It's all about the ingredients. When I make something super simple, good ingredients are more important than ever. Take olive oil for example- if I use olive oil to sauté onions that are going into a soup, the flavor of the oil isn't going to hold a lot of weight once the soup comes together. But if I'm making a simple vinaigrette, the flavor of the oil greatly impacts the taste of the salad.
And the same goes for my yogurt breakfast. Many mornings in Connecticut (as I did in California) I whip up a quick breakfast of yogurt topped with some tasty and healthful toppings to start me on my day. It's quick, portable if I need to take it on the road, the Man loves it, and it's yummy. In Ketchum I make eggs. Why? No good yogurt! (Though eggs are great too, don't get me wrong.)
Here's the scoop. I can't digest the protein in cow's milk, but, like many people in the same situation, can digest both sheep and goat milk. Goat milk yogurts are a little risky in my opinion, and I've had some that are downright terrible. While I love the tangy taste of chèvre and other goat cheeses, store-bought goat milk yogurts are often too strong for me. There are definitely exceptions- my mother's friend from the farmers market used to make the most amazing goat yogurt once a year for about a month after the kids are weaned. But since her blackmarket goat yogurt was only available for a short period of time I had to look elsewhere. To the sheep. Much less tang. Creamy. Yum.
In California I loved Bellwether Farm's plain sheep milk yogurt. It is made just an hour up the road from my old house, in Sonoma County. I bought it at the San Rafael Farmers Market for $2 per container. It's also available at Whole Foods and a variety of other local places, but I liked my weekly chat at the yogurt booth (plus it's way cheaper!).
Back east I eat Old Chatham Sheepherding Company's plain sheep milk yogurt which coincidentally is made about an hour away from my new house, in Old Chatham, New York. Cream at the top. Thicker in texture than the Bellwether. Each different, both delicious.
Cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, whatever it may be, the key here is plain. Plain yogurt might seem a little daunting, but when you mix in your own fruit you don't need the added flavor and sweetener. Give it a try, and if it isn't sweet enough once you add the toppings, drizzle a little honey or maple syrup on there. That way you can control the level of sweetness.
On to the toppings. As for unsweetened coconut flakes, Bob's Red Mill and Let's Do Organic both provide great products. I like Spectrum a lot, and they make a great ground flax seed. Keep it in your freezer, as the oils can go rancid if it's kept for too long in the pantry. A ton of companies seem to make raw cacao nibs these days, but I most frequently purchase Navitas Naturals out of convenience.
I order a lot from Vitacost as you may have noticed from all the Vitacost product links I give with my recipes. They're a great resource for healthful ingredients that are typically expensive, but at a much lower cost. And while I'm all about going to the store, connecting with people etc, it's a really smart and economical way to stock up on the best pantry staples.
Enough writing- here's breakfast.
YOGURT BREAKFAST BOWL
- 6 oz plain yogurt
- fruit of choice, cut into bite-sized pieces (1/2 peach or nectarine, 1/2 banana or 1/2 cup berries)
- a small handful nuts, toasted until fragrant, and chopped (pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts...)
- 2 spoonfuls unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted until golden (keep an eye on these as they burn quite quickly!)
- 1 spoonful ground flax seeds
- 1 spoonful raw cacao nibs
Yogurt in bowl. Fruit on yogurt. Then flax, nuts, flakes, and nibs. Grab a spoon. Eat. The end.