When I was growing up in the 70's you were either a Hellman's house or a Miracle Whip house. We were a Miracle Whip house - of course, the more sugar the better! There were only two real purposes for it: turkey sandwiches and tuna fish salad. (I'm not going to even mention the various jell-o mold salads with a big dollop of white Miracle Whip with extra sugar or honey added. Oops, I guess I did. That makes three.) Imagine my surprise the first time I walked into a co-op and discovered there were numerous other spreadable dressings. I tried all of them. Eventually, I decided my home made recipe was the best. I use it in a multitude of recipes - everything except jell-o. The only time I don't use my own is the day after Thanksgiving if my brother is visiting. On that day I definitely need a jar of Miracle Whip for his turkey sandwiches.

Ingredients
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Good Quality Vegetable Oil
  • Pinch Of Salt

Preparation
  1. Add the first three ingredients to a food processor and turn on to blend.
  2. While the food processor is on, slowly drizzle the vegetable oil into the egg yolk mixture until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and blend.
  4. Place in jar and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Variation
If you prefer more of an olive oil taste, you can substitute 1/3 to 1/4 of the oil for a good quality olive oil. You can use all olive oil, but my family does not like that taste.

Nutrition
About 95 calories per tablespoon.

Notes
  • Make sure you know where your eggs come from. Using raw eggs can be a health hazard. If you are concerned, I suggest using pasteurized eggs.
  • I prefer to use Kirkland Soybean Oil from Costco, purely from a taste standpoint. I do not like to use canola or safflower oil.
  • I don't mention the amount of oil because it depends on the size of the yolks as to how much you will need.
  • Vinegar can be substituted for the lemon juice.
 
 
I first tasted hummus at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Minneapolis called Jerusalem's several decades ago. It was delightful; all buttery and lemony. So I decided it would be a good thing to have at home. I tried several versions of store bought hummus including a local variety made by Holy Land in northeast Minneapolis. It is quite good, but none of them really seemed to be the right flavor for me. Perhaps it is the Scandinavian boy from the prairie who grew up on blandness? Not! I think it really is that I wanted something smooth with a little tang that could be spread on bread as a sandwich or used as a dip for chips or pita. Something versatile and yummy. So, for years I made batches of hummus. Unfortunately, my kids really don't like hummus, so I've had to eat a lot of it on my quest for perfection. Today, I got it and I'm going to share it with you: My Perfect Hummus!
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 large lemon juiced (little less than 1/4 cup)
  • 1 15 oz can drained garbanzo beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T olive oil

Preparation
  1. Put the tahini and lemon juice in a food processor and turn on for at 1-2 minutes until very smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the work bowl at the half way point.
  2. Add the drained garbanzo beans and the finely diced or crushed garlic. Blend another 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  3. While the food processor is on, slowly drizzling the olive oil into the mixture.
  4. Spoon out and garnish with a bit of olive oil and paprika. (Cumin and other spices can be added at the end if you wish.)

Nutrition
1 Tablespoon = 25 calories.
Notes
The two secrets to this hummus are:
  • The initial tahini lemon juice mixture.
  • The blending order of the ingredients. We are treating it like we are making mayonnaise or a dressing by emulsifying the olive oil slowly at the end into the acidic mixture.

Try it on our Honey Wheat Bread toasted. You will love it!
 
 
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A friend posted on social media the other day that the word "moist" should only be used in reference to towelettes and turkeys. I agree.

As a waiter working my way through college in Fargo, not the movie with the wood chipper, we had frequent Canadian guests. They always asked for a serviette. So I would bring them a moist towelette. They would look at the tiny package in astonishment and try to explain what they really wanted. (Even English language speaking countries can have word barriers. Trust me.) Eventually I learned moist had nothing to do with serviette. They wanted a napkin. A very dry napkin. So goes my first experience with moist towelettes. 

As an at home dad it became immediately evident that holiday cooking was my job. Trophy Wife does much of the baking. Everybody said that the Thanksgiving turkey must be moist. I was a bit dubious. After all, isn't that why we have gravy? Apparently not. So I went to the school of moist turkey cookery. For a few years I tried a number of different recipes finally settling in on Martha Stewart's. Now, mind you, her recipe calls for numerous steps that involve cheese cloth, butter wine sauce, basting, and timing. It was like a corporate flow chart that someone had devised to be cruel to employees. The turkey was decent, but I was exhausted by the time dinner came around.

