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Lemon-Garlic Roast Turkey & White-Wine Gravy

The zesty lemon-garlic rub for this turkey gives it amazing flavor. Instead of using a conventional supermarket turkey that’s been “enhanced” with added sodium solution, here we brine a natural or organic turkey to keep the meat extra juicy without a lot of extra sodium.

Makes: 12 servings, 3 ounces turkey & 2-3 tablespoons gravy each, plus leftovers
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes (plus 24 hours brining time)

FN_Ina Garten Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken.tif

FN_Ina Garten Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken.tif

  • 10 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup salt substitute
  • 1 12-pound natural or organic turkey (see shopping tip)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, or dry vermouth
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth


  1. Crush 6 cloves garlic and add to a very large stockpot (or clean bucket). Stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire, salt and 4 quarts cold water.
  2. Remove giblets from turkey (if included) and trim excess skin. Submerge the turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. If the turkey is not fully submerged, turn it every 8 hours.
  3. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well and pat dry. Discard the brine.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Place the remaining 4 cloves garlic, lemon zest, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme, oil, pepper and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste. (Alternatively, chop garlic, lemon zest and oregano on a cutting board until finely minced, then place in a small bowl and stir in oil, pepper and water.) Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat. Rub the paste all over the turkey, under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat and a little inside the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast-side down in a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan.
  6. Roast the turkey for 1 hour. Turn it breast-side up on the rack, add 1 cup water to the pan, and continue roasting 1 hour more. Baste the turkey with pan drippings, tent with foil and continue roasting, basting every 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F, 30 to 45 minutes more.
  7. Transfer the turkey to a large cutting board; let rest for 20 minutes before removing the string and carving.
  8. Meanwhile, pour any pan juices and fat into a large glass measuring cup and place in the freezer until the fat rises to the top, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, pour the pan juices and fat into a fat separator then pour the defatted juices into a large measuring cup.) Whisk flour with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl.
  9. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add wine (or vermouth); bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Continue cooking until reduced, about 3 minutes.
  10. 10. Remove the pan juices from the freezer, skim off the fat with a spoon and discard. Add the defatted juices and broth to the roasting pan; return to a simmer, whisking often. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the flour mixture and simmer until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve and serve with the turkey.

Tips & Notes

  • Shopping tip: Look for turkey labeled “natural” or “organic” in natural-foods stores or well-stocked supermarkets. Turkeys labeled “heritage” are also typically “natural.” If you can’t find one, don’t overlook this recipe. It works with conventional turkey, too; just skip the brining (Steps 1-2) and start with Step 3.

Per serving: 128 calories; 4 g fat ; 180.3 mg sodium

Changing Lifestyles… Saving Lives Together


This place has changed the lives of all of us in some way.  I want to say thank you for having me come here.  If I had stayed home for the last month I would have gained weight. Instead I have lost 34.1 pounds.


I felt like I could not fit in anywhere I went, but I found my place here at Camp Jump Start.  I may not have done my best every day, but I did try.



The one quote I love the best is “when you want to be healthy, there is no SOME day—there is only TODAY and the days after.  There are seven days in a week—and someday is not one of them!


For me to find my place and make many new friends while losing weight is good enough for me.  I love it here!  This is like a home away from home.  I will miss everyone.  I will hopefully continue this lifestyle until I die.  I want to teach it until everyone is healthy.  I will always remember how you helped me accomplish my goals.  Thank you for everything that you have done for me.



