I’ve tried a ridiculous amount of crock pot recipes, and this is by far the best (and easiest) way to slow cook a whole chicken until it is falling-off-the bone delicious. And if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet you’ll hardly have to buy anything to make this dish. Once the chicken is done it is flavorful enough to eat by itself, or you can incorporate it into another dish like pasta, chicken salad, or a casserole. We use a very basic crock pot that can purchased on Amazon for about $25. Another great trick (that I learned from a friend!) is that after you pick off the good chicken meat you can leave the bones in the crock pot to make some stock. I usually start the chicken stock after dinner by filling it to the top with water, and then adding whatever I have on hand…bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion, parsley and/or thyme. Even if I am missing parsley or celery I still make it anyway, and it always turns out just fine. I keep it on low all night, and then in the morning I strain it into 1 or 2 cup Tupperware containers to store in the freezer. It works great and couldn’t be easier!
Archives for February 2011
Every chance I get I try to mention all of the amazing health benefits we’ve experienced since our switch to real food almost a year ago. Even though we started gradually transitioning our diets at the beginning of 2010 we still continue to notice new and wonderful ways it has affected our health. I just recently shared a detailed list of the changes we’ve experienced thus far, and today I have some even bigger news. Annual Blood Test Results I just had a long awaited meeting with my doctor to sit down and compare my blood test results from a physical that took place at the end of 2009 (before we made the switch to real food) to a physical I just had last month. I say it was long awaited because my insurance wouldn’t allow me to get another physical until it had been at least a year since the previous one. Once I finally got my hands on both sets of results I briefly attempted to make sense of the numbers, but realized I would need the expertise of my doctor.
The key to this recipe is definitely the bread. One of the most important lessons I hope people take away from this blog is that you must always read the ingredients label (if it is processed enough to have a label) before buying/eating anything. For years I bought my husband Arnold’s “Whole Grains” Health Nut Bread from the grocery store until one day we finally read the ingredients. If it only takes a handful of key staples to make bread (flour, water, yeast, salt) why did we find 40 items on the list? It was rather disturbing so we of course immediately made a switch and started buying our bread from a true bakery (and no, it’s not one of those so-called bakeries located in the grocery store…don’t let those fool you either). Our bread now only has 5 ingredients, and it is by far the best whole-wheat bread I’ve ever tasted. I’ve actually been toying with the idea of trying to make my own bread (with a bread maker of course), but I’m a little worried that it won’t be as good as what we get from Great Harvest! So making French Toast or not….please make sure you are at least starting off with the right kind of bread.
Making your own sushi at home is actually not as hard as one would think, and it can make for a very fun evening with friends or family…both young and old. My picky 3-year-old wouldn’t even think about touching a piece of sushi until the first time she saw us making it at home (with brown rice of course). We had allowed our older daughter to be up on a chair at the counter with her own cutting board, bamboo mat, chopsticks, and fun little soy sauce dish (she already knew she liked vegetable sushi). Of course her little sister wanted to do the same, but we told her she couldn’t “make” any sushi unless she ate it. And what do you know…once our child (who barely even eats veggies in the first place) gave it a fair chance she actually liked it. I didn’t know if I should have been more shocked that she ate the sushi or the vegetables! She does love to “dip” her food so I am guessing the soy sauce aspect had something to do with it. I do want to make sure I share that (especially if this is your first time making sushi) it can take some time to get the hang of it, and it also requires a lot of chopping. It can also make a little bit of a mess particularly if kids are involved. So we definitely like to reserve this event for a special occasion or weekend activity, but think it is worth the effort for such a fun and unique experience. Awhile ago I mentioned that I thought a child’s “first impression” of a food was important and making sushi at home turned out to be the perfect way to introduce it to my picky 3-year-old. She will […]
In case you haven’t noticed we not only took a 100-Day Real Food Pledge (two of them actually), but we’re also inviting readers to join the fun by taking a 10-day pledge. More than 800 people from around the world have signed up so far (yea!) by pledging to follow our very same food rules for a shorter amount of time. We developed the 10-day pledge because it is such an eye opening experience to live like this even if it is only for a week and a half. It forces you to read ingredient labels and reevaluate every single ounce of food that you put into your body. Our hope is that people will use their valuable 10-day pledge experience to help them decide what changes to make long term. Living by the rules is just to teach a lesson…our intention is not for people to follow them for life because, thankfully, eating the “bad stuff” in moderation is okay!
