Simple Extra Crispy Oven Roasted Chicken Quarters

Poor, poor chicken. It gets so hated on.  Too dry. Too plain. Too boring. Well yeah, I suppose it could be all those things if you don’t do anything to it and just threw it in the oven.  With a little creativity chicken can be great again.

One of the problems with chicken, is we tend to always reach for the same cut of meat.  It is a good idea, not only for the taste buds, but also for our bodies to mix that up once in a while.


The extra crispy skin on these chicken leg quarters make it extra tasty. 

Dark meat gets a bad rap as being less healthy then white meat. While dark meat does have more fat, it also has more iron, zinc, niacin and riboflavin.  Plus, it does not have a huge amount more fat.   100 grams of chicken leg, roasted without the skin has 8 grams.  While 100 grams of cooked chicken breast without the skin has 4 grams.  The trick here is not to serve chicken legs with a fatty side dish.  If you are serving chicken legs, you need to consider the meat your protein and fat source for the meal.

Now about that chicken skin.  It is crispy and delicious. It’s super fatty and unhealthy, or is it?

One chicken leg roasted with the skin on has 9 grams of fat (3 grams coming from saturated fat) and that same chicken leg cooked without the skin has 5 grams of fat (1 gram saturated).  So, yes it does have more fat, but not tons more.  In the end, it really is ok to eat the chicken skin occasionally!

If you are still uncomfortable with that amount of fat you can do skinless. Just do not by the overpriced skinless meat.  Remove the skin yourself and you can save quite a bit of money.  I find it easiest to grip the skin with a paper towel and pull. However, when roasting or grilling the meat I advise you do not remove the skin off before cooking. Cooking with the skin intact helps keep the meat tender and flavorful. You can remove it prior to eating.


Below is my simple chicken quarters recipe, but it would also work for chicken breast.  You might balk at the use of dill here, but it goes really well with the soy sauce. I promise.  The soy sauce helps to make the chicken skin extra flavorful and crispy.  If you are planning  to remove the skin before eating then, make sure you put the seasoning UNDER the skin.


Simple Roasted Chicken Quarters

  • 4 skin on, bone in chicken leg quarters
  • soy sauce, about 1/3 cup
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried dill weed


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Using paper towels pat dry the chicken.  Gently slip one finger between the skin and the meat and loosen the skin from the meat.  Making sure skin still stays attached.
  3. Place chicken pieces on large glass baking dish.
  4. Using a marinade brush, brush under the skin with soy sauce.
  5. Brush entire legs with remaining soy sauce. (You don’t need to use all the soy sauce. Just until the chicken has been completely painted)
  6. Sprinkle with seasonings. (If you plan to not eat the skin, put the seasoning under the skin)
  7. Place on middle rack and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour.
  8. If the skin did not crisp up, increase oven temp to 400 and continue to cook for about 5 to 10 mins.  Keep a close eye on it so the skin doesn’t burn.
  9. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temp of 165.


Crispy Oven RoastedChicken Leg quarters


Brown vs White. The Rice Debate


So, which one should you eat? Brown or white rice? The quick and dirty answer? Whichever one you prefer the taste of and it works best for you. Seriously.  There are pros and cons to both of them.


Brown or White? Which is the better choice?

I can hear the protesting now. But wait a hot second! Isn’t brown rice healthier?! No way, white is healthier, brown rice has arsenic! Hold on, white rice causes diabetes! But brown rice pokes holes in your intestines!

If you want the more in depth answer, then keep on reading.

But wait a second, brown rice is the healthier choice. Right?

Brown rice is a whole grain. With white rice the bran and germ have been removed.  Many nutrients are found in the bran and the germ (other things are also found in the bran and germ, but we’ll get to that in a bit).  When you line them up side by side, brown rice does have a smidge more macronutrients then white. However, white rice is higher in some micronutrients too.

Brown Rice Vs White Rice

based of info from

Brown rice is higher in niacin, B6, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. While white rice has more thiamin, folate and iron. Brown rice also has a more fiber and a bit more fat then white.

Hold up! But I read that brown rice has arsenic in it!

Sadly, yes. In 2010 and then again in 2014, consumer reports tested 60 different varieties of rice and rice based products.  They found measurable levels of inorganic arsenic in almost everything they tested (To read their original report go here)

Arsenic is a heavy metal that is toxic. Long term exposure may increase risk for chronic diseases.  Regular exposure to small amounts of arsenic increase your risk for multiple different cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  While arsenic is naturally occurring in nature, it is believed that we are seeing an increase in our food supply due to pollution.

