GF Carrot Cake – Shovin the Produce Anywhere it Will Fit

Ha!  Don’t you love just the idea of carrot cake?  Why not replace some of the other moisture for a cake (like oil or eggs or milk) with some nice wet produce?  Why not indeed.  Anytime you can make something yummy that has produce in it, that’s a plus.  And carrot cake is even socially acceptable.  You don’t have to lie about what those little orange bits are in the cake.  This recipe is a favorite of our Step-Mother and she made it for Little Sis on one of their first evenings getting to know each other – what Little Sis fondly refers to as their ‘first date.’  Here’s to first dates, healthier cakes and parents who are wise enough to bring fabulous new people into their children’s lives.

So Step-Mo, also being very generous and wanting to look out for everyone, wanted Mr. Bigg Sis to be able to eat carrot cake as well, so we went GF and the results were truly delicious.

20141228_181626-001

Step-Mo’s GF Carrot Cake
(based on Fran’s Carrot Cake)

1 1/2 cup vegetable oil.  (I recommend avocado)
3 eggs (or flax eggs if you prefer)
1.5 – 2 cups sugar depending on how sweet your tribe is accustomed to
1 tsp salt
1 cup GF flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Baking Mix)
1 cup oat flour (you can pulverize oats in the blender to make the flour)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated carrots
2 cups flaked coconut (We used sweetened)
1 15 oz. can chopped pineapple – drained
1 cup chopped nuts (we used pecans)

Pre-heat oven to 350
Cream the wet ingredients together
Blend the flour, spices, salt and baking soda
Combine the two mixtures.
Then add carrots, coconut, pineapple and nuts
Grease and flour a bundt panBake 1 hour at 350 – until toothpick comes out clean

We dusted with just a touch of powdered sugar for looks.  The original recipe (from a personal friend) suggested cream cheese icing but this is a sweet cake – I don’t think it needs icing.  And it is very moist.

We enjoyed this and most of all because it was prepared for and shared with people we love.  It’s been a terrific year and we thank you for visiting us here at the pantry.  If you are looking for some encouragement and guidance in improving your nutrition and health in the New Year, check out our e-book, Baby Steps to Better Health.  Also great to share with a friend or loved one.

We wish you all a very happy and safe celebration of all that you’ve experienced, learned and loved this year with high hopes for a healthier New Year marked by peace and love.

Remedy Testing and a Super Easy Treat

I don’t know what’s going on in your neck of the woods, but here in Central Maryland it seems like EVERYONE is sick. Flu is rampant. Adenovirus is on the loose. Stomach bugs abound. It is a minefield out there. Good thing it’s a least a quiet, stay at home time of year…. yeah. We got hit weeks ago and while everyone else is done, Momma has been sick for over 2 weeks now. I knew it wasn’t the flu, because the fever and aches never got THAT bad, so I avoided the doctor’s office so I wouldn’t get the flu while there…. And I proceeded to try to prepare for and do the whole Christmas thing…

I cut out a bunch of stuff I normally do. I asked people to bring food to events I usually cook for. I let my husband send me off to bed a few times. BUT with all that, I probably didn’t do enough to take care and protect myself. So this thing has dragged on and on, and anytime I thought it was getting better, a new sign of unwellness would erupt. I began to do some searches… if I don’t want to go to the doc and get antibiotics to change the color of the gunk coming out of my head and lungs (sorry, TMI), what can I do to change that color? If I’ve had so much honey for my cough that I feel like I’m going to toss, but still need an expectorant, what can I do? If I’m supposed to sing at church and my throat hurts and sounds scratchy, what can I do?  If I am not up to making Christmas cookies with my kids but they really, really really want to make them, what can I do? I’ll start with the remedies and end with a super easy and marginally healthy sweet treat.

Please understand that I am not a medical professional and that my N=1 study of natural remedies does not constitute science. I’m just sharing what has helped me so you can give it a go if your doctor’s office is flooded with flu patients as well. Please do seek professional medical attention if you need it.

Problem #1:  Respiratory Infection

I think it’s likely that my cough became an infection. Again I say this because of the color of the junk my poor tired body was producing. In desperation, I turned to turmeric, specifically turmeric and honey… huh? I used this recipe after a friend pointed it out to me and I read why it might be a good idea. It seems turmeric can be a super great natural antibiotic. I mixed about 3 ounces of raw honey with a TABLESPOON of turmeric. Yes, you need to use that much, and yes, it will taste nasty. Sorry. I like turmeric, but wow. That’s a whole lot. The protocol is for three days: first day 1/2 t every hour (I do NOT wake myself for medicine because sleep is more important, IMO); second and third days 1/2 every 2 hours. This wiped out my whole supply and during the second day everything coming out of me turned clear and I felt like I’d made more progress in healing that I had in over a week. Nicely done turmeric.

