finger lickin’ good crispy roasted chicken

IMG_9954

What a Sunday we had yesterday! Nothing makes me happier than getting outside to play and explore in nature with my friends, family, and pups. And yesterday IMG_9948was the best combination of all 3. Hours of exploring with my husband, brother, his girlfriend, and our pups in Santa Cruz’s Nisine Marks State Park, followed by organic hard cider at a brewery in Capitola with my good friend Taz, and then home to make some of the most amazing crispy roasted chicken we’ve ever had.  After months of weekly trips to buy LOTS of leg, wing, and thigh packs of pastured chicken from our favorite farmers at farmers market, AND after tons of work trying to perfect this recipe, we’ve finally done it. And today, I’m happy to share this recipe with all of you!

IMG_9960

So without further ado, I bring  to you my finger lickin’ crispy roasted chicken. The trick is to get as much moisture as possible off the bird before cooking. Then once it’s nice and salty and dry, you smother the bird with a layer of the perfect fat blend. And to really knock it out of the part, you cook it just right, at the perfect temperature with a broil to finish. The result is the crispiest, most delicious salty, bacon fatty chicken skin that hugs the juiciest, most flavorful dark meat chicken ever. Yum! I HIGHLY recommend going with pastured chicken here. The dark meat will have much higher nutrient density, much more flavor, and nothing beats buying and eating happy chickens from the farmers that make it their life’s mission to farm and sell sustainably. (Just so not to Foster Farms). Get this week off to a good start today. Go outside, move, play, and roast up some of this finger lickin’ good chicken. You can’t go wrong <3

IMG_9804-2 

Finger Lickin' Good Crispy Roasted Chicken (like fried chicken, but so much better)

  • Servings: 2+
  • Time: 40
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 each of skin-on, bone-in chicken legs, wings, and thighs (obviously any combo of this is fine, and just increase the other ingredients for a bigger batch!)
  • 2 TB grass fed butter or ghee
  • 1 TB organic olive oil
  • 1 TB bacon grease, lard, or tallow
  • plenty of sea salt
  • wire roasting rack of some sort (I just use the top shelf of my cooling rack)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • 1-3 hours before it’s time to cook, pat your chicken dry with a paper towel, place on a plate, and sprinkle with sea salt until each piece is evenly covered
  • put plate in the fridge (the salt pulls the moisture out of the bird, and the cold air evaporates it away giving you crispy instead of soggy skin)
  • when it’s time, preheat the oven to 375 F (I use convection roast setting on my oven)
  • melt the butter and bacon grease in a small pan and add your olive oil
  • pull your chicken out and pat it dry just incase there’s any remaining moisture
  • brush it evenly with the fat mixture until fully covered (there should be some leftover)
  • place it on a wire rack sitting on top of a baking sheet
  • sprinkle with a layer of sea salt
  • bake for 10 minutes, then pull it out and flip any pieces with skin on all sides (flip legs, but keep thighs skin side up)
  • give it another brush with the remaining fat till its used up
  • put the chicken back in the oven for 10 minutes then check with a thermometer
  • once the inside hits 165, set your oven to high broil
  • keep an eye on the chicken as it broils, waiting till its nice and crispy before pulling it out (about 5 minutes)
  • eat it hot! And ENJOY every bite

We paired it last night with sweet potato and rutabaga mash and roasted romanesco (all from farmers market). Let me know what you think! We have this every single week. The skin is crispy and delicious, and the inside is just oh so juicy and tender. Recreate. Share. Enjoy! <3 Cheers. 

the power MOVEMENT and egg-free, nut-free cocoa fudge brownies

IMG_9890

Brownies, oh brownies, how I love brownies. You know what else I love (something that I haven’t written much about recently, but practice every single day)? CrossFit and movement in general, really. Nutrition is the basis of health, yes, but movement, well that’s what makes us human. It’s something we all share a need for, no matter who were are, where we are on our journey, or what are fitness levels may be. I am a true testament to this because after working my body into the ground through years of overtraining in endurance sports and then taking that same mentality to CrossFit for the first two, I had to take a year “off” due to a pretty bad neck injury. Even in this year off, though, I never once stopped moving, and in its truest form, I never once stopped CrossFit.

Until I found CrossFit, I thought my daily quota of movement could only be fulfilled by 3 hours in the gym (90 minutes of cardio and 90 minutes of light weightlifting). I thought health was measured by the number of miles I ran, rode, or swam. I thought that without excessive exercise, I could not be fit. Damn was I wrong.