Not all rice is the same. Brown rice has 80% more inorganic arsenic then white rice. While white basmati and white sushi rice have the lowest amounts.  Interestingly, white rice from California, India or Pakistan is the lowest, with 38% less arsenic then the same type grown elsewhere.  Any type of rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana or Texas has the highest amounts of arsenic.

If you are eating rice often, are pregnant or are feeding a small child, this is something to keep in mind. (FYI, babies should not eat more than 1 serving rice cereal per day and children under 5 should not drink rice milks instead of dairy milk due to the unsafe amounts of arsenic. Just one rice cake, has a child’s weekly limit of arsenic in it).

If you are just consuming white Basmati or sushi rice, you are safe to eat one serving per day. However, keep in mind if you also consume any  rice based pastas, rice cakes, rice cereals and rice based baking mixes as those contain arsenic, too.

The good news is, they have found that rinsing the rice very thoroughly before cooking it, and cooking it with a much higher water to rice ratio helps to reduce the amount of arsenic. (The recommended amount is 6 cups water to 1 cup rice, and draining the excess water off once the rice is cooked)

But doesn’t white rice cause diabetes?

There is a study that found those who eat 5 or more servings white rice a week may have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. [1] Keep in mind that is 5 or more servings a week, and these studies did not account for lifestyle or other food choices. Over consuming any carbohydrate will increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. 

The same study also noted that people who consumed white rice were more likely to have a family history of diabetes and those who consumed more brown rice were more likely to live a healthier lifestyle.

Doesn’t white rice cause your insulin to spike?

Some foods can cause our blood sugar to rise very fast.  This is measured by the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a number, from 0 to 100, and it is based on how fast that food will raise your blood sugar after eating. The higher the number the faster it will cause your blood sugar to rise.  Brown rice has a glycemic index of 50 while white has one of 72.

The glycemic index is not a marker of how healthy a food is, just is effects on blood sugar.  For example, pizza has a very low index number, but that does not automatically make it a healthy food choice. When you also consume fat or protein along with the rice, that will lower the GI index slightly.

The glycemic index can be important tool not only for those who are trying to control their blood sugar but also for those who are very serious about their workout nutrition.  It can be, slightly, more advantageous to consume high glycemic index carbs in the 2 hours following a strenuous workout.  The high GI carbs cause a spike in insulin which both decreases muscle breakdown and increases protein synthesis.  This is why many tout white rice a a perfect after workout carb source.

White Rice

White rice does have a high glycemic index, which can make is a great post workout carb source.

I read on the internet that brown rice is bad for you because it pokes holes in your gut and causes all kind of diseases??

Well, yes, no and maybe. First quick background.  Our intestines are supposed to have some permeability.  That way nutrients can pass to our blood supply.  Sometimes things go wrong and our gut allows things that it supposed to be keeping out cross. You’ll hear this referred to as leaky guy or increased gut permeability or intestinal hyperpermeabilty.

Leaky gut has been linked to food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, autism, skin conditions, and thyroid problems.  Leaky gut is not an official medical diagnosis.  They are only starting to study it and understand it. However, just because there is lack of research and evidence does not mean it does not exist.

Back to brown rice. Brown rice contains lectins. Lectins are a type of protein that we are unable to digest.  Since we cannot digest them, they damage the lining of our GI tract as they pass through.  Now keep in mind all food damages our GI tract as it passes.  Normally our bodies repair the damage fairly quickly.  With lectins, however, this process may be slowed.

With repeated over exposure (key words here repeated over exposure!) many believe this can lead to increased permeability.

Keep in mind lectins are also found in many other foods like dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shell fish.  The good news is the effects of these lectins on our GI tract lasts only as long as they are in the body.

In the end, really only people with autoimmune issues or digestive issues really need to be concerned with the amount of lectins they are consuming.

Rice can be part of a healthy diet.  Special populations may need to choose wisely though.

  • Those who consume a lot of rice based products (like rice based pastas, cereal and baking mixes) should look into white basmati and sushi rice grown in California.
  • Those who are at risk of developing type II diabetes or attempting to lose weight would do best to limit their carbohydrate intake all together and choose brown rice when acceptable.
  • Those hoping to gain muscle mass with no other health issues, can choose as they wish.
  • Those with autoimmune conditions or GI disease may need to limit their intake of brown rice.

For everyone else, weigh your options and pick as you wish.




