Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot

Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot

I am excited to share my new kitchen creation. Making yogurt has been intriguing to me since I was a child when my mom made homemade yogurt in the oven. I remember the tart clean flavor of the yogurt and finally I decided to try it. The crock pot recipes seemed simple and so I began. I took instruction from Cultures for Health on some recipe instructions but for the fermenting period I link you to The Healthy Home Economist  as she suggests fermenting for 24 hours so that all the lactose can be absorbed by the cultures. I used the best organic whole milk I could find at my local grocery and a good quality plain whole milk commercial yogurt for my starter culture. I found by following this very simple recipe I made yogurt in 20 1/2 hours total. I let this batch culture for 15 hours. I am currently making my second batch and this will be a 24 hour culture period. I look forward to comparing the product!

Homemade Yogurt

  • 1/2 gallon whole organic milk
  • 1/2 cup commercial whole plain yogurt

Pour the 1/2 gallon of whole organic milk into the crock pot. Heat on LOW for 2 1/2 hours. Turn off the crock pot after 2 1/2 hours and let warm milk cool to room temperature while keeping covered. After 3 hours of cooling the milk to room temperature, remove 1 cup of warm milk from the crock and mix in a small covered container with the 1/2 cup commercial whole plain yogurt. After well mixed, pour the milk back into crock pot and whisk the milk. Cover the crock with the lid and wrap the crock pot with 2 thick bath towels. Culture your recipe for 12-24 hours. The longer you culture the more tart your yogurt will be. I also understand the lactose diminishes when you culture your yogurt for 24 hours. After the culture period is complete, transfer your yogurt into tightly covered glass jars and store in your refrigerator. Happy yogurt making!

Source: A combined recipe from sources noted in my intro.



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Savanna’s Super Special Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Savannas CookiesunnamedA few years back I received this recipe from a friend who lives in my hometown. Mrs W and her husband were friends of our family.  The recipe was fine-tuned by their daughter Savanna. We got to know the W’s because Mr W was my 5th grade teacher. I babysat for their kids when I was a youngster and the W kids were even younger. I decided to make the recipe for Savannas Super Special Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies for a special occasion – my daughter coming home for Christmas break from college. I changed up the oil in the recipe to all butter but the other ingredients remain the same. I was so excited to find out that the cookies were a smashing hit! I believe the trick is to get the butter to a soft but not liquid consistency. These would be great for a Christmas time baking event if Santa likes good old fashioned chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

Savanna’s Super Special Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Cream together very well:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups butter, softened but not melted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Add and mix well:

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 2/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, more if desired

Place plastic wrap over bowl to retain moisture. Using small cookie scoop place small balls on cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes until cooked through but not brown. Pull cookie sheet from the oven and let cool a few minutes. Place cookies on cooling rack. Eat warm or when cooled, place in a tight container for storage. Enjoy.

Source: Mrs W – who lives near Lingonberry Lane


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Andy’s Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tarragon


On Thanksgiving we were the guests at our friends home in Gig Harbor – the friends with the lovely view of the harbor any time of year and the inviting home. We love spending time with these friends as they are like family to us. Our history dates back to Lingonberry Lane and family holidays. Andy is the Thanksgiving cook and he made the most exquisite sweet potatoes. I love simple and exquisite. I didn’t ask for his recipe but this simple recipe with the add of my new favorite spice tarragon seems like it’s close. Roasted potatoes with tarragon….all around yummy.

Andy’s Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tarragon

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes (I like garnet or jewel yams, orange colored)
  • butter or olive oil
  • tarragon
  • sea salt

Wash, peel and slice sweet potatoes. In a 9×13 glass baking pan add the sliced sweet potatoes. Liberally add dabs of butter on the potatoes or olive oil – about 2 tablespoons of oil.  If using oil, mix oil and sweet potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with tarragon. Bake in a 350 oven for about 40 minutes. Stir at about 1/2 way mark. Roast until the potatoes are golden and nicely softened.

Source: Andy and Jackie’s recipe

Posted in Holiday Recipes, Kids in the Kitchen, Side Dishes, Vegetarian, Winter Season | Tagged | 2 Comments

Photoblog: Crater Lake, Oregon

October 31 is as good a time as any to reminisce about a wonderful outing my hubby and I took at the last moment over Labor Day weekend. We are recent empty nesters and I really wanted to take advantage of the long weekend but life gets in the way and planning was halted for one reason or another. Saturday night we were watching TV and thought, hmmm, if we could get an overnight doggie sitter we’re golden to take off tomorrow for Crater Lake. And so we did. And we saw this!

