Archive for March, 2010

Perfect Roast Chicken

I’m always looking for a great roasted chicken recipe and I’ve tried many good ones over the years but they were always somewhat lacking. I tried one this week that’s a winner. This will be my standard roasted chicken recipe from now on.

It’s from The Foodie Handbook by Pim Techamuanvivit and she based her recipe on the one from Simply French by Patricia Wells. I tweaked it a bit as well and it was fantastic. Even the leftovers were amazingly good.


One 3 ½ – 4 ½ pound Organic Pastured Chicken

3 tbs. organic butter

1 – 2 tablespoons Celtic sea salt & some cracked pepper

Optional ingredients:

1 organic onion

1 – 2 heads of garlic

One lemon

Leek tops

Sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme


Preheat your oven to 425°.

Rinse the chicken and dry it with paper towels. Take the butter – you can melt it if it’s too cold – and rub it all over the chicken.  Then sprinkle the salt and a bit of pepper and rub that in too. Make sure you get some salt inside the chicken as well.

The optional ingredients are used to stuff the bird. I used leek tops and some springs of fresh rosemary and thyme. They both really easy to grow, and great for cooking.  Then take some kitchen twine and tie the legs and wings close to the body. This will make it easier to flip the chicken while cooking.

I used a glass roasting pan with a small flat rack. You can use an angled one as well if you have it.  Put the chicken breast side down on the rack, in your pan and put it into the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes take your pan out and baste and flip the chicken to breast side up. Cook for another 30 minutes.  Then baste and flip breast side down for another 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken (10 minutes for a 3 ½ pound chicken, 20 for 4 ½ ). Baste again and turn it breast side up for the last ten minutes. Total cooking time is 1 hour and 20 (or 30) minutes

You will know when your chicken is done by poking the top of your knife into the thick part of the thigh. When the juices run clear it’s done.  Cover loosely and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. It was a perfect chicken. The skin was crispy, the breast meat moist and the rosemary and thyme added great flavor. Enjoy!

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Seed Starting

I used to make a small garden when I was a child. I loved watching the little plants grow, tending them and having wonderful vegetables to eat when they were ripe – even though we shared a lot of the harvest with the local bunny population.

I started gardening again as an adult when my kids were little.  At first I’d buy a few starter plants, maybe tomatoes and cucumbers and put them in a small garden area.  The results varied but it was still a fun project for us to do together.

As the years have gone on, I’ve gotten more serious about my gardening and try to learn and grow something new each year.  My gardens have always been organic but I’ve learned more as I’ve got along about natural fertilizers, making compost and foliar feeding.  I’ve usually grown a few plants from seed; sometimes herbs or various other plants, but I decided a few years ago that I wanted to try growing everything I plant in my garden from seed. 

And you know, it’s really easy.  There’s a great company, Gardener’s Supply. They are employee owned and have a number of wonderful and very inexpensive seed starting kits.  I’ve tried a few over the years but the one I’m using this year – as I have limited space at the greenhouse window in my kitchen is this one:,37-933,default,cp.html

You can buy the units separately but I do like to use their germinating mix as well.  And you can use the seed starter over again each year. I do start some plants right in the garden but I’m starting 8 different types of tomatoes, 3 types of peppers and 3 types of cucumbers in my kitchen this year.

As you can see from the picture, once the plants grow too big I transplant them into small nursery pots and then start another batch in the seed starter.  In a few weeks when they’ve grown a bit more I’ll give them some hours outside during the day and once they’re hardened off (used to being outside), I’ll plant them. I have two raised beds but I also use a lot of large pots and have found some things like peppers and tomatoes grow as well or even better in those.

As large corporations like Monsanto try to patent all the seeds they can, it makes it even more important that we grow and save our own seeds.  There are a number of places you can get wonderful organic and heirloom seeds from:  – Seeds of Change. They are owned by M&M Mars now but they carry only organic, GMO free seeds and have over 1200 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers.  – This is Peaceful Valley farm and garden supply and they have a wonderful selection of seeds, fruit tree and other supplies for your organic garden. I just found this one recently. They have a nice selection of heirloom seeds and are very reasonably priced as well.

