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Tuesday, August 26, 2008


A friend of mine recently shared an ingenious idea for teething babies. She puts fruit juice, yogurt, applesauce, fruit and veggie purees, or whatever else you want in an ice cube tray. Only fill each cube half full so it will fit in the teether and freeze. Pop out the cube and put it in the teething feeder for your baby's complete enjoyment. The babies now have a quick, healthy treat as well as cold, soothing relief for sore gums.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Homemade Yogurt

With a few household items you can make your own homemade yogurt. It is creamy and smooth and completely satisfying. I love to eat it for breakfast with granola, for dessert with fresh fruit or jam, or for a snack just as it is. I also feel much better about serving this natural yogurt to my baby. Give it a try and you will never buy yogurt from the store again!

4 quarts milk (whatever fat content you prefer, 2%, whole, half and half, or a combination)*
2 cups instant dry milk powder
2 cups sweetener of choice (fructose, sugar, honey, or none)*
2 small cartons (or 2 cups) plain yogurt
1-2 heating pads, candy thermometer, jars or other container

Get all your equipment ready before starting - plug in heating pads, have blankets or towels out, have jars and lids ready to fill. The temperatures are the touchy part of this process so you want to move quickly when the time comes.

Heat milk, dry milk, and sweetener in a large pot or double boiler to keep milk from scalding . Whisk lightly until milk and fructose are dissolved.

Using a candy thermometer check temperature constantly and heat until it reaches 180. Hold at roughly 180 for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and place the pot in a cold water bath. Reduce heat quickly to 120 by stirring the milk.

Gently whisk in yogurt (Do not add yogurt while milk is hot.  It will kill your culture). Dump into desired containers (5 quart jars).

Incubate.  I tuck it in and say a prayer over my yogurt.  This is nutritious food that will feed my family.  There are lots of methods for incubation.  Heating pad - Wrap the jars in a towel, wrap a heating pad around that, then wrap towels or blanket around all to keep insulated. Cooler - Wrap in blanket and place in a cooler.  Close lid tightly.  Oven - place jars on oven rack.  Close oven door and turn the oven light on.  Leave over night.  Incubate for 10-12 hours. Set a timer or write a note to remind you to take them off. Chill in fridge and enjoy.

*You can alter the milk and sweetener to your taste. The family I nannied for in Philly is part middle eastern. They like their yogurt very sour so I didn't add any sweetener.  I like this because it's also great to use for baking and other recipes.  Then we add honey and fruit by the bowl. I also like 1 1/2 cups powdered milk and 1 1/2 cups sweetener. To get the consistency I prefer, I use 3 quarts half and half and one quart 2% milk. Using all half and half will get you a consistency that is very thick and you can cut it with a spoon. My aunt likes to use 1 cup powdered milk, 1 cup fructose (sometimes up to 1.5 cups), and 4 containers of yogurt starter, 1/2 gallon whole milk (4%) with 1/2 gallon, or 2 quarts, of Half and Half. This just shows that you can adapt the recipe to your liking. The critical part is the temperature. Also try adding a flavored yogurt starter for a subtle flavor, or extracts for stronger flavor, or essential oils. I like to leave mine plain so I can flavor each bowl differently. You might have to experiment to get it just how you like it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oprah's Turkey Burgers

Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger

Oprah found a new favorite food when she tried this turkey burger at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's private club in Palm Beach. "I believe [it] may be the best turkey burger in the entire world," she says. The Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger will be permanently available at the Trump Bar and Grille in Trump Tower in New York City, open to the public for lunch and dinner. It will also be served during lunch in Chicago at Sixteen, the Trump International Hotel restaurant.

Ever since seeing this recipe on Oprah a couple months back, I knew I wanted to try it. With their smoky/sweet flavor, these are not your typical turkey burgers. I will definitely make them again!
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 Granny Smith apples , peeled and diced
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • 4 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Tabasco® chipotle pepper sauce
  • 1 lemon , juiced and grated zest
  • 1/2 bunch parsley , finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Major Grey's Chutney , pureed
Sauté the scallions, celery and apples in the canola oil until tender. Let cool.

Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into eight 8-ounce burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Season the turkey burgers with salt and pepper. Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Serve with a side of Mar-a-Lago Pear Chutney and your favorite toasted bread, pita or hamburger roll.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Crepes are a favorite in Kellen's family. Both his dad and brother served a mission in France and frequently enjoyed these so Mark brought the recipe home, straight from France. There they have sweet crepes, served as dessert, and salty crepes, served as the main course each with a variety of fillings. We eat them as breakfast, filled with lemon juice, powdered sugar, fruit, jam, whipped cream or Nutella. And if you are going to eat them you have to get the pronunciation right! They are crepes (rhymes with steps), not crApes!

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together in a blender. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and coat with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Pour batter onto pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly with a thin layer. Let fry until the edges are crispy and pull away easily. Flip and cook the other side. Serve hot with desired fillings.

The fine art of folding: There’s no one "right" way to fold a crepe. The one thing you will want to keep in mind is that you should place the pretty side of the crepe face down while you fill. Experiment with some of the following techniques and go with whichever shape looks nicest to you …
Roll: Place filling in a narrow strip along one edge of the crepe, then roll it up fairly tightly.
Half-fold: Place the filling along one half of the crepe. Fold up the other side to enclose.
Tri-fold: Place the filling in a strip along the middle. Fold one side over the filling, then the other side over that.
Triangle-fold: Spread the filling in an even layer across the crepe. Fold the crepe in half once, then fold the semicircle in half again. This works best for crepes with a minimal amount of filling.
Layered: Spread the filling in an even layer across the crepe. Place another crepe on top and add more filling. Top with another crepe. You can create as many layers as you like, then slice it up into wedges to serve.
Blintz-style: Crepes are essentially identical to eastern European blintzes, and can be filled and folded in that tradition. Place a good dollop of filling in the center. Fold the bottom third of the crepe over the filling. Fold the two sides over. Then fold over the top to form a pocket.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Green Chili Quiche

This one is a must make! I took one taste of this dish at a bridal shower and got the recipe right then and there. I've since served it to company and it was a big hit. Thank you for sharing it, Jessica!

10 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Blend above ingredients. Pour in a mixing bowl, then add the following:

1 pint small curd cottage cheese
1 lb. Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup melted butter (I use 1/4 cup)
1 small can diced green chilies

Bake in a 9x13 inch pan for 35-45 minutes (350 degrees). Serve with sour cream and salsa. Serves 12-15 people.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Feta, Spinach, and Ham

Since having a baby I have learned that the best thing you can do for a new mom is take them food. I usually like to take one meal prepared and ready to eat and one for the freezer for another day. I have tried to find dishes that are nursing and figure friendly. This recipe is healthy yet tasty, inexpensive yet gourmet, and an easy freezer-pleaser. This is now my first choice to take to moms.

Makes 8 Servings

8 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
8 thin slices ham

With a knife, make a split along one side of the chicken breast to form a pocket. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and feta with a fork. Stuff each chicken breast with the cheese mixture, spinach, and ham.

To Prepare and Eat Now: Preheat oven to 350. Place the chicken breasts on a baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray, cover with foil, and bake for 40-45 minutes.

To Freeze: Do not bake before freezing. After chicken breasts are filled, wrap individually or flash freeze, label, and freeze. Recommended freezing time: 4 to 6 months.

To Prepare After Freezing: As directed above. Bake from frozen for 1 hour or thawed for 45-50 minutes.

* I use way more than 1/2 cup spinach. I just stuff them full. ** A tip from Rachel Ray on stuffing chicken breasts - Start cutting from the side that is fatter. When you have it cut open, place the chicken in a bag with a little water (to help it slide around) and pound it out with a fry pan or other heavy object. This is how I did it and it works great. Easier clean up too.