Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 3, 2010

Foodie with Family: A healthy dessert. Really.

The Evil Genius oftentimes has been asked, frequently in my presence, how he avoids weighing 500 pounds eating my cooking. His response has been to grab his belly, moan a little bit, and say "I could easily!" He slid a little into uncomfortable weight territory over the winter and thus has declared himself to be on a health kick. He's been riding his bike, playing more sports with the boys, watching his food intake and (gasp!) skipping dessert most nights.

All well and good, but the dessert thing I've found distressing. I am a baker. I am the sugarplum fairy, for crying out loud. Desserts are what I do. I have always been a little (read: a lot) snotty about healthy desserts. "You want a healthy dessert? Eat an apple!" But even more urgently, he had a birthday coming up soon. Birthdays equal mega-desserts. I didn't want to serve my husband a cup of granola for his birthday.

My dearly beloved's disturbing new edict left me with two options; pout or learn to make some spectacular and healthy desserts.

Healthy desserts it was.

In order to compensate for my lack of buttercream and caramel sauce, I went for big, bright fruit flavors and low carbs to accompany them.

I kicked off my healthy dessert experiment with blueberry frozen yogurt. And guess what? The guys couldn't tell that it was frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. (Sadly, yes, that is my benchmark of success for a healthy dessert. Does it taste healthy? If so, toss and start over.) The conversation went something like this:

Boys (in unison): "Mom, can I have more blueberry ice cream?"

Me: "It's frozen yogurt."

Boys (in unison): "No it isn't. It's blueberry ice cream. Can I please have some?"

Me: "Yes, you can have a lot. Because it is frozen yogurt."

Boys (in unison wearing "I-Know-Better-You-Trickster-You" facial expressions): "OK, can I have another scoop of the blueberry (air quotes) frozen yogurt (more air quotes) right now?"

Husband (hesitating after the first bite with spoon suspended over bowl): "Are you sure this is low calorie? It feels fattening. It tastes like your regular desserts. Should I be eating this?"

Well, score one for me. I guess that maybe this old dog can learn a few new tricks. And I sheepishly admit that perhaps, maybe, I was ever-so-slightly, just-a-wee-bit wrong about healthy desserts. But I reserve my right to bust out a cheesecake, custard or poundcake smothered in buttercream every now and again. On that, I will not bend.

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt is as creamy as ice cream thanks to thick Greek yogurt, but if blueberries aren't your thing, you can easily substitute with an equal amount of peaches, strawberries or raspberries. If you do, be sure to adjust the flavoring (vanilla, Crème de Cassis, Grand Marnier) to agree with whatever fruit you've used.

You have two options; you can strain the blended yogurt base to remove the blueberry seeds for a smooth and creamy frozen yogurt or you can go a little more rustic and leave them intact. Either way, it's delicious. If you have a one-quart ice cream maker, you can easily halve this recipe.

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