By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/29/2013 4:20 AM
Perhaps your Thanksgiving baking called for a splash of kefir in your pumpkin pie or a swirl in your cranberry relish and the resounding success and praise from your family for these recipes led you to wonder, how else can I use kefir in the kitchen? And next, What do I do with all this leftover turkey?
If you happen to have a big loaf of sweet Challah bread on your hands, you’re in luck, because your turkey and sides will pile on to make a magnificent sub like this one with turkey, green beans, Cranberry Horseradish Kefir Relish, and Green Bean Dip. Slice it up and feed the whole family with one sandwich!
We’ve searched our mental recipe catalog and the internet for a few other turkey based meals that can withstand the kick of Lifeway kefir.
Try making these with our Farmers Cheese Mashed Potatoes.
Substitute kefir for sour cream for a lighter dressing.
Use plain kefir instead of milk to give these creamy croquettes some zing.
Use half lowfat or nonfat kefir and half cream to make this recipe a little lighter.
Serve these with a side of plain kefir instead of sour cream to cool the heat from the chilies.
Try topping your casserole with these savory, fluffy Green Onion and Black Pepper Biscuits.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/27/2013 12:37 PM
Wrapping up our Thanksgivukkah series, we bring you a mashup fit for your meal’s grand finale. Both Hannukah and Thanksgiving feature a dish that delicately toes the line between dessert and side dish, noodle kugel and sweet potato casserole.
We aren’t sure which cook decided to question the noodle=savory equation, but we are sure glad they did when they made sweet noodle kugel. Our recipe uses plain kefir instead of milk, but Lifeway also makes a traditional Farmers Cheese that would make a great all-natural substitution for cottage cheese in your favorite recipe.
Folks have probably been questioning since its invention why sweet potato casserole, covered in marshmallows, is not on the dessert table, but next to the green beans it remains. For the sake of pie and our love of marshmallows, we decided to keep the sugar and toss the side dish moniker.
Do these sweet side dishes from cross-cultural holidays make as good a match as our Thanksgivukkah algorithm predicts? Absolutely!
From our Lifeway family to yours, Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Sweet Potato Kugel Pie
2 x 10 oz packages lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons butter, softened
16 oz can sweet potato puree
20 oz Lifeway Plain Lowfat Kefir, divided
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
2 cups marshmallows, cut in half
Preheat oven to 350°F. Boil lasagna noodles in lightly salted water for about 8 minutes or until they soft but slightly undercooked. Drain but do not rinse. Spread butter in the bottom and along the sides and rim of a round or oval casserole dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together sweet potato puree, 16 oz kefir (use the sweet potato can to measure), eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and maple syrup.
One at a time, fold each lasagna noodle in half, creating a 45° angle and hang the folded end over the edge of the buttered dish. Layer the noodles around the dish, creating a zig-zag pattern around the top.
Stack the remaining noodles on a cutting board and chop into 2 inch wide pieces. Separate the pieces and add to the sweet potato mixture and stir together. Gently pour the mixture into the baking dish, over the noodles.
Pour the remaining kefir into a small bowl and using a pastry brush, paint the kefir onto the edge of the noodle crust. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar onto the edge of the crust.
Bake for 35 minutes, remove from oven and top with marshmallows and bake again for 20 minutes until the marshmallows are light golden brown. Serve warm.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/27/2013 5:49 AM
Asking Lifeway to choose which we like more, eating a delicious meal or being healthy and fit, is like asking us to pick our favorite Home Alone movie – impossible! Luckily our kefir is as nice to our taste buds as it is our general health, and we enjoy it every day. Around holidays like Thanksgiving though, there are always indulgent treats to enjoy in the moment, but might make you feel less than stellar the next day. We recommend blasting those sluggish feelings away with a little exercise!
To stay motivated, look up a local Turkey Trot in your community! Generally poultry-free, these runs are a good way to burn off some of the extra Thanksgiving calories and often have awesome sponsors with tasty and fun rewards for your hard work!
Remember to track your miles with the Charity Miles app, too! Lifeway will make a donation to the charity of your choice when you use the app to track your runs through December 17th.
Lifeway recently sponsored the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival Fit Foodie Run and greeted finishers with a smiling face and a refreshing sample of kefir!
The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival fun didn’t end there. The Grand Tasting featured delicious bites from area restaurateurs, wine makers, and great companies like Lifeway. Between the tiny towers of pork belly and sips of Sauvignon Blancs, Lifeway dished out our probiotic Mango Curry Crunch Sundae to help balance the scales of health.