IMG_7874What I have come to learn through years as a CrossFit athlete, trainer, Level 1 Seminar Staff member, and CrossFit HQ employee is that movement is a part of every moment of our day, movement is natural, and most importantly, movement is ESSENTIAL. Aside from competitive CrossFit athletes, the short time folks put in inside the gym or at outdoors (like the awesome outdoor workout you see to the right) should really be with one main goal in mind – to take the skills and strengths developed in the gym into their everyday lives. To chase kids faster, to do their jobs better, to keep up the actives (ie: surfing, hiking, mountain biking, etc) they love for longer, and to play more – never letting age be a limiting factor. We move every day. And we should enjoy this movement.

Each moment offers an opportunity to move functionally, to build health, and to create a better capacity to love life and prosper.  In the gym, we practice and develop the skills necessary to take on life for the long haul – whether it’s picking up the groceries, suitcase, or small child off the ground (deadlift); sitting down near or on the ground to play with a child, working in our garden, relaxphoto 2 (1)ing, or building that booty (squat); putting a suitcase or dog food onto a high shelf, throwing a child in the air, picking fruit from a tree (press); hopping a fence, climbing a tree, or getting to the top bunk of your kid’s bed to say goodnight (pull up). We can even break these skills down more simply in the way they help us sit or stand in better posture throughout the workday, leading to less pain and headache (literally) in the rest of our lives. The truth is that once we lose the ability to do these movements in our everyday lives, we lose the ability to truly live. We’ve given up. And I am sad to see so many people that seem to have already let go of life. It’s not too late, though!

Every day offers a chance for more movement, to change our DNA, to actually reverse aging. And you can START NOW!

Since finding out I had to take some time “off”, I have made a promise to myself to move as often as possible EVERY SINGLE day, and you can too. Let’s always find time to stretch each morning. To take a walk with the dogs or family. To look at the mountains in the distance (yes, even our eyes need exercise). To step away from the computer and squat it out every 30 minutes or so. To pick things up with a set, strong midline often throughout day. To squat in the garden and soak in the sun. To pick things up and press them overhead (just for the fun of it). To get outside and play in nature every single week. And to simply put it… MOVE. IMG_9893

It doesn’t take hours in the gym to find health and fitness, but it does take functional movements done often. Don’t sit in your car and wait for a close parking spot; park as far away as possible and walk. Forget something upstairs on purpose each day so you have to take an extra trip. Sit on the floor rather than a couch. Cartwheel, summersault, go upside-down. Get outside and PLAY every single week (like Nym over there does). Find a good CrossFit gym in your area and get in at least a few times a week.

I’ll continue to slowly but surely get back into the gym as often as I can in order to continue to move, to lift heavy (in baby steps to start), to breathe, and to laugh with my community there. And though I took time off from setting new PRs and pushing myself to high intensities in the gym, I never really took time off. I continued my CrossFit journey (my life journey, really), I never stopped squatting, and I learned a lot in the meantime, while continuing to build fitness through movement and healing.

After all, life keeps moving, and so must we!

Most importantly, appreciate that you, as a human, not only need to move, but GET to move. It’s what makes us who we are. So fuel right. Move daily. And above all else ENJOY the ride.

And in celebration of movement, here’s a little treat to enjoy (on occasion) with the ones you love and the ones you love to move with. So get up (squat), go for an adventure, play hard, and then eat a brownie. Because these are good.

I made them egg free in honor of a client of mine, who just rocks (but can’t eat eggs). I don’t think you’ll miss the eggs, though, and now ANYONE and EVERYONE you love can eat them. These are FUDGE-ing good (see what I did there?). So go ahead and ENJOY! <3

IMG_9851

Egg-Free and Nut-Free cocoa fudge brownies (GF, NF, EF)

  • Servings: 6-9
  • Time: 35 min
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 TB Otto’s flour
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup grass fed butter (Use ghee for AIP)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened organic cocoa (use carob powder for AIP)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar (use date sugar for AIP)
  • 1 TB honey or maple syrup (or yacon syrup works great – find out about THRIVE HERE)
  • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Otto’s flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder (use THIS substitute for AIP)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (or homemade nut milk, if you can tolerate nuts)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks from a crushed up dark chocolate bar (preferably soy free and fair trade and I like the chunks better)*
  • OPTIONAL: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (if you’re ok with nuts)*