Problem #2: Junk Stuck in the Lungs

It’s wretched to cough and cough and cough. It’s even worse to do it and not have it do what your lungs need it to do. I had exhausted my tolerance for honey, and while it helped, I wondered if I couldn’t do better. A quick search showed that I could indeed get a better response without having to keep tasting so much honey. I gave this recipe for a homemade decongestant and expectorant to the test. I took the first dose and about an hour later noticed that my nose was more clear than it had been for over a week. I also noticed that I was still coughing, but not so violently and always bringing stuff up – sorry, gross I know, but necessary when it’s stuck in there. VERY impressed with this little number.

Problem #3: Scratchy Throat

This one came from my pal, a nurse and singer. Sounds like a good combo when you’re looking for throat relief, right? This one is super simple and is very similar to the master cleanse drink, if you’ve ever done that. I squeeze the juice from one whole lemon into a large mug, add about 2 t honey (more honey, oy), and a shake of cayenne pepper. Add boiling water to fill the mug or travel cup if you’re planning to go sing somewhere. This magical potion restored my singing voice very quickly. Another great one to keep in the files.

Problem #4: Disappointed Cookie Makers

Ironically the problem here is not so much that we wouldn’t have cookies. I’d already given up the idea of handing out treats to neighbors, and we just don’t go through treats very quickly. During one of the last days of school before the holidays, I donned plastic gloves and made my awesome Crancherry White Chocolate Cookies. I chose these because they are gluten free, so our first set of guests (Bigg Sis, Mr. Bigg Sis, and child of Bigg Sis) could eat them sans consequence. They are not, I discovered, my daughter’s favorite. Shocker. I discovered in talking to here, that what she wanted was to make cookies with me. She was craving the ritual and the joy of us creating a Christmas treat together. So I did some quick thinking. I needed to give her the experience without it taking a long time so I could get some more rest and/or do 1 of approximately 8,000 more chores before people started to show up. I bought whole wheat pretzel rods. I bought dark chocolate chips. Yeah, you know where I’m going.

I melted the chips in the microwave (try to contain your horror, desperate times people). I set the timer for just a couple of minutes and put it at half power. You should know that sometimes the chips hold their shape even though they are melted. You should stir them after a couple of minutes to see if they are actually melted. Err on the side of less time – burnt chocolate is a tragedy.

So we stirred the melted chocolate to melt the last few little bits. Then grabbed a pretzel rod each, dipped it in the chocolate and swirled the end around a bit, then held it up so that the chocolate would work it’s way down the rod. It is not necessary to coat the whole rod for these to taste amazing. Lay them on wax paper on a tray to cool. Wait until they are completely cooled to remove them. Remove to a storage container if you can keep the wolves in your house from eating them all. This was a HUGE hit. It was messy fun that landed us with chocolate on our hands that the kids were more than happy to lick off when done. Took us about half an hour and we made plenty to share. DEFINITELY a great quick treat trick, and a nice time spent with my kids, even if it wasn’t really cooking. 😉

I hope your holiday has been healthy, peaceful, and soul satisfying. If you’re ill, know I’m thinking about you and urging you to take better care of yourself than I have. If you’re in that New Year’s Resolution making place, check out our E-Book, Baby Steps to Better Health: Winning the Battle with Junk Food for Families and Individuals, for some help with cleaning up your eating habits and filling your life with delicious real food. Eat well, be well friends.

Reader Faves of 2014

That time has come… the year in review. So much has happened for both the Sis sisters this year that it seems to have gone by at a particularly breakneck pace. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating LAST Christmas and yet here we are. 2014 is coming to a close and it is time to take a retrospective look at the pantry. In finding our top posts for the year we have a peculiar mix of new and old posts. I’ll highlight the ones from 2014 first and then point you toward the older ones that still made it into the top 10 post list. Are you ready?

Top Posts of 2014

The Zucchini “Problem” and My Vegetti This summertime post takes a look at the freakish squash that tends to grow in an all or nothing pattern. We had the “all” this year and it required a little bit of creative thinking, and a new kitchen gadget to deal with it. We love our Vegetti, and we love zucchini… no problem.

