Friday, November 4, 2011

Whole Fryer Chicken

I bought my first whole fryer chicken at Butcher Boys this week.    I starting freaking out and wondering what the heck I am going to with it and how!  I bought it because I have always wanted to know how to cook one...and not just cook one, but cook one well, so I continue cooking chicken this way.  So, I did it!  And hit the computer that night for recipes.  I found two blogs that had information I wanted to use while executing my adventure.  One is The Little Kitchen and the other is Nourishing Days

I started by sprinkling salt on the bird, then rinsing it in the sink.  Place the chicken on top of carrots, celery, onions and your favorite herbs and seasonings in the crock pot. I made sure to include paprika, a dash of cayenne, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley.  It really doesn't matter what seasonings you use, as much as, to use your favorite seasonings and what you have on hand! 

I put the lid on the crock pot and walked away for 7 hours!  Yep.  It is that easy!

Seven hours later, the bird is looking and smelling good, and ready for the broiler!

Another 5 minutes in the broiler and the chicken is nice and brown and ready to rest before cutting into {about 15-30 minutes}. 
I served our chicken with steamed broccoli, carrots and quinoa.  It tasted delicious and I can't wait to buy another fryer from the butcher to do it again.... 

Thought you were done, right?  Thought you take the meat off the bird and discard the carcass?  Not so fast.....Let me share with you how our food can just keep on giving.

Remember the vegetables we used to place the chicken on top of in the slow cooker?  They look a little like this (below) right about now.
I added approximately 7 more cups of water and MORE vegetables {feel free to use old and wilted vegetables.  Now is the time to open the refrigerator and look for any scraps you can find.} and the BONES and SKIN from the chicken carcass.  The bones have so many nutrients in them that are good for our body. 

Be sure to include 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar and let sit for about an hour (I used apple cider vinegar) as the vinegar helps to extract those beneficial nutrients from the bones for our body to absorb. 

Cook in the slow cooker on low for approximately 18-24 more hours. Drain using colander and save the stock in the freezer using jars or freezer zip lock bags.

Thank you Nourishing Days and The Little Kitchen for the posts. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mamma Chia, The Original Chia Beverage!

I am so excited to share with you what I found....
Mamma Chia Seed Your Soul - The Original Chia Beverage, Raspberry Passion flavor at Chuck's Produce!  Ever since I read about how healthy chia seeds are for you, I have been interested in trying them.  Dr. Oz talked about chia seeds and how good they are for you on the Oprah show.  The chia seed is an excellent source of fiber, packed with antioxidants, full of protein, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and the richest known plant source of omega-3.  Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids needed for human health.

As much as I was interested in trying chia seeds, I was not able to find any at the stores I frequent, and I didn’t want to buy a bag of them off the Internet without trying them.   So I waited, until I came across a Mamma Chia drink in the refrigerator section.  I was so excited!  I could see little, clear circles in the drink and I became so curious to guzzle it down!  I demonstrated more restraint than that, thankfully!  A day later, I opened the bottle and tried a sip…it felt like little pieces of jello in my mouth with a delicious, and not over-powering, raspberry flavor. 

I can't wait to drink one again...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Canning, Freezing, Harvest Celebrations & Recipes

Hello there!  It's been a while!  Let's begin with what is going on here....

I have been so curious about canning and talking to women young and old who have done it before.  I finally made a date with a neighbor to can some of my Roma tomatoes.  She came over to see what I have to work with, and.....I don't have enough tomatoes to start the canning process!  Ack!  I was so bummed!  I was looking forward to canning!  She recommended I puree and freeze the tomatoes I have.  So, I get over the disappointment of not canning this year and think to myself..."I know how to freeze...That's easy!"  Then, I get excited at how I can allow myself off the hook for canning (this year) and proceed with something I already know how to do!  Win -Win.  Come on over here to learn more about freezing.  This website is a great resource, you may want to consider keeping it in your favorites! 