Thanksgiving Recipe

Prosciutto, Pear & Hazelnut Stuffing
Makes: 12 servings, 1/2 cup each
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 1/4 hours

  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut into ribbons
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 8 cups stale baguette, preferably multi-grain, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 pears, ripe but firm, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon lite salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook, stirring, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
  3. Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and shallot and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add sage, thyme and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Transfer everything to a large bowl and gently stir in bread, pears, parsley, hazelnuts and the prosciutto. Add broth; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared baking dish; cover with foil.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes; remove the foil and bake until the top is beginning to crisp, 25 to 30 minutes more.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  • Note: If you don’t have stale bread ready to use, spread the baguette cubes on a baking sheet and toast at 250°F until crisped and dry, about 15 minutes.
  • Tip: To toast chopped nuts & seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Per serving: 188 calories, 4.45 g fat, 269mg sodium

Healthy Fall Recipe for the Family

Healthy Fall Recipe for the Family

Slow Cooked Cranberry Barbecue Chicken
6 chicken thighs, skin removed (about 2 1/4 lb. total)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (14 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup Multi-Grain cereal (crushed to 1/2 cup)
  • 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard or spicy brown mustard
  • 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
  • 1 medium onion, sliced


  1. Place chicken thighs on rack of broiler pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 4- to 5-inches from heat for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once.
  2. In 5- to 6-quart crock pot place onion and chicken. In small bowl stir together cranberry sauce, Cereal, pineapple, barbecue sauce and mustard. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
  3. Place rice on serving plate. Top with chicken. Stir sauce. Serve over chicken


460 calories per serving
6 servings

Nick’s Story

Nick’s mom was a pediatric endocrinologist where I worked. She heard about our camp
from a nurse whose son attended. This nurse raved about their family’s experience and
tried to persuade this doctor to send her son to camp. The doctor stated that “those camps
do not work!”
As time went on this doctor spoke of the frustrations she had with her own son. She
counseled other families about the prevention and treatment of obesity and stated that
she went home mortified that her own family had a secret. Eventually the doctor was
desperate and sent her son to camp. The hardest part of parenthood is coming to realize
that you cannot “fix” your own child. This is human nature.
Nick was pretty miserable when we first met. Being fat takes the fun out of childhood.
At camp he found hope for a better life. He thrived on the challenges and he also enjoyed
the girls’ attention! He saw the advantages of a healthy lifestyle and was determined to
hang on to this new identity.
His success continued at home because of his internal motivation and the support from
his family. He became interested in sports and was now able to make the team.
It has been 7 years since Nick’s first camp experience. He is a normal sized young man.
He is almost 18 years of age. Now he is a 3 sport player! He is a 3rd time wrestling
varsity starter—he was second city champ and second at regionals and he is a rugby
varsity starter. Their rugby team came in 2nd at State (Illinois) last year. If this was not
enough—he led the football team in sacks last year.
Nick is a success because his family embraced the needed changes and supported him.
It really was Nick that took full responsibility for his life choices. He understands
consequences and chooses wisely more often than not. He also enjoys the lifestyle
Nick’s story can be viewed on our website in his own words.
He and his mom are on video and then there is a follow-up showing him at a reunion
camp. He is willing to do another video, so I will try to get there in the near future.

Life With Purpose

Being a nurse and teacher for 20 years I was on the frontline when the childhood obesity epidemic emerged. I worked with students in a major medical center. The children’s hospital on campus began to see 5 year olds with cirrhosis of the liver, 8 year olds having strokes, and 20 year olds having heart attacks. We even had to change the name of Juvenile diabetes to type 1 diabetes because kids had begun to develop adult onset diabetes now called type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is absolutely preventable and no child should have it! This is the diabetes of my grandparent’s generation. From experience we know that in 10-15 years after diagnosis we will see the complications from type 2 diabetes which are heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and amputations to name a few. Type 2 diabetes is an unforgiving disease which will not discriminate for age.

My entire life has been dedicated to health and education which I consider to be basic human rights. I truly believe that when people know better then they can do better. I also believe that when you lose your health—nothing else will ever matter quite the same again.

Some will say I am the hardest working woman that you will ever meet. I say that I have never worked a day in my life! What I do is who I am. I am a nurse and teacher. It is all consuming. One cannot leave work behind in either profession… must always be “on” when needed.

