Tag Archives: unprocessed

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken: A Feast for July Fourth

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken | Faith and Composition

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. It evokes in me a wave of nostalgia and patriotism. I have sweet memories of family and friends gathered together, a sense of pride uniting the nation, sparklers dancing in the dusk, and a fireworks display in my parent’s backyard that brings the neighbors out onto their decks every.single.year. And then there’s the food … barbecue or fried chicken, corn on the cob, potato salad, an abundance of watermelon, homemade ice cream, strawberry shortcake.

So to celebrate Independence Day and the general spirit of summer dining, I have a simple, yet delicious recipe for oven-baked fried chicken that is sure to be the star of your July-Fourth table. Pair this with a simple potato salad and oven-baked corn on the cob, fresh fruit and dessert, and you have a complete meal for the holiday and throughout the summer.

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken | Faith and Composition

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken
Serves 4
Please note that this isn’t so much an exact recipe, as it is an approximation of ingredients and a recommended cooking time. If you’d like your chicken spicy, add more cayenne pepper. Want to sweeten it? Drizzle on some honey before baking.

1 Whole chicken cut into pieces or a grilling pack that has legs and breast meat
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the flour with the salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Pour into a wide, shallow bowl, or a baking dish that will allow you room to dredge the chicken. Then mix the eggs and water. Coat the chicken pieces in the egg and water mixture, then dredge the chicken in the flour and spices until it is completely covered. Repeat with all the pieces. I usually do this ahead of time, then refrigerate the chicken until I’m ready to cook.

Pour oil into a saute pan, coating the bottom with about 1/4-inch of oil. (I usually use a combination of butter and olive oil.) Heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot (you want the chicken to sizzle), carefully place the chicken pieces in the oil. Don’t crowd the chicken. I usually have to do this in three batches. Sear each piece for about 4 minutes or until the coating is brown, then flip and repeat until all sides are evenly browned.

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken | Faith and Composition

Place the browned chicken on a cooling rack nestled inside a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven for approximately 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and move to a platter.

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken | Faith and Composition
You can also place corn on the cob, still in its husk, directly on your oven racks to bake alongside your chicken. The corn steams inside the husk and peels with ease when done. It’s my now-favorite way to prepare corn-on-the-cob, and it makes the prep for this dinner a snap!

Enjoy! And have a Happy Fourth! I’ll be back with a few more Independence Day posts later this week. See you then!

P.S. To celebrate the Fourth, I’ll be sharing one patriotic-inspired image each day this week on Instagram. You can follow me here, if you don’t already. I’d love to have you join me! 

Also, if you weren’t the lucky winner of the Good Enough Mom giveaway, you can still snag a shirt from Charity’s shop. And she’s offering 10% off for F&C readers with code: faithandcomposition.

Faith and Composition

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted.


A Simple Summer Dessert: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream

A Whole-Foods Treat: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream | Faith and Composition

Memorial Day harkens the unofficial start of summer! And If you’re looking for a delightfully quick, whole-foods dessert to add to your festivities, this easy creation is sure to please. Start to finish, it only takes a few minutes, making this recipe a must-have treat to whip up throughout these coming summer months. With just a few simple, nourishing ingredients, this is my go-to when seasonal berries are at their peak. The whipped cream also pairs delightfully well with peaches, on apple pie, or dolloped in a cup of coffee.

A Whole-Foods Treat: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream | Faith and Composition

Summer Berries with Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream

Fresh berries of your choosing
1 – 2 teaspoons organic whole cane sugar
1 lemon
1 pint organic whipping cream
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Prep your berries by washing and cutting (if necessary). Sprinkle one or two teaspoons of organic whole cane sugar atop your berries, and add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. Toss to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours, up to 1 day in advance. Meanwhile, prep your whipping cream.

A Whole-Foods Treat: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream | Faith and CompositionA Whole-Foods Treat: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream | Faith and Composition

Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream is simply pure cream whipped until soft peaks form and then sweetened to taste. It was one of the first sweet treats I made when we began to switch to whole foods, and it can’t be any easier to prepare. Before beginning, choose a bowl that will allow the cream to nearly double in size. Chill the bowl and your beaters in the freezer for ten to 15 minutes.

Once chilled, whip the cream on high using a hand-held mixer until it nearly doubles and soft peaks form. Add 6 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Whip on medium until just combined. Taste and add more maple syrup if you like a sweeter whipped cream. Serve immediately over the berries. Enjoy!