The family and I have been checking out local farms - there are so many Harvest celebrations going on as we enter fall!  We found out there are farms close to us we never would have known about if it weren't for these celebrations.  Needless to say, we are having a blast and learning about our community.  We also are signing up for classes at these farms too!  How about a Worm composting class?  Anyone?  Well, I'll take it and get back to you!  And a Rain Barrel class?  Come on!  I know you want to take this class!  No?  Okay.  Mr. Eco and I will take it and save our rain water to water the garden next summer while others **clearing throat** are paying to water their garden.  Seriously, how cool is Mother Nature to provide us such savings and bounty to keep us fed, healthy and happy.  I love that ol' girl :) 

There are two marinara recipes, one crock pot (just scroll down until you see it) and one roasted (at the top), and a salsa recipe I have been using.  I love all three of them!  I encourage you to pick one and try it :)  Don't worry, it's FUN and healthy!  Get the kids involved too!  They love to eat things they help make :)

The library contacted me and I was able to pick up a copy of Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda Watson.  So far, I really like it.  It is practical and the best part (for me) is that I have many of the tools needed to start.  I will let you know my thoughts on the book as I continue to read it. 

That's about all folks, for now.  My life can be summed up in three, little paragraphs. 

Oh well!  I'm smiling :) 

Before you cozy up on the couch and enjoy the crisp fall evenings in front of the television, don't lose momentum on your garden!  Pick the tomatoes, zucchini and all the other yummy things growing in your garden.  It's hard, I know!  But SO worth it! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pizza Swirl Bread = A Delish Treat

I know, I know, this blog is a place to find all things healthy and what we can do in our own homes to make our footprint on this Earth smaller, UNTIL....I found this recipe!  How Sweet It Is is another blog I follow.  She sends out recipes almost daily and the morning I read this one, I couldn't get it out of my head.  So, this last trip to the grocery store included buying cheese, pepperoni and pizza dough!  Healthy, eh?  I must secondly admit that I cheated and did not make the dough from scratch - I bought it!  Shh....don't tell, it will be our secret :)  The final product had me making a HUGE piggy of myself - I was hoping my 6.5 year old wouldn't want seconds...she did, of course because it was THAT good!  I did my best at making it as healthy as it can be by using my Homemade Roasted Marinara Sauce and serving it with a huge green and fruit salad :)  Enjoy!

Pizza Swirl Bread
[adapted from martha]
makes one loaf
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
20-30 slices pepperoni, or however much you would like
1/3 cup tomato sauce, or more if desired
1 tablespoons Italian seasoning

1. In a small saucepan, combine milk and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Heat until bubbles appear on the sides then turn off heat and set aside.

2. Measure out 1/4 cup of warm water and combine it with yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until foamy. Optional: while yeast is is dissolving, stick pepperoni in the microwave on a paper towel lined plate for 30-40 seconds to remove a bit of grease. Lightly butter an 81/2 x 4 x 2 loaf pan.

3. Gently whisk the egg with the milk/butter mixture. In the bowl of an electric mixer (using dough hook attachment), combined flour and salt and lightly mix to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add in milk/butter mixture, then yeast mixture. Mix on medium speed until dough comes together, about 5-6 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and lightly flour your workspace, then knead by hand for a minute or two. Add a few more teaspoons of flour if dough is sticky until it becomes smooth.

4. Melt the two tablespoons of butter. Brush one tablespoon all over a bowl, then place dough in bowl and coat with butter. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place to double in size for about one hour.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

6. After dough has risen, punch out the air bubbles, flour your workspace again, and roll into an 8 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread tomato sauce on first, then minced garlic, then provolone, then pepperoni, then Parmesan, then Italian seasoning. Starting at one of the short ends, tightly roll dough into a loaf. Place in loaf pan and brush with remaining melted butter, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Let cool for 30 minutes, then remove from pan.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Got Tomatoes? Make Salsa!