If you want to learn to save your own seeds, I highly recommend Seed to Seed – the link to Amazon is below.

It’s easy to grow your own vegetables and it’s a great activity to share with your children. In my experience it gives them a greater appreciation for vegetables because there is nothing more delicious then food just picked from your own garden.  Happy Gardening!

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If you happened to read this article the first week I wrote it, you’ll notice I took out my recommendation for Seedsavers Exchange.  This is why:

Easy Egg Custard

Here’s another custard recipe that I decided to try this past week. You don’t need to scald the milk just mix everything together and bake. It was just as good as last weeks Sweet Potato Custard and even easier to make.  Everyone loved this one!


4 large eggs

1/3 cup rapadura, honey, maple syrup or organic sugar

1/8 teaspoon celtic sea salt

2 1/4 cups raw whole milk

1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1/8  teaspoon freshly grated organic nutmeg

1/4  teaspoon organic cinnamon


The custards can be refrigerated overnight.

1.Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and honey. Add salt, spices and stir until dissolved. Stir in the milk & vanilla. Pour custard mixture into six 4-ounce custard cups.

2. Set the cups in a large roasting pan and place in the oven. Pour 1 inch of hot water into the roasting pan and bake the custards for about 30 minutes, or until just set. If your milk is cold is can take 35-40 minutes so just add 5 minutes or so if they’re not set yet.  Remove from the water bath when cool enough to handle. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

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Organic Sweet Potato Custard

We had a left over sweet potato that the kids weren’t eating so I started looking for recipes and found this one. It was fantastic!  It’s very easy and a fancy enough dessert to serve to company. I think it would also work well with pumpkin (will try that next).  My husband has already requested that I make it again.


    * 1 3/4 cups whole organic raw milk

    * 3 large pastured eggs

    * 1 cup pureed organic sweet potato

    * 1/3 cup rapadura or organic sugar

    * dash celtic sea salt

    * 1/2 teaspoon ground organic cinnamon

    * dash ground organic nutmeg

    * dash ground organic cloves

    * dash ground organic ginger

    * freshly ground organic nutmeg or organic cinnamon for topping


Heat oven to 350°. Butter 6 5- to 6-ounce custard cups; set cups in a large baking or roasting pan.

Heat the milk until very hot, set aside.

In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add sweet potato, sugar, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and dashes of nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Whisk in milk and beat until well blended. Pour into the prepared custard cups.

Heat about 5 to 6 cups of water until nearly simmering.

Place the pan with cups in the hot oven then fill the outer pan with the very hot water until the water is about halfway up the side of the custard cups.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until edges are firm. The center of the custards will still jiggle a bit. Allow a little more time if you’re using larger custard cups, and check early if using very small or shallow cups.

Remove cups from water immediately and place on a wire rack to cool. Cover the cooled custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The custards may be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on the size of the cups.

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Real Foods that Healed Me

By Stanley A. Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Note from Mom: Stan has a great new website:

I was once chronically ill, so sick that I received a “medical death sentence” in 1998. Today, I have no illnesses, no symptoms, and have not seen a doctor in five years. I was not healed by drugs, surgery or doctors. I was healed by real food.

Dr. Weston A. Price discovered the truth about nutrition in the 1930s, by travelling all over the world and studying traditional diets. He found that people who ate the diets of their ancestors, and no modern foods, were free of many illnesses that afflicted many people in Europe and America. People eating their traditional diet had no cancer, no heart disease, no diabetes, no tuberculosis, no birth defects, no tooth decay, no asthma, and no allergies. They were free of the chronic illnesses that were common in the so-called civilized world. They remained strong, vigorous, independent, and healthy well into old age, usually until just before they died.

When the same peoples added modern processed foods to their diet, they were afflicted with every one of the diseases mentioned above, and many others.

Dr. Price wrote a book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, which presented the results of his research. That book contains many photographs, showing the healthy teeth and faces of people on a traditional diet, and the horrible teeth and unhealthy faces of members of the very same group of people, when they ate modern foods.

I based the diet that healed me on the teachings of Dr. Price, and the information made available by the Weston A. Price Foundation. I decided that the key was to get food that was as close to its untampered form as I possibly could, given the limitations of our modern world, and to eat the same kinds of foods eaten by traditional peoples. 