We've posted a version of this delicious nibble before, but have an even more delightful version to share with you below.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/25/2013 9:55 AM
Thanksgivukkah comes but once every 70,000 years or so. Which is why it’s important to celebrate big when the collision of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah arrives! Luckily, all Lifeway Kefir is certified Kosher, so we can continue to enjoy our tangy beverage and reap the much needed benefit of balanced digestion as we undoubtedly go a little overboard on holiday indulgences.
From Challah Stuffing to Pumpkin Kugel, the possibilities for traditional dish mashups are endless! For our first installment we combine Green Bean Casserole with Fried Artichokes. We learned that fried foods (like latkes!) are traditional for Hannukah because the cooking oil represents the small flask of olive oil that burned to light the newly reclaimed temple in Jerusalem for 8 days.
In honor of Hanukkah, we are highlighting the fried onion element of green bean casserole and adding a dash of Jerusalem flavor with artichokes. Our favorite part of green bean casserole is the crispy onions, but the canned kind can be full of dubious preservatives and ingredients, and the can of condensed soup has quite the list of unmentionables as well. This recipes cuts all that out and because it’s a dip, you can really load up on flavor with soy sauce, fish sauce, and the tangy zing of kefir!
Green Bean Dip with Crispy Artichokes and Onions
Green Bean Dip
½ cup canned mushroom stems and pieces, drained
14.5 oz can cut green beans, drained
½ cup Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
Pinch garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and mix on high until smooth. Garnish with fresh green beans if desired and serve with fried onions and artichokes.
Crispy Artichokes and Onions
1 medium onion
2 cups Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
1 cup rice flour
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups peanut oil
Slice the onion into rings. Clean the artichokes and slice into thin wedges, keeping some of the stem on each piece. (Check out this online tutorial for cleaning artichokes if you’re not familiar!) Immediately cover the artichokes and onions with kefir in a large bowl. Let them soak for about 10 minutes.
While the vegetables are soaking, mix the rice flour, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a large dish and heat the peanut oil over medium heat (turn it down if it starts smoking).
Remove a handful of onions from the kefir, shake off excess and toss in the rice flour mixture to coat. Shake off excess rice flour and transfer to the hot oil with a slotted spoon or tongs. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, remove with the slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining onions and artichoke hearts until they are all cooked.
Serve immediately with a lemon wedge and Green Bean Dip.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/24/2013 10:52 AM
Since Lifeway’s Thanksgivukkah wouldn’t be complete without kefir, we are keeping kosher and skipping the turkey. Turkey is really only good for making moist stuffing and mayonnaise laden sandwiches the next day anyway, so we’ll indulge vegetarian-style instead and make latkes! These traditional Hannukah fritters are typically served with sour cream or applesauce, but to give it a Thanksgiving twist, ours get a dose of Cranberry Kefir Relish.
This dish was inspired by the recipe made famous by NPR’s Susan Stamberg. Her mother-in-law made this every Thanksgiving and Stamberg enjoyed it and talked about it on air probably every year since NPR’s inception in 1972. Latkes have been around much longer, but for a raw cranberry, horseradish, sour cream and sugar relish, 40 years is a solid run. Traditionally paired with Turkey and all its fixings, this relish is great with latkes, too!
Cranberry Kefir Relish
Makes about 3 cups
2 cups fresh cranberries (picked through to remove any soft ones)
¼ cup honey
1 cup Lifeway Greek Style Kefir
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Add cranberries and honey to a food processor and roughly chop. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Freeze overnight and let thaw in the refrigerator the day of serving. Serve alongside turkey, or latkes while still a little icy. Or just eat it by the spoonful!
The addition of rice flour makes these latkes extra crispy. AP flour can be substituted and will work well, too.
3 medium potatoes
¼ cup chopped chives
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons rice flour
2/3 cup peanut oil
Grate the potatoes using the large grater of a food processor or box grater. Pour enough oil into a medium/large pan for it to be ½ deep and heat on medium.
In a large mixing bowl, mix egg and chives. Add rice flour, salt, and pepper and mix until fully combined. Add the potatoes (but drain any liquid that has collected) and toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.
Drop a small amount of potato into the oil to test the temperature. It should crisp up fairly quickly, but the oil should not be smoking.