I am SO excited to share this recipe with you...this post even trumped the post I had written for today!

You guessed it folks, this salsa ROCKS!  The pictures don't do it justice - you have to make it and taste it for yourself!  What I love about this recipe is that you can tailor it to suit your own taste buds; although, this is a great base recipe and perfectly delicious all it's own without any changes/additions. 

OK, down to the nitty-gritty... the recipe shared by a dear friend ... Thank you Lizz Pulido! 

Blended Salsa - made approximately 2 cups
by Lizz Pulido

5 Roma tomatoes
2 Jalapeno peppers
Diced (Red) onions - [I used about 1/4 of the onion, not chopped up, I let the processor that care of that :)]
Handful Cilantro, chopped -  (I did not chop up, I put it in whole, stems and all)
2-3 Garlic cloves
dash of Cumin
Salt to taste
(1/4 Fresh squeezed lime juice)

1.  Put tomatoes and jalapeno peppers (whole and in tact) in boiling water.  Boil until the skins on the tomatoes start to crack (about 7-9 minutes at rolling boil). 

2.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop tomatoes out into blender or food processor.  Using same spoon, scoop peppers out and cut off the stems (quickly as they are hot!).  Place in blender/food processor.

3.  Blend tomatoes and peppers with onion, cilantro and garlic until desired consistency. 

4.  Add cumin and salt to taste.

5.  Squeeze 1/4 fresh lime and stir. 

Viola!  You've got salsa that is fresh and to die for! 

Again, Lizz Pulido, many thanks, you rock!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roasted Marinara Sauce...10+

This year when considering my garden, I wanted tomatoes for pasta sauce and salsa.  Sooo, when I saw this recipe on a blog I follow, Frugal Living NW, right when the tomatoes in my garden were turning red, I had to make it! 

Roasted Marinara SauceThe amounts listed in this recipe are just a good place to start.  Adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes.
Yield: around 22 cups (5-6 quarts) (Mine made 24 cups)

8 c. cherry tomatoes or 24 medium tomatoes (I used a mixture of both. TOP: 4 c. cherry BOTTOM: 16 romas)
2 medium onions, quartered (Used one large)
8-10 garlic cloves, peeled (Used garlic press)
olive oil
basil leaves
garlic chives
small zucchini, yellow squash, a few leftover cooked carrots
1-3 cans tomato paste, optional (Used 1 small can) + 1/2 cup Homemade Almond Pesto - could add more if you like pesto!
  1. Wash and stem the cherry tomatoes or wash and core (remove stems) the whole tomatoes. Split them evenly, in a single layer, between 2 9×13″ baking dishes. The larger tomatoes can be left whole; they will break down during the roasting process. Toss the quartered onions and peeled garlic cloves evenly between the two pans. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt. Sprinkle the basil leaves over the top of the tomatoes.
  2. Roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes. (I roasted for 40 minutes and my house smelled amazing!) The timing isn’t an exact science. The combination will smell incredibly fragrant, and the tomatoes and onions will look wrinkled, roasted, and slightly charred. Remove the pans from the oven and set on the counter to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Place a large collander inside a large bowl and dump the pans into the collander to strain out the juice. Set the juice aside.
  4. Puree the tomato mixture in a blender or food processor until it reaches the desired consistency. Dump the pureed tomato sauce into the reserved juice and stir until thoroughly combined. You could also add tomato paste if you desire a thicker sauce. Taste. Season with more salt, if needed.
  5. Serve immediately over cooked pasta or freeze in plastic containers or bags for later use.

**I have MORE tomatoes and plan on making this again!  Next time, I plan on using the spices in Kelly's recipe at Onceamonthmom and adding them to the above recipe and tasting what happens :)

Marinara Sauce a la Seaton


Kelly @


  • 5.5 cups diced tomatoes, organic canned
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1) Place all ingredients into crock pot, and cook on low and uncovered, for 8 hours.
2) Once finished, blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Or place small batches into a regular blender and blend until smooth.
3) Place into a bowl and set aside until use.

