Friday, February 1, 2013


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Ignore this everybody, it’s a test post…

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I bought a Mafter Boullion Strainer


I did it, I actually bought this awesome strainer,  expensive as all get out, but thanks to all of you who click on my Blogher Ads in the right sidebar, I used my mad money from Blogher, so it wasn't spendy at all.  I can justify ANYTHING, just ask my family.

My kids tell me that I'm obsessive, that I get something in my head and I want it right now.  Okay, so they're right, I can't argue with them when they're right.  But I'm old(er) now, I have to do things right away, who knows what tomorrow will bring.

And why on earth do I need this strainer?  I'm sure you are all fascinated by it, after all "enquiring minds want to know."  Yeah, umhmmmm, sure you do!  Well, let me tell you anyway, it's all about yogurt this month.

I have been whipping up the most delectable, dreamy, yummy tasting yogurt that you have ever put in your mouth!  But I make Greek Yogurt, not regular yogurt and that requires straining off the whey.  There are many ways of straining it, you can strain it through cheesecloth, an old t-shirt, or a kitchen towel, which all seem a little "wrong" to me, after all you do wash those things in detergent, and I have no desire to have soapy suds in my yogurt.  So I use two layers of paper towel in this big colander I have that goes across my entire  sink as  I'm straining a half a gallon at a time, so the strainer has to be large.

And does this work?  Yes, it works, but it takes a few hours to strain so that makes my sink unusable, sometimes the paper towel rips, and it's hard to separate the yogurt from the towel, and I usually end up with it all over moi and the countertop, and yes, dear hearts, even the floor.  But you just can't use a regular strainer to strain the whey because the yogurt goes through the little holes.  You have to have a chinois, aka bouillon strainer, with really fine mesh.  I've researched this extensively trying to find a cheaper one, but the cheaper ones just don't work as well.

So I took a deep breath and paid $79, yes SEVENTY-NINE DOLLARS for this strainer and that’s cheap, most sites charge in excess of a hundred dollars for this same Mafter model.  And do I feel guilty?  Oh heck no, not a bit, after all Blogher paid for the darned thing.  And I did get it on my Amazon Prime, no tax, no shipping, so it's winging it's way to Heavensville tomorrow.

I'm a diehard yogurt maker, though, I make it several times a week, and it's so much better than what you buy in the store.  And since I'm doing low-carb right now in yet another futile attempt to deflate this seriously puffy body, I'm making it with whole milk, which makes it creamy and absolutely divine. Divine ladies, seriously!  I made it often last fall with great success  and then every batch started failing and I couldn’t figure out why. It was so defeating that I quit making it for awhile.   I’ve since learned that I had a defective thermometer for testing the temperature.  A good thermometer is a must have if you make yogurt.  I bought a new thermometer, and voila, I’m back in the yogurt making business.

Didn't you want to know all of this, you?  Of course not, but I'm just so excited!!!!!

If you're really interested in yogurt making, watch the following video from my friend Paula, at Salad-In-A-Jar, which yes I still love, but that's a whole other blog.  Paula is the one who got me started with making yogurt.  I also purchased a YoGourmet Yogurt Maker from last month's Blogher check, there I go, justifying my purchases again.  ;o)

Now I'm telling Paula how wonderful my Wolfgang Puck Pressure Cooker is.  I like to share the love, people, you all know that.

Watch Paula as she explains perfectly how to make this yogurt, I do it exactly the way she does, except now I incubate mine in my YoGourmet instead of the oven.  And yes, she has a Mafter Strainer, too.  Brilliant minds think alike after all Winking smile

If you’re interested in either of these products, here are the links:

Mafter 17360 Exoglass Boullion Strainer

YoGourmet Electric Yogurt Maker

Note:  I do find that using my YoGourmet takes a longer incubation than it does using Paula’s oven method.  Instead of incubating it for 6 hours, I incubate mine for 10-12 hours, and it makes perfect yogurt.  I really like my YoGoumet because it surrounds the milk mixture with a water bath, and you don’t have to monitor the temperature.   I also don’t use metal utensils, I use a plastic measuring spoon and spoon the yogurt culture into a small bowl, pour in a cup of the milk that has cooled to 110 degrees and whisk it with my silicone whisk, then I pour the mixture in with the rest of the milk and stir well.  I prefer doing this to make sure that the live cultures get distributed evenly throughout the milk.