It took us 18 years to get there….The real push was that our daughter got there first – without us!! And she raved.


Crater Lake is an amazing site that makes you realize again there is a higher power. It is simply stunning!

IMG_6685 IMG_6689

We took a late short hike near the lodge and the light on the lake was amazing. Cool weather and outstanding views.


The hubby suggested a last minute triangle tour through Bend as we had traveled from Portland down I-5 through Eugene. We found a lovely hotel and walked the river front in Bend on Labor Day. We made our daughter proud with our incredible spontaneity.

If you’re anywhere near Crater Lake, it’s a must see. It’s definitely a full day’s trip on a holiday weekend! We were not the only ones that showed up in the sunshine of a waining summer. And oh yes, bring a warm coat.

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Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

It’s the pumpkin time of year and our neighborhood stores are touting their pumpkin product – really pumpkin everything! So here’s more pumpkin for you. I’ve been mixing up a single serving pumpkin concoction. Double the recipe if you’re making for a buddy. The frozen banana adds the smooth and the whole milk adds the cream. Enjoy and make multiple for the $6 they would cost at your local market.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 frozen banana in slices
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

Blend at high speed and serve immediately. Makes one serving.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Garden Greek Salad

Garden Greek Salad

We had an unusually wonderful harvest of our cherry tomatoes over the weekend. I whipped up this simple salad to highlight the sweet little lovelies. The vegetables are fresh and crunchy and the dressing is light but flavorful. A great combination. To make it a true Greek salad feel free to add red onions and feta.

Garden Greek Salad

  • 2 small cucumbers, sliced and halved (or one medium sized)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 dozen small cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 12 kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Options: add chopped red onion and feta

Combine all cut vegetables and garlic into a medium sized bowl. Measure out the dressing the olive oil, the vinegar, oregano and salt and pepper and add directly to the mix of vegetables. Serve immediately.

Serves 2-3.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Creamy Vanilla Avocado Smoothie

Creamy Vanilla Avocado SmoothieSummer is the time for warm weather and cool downs. If you’re out exercising and need a quick nourishing cool down here’s a creamy, slightly sweet smoothie with lots of good fats in the whole milk and avocado. If you want it a little sweeter, add a bit of honey.

Creamy Vanilla Avocado Smoothie

In blender combine until very smooth:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 handfuls of ice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or to taste
  • option: honey to taste

Makes one large serving.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Catalonia Walking Adventure

Barcelona is a lovely city to touch down into. Our first and last hotel was located on Rambla de Catalunya, a bustling but slightly understated street very close to the ever popular La Rambla. I arrived on a Friday and Saturday morning strolled with 3 of my walking ladies to La Boqueria Market  where we sat at a nearby restaurant for a hearty eggs and ham breakfast with a side of tomatoes and goat cheese….my first of many goat cheese treats.

We quickly strolled through La Boqueria Market, where there was an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and cheeses and I wished we had more time to peruse before taking off to the train station. On our way down La Rambla after the market we ran into our fearless tour leader and dear friend, who had gotten dropped off in a nearby square via bus from the airport.

La Boqueria Market

The Boqueria Market

We were picked up in Figueres train station by Steve of Catalan Adventures. Steve and Maria were our tour guides as they provided us the information and details for the walks, hotel reservations, transport at times and a preview of the adventure upon our first nights stay. Their services are highly recommended and reasonably priced.

Our first night and second night’s stay on the official tour was in Sant Pere Pescador a sleepy little town and the Mas del Joncar was just a 10 minute walk from the town center. The inn had ample space to accommodate the 8 walking ladies in our group plus a few more small groups. The rooms were spacious and well attended and there was a lovely terrace for night caps and an indoor space to relax as well. Breakfast was served on the front terrace and the food was simple and quality. Fresh squeezed orange juice along side delightful pastries, cheese and meats, fresh fruit and my personal favorite plain yogurt with full fat. We were delighted to hang our hat at this inn for 2 nights.

Mas del Joncar Breakfast

Mas del Joncar breakfast

We headed out for two days walking first on the beach from L’Escala to Empuries. The wind on the beach walk was incredible with wind surfers having their day and we took a detour at the Marlin Beach Bar for a lunch of tapas and salads for the gluten free girls. Day 2 we headed from Sant Pere Pescador to Costello. We trekked from the Mas del Joncar and connected to a trail along a river and then spent some time swimming in the Mediterranean. The trail took us through a bird sanctuary the is part of the Parc Natural del Cap de Creus. Walking in Catalonia in the end of June we were in for hot weather. The days averaged about 85 degrees fahrenheit. We applied lots of sun screen and covered up.