Freezing Directions:

After cooking, let cool and place in freezer ready containers or a plastic bag, let the air out, and freeze until ready. To serve, simply re-heat on the stovetop for use with your favorite Italian dishes.

Servings: 6 Cups

I will post on how it turns out.  I have a feeling it will be nothing short of amazing! 

Did you notice the other vegetables around the baking dish?  We ate dinner at my parent's house to celebrate 39 years of marriage bliss!  Yes, you read that right!  Thiry nine years!  They are such an inspiration and show true love, patience, and kindness to each other and those they love. 

The extra bounty is from their neighbor's garden...corn, squash, tomatoes, mouth is watering!  Organic and freshly picked, it does not get any better than that!   While we were there, my Mom took my oldest berry picking.  I followed them down with my toddler who unknowingly would have ended up in a twine of berry thornes without my hovering! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Powerful Movies = Must See

We watched the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead recently after watching Forks Over Knives the night before.  Wow!  Both are incredible films about what we eat and how the body reacts to the food we are putting in it.  Rather than give you a synopsis of the movies, I'd rather talk about the changes we are making since watching the movies. 

Mr. Eco and I researched the benefits and concerns of eating a plant based diet.  The conclusions we reached at this point in time are:
  • Everything in moderation.    We are not ready to cut red meat out of our diets completely; however, there is room to significantly cut back!  We would also like to eat more fish.   

  • Try to be more healthy in the choices we make for food products.  Grass-fed beef, free-range, local chicken and eggs, organic fruits and vegetables, growing more types of plants in our home garden.

  • Be more sustainable in our own yard.  More garden beds, fruit trees, rain catchers attached to the rain gutters...heck, we have even talked about a tilapia pool! 
Juices and juicers were a topic of research today!  Inspired by Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, we are interested in trying the Reboot Program and going on a fruit and vegetable only diet!  I can only commit to 5 days; Mr. Eco wants it bad and it is setting his goal at 10 days!  We need to acquire a juicer to proceed and follow the instructions laid-out for the week prior to Rebooting.  I will have to stop drinking coffee!  I think I am having the hardest time with that one instruction.  I laugh about missing the CoffeeMate more than the coffee.  It's really not funny and I probably am addicted to the stuff! 

Lastly, I am going to leave you with the following postcard from the movie, Food, Inc.  When I read the ten things I can do to change the food system, I noticed some points that I could work on.  There is always room for improvement!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Follow Your Passion!

I love Eco-Amie!  This is a true passion of mine: our Earth, our impact on her and how we can do our part to exist gently on her so she is preserved for our children and generations to come as well as just plain being healthy.  Whether it be eating healthy, exercising, cooking, baking, you get the drift!  I have so many ideas in my head, I am constantly living blog posts and it has been a little overwhelming!  Good. And overwhelming. 

Last night, I opened a book I having been taking my time reading, Off The Mat: Confessions of A Yogini, Book 7: The Crown Chakra by Dana Layon.  Dana owns a yoga studio in the area I live in and also writes Weekly Oms.  I have subscribed to Dana's Oms for almost a year, and every Friday I read words that inspire me and make me think on levels that are usually unchallenged.  Dana recently had her Om's published and they became a series of seven books, one for each chakra. 

So tonight I put my feet up against the wall and started reading my book feeling like I needed direction with Eco-Amie.  I started reading words that described my life and how I am feeling at the moment...good, overwhelmed, and a sense of knowing that I am going the right direction.  Dana says, "Take the seed you just planted within you and cultivate it slowly...Plant the seeds.  Watch them grow.  Do it for you and then see what kind of garden you get out of it." 

I will continue to water, tend to my garden and watch it blossom into whatever it will be. 


