Monday, October 29, 2012

Easy Oven Roasted Chicken

On a night cool enough that I don't mind using the oven, one of my favorite things to make is a roasted chicken. I love making it anyway, but it also is a great meal to make during October Unprocessed month. Why do I love it so much, you ask? Because it makes the whole house smell good, it tastes delicious, it's a meal in one pan, and gives me a bunch of leftovers! Oh, and I can make soup out of it, too! Check out my easy way here.

Ready to serve!
What you'll need:
- 1 Whole, Organic Chicken - check if you can get one at your farmer's market!
- Vegetables of your choosing: Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Fennel, Sweet Potato, Parsnip, etc.
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Chopped herbs of your choosing: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, etc. (Fresh are ideal, but dried work just fine too.)
- Lemon, cut in half
- Bay Leaf
- Roasting pan with deep sides

Note: Any time you are handling raw poultry, be sure to wash your hands and any utensils well!
- If there are any, remove giblets (heart, liver, etc.) from the inside of the chicken.
- Rinse chicken under cool water, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Since your hands have touched the chicken, have someone (a partner, child or friend) pour some olive oil, s&p, and herbs onto the bird. Use your hands to rub this around til both sides and the inside of the chicken are coated. You can push some herbs under the skin as well, though this is not necessary.
- Put the lemon and bay leaf inside the cavity, as well as sprigs of fresh herbs, if you have them.
Ready to go in the oven.
- With the chicken breast side down, put the pan into the oven.
- While chicken begins to cook, chop up the veggies you want to use. Toss them with oil and herbs.
Chopped sweet potato, onion, carrots, garlic and herbs.
- After about 20 minutes, take the chicken out. Carefully flip it over so that the breast side is now on top, and then add the vegetables.
- Return the pan to the oven, and continue roasting for about another 25 minutes.
- After 45 minutes total, check the temperature of the bird using a meat thermometer. Poultry should reach 180 degrees in the thigh.
- When done, remove pan from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. This makes for a juicier bird.
- Spoon vegetables into a serving dish, and cut up the chicken to serve it.
- Be sure to save all the bones and pan drippings if you're going to make soup! That recipe will be up next week, so stay tuned...It's been posted! Click here to learn how to make chicken stock.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin (or Squash) Seeds

Roasted Seeds from a Sugar Pie Pumpkin
Last week I posted a recipe for Acorn Squash, and I told you to keep the seeds. Here is the post where I tell you what you can do with them. If you're cutting open any variety of squash or pumpkin this season, don't throw those seeds away! Also known as pepitas, and not just for October Unprocessed, these little guys are full of vitamins and minerals, and are quite tasty when roasted with a little olive oil and garlic salt (or any spice you feel like using). You can eat them right away, or store in an air-tight container for a couple of days. They'll lose their crispiness the longer they sit.

Some of the nutrients contained in squash seeds are: Protein, Calcium, Zinc, Mono-Unsaturated Fat (good for the heart), Vitamin A, Folate, Manganese, Trytophan, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper. Source:

What to do:
- Rinse the seeds and pat dry.
- Toss the seeds with just enough olive oil to coat. Not too much, or they'll be greasy!
- Add some salt, garlic salt, or chili powder, or whatever you want.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep an eye on 'em so they don't burn.
- Enjoy warm, or wait for them to cool. Either way, they're delicious!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

With the return of fall weather recently, I've noticed that I'm craving less raw salads and more hearty meals. And the other night was no exception. As the seasons change, have you noticed a change in the foods your body craves?

Acorn Squash - those seeds are tasty too!
Because I've taken the October Unprocessed pledge, I took a look in my kitchen and tried to come up with something to make that would not require me to buy anything or go to a restaurant. I saw an Acorn Squash I bought recently, and decided to turn it into a complete meal. How to do that, you ask? Enter quinoa! I always have quinoa in my kitchen, in fact I have three kinds of it: white, red and black. Each ones tastes subtly different, so depending on what I'm making I'll choose a different type. To go with the squash, I decided to go with the blend, as it seems to go well with savory dishes.