My mid-life crisis occurred when I was 40 years old. I saw a catastrophic event emerging and I began looking for solutions. I went to work at what looked to be the best weight loss camp for kids in the nation. On the internet it appeared to be perfect. Oh my—nothing could have been further from the truth. It was at that camp my rose-colored glasses were shattered. It was all about BIG business weight loss hype, repeat customers and money. I did not consider it safe for kids or employees. Profit was their driving force. I came home from that camp and said to my husband “Honey, give me all your money because someone who cares about kids needs to do this. I know what works and I know what is missing. And we have enough love to share to help kids heal and become successful.” The man said yes and we have been saving lives ever since.

Our camp has been built on love. It has taken great personal sacrifice in an effort to “save this generation of kids”. We sold personal possessions like grandmother’s crystal and we both worked other jobs to pay for the things to start camp. We did not receive salaries most of these years and we work every day of the year, we sold our home so that we could pay staff in the recession and moved to a dilapidated cabin at camp. We did not have hot and cold water in our bathroom for 2 years because we had to fix the other cabins for campers first.

I slept in my office at the hospital from Monday through Friday so that the money I saved on gas could be used to buy paint, etc for camp improvements. I knew where to get a gurney from the emergency room in the evening and what patient floor had extra sheets and pillows that I could use. I knew which public restroom had a lock so that I could brush my teeth and get a “bath by sink” before day shift came to work. I took brown bag meals and work from camp to keep my busy through the week.

These were the easy sacrifices. The hard ones have been the realization that we cannot get back the time that we have given up with our own families. Special moments like our 25th and 30th wedding anniversaries were spent celebrating with our 80 camp kids instead of our own family. Both sets of our parents are elderly and we know that we are missing out on time with them. This is perhaps the hardest sacrifice. Yet we know that our life experience has come together for this one purpose. We truly believe that children are our future and we actually are doing something about it.

The motto was “whatever it takes” and it took a lot for a new nonprofit without funders to survive during this recession. It has been a long 10 years, but we along with our exceptional staff have saved more lives here than I ever did in a traditional nursing role

For my husband and me, this is our encore career. We created a “LivingWellVillage” to address this crisis in our society with a program that works. This is not the “retirement” we worked to achieve but living a life with purpose is a life that matters. We are in search of an army of like-minded people to help us re-direct the lives of a nation. Our mission is essential to the future of our nation’s being!

Mark’s Story

I will always remember Mark! He is the dad of a camper who made me realize the power of one in changing the world. He came to visit his daughter half way through summer camp. He ran down the hill, picked me up, kissed me on the lips and swung me around all the while saying “thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Now I had been happily married for 20-something years and had not been kissed like that by anyone except my husband in quite some time so I was a bit taken aback. I was wondering who this man was and to which child he belonged. Before camp I talk to parents on the phone and I do not see them except for a few minutes when they drop their child off for the summer. Most of the time I am not looking at them anyway since I am picking through their child’s hair looking for head lice the first time we meet.
I am called back to reality when I hear this dad say “I have not seen my daughter smile like that since she was an infant. Thank you!” There are tears in his eyes. and suddenly mine too. His daughter was 14 years old, 40 pounds lighter than the last time he saw her and her signs of diabetes had disappeared. He found at camp what we all seek for our children—health and happiness.
Mark’s daughter got a second chance. Her family gave her this opportunity and she became responsible for her own life and choices. She will choose to live life well….or not. Simply, the choice is hers. At any time she will be able to use the tools she learned at camp even after we are all long gone. She has achieved success once and if she needs to find it again, she has the tools to do it..
It was two years after that moment when Mark called me again. He asked if we would meet him as he was passing through St. Louis. I closed my eyes and could picture every detail of his face and I just knew that I would spot him in a second. Instead I walked right past him without recognizing him! He had lost 150 pounds, given up smoking and was traveling to Phoenix to run his first marathon.
That is the power of Camp Jump Start! We will never be able to calculate the ripple effect but I know the power that has been unleashed thanks to Mark!

