The Best Roasted Chicken, Thomas Keller Style

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A heavenly roasted chicken that requires almost no work. 

Oh boy, oh boy. Are you in for a real treat with Thomas Keller’s Roasted Chicken recipe. Not only is the chicken moist, tender, and the skin ridiculously flavorful and crispy, but it takes barely any work to come together. That’s right, barely any work. There is absolutely not one iota of basting. Once it goes into the oven, you forget about it until the timer dings.

Simple Prep + Stunning Results = Recipe Staple. I literally roast two chickens every 10 days using this method.

What I love even more about this recipe is that for 15 minutes of prep work I get a roasted chicken for dinner, two carcasses and some meat for a stunning chicken soup (from which I make chicken soup ice cubes to use in Quick & Healthy Toddler food recipes), and additional cooked chicken that I use for toddler snacks and as the main protein for one or two quick to prep meals later in the week (I highly recommend Kimchi Fried Rice).

Honestly, even in 90+ degree weather, it is worth turning your oven on for these babies.

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A Visual Guide to Trussing a Chicken

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Take your chickens up a notch by learning how to truss.

Trussing poultry. You either do it or you don’t. There are arguments for both sides. Some say the bird cooks more evenly, some say it has the opposite effect. Some say it depends on the size of the bird, with trussing being better for a smaller (under 4lbs) fowl.

I tend towards trussing as it makes the presentation much nicer and is quite easy once you do it a few times. Plus, the main recipe I use to roast a chicken–Thomas Keller’s–states that the bird is to be trussed. The amazing recipe has made me a trussing convert.

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Quick & Healthy Toddler Meals #2: Salted Edamame with Cheese and Fruit

Salted Edamame with Cheese and Berries

Nothing in the fridge? Head to your freezer for this quick toddler meal.

This is one of my favorite quick toddler meals to throw together when I am in dire need of a trip to the food store, as I tend to always keep a bag or two of edamame in the freezer.

While I’m not a giant fan of giving soy to toddlers, edamame is such a nutritional powerhouse for a “I have nothing to feed you” kind of day, that I reserve it for those desperate times. A great balance of protein and carbs, it is also high in folate, choline, vitamin K, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese. Edamame also provides each of the essential amino acids, meaning it is a complete protein food.

Another bonus: Faye loves squishing the beans out of their pods. If you have a toddler who isn’t a fan of sitting at the table, this “activity” might help to settle them down. Continue reading

Quick & Healthy Toddler Meals: #1 Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin with Garlic Green Beans

Beef Tenderloin with Garlic Green Beans

A healthy toddler meal in under 15 minutes

Multiple times a week I am faced with trying to create a healthy meal for Faye in less than 15 minutes. Sadly, I’ve been hesitant to share because the limited time I have before a meltdown (from hunger, exhaustion, or a combo of both) occurs doesn’t allow for me to set up for a nice photo shoot.

After coming to my senses, I decided that a non-ideal photo was a ridiculous reason to not share these ideas and recipes with other time-crunched caregivers.

Last night’s dinner is a pretty good example of what Faye gets when I am cramped for time: a well seasoned protein and a flavorful vegetable. (I limit non-nutritious carb heavy foods like pasta and rice, and sugar in every form except whole fruit is never offered.) She sits right up against the table in a Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair, a dishtowel secured around her neck with one of these clips, and serves herself from main dishes.

This is the first recipe in the series, but I’ll try my best to load it up as often as possible. Please let me know if you find recipes like these to be helpful!

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The Best “Cheezy” Kale Chips

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The best kale chips in the world.

Kale chips. You either love them, or hate them. Like with most of my food, I am fickle about kale chips. Spending close to $10 for 3 leaves of kale coated in a mild-tasting vegan concoction doesn’t have me jumping up and down the isles in the grocery store for joy.  This recipe, on the other hand, has me (and my family, and friends and their toddlers) doing backflips.

These cheezy kale chips will change your world. They are hands down, by far, my absolute favorite discovery from my vegan/raw days. Bursting with intense flavor, these chips kick all other chips’ asses. I’m not kidding–even kale/veggie haters gobble these suckers down like they are going out of style.

Whether you are trying to incorporate more greens and nutrients into your daily life, attempting to replace junk food with a healthier but phenomenal tasting alternative, or looking for a nutritional powerhouse of a snack for a toddler, I urge you to try the recipe below. You will not be disappointed.

Did I mention they are also great for your milk supply?

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Arts & Crafts: No Mess Baby Acrylic Painting

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Faye working her magic as she crawls across the canvas.

Who doesn’t love baby art? Me. That’s who.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore a child’s efforts and thoroughly feel loved when a kid creates something for me, but so often I feel that we either give them materials that are too cheap or too temporary (or worse, a sad combo of both) to warrant a place of honor in our houses.

This is especially true when it comes to arts & crafts for babies and toddlers who are still putting items into their mouths. Edible paint is usually either too thick to manipulate on paper properly, or if watered down to a more manageable consistency, too transparent. Colors tend to be a bland muddied pastel. Worse still, they mold after a week or two. Edible all-natural crayons leave light colored, barely noticeable marks, even when wielded by an adult.

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I find it difficult to watch as my daughter struggles to compose a gift for a loved one using these hideous supplies. Therefore, I did what any artist and mom would do, I concocted ways for her to enjoyably compose colorful, malleable, striking, and permanent art work using traditional art materials.

For Father’s Day last year I decided it would be great if Faye could make a permanent painting that captured her current physical abilities. That narrowed it down to pressing, crawling, and dragging. An idea quickly emerged. Off to the art store we went to gather student grade acrylic paints, a large pre-stretched, pre-gessoed museum canvas, and a very large Filbert brush. We also stopped at a home improvement store for a large roll of clear plastic tarp and blue painter’s tape. Less than an hour work later we had a beautiful painting and a memory that would stick with us (or maybe just me) for a lifetime.

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I’m not going to lie – it was an expensive endeavor for a baby’s art project, but the investment was completely worthwhile. The stunningly colorful 3′ x 4′ painting has a place of honor on our kitchen wall. Whenever someone inquires as to the artist, they are floored to learn it was Faye at only 9.5 months old. The best part though, is that every other week or so Faye will point to the painting and tell us with a huge smile that it is her painting, that she made it.

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The final result drying outside.

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Hearty Ham Hock and White Navy Bean Soup via the Crockpot

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Lovely comfort food on a cold winter’s day

Originally, I grabbed a bag of small white navy beans to make a beautiful sausage and white bean dish, but when the norovirus took our entire family out of commission last weekend that dish (and anything but minimal effort to cook this week) went out the window.

Have no fear, this quick to prep dish is superb. It’s flavors are complex, the soup is extremely filling, and at around $3 a portion for all organic ingredients, the price tag can’t be beat.  

In a way, I’m kind of glad we were ridiculously ill. I got to eat ice pops, watch tv, and rediscover my crockpot.  

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