A., P. (1993, Oct). Dietary lectins are metabolic signals for the gut and modulate immune and hormone functions. Eur j Clin Nutr. , 47(10), 691-9.

Dr. Qi Sun, M. S. (2010, Jun). White Rice, Brown Rice, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women. Arch Intern Med., 961-969.

Vasconcelos IM, O. J. (2004, Sept). Antinutritional properties of plant lectins. Toxicon, 44(4), 385-403.



Arroz Con Pollo (dairy, egg, wheat free): A perfect post workout meal

When my oldest kiddo was just a small fry, he fell in love with this entrée from a local Mexican restaurant. In order to keep from having to visit this restaurant weekly and to keep from going broke (that place was expensive!), I worked on recreating that beloved dish at home.  I even managed to lighten it up.  The absolute best thing about this dish, well other than the fact my kids adore it, is that makes a ton. You can easily double the recipe and it saves beautifully.

This meal makes for an excellent post workout meal.  Think of your standard post workout chicken and rice just amplified in the taste department.  I am in the camp that you do not have to be slamming a chalky protein drink as you walk out of the gym. You can sit down and chew a real meal, as long as you eat with in 2 hours of working out and it contains a good source of carbs and protein.

Chicken and rice is a go to post work meal for many. After an intense workout our bodies  need to replace their fuel and work on rebuilding damaged tissues. The rice in this dish provides carbohydrates that help to replace muscle glycogen used up during intense exercise. And the chicken provides protein to aid in muscle synthesis. If your train for endurance (long runs anyone?) or have goal of increasing muscle mass this meal is even more important.

Plain chicken and rice can be a little bit boring in the taste department. This recipe fixes that for you.  It calls for saffron, which can be a pretty pricey, you can replace that with turmeric.

Depending on your feelings about rice you can either make this with white or brown rice. You just need to adjust for the cooking time.  If you are feeling confused about which rice is the healthier choice, keep your eyes peeled for a new article to drop next week discussing the pros and cons of both.

Post workout Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo can make for an excellent post workout meal or an anytime meal.

Arroz Con Pollo. (Dairy, Egg, and wheat free)


2 pounds bone in chicken, skin removed. (I like to use breasts, but legs would work too).

1 ½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 tsp olive oil, divided

½ large onion, chopped

2 med carrots, diced

½ red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tablespoon paprika

1 cup brown or white rice

2.5 cups of water

1/8 tsp saffron (or replace with turmeric)

1 cup peas, frozen


  • Remove chicken skin and pat dry. Season with ½ tsp salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or deep sided skillet over medium high heat. Brown chicken on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and keep warm
  • Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, carrots and red pepper and ½ tsp salt. Cook until softened, 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic, paprika and rice. Stir and cook or about 2 minutes.
  • Add water, saffron, and ½ tsp salt. Return chicken to the pan, nestling it into the rice. Be sure to add any juices from the plate. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cook, covered until the chicken is cooked through, rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. About 45-60 minutes for brown rice and 20-30 white rice.
  • Remove from heat and stir in peas. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

One serving is 1/6 the recipe. It provides: 309 calories, 34 grams carbohydrates, 31 grams protein and 6 grams fat.



My Experiment with Intermittent Fasting



This is my personal and very unscientific experiment with Intermittent Fasting.

Why did I choose to try intermittent fasting (IF)? I had a few clients ask about it and the only answers I could give were based off what I had read of other people’s experiences. Also, I wanted to see first-hand how intermittent fasting felt and worked.  I am insanely curious. I always want to know about different diets and their effects on the body.  What better way to learn about it then to try it on myself?

I had hoped to stay on the diet longer and be able to write up a more in-depth article detailing my experience with IF, including blood work and more body metrics. However, I had to throw in the towel just short of one month.  Keep reading to find out why I quit.

Intermittent Fasting (referred to as IF) is when you go a set amount of time, usually 24-16 hours, without eating or eating very little. There are multiple different versions of it.  I choose to follow a modified version of the 16:8 method (also called Lean Gains and Daily Fast) Normally, with this version you fast for 16 hours, and then have 8 hours to eat for the day.  I chose to modify it slightly. I fasted for 15 hours from 9pm till noon and had a 9 hour eating window from noon to 9pm.

First off, I think intermittent fasting can work extremely well for some people.  I just wasn’t one of them. I would hypothesize younger males and some women (particularly ones who have had not undergone a lot of crash diets and have stable hormones) would be better candidates for IF.  Also, Intermittent fasting is not for anyone who has a history with eating disorders or binge restrict eating cycles.

