Roasted chicken thighs with root vegetables

When I first got married, I could not bake chicken for the life of me. No matter what temperature I baked it at or for how long, when I served it, it would still be pink (or even bloody) in the middle. After almost 8 years of marriage, I have finally perfected a baked chicken recipe that is simple and healthy. This recipe can be adapted to accommodate any type or amount of vegetables you have on hand. I served this with the quickest dinner rolls from scratch I’ve ever made before (see recipe here).

Roasted chicken thighs with root vegetables (adapted from here)

The amounts listed below are what I had in the fridge.

Ingredients:

8 chicken thighs (I used skinless, boneless.)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into large pieces
2 kohlrabi, peeled and cubed
non-stick cooking spray
5-6 small, unpeeled new potatoes, cubed
1 onion, cut into large pieces
1 T salt
2 t dried thyme
1 1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 ground nutmeg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Mix salt, thyme, 1½ teaspoons pepper, and nutmeg in small bowl.

3. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Place vegetables in the pan.

4. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on the vegetables.

5. Lay the chicken over the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture on the chicken.

6. Cover with foil and bake until the chicken is golden and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve.

Comment love: What are you favorite chicken recipes?

Open sesame: How to make roasted sesame milk

For all of you looking for milk alternatives and are wanting to try something besides soy or almond milk, give this a try. Sesame milk (contains no milk) tastes wonderful and is almost reminiscent of a “peanut-buttery milk”.

Roasted sesame milk

Ingredients:

2 cups of water

3/4 cups of sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Toast sesame seeds in oven @ 350 degrees for about 5 minutes.

2. Place all ingredients in Vitamix blender and secure lid.

3. Start machine at Variable 1 and quickly increase to Variable 10. Then, switch to high.

4. Blend for about 2 minutes or until desired consistency.

5. Strain using cheesecloth or nut milk bag (shown below) and/or add sweetener if desired.

After I strained the milk, I only had a tiny bit of nut pulp left. You could add this to a bread dough (e.g., banana bread). I added mine to my compost pile. (Click here for post on how to compost apartment-style.)

6. Store in the refrigerator or enjoy immediately! (I store mine in an “upcycled” glass peanut butter jar.)

Notes:

I used my toaster oven to toast the seeds, so it was pretty quick. Actually, the sesame seeds that I had were already labeled as “roasted”, but the recipe I used said that toasting seeds improves the slight bitter flavor of the “milk”, so I wasn’t taking any chances.

The recipe makes 2 cups, but the batch that I made in the pictures is only 1/2 of the recipe.

I made this using my Vitamix. I’m sure you could make it in a regular blender, but because it does require that you blend for about 2 minutes, I would be afraid that a regular blender couldn’t handle it. (It was when I tried to make things like this, that I burnt out several “regular” blenders and decided to get a Vitamix. Click here for more information on how to purchase a Vitamix (30-day money back guarantee–so if you don’t like it, you can always send it back–although I doubt you will). Using this link will provide free shipping (a $25 value).

If they sell donut holes, where do all the bagel holes go?

For those of you following my adventures in the kitchen through this blog, you know that I love trying to make things from scratch, like fruit leather, Shanghai soup dumplings (xiao long tang bao), or green tea  and birthday cake ice cream. Many of you probably are wondering why in the world would you make yogurt from scratch [or insert food], when you can buy them for 0.40 [insert insanely cheap price] at the store? Here are some of the reasons I’m up for the challenge of  DIY food:

1) Sometimes things really do taste better homemade.

2) Sometimes things really are cheaper homemade.

3) It’s “greener”. It reduces packaging waste and doesn’t contribute (much) to my carbon footprint.

4) I can control what goes into what I make. I don’t need to add preservatives, unecessary colorings or flavor enhancers.

5) It’s fun to know “where your food comes from.”

6) It makes me feel more “domesticated”. ( :

Making food from scratch doesn’t always make sense. Some recipes take way too long to prepare and only taste slightly better than store-bought like my Taiwanese pineapple cakes. But nonetheless it’s fun.

So, I wanted to share with you my attempt at homemade bagels. Continue reading

Vitamix does fruit roll-ups

On their website, Vitamix boasts that this amazing “blender” can tackle 52 amazing food feats. Well, I’m proud to say I’ve discovered food feat #53.

Before Christmas break, I stuck some apples in the fridge…and forgot about them…until yesterday. Now, when it comes to apples, I’m pretty snobby. I really like a crisp, crunchy apple. I do not do mealy apples. I’ve recently discovered honeycrisp apples (or as R likes to call them: “honeycripsy” apples) and if any of you have ever ate one, you know exactly what a delicious apple should taste like. Sorry Gala and Fuji but I’ve found a new love. But, I deter. Back to the old, mushy apples in the fridge. Yesterday, I pulled them out of the fridge just to see how “bad” they really were. Secretly, I was hoping that they were rotten and I could just toss them. But suprisingly, they “looked” decent. Well, I knew they weren’t good enough for this “apple snob” to eat directly. So, I remembered that I had been wanting to try to make fruit leather from scratch. Do you remember eating Fruit Roll-Ups as a kid? I thought this would be the perfect way to use up my “old” fruit.