*leave out for AIP

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat oven to 350 F and soften your butter as the oven preheats in a 8×8 glass baking dish
  • combine the 3 TB of flour and water, cook over medium heat stirring continuously until thick (this will be fast so don’t leave it!). Then move to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool
  • when butter has melted, pour into a bowl and add the cocoa, mixing until smooth (keep residual butter in the dish to keep the brownies from sticking when you bake it)
  • now, beat the sugar and vanilla into the cooled flour mixture, and then stir in the cocoa mixture and coconut milk until blended
  • in a separate small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt, and then stir into the batter until blended (It will not be batter consistency, but more of a spongy, cake-like dough)
  • fold in chocolate and optional walnuts then spread evenly in the buttery pan (I used my hands for this)
  • bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  • let it cool, cut into squares, and ENJOY (oh yeah)

Let me know what you think! I love to hear from you. How often do you move? How can you get more movement into your life? Enjoy and go MOVE today <3

buttery blondies (grain free, nut free, and delicious!)

IMG_9600

It’s about time I posted another dessert recipe… at least that’s what my husband argued when it came time for some fresh recipe testing. Sometimes a splurge is necessary (remember THIS post?), and in cases like this, I would much rather enjoy a treat that’s not filled with processed sugars, flours, and crap oils. That’s why I keep developing these delectable recipes. A big part of life is the joy that comes from good food. Taste is one of the most important senses, after all, and a sweet bite once or twice a week (as long as you don’t have any health issues that require a temporary abstinence from all things sugar) not only keeps us sane, but also brings a unique kind of joy that is hard to beat.

I love baking. it’s soothing to me, especially when I get to turn those favorite sweets into more nourishing, and possibly more delicious versions of the original. In fact, every once in a while, I will find myself blinded by the stresses of life, when the next thing I know, I’m up to my elbows in butter, flour (alternative flour, of course), and some sort of real food sweetener, with the oven preheating and a kitchen filled with all of the most amazing smells. Weird? Maybe. Cheap therapy? Yup.

IMG_9751So what kind of alternative flour did I go for this time? Well, that was an easy choice after a package of Otto’s Cassava Flour showed up on my doorstep last week. I didn’t waste any time either; front porch to oven in about 30 minutes flat (perhaps that’s some sort of a record?). Anyways, this flour is amazing. It can be subbed 1-for-1 for regular flour (in most cases), and after one taste of the dough from this recipe, I knew I had fallen deeply in love. It’s also SO great to have a flour substitute that is not made from nuts. As we know, nuts in moderation and prepared properly can be a great snack, but consistently baking with these easily oxidized, energy dense foods can lead to some less than desirable outcomes, especially for anyone struggling with an autoimmune condition or a sensitivity to nuts in general. With Otto’s that problem is solved. Though it is high in starchy carb (which some folks could actually use more of in their diets), this flour is low in sugar (only 1g of sugar in 100g of the flour), and there are non of the anti-nutrients of nuts, legumes, or grains. Cassava is the same as yucca, which has long been touted as a paleo-friendly carb source. Pretty cool, huh?

So let’s get to business. What did I decide to make with my new favorite flour and lots and LOTS of delicious grass fed butter? Blondies of course. Never heard of a blondie? Well, just imagine a combination of moist, fluffy brownies and chocolate chip cookies from your childhood, and voila! The buttery blondie is born. One of my all-time favorite desserts (one of my husband’s too, so it’s no wonder we’re a perfect match). So get yourself some Otto’s, and as always. Recreate. Share, Enjoy! <3

Buttery Blondies (GF, NF)

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 45 min
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat the oven to 350, and as it preheats melt your butter in an 8 x 8″ glass baking pan (don’t let it get too hot, just melty)
  • pour sugar into a mixing bowl and add your semi-melted butter, leaving the residue in your pan to keep the blondies from sticking when you bake them
  • with a mixer, stir sugar and butter on high speed until it’s nice and creamy (about 2-3 minutes)
  • now, turn the mixer on low, and add the vanilla, then the egg, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl
  • in a small bowl, sift together the otto’s flour, baking soda and salt
  • with the mixer still on low, slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture until blended into a delicious dough (don’t taste it or you’ll never be able to stop and you won’t have any to bake with (it’s that good)
  • fold the chocolate chips and walnuts in with a rubber spatula
  • scoop the batter into the pan and smooth the top
  • bake for 25-30 minutes, being careful not to over-bake! A toothpick may not come out clean, but the top will be slightly browned
  • let it cool completely in the pan and cut into squares
  • ENJOY! We can’t get enough of these but are sure to save them for special occasions. Yum!

What do you think? Please leave a comment below, or share this recipe with the ones you love. Thank you for all the love! It means the world to me. Cheers <3