Dairy Inspired Vacation Memories

Summer is all about vacations and making lasting memories. June has been a whirlwind of crazy cool travels and some amazing friends and food.

One of my favorite people and my best friend, Carlena and I had the joy of a girls trip to Florida. You might be asking why in the world would we travel to Florida during the hot summer month of June? Because we love the beach and we love the sun!
While in Florida, we soaked up the rays at New Smyrna Beach and the Siesta Keys. We went on a nighttime bioluminescent kayaking tour and saw the life under the water glow in the dark and made friends with a few Dolphins. One of my "must- dos" in Florida was dine on key lime pie. Key lime pie is one of my top 3 favorite desserts and there was no way I was passing it up on my trip.

Upon my return, I wanted to take my inspiration of the warm and sunny citrus flavors of the key lime and recreate a healthier version of my favorite sweet treat. I was inspired by celebrating my trip and the memories I made with one of my favorite months being June: National Dairy Month.

Key lime pie is traditionally a lot of sugar, so I wanted to health it up a bit. With the flavor of the fresh key lime juice and the protein packed creaminess of Greek yogurt, I created a key lime pie dip that I can eat when not on vacation.
It is refreshing and so easy to do! All you do is combine the key lime juice, yogurt, marshmallow fluff and fat-free condensed milk and stir. But it must be fresh squeezed key lime juice to get the true flavors you would on vacation. By combining the juice with yogurt, you also get protein and calcium for a healthier and more satisfying treat. Using nutrient-dense dairy foods in recipes boost the nutrition in anything that you make and while I am eating my delicious sweet treat, I want to share with you my "Top-10" Reasons that I love dairy:
1. Dairy foods are full of 9 essential nutrients that I need to get from the food I eat, in a pinch, I always can find milk in any situation, especially at convenience stores.
2. Yogurt saves me from the hungries as my afternoon snack. The protein keeps me full and focused during a busy day.
3. Fat-free milk is my go-to to make my oatmeal creamy and delicious in the morning.
4. Cottage cheese mixed with salsa and served with homemade tortilla chips, is the appetizer I take to many events for a healthy and tasty alternative to nacho cheese dip.
5. Fat-free chocolate milk is a great way to curb a sweet craving (and trust me, I have them often!)
6. The more cheese the merrier! I keep a variety of 2% milk cheese sticks in my refrigerator for a perfect portion size of cheese for snacks and for various recipes I make.
7. Yogurt is packed with probiotics that help keep our tummies happy and our immune systems strong. It is one of few foods that has this incredible benefit.
8. I have a secret obsession with marscapone cheese. I use this creamy cheese on fruit and whole grain bread and then sprinkle cinnamon all over this twist on cream cheese.
9. Mozzarella is the cheese I recommend to most of my clients as the healthiest choice of cheese because it is made with part-skim milk and melts amazingly in a variety of recipes.
10. After I have a morning workout, I start out each day with a protein-packed drink of fat-free milk, spinach, frozen blueberries and whey protein powder. I love it for breakfast!

For other ideas and suggestions for dairy foods, check out some of my fellow dietitians and my favorite dairy farmers share their own ideas for the versatility of dairy: Dairy Makes Sense Blog. This recipe also shows how versatile dairy foods are. I like to serve the dip with graham crackers (Star Wars character grahams were a must for this dish) or it is also delicious with apple slices. It makes a generous amount so it would be a great dish to take to a weekend barbecue or picnic with family and friends.

All You Need:
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice (this is around 10-12 key limes)
All You Do:
  1. Mix all ingredients together with a whisk and until smooth.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Serve with fresh fruit and graham crackers.
Cheers to summer; vacations; friends, the deliciousness of dairy, lasting memories and the food that reminds us of it all!