Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese

This Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese is a creamy cheese-like spread, beautifully flavored with lemon and fresh chives.  Made by straining yogurt, it is a healthy choice that is a great sandwich spread or dip for your favourite vegetable tray. The purple chive flowers add a pretty garnish when they are blooming in the spring.

Why Yogurt Cheese?

Yogurt cheese is low in fat, a good source of protein, calcium rich, and has many other nutrients as well as gut friendly bacteria. It also gives your immune system a boost, aids digestion and helps lower cholesterol. This simple spread is a healthier choice than cream cheese or many dairy or mayonnaise based dips.

How can I use Yogurt Cheese?

Similar to quark cheese, this simple, light cheese is very versatile.  It can be used in place of:

  • butter or margarine
  • mayonnaise
  • cream cheese or other dairy based spread        

Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese spread on a slice or two of whole grain bread, topped with avocado, cucumber, tomato and sprinkled with salt & pepper makes a great lunch.  It also makes a wonderful dip for your favourite vegetable tray or addition to your cheese tray.

Lemon Chive Yogurt Dip in a bowl with a plate of fresh vegetables
Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese Dip with Fresh Vegetables

What kind of yogurt should I use?

When choosing a yogurt I look for one that has:

  • low fat (I like 1%)
  • no gelatin (it changes the texture)
  • lots of active bacteria ( I prefer the amounts be listed)
  • added Vitamin D

You can also make yogurt cheese with Greek yogurt and it will reduce the straining time. If you use yogurt with no fat, I recommend adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil to round out the texture. Once the cheese is made you are ready to add flavour and many herbs work well.  I like lemon and chives but dill and parsley work well too. 

Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese in a bowl
Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese

I use yogurt a lot in my cooking and baking and it is a staple in my home. Other recipes to try, are this delicious Yogurt Cake with Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb or these gorgeous Ruby Rimmed Stuffed Eggs .

Please stay in touch

Hearing from my readers brightens my day and I welcome your questions or comments.  If you try this recipe please let me know  and rate it by hitting those rating stars or tag me on social media.

Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese in a bowl
5 from 2 votes
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Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese

This Lemon Chive Yogurt Cheese has a luscious cream cheese like texture beautifully flavored with lemon and fresh chives.  Made by straining yogurt, it is a healthy low fat cheese like spread or dip.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Yogurt Cheese, Healthy Sandwich Spread
Prep Time 1 day 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12
Author makinghealthychoicesca

Ingredients

  • 1 750gram Yogurt I like 1%
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • 1 lemon
  • pepper
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Set up a sieve over a medium size bowl and empty container of yogurt into sieve. Cover and put in the fridge for about 24 hours. During this time, the liquid will drain from the yogurt leaving a cheese-like thick yogurt.

  2. Empty drained yogurt into a small bowl.

  3. Finely chop chives and add to yogurt

  4. Zest lemon and add to yogurt and stir.

  5. Add salt and pepper, tasting to adjust the seasonings. Cover and place in refridgerator for flavours to blend for 1 hour.

This recipe was first published on May 10, 2015 and has been updated (rewritten and photographed) on May 10, 2020.

Rhubarb Concentrate

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This gorgeous pink Rhubarb Lemon Balm Concentrate is a springtime delight, delicately sweetened to balance the tart, tangy flavour of rhubarb. Use it to make a refreshing soda, spritzer, or as a flavoured sweetener in any number of ways.

How can this Rhubarb Concentrate be used?

  • Soda:  Add a tablespoon or two to soda water for a refreshing flavourful low sugar soda.
  • Spritzer:  Add to dry white sparkling wine for a delicious and pretty pink glass of bubbly.
  • Sugar:  Use in place of sugar or other sweeteners.
  • Yogurt:  Add to plain yogurt to add flavour and a little sweetness.
  • Cocktails:  Add to drink recipes in place of simple syrups for a rhubarb flavoured libation.
  • Cakes:  Poke holes in a cake and brush lightly with rhubarb concentrate. This goes beautifully with this Lemon Ricotta Cake
  • Add to lemonade, ice tea, slushies, smoothies, etc.
  • Drizzle on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, oatmeal, etc
Stalks of rhubarb and a bunch of lemon balm
Fresh picked rhubarb stalks and fresh lemon balm

Rhubarb Concentrate with Lemon Balm?

Lemon Balm is optional in this rhubarb concentrate but adds a nice hint of lemon. It is a perennial herb that is a pretty addition in a garden and also attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Use it for tea or chop and sprinkle on many dishes where you want a light lemon flavour. If you don’t have lemon balm, you can substitute lemon peel or leave it out. Lemon, orange, ginger, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries all go well with rhubarb and could be additions to your own unique rhubarb concentrate.