I am thrilled because I finally figured out a way to cook fish so my daughters will actually eat it! My 3-year-old (who is the picky one) even had a second helping. This was after at least a dozen failed seafood attempts, but in the end it was worth it. I am sure the fish being covered in almonds and a butter sauce had a lot to do with it, but who cares because the point is my preschooler ate fish, she liked it, and most importantly she knew about it. She even said the words “more fish please”, which means she thinks she likes something called “fish” now! I think some parents have to be careful about how much they “hide” the good stuff in their kids’ food because the real battle is getting them to accept it. Sure, I hide veggies sometimes too, but I work even harder at making food so they’ll knowingly eat it and like it. And this recipe was a definitely success in that department!
One of the reasons I started this blog about our real food journey was to share with others all the invaluable information I’ve learned from hours and hours of research. Just one year ago I had never even been to a farmer’s market before, much less did I know there were actually different types of farmer’s markets. Sadly enough I had also never read an ingredients label or ever thought to ask a restaurant what exactly was in the food they were serving me (or where it came from for that matter). Before we changed our diets at the beginning of last year, it is safe to say that I knew very little about eating real food. Once I started to figure everything out from what crackers to buy to where to get the freshest milk, why would I keep all of that good information to myself? So in addition to all of the recipes, tips, and personal experiences I’ve shared thus far, this post is all about the specific stores, farms, and restaurants that we love the most (all of which we’ve tried personally). Now of course these places are in the Charlotte area, but a few can be accessed in other locations as well (denoted by asterisk). If you have any favorites that I left off this list please tell us why you love them in the comments section below! Farms / Farmer’s Markets Matthews Farmer’s Market (pictured during a community dinner to the right) – This one is a grower’s only market, which in my opinion is the best kind.
You won’t believe how easy it is to make these tasty little popovers. I think my 6-year-old could practically do it by herself (if I helped her measure and handle the oven). The only thing that is remotely difficult about this recipe is that the milk and eggs have to be at room temperate in order for the popovers to “pop” up properly (try to say that 3 times fast). So yes, it does require you to think ahead a little, which I for some reason struggle with on occasion. But other than that the recipe is super easy, and they are by far one of my daughters’ favorites! Feel free to enjoy them with breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or as leftovers), and don’t be afraid to get creative too. For breakfast you can spread some butter and/or jelly on the popovers while they are warm out of the oven. Or before you even bake them you can sprinkle a generous helping of cinnamon on top of the batter in each muffin cup. For lunch or an elegant dinner side item, pop a piece of crumbly cheese (goat or blue) in the center of each batter cup. To accompany spaghetti, sprinkle them with some garlic powder before baking. The possibilities are endless so have fun and enjoy!
I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders now that our budget pledge is over! But what I didn’t expect was the guilt I would feel when I finally could (and did) spend a little extra money last week. And not only was it guilt about spending more money, but also about the possibility of us not finishing all the food I’d bought before it passed its prime. That was certainly one of the nice things about being on a tight budget. I could never afford to buy more than we could eat, and this past week brought back memories of how much spoiled food we’d end up throwing away in our pre-budget days. Before I dive into the things I splurged on at the store let me finish up our last budget week. As I previously mentioned we had $15 left and instead of buying more groceries with that money we decided to put it towards a nice family brunch out at a new local restaurant. I am just thrilled each time I hear of a new restaurant opening up in Charlotte that serves local food! It is about time our city hopped on this bandwagon. And since each and every time we buy food we are essentially “voting with our dollars” I want to do everything I can to support these restaurants. Although I will say…local doesn’t necessarily mean “whole grain” or “no sugar”, which are also two very important rules to us, but hey – I guess I can’t always have it all! So we went downtown to eat at Halcyon, which is connected to Charlotte’s new Mint Museum of Art. I was thrilled they were offering a brunch menu because breakfast food is by far the easiest thing to order for my girls when […]