Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WDW - Coconut Baked Chicken

Rich got on me today for not posting WDWs lately. So, this one's for you, honey - enjoy.

Sometimes when I'm at Whole Foods, I feel so uninformed. There are SO many items that I have NO idea what they are, much less what to do with them. Most of them are in the vitamins/supplement area so I just keep my distance. But, sometimes I come across something interesting, so I take it home and figure out what to do with it.

Last week, I was slowly perusing one of my favorite areas - the dry good bins. I usually buy things like organic oats and shredded coconut there by the pound. I happened to notice coconut flour...hmmm. So I picked up a small bagful, thinking that I love pretty much everything else coconut, so why not?
It appealed to me because I really don't like to use white flour anymore and am always looking for good alternatives.

First thing I found in my online search about the stuff was that it's a by product of coconut milk, dried and pulverized. So, for those allergic to grains it is a good choice. Here's what I found out:
  • Coconut Flour is ideal for baking. It has fewer digestible (net) carbs than other flours, and it even has fewer digestible carbs than some vegetables!

  • Coconut Flour is gluten-free and hypoallergenic. With as much protein as wheat flour, coconut flour has none of the specific protein in wheat called "gluten". This is an advantage for a growing percentage of the population who have allergies to gluten or a wheat sensitivity.

  • Coconut Flour consists of the highest percentage of dietary fiber( 58%) found in any flour. Wheat bran has only is 27% fiber.

I also found this blog with several good sounding recipes using coconut flour. I'm going to try a couple tomorrow to give to my kids - banana bread (with coconut flour and almond flour -I'm using almond meal from TJ's), and chocolate chip muffins. I'll let you know how they turn out.

So, last night was one of those nights where I defrosted some bone-in chicken breasts not knowing exactly what I might do with them. Whole Foods had whole organic chickens for $1.99/lb. about a month ago so I stocked up on four of them (I had the butcher cut them into pieces for me and froze them in small packages) so we've been eating a lot of chicken. :-) One of my favorite, easy ways to cook chicken is to "oven fry" so I decided to make that. Normally, I dredge seasoned chicken in white flour, drizzle butter over, and bake. I decided to substitute the coconut flour and also decided to drizzle coconut oil over instead of the butter. What a hit!! It was so easy and delicious, and SO MUCH IMPROVED nutritionally and taste-wise. You can really taste the coconut! Wow, was this yummy.

Here's how I did it: I cut the breasts in half (for faster cooking). I ALWAYS leave the skin and bone in - it produces a much juicier result. I confess that I also ALWAYS eat the skin too. :-) Life is too short not to eat crispy chicken skin, you know? I guess I've never been one for boneless/skinless breasts when it comes to baking. Anyways, I digress. The next thing I did was sprinkled kosher salt and fresh ground pepper on the chicken, then dredged it in the coconut flour, shaking off excess. I placed the pieces, skin side down, in a baking dish sprayed with Pam and drizzled with a little melted coconut oil. I then drizzled a little more coconut oil over the top, popped them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, and they were done. I turned them about halfway. You want to be careful not to overcook these. Let cool about 5-10 min. before eating.

I served this chicken with baked sweet potatoes and roasted fennel. It was a delicious meal for very little effort. I started the potatoes first (they take an hour) then added the chicken and fennel to the oven about 20 minutes later and everything cooked together. By the way, if you haven't tried roasting fennel - it is so delish. After receiving it in my farm box recently, I discovered this amazing cooking method. Just cut the bulb into wedges (discard the core) and drizzle a little evoo and s & p over, roast at 400 degrees about 40 minutes, turning once. The flavor mellows, they caramelize so beautifully and are so tasty. If you like caramelized onions you have to try this! I have always loved thinly shaved fennel in salads, but this new way has rocked my world!
Trader Joe's carries fennel now, too.

P.S. Sorry for the blurry photo - ripped it from instagram. :-)

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

YES! I am so tired of buying those little pre-moistened makeup remover wipes. Not only are they expensive, but they really irritate my eyes. I've tried every brand and they all do the same thing to me! Sometimes I will have redness that resembles pink eye (really attractive) for days after using them and won't be able to even put on makeup. I saw this recipe for a gentler homemade makeup remover and I knew I needed to try it. But first I needed to track down this little item:

And what better place to get it but Amazon Prime! Out the door for $4 - free 2 day shipping! Nice.

You only use a tiny amount of the Dr. Bronner's, so I just bought the 2 oz. size.

I mixed the easy recipe last night - only three ingredients: distilled water, olive oil, and Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby Castile Soap. Mix one cup of distilled water with 1/4 tsp. Dr. Bronner's and 1 tsp. olive oil. That's it. I mixed it in a pyrex measuring cup, and poured it into a plastic squirt bottle I had (from Smart and Final - I think they are mustard/ketchup bottles and come in sets of 6 - they are so handy!). It's perfect for squeezing onto a cotton ball. You do have to give it a little shake first to mix. It worked like a charm and my eyes did not sting or turn red. :-) I finished by washing my face with my homemade unscented pure goat's milk soap to remove my mineral makeup. Fresh, clean, and natural! Try it!

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