What dessert will be gracing your table this holiday weekend? I’d love to hear some of your favorites in the comments! I’ll be back on Wednesday to post week 4 of the F&C Reading Group. Until then … happy Memorial Day!

Faith and Composition

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted.

Apple Picking

Apple Picking | Faith and Composition

Hello dear friends, how was your weekend? We went apple picking on Saturday. Texas certainly isn’t known for its apple orchards, and the weather was less than ideal (it was hot and humid; thus gone were my visions of picking apples in boots and a tartan button-up), but we wanted the experience nonetheless. So we packed up and headed to the small local orchard where we filled a few bags with petite varieties straight from the trees. Despite the sweltering heat, the kids had fun, and they especially adore the handful of tiny-sized orbs that made their way into our harvest.

Apple Picking | Faith and CompositionApple Picking | Faith and Composition
The fruit is a bit tart, and some need to ripen further, but we’ve eaten a few and have been enjoying the fruits of our labor (literally). The majority of what we picked are Granny Smith, so I plan to use some for baking. Cannelle et Vanille has some fantastic apple recipes (and her always-inspiring images never cease to move me), but I’m also going to be on the search for a few more recipes featuring apples in the starring role. If you have any favorites, please share them in the comments!

Apple Picking | Faith and Composition

And speaking of apples, I’m going to be back in a few days to share my Harvest Salad with you. I’ve had it three times in the last few days. I.CAN’T.GET.ENOUGH. It’s that good! So check back in a few days, and I’ll see you then. Because you don’t want to miss the recipe for this simple, in-season salad!

Apple Picking | Faith and Composition

Apple Picking | Faith and Composition

I hope each of you had a lovely weekend! I’ll see you back here soon, friends! 

A Quiche Recipe and a Book Review {French Kids Eat Everything}

A Review of French Kids Eat Everything and a Quiche Recipe | Faith and Composition
Open the first chapter of Karen LeBillon’s French Kids Eat Everything, and these words from the first paragraph jump off the page: “Ask my children what their favorite foods are, and the answer might surprise you. Seven-year-old Sophie loves beets and broccoli, leeks and lettuce, mussels and mackerel—in addition to the usual suspects, like hot dogs, pizza and ice cream. Claire, her three-year-old sister, loves olives and red peppers, although her all-time favorite is creamed spinach.”

I’d barely cracked the spine (err, fired up the Kindle) of French Kids Eat Everything before I was hooked. The book is a heartwarming manifesto-of-sorts that tells how Karen and her family moved to France and cured her children’s picky eating habits. For one, the book is honest, witty and a few times chuckle-out-loud funny. But it also provides some fantastic take-aways, ideas that can readily be implemented in any home with young, picky eaters.

The food culture in France is radically different from that of the food culture in the U.S. (obesity rates attest to this; whereas France’s rate of childhood obesity is one of the lowest in the developed world, the U.S. boasts some of the highest.), and there’s a lot to be learned from the French methods. Lucky for us, Karen gives some honest, you-can-do-this-too advice for busy moms and dads who want to get their kids to not only try their beets but to enjoy them as well.

During her year in France, Karen perceived a set of unstated, commonly understood rules that set the groundwork necessary to guide young French kids into a healthy relationship with food. These rules form the framework for the habit of eating in France, and Karen suggests that these rules can be applied to help establish healthy eating patterns in North American kids too. From the very first rule—“Parents, YOU are in charge of food education”—the book empowers parents with the confidence and the methods they need to help instill healthy eating habits in their little ones.

And perhaps the best thing about the rules? They’re not ironclad. In fact, rule number 10 (the Golden Rule, as Karen dubs it) states that “Eating is joyful, not stressful. Treat the food rules as habits or routines, rather than strict regulations; it’s fine to relax them once in a while.”

In short, the book is a witty how-to manual that gives advice for curing young, picky eaters with word pictures of the provincial French countryside dotted throughout. It’s a joy to read, and you come away from the pages thinking: I can do that. So if you need a little more help in encouraging your kids to eat and enjoy whole foods, check out French Kids Eat Everything (get the Kindle version here). You’ll be both pleasantly informed and entertained!

A Review of French Kids Eat Everything and a Quiche Recipe | Faith and Composition
The back of the book contains several simple French recipes that parents can whip up in no time. I asked Karen if I could share one with you, and she was happy to oblige. I’m choosing to share this Quick No-Pastry Quiche with you, because quiche is a meal we serve once every couple weeks, if not once a week. I especially love quiche for its versatility; we often throw in an assortment of veggies (broccoli, zucchini, greens) or a handful of herbs. It’s also great with a little ham or bacon. I sometimes double this so we can have a quick breakfast or lunch the next day. In Karen’s quiche recipe, she deliberately leaves out the pastry, which reduces the prep time and allows busy parents to have dinner on the table with less fuss and in no time flat.