Rhubarb Lemon Balm Concentrate

The Traveling Rhubarb Plant

I have a special fondness for my rhubarb plant since it was a transplant from my Mom’s garden. It reminds me of her love of cooking and her special Blueberry Rhubarb Pie. You can read more about the traveling rhubarb plant in this recipe for Yogurt Cake with Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb

This recipe is very flexible.  Use what rhubarb you have and adjust the other ingredients.  The water should be enough to cover but not too much more.  Add sugar to taste. Some varieties of rhubarb are sweeter than others and we all have unique taste preferences.  I enjoy the tart, tangy taste of rhubarb so I wanted to preserve that in this rhubarb concentrate.

Please stay in touch

Hearing from my readers brightens my day and I welcome your questions or comments.  If you try this recipe please let me know how it turned out and rate it by hitting those rating stars or tag me on social media.

Rhubarb Lemon Balm Concentrate in a jar
5 from 4 votes
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Rhubarb Lemon Balm Concentrate

Tart and tangy, this gorgeous pink Rhubarb Lemon Balm Concentrate is a springtime delight. Use it to make a refreshing soda, spritzer, or as a flavoured sweetener in any number of ways.

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 16
Author makinghealthychoicesca

Ingredients

  • 500 grams Rhubarb
  • Handful fresh lemon balm Optional
  • 400 ml water or to just cover
  • 1/2 cup sugar or to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash rhubarb stalks and chop (do not use the leaves, just the stalk). Place chopped rhubarb in a medium size saucepan.

  2. Add water to just cover rhubarb, approximately 400ml.

  3. Wash lemon balm and add to the rhubarb.

  4. Cook over medium heat until hot and then turn down to simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and releasing it juices. Do not stir.

  5. Place a sieve over a large bowl and pour rhubarb mixture into the sieve. The juices will drain through. Let sit for approximately 20 minutes and then press a spoon into the rhubarb to release more of the juices. Discard pulp.

  6. Return the liquid to the pot and heat on low heat. Add the sugar, tasting as you add, to reach the desired level of balance between tart and sweet.

  7. If you would like a more concentrated flavour reduce your rhubarb concentrate by cooking it a little longer for more water to evaporate. This recipe makes approximately 2 cups of rhubarb concentrate.

Kale Slaw with Apples, Carrots and Raisins

This simple Kale Slaw with Apples, Carrots and Raisins is delicious, colourful, and healthy.   It is also quick and easy to make.  With only a few ingredients and about 15-20 minutes, this fresh, light, salad or slaw is ready to eat.  It is a beautiful combination of flavours.

Kale, apple, carrots, raisins and chives on a cutting board
Prepping kale, apple, carrots, raisins and chives.

Kale is easy to grow!

Kale grows beautifully in Pacific Northwest gardens where it overwinters and will be one of the first vegetables to start growing again in the spring.  As it grows, enjoy the young leaves while they are very tender and sweet.  There are many varieties and I really enjoy this Tuscan variety which has a mild taste. Although this slaw reminds me of a fall dish with the apples and carrots, I like it best in the spring, made with the young kale leaves.

Kale plant in a garden
Tuscan Kale plant

Kale:  Love it or joke about it?

There are a lot of jokes about kale.  Are you a person who likes kale or prefers their “kale” without the k?

Kale is vegetable that really needs flavour added to it. One thing that improves the taste is to really massage flavour into the leaves.  This softens the leaves to make them tender and brings out the natural sweetness.  Massaging the kale with salt, oil and apple cider vinegar until they are bright green is the most important step.

Kale Slaw with Apples, Carrots and Raisins in a bowl
Kale Slaw with Apples, Carrots and Raisins

Another kale recipe my family enjoys is this Caesar Salad (with Kale and Romaine)  It is a creamy style with smoked paprika croutons.

I love how colourful this simple salad slaw is and how tangy it is with the easy dressing.  I hope you enjoy it too!  Hearing from my readers brightens my day and I welcome your questions or comments.  If you try this recipe please let me know how it goes and rate it by hitting those rating stars or tag me on social media.

Kale Slaw with Apples,Carrots and Raisins in a pretty bowl
5 from 4 votes
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Kale Slaw with Apples, Carrots and Raisins

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author makinghealthychoicesca

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chives
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash and tear or chop up kale leaves, removing large stems. Place in a medium size bowl and sprinkle with apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp salt. With clean hands, massage the kale until it is shiny and bright green. Set aside while you prepare the dressing and the rest of the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, add the remaining 2 tsp olive oil, lemon juice, honey and salt and pepper. Mix well.

  3. Grate the carrots, dice the apple and mince the chives and add everything to the dressing and toss.

  4. Add the raisins and kale and toss together well. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve.

This recipe was first published on April 29, 2015 and was updated (rewritten and photographed) on April 26, 2020.

Kale Slaw with Apples, Carrots and Raisins collage
Kale Slaw with Apples, Carrots and Raisins

Chocolate Banana Snack Cake

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This wholesome but delicious Chocolate Banana Snack Cake is moist, sweet and rich tasting, yet has no butter, no oil, no refined sugar and is made with whole grain flour. It is the winning combination of decadent taste with nourishing ingredients.

Four very ripe bananas with brown spots.
Spotty Ripe Bananas

Is it sweet enough to call CAKE?