Buying Healthy at Costco: My Faves This post takes a look at the question of bulk buying. Are you really getting a deal? The answer is sometimes. I reveal my favorite healthy good deals at Costco to make your bulk shopping a better bargain.

12 Healthful Freezer Faves This winter post was written in preparation for my foot surgery which had me off my feet for several weeks. Packing the freezer with healthful foods is a great way to get ready for recovery, and a nice way to help someone else through theirs!

On Becoming a Creative and Healthier Home Cook This post was written in response to a friend’s inquiry about how to learn to cook without a recipe. How do you improvise? How do you change recipes to suit you? How do you know what will work when you change a recipes. Learn some basic tricks that will help you make the food you want.

Gentle Gardening Arsenal This post covers several natural DIY gardening recipes that will help keep those critters out of your patch. Experience greater yields and less crop loss without eating stuff you wouldn’t even want in your trash can.

Older Posts that Apparently Still Rock

A Cookie by Any Other Name Bigg Sis’ pumpkin cookies got featured in an article on weird and delicious pumpkin recipes and that, as they say, was that. This post is a real fan fave and has the added bonus of telling you how to make some awesome healthful cookies.

You Say Potato In this strangely popular post (hi Pinterest) I reflect on methods of growing potatoes. I think the super awesome oven baked fry recipe at the ends is a likely contributor to the popularity. If you’ve never grown potatoes or had good luck making oven fries, this one’s for you.

Garbage Smoothie Anyone? Cold Composting Tutorial Bigg Sis shares her brilliant, efficient and mess free composting method. Nourished soil, less trash, free clean fertilizer – what’s to lose? Get ready for spring by starting today!

The Easiest Tomato Sauce Ever! If time is your enemy in making healthful meals for you, you’ve gotta check out this sauce! Easy, fast, healthful and a real winner – put it on everything. We do!

Roasted Chili Lime Nuts Bigg Sis’ brilliant savory snack just can’t be beat. Super easy and super delicious. Fool around with the spices and make your own delicious nuts… er… snacks… nutty snacks.

So there you have it! Reader favorites definitely worth a retrospective review.  While you’re reviewing, don’t forget that no New Year is complete without a resolution. Make this year’s resolution a real one, to make the switch to real food. Let us help with our E-Book, Baby Steps to Better Health: Winning the Battle with Junk Food for Families and Individuals

Don’t Diet. Eat Real Food. Let Us Help.

At the end of 2012, we had a few things to say about the annual dietary revolution that so many people attempt in honor of the new year. We revisit those thoughts now, when yet another year is approaching at a breakneck pace…

So here we go.  The New Year approaches and the diet chatter is increasing.  Everybody’s choosing plans, making resolutions and getting ready to start measuring their bits and counting their stuff.  If you are one of these folks, I’m going to ask you to reconsider.  I’m going to ask you to do something completely radical. I’m going to ask you NOT to go on a diet.

When we decide to go on a diet, we are committing to a temporary state of restriction, usually in an attempt to achieve some sort of numerical change – a smaller waistline, a lower reading on the scale, a smaller clothing size.  When we commit to a temporary state of restriction, we are admitting to the foregone conclusion that the results of that restriction – the number drop – will also be a temporary phenomenon.

You cannot return to the way you normally eat and maintain those lower numbers.  It doesn’t work.  If you’ve made this particular resolution in the past, you already know this is true.  Simply restricting what you eat also doesn’t guarantee that the food that you DO eat will actually nourish you.

BSNewYearWhen we decide to change the way that we eat, we are committing to a higher level of consciousness about what we eat in an attempt to eat food that is more healthful, that provides our bodies with more of what they require; a body that is getting what it needs is far less likely to torment us with the cravings that often drive us to eat unhealthy foods.

When we decide to change the way we eat, we are committing to caring for our bodies and our health, and are therefore also committing to caring for those around us who love us and cherish us.  When we decide to change the way that we eat, we open ourselves to the joy of living healthfully and the adventure of eating new and abundant real foods.  And so I ask you, on this auspicious occasion, NOT to diet, but to change the way you eat.  Eat Food, Real Food.

Big Sis and I have spent a lot of time this year talking about Baby Steps to Better Health.  Maybe you missed it; maybe you weren’t ready; maybe you already think you eat well and weren’t interested in making a change.  But now it’s coming – that resolution moment – that moment when so many of us get a little honest about our habits and find a little motivation to make some change.  If that’s you, and you’re ready, we’d like to invite you to join us taking Baby Steps to Better Health.

