Tag Archives: yogurt

Product Review: Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt

One of the great perks of blogging is that occasionally people want to send you free stuff! Sweet! Even better when it’s a product you’re really excited about. I’ve been a fan of Stonyfield Farms for a long time, especially because of their partnership with Preserve, their emphasis on organic products, their use of milk from family farms, and their environmental practices. So when Kristina from Stonyfield offered to send me some coupons, I was psyched.

And when the package came, I felt like one very lucky blogger!
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Check out that bounty of coupons and the cool reusable bag! Thanks, Kristina!

I was especially excited to try Oikos, as I’m a big fan of Greek yogurt, and don’t often see organic brands. While I tend to generally purchase locally-made organic plain yogurts like Wallaby and Straus, neither of these brands make Greek yogurt. And I must say, Oikos is some of the best Greek yogurt I have ever tried. It’s rich, creamy, delcious and packs 23 grams of protein and NO fat per serving. Amazing. This stuff definitely does not taste fat-free! My favorite way to enjoy it is with Stahlbush Farms Marion blackberries – I pack a little container of yogurt and frozen berries in the morning, and by lunch the berries have defrosted and perfectly sweetened the yogurt. Yum! While I usually buy plain Oikos and add my own fruit to it, the vanilla is absolutely amazing as an occasional treat – it’s better than most desserts! The plain is so thick and rich that it’s a great substitute for sour cream, and also works as a great way to cut back on oil in muffin recipes and other baked goods.

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I will say that I prefer to buy the 16oz, as opposed to the smaller, single-serving size, because the container is a great size for reusing (it perfectly holds a sandwich on an English muffin, for example!). Stonyfield seems to have given a lot of thought to their packaging, most of which is admittedly over my head, but I’d love to see a larger, 32-oz size, and a lid added to the indivudual-serving size to make the container reusable.

Oikos might not be the cheapest yogurt on the market (the 16oz generally runs around $5 or so at my local Whole Foods – I think everything’s more expensive in SF, though), but for me, it’s well worth the price!

What do you like to add to your yogurt? Anything unusual besides fruit or honey?

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BlogHer Food ’09 & Winners!

Hey all!

My apologies for not announcing the WholeSoy contest winners sooner! I totally forgot that Monday was a holiday when I set up the contest. Anyway, I’ll get to the winners in just a moment, but first….

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I just bought my ticket for BlogHer Food ’09, and am so excited! I was hoping to attend the regular BlogHer conference, but it was all sold out by the time I got around to it. But BlogHer Food is not only less expensive, it’s also in my city! I first heard about it when Tina said she was going, and I knew I had to attend. Is anyone else going? I’d love to meet any of you who will be attending, and organize a reader meet-up, and maybe a run or even some tours of San Francisco – I love showing people around! If anyone has any questions about SF at all, please ask! It’s one of the greatest cities ever, in my opinion. πŸ˜‰

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Ok, now the moment you’ve really been waiting for! Without further ado, the winners (selected using the Random Integer Generator):

A free pint of soy frozen yogurt, a free soy yogurt and bonus coupons go to:

Anne K, who said:
Creme Caramel, for sure! Yum!
I’ll link back in my next post πŸ™‚

and

Rose for her Tweet

And the Grand Prize Winner

Erin who said, Vanilla Bean or Caramel!!

Congratulations! Anne, Rose and Erin, please email me at prettygreenjanet@gmail.com!

You’re all winners to me, of course! I have some more coupons and will be doing another contest in the near future, so stay posted!

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Whole Soy & Co: I’m in Love!

Though I love tofu, I’ve never been a big fan of soy milk. At least not of Silk, or the unsweetened kind from Trader Joe’s. Just not my thing. I’ve tried a few different soy frozen yogurts, and found them to have that same funky taste I think soy milk has. Until I discovered the perfection that is Whole Soy & Co. frozen yogurt.

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I was first drawn in by their Chocolate Hazelnut flavor, and OMG, this stuff is good. It has an absolutely amazing flavor and only 120 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving. I have a container of their Swiss Dark Chocolate at home right now, taunting me as I try to cut a little bit back on sugar this week. We’ll see how that goes. πŸ˜‰ I had some the other night and it seriously was better than some full-fat ice creams I’ve had. A few weeks ago, I had some of the Mocha Fudge, and later that night, I was literally so happy that I wasn’t sure if I could sleep. I don’t know if it was the caffeine or what, but seriously, I was giddy. I had a small scoop in my coffee the next morning (hey, people put cream and sugar in their coffee, right?) and I was totally in love with life that day, too. I don’t know if I can account it all to the frozen yogurt, but I think I will so I can eat it more often. πŸ™‚ They have a few other delicious-sounding flavors – Vanilla Bean, CrΓ¨me Caramel and Black Cherry – and their products are certified vegan, Kosher and dairy-, casein- and gluten-free. I have yet to try their soy yogurts, but I definitely plan to in the near future, especially after learning more about the company.