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A trip to Butcher Boys!

I went to my local butcher this morning.  Butcher Boys is the name of the shop we go to.  They have been around since 1969 and live up to their reputation daily!  Butcher Boys was recommended to us by a dear friend who knew we were looking for local meat two years ago. 

After watching the movie, Food Inc. by Michael Moore, Mr. Eco and I decided we would NEVER buy meat from the grocery/warehouse store again!  If you have not watched Food Inc. yet, I highly encourage you to do so!  The movie makes you think about where our food comes from…something the average American probably doesn’t think about too much!  I know I didn’t!  You have to know as a friend and blog-follower that Food Inc. changed the way I feed my family and think about the food in the grocery store aisles. 

I am so thankful my friend told us about Butcher Boys.  We have been going there for meat ever since and have grown to know the staff – who gives my kids a pepperoni stick or hotdog to eat while I place my order!  SCORE!  They know what it takes for a mom to be able to place her order in peace! 

The chicken they sell comes from Draper Valley Farms.  They are local to my area and do not use hormones, antibiotics, or preservatives.  The chickens are fed a 100% vegetarian diet with no animal fats or by-products.  The chickens live in a stress-free environment, are humanly raised and housed with natural light and ventilation.  Natural light and ventilation – you think to yourself, aren’t Tyson and Foster Farms chickens raised the same way?  NO THEY ARE NOT!!!!!  Again, if you haven’t watched the movie, Food Inc., please do yourself a favor and watch it. 

Another thing I like about the chicken I get is that the chicken breasts I buy come together, yes, I mean two breasts connected together, just as nature intended!  That was and still is something I think about when I walk through the meat section at the grocery store where the breasts are cut apart and sold individually.  I never thought anything about that until we started going to the butcher shop for meat.  At first it was weird, now I think it is weird to sell chicken breasts individually! 

The pork and some of the beef comes from Carlton Farms.  Again, local to my area, antibiotic-free, grown by a team of farmers who respect their animals and the environment.  The hogs are fed a grain-based vegetarian diet with no animal by-products.  They even brought in Dr. Temple Grandin (an amazing woman who happens to have autism and found her passion in animal welfare and autism advocacy) to train their staff and design farm equipment for them. 

In a prior blog post, I talk about starting to introduce grass-fed beef to my family.  That is my goal in the near future.  I would love nothing more to get even healthier meat for me and my family!  Once I get us off grain-fed beef and onto grass-fed beef, I will continue to purchase chicken and pork at Butcher Boys. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homemade Brownies Recipe & Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

So funny.  I posted on how I needed to find a homemade brownie recipe and what came up on my computer screen?  A Homemade Brownie Recipe!  I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, New Nostalgia and found this recipe.  I haven't tried it yet, but I am going to and get back to you!  If you try it before me, let me know what you think about it?  I like how Heavenly Homemakers also has a recipe for homemade chocolate chips too!  Someday....for now, I will buy mine already made. 

I made whole wheat bread today in my mom's breadmaker!  It was the first time I have ever made bread and it turned out great!  It was very simple really and the cost of the ingredents was minimal.  The kids loved watching the bread maker knead the dough and watching it rise through the little window up top of the machine. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Raw Milk, Grass-Fed Beef, Brownies made with Applesauce

I continue to study the basic components of the food we put in our body from Nourishing Traditions.  It is very interesting actually! I have always loved the sciences of Home Economics and Nutrition. 

Some items I am pondering are:

1. Introducing raw milk to my home. I am studying the FDA and USDA's warnings against the unpasteurized milk and their motivations behind their opposition of the milk. I have also been researching the truth about raw milk from the proponents of it. 

2. I have one pound of grass-fed ground beef in my refrigerator! I intend on making a family dish passed down two generations called Pate Chinois with it. I have the opportunity to buy an eighth of a cow with my dear neighbor (who is so tickled to teach me all she knows, which is a ton!). But Mr. Eco and I want to taste it first. I have read it tastes different than the hamburger meat from the store or butcher.