So I went in search of other "moist" turkey recipes. One day, I stumbled on an article in the Los Angeles Times about the best turkey ever. It was simple called: The Judy Bird. It was named after Chef Judy Rodgers, a friend of Food Editor Russ Parsons. You can read more about it here. They had done a side by side test of three methodologies and it was unanimous that The Judy Bird was hands down the best. I have been making this turkey ever since I found that article and I'll never go back to Stewart's cruel flow chart of moistness.

This year the mother-in-law is coming for Thanksgiving. I'm renaming it the Rachael Bird. Do you think I'll get brownie points? 

The Judy (ahem Rachael) Bird

Ingredients
  • 15 pound organic turkey (Just get it at Costco!)
  • 1 tablespoon regular salt
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon  Hawaiian Black Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • (Or just use whatever salt you have. Ratio is 1 tablespoon for each 5 pounds of bird.)

Preparation
  1. Remove the turkey from the packaging, empty the fluids in the sink, and remove the other parts from the cavities,
  2. Do not wash the turkey. This just spreads yucky stuff around your kitchen. It will all get cooked off anyway. But remember to wash your hands after every time you come in contact with the bird.
  3. Mix the salts in bowl or plate. Spread the salt over the bird especially on the breast and thighs. You'll easily use 1 tablespoon on the breasts. Make sure to lightly salt the cavities too.
  4. Place the bird in a sealed plastic bag. I use a non scented garbage bag. Press most of the air out and tie it tight. Double bag it to avoid leaks.
  5. Place the bird breast up in the refrigerator. Ideally for 2 days, but I have done it for 1 day for this size turkey and it does well. I suspect the longer time is for larger turkeys. I usually start this on Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but you could start Monday for the longer time and larger bird.
  6. After a day invert the bird placing it on its breast for the second day.
  7. The evening of the second day, I take the bird out of the plastic and place it in a shallow pan so the skin dries out. This helps create a crispy skin. If you need, you could just pat it dry with paper towels before you bake it.
  8. On Turkey day, take the bird out of the refrigerator for at least 1 hour prior to baking. Turn the oven to 425 degrees F.
  9. Place the turkey in a roasting pan breast side down for at least the first hour. Then pull it out and place the breast face up for the remaining cooking.
  10. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F until an internal thermometer reads 165 degrees F. This should take just under 3 hours.
  11. Remove from oven. Keep warm. Tent with foil and let stand for 30 minutes prior to carving.
  12. When you carve, please remove each breast fully and then carve straight down. This will give you the most moist slices. Just watch this video of Alton Brown for the best carving advice.
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I use a mixture of salts for the magical moist trick!
Servings
About 15 plus servings.

Nutrition
About 330 calories per 6 ounce serving. This really depends on the type of meat (dark or light) and how much skin you eat.
Monogram Gifts & More
 
 
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This is the best iced decaf coffee I have ever had. And I can make it at home quickly. 
Ingredients
  • Water In Keurig Machine
  • 1 Starbucks Decaf House Blend Medium K Cup
  • 1 Glass Of Ice

Preparation
  1. Place the K Cup into the Keurig and press the power button.
  2. Place the glass of ice into the Keurig stand.
  3. Once the buttons light up, push the "tea cup" or small serving size.

Servings
1 serving

Nutrition
About 2 Calories Per Serving

Tips
You can do this with other coffee varieties, but personally I think this is the best option.
 
 
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Smoothies are so popular and kids love them, but most of the time they are loaded with sugar and empty calories because they use concentrated juice or other added ingredients. Not this one. It is fresh, simple, creamy, and loaded with goodness!
Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup Golden Sweet Frozen Pineapple Chunks
  • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Cup Skim Milk (Soy Or Almond Milk Also Works)

Preparation
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or power hand mixer cup.
  2. Blend until smooth. Add additional milk if needed.
  3. Pour in glass and garnish with a piece of fruit.

Servings
1 serving

Nutrition
238 Calories Per Serving

Tips
You can substitute soy or almond milk to make this dairy free. You can also add protein powder. Adjust calories accordingly.