Whole Soy & Co. is locally based here in SF, but that’s not the only that makes them pretty green. Check out their Sustainability Statement for some amazing facts about what they’re doing!

Some highlights:
* They are independently-owned
* Their products are certified organic
* They source their fruit locally
* They pay livable wages
* They encourage their employees to take public transit (and almost all of them do!)
* They give back to the community
* They source their sugar and cocoa from socially and economically responsible cooperatives
* They participate in a CSA
*They got rid of their plastic lids to keep them out of the waste stream, but will send you one if you want to reuse your yogurt cup (which I recommend you do!)

There are too many wonderful things to list here, so please take a look at their website, and definitely try their products if you see them in stores!

A socially and environmentally responsible company that makes an outstanding product? I’m in love!

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Lunch in the Park

What a nice lunch break I just had! First I went to the San Mateo Farmers’ Market and got a bunch of great stuff – a red bell pepper, a yellow bell pepper, asparagus (which will apparently be in season until May, head’s up. Get it while you can!), Brussels sprouts, apples and hummus & jalapeno red pepper jelly/sauce from the Afghani food stand. The girl that works there is always so nice and generous with her samples that I feel like I have to buy something! She got me again!

Then I assembled my lunch and walked to a little park nearby to enjoy it. The weather is so great today that a walk and eating outside were totally necessary! Here’s my lunch, posing with my slightly obnoxious “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” bag (especially because it was made in China. Ironic, huh? Grr). Sliced apple (darn braces! I can’t wait until I can bite into a real apple again!). Leftover cold local broccoli. My latest yogurt obsession, Straus Vanilla with Stahlbush Farms sustainably farmed frozen fruit. Hate that it’s packaged, but it’s good in a pinch. I reused this yogurt container that I bought when I needed a starter for my homemade yogurt. An English muffin sandwich with Mendocino Hot & Sweet Mustard, the red pepper jelly/sauce from the Farmer’s market, Diestel honey turkey, avocado from my CSA, and thinly sliced local apples. Also pictured: my Sigg water bottle. Funny, their website actually is “My Sigg.” Heh.

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Lunch

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Me in my walking hat

Lunch was great, as was getting outside. I read Body & Soul while I was eating, which had TONS of great eco-friendly tips. I know, getting eco-friendly tips from a magazine is like the height of irony, but I’ve drastically cut back on my magazine subscriptions recently, and always make sure to hand them off to friends, and make them promise to pass them along once they are done!

Speaking of magazines, check out this Us Weekly (I have to – I write celeb gossip trivia for work) peeking out from under my Farmers’ Market produce. I love how it looks like Jason, the Bachelor, is very pensive about produce. Also note the Envirosax bag with a big stupid ink stain. Grr!

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Product Review: Wallaby Yogurt

As I’ve mentioned before, I have kind of a guilt complex when I buy individual yogurts, and have been on kick of a making it myself. However, sometimes the temptation of an individual flavor gets me (at which times I call myself a hippiecrit!). Wallaby Yogurt, a brand I recently discovered, is definitely one of my biggest temptations. Now, I try to buy their larger sizes – I bought a tub of their Plain Yogurt last week when I didn’t have time to make my own, and saw on their website that it comes in vanilla as well, so I’m on the lookout! But check out those individual flavors – the call of Bartlett Pear and Vanilla Bean have certainly gotten to me! And the new Down Unders – I can’t even tell you how good the Dark Chocolate Down Under is. It’s probably one of the best yogurts I’ve ever had (hello, it has chocolate in it!). I also tried the Berries & Cream Down Under last week and thought it was outstanding – I look forward to trying their other flavors. And honestly, maybe I’ll find a way to repurpose the yogurt cups myself. πŸ™‚ Ideas, anyone?

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Check out that CSA produce in the background!

Wallaby yogurt is wonderful – it’s Australian style (as you might have guessed from the name!), meaning it’s creamy, smooth and thin, almost drinkable. The coolest thing, for me, is that Wallaby is made in nearby Napa with milk from organic local farms – check out the farms and their happy cows!

The Dark Chocolate Down Under is so good, in fact, that it prompted me to write an email to Wallaby. I wanted to compliment them, see if they’d consider selling the “down under chocolate” itself as a pudding – it’s that good – and see what kinds of plastic recycling programs they had (like Stonyfield’s Recycling program) and if they’d consider greener packaging, like compostable “plastic.” Here’s what I said.

I really enjoy your yogurt and just wanted to let you know! I especially enjoyed the Dark Chocolate Down Under I just had. I plan on writing about it on my blog prettygreengirl.com. I like that you are organic and use milk from local farms!