To start, I roasted the squash in my oven. As that was baking, I cooked the quinoa in a pot on the stove. And miraculously, everything was done at about the same time!

A delicious meal! Yum!
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa (serves 2)
- 1 Acorn Squash
- 1/2C Quinoa
- 1C Water
- 1/3C Minced Onion
- 1/8C Your choice: Raisins, Currants, Cherries, or Cranberries
- 1/8C Pecans
- 1T Olive Oil
- 1T Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper, to taste

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rinse and dry squash, then slice lengthwise down the middle.
- Remove and save the seeds for roasting.
- Put the squash face-down on a foil-lined baking pan. Bake about 30 minutes, or until soft.
- While squash is baking, prepare the quinoa.
- Rinse the quinoa to remove the natural saponins that give it a bitter taste. When water runs clear, put quinoa in a pot with water (ratio is same as for rice - 1:2).
- Bring water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer quinoa until water has been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. In the last few minutes, add the onion.
- When water is absorbed, remove quinoa from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, and let sit until the squash is done.
- Spoon the quinoa into the squash, and serve.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chard and Chickpeas with Farro

Chard wilting in the pan.
We're about a week into October now. How is your #unprocessed challenge going? I'm lucky in that our CSA delivers fresh produce year-round, making it easy for me. (To find a CSA in your area, check out Local Harvest.) Lately they've been sending us a lot of chard, so I've been finding new ways to cook with it. Here is one that I created based on what I had around the house. It was delicious, and it made enough for me to have leftovers too! And we all know how much I love my leftovers! This dish is great this month, for October Unprocessed, but it would be delicious any time.

When I make a dish that consists mainly of vegetables (like this one), I like to combine it with a whole grain. Quinoa or brown rice are my usual go-to grains that I keep around the house, but lately I've been hearing a lot about farro. I usually buy my grains in the bulk section of the grocery store, and store them in glass jars. I've found that this reduces the amount of waste from all the packaging, and also keeps my kitchen nice and organized! If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in having me give your kitchen a make-over, send me an email and let's talk!

Anyway, back to my dinner...Farro is the italian name for emmer wheat, and is an unprocessed grain of wheat. Farro is lower in gluten and higher in protein and fiber than conventional wheat. It is also high in magnesium and B vitamins. Sounds good, right? I purchased some from the bulk section at the store, and it had been sitting on my shelf for a few weeks. I thought this chard and chickpea recipe was the perfect dish to try it with. And I was right! The farro has a nice bite to it, almost like al-dente pasta, and it has a nutty flavor too. It paired very well with the chard and chickpeas, and was hearty, and left me feeling full without being stuffed. This grain could be substituted any time a recipe calls for rice, pasta, or another grain. That's the best thing about these grains - they're so interchangeable!

Finished dish, served over farro. 

Leftovers! In my glass "tupperware" to bring to work and reheat.
(Sorry for the horrible lighting here.)

Chard and Chickpeas with Farro
2T Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
1 Small Onion, chopped
1C Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans (they're the same thing!)
1 Bunch Swiss Chard, rinsed and chopped
1 Tomato, sliced
1/2 Lemon, juiced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Stir in garlic and onion, cook and stir until soft and fragrant. They'll turn a bit translucent.
- Stir in the chickpeas, and season with s&p. Heat through.
- When chickpeas are hot (a few minutes), add the chard to the pan. Cook until wilted.
- Add tomato slices, squeeze lemon juice over the greens, and heat through.
- Plate, and season with more s&p, if desired.

Farro, almost done cooking.
Cooking Farro:
- Similar to rice, the ratio of farro to water is 1:2. For example, if cooking 1C farro, use 2C water.
- Be sure to rinse the farro before using. Even better, soak it!
- Boil water in pot, salt it, then add the rinsed farro. Cover and simmer until water is absorbed. Cooking time will vary depending on how much you're making, but 1C of farro took me about 30 minutes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

IIN Conference in NYC!

