In addition to November 1st, when Starbucks rolls out the red cups, one of my favorite events on the food calendar is when Trader Joe’s goes pumpkin.
Pumpkin products crop up in every section of the store. Pumpkin Spice Cake. Pumpkin Spiced Coffee. Pumpkin Cream Cheese. Pumpkin Spiced Chai. Pumpkin Ice Cream. Pumpkin Bread Mix. Pumpkin Butter. Pumpkin Soup. Pumpkin Spiced Granola. They even sell Pumpkin Tree Bunches.
Trader Joe’s in October and November is truly pumpkin heaven.
Plus, TJ’s keeps adding to their pumpkin arsenal. On my mom’s recommendation, I picked up a container of Pumpkin Greek Yogurt. Oh boy, is it good! The texture is thick and creamy like you would expect out of a high quality greek yogurt and the pumpkin flavor is strong, with a perfect balance of autumnal spices.
Since the nearest Trader Joe’s is 32 miles away, I wanted to replicate it at home. And I thought I could do it for less calories. Turned out to be an easy project. Simply mix your favorite greek yogurt with pumpkin puree, spices and sweetener of choice.
The recipe reflects my choice to make individual servings, but the ingredients are easily multiplied to create a bigger batch.
Pumpkin Greek Yogurt
My absolute favorite greek yogurt is Chobani. I used 0% Vanilla Chobani, but you can use plain, or whatever brand or fat content you like. This yogurt is delicious by itself, as a vehicle for granola, and would be a delicious dip for gingersnaps or graham crackers. Try sprinkling it with Gingerbread Granola for the perfect Autumn breakfast or snack!
Pumpkin Greek Yogurt
The amounts listed are for an individual serving. Increase proportions to make a large batch. 150 calories per individual serving.
- 3/4 cup (6 oz) 0% Chobani greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
- 1/4 cup (2 oz) pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Smidgen (see pic above for visual) ground ginger
- Smidgen ground nutmeg
- Blend all ingredients until well combined.
At the risk of sounding a tad bit crazy, I have to admit that I’ve always found raw carrots difficult to eat. All those orange fibers don’t seem to go down without a fight. No matter how much I chew or how small the carrot is to begin with, swallowing is quite the challenge.
After some trial and error, I discovered that a little lubrication helps the consumption process. My favorite carrot combination is ranch dressing, but sometimes I feel bad about eating those healthy veggies slathered in preservative-heavy bottled dressing (especially since I go with the processed light version).
Yesterday, a perfect storm of circumstances led me to create a better version of my go-to snack. Our belongings are still in transit which means no kitchen supplies except two knives, two forks, and paper plates. We subsist on food out or food we can whip up with minimal gear required. On a recent grocery store trip, a two-pound bag of baby carrots found its way into our Fred Meyer cart, along with Greek yogurt (on sale!) and a packet of ranch dressing mix.
A quick stir (with a knife, of course) and short stay in the fridge later, there was a thick, creamy, ranch dressing substitute waiting to guide those carrots down my gullet.
Plus, greek yogurt has more protein compared to salad dressing or sour cream*
Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip
- 1 (16 oz) container 0% plain greek yogurt (Chobani is my favorite)
- 1 – 2 (1 oz) packets of ranch dressing mix
Mix contents of dressing packets into greek yogurt until evenly dispersed. Dip away! Flavors will be more pronounced over time. I used two packets of dressing mix because greek yogurt is a strong base flavor, but one is totally sufficient.
This dip would be a great substitute for mayonnaise on a sandwich. It would also make a killer alternative to the mayo/sour cream in this Parmesan Crusted Chicken recipe floating around Pinterest.
* Per 2 tablespoons: light ranch dressing – 0g protein, light sour cream – 2 g protein, greek yogurt – 3g protein