I am not a fan of eating plain yogurt, well, plain. Have you ever had it? It is really sour. Not rich and creamy and delightful like sour cream is, but actually sour. If you are one of those people who like it untouched or unsweetened I salute you, but I am not one of those people. I never quite understand why I keep seeing recipes and advice in magazines that always suggest eating a bowl of it as a healthy snack or mixing some with chia seeds and kiwi to make the perfect breakfast. Have they eaten it themselves? Aack! I can’t stomach that much acidity without something sweet to break it up. I know, I know. Flavored yogurt has added sugar and stuff and it isn’t as good for you as they plain stuff. But I buy organic! Does that win me some points?
And while we are on the subject, I am talking about plain yogurt, not vanilla yogurt. Vanilla yogurt has sweetener and flavoring in it, no matter how plain it may seem to you. Actual plain yogurt is just that: cultured dairy and nothing else. My husband learned this the hard way several years ago when I sent him a quick run to the store for VANILLA yogurt and he came back with plain. When I stared at it questioningly, he replied rather indignantly, “What? Its plain. No fruit or fancy flavor. Just plain vanilla.” He learned his lesson when I made him eat a spoonful of it right from the container. He then wanted to know why anyone would sell it that way and I told him that it was the same stuff that makes this bread and half a dozen other recipes so moist and lovely and irresistible.
Now please do not misunderstand. I love to cook with plain yogurt and do so with such regularity that it is one of those ingredients that is always in my fridge. You know how on the very last page of every Bon Appetit magazine where they feature some sort of celebrity in the culinary world and they proceed to ask them the same down to earth question-What is always in your fridge? Well plain yogurt is on my list. And milk. And eggs. And capers. Gotta have capers.
Enough with the yogurt lecture! On to the food!
This is a full on example of prime comfort food for me. I ate this nearly exact meal so often in my childhood that I really never gave it much thought. It never crossed my mind as anything all that spectacular until I made it for my husband and I for lunch one day. He loved it immediately and I just shrugged. I made it for breakfast for guest and they inhaled it like it was their last meal. I now make it for my kids, as often as they request it of me. And sometime recently it occurred to me that some of you might like it as well. And will you love it for the same reasons we do? Love it for its perfect balance of tang and crunch and sweet chewiness that we crave? I don’t know. I hope so. But however you make it-plain or vanilla-I promise not to give anymore speeches about yogurt.
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Individual Yogurt Salads
I should let you know that for all my ramblings above, I ate this with only plain yogurt for as long as I lived in my parents house. It was basically the only kind my mom would buy. Her solution to the sourness-bless her-was to drizzle the whole thing oh so generously with honey. This is not a bad idea if you want to eat it that way. It makes it wonderfully sticky. Also, you can, of course, add anything to yogurt, but for some reason this combination works exceptionally well. The only think I ever do different is to occasionally add a sliced banana.
Making this in one big batch just makes the whole thing look messy and kinda gross. Just add the ingredients individually to each bowl. It is just as easy, looks better, and you and adjust the amounts accordingly based on age and hunger level.
yogurt, vanilla or plain
ground flax, optional
toasted wheat germ
chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
chunked banana, optional
a generous drizzle of honey, also optional