Quick No-Pastry Quiche | Faith and Composition

Quick No-Pastry Quiche
Reprinted verbatim with written permission from Karen LeBillon  

Preparation: 5 to 7 minutes
Cooking: 30 to 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 small adult servings

Easy and quick to make, quiche is a classic French recipe that pleases adults and children alike. Quiche is also one of the most versatile recipes in the French household, as it can be eaten hot or cold, for lunch or for dinner, and works well with any combination of vegetables that you can think of. French families often make it in advance, as it lasts well for a couple of days in the fridge (or even a few hours in the cupboard—my mother-in-law tries to avoid refrigerating her quiche, arguing that it changes the texture). In a pinch, I find that quiche freezes fairly well, although most French people don’t do this. The recipe presented here is the children’s version, which uses a higher proportion of milk and a smaller number of eggs than a quiche intended for adults. The resulting dish is fluffier, less dense, and less eggy, and so more likely to please young palates. For older children or adults, reduce the milk by a half cup, and add one more egg (or play with the ratio of eggs and milk until you find the texture that your family prefers).

Most French cooks have their personal twist on this dish. For a while, my favorite was a ratatouille-style quiche, with eggplant and tomatoes. A quick survey of our extended family turned up as many recipes as there were cooks: zucchini, broccoli, carrots—almost any vegetable you can think of. Chopped or grated finely, most vegetables don’t even need to be cooked in advance.

8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (or 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup cream)
Salt and pepper, if desired
1 cup flour

Filling suggestion (These are some of our favorites, but feel free to make up your own.):
Quiche lorraine: 1 cup cubed or sliced ham and 1 cup grated cheese (Gruyère works best, but Cheddar will also do)
Quiche aux légumes: 1 small onion, finely diced, 1/2 cup thinly sliced greens (I use spinach or chard, but not kale, which is too chewy) 1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
Quiche provençale: 1 cup ratatouille (this is a great way to use leftovers)
Optional: dried herbs such as parsley or oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, beat the egg; add the milk (or milk and cream) and mix well. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired. Stirring constantly with a fork or a whisk (to avoid lumps), add the flour a little bit at a time. Mix in the cheese followed by the fillings you are using.

2. Pour the mixture into a greased 9- or 12-inch pie plate and bake for 30 minutes, or until the quiche puffs and starts to brown on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving (the quiche will settle, and you’ll be able to cut it more neatly).

Tip: Changing your quiche ingredients is also a great way to introduce new vegetables: the reassuringly familiar look of the fish may entice even the wariest of eaters.

Note: Take care not to overfill your pie plate, as the quiche will puff up as it bakes. I place mine on a baking sheet in the oven, in case of spills. The quiche will deflate after you remove it from the oven: this is normal! Kids like watching this soufflé effect.

Enjoy, and au revoir, friends! I’ll see you in the next few days with a sample week-long whole foods meal plan, and next Monday I have the first F&C guest post featuring a simple, yet effective work-out you can do at home with the little ones underfoot!

How to Make a Whole Foods Lifestyle Work for Your Family

Tips for incorporating whole, unprocessed foods into your family's meals | Faith and Composition

As I sit typing this post, there’s a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream keeping me company. It’s not organic, and if I read the ingredient list aloud, some whole food purists would certainly scoff. Now why in the world am I telling you that when we’ve been deep in the middle of a series on whole foods? Well, I confess for two reasons. First, because I want to be honest and transparent about our own whole foods journey, and that means letting you know that although we eat unprocessed, organic food nearly 85% of the time, we have our own shortcomings too. We’re not perfect in all of this; we still have quite a bit of ground to gain.

And secondly, I share this confession because it provides a real example that directly corresponds to point number 1 in my list of top tips for making this lifestyle work for families. So here you go. Without further ado … my tips for making a whole foods diet both manageable and attainable for a busy family with little ones underfoot.