How I Changed My Diet

Sugar and Sweeteners

I stopped eating most sweeteners. The only ones I use are organic, unfiltered, unheated honey, organic 100% pure maple syrup, and a little rapadura, an unprocessed sugar. I only use sweeteners in small amounts, and only when eaten at a meal that has plenty of fat. I have found that I do not miss sugar if I keep my fat intake high. I never use any kind of artificial sweetener.


I only eat organic grains that have been soaked overnight in soured water, as described in Sally Fallon’s excellent cookbook, Nourishing Traditions and made into a porridge type dish. I do this with organic oatmeal and organic kasha, and I always eat them with plenty of pastured butter. The only bread I eat is made from sprouted grain, or a sourdough-type bread.

Fruit and Vegetables

I only eat organic (or the equivalent) fruits and vegetables. I eat a wide variety, both cooked and raw. I do eat potatoes and other root vegetables, but make sure they are cooked in plenty of fat, or served with plenty of fat, or both.

Meat and Poultry

I only eat 100% grassfed and grass finished beef, bison, and lamb. I will often cook these meats rare, to get more of the nutrients. I eat a lot of meat. I eat the wonderful fat from these grassfed animals. I eat free range, organic poultry. I try to avoid poultry that has been fed soy, which is difficult. I do not eat much pork, since I have trouble finding pork that has not been fed soy. When I can find pork that has been fed naturally, I will happily eat it. I will also eat wild game when I have the opportunity, which is not often. I drink some homemade meat broth, made from the bones and meat of grassfed animals, every day.


I only drink organic, full fat, non-homogenized milk, either raw, or from a dairy that uses minimum pasteurization. I eat plenty of full fat raw milk cheese, lots of full fat yoghurt, make my own kefir, and consume mountains of pastured butter. I also eat a lot of full fat cream, organic or the equivalent, both raw and minimally pasteurized. I usually eat these foods uncooked. I also use a lot of cream, cheese, and butter when cooking.

Fish and Seafood

I only eat wild seafood. I eat a fair amount of medium to smaller sized fish, as well as shrimp and prawns. I will also eat wild raw fish eggs, when I can get them. Every day, I have a cup of rich fish broth, made from the bones and trimmings of wild fish (including the heads when I can get them). I often use fish sauce, as a condiment and an ingredient. I never touch farmed fish of any kind.

Fats and Oils

The only vegetable oil of any kind that I will eat is organic (or the equivalent) extra virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, and unrefined organic sesame oil. I eat plenty of fat from grassfed animals as well as unhydrogenated lard. I eat large amounts of pastured butter and organic ghee. I make sure to have plenty of animal fat with every meal. This kind of fat was prized by all the cultures studied by Dr. Price.


I do not touch any kind of soft drink. I do drink homemade kombucha every day. (Thanks to you, Mom, for teaching me how to make it!) I also drink reverse osmosis water, often with some organic, raw, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar added. I also drink milk and kefir, as described under dairy above. I also drink green tea and peppermint tea. I will upon very rare occasions have a little wine, or traditional Irish whiskey.


Most of the condiments I eat are lacto-fermented, such as sauerkraut. There are some good lacto-fermented condiments available. However, the best are the ones you make yourself. We make our own sauerkraut, ketchup, pickles, and other condiments. Nourishing Traditions is an excellent source of recipes for making your own condiments.

Packaged Processed Foods

I do not eat them. The only exception would be food that is packaged in glass jars, is organic (or the equivalent), and has very few ingredients, such as some organic hot sauces. I do not eat anything with soy in it, and I try to avoid meat from soy-fed animals. I do buy some grassfed sausages, especially organ sausages from a few excellent producers of grassfed meat.

Good Health Comes from Good Food

This diet has resulted in the extreme good health I enjoy today. What I have described is food, not medicine, and my own experience with it. I am not a doctor, and I am not giving you medical advice. Eating this way restored my health, and is absolutely delicious besides!

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We love Stan’s cookbook and use it ALL the time. You can find it at Amazon, link below.