Archives for March 2014

Roasted Chicken with Grapes



You almost can’t go wrong with a simple roasted chicken. It is one of the easiest dishes to make and you can serve it as the centerpiece for any meal.  This recipe, inspired by my grandmother, is simple twist on a classic roast.  Crispy on the outside yet juicy and tender on the inside, the grapes and onions add subtle flavor without going over the top.  The grapes, cooked whole, end up sweet as candy and bursting with flavor. They work great as a side, much like cranberry sauce for turkey.

Quick tip: For a tender and juicy chicken, always let your bird to sit at room temperature for an hour before roasting. This allows the meat to cook evenly and fewer juices will leak out or evaporate during cooking. If you put a cold chicken into the oven, the heat will dry the meat on the outside out before the inside is cooked.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time:  1 hour and 30 minutes

1 small roasting chicken, approx. 4-5 lbs
1 bunch of seedless grapes, washed and removed from stems, approx. 2 1/2″ cups
2 small onions, peeled and cut into 10 wedges each
1 large lemon, cut half into slices and leave half whole
Grapeseed Oil

Preheat oven to 450°

  • Rinse and pat dry bird.
  • Rub inside with Grapeseed Oil, salt and pepper. Place 5 onion wedges in the bottom of the bird cavity. Pack remainder of cavity with whole grapes and add 2 slices of lemon.
  • Tie legs together and place stuffed bird on a wire rack in a backing pan.
  • Place remaining grapes and onion wedges around the pan. Drizzle chicken, grapes and onions with Grapeseed Oil, making sure to rub oil into the skin of the bird.
  • Take the half of lemon and squeeze over bird and and into the cavity. Squeeze any remaining juice over the grapes and onions in pan.
  • Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper to taste (be generous with the pepper)
  • Cook at 450°F for 25 minutes. Stir grapes and onions in pan and reduce heat to 400°F. Cook for another 50-55 minutes, depending on the size of the bird. When a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thigh (and not too close to the bone), registers 165°F, take out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

One final note: this recipe does not follow the basic high heat method of cooking rules described here.  Extra time and heat are needed because you are packing the bird full of goodies. Always make sure that when you cut into the thigh the juice runs clear (not pink) and the temperature reaches 165°F before removing.


Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

easter bunch


Looking to try something different with your Easter eggs this year?  These fun recipes, using ingredients that are 100% natural, create vibrant and earthy colors that are sure to stand out.

To start, hard boil a dozen eggs.  In addition to the ingredients below, you will need a saucepan, whisk, liquid measuring cup, a couple of spoons and some glass containers.  I recommend using 16oz wide mouth Mason Jars.  Each jar will hold 2 eggs comfortably and the wide mouth allows you to easily move the eggs around while working. Large cups or deep bowls also work well.  Just be careful if you use plastic or ceramic containers as you are making dyes with hot water.  Glass is easy to clean up and does not stain.





Yellow:  Stir 2 Tbsp of Turmeric to 1 cup of boiling water.  Add 2 Tbsp. white vinegar.








Orange: Peel skins off 6 yellow onions and add to 2 cups of boiling water.  Simmer for 15 mins, then strain.  Stir in 1 Tbsp white vinegar.





Purple egg


Purple: Peel skins off 6 red onions and add to 2 cups of boiling water.  Simmer for 15 mins, then strain.  Stir in 1 Tbsp white vinegar.  **It is important to note that when I originally researched this process this was supposed to create a lime green color.  I think because I added some of the actual onion, not just the flaky skin, I changed the outcome of color.




blue egg



Blue: Take 1/4 of a head of red cabbage and cut into chunks.  Add to 4 cups of boiling water and stir in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  Let cabbage soak until the water is cool and strain out the chunks.  Pour liquid over eggs and soak overnight.




All the colors shown are the result of letting the eggs sit overnight in jars.  It is best to do this in the fridge so the eggs don’t spoil.  When removing the eggs from the jars, you might notice a slimy film on the shells from the dye. This is natural and not something to worry about.  Gently rinse with water and this will go away.

To get the “brushed” two-tone finish that you see in the photos, I used a damp cloth or my finger to wipe off patches of the dye to create the painted look I was going for.  To get the bright solid colors, I gently rinsed and placed in a bowl to dry.  It’s fun to play with different options and the beauty of dying with natural ingredients is that the results will be perfectly imperfect.