Here’s what I did:

Continue reading

You’d be nutty not to make this: Almond milk in the Vitamix

Recently, you might have noticed Blue Diamond has made commercially available almond milk. Almond milk is a great alternative for those who don’t like or can’t tolerate milk or soymilk. It’s cholesterol-free and has a delicious nutty flavor. It surprisingly isn’t as expensive as I thought it might be, a half gallon costing a little more than a gallon of milk (if I remember correctly). Well, I tasted and thought it was pretty good. But if you know me, in my quest to become more domesticated, I wanted to see how difficult it would be to make almond milk from scratch. Again, this was another thing that was on my list of things I wanted to try with the Vitamix, but haven’t got around to it until tonight. (It seems that every time I have almonds in the house, I end up making these.)

Here’s how I did it:

Soak 3/4 cup almonds overnight in water. You can use whole almonds or sliced. I had both, so I used both.

IMG_0131

After soaking, rinse them until the water runs clear. They will be puffy.

IMG_0150  

Continue reading

Popeye approved: Faux Cream of Spinach Soup in the Vitamix

The cool fall day today made me really crave soup for dinner. I had bought a big ‘ole bunch of spinach at the Asian market tonight. So, I decided to make a faux cream of spinach soup. This recipe could easily be vegan if made with vegetable broth instead of chicken.

Picture 096

4 T onion, peeled/chopped

2 t canola or olive oil

1/2 # fresh spinach, washed

2 c broth (chicken or vegetable)

1 1/2 t cornstarch

3 oz tofu

  Continue reading

Oodles and oodles of zoodles

Here is a post on what you can do with all of those zucchinis from this summer’s garden.

When I was at the farmer’s market buying peaches and basil for the smoothie that I wanted to try, I also picked up some beautiful zucchinis. I wanted to try to make the zoodles that I had tried at the local raw/vegan cafe that I ate at the other day. This is perfect for people who are following diet restrictions (for whatever reason), like vegan or raw food diets and for people who just want a fun way to eat zucchini besides zucchini bread. For this re-creation, I did not see what ingredients they used to make them with and just went with my instincts on what I thought I might like. I hope the owner of this cafe isn’t offended by my attempts at re-creating her delicious dishes. I hope she just remembers that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Here’s what I used in my version of zoodles:

zucchini, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds (I had white and black so I used both), sugar (not shown in picture)

Picture 086

Here is what the zucchini looks like after it’s been attacked by the julienne peeler. Don’t they look like green noodles?

Picture 088

Here is the delicious final product: Zoodles (They were so yummy that I ate them with 2 meals today and I can’t wait to get my hands on more zucchini.)

Picture 089

My new favorite end-of-summer combo: Peaches and basil

I recently visited a cute local vegan/raw cafe with my cubie, F. We shared an lunch entree that included zoodles and an amazing beet salad. We also decided to each order a smoothie. There were so many to select from; I ended up going with the chef’s recommendation, the Tropical Peach, which featured flavors of peaches and basil. I thought it sounded like an interesting combination and wanted to see what it was like. Let me tell you. It was the most refreshing, clean-tasting, delicious creation! I took note of the ingredients she used to prepare it and rushed to the farmer’s market to buy some local peaches and basil so I could try this at home.

Here are the ingredients I used to create a smoothie perfect for summer’s end:

2 fresh peaches (I used white, but I’m guessing yellow would be just as good, maybe even better), 6-7 basil leaves, 1/2 c frozen mango, small handful of walnuts, 2 T shredded coconut, 1/2 c coconut milk, agave nectar (just a squeeze…may not need if peaches are really sweet), ice

Picture 083

I blended everything up in my Vitamix on high for about 30 seconds.

I didn’t even have time to garnish the smoothie before R grabbed it up and downed it. By the way, this picture does this smoothie no justice.

Picture 084

makes 2 generous servings

It’s official…I Heart my Vitamix!

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to have a way to capture life to share with my baby sister and BIL while they are away in Afghanistan serving our nation. The other main reason is because I wanted to share with everyone my adventures in the kitchen, especially those that involve my Vitamix (VM). If you know me at all, you know how I can’t stop raving about my VM. I joking told a friend that if I had a dollar for each time I mentioned their blender, I wouldn’t need to work. Well, I recently found out that I could promote the VM and the VM lifestyle and potentially earn a dollar. So, I am now officially a Vitamix affiliate, which basically means that I can offer free shipping and handling ($25 value) to anyone who buys a VM through me, using the link on this page (see below) or by using my affiliate code (06-005573) at checkout if buying online.

