt in this berry yogurt smoothie because it is a whole food and is all natural (most low fat or non-fat fruit yogurts generally contain unhealthy sweeteners and artificial ingredients–just take a look at the labels). It is also important to use whole milk yogurt because calcium is a nutrient that is best absorbed in the present of some fat!

I usually add free-range egg yolks to my smoothies because they are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. If this does not appeal to you, you can leave them out, but know that the risk of salmonella is negligible if you use very fresh, free-range eggs. Raw egg yolks contain highly digestible nutrients, but egg whites are best consumed cooked, so don’t put the whites in your smoothie–save them for another recipe.

Berry Yogurt Smoothie Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

*1 cup fresh or frozen organic strawberries
*1 cup fresh or frozen organic raspberries
*1 cup frozen wild blueberries
*1 organic banana, peeled and sliced
*1 1/2 cups plain organic whole milk yogurt
*1/2 cup raw milk or organic grass-fed milk
*2 egg yolks, preferably organic and free-range

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Add additional water or ice to produce the desired consistency.

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Today’s post isn’t a recipe, but an announcement about a healthy dessert cookbook that’s coming out soon. Ricki Heller is a gifted cook who has a food blog I love called Diet, Desset, and Dogs. Ricki has been extremely generous about sharing her recipes on my website in the past– just check out her posts for Sweet Potato Truffles,
Mostly Raw Chocolate Truffles and
Chocolate Pecan Pie. Don’t her desserts look unbelievably yummy?

Ricki told me about the book she was writing a few months ago, and I’ve been anticipating its release ever since. If you love dessert and you are looking for healthier options, you’re in luck because the book will be available very soon!

Ricki is running a contest on her blog right now where you can win a copy of the book in print or ebook form. All you have to do is leave a comment after this post explaining why you’d like to win the book!

If you don’t win a copy from Ricki, check back here because I plan to do my own contest and give a copy of the book away, too…I suggest subscribing to the site by RSS so you’ll know when the contest is on!