To add a shine to the finished eggs, moisten a paper towel with some vegetable oil and lightly rub down the eggs.  Always remember to keep the eggs refrigerated until you are ready to show them.

Of course, not everything went as planned.  I did try 2 other colors without success which are not shown here.

  • Lavender called for 1 cup grape juice mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar.  My results were white eggs with brownish spots and a thick film and and almost salty like finish on the outside.  I washed them and let them sit for a few hours in the red cabbage mixture which made a paler blue version.
  • Paprika follows the same process as turmeric and was supposed to result in a red-brick color.  Unfortunately, all I seemed to do was dye my fingers.  The eggs themselves were a muddy brown.  I think that the paprika I used was too old and that could have affected the color. I’m not 100% sure.

If you are looking for additional inspiration and other colors to try, click here for more info. 

Happy dying!!!

Holy Guacamole!

guacamoleIn my experience you can never go wrong with guacamole which is why this has become my go-to party recipe.  The cayenne pepper, paprika and cilantro create a subtle kick which will wake up your taste buds and keep your guests coming back for more.  Not only is this great with tortilla chips, but it also make a great alternative to dip veggies or spread on crackers. Depending on how to plan to serve the dip, you can keep the avocados chunky or mash until smooth.

Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

2 medium avocados, peeled and pitted
1 lime, juiced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

  • Place the avocado, tomato and onion in a medium bowl.
  • Add half the lime juice and sprinkle with cayenne, paprika and sea salt.
  • Mash all the ingredients together to reach the consistency you prefer- this can be done with a fork, potato masher or even your hands.
  • Stir in the cilantro and remaining lime juice.
  • Add pepper to taste

This can be served immediately, but for best results place in the refrigerator for one hour allowing all the flavors to truly blend.  Stir before serving.


Cinnamon Sweet Potato Wedges

A sweet and simple recipe jammed packed with flavor and sure to please


Looking for a quick and easy dish to spice up your next meal?  These cinnamon sweet potato wedges are easy to make and packed full of wonderful flavors that will have you coming back for more.

Don’t be afraid of the cinnamon!  It adds a sweet and smoky taste that compliments the natural flavor of the sweet potatoes.  Because these bake for an hour, it is great to throw in the oven while you are working on other recipes.  Once cooked, all you need to do is transfer to a plate and serve.

I also recommend pairing with our Simple Guacamole or Spinach and Avocado Dip.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Wedges

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 3 large Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper


  1. Wash and cut potatoes into wedges approximately 1" thick. Make sure not to make the pieces too thick and as close in size as possible- it's important that they all cook evenly!
  2. Place the cut wedges into a baking dish. Make sure the dish is large enough that the potatoes are not on top of each other (overlapping edges are fine).
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  4. Using your hands, toss all ingredients together ensuring that all the wedges are evenly coated with both oil and spices.
  5. Bake for one hour, turning every 20 minutes, until wedges are slightly browned on all sides.
  6. Transfer to platter and serve!


Easy Hard Boiled Eggs

There are lots of different ways to hard boil an egg. This a quick and easy way to keep the shells from cracking while cooking.

eggs 2

Total time: 15-20 mins (depending on egg size)

  • Carefully place eggs in a single layer on the bottom of a saucepan.
  • Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by 1″.
  • Heat over high heat (uncovered) until water starts to boil.
  • Remove from heat and cover.
  • Let stand in hot water for 12 mins for large eggs (15 mins for extra large eggs)
  • Drain immediately and run under cold water until cool.
  • If you need to speed up cooling, place in a bowl of ice water.
  • Once cool, refrigerate.

Sometimes you will notice a green ring around the yolk of the egg.  While completely harmless, if you are using the yolks as part of recipe you want to keep the color as fresh and yellow as possible.  Cooking with hot, not boiling water, and immediately cooling as suggested helps to minimize the green ring.

If you plan on peeling the eggs, it is best to do immediately after cooling.  The eggs constrict as they cool and it will make it easier to break and remove the shells.  However, it is important to note that once eggs are peeled you should eat within 24 hours.  Hard boiled eggs in the shell will keep for up to one week after cooking.