Saturday, October 26, 2013

Roasted Chicken

So... my man lives too far away and next weekend I'm heading out to see him for a 'faux-Thanksgiving', as he has deemed to name it... it was $600 more to visit DURING Thanksgiving. Not even kidding.All that to say, I want to make him a chicken. :) And when I actually make it for him, I want to make it perfectly. :)I hate cooking poultry. Seriously. It's one of my few OCD things... who wants salmonella?! Not this chick, that's who.HOWEVER, Thanksgiving is meant to be spent with your favorite people gathered around a delicious bird. And I don't care much for turkey... so chicken it is!Life has been a little extra chaotic lately with a new job and life transitions, so while I'm testing this 'recipe', if you will, we'll see if I remember how to roast a chicken. Fingers-crossed.While putting this idea together, I found some fresh thyme and rosemary in my dad's garden, picked up a lemon from work, and whipped out the usual EVOO and fresh ground sea salt and pepper.(I also managed to whip up some mulled wine, which will be better laid out in a later post and the culprit for any and all madness following this sentence. Glad I included that!) 

The wine wants you to know I was the
2012 Toad's Chili Cook-On Runner Up...
Second Place out of 30 entries!
The ladle will vow for me.
I purchased the bird from our local 'Moo-Roo'... There's a dairy farm about 15 minutes away that has a small shop on my way home from work. They carry not only local, hormone free, dairy products, but they also carry local honey, produce, and meat.At the register I found out the chicken actually wasn't local... they informed me that it was from a farm in Pennsylvania - that it was the closest humane farm. I'm glad I asked.I took my Microplane and probably used about 1/4 of the lemon to incorporate some zest in my chicken rub. 

I mixed the zest with salt and pepper, thyme, and rosemary. I made sure these ingredients were properly minced, and added a bit of olive oil before rubbing the mixture all over the bird and as well as I could under the skin.I stuffed the cavity with half of a lemon, thyme, and a sprig of rosemary. I roasted it on a bed of baby red potatoes for 30 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. When my timer beeped, I took it out to find this beaut:
I then added some butter to the chicken and finished roasting it for about 10-15 minutes. When all is said and done, the chicken should read 165 degrees and rest for 10 minutes before being carved to serve. 
The wine seems to be all about bragging tonight...
it also wanted you to see this video I made with
Better Homes and Gardens' a year and a half ago...
even though I didn't use the tent.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wilted Spinach

A few weeks ago at our quarterly meeting for work, I was amazed that I was the only person in the room who claimed to eat spinach for breakfast! This is a staple of mine, super easy, and so great for you!

These 'Persian Greens', as they're still referred to in China, gained more fame and attention during the 1960's as cartoon Popeye, the Sailorman, encouraged children to eat their spinach so they could grow up to be big and strong... the crazy part being that there was a LOT of truth to this cartoon's claim to fame:

Spinach is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol. It is high in niacin and zinc, as well as:
  • vitamins A, C, E, and K
  • thiamin
  • protein
  • fiber
  • vitamin B6
  • folate
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • copper
  • potassium
  • manganese
All this to say... it's loaded with so many nutritional benefits to aid every part of your body!

Spinach has been known to help maintain vigorous brain function, memory, and mental clarity. (Clearly I still don't eat quite enough!)

Spinach's abundance of flavonoids give it antioxidant characteristics that keep cholesterol from oxidizing and protects your body from free radicals - especially your colon. Spinach is also rich in folate, which keeps your cardiovascular system in tip-top shape. The magnesium in this super-veg helps to bring high blood pressure down.

Now that you know why you should eat it, here's one of the easiest ways how to eat more spinach!

I like to take a couple fresh mushrooms, slice them up and set them aside to add in at the very end... it's a texture thing for me - add them whenever seems best for you.

I always start by heating up my skillet and throwing in a knob of butter and a whole clove of garlic... lately I've been fighting an ear infection so I leave the clove in the mix and eat it whole, disregarding the scent of my breath as the day goes on... :)

Once the butter has melted and covered the skillet, I throw as much of a bag of spinach on as possible.

It looks like a heap, and it is, but as it wilts, you'll see it's not excessive... by the time it's done, you'll have incorporated the whole bag.

I have become accustomed to using a glass plate for my lid... keep that steam in there! 

You'll see that the spinach cooperates in sections... 

Just keep turning it! It really comes together quite quickly.

At this point, feel free to throw in any additional veggies or even eggs! Spinach will keep you full, regular, and absolutely radiant. Eat it up and enjoy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

the best gift...

I don't know about you... but my love language isn't gifts. I like gifts and I enjoy giving gifts, but not when they're expected... certainly not on holidays. It just puts so much pressure on them! 

I was so thrilled when I mentioned to my beau that I was having a hard time coming up with something perfect to get my dad for his birthday. 

My dad is someone who has what he needs, enjoys Led Zeppelin, and doesn't necessarily enjoy more 'stuff' if it isn't something he's picked out himself... (honestly, I realize I am more like him EVERY DAY.)

Stephen instantly replied that I should give him a push pin, map of the states, and a jar with $20.

I sat silently for a moment to encourage him to elaborate so I could understand fully what he was getting at. He went on that it's all about the presentation. He said I need to wrap them all up separately and explain each gift as I give it to him. 

I am continually amazed and at how perceptive he is to me and the people I care about from SO FAR AWAY.

I knew this would be well received, if not the most perfect gift ever. 

Dad's not huge into gifts either, but I can't tell you how perfectly he received this one.

I walked into their house announcing that he needs to close his eyes that I was bearing very important birthday gifts. I handed him the small parcel enclosing the push pin. He opened it and, quite honestly, probably knew right then what I was up to... but continued to play along as I gave him a poster rolled up and wrapped so inconspicuously... 

I ended up purchasing a map of the world, partly because I would rather explore far away lands... and partly because it was $3 cheaper than a map of the states. :)

Did I mention that I can't even put into words how perfect this gift is for my dad? So unbelievably perfect.

I handed him the jar with $20 in it and told him that I have a matching jar at home, where I'll do just that - match every dollar he puts in there. I hope I was clear enough that he needs to let me know when he puts money in there so I'm not dropping Benjamin's all at once!

If you're looking for the perfect gift for someone adventurous and who speaks the love language of quality time, THIS IS MOST CERTAINLY IT!

After I pulled myself together from the great success of this presentation, if you will, I was sitting there next to my Daddy watching 'Vikings' on the History Channel and asked him where we were going and he just nodded at the TV. 

I smiled. 

He later confirmed how excited he was to see Ireland and Norway. 

You and me, both, Jefe. So excited.