Real. Good. Fud.

and other joys in life


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Chicken- it’s what’s for dinner.

Chicken.  Most people concerned about health, but not wanting to go vegetarian, probably consume a lot of this famous white meat.

Not in my household… I can live with or without chicken, but the husband is not a fan.  Say chicken and he’ll think “dry, bland, and not good”.  So for the first 2 years of our marriage, I almost never cooked chicken.

In an attempt to cut back on deli meat, I decided to roast a whole chicken- and use the meat on sandwiches and salads.  The results were fabulous.  Full of flavor, unbelievably moist… even the husband thoroughly enjoyed it!

His wings fell off 😦

When looking into chicken, I was amazed to see all of the health benefits homemade broth has to offer.  There’s actually a reason for this soup of choice when ill!

So, we know it’s really great for your health.  It’s also a great way to be frugal.  The bird I most recently bought was $14 (almost 7 pounds, free range, organic).  That included a dinner for 2, a week’s worth of meat (for leftovers, salads, sandwiches), and lots of broth!

This is one of those dishes you can get really creative with!

Here’s how I cook the bird:

Remove giblets, pat dry, and place in a slow cooker with about 2 inches of water in the bottom.

Season with salt, pepper (I use whole peppercorns), garlic and onion powder, sage, and rosemary.  (the options are endless-try experimenting with orange, cinnamon sticks, fennel, paprika, thyme, and other herbs!)

Cover and cook until done!  My 7-pounder was done in 6 hours on high (maybe sooner).  (Of course this will depend on the size of your bird, so just check with a meat thermometer before taking him out.  And remember, it will continue to cook after you take it out and let it rest.)

When you remove the chicken, be very careful!  I recommend using some tongs and a huge spoon or sturdy spatula for underneath support.  This guy’s meat will literally slide right off the bones.

Now-very important- let the chicken ‘rest’ after you remove it from the slow cooker- for about 30 minutes.  By doing this, you avoid all the juices escaping when you cut it.

When you ‘cut’ it, there is really no ‘cutting’ involved.  You should just be able to pick the meat off with a fork and tongs or your fingers.  Sometimes I just pull the bones out, and then pick through the meat to ensure it’s ‘clean’.

Okay- so now you have your chicken meat.

Eat it, pack it up, freeze it, do whatever you need to do with it.

Now it’s time to make your broth:

Put all the bones and other ‘inedible’ pieces back in your slow cooker (along with the juices).  I throw the skin out, but some people leave it in.

Add a splash of apple cider vinegar, some fresh garlic and peppercorns (and onion, carrots, celery if you’d like).

Cook overnight on low.

Strain the broth.

If you want low-fat, store it in the refrigerator for a few hours and the fat will solidify on top- then just scoop it off!

I usually store some in the fridge for immediate use, and freeze the rest in bags or jars (leaving room for expansion- learned that lesson the hard way!).

Whew- looks like a long post, but it really is incredibly simple and takes little ‘hands on’ time.

This chicken is so moist and flavorful for two main reasons: it’s cooked very slowly, and it’s cooked with the bones in and skin on.  I don’t eat the skin, but leaving it on during cooking produces dramatically different meat!

If I haven’t convinced you- do a little research on chicken broth, and try it for yourself!


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Apple Cider Vinegar for Beautiful Skin (and hair)

I think I’m on a train to hippie-ville.  If I keep it up, I will be making all of my home and body products (with the exception of makeup, hairspray and toothpaste) by the end of the year.  Or sooner.

I love the oil-cleansing method; it worked a serious miracle on my skin.  However, my complexion still isn’t perfect.  It’s still just a bit oily, and I have red spots from acne scars and such.

That’s when I decided to make my own toner.

Have you experimented much with apple cider vinegar (ACV)?  I’ve always loved it for salad dressing and to catch gnats… but never thought of it for beauty.

ACV is supposed to balance the pH of your skin (and hair), which is naturally slightly acidic.  For skin, it helps balance complexion; your skin can find that happy place between oily and dry.  It helps to soften skin, and reduces red marks and blemishes.  ACV absorbs oil and kills bacteria (making it a great acne treatment).

ACV helps to soften and smooth hair (by closing the cuticle), and detangles.

And perhaps best of all- it is INCREDIBLY cheap and easy.

Be sure to get the good stuff- organic, raw, and unfiltered- to enjoy all these benefits.  Even the high quality ACV is just a few dollars.  And since you dilute it (always dilute it!), a bottle will last you a while!

I just started a new hair routine, which uses ACV as a rinse.  Since I’m not sure the outcome, and will be experimenting- I’ll share it later.  But in the meantime here is what I do for my skin.  Brace yourself…

1 part ACV

2 parts distilled water

Mix them and apply to your face with a cotton pad or washcloth.

Think you can handle that?  Keep in mind that you may need to dilute it a little more, depending on your skin type.  You can also use an herbal infusion for water (e.g. chamomile tea), or add anything else (e.g., tea tree oil).

Side note- check out the other health benefits of ACV when consumed- it is believed to reduce sinus infections, balance high cholesterol, fight allergies, strengthen immune system, increase metabolism, prevent UTI… and the list goes on.


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Natural Living- Wash your Face with Oil

I’ve found myself becoming more and more interested in making products for home and body.  It started out as a simple all-purpose cleaner to save money, and after falling in love that turned into window cleaner, laundry detergent and wood polish. 

My sister told me how great the ‘oil cleansing method’ is (for your face).  I’ve always had super sensitive skin, and battled with breakouts.  I thought, “no way am I putting oil on my already oily, acne-prone skin!”  Well… I tried it.  And. I LOVE it!  It gets rid of makeup, and leaves my skin healthy feeling- not stripped.  It makes me angry at commercial products and medicine for failing me all these years… but that’s a whole other conversation! 

Now, I don’t like to reinvent the wheel.  So instead of writing much about specific things I’ve made, I will lead you to some people who have lots of information and recipes.

The best blog I’ve found for all things homemade- for home and body- is Crunchy Betty, You have food on your face.  She has a great post on the oil cleansing method, along with many others.

Here is a great article on what the oil cleansing method is, how to do it, and why it works.

Everyone is different, but for my sensitive, oily but can get dry, acne-prone skin… I use about 60% castor oil, 40% sunflower oil, and tea tree oil.

Let me tell you, this seriously is a miracle for me.  I’ve been using clindamycin (topical) and prescription Retinol for the past year.  It worked okay at ridding the acne… but my skin was still irritated and sad.  Also, I always knew it wasn’t a ‘forever’ fix considering the toxins I was putting in my body.  When I started the oil cleansing method I planned on continuing the prescriptions for a while.  However after seeing such wonderful results, I’ve quit using them altogether.  In the past 4 weeks (since beginning the oil cleansing method), I’ve had 2 pimples.  Two very small pimples, that were gone within 1-2 days.  The hubs even said my skin looks good.  Score!

Everyone’s skin is different, so I hope others have the beautiful experience I have with the oil cleansing method.  Have you tried it?  Or, what else do you use to clean your face?