WOW! What an inspiring weekend I had in New York. The school I attended for my health coaching program (the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, for those of you wondering) put together an amazing lineup of speakers for us at our 2-day LIVE conference, held at the Jazz at Lincoln Center. As I sit here in my sister's Manhattan apartment on Monday morning writing this post, I am trying to put words to my experience. Flying out from California, I am so grateful that I was able to combine attending the conference with staying with my sister, spending time with a best friend from high school, and also seeing two of my cousins who I hadn't seen in WAY too long. I'll fly back to California tomorrow, and it's been a great trip that has left my heart full, and I feel re-energized to propel myself and my business forward.

Here was the lineup of speakers:
Andrea Beaman, Health Coach and Chef (trivia fact: she was on the first season of Top Chef)
JJ Smith, Nutritionist & Weight Loss Expert with an awesome energy
Kathie Swift, MS RD LDN
Joel Harper, Celebrity Personal Trainer, he really got us moving!
Dr. Daniel Amen, seriously amazing brain researcher and author
Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and cookbook author
John Douillard, Ayurvedic expert
Sadie Nardini, Rock Star Yoga Instructor
Bernie Siegal, MD, Surgeon and creator of Carefrontation
Jane Ashley, MA CHHC
and of course, IIN's founder Joshua Rosenthal, and CEO Uri Feiner

When I signed up, I was most excited to hear Andrea Beaman and Mark Bittman. But I have to say, every single one of these speakers was amazing. I learned something from each and every one of them, and even though I was sitting on my butt from 10-4 for two days, I was never bored. The speakers were so engaging and they had my complete attention. I wish I'd been able to take photos, but the one I took didn't really come out and I got a stern talking to, so I decided not to risk it again.

Reviewing the pages and pages of notes I took (hello, hand cramp!), there are SO many things I want to share, but that would make for waaaaay too long of a blog post. So instead, here are some of my highlights:

- Having your health is having wealth. Without your health, you have nothing. Disease is not a normal state for humans - look at your symptoms, they're telling you something! (Andrea Beaman)
- Live your life with passion. Never forget your dreams. Love! (JJ Smith)
- There are more nerve endings in our gut than in our entire central nervous system. So our "gut feelings" really do matter! (Kathie Swift)
- Alzheimer's Disease starts 30 years before there are any outward symptoms, but it is seen in brain imaging scans. Our choices can either accelerate or decelerate the process. (Dr. Daniel Amen)
- As our weight increases, the size of our brain decreases. (Dr. Daniel Amen)
- What would happen if we reversed the prices at fast food restaurants so that a burger costs $4 and a salad $1? (Mark Bittman)
- That 80% of all the antibiotics in the United States are given to the 10 billion animals we eat each year. (Mark Bittman)
- To think of pure veganism as nirvana. It's on one end of a spectrum, and the journey is more important than the destination - eat more foods from plants and less from animals/processed foods, and even our small changes make a difference. (Mark Bittman)
- That 95% of our serotonin (what gives us our sense of well-being) is produced in our intestinal tract. So if the gut is blocked up, your serotonin production will be too. (John Douillard)
- Nobody is free of wounds, so don't hide yours. Charcoal under pressure can become a diamond! (Bernie Siegal)
- We're all mortal, so our purpose is not to help people avoid death. Our purpose is to help people enjoy life! (Bernie Siegal)
- Getting clear on my goals and how I'm going to achieve them. What do I want to have accomplished by tomorrow? By Friday? By Thanksgiving? By Christmas? In one year? In five years? In ten years? (Joshua Rosenthal)

I would love to hear which of my highlights are meaningful to you as well. Please leave a comment below to continue the conversation.
And as always, if you're interested in a free health consultation, send an email to and we'll set it up!