With 3 spotty ripe bananas and fancy molasses, it has just the right amount of sweet, but with no added refined sugar. The semi sweet chocolate chips add extra sweetness and extra chocolate flavour for added decadence. You can reduce the amount if you wish. I love the flavour of molasses but my taste testers could not detect it. In this healthy Chocolate Banana Snack Cake, the molasses provides extra depth and complexity to the chocolate flavour. It is a great combination!

pieces of chocolate banana snack cake with melted chocolate chips on top
Chocolate Banana Snack Cake

No butter, oil, or added fat?

The magic of mashed ripe bananas adds moisture and structure to this cake making any added fat unnecessary. The source of fat in the recipe comes from the dark chocolate chips. The chocolate chips melt into the cake as it bakes providing an extra rich chocolate taste and texture. Using bananas in place of added fat makes this cake much healthier than a typical cake. Bananas are a nutritious baking swap perfect for healthier sweets and treats.

Baking pan with Chocolate Banana Snack Cake with melted chocolate chips on top.
Chocolate Banana Snack Cake

If you are interested in more cool nutritious baking swaps, check out these Dark Chocolate Seville Orange Truffles (with Avocado) or these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (with Black Beans).

It makes my day brighter to hear from my readers, and I welcome your questions or comments. If you try this healthy Chocolate Banana Snack Cake please rate it by hitting those rating stars. Thank you.


A piece of Chocolate Banana Snack Cake with chocolate chips on top.
5 from 5 votes
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Chocolate Banana Snack Cake

This wholesome but delicious Chocolate Banana Snack Cake is moist, and rich tasting, but has no butter, no oil, no refined sugar and is made with whole grain flour. It is the winning combination of decadent taste with nourishing ingredients.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate banana cake, chocolate cake, healthy, no added fat, no sugar, snack cake, wholegrain
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 9
Author Making Healthy Choices

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas, ripe
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses, fancy
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, dark

Instructions

  1. Prepare 8×8 pan by greasing with coconut oil, butter, or line with parchment paper.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  3. Peel ripe bananas and place in mixer with paddle attachment and mix on low until broken up and creamy. (If not using a mixer, mash up with a potato masher until creamy and smooth). Add egg, vanilla, molasses, cocoa powder, salt and mix until smooth.

  4. In a separate bowl, add whole wheat pastry flour and baking soda. Stir to blend together.

  5. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir to combine.

  6. Add most of the chocolate chips and stir to mix in. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on top.

  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the middle is set and the top looks dry. The middle will bounce back when you press it with your finger.

Recipe Notes

Vegan: replace egg with a flax egg, and use dairy free chocolate chips (dark chocolate chips are often dairy free) I have not tested this cake with a flax egg substitute yet.

This wholesome but delicious Chocolate Banana Snack Cake is moist, sweet and rich tasting, yet has no butter, no oil, no refined sugar and is made with whole grain flour.
Chocolate Banana Snack Cake


Dark Chocolate Seville Orange Truffles (with Avocado)

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If you love truffles, these Dark Chocolate Seville Orange Truffles (with Avocado) are going to change your life. I remember making truffles years ago, but only once or maybe twice a year because they are so rich.  Traditionally they are made with butter or cream to make them so smooth and creamy, with the incredible texture that only truffles have.   Continue reading Dark Chocolate Seville Orange Truffles (with Avocado)

Lentil Nachos with Grated Avocado

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Snacks like these Lentil Nachos with Grated Avocado are beautiful, delicious messes, with ingredients tossed on top of each other and baked to hot, crispy, crunchy, gooey perfection. For game day, parties, or fun family nights this recipe is a lighter version that will satisfy your nacho cravings. Continue reading Lentil Nachos with Grated Avocado

Fuss-Free Vegan: Book Review and Recipe

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We love comfort food in our house and have a go-to group of recipes we make often.  Recently I was given the opportunity to review a newly released cookbook focusing on everyday comfort foods.  Even more interesting, all the recipes are vegan.  I was so excited to have a look at it and make some of the recipes.  I’m always looking for more plant based healthy recipes. Continue reading Fuss-Free Vegan: Book Review and Recipe

Pickled Beets

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These quick pickled beets will instantly add bursts of colour to your table. Use them to top a citrus or green salad or add to a sandwich or burger.  They look so fancy, but they only take 30 minutes to make. I’m already planning more to give as gifts. Continue reading Pickled Beets

Roasted Squash with Hazelnuts and Pomegranate

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This beautiful squash dish is perfect for a special occasion but it is so easy and delicious that it really works for any day.  It makes a wonderful side dish, and could be used as a main or as part of a salad. It can be served either hot or at room temperature.  Don’t you just love the versatility? You need this! Continue reading Roasted Squash with Hazelnuts and Pomegranate

Hot and Sour Miso Soup

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What do you do when you are sick? What do you eat, or try to eat? This Hot and Sour Miso soup works for me, every time.  I’ve been making this soup for over 15 years. It is my feel better healing soup.  Everyone needs one of these.  Continue reading Hot and Sour Miso Soup