An interesting side note about grass fed beef is that I subscribe to bon appetit magazine and they recently wrote an article about this book (pictured).  I had only heard of grass fed beef from, once again, my dear neighbor.  We've had conversations about how the meat we buy at the grocery store is irradiated.  I was floored when I Googled what that even meant!  Go ahead, Google it, then come back :)  Ever since, we have been purchasing our meat from a butcher that gets their meat from a local farm; however, the cows are corn fed.  We thought, at the time (about two years ago), it was better than the alternative.  It is now time to give grass fed a try! 

- Need to recycle an electronic device?  Visit this website for a location near you. 

- I made boxed brownies (I know, I need to find an easy, homemade recipe) tonight and used 1/4 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup applesauce. You would never know I used applesauce! It makes the brownies healthier and is an easy substitute for oil.  I also don't have to grease the muffin pan since I use Demarle products to bake in!

Demarle at Home is the best to bake in and found here.  My favorite Representative is Gina Anderson, although ALL the representatives are outstanding!  It is naturally non-stick because it is made from food grade silicone which, when broken down is essentially made from sand.  Because it is flexible and non-stick, it makes getting your baked goods out easy and clean-up a snap! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Studying, Cooking, and Feeding the chickens!

I am reading a book called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  My neighbor let me borrow it as we always chat about eating well for our health and the health of those we love.  I am learning so much about the American diet and how our society is guided to ideas about the food we put in our bodies that are false and down-right unhealthy!   I am learning about the types of fatty acids and how they contribute to the health of our body and it's systems.  It's like taking a biology class!  Oh, the memories... 
Bottom line:
  • Choose butter over margarine,
  • Red meat and eggs (including egg yolks) are good for us to eat! 
  • Tropical oils are very good for us (palm and coconut oils).  I always thought canola oil was good, but I learned these oils are better.

My poor Roma Tomatoes!  The have what is called "Blossom-End Rot."  That's what is causing the brown circle at the bottom.  I am hopeful the damage won't be great as many of the tomatoes are fine...crossing my fingers!  I can't wait until they are ready to be picked!

This is the solution to my kids not liking the really-cool peanut butter Winco has in it's bulk section!  It is healthy for them as it is all natural, naturally sweetened with no hydrogenated oil or trans fat and we all like it!
I had the kids run over this bag to the neighbor who has chickens...scraps from the soup I made!  Sometimes I have the kids dig holes in the yard and bury the vegetable scraps...that is what composting currently looks like in this house!  Something to work on, I know :)  Anyway, if Eco-Amie does not want the kids a diggin', I feed the chickens!  The best gift?  When she has extra eggs and gives us some!  So grateful for her bounty! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trader Joe's Face Lotion

I recently bought this face lotion at Trader Joe's and I am very proud to say, I love it!  It is so moisturizing and does not break my skin out.  I went home and looked it up on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep page and there was not an exact match for this product.  I compared the ingredents with other Trader Joe's beauty products and it appears to fit in the Moderate risk section (by my untrained observation and reading).  I would prefer it got a Low risk rating; however, I am happy with the product and intend on using it.  It was reasonably priced and feels very good on my skin...not too greasy, not too smelly, and it leaves my face and neck feeling very moisturized!  The label states it was produced without any animal testing or animal by-products.  That makes me feel good about the product as well. 

I have always paid attention to see if products and their by-products were tested on animals since I complied a speech about animal testing at the junior college I attended.  It was then I was introduced to the organization PETA.  The research I completed for the speech was very eye opening and made me feel horrible for the animals.  I know, I know, better animals than humans, but it still made me sad to read what the animals endure for the health and beauty products that line the shelves in our stores. 

Do you have a favorite beauty product that is eco-friendly as well as animal-friendly?