Make the latkes 2-3 at a time, not crowding the pan or the oil will get too cool. Use a fork to scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture in the pan at a time, pressing down lightly to flatten. Flip after about 3 minutes and cook 3 minutes more until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels.
Serve immediately with sour cream, applesauce, plain kefir or Cranberry Kefir Relish. Happy Thanksgivukkah!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/22/2013 7:37 AM
Nothing could be easier than pouring a tall glass of Lifeway Kefir for a sweet, refreshing, and healthy dessert (except for taking a swig straight from the bottle!), but during the holidays, it’s nice to make things a little extra fancy. Our recipes for Cranberry Crème Brulee Mousse is still pretty easy, requiring no baking and no heavily processed ingredients. Its rich and decadent enough to please a crowd at a holiday gathering and tart and tangy enough to please the most discerning kefir fans!
No special torch is required with all the delicious crème brulee flavor in our special holiday edition Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir, but if you want a little of that sugary crunch, we suggest using a crunchy candy like peanut brittle and making a crumb topping to sprinkle on top. If you can’t find our holiday flavors (including Pumpkin Spice and new Eggnog!) ask your friendly dairy manager to bring some in on their next order, or substitute with one of our red berry flavors like Raspberry, Strawberry or Pomegranate.
Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir Mousse
Makes 6 generous servings
14 oz can all natural cranberry jelly
8 oz lowfat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup Lifeway Lowfat Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir
1 cup peanut brittle (optional)
Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, add cranberry jelly and sugar and beat on high until well combined. In a separate bowl, whip cream and kefir until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cranberry mixture and fold 6 times, so some swirls of cranberry remain.
Spoon into crème brulee dishes and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Using a food processor, chop the peanut brittle into crumbs. Sprinkle over cheesecakes before serving.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/18/2013 5:37 AM
Dense and custardy, pumpkin pie can be a little heavy unless you add a generous dollop of whipped cream. And after the palate assaulting smorgasbord of Thanksgiving flavors, ending on a heavy note can be overwhelming, not to mention excessive in calorie count.
The light tang of Lifeway kefir comes to the rescue again! A mashup of the holiday favorite pumpkin pie, the southern delight known as buttermilk pie, and fancy pants soufflé offers a lighter dessert, no whipped cream in sight.
For the sake of tradition, it being Thanksgiving, the crust recipe has its roots in the Advanced Cooking class at Mount Pleasant, Michigan’s West Intermediate School. For generations, disciples of the class' fearless leader Ms. Rubel learned to make thrifty, public school budget-friendly single crust pies and used vegetable shortening instead of real butter. This recipe, however, follows the author’s tradition of veering off recipe to uphold their culinary and dietary standards and uses butter.
While many people will stress not overworking the dough in the last step, this can result in a crumbly mess that is difficult to roll out and droops when par baked. Cutting in the butter by hand, however, ensures that no big messy pieces of butter are left, and keeps the flour from developing chewy gluten chains in the final mixing step. Check out this blog post from Poires au Chocolat for videos and tips on cutting in pastry by hand and get ready for a pastry that is both flaky as a Thanksgiving snowstorm in Mid Michigan and much easier to work with than a group of 8th graders practicing knife skills.
And if you haven’t done it before, making brown butter is also really easy and worth the extra step!
Kefir Pumpkin Pie
For 1 single crust pie
1 ¼ cup AP flour
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into ¼ in pieces and chilled
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold water
Combine flour and salt. Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles coarse sand (none of the pieces should be larger than a pea). Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Add water one tablespoon at a time and toss to coat until the mixture is just moistened (you may not need all the water). Pack the mixture into a ball and knead only twice to bind the dough together. Make a ball then flatten into a ½ in thick disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
Roll out dough on a floured surface into a 12 in diameter circle. Transfer to a 9 in pie plate and crimp the edge as desired. Refrigerate again while the oven is preheating to 350°F.
When ready to parbake, pierce the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork, brush the outer edge with egg wash (1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water), and cover the entire crust, including edge, with aluminum foil. Fill the crust with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 12-14 minutes, until crust is set, but before it begins to brown. Let cool before adding filling.
Kefir Pumpkin Filling
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter
3 tablespoons AP flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
2/3 cup raw cane sugar
¾ cup canned pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir
While the crust cools, turn the oven up to 425°F. Brown the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the foaming subsides and the solids turn a medium golden brown color. Let cool.
