Dining with the Doc: Lemon Raspberry Buttermilk Popsicles

Here in south Florida, popsicles are a year round treat. But for a lot of you popsicle season will be ending soon.  So before the cool weather arrives,  make a batch of these Lemon Raspberry Buttermilk Popsicles and celebrate the remaining days of summer in style!

Lemon Raspberry Buttermilk Popsicles
Makes 8 popsicles

1 1/2 cups low fat buttermilk
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons honey or sweetener of your choice
1 cup raspberries

Whisk the buttermilk, lemon juice and honey together in a bowl.  Pour the mixture into eight 3-oz popsicle molds.  Place the raspberries in a bowl and crush them with a fork until pureed.  Spoon equal amounts of the raspberry puree into the popsicle molds.  Using a chopstick, carefully push the raspberry puree down into the buttermilk mixture, trying not to mix it in too much (if you mix it too much, the popsicles will turn pink).  Place the popsicle sticks into the popsicles, 
cover and freeze for 2-3 hours until solid.  Alternatively, if you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use small paper cups.

To unmold, dip the popsicle molds in warm water and then pull the popsicles out. Enjoy!

One serving: Calories 60; Fat 0.5g (Sat 0.3g); Protein 1.8g; Carb 13.3g; Fiber 1g; Sodium 48mg


Dining with the Doc: Super Fast Peach Frozen Yogurt

A couple of weeks ago I posted a One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream recipe- a quick and easy ice cream recipe using only fresh bananas.  Since then I’ve been on a quest for more healthy dessert recipes.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to find easy, guilt-free dessert recipes that also taste great.  That’s why I’m really excited about my Super Fast Peach Frozen Yogurt.  This delicious treat simply involves putting frozen peaches, Greek yogurt, honey and a bit of lemon juice into a food processor and blending until smooth and creamy.  You only need five minutes and the end result is a creamy, luscious treat that the whole family will love.  It’s hard to believe it’s so easy to prepare- no ice cream maker needed. 

Fresh peaches supply a rich dose of Vitamin C as well as a good amount of several other nutrients like fiber, Vitamin A, potassium and niacin.  Along with the peaches, I also use Greek yogurt.  You may have heard that I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt and have a book out now called The Greek Yogurt Diet.  Greek yogurt adds a creamy texture along with a boost of protein, calcium and probiotics, which are beneficial for your digestive health.  To read my blog post about the health benefits of Greek yogurt, CLICK HERE.

I prefer my frozen yogurt on the tart side so I sweeten mine with only a small amount of honey.  You can use your sweetener of choice and adjust the amount to your taste.  Eat it right away if you prefer the texture of soft serve frozen yogurt.  If you like a firmer texture, freeze it for a couple of hours first.  You can also try this recipe with other fruits like strawberries or mango. This dish is a great one to make with your kids.  They’ll love how quickly it comes together and you’ll love how good it is for them! 

Super Fast Peach Frozen Yogurt 
Makes 4 servings 

16 ounces frozen peaches (do not defrost)
½ cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey or sweetener of your choice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a large food processor.  

Blend, scraping down the sides occasionally, until it forms a creamy, smooth mixture.  This should take about 4-5 minutes.  

At this point the frozen yogurt can be served and will have the texture of soft serve.  For a firmer texture, transfer the mixture to a freezer container and freeze for an hour or two before serving. 

One serving: Calories 104; Fat 0.2g (Sat 0g); Protein 4.2g; Carb 23.5g; Fiber 1.7g; Sodium 14mg


Dining with the Doc: Butter Lettuce Salad with Buttermilk Herb Dressing

Did you know that it’s really easy to make your own salad dressing?  My Buttermilk Herb Dressing is simple, delicious and healthy.  Store-bought salad dressings often have a lot of added sugars, preservatives and a surprising number of calories.  However, when you make homemade salad dressing, you can use fresh, natural ingredients and make healthy substitutions as desired.  My Buttermilk Herb Dressing is like a cross between ranch dressing and green goddess dressing- two of my favorites.  It uses fresh herbs, which are abundant this time of year, and it comes together in just a few minutes. By using low fat buttermilk and nonfat Greek yogurt, you can cut back significantly on the amount of mayonnaise used and still have a nice creamy texture.  The fresh herbs, dijon mustard and lemon juice add bright flavor and acidity.  This is a nice versatile dressing that can be used on salads or even as a dip.  Try it with my Butter Lettuce Salad, which features delicate butter lettuce leaves topped with heirloom tomatoes and fresh, grilled sweet corn.  

Butter Lettuce Salad with Buttermilk Herb Dressing
Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil 
2 ears corn, shucked
Kosher salt 
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
2 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
Buttermilk Herb Dressing (see recipe below)
Fresh herbs (parsley, dill, chives) for garnish

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.  Rub the olive oil on the corn and season with salt.  Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until cooked, 8-10 minutes.  Let the corn cool and then cut the kernels from the cobs. 

Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter.  Top with the tomatoes and corn.  Drizzle the dressing on top.  Garnish with fresh herbs.  

One serving (salad only) : Calories 69; Fat 1.9g (Sat 0g); Protein 2.8g; Carb 12.8g; Fiber 2.2g; Sodium 12mg

Buttermilk Herb Dressing
Makes about 2 cups dressing

1 cup low fat buttermilk
2/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons chives
1 tablespoon dill
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small clove garlic
Kosher salt and black pepper

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in the refrigerator.  