We’ll do a recap of the steps we’ve already covered.  We’ll get you started.  We’ll help you figure out what to eat and show you how to make it super yum.  If you’re ready, we’ll help you take those steps that will get you eating and feeling great in a way that works for YOU, with changes that YOU choose according to YOUR timeframe.

This is YOUR plan; it’s YOUR body.  YOU should be the one to decide what to put in it, thoughtfully and consciously, using ingredients that aren’t invented in a lab.  And you will find that the food you put in that body can be both succulent and healthful, both sublime and invigorating, both yummy and nourishing.  Because real food is delish and it does your body good.  Don’t diet; Eat Food, Real Food.

If this sounds like the way you’d like to start 2015, rather than kicking off the year with a glass full of nutrasweet and a package of freeze dried low cal low fat air filled nothing, maybe this is your year. We’ve put all our baby steps in a book for you, Baby Steps to Better Health: Winning the Battle with Junk Food for Families and Individuals, so you can work your way through them with a little encouragement from us. Let 2015 be your year, the year that you do it different and things actually change. Let us help.

An E-Book for Real People about Real Food

Normally I would be posting a meal plan today, but frankly my meal plan is all over the place. As so many of you are, we are entering an extended period of celebrating. The hitch for us is that we’ve been under siege of illness for over 2 weeks now. It looks like we’re nearly done, but many of our guests are iffy.  We’ve admitted to ourselves that a certain amount of flexibility is going to be required in the days to come. My larder is full of a variety of options and we’re just going to roll with it.

With that said, we fully intend to roll with it in style because we have a big reason to celebrate around here. A few years ago Bigg Sis and I started this whole crazy blog business as a way to get some practice writing, to write together and to each other, and to begin to consider how we could write a book that would help regular folks improve their health by eating real food. And at long last, we have reached that goal.

Our e-book, Baby Steps to Better Health: Winning the Battle with Junk Food for Families and Individualsis a labor of love, of effort, of humor, of cooperation, of irritation, and most of all of Bigg Sis’ dogged and relentless determination. We are so delighted to share our own food journeys with all of you and hope that you can find some inspiration, so guidance, some advice, some help, and the occasional laugh while you construct your own path. The book is based on our Baby Steps series from the blog, with expanded explanations, examples and stories. If you are ready for a change or if you know someone who is ready (or almost ready) for a change, check it out. What better time than the present to give the gift of better health in easy realistic steps from hilarious (okay, nice and amusing) sisters?

While you contemplate that, I’m sitting on the couch, big dog at my side, next to the glow of the lit Christmas tree taking this last little opportunity to rest before I finally get to see my sister again. We’ll start our holiday celebration feeding our families together, singing a bit, cooking a bit, taking a walk or two and laughing laughing laughing. I can’t wait. Here’s hoping your holidays are whatever you need them to be, that your company is warm and caring, and that your meals are delicious and satisfying. Eat well, be well friends.

Weekly Menu 12/15-12/21

It has been an unpleasantly eventful week here at Lake PukeyVirus. The dreaded stomach bug that previously gripped the elementary school health room has found its way into our house and laid waste to us one by one. While all this healthful eating has made me feel better on a daily basis and has made me less likely to get all the allergy, cold, sinus infection stuff I was plagued with as a child, it doesn’t seem to make us immune to evil stomach bugs. So here we are, a raggedy band of worn out people without much appetite and without much tolerance for exotic and powerfully flavored dishes. I’m going to make a meal plan that favors gentle anti-inflammatory foods in delicious combinations. It’s a walk on the mild side…

Monday: Miso Soup with Rice Noodles

Tuesday: Kichadi, cut veggies

Wednesday: Naturally Sweet Sweet Potatoes, black beans and tortillas for those who are well enough, salad

Thursday: Lentil, Mushroom, and Sweet Potato Soup, homemade bread, salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza (I’m hoping we’re up to this by then), cut veggies

Saturday: Carrot Ginger Soup, salad

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with spinach and red sauce (“homemades and gravy”), salad

Lunchbox Treat: low sugar graham crackers, or for the more recovered Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Drops

Adult Lunches: I’ll be making nearly all these dishes in large quantities so we’ll have lunches and/or some to freeze.

I hope your week is full of good feeling, good flavors, and good friends.