We stayed that night in Castello D’Empuries at Casa Clara. The Casa Clara is a lovely hotel with well appointed rooms in the heart of Castello. Around a few medieval corners in the village is a square where we had drinks and then dinner.

The next day we were picked up by Steve and transported to Platja Canyelles. This walk would take us to Cadaques and the tour stepped up a peg or two on this section. The walk was stunningly beautiful along the Cap de Crues. We walked along the Mediterranean Sea for most of the day and the views were just amazing. The day ended in Cadaques, a dreamy


sea village that most of our group can visualize retiring to one day. I can’t say enough about Cadaques. Cadaques resides on the edge of the Cap de Creus Peninsula. The Pyrenees are just north and beyond them is France. The village was bustling in the evening as visitors ventured out to shop and dine. We stayed at the Hotel Llane Petit a lovely hotel with a view from the outskirts of the bustle of Cadaques. The hotel was a great place to hang our hats for two night. We felt so lucky to have our day off mid week in Cadaques. Some of the group did a long walk to the Dali House but two of us took the short walk and strolled 20 minutes across town to explore Dali.

Cadaques view

Cadaques Views

Village of Cadaques

We were sad to leave Cadaques but the adventure continued. After one relaxing day off we headed through the village and up into the hills past an olive farm and beyond on our way to Port De La Selva. Again the weather was hot, about 27C or 80F. This walk was beautiful with many views of the sea in the distance, wild flowers and rock formations.

Cadaques to Port de la Selva

Cadaques to Port De La Selva

Wild flowers on way to Port de la Selva

We stayed in Port de la Selva and swam in the sea and had a welcome late lunch of tapas and salads. We headed out the next day for our last day of walking. It was warm…seemed the warmest day but maybe it was because we were scaling a small mountain? The day was not without excitement as the decision for Great Britain to leave the European Union was all over the news that day. There was much discussion in our group. We headed up and out of Port de la Selva towards a Benedictine Monestary – Sant Pere de Rodes. It was quite a walk up the hill. And some of our group are warriors and made the trek even further to the Castell de Sant Salvador. The views were reported to be spectacular – as we drank sparkling water and cortados in the Monestary lounge.

Sant Pere de RodesThe rest of the walk was up and over the other side of the mountain and down the other side to Palau. The way down the other side was quite difficult in places with loose large stones but the satisfaction of completing the walk is always high when the going gets tough.

We were happy and celebrating our arrival at the darling inn Niu de Sol Hotel Rural in Palau. This inn had all the special touches, lovely rooms, some with views of the coast, a terrace for an evening dinner and a lovely breakfast. The inn was perfect for our last evening before heading back to the city of Barcelona where we’d say our goodbyes and look forward to another adventure in two years! We are really lucky – eight girls connected by a common friend from some special time in our lives. And now we are eight lifetime friends.

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Memorial Day Menu

Memorial Day SidesIt’s the weekend! And a long one. Most of us are getting together with our friends and family to celebrate loved ones lost and connecting with those that are important to us. If you’re in need of a side dish to go along side those burgers and brats, I have a few for you.

The bean recipe I’ll share is always a hit. Even the kids like it. And we all know we should pair something green with those new crop strawberries, especially here in Oregon.  For a dessert that could count as healthy try the strawberries and mascarpone…it’s possibly the easiest dish to bring to a BBQ and quite tasty.

Happy long weekend.

Crock Baked Beans

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Honey Almond Mascarpone with Strawberries


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Huevos Rancheros for One

Huevos Rancheros for OneWith Cinco De Mayo around the corner we’re all thinking what kind of new dish can we concoct for the occasion? How about a breakfast dish? This is a colorful, fresh and hearty breakfast that will start your day with a burst of nutrients.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Handful of grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons red onion
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a warmed skillet, add olive oil, tomatoes, onion, pepper and garlic. Saute for about 3-4  minutes. Break eggs onto the tomato mixture and cook sunny side up. Cover pan to cook top of eggs to your liking. When eggs are done cooking, add salt and pepper, lime juice and cilantro. Serve warm.

Adapted from: New Seasons 


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