One thing I was wondering is if you would consider using post-consumer plastic or even compostable containers? Or a program with a company like Recycline, who uses Stonyfield yogurt containers to make toothbrushes, razors and other products. I love your yogurt but feel guilty every time I buy an individually packaged one. I would encourage you to make more of your flavors available in the large tubs, too! I have the plain at home and will be on the lookout for vanilla.

Thank you again for a great product!

I also mentioned I just tried the Dark Chocolate Down Under – and it is fantastic! Really delicious! I was wondering if you would considering making a pudding just made out of the chocolate layer on the bottom – it is so good!

This morning, I got a very nice response from Tammy at Wallaby, which said, among other things:

At this time we don’t have plans to change our packaging, but we are
always keeping our eyes and minds open to greener packaging. Currently,
our cups are made of #5 plastic which is recylable in many areas, or used
clean cups can be sent to us for recycling.

Awesome! I appreciate her responsiveness. My sister always tells me if you want to see change, ask! Even if you asked before if your wine shop carries organic or biodynamic wines, ask again! Ask the produce guy if you have anything local, ask the store manager if they will consider carrying certain organic or local products in your stores, etc! Companies and stores want to please their customers, so if they know customers are asking for something, they’ll be more likely to do it.

While I really recommend you make your own yogurt, or seek out locally-made ones, if there are any in your area (I know I’m spoiled here), I highly recommend you try a great yogurt from this great company! What flavors look best to you? Which would you love to see come in a bigger tub? Any ideas for repurposing the occasional individual container of yogurt?

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Save some plastic, yo(gurt)!

I’m a big fan of yogurt, but not, obviously, a fan of plastic. I try to buy the large cartons of plain yogurt (my favorites are Nancy’s Organic, followed by Clover) and flavor them myself with fruit, honey, jam, etc, but occasionally I get sucked in by fun flavors (pink grapefruit! vanilla bean! Bartlett pear!) and buy the individual containers. Bad Green Girl! Must stop this behavior!

I made homemade yogurt once before with my friends Sophie and Jen, allowing it to sit overnight in a warm water bath. However, I don’t quite have the cooking and scientific skills of Sophie, so I decided a yogurt maker might be my best bet. Inspired by this post on 101 Cookbooks, I ordered a Salton yogurt maker, picked up some organic milk (1 quart), some plain organic yogurt (you need 1/2 cup), and a thermometer, and set to work!

Here’s how to do it! It’s super easy, and how cool is it to say you made your own yogurt?

I started with a quart of Clover Organic 1% milk (I generally buy Straus milk, since it comes in glass bottles (love!), but Sophie had mentioned that it makes a runnier yogurt. While I love Straus milk, I do find their yogurt to be a little thin for me. Plus, my friend Jen knew some of the Clover-Stornetta folks growing up – they shared farmland – and says they’re good people. Plus, they’re local! God, I love Northern California).

Pour the milk into a saucepan, and heat to approximately 170 degrees, measuring with a thermometer. Do not let the milk boil (you can see in this image I may have let it bubble a bit too much).

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Let the milk cool to approximately 110 degrees. This will take a little while, so be patient! While it is cooling, plug in your yogurt maker and allow it to preheat.

Once milk has cooled, add a little bit of it to your 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (I used Nancy’s Organic nonfat). Then mix the yogurt/milk mixture back in with the rest of the milk. I skipped the step of adding powdered milk, because I used 1% which already contained it, but I might try it next time (see notes at end). Then, pour into the preheated yogurt maker (anyone else thinks this thing looks like R2-D2?). You can see that I saved a large yogurt container to pour the finished good into!

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Leave milk in yogurt maker for 4-8 hours, depending on the consistency you are looking for. According to the instructions that came with the maker, a longer time will make for a tarter yogurt. I intended to leave the yogurt overnight for 8 hours, but happened to wake up at 4am (I placed the milk in the maker at around 10pm) and it looked pretty yogurty at this point, so I unplugged and refrigerated. There was a bit of a yellow liquid on top from the milk, but I poured this off.

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And that’s it! Refrigerate the yogurt for a few hours after it is finished, and enjoy with your favorite toppings! I love jam, frozen (defrosted) berries, honey, chopped apples, etc. So far, I’ve had it once with honey, and twice with strawberry jam. Yum!

Notes: The yogurt has a delicious flavor, but came out a bit lumpy. I am going to play around with different starters, types of milk, time in the maker, and adding powdered milk. I may also try straining the finished product with cheesecloth to make a thicker, Greek-style yogurt, which I love. All in all the yogurt tastes great, and I saved plastic! The maker is obviously made of plastic, but I’ll use it many, many times instead of buying a new plastic carton of yogurt! Does anyone with experience making yogurt have any tips about the lumps?

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