Even Better Butternut Squash Soup

It can be dangerous to try and make something wonderful even better…. I guess.  Some might warn, “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?”  Well, in this case, pushing the limits of good leaves us with 2 yummy alternatives…. and 1 caveat.  (I’ll get to that later)

Little Sis and I offered you some easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup a couple of years ago.   I wanted to take it to a women’s group for which I offered to bring soup and decided that I wanted something with some protein as we were pairing it with bread and salad.  I also thought that some roasted garlic would enhance the experience as well, so…. cashews and garlic are part of the adapted version.  It got rave reviews.

Now for the caveat…. Apparently roasted onion, squash and cashews can be a potent digestive combo for some who are inclined towards affecting greenhouse gas levels in a rather socially unacceptable way.  Will I eat this soup again?  Indeed.  I will do a little math, figure out where I have to be in about 20 hours after eating it and adjust accordingly.  Will I ever let my husband eat it again?  Indeed NOT! 🙂  Luckily he has many fine qualities, so if he eats some of the leftover soup I will forgive him.  So let your digestion guide you, but I promise you won’t regret trying this soup!

The recipe is for 2 butternut squash and of course size will vary so add stock a cup at a time and see what you think of flavor / consistency.

1 cup raw cashews soaked in about 2 cups water for at least 6 hours
2 butternut squash – cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out.
2 med – large onions, peeled and cut in half
4 – 6 cloves of garlic (I used 4 enormous cloves) left in their papery shell
2 – 4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cored but unpeeled apples (I used Gala)
1/2 – 1 tsp sage
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Roast the squash, onion and garlic at 400 degrees for 40 – 60 minutes or until tender.

after roastingRemove the garlic at about 20 minutes and peel when cool.
Once everything is tender, remove from oven and let cool so you can handle a bit to scoop the squash out of the skin.
I heated the apples in the microwave to soften them, but you could probably roast them for the last 10 minutes or so as well!
Drain the cashews.
Place batches of all the ingredients in a power blender or into a pot with a stick blender.  Make sure you put some liquid in each batch of the blender to help it go.Pour back into a pot and stir.  Warm if necessary and serve.

Your taste buds will love you for this one! – caveat and all.  Caveat is a nice polite word for it, don’t you think?

in the bowl

Mushroom Gumbo (GF/V)

Don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but we’ve settled into pretty sustained soup and stew weather around here, which is just fine by me. I could eat soup every day and be totally happy about that. Unfortunately not all the members of my little tribe feel as universally friendly to soup as I do, so I am pretty constantly trying new versions to try to draw the resisters in. This week I thought I’d rely on the appeal of tomato based recipes and try something new. And so we did.

I found a gumbo recipe in my More With Less cookbook, which tends to offer a wide variety of flavor profiles in fairly simple recipes that don’t tend to rely on too many exotic ingredients. Sounds like a good way to go, eh? The original recipe was for chicken gumbo, but I decided to use sautéed mushrooms instead. We often replace meat with lentils or a lentil bulgur mixture, but having had a fair amount of those recently, I thought we’d put the umami of the mushrooms to work for us. The result? An approval rating of 75%, which is an A- for the cook in our house. Yes, we grade on a sliding scale based on reality. This gumbo, while originally called “spicy” was not particularly so, so if that’s your thing you should crank it up a bit in the chili department. On to the gumbo…

Mushroom Gumbo

 photo IMG_1042.jpg

  • oil for the pot
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 T flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1 large can or box chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c frozen okra
  • 2/3 c tomato paste
  • 3 c veggie broth or stock
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce or Bragg’s
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • pinch dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • about 12 oz mushrooms, chopped into rough quarters (I used cremini)
  • 1 T gumbo file (no idea why I had this in the pantry, the original recipe says it is optional)
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • cooked rice for serving

Warm the oil in a large pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add green pepper and sauté for an additional minute or so. Add 2 T flour and stir in, cook for another minute or so, stirring to prevent the flour mixture from burning. When peppers have begun to grown tender add the rest of the ingredients and bring to gentle boil. Drop heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes.