Tips for incorporating whole, unprocessed foods into your family's meals | Faith and Composition

  1. Give yourself some grace.
    If you’ve been eating a diet that relies in part on processed foods, making the switch to unprocessed options can seem like a daunting task. Don’t expect to dive into these eating habits overnight. It’s certainly possible (and kudos to you if you can do it), but I don’t recommend it. Rather allow yourself some grace to take it slowly, and don’t get discouraged if it’s one step forward, one step back for a little while.
  2. Make one change at a time.
    This could operate as an extension of number one, but I think it’s important to make it a separate point. Choose one thing you’re going to change, get comfortable with incorporating that new food (or process) into your family, and then make another change. Our first step in this lifestyle was joining an organic produce co-op. Shortly after that I began making homemade whole wheat bread and a few pantry items. Then I slowly replaced store-bought salad dressings with homemade, and we just recently started purchasing raw milk. But had I tried to do it all at once, I would have felt so overwhelmed that I would have been defeated from the start. Little steps and small successes (like culturing yogurt at home) have made the entire lifestyle  that much more doable.
  3. Meal plan.
    This was also one of my money-saving tips, but it’s an especially important (perhaps more important) component of making a whole foods lifestyle work for busy families. Feeding your family an unprocessed diet isn’t hard, but it does require some foresight. Things like dried beans and some grains require soaking, chicken broth needs to simmer for several hours (I usually simmer mine overnight in the crockpot), pizza dough needs plenty of rise time. Thus I find that meal planning really is crucial in helping to alleviate a lot of the stress associated with mealtime prep work. If you need a little meal-planning inspiration to get you started, I’ll be sharing a week’s worth of whole-food menu ideas next week, so be sure to check back!
  4. Make double batches and freeze.
    Because a whole foods diet does include a bit more planning and a bit more work, it just makes sense to reduce your workload by making extra and freezing it for future use. My aunt’s bread recipe makes three loaves, which means two go in the freezer for the another time. And I usually double a batch of granola and freeze one. Also learn what entrees freeze well, and then double those recipes so you have an easy dinner option when you’re in a pinch. Things like browned ground beef and cooked black beans freeze well and can be easily defrosted to whip up tacos in no time.
  5. Let the kids pick a recipe.
    A great way to get the kids excited about a transition to whole foods is to let then help you with your meal planning by picking out one recipe for the week. You choose a few options and then let them make a selection. That way they have some input, and it’s perceived as a team effort, rather than you trying to force changes.
  6. Let the kids help with meal prep.
    This one is hard for me (with my type-A, desire-for-order personality and all), but I do think kids are more apt to try something when they’ve had a hand in creating it. Homemade whole wheat pizza is always a good option for little hands. They can toss on freshly shredded cheese or any other topping. And when we’re baking bread, my older two like to help with the mixing. Even a one-year-old can help with the salad spinner when washing fresh greens.
  7. Reduce (or eliminate) snacking.
    This is one of the French Food Rules that author Karen LeBillon details in her book, French Kids Eat Everything, and I think it’s crucial. Kids have a tendency to fill up on snacks when they’re offered. And if their bellies are full at mealtimes, they’re going to be a lot less likely to try that unprocessed, whole foods plate you just set in front of them. Reduce snacking, and your kids will eat more of the goodness you’re serving at breakfast, lunch and dinner because they’re legitimately hungry. We usually eat one small snack in the afternoon (fruit, a piece of whole wheat toast with nut butter, stove-top popped popcorn). It’s enough to satiate their little tummies till dinner, but they’re still hungry once the meal is on the table. (On a side note: I’m reviewing French Kids Eat Everything in the next few days, and Karen has given me permission to share a few recipes from her book, so be sure to check back then!)
  8. Find a few ‘keeper’ recipes.
    No matter how intentional you are about meal planning, you’re still going to have those moments when something unexpectedly arises and the planned meal just isn’t going to work. In those instances, you need something that you can whip up quickly without much thought. Thus, I recommend having a few tried-and-true whole foods recipes that contain ingredients you always have on hand so you’re never without an excuse. My keeper recipes include lentil soup; quiche; and sweet potato, black bean and egg mash-up.
  9. Do advance prep work.
    Prep lunch during breakfast, prep dinner during lunch. Simply put, plan ahead. If you’re going to have an egg salad for lunch, go ahead and hard boil the eggs while you’re making breakfast. If you’re having roast chicken and veggies for dinner, chop the vegetables while you’re busy preparing lunch. A little advance preparation goes a long way, especially when it’s 6 o’clock, your family is hungry, the dogs are barking and the baby is pulling on you. I’ll be honest, I’m not always able to do this (I do it a lot less than I’d like), but when I do, I’m quite thankful!

That’s it … my top tips for making a whole foods lifestyle work for your busy family. Now it’s your turn! Let me know what tricks you’ve discovered for getting unprocessed foods to your table. And put those whole-foods skills to good use with this FREE 5-day meal plan, click here