Monday, November 29, 2010

Cast Iron Cooking--Chicken and Fixings

I love a meal that is easily prepared, delicious and nutritious; this recipe is all three and more.

Start with one whole, all-natural chicken. Pat skin completely dry (this ensures deliciously crispy skin) and stuff cavity with fresh herbs which will infuse their wonderful aroma into the meat. Apply coarse sea salt liberally to skin. Place in a cast iron pan and cook @450 degrees F.

3 lb chicken takes approx. 45 minutes. Increase the cooking time by 15 min. per lb. So 4lb. chicken would take an hour. 5lb. 1:15, etc. 6lb, 1:30. This method of cooking a whole chicken is recommended for 6lbs. and under.

In the meantime prepare vegetables to be cooked in the rendering of the chicken. Feel free to experiment. I have used broccoli, potatoes and onions in this demonstration, but have used carrots, spinach, kale, squash, etc. Aim for seasonal, organic vegetables. Potatoes take a little longer than some vegetables and should be cut small, or can be shredded (for hashbrowns) to cut down on the cooking time.

After chicken is cooked, remove herbs from cavity and discard. Then saute your vegetables of choice in the remaining drippings on the stove top until tender. The vegetables absorb most of the fat (which is quite healthy in all natural meat) and the drippings/fat also helps your body to absorb the vitamins and nutrients of the vegetables more efficiently.

So yummy you won't even miss the gravy, but if you do, there are usually enough drippings even after the cooking the veggies to make some.

To get the most bang for your buck (which you especially want if you are paying more for high quality meat) save the bones add a little sea salt and even the herbs pulled out of the chicken to make a quick, easy and healthy chicken stock for later use.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homemade deodorant

Commercial deodorant unfortunately use aluminum as the primary ingredient. Aluminum found in the human body has been linked to serious healthy problems--from Alzheimers to cancer to auto immune diseases. Needless to say, it is something that should be avoided rather than being used on a daily basis on the surface of the skin, blocking proper lymphatic drainage. When one uses commercial deodorant and/or anti-perspirant, he/she is effectively halting the body's natural elimination process. With lymph nodes under the armpit, the body's natural process is to drain and release toxins through sweat out of the skin. By blocking this with a harmful element, i.e. aluminum we may smell better temporarily, but at what cost?
Having switched to all natural deodorants (various brands including Tom's, Crystals, Jason's and more) and having made spray deodorants in the past, I have never found one that didn't require repeat applications throughout the day...until recently. My new cousin-in-law lent it to me.
The following recipe can be tweaked, but the basic recipe calls for:
1/4 C ~Baking Soda
1/4 C ~Arrow Root or Tapioca Starch (you can substitute corn starch, but i would stay away
from GMO, non-organic brands)
3 Tbs ~Coconut oil (preferably unrefined, cold pressed, organic)
Your favourite essential oils for scent and theraputic properties, you can't go wrong with tea
tree oil, but for a more feminine scent, I have found Rose and Jasmine to be lovely.
Mix with a fork and applied. Makes a smooth paste that can be chilled to harden, applied with ease and works all day.
Cocoa butter and/or Shea butter can be used instead of coconut oil producing a naturally harder consistency.
**Please note, Coconut oil can permeate clothing, for best results apply at night before bedtime, or allow time to dry before putting clothes on.

Unrefined Salt for Health and Beauty

Salt, one of the most common household staples of all time, a substance that our bodies need to sustain life, comes in two main forms--refined vs. unrefined. Devitalized versus vital a.k.a. dead versus living. The massively and commercially produced in the form that we know as iodized salt little white grains of salt, has been bleached! and striped of all nutrients and minerals found in unrefined salt. It is no wonder salt has gained such a bad reputation, iodized salt is bad for your health! Now compare it to unrefined salt, my brand of choice Celtic Sea Salt, (but have also enjoyed sampling various salts, from Himalyan to Hawaiin to Red salt from Utah), the health benefits are many
When you think about how much salt you ingest daily, even more with fake, processed food, why not think of switching to a supplement of sorts? Let the salt you eat or bathe in to help remove/ purify your system of toxins, work towards building a healthier life.
Favorite Detoxifying Bath Recipe
1 Cup of Celtic Sea Salt Bath Salt
1 Cup of Epsom Salt
10 drops of Lavendar essential oil
10 drops of Rose essential oil
Water temperature should range from lukewarm (if you have city water, which most often contains chlorine) to warm/hot with well/spring water.