While stew is simmering, sauté mushrooms in a pan of warm oil with a dash of salt. Let them sit to brown a little – which means don’t turn them too much. When the mushrooms are browned, add to gumbo pot to simmer together. When gumbo is warmed through and flavors have developed, serve over rice with a sprinkle of parsley. Delish!

 photo IMG_1024.jpg  photo IMG_1032.jpg  photo IMG_1036.jpg

Weekly Menu 12/8-12/14

You thought perhaps it had all caught up with me, all this silly menu planning promising, didn’t you? You thought I’d finally hit the wall. Well… I guess I did, but then I decided to scale it. Aren’t I tough? In truth I didn’t want to plan a menu today any more than I wanted to do laundry or get out of bed; however, I was compelled both by my promise to you and by the fact that I knew if I didn’t do the menu, I likely would continue only to feel worse about doing any of those things. A case of the blahs is not defeated by last minute ill-considered meal consumption, at least it’s not for me. So, with all of that undersell out of the way, I give you the week in food:

 photo f618fbe6-237f-44d3-aa49-4f134f91e5c6.jpgMonday: leftovers – what else can one do when the fridge is full of lots of single servings, the cook is tired, and there’s holiday decorating to be done?!

Tuesday: Shweet Potato Stew, brown bread, pickled carrots, and green salad

Wednesday: Green Bean and Potato Coconut Curry, cucumber slices, green salad

Thursday: Nutshroom Burgers, Sauteed Green Beans, Freezer Pickles, burger fixin’s

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Dinner with Friends – Yay!

Sunday: Homemade Pasta with spinach and a green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Sweet Potato Cookies (I will make lots and freeze some for the holiday crowd)

Adult Lunches: Cold Kickin’ Soup (Gotta keep that immunity up for the holidays!)

 

Hope your week goes swimmingly, or at least treadingly!

Lemon-Oregano Chicken & Potatoes

I do love roast chicken.  You get a nice dinner, another meal or two and a big pot of soup!  That’s a good deal, especially since I buy organic free-range chickens.  They are not cheap but they meet my considerations about eating animals / animal fat and the unclean way that most chickens are raised and processed.  We have many nights without meat, but this is a great way to start a few meals, and/or have leftovers for sandwiches or to top salads.  Here at the pantry we know that there are a variety of ways to eat healthfully but all of them include real food made from real ingredients with as much vegetables as possible.   Little Sis’ family is pretty much vegan.  Mine eats meat once or twice a week with roast chicken followed by soup being a staple approach.

Recently I have been mixing lemon zest, oregano, salt and pressed garlic and sliding it between the skin and the meat of one of our lovely organic free range birds.  I add little red potatoes to the pot and my son is suddenly asking for seconds when he was previously NOT a fan of chicken. This approach is definitely worth the 5- 10 minutes it takes to make the rub and put it on the chicken.  The house smells fabulous….. right now in fact!

The trick is to find the break between the skin and the meat at the opening of the chicken and then work your fingers into the break, first without and then with the rub.

20141115_155539-00120141115_155558-001Just take a little clump of mixture and slide it in.  Then mash it a little from above to spread it out.

The mash I used this time was
zest of 3 lemons
1 -2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Oregano
4 – 6 cloves of pressed garlic.

Mix and then spread under the skin, on top and if any left over place in body cavity.  You can also save some to put on top of potatoes that you add to the pot to cook together.  If you cook the potatoes with the chicken it is a good idea to use a syringe baster to spread some of the juices onto the potatoes.

20141115_165928-001

I roast my chickens upside down as it keeps more juice in the breast.  If you like a browned skin then flip the bird when you still have 15 or 20 minutes to go and leave the top off if using a roaster.  Please follow guidelines for cooking chicken appropriately to avoid food poisoning and make sure you wash hands well after handling raw chicken.  I like to cook chicken at a higher temp for a shorter time as I think that also makes it more juicy.  I cook at 400 and check it with a meat thermometer after an hour for a small chicken (organic chickens then to be smaller).

20141203_175424-001We ate this chicken with beet greens sauteed in some of the cooked chicken juices and of course the potatoes.  Very tasty … and some leftover meat for another dinner, plus soup in a couple of days!  Bonanza 🙂

If you keep this carcass for soup then you get an added bonus of a little lemon-y, garlic-y flavor to your soup.  This is really nice for a minestrone, or just plain old chicken noodle or chicken with rice.

For further instructions on making soup from a carcass see my post on the subject.

This makes a lovely dish to serve guests as well – although you might need 2 so as to be sure and have some leftovers 😉

Enjoy savoring many meals with family and friends this holiday season.  Little Sis and I have been hard at work on compiling our Baby Steps and a bunch of recipes into an e-book that we hope to release soon….. just in time to help you out with your New Years Resolutions 😉  We’ll keep you posted!