Moral to the story: Sometimes we do for our kids what we would not do for ourselves. This grassroots effort is how we change our nation’s health—one child and one family at a time. It is a life long struggle for many but working together makes the road to health a bit less bumpy.
****Stories that appear here happened to real people and are told as I remember them. No child or family is identifiable and some stories may be blended between people so that no one will recognize a specific person or event. Truly most of these moments cannot be made up in one’s wildest imagination, but some stories do sound similar even when you think it could not happen to anyone else! The purpose of my blog is to relate to those in similar circumstances. We want to bring to you the inspirational stories that we have witnessed and we wish to make life’s journey a bit easier for those coming after us.


We need to slow down because we move through life too fast. All the conveniences of the 21st century have not given us what we really want: more time. We get caught up in a whirlwind and do not know how to get out.
If we say our family is most important to us, then we need to put our time and efforts with them. This is not easy in our world, but it can be done once you are conscious of your wishes.
Over the years, it has been convenient to place the blame on genetics for being overweight. It is far easier to accept when you can point the finger to someplace other than looking in the mirror. But the same genetic pool can turn out two very different children. Many would say the skinny one is lucky and the chunky one is not. But in reality, the opposite may be true. It is recognized by many that being overweight is a symptom of being unhealthy. So the chunky kid actually is getting the wake up call to do better. The skinny kid may very well have the beginning stages of heart disease from eating the same foods that weighed down the chunky kid, but the skinny kid is living in false security that they are healthy. Therefore, parents are not punishing the skinny kid by keeping junk food out of the home. Our home must remain the safe zone by stocking only foods with benefits. Snack items should be string cheese, low-fat pudding, or fruit, to suggest a few.
Genetics may predispose us to obesity, but it is truly lifestyle that causes it. Let us set our families up for success by creating a safe environment and a fundamental base for the family’s healthy development.
This new year let us choose wisely and begin to make the priorities that we say we have in life really become the priority of our day.

The New Year

If only kids came with instructions, we could be perfect parents. Regrettably, there are no instructions and therefore no perfect parents. We try to do our best raising our families but the busyness of life gets in the way. The problem rests in the fact that sometimes we do not have enough information to make the best decisions. I am a firm believer that “when you know better—you can do better”. These are suggestions for resolutions to a Happy and Healthier New Year that will lead to a Happier and Healthier Family.
When a baby is born, we are so excited. We count their fingers and toes, we ask the doctor if the baby is healthy and, if we are lucky, the doctor says “yes”. We expect that to mean for the next twenty-one years our child will be well. But no one explains to us the important part that we must play, and we really do not get any training for the most important role for which we are cast. As parents, we see only sickness and health; the spectrum in between is lost. We need to pay attention to this gray area.
A parent lovingly fulfills every basic need for an infant, and as the infant grows, it learns to do these tasks by mimicking the way of the parents. As mothers, when a baby cries from hunger we pick them up to comfort them, speak soothingly to them, and feed them. It is an enjoyable time between mother and child. But some babies come to associate food as the comfort. Unless we expand upon this coping mechanism, this baby is destined to a life of emotional eating.
This New Year, let us resolve to choose an enjoyable activity that role models to our children how to deal with stress on a daily basis. Try walking, biking, or dancing to deal with frustrations instead and include your children in this activity. Children copy what we do, not what we say. And we benefit as a family because sometimes we do for our children what we would not do for our self!
The childhood obesity epidemic is a complex problem for society, but truly as parents we are much more concerned about what occurs within our own four walls at home. Many families believe that their chunky child will outgrow their baby fat, but it takes only a few extra pounds to weigh a child down. Then the child does not feel well participating in activity so they become less active and the pounds begin to pile up. Kids are cute but they are cruel to each other. The old saying of “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was never farther from the truth. The words are forever etched in our children’s brains and hearts and the pain is far more debilitating than broken bones. Their spirits become broken instead. This prevents our child from becoming who they were meant to be. The vicious cycle is set because more than 8 out of 10 of these children will go on to become overweight adults, carrying with them forever all the baggage from childhood. That is if we continue to feed this vicious cycle.
This New Year let us resolve to ask our pediatrician what a normal weight range is for each of our children and our self. Parents are forced out of denial and empowered by this knowledge. No longer will weight be a forbidden secret, but a symptom that can be healed by the family.
Many physicians feel helpless dealing with this obesity epidemic because it requires intense education/assistance to put the family on a healthy path. Time that most of them do not have to give. Most physicians have not even taken nutrition courses, so they do not feel comfortable being the expert, either. But they can refer you to one!
It would be an honor to be a part of your life journey.