After you strain it you’re left with approximately two pints of Greek Yogurt. I know, you’re thinking, jeez this is  lot of work, I’ll just buy mine at the store, but trust me there is no comparison, homemade is so fresh, so much better, it’s unreal.  And it isn’t hard once you do it a few times, it’s a piece of cake!  A walk in the park!  I could make it in my sleep and sometimes do ;o) It’s indescribably delicious, pinky swear it is…

And thrifty me saves the whey to water my plants.  And, I might add, that a pint container of Fage Greek Yogurt is $5.00  in the grocery store, I buy a gallon of whole milk at Aldi’s for $1.49, and that makes four pints of Greek Yogurt.  Do the math, I make $20 worth of yogurt for $1.49.  Hmmmm, at those prices you might be rethinking making your own, too.  Smile with tongue out

~ Jan doin’ the happy dance…

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ben is almost six months old now…

It’s hard to believe he’s this big, my sweet little grandson…

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Make your home a happy place...



I saw this on Pinterest today and thought it was spot on.  I can identify with everything, with the exception of #5.  Somehow those dishes just don't do it for me.  

And I love, love, love #3 - I need to do more of the sentimental things ASAP.  And #9, somehow that justifies the obscene amount of money I'm about to spend for a Matfer Boullion Strainer.  Well, LC does enjoy my homemade yogurt.   ~ Jan

1. Make your bed.

The book The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to “ready.”

I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul’s clever book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys. It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home.

One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal.

Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, “What was the best part of today?”) Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.

5. If you can’t get out of it, get into it.

This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day.

In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says “”Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, “Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!” Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like “be productive” or “enjoy today’s delicious moments” or it could be something more specific like “say thank you to my loved ones today.” But it should not be another “to do” item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!).

(That’s right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don’t expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don’t try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It’s YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It’s a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day.

You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don’t feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home.

Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don’t forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself.

Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)

We've been to see the grandkids!

Photo 6


Photo 5

Oh, they're SO sweet!  Abby has strong opinions about everything, she doesn't miss a trick.   She's having boy problems at school, apparently there is this little boy named Nathan in her class who is not nice.  So she proceeds to tell her Daddy, very loudly, while walking up the steps to her class, right behind Nathan and his mother that Nathan is mean!  I asked Ry if the little boy's mother heard Abby, he said there was no way that she didn't hear her.  That's our girl, a strong, opinionated woman.  No guy is going to best her!  Take that Nathan!!!

And our little Benjammin, oh he's so just precious.   He talks to us in baby language, drools  and laughs and best of all he crows like a little rooster.  He grabs his toys, wiggles and squirms and bounces in his chair.  He's an adorable little guy.

And, I forgot my camera, so these pictures from my phone aren't the greatest.  Bad, bad, Jan!!!

Gushing Grammie here...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Minnetonka Moccasins….



I have loved moccasins my entire life.  I had soft soled ones similar to the ones above when I was a teenager.  I also remember white soft soled and turquoise.  Oh, I thought they were SO cool.


Now, let's fast forward to 2013.  Just the touch of leopard brings out the Thelma Roper in me.  I do like these a lot!!!




Oh, and these feather ones, they are ringing my chimes.



And if I was twenty-something, or maybe even early thirty-something, I would be all over these like butter on a hot potato.  I'm old(er) now, but I could wear those feather ones or the leopard ones, I'm not that old yet.  I could wear them, yes I could, I  just might need a pair of these...

Are you a Moccasin lover, too?  Just click here and drool over Minnetonka's entire line.  They are wonderful!!!!

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