Sunday, January 17, 2010

Follow up to "Food, Inc."...

This past week I wrote a review for "Food, Inc.", and said that I had made a recent switch to buying humanely-raised chicken. Tonight was the first time I had made a whole roast chicken, instead of the usual chicken breasts. I cook whole roast chicken about every other week, and I actually find them easier to make than chicken breasts on the grill. Simply wash the chicken, dry it off, put some salt and pepper on it, and stick it in the oven for an hour and half. If you want the crispy skin like the rotisserie chickens they have at the grocery store deli, simply keep the chicken uncovered in the over for at least 15 minutes after cooking an hour and half.

My husband and I usually cannot eat the whole bird, however, leftover meat from a whole chicken works great in soups like regular old-fashioned chicken noodle, or I like making chicken tortilla soup. After having chicken for supper, the next day I like to make a big batch of soup for my lunches at work throughout the week.

Besides giving you an idea of how to get two meals out of one, I also wanted to point out more of a commentary on the cooking of a humanely-raised chicken in comparison to what I had bought prior. When I go grocery shopping, I usually buy the smallest bird I can find, simply because like I said before, we have more than enough leftovers. Its a waste of food and money to buy anything bigger.

After cooking for an hour and half, and then another 15 minutes uncovered, I was confused to see no layer of chicken grease in the pan after taking it out of the oven. On the Tyson birds I used to buy, I usually would end up with a soup can full chicken grease in the pan. After taking the chicken out of the oven, I then take it out of the baking pan into a piece of stoneware for the table. However, today I found I couldn't even lift the bird out of the pan without it falling apart. The meat was so tender it was falling right off the bone. Plus, I also thought it tasted better than the other type of chicken I buy. I don't know what all of these signs mean, but I like less grease, meat so tender it falls of the bone, and the fact it tastes great.

Let me know about your experiences if you have similarities and differences. Happy cooking!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Movie Review: Food, Inc.

I came into watching Food, Inc. almost scared that it would make me want to change my entire lifestyle. I thought I would come out of it wanting to only shop at the local Co-op, which I would love to do but really can't afford, however, I gained something different than I thought.

  1. The first and foremost thing that I always seem to gain from these movies is that capitalism is bad. I hope I am not the first person to tell you this either. The film talks in depth about how the seeds that farmers use can be patented, and large corporations now demand to be paid when farmers use these genetically modified seeds, even when they didn't buy them, they just spread through natural pollination.
  2. The second thing I took from this movie is that it is not so much about processed food, but how we treat our food. I have never seen how corporate farming is now, but as an animal-rights activist, I failed to see the connection prior of how these animals are treated inhumanely. While I am by no means a vegetarian, I believe all animals have the right to a healthy and happy life. Not to be stuffed in a dark and hot environment, or to be deprived of something that farm animals should be naturally eating, like grass. I really don't want to eat animals that are treated like that. 
  3. The overall message of the film is that the corporations work by YOUR standards. In the film it is said as you as a customer vote every time with the foods you buy as to how they are made and grown. What surprised me the most in this film is that Wal-Mart was not painted as a "villain". In fact, representatives on there were visiting a local farm and asking about their products for one reason - its what their customers are interested in. The fact is Wal-Mart will sell you anything as long as it continues to make money. If you want to buy chickens that come from a humanely raised environment, ask for it, and the company will consider it to keep your business. My local Wal-Mart carries humanely raised chicken, for not much more than the regular Tyson chicken. And after seeing this film I will not buy anything else. 
Overall this was a really good film, and I would encourage you to see it! It's now on NetFlix for instant viewing too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

After a much needed rest, I'm back to begin the new year with renewed spirit and innovative posts on the world of frugality and green living.

With the beginning of the new year, many of us make resolutions in hopes of completing them within the new year. I have decided a resolution for myself would be to read 50 books for fun this year. However, like many of you, I am pessimistic about completing this goal, even though I first thought I would make my goal 100 books. Rule number one about goal setting is to make the goal achievable and realistic. You want to challenge yourself, but also make the goal attainable. If it isn't, its easy to get disheartened or feel bad about yourself if you can't complete the goal. Anyways, another way to keep yourself on track for your resolutions is to remind yourself. While google calendar can be programmed to remind you of your tasks, another venue is the site Here, you can write an email to yourself that will be emailed to you at a specified date of your choice.

Try to be creative! This doesn't have to be a list of tasks, this can be an actual narrative letter you will write to your future self. Imagine what the conversation would be like. I did this with myself a couple of years ago, and I was surprised at my sense of humor, but also how well I knew myself (in terms of my bad habits, especially). Once you get that email, check the status of your goals, and congratulate yourself where congratulations are due. As human beings we are quick to point to our faults (i.e. goals we may not have completed) before our strengths (goals we have completed). If goals need to be reassessed, than do so, because clearly something wasn't working. Good luck with your resolutions for this year, and happy new year!