The Biggest Loser

Like many things in life, we need to stop thinking so much about something and just start. Whether it be a diet, exercise or writing a blog….just thinking about the issue at hand can paralyze us. So today I decided to begin my journey in the world of blogs. No more thinking about it. I am now doing something about it and I challenge you to do that which you have been thinking about longer than you should. Just start….
I hope from the stories and thoughts that I share in this blogosphere, you will find something worthwhile. After all, life is about sharing our journey with the hopes that our path makes it easier for someone else to follow. My life has never been boring! After 30 years of working with kids, I guarantee that you cannot make these things up that I will share in future blogs.
Today though I am thinking about the show “Biggest Loser”. I have never been fond of the name but no one asked me. I do admit that a lot of good has come from the show. It has brought attention to a health crisis in our nation. It has inspired many to take action in their own life. It has educated those that judge that maybe it is not so easy to just lose weight and exercise. It has shown us that in the United States of America malnutrition is in abundance.
Several years ago I met with one of the successful participants on the “Biggest Loser”. We met at a Starbucks in Chicago at his request. He wanted to know what we did at our weight loss camp for kids that was different from what everyone saw on the “Biggest Loser”. I explained that our camp was not just about diet and exercise. We dealt with emotions and issues like divorced/separated/blended families, adoption, loss of a loved one and anxiety to name a few. We taught stress management along with nutrition classes. We were active and had fun at summer camp letting kids be kids. Kids had the opportunity to grow from mistakes in a safe, structured environment while adults supervised and intervened as necessary. Today kids lack this support system in many cases. We developed individual plans for home so that kids could maintain success and the entire family could live well. He told me that the “Biggest Loser” only pushed contestants for diet and exercise. It was all about the numbers. After all, it was a television show and ratings were the driving force. It was not about a mission to change and save the world. It was about business.
No wonder this man gained his weight back.
I do not like the idea of young children on the show this coming season. I am certain that there will be drama and the cameras will capture all the vulnerable moments that will be etched in America’s minds. People will be talking and judging. Great for ratings but not great for kids! Some may be treated like celebrities for a time while others will be openly ridiculed. Then the season will end, the show will close and they will be forgotten on the set, but the children will never be able to leave it behind. Reruns will pop up when least expected and it will live forever on the internet.
My concern is that this show will exploit kids. I believe that life is hard enough already for these kids and a child cannot give informed consent to this scrutiny. I understand that desperate parent’s will do desperate things if they think it might help their kids. They simply do not know what else to do. I know that this is not it!
As I write my blog, I too will share stories about kids. But it will NEVER be about one kid. All stories will be true events just mixed up because I never want a child recognized by what I write. Truth is many stories are similar and people who have never been to camp may feel like I am telling their personal story. Childhood is a sacred time and we as adults need to honor this age of what should be innocence. Adults are put in a child’s life to protect them.
In our society today parents are searching for answers. I can tell you that this crisis is not the child’s fault nor do I think that it is the parent’s fault in most cases. We, as a society, have created this catastrophic event and it is up to ALL of us to make the necessary changes. While many people continue to talk about this, I actually believe the children are our future. This is why we have been DOING something about this health crisis. The time for talk is over if we are to save this generation of children! Watching kids get yelled at and struggle on national television is NOT the answer.
Want to make a real difference? Come help us do what is right for kids!