One serving dressing (2 tablespoons): Calories 15; Fat 0.3g (Sat 0.1g); Protein 1.6g; Carb 1.5g; Fiber 0.1g; Sodium 29mg


Dining with the Doc: Cold-Brewed Coffee

I love a good cup of coffee in the morning.  For years, when I lived in NY, I would set the timer on my coffee pot at night and then wake up in the morning to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.  That was until I moved to South Florida.  Now it’s all about iced coffee.  Nothing beats a tall glass of home brewed iced coffee in this heat, especially in the summer when the temperature is usually 90 plus. 

I had heard about cold-brewed coffee and seen it on the menu at coffee shops but never really thought about making it at home.  I was used to brewing hot coffee and then pouring it over ice or refrigerating my leftover hot brewed coffee and then using that to make iced coffee.  Then I tried making cold-brewed coffee at home and I haven’t gone back since.     

Cold-brewed coffee is coffee that’s steeped in cold or room temperature water instead of being brewed with hot water.  Why is it so great?  It’s because it has a smoother flavor than hot brewed coffee and a lower acidity level.  When coffee comes into contact with the intense heat of boiling water, a specific chemical reaction occurs.  With cold-brewing, that chemical reaction doesn’t occur so it creates a different flavor profile than drip coffee.  Cold brew is less bitter and has a smooth, almost sweet flavor.  Another advantage of cold brew is that unlike hot coffee, when you pour it over ice, your drink won’t instantly get diluted.  

Because we are not using heat to extract the flavor from the coffee, we need time instead.  Ideally, you want to have at least 12 hours for the coffee to soak in the water.  I usually start the process at night so that it’s ready to go the next day when I need my caffeine fix.    

There are only two ingredients- coffee and water.  The ratio of the two is the only variation and depends on how strong you like your coffee.  I’ve been using a ratio of 1 cup coffee to 4.5 cups water and I think that’s a good place to start.  You can start there and adjust to suit your taste.

You want to make sure to use coarsely ground coffee as it will yield the best product with minimal cloudiness.  After the coffee has soaked, it’s time to strain it.  You can use a fine mesh strainer or make one by lining a strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth.  The finer the strainer, the less sediment you will have, which means a cleaner flavor.  I use a cloth coffee sock filter that’s made just for straining coffee that I actually found at my local grocery store (you can also buy them online).  If you have a French press, you can also use that.  Just put the coffee and water in it at night and let it steep overnight. In the morning, plunge and you’re ready to go. 

I store my cold brew in a large pitcher in the refrigerator so that I can have a refreshing glass of iced coffee whenever the urge strikes.  When you’re ready for a glass, just pour it over ice and add any desired additions like milk or sweeteners.  You can store your cold brew in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.      

Cold-Brewed Coffee
Makes about 3 quarts

½ pound good quality coffee, coarsely ground
13 ½ cups water (room temperature or cold)

Place the coffee grounds in a large container and add the water.  Stir to combine well.

Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and let the coffee steep on the counter at room temperature for at least 12 hours.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.  Alternatively you can use a cloth coffee sock filter.  Stop when you reach the solids at the bottom of the container. 

Transfer the cold brew to a large pitcher, cover and refrigerate.  When ready to drink, add ice and any other additions like milk or sweeteners. The cold brew can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.    

Note: The ratio of coffee to water that I used is 1 cup coffee to 4 ½ cups water.  You can start with any amount of coffee grounds and then add the appropriate amount of water in that proportion.  I used ½ pound of coffee, which measured out to about 3 cups so I then added 13 ½ cups water.   

Dining with the Doc: One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

For some time now, I’ve seen a recipe for a simple one-ingredient banana ice cream circulating on the internet.  The other day I had some really ripe bananas sitting on the counter and I decided to give it a try instead of making the usual smoothie or banana bread.  Now that I've tried it, I want to spread the word!

It's hard to believe, but when you blend chopped up frozen bananas in a food processor, in just a couple of minutes, it turns into a delicious, rich and creamy treat that tastes like soft serve ice cream.  It can be eaten immediately (this is what happened in my house since it was so hard not to dive in right away!) or if you prefer a firmer texture, let it harden in the freezer for a little while. When you take it out it will be frozen solid so it’s a good idea to let it soften for about 10 minutes before digging in.

This banana ice cream is perfect for the summer- it’s quick, easy and you don’t even need an ice cream maker.  It’s also low-calorie, gluten-free, dairy-free, cholesterol-free and vegan!  And it’s packed with a variety of important nutrients like Vitamin B6, fiber, Vitamin C, potassium and manganese.  It’s a perfect treat for your kids and they can even help you make it.  My 14-month-old adored it!

Once you get the basic technique down, you can experiment with some different flavor combinations.  My favorites were Banana Peanut Butter and Banana Nutella. My husband loved the Chunky Monkey and my baby devoured the Strawberry Banana. The best part is that I didn't feel bad giving her this ice cream because it's just fresh fruit. Try this recipe- you won't regret it!

One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream
Makes 4 servings

4 medium ripe bananas, peeled

Cut the bananas into 1-inch pieces.  Put them on a plate in a single layer and freeze until solid, at least 1-2 hours or overnight. 

Place the frozen banana pieces in a food processor.  

Puree until creamy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.  

The ice cream can be served at this point and will have a texture similar to soft serve ice cream.  For a firmer texture, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place it in the freezer for at least an hour.  Let the ice cream soften about 10 minutes before serving. 


Banana Peanut Butter- add 2 Tablespoons peanut butter to the ice cream and blend.

Chunky Monkey- stir 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts into the ice cream.

Banana Nutella- add 1/4 cup Nutella to the ice cream and blend

Banana Berry- freeze 2 cups chopped strawberries with the bananas. Puree together in a food processor with 1/3 cup low fat milk.

One serving (plain): Calories 105; Fat 0.3g (Sat 0.1g); Protein 1.3g; Carb 27g; Fiber 3.1g; Sodium 1mg



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