Here’s to living a full life: full stomach, full mind, full heart!

Shrek Juice and Blueberry Ice Cream in the Vitamix

I have decided to affectionately refer to my green smoothies as “Shrek Juice”. This morning I made a special batch of Shrek Juice (SJ) to take to work with me. Today’s SJ was made with banana, pineapple (the not pretty part that you don’t want to eat, but is a waste to throw it away), including pineapple core (or pineapple hearts), frozen strawberries, frozen mangos, carrot, grape tomatoes and and the “Shrekiest” of ingredients—a generous handful of spinach!

Picture 021 Picture 023 Picture 026

As you can see, I definitely made enough to share. So, I packaged it up for my bike ride to work by pouring the SJ into pint-sized Ball jelly jars. I then put the jars into a insulate cooler (that I scored the other day for free from the University career fair—which I likely didn’t have business visiting). Continue reading

About me.

What are three-and-a-half interesting tidbits about yourself?

1. I have a container fetish.

2. I often (usually daily) wear 3 mis-matched earrings on purpose.

3. I have a list of what I call “Starbucks names” that I use at restaurants where they call out your name when your order is ready 1) to avoid the hassle of trying to spell it and 2) to avoid the embarrassment of the employee when they struggle to pronounce it.

3.5. I get a high off of free (and ridiculously cheap) things. Give-a-ways, free food samplings, coupons/discount codes and roadside treasures. This girl lives on good deals!

So, you’re a registered dietitian. Does that mean you only eat “healthy” things?

Capital “N”, capital “O”. In fact, the other day at a friend’s 50th birthday party, after I just finished explaining to some new friends that I was a dietitian, a grandmother shook her finger at me for eating a Puerto Rican fried codfish patty.  For some people, they exercise to stay fit and reduce their disease risk. For me, I exercise so I can eat. Growing up, I never put much thought into what I ate. I knew that inherently somethings were better choices, but that often didn’t stop me from eating them. My afternoon snack in high school after I could drive was 3 McDonald’s cheeseburgers. I was one of those blessed with a wooden leg as a child. Now, that I’m growing older, um, I mean, wiser and I’m cooking for more than just myself, I’ve taken more interest in not only promoting well eating to others (which used to be my job), but in eating well myself.

Do you consider yourself a “green” person?

Maybe not Kermit-the-frog green, but maybe more of a yellow-ish green (?). Do I think that we should all be taking steps to make this earth a better place to live now and then? Yes. Do I think it’s realistic for everyone to grow all of your own food, never drink bottled water and go around all day hugging trees? No. But I do think that we can all find ways to adjust our current lifestyle so that it’s Planet Earth friendly.

Why did you decide to start a blog?

The idea to start a blog came from wanting to capture daily happenings of life to share with my sister and BIL who are serving our country in the war in Afghanistan. Before she deployed we would talk regularly about everything! I miss her dearly and wanted to find a way to “tell” her everything that was going on here in the States. So, I thought the best way to do it would be to start a blog.

Again, back to the dietitian thing, does that mean your blog is only going to be about food?

No, I’m not necessarily writing to appeal to a specific audience. Again, I’m started a blog as a way to document my life. Yes, there is a lot of food in my life being that I live to eat and that I’m in the field of nutrition. So, my blog will have a lot of food focus, but I’m mainly hoping that it will just be an fancy electronic reflection of me.

Your blog’s web address is pocketoffulllife.wordpress.com. Can you explain the meaning behind the name?

First of all, for any of you that know me personally, you know that I have name issues. So, a lot of thought went into the name of my blog. Any web articles that I read about naming a blog said that the blog should give readers an idea of what your blog’s focus would be and reflect your personality and style. Well, that was a little bit of a problem because I didn’t want my blog to have just 1 focus. I wanted it just to be about my life and hey, if something interesting happens along the way, then hey, I’ll blog about it. Literally, months of time passed before I came up with any contenders. I even went through an intense brainstorming process to try and inspire ideas. Well, once I finally settled on something (hurray!), almost quicker than my fingers could type I went to wordpress.com to register my blog’s desired name. Well, whadda ya know? Of course, it was taken. Back to the drawing board. Well, I fell to love the concept of full life, which is what I am trying to live and embrace and I love pockets. I figured out that the reason I really love pockets is because they are just “containers” for your hands. Pockets are just the right size to fit needed essentials. I guess symbolically what I’m trying to say is that it living a full life doesn’t mean that you have to have everything. It means doing the most you can with what you have. It is the ideal of have a “rich” life simply that I want to embrace. So, pocketoffulllife.wordpress.com is my version and finally, my blog, now with an identity, can make it’s entrance into blog world.