Tips for Cooking a Roast Chicken

We have been making this awesome Air Fryer Whole Chicken recipe by Low Carb with Jennifer. In full transparency, this is not for any dietary purpose but because we like the recipe so much and it’s super simple. Here are some tips to really make this great!

1. Use an oil with a high smoke point, like the avocado oil recommended in the recipe. This will help the chicken skin crisp up without burning or smoking before the chicken is cooked through. The same tip applies to any items you may be frying or roasting crispy.

2. Use gloves to rub the seasonings and oil onto the chicken. I prefer lab or similar gloves for cleaning and food prep because they come in different sizes versus those giant plastic food prep gloves. Gloves are great for any prep work for either hygenic purposes or to keep spices and oils from getting embedded in your fingernails.

3. Remove the giblets! This may be obvious if you’ve cooked a whole chicken or turkey before, but be sure to remove any packets that are inside the cavity (center hole) of the chicken before cooking it. You can separately cook or use those, but in this case I discard them.

4. Pat it dry! Pat your chicken (and any proteins) dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture before prepping and cooking. This will keep your meat from getting soggy when it cooks.

5. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness in the thickest part and/or center of your chicken (breast and thigh at 165 on a whole chicken). This is an easy way to check for doneness without any cutting or any other sort of more uncertain technique.

Bon appetit!

Five Items to Level Up Your Kitchen

If you’ve already rounded out the basics in your kitchen and acquired kitchen shears, you might be wondering what other items would help you level up your kitchen to achieve a wow factor. Here are my top five affordable items that have both practical applications and give the impression you have it all together in your kitchen.

1. Automatic wine opener – This little baby is one of my favorite kitchen tools. Most wine accessories give off an impressive air, but this one avoids some of the pretention and helps you avoid looking like a fool using a different opener.

2. Spoon rest – I went years thinking spoon rests weren’t necessary. What better would they be versus a plate or say, your plain old countertop? Turns out they can be super useful as long as you get one you will use! In my case I needed to get a large enough spoon rest to hold my cooking utensils and ladles, and I prefer stainless steel because it is easier to clean or avoid staining.

3. Toaster oven – I grew up with toaster ovens rather than a traditional toaster. While they typically take a little longer than a regular toaster for plain bread, a toaster oven has so many more functions and uses. You can make regular toast, cheesy or messy toast, bake cookies, roast vegetabls, broil, and so much more! Also, how does one even fit fancy bread into a traiditional toaster?? (rolls, croissants, thick cut, etc.) I’ve converted multiple friends, roommates, and family members to devoted toaster oven fans.

4. Food scale – Food scales are super helpful if you’re practicing recipes or do any baking. They help you understand approximate measures, portions, or how to scale your preparations to the ingredients you have on hand (e.g., you have 2 lbs of potatoes and not 5). For baking, it also helps with accuracy, as most recipes are developed with scaling or weighting of ingredients rather than measuring cups. If your flour settles, or maybe your eggs are large, your recipe will be just a tad off. The scale is also super helpful if you have any international recipes using different metrics.

5. Ingredients for a fancy cocktail – Hone in on your favorite drink of choice and get a few “fancy” ingredients to make that happen, alcoholic or not. You don’t need to stock up on a full bar to make a quality and impressive drink. Just one of something like bitters, vermouth, or a fancy soda can go a long way across multiple combinations.

How to Reprioritize Time for Yourself

Hi friends! After a solid 8-month break, I am back. In all honesty, I got busy with real life and decided to take a break. I published 43 posts in just over 6 months – that’s 2 posts per week to author and gather content for someone who works full time. And is not particularly skilled at the visual content component. It got to be too much of a chore so I took a break to reset and bring back the joy in doing this.

So, that’s the topic of my first post back – prioritizing or reprioritizing time for yourself.

1. Set your priorities and make the top ones known, unapologetically.

There’s a popular work-life metaphor about juggling balls in your life. Some are glass, and some are rubber. Some are work, some are personal. This changes all the time, and knowing which ones are rubber and can be dropped any given time is key. This week, you might have a can’t miss personal engagement, while a month from now you might have a critical work deadline.

Set a couple personal priorities or goals for yourself and don’t be afraid to make them known. People will surprise you in their ability to adapt or help you in achieving those goals. For some, a simple time boundary gets people in the mindset to respect your time and even take the same approach in their life – in the age of remote work, maybe you have an alternate schedule to care for family or make certain health/fitness priorities. Or maybe you’re working towards a personal achievement, like a certification, hobby, or fitness goal. Others may share their tips or enjoy motivating one another in success! It also helps keep you accountable to these priorities.

2. Truly set aside time for yourself or your goals.

Most months on the second Friday of the month, I take a half day of PTO purely for myself and get a massage. This is for my own relaxation and the purpose of this half day is no secret to my spouse or to my boss. Sometimes I’ll even take my dogs to doggy daycare that day so I can really have the afternoon to myself guilt free.

Think about what type of time commitment or activity really refreshes or motivates you, and figure out how to dedicate time for that. If your first attempt doesn’t work, revisit what you tried and how you might change that or break it up into smaller steps for success.

3. Budget for your priorities, in both time and money.

This may mean making other tradeoffs or literal trades for what you to get what you want. For my massage indulgence, I paint my own nails and cook a lot of meals at home (including coffee and lunch when I went to a physical office). When I was younger or in any period of trying to save money, I went way less often than monthly.

Consider your own time as money. Are you better off paying for or trading a service to reap the most benefit? For example, paying for a cleaning service to save you time, and potentially earn more money while you work those same hours at your job? Can you offer a trade with a friend or relative (e.g., trade babysitting, cooking, pet sitting hours)?

Can you consolidate any needs? For example, if you struggle from guilt or FOMO taking time to exercise, can you make that a dual purpose event? E.g., take a long walk to get exercise with your pet. Many chores like cooking, exercising, cleaning can be done with a friend or kids to make it social.

4. Find a few things that truly bring you joy and calm. Do them!

For me personally, this is something very different from my day to day work. This means no computers and limiting screens (which is why blogging is a difficult side hobby). I need to keep my hands and brain busy without a screen, so cooking and crafting are big for me. I like to try new recipes and have recently gotten into mini dollhouse model kits.