Separate eggs and whip egg to soft peaks. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a large mixing bowl. Add egg yolks and vanilla and whip with a whisk until the mixtures turns a pale yellow color. In a separate bowl, whisk together kefir and pumpkin. Mix in the kefir mixture and browned butter in 4 parts, alternating between kefir and butter. Fold in the egg whites and transfer to the cooled, par-baked pie crust. Tent the crust with aluminum foil.
Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 325°F, remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 35-40 minutes, until the filling just sets and stops jiggling in the center. Let the pie cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/31/2013 6:39 AM
Candy fads come and go, but there are some classic confections that have survived the test of time. Some seem to have stuck around despite being left at the bottom of the trick-or-treat pail year after year – who keeps making those funny banana flavored peanuts? But some candy bars will gladly never go away because they have struck the balance between sweet sugar and bitter chocolate, gooey caramel and crunchy crispy bits perfectly.
The 100 Grand Bar is one such candy bar. When it comes to healthy eating, however, we can’t justify eating too many while maintaining a wholesome, balanced diet. In order to continue enjoying this luscious blend of caramel and crunch, we gave it a healthy makeover in the form of a spoonable kefir smoothie! If your trick or treaters take all the good stuff, you know you’ll still have this yummy treat all to yourself!
100 Thousand Dollar Kefir
Makes 4 servings
1 pint Lifeway Original Tart and Tangy Frozen Kefir
8 oz Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
2 tablespoons salted caramel sauce
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup crisp brown rice cereal
Blend all ingredients except cereal in a blender until smooth. Stir in the cereal and divide into 4 glasses. Serve immediately and garnish with a sprinkle of cereal.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/30/2013 6:37 AM
Even if you don’t like eating candy corn, it’s hard to deny how cute the little guys are! But whether you’re skipping the sugary kernels for your health or for your taste buds, you can still enjoy an adorable striped Halloween treat in the form of this kefir and fruit smoothie!
All the added sugar and empty calories in Halloween candy can seem pretty devilish, and it turns out that sweet candy treats have been demonized on the level of illegal, illicit substances for quite some time. In her new book, Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure, Samira Kawash delves into this sticky topic and looks at how candy has fit into our culture and diet throughout the last 100 years. Once the trick-or-treaters have dispersed and you’ve blended up a healthy kefir smoothie, this book would make an interesting and timely read!
Kefir Candy Corn Smoothie
½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons Lifeway Lowfat Peach Kefir
½ cup orange juice
1 large banana
1 cup frozen mango pieces
½ cup carrot juice
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 packet monk fruit sweetener
Blend ½ cup kefir, oj, banana, and mango until smooth. Pour ¼ cup of the mixture into 2 separate clear glasses. Add carrot juice to the remaining mixture until smooth and spoon the mix into the glasses over the yellow layer, dividing the mixture evenly. In a small mixing bowl, whip cream, additional kefir and sweetener on high with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Spoon 1 tablespoon of whipped cream onto each layered smoothie and enjoy!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/27/2013 3:24 PM
Halloween candy isn’t known for its nutritional density, but it’s hard to deny its deliciousness density! We took inspiration from some of our favorite fun size treats and gave them a probiotic makeover, cutting the more dubious sweeteners and adding a generous splash of Lifeway Kefir.
This drink is based on the fruity buttons known as Skittles! Does anyone else remember meticulously sorting their Skittles by color, lining them up in rows by rainbow order, then trying to eat every combination of two to five flavors possible? We do, too! We never regretted really going for it and popping all five in one mouthful, so for this kefir concoction we incorporated every flavor of the rainbow. Did you know they changed the green flavor from lime to apple? That’s bananas! Or apples… We went with the classic recipe here.
For the sticky, chewy element, we bought some instant tapioca at our local ethnic food market. These big gummies are different than the tapioca you use to make pudding. They were in the East Asian candy aisle and came in really cool rainbow colors. To prepare them, you boil them in plenty of water, cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. To store them, we drained the boiling water, transferred them to a smaller dish and covered them with a little water to prevent them from sticking together.
makes 3 servings
8 oz. Lifeway Lowfat Strawberry Kefir
12 oz. 100% Grape Juice
Juice of ½ an orange
Juice of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lime
¾ cup prepared tapioca pearls
Combine all ingredients except the tapioca and whisk to combine. Divide the tapioca into 3 glasses and pour equal amounts of kefir mixture into glasses. Enjoy!