Intermittent Fasting isn’t just about skipping breakfast and getting ripped.  With this version, not only do you need to fast for a set amount of time, but it also takes into effect nutrient timing (what you eat around your work outs) and carb cycling (consuming higher carbs on workout days and lower amounts on rest days).

So, let’s get to it. My personal pros and cons of IF

IF work really well with my schedule.  I believe IF works best for people who find themselves very busy during their fasting window.  Basically, all I was giving up was my 1st 2 meals of the day.  Normally my 1st meal is eaten while chasing children around and arguing about the importance of putting on clean underwear. And my 2nd meal is usually eaten (or drank from a shaker bottle, and if you follow me on IG you know how much I despise drinking my food.) while sitting in the carpool lane.  Since my mornings are so busy, I never felt hungry or bothered by the fasting.  If anything, it freed up my mornings.(For the 1st time all year my kid was early to school!) If you have a desk job or are not busy during your fasting window, it would be a lot harder.

This version of IF utilizes carb cycling (and in turn calorie cycling). So, on the days I would work out I would eat higher amount of carbs and calories.  On my rest days I consume a lower amount of carbs and calories. With normal eating, I generally find the lower carb/calorie days to be challenging.  However, while doing IF, the low carb/calorie days were incredibly easy.   It was the high carb days that I found were a bigger struggle.

Since my workouts would fall in the mornings, while I was still fasting, I choose to drink branch chain amino acids (BCAA) right before and after my workout.  My day would look like this: I’d wake by 5 am. Consume only black coffee and water. Then at 8:30AM.  I would drink 5 grams of BCAA. Next I would train. Then, at 10:30 I would drink another 5 grams of BCAA. At noon I would break the fast with a huge (and I mean HUGE) meal.  I’d eat dinner at 6pm and a pre bed snack at 9.  Then I would begin the fast all over again.

I loved (and I mean LOVED) the fact I was eating larger meals while doing IF. I was able to eat two 600 calorie meals and one 300 calorie snack.  This was a large increase from the multiple 200-300 calorie meals I had been eating.  Eating such large meals, would leave me feeling satisfied after eating. When I am eating multiple smaller meals, I never really get to feel full.  At times, however I found it was really hard to get all my calories in (without resorting to calorically dense less nutritious foods, aka junk.)  Unfortunately, I did find myself eating more and more less nutritious junk foods.


While doing Intermittent Fasting I found it hard to resist the less nutrious junk foods.

It did make dining out easier, though. I could pretty much eat anything on the menu and still stay under my calories for the day.

Another huge positive (and the biggest one) is it took the head game out of eating.  What I mean is I didn’t have to think much about eating.  I didn’t have to worry about when I ate last or when will it be time to eat again. Since I was only eating a couple times, I also didn’t have to give much thought to how much I was eating either.  I also got to learn some important lessons around food. Like its ok to be hungry. Its ok to miss a meal. And I will not lose all the gains if I don’t eat directly after my workout. IF reminded me I could relax around food and eating.

Interestingly for me, the easiest part of the day was when I was fasting.  Things started getting tricky once I broke the fast. Once I started eating, I found it very hard to stop, particularly on my workout days.  I believe IF reignited some old restrict-binge tendencies from my younger years.  Within 2 weeks of following IF, I found I was unable to control myself around food. I started to notice the classic restrict-binge symptoms. I couldn’t stop eating, even when painfully full. I would experience an overly full and upset stomach. Then the guilt and shame would hit.  I would find myself having an intense feeing to “get back on plan” or “make up for my slip up”. This all would be followed by more binge and more guilt and shame.

My totally unscientific theory is that due to past relationship with eating (which prior to this experiment, I thought I had fully healed) and my personal hormones, intermittent fasting and I didn’t jive.  My 37-year-old metabolism just isn’t as adaptive and flexible as it had been in my 20s.  (Or maybe I stressed my metabolism out too much with horrible diets when I was in my 20s)

After 3 weeks of doing IF I:

  • Huge increase in my cravings. To the point of being uncontrollable.
  • Experienced binge- restrict cycle eating
  • Increase in my hunger (which would hit only after breaking the fast.)
  • Big decrease in my energy. My workouts started taking twice as long to get though. I was too exhausted to take my daily afternoon walk with my children and dog. And at one point towards the end, I was unable to even make my bed without having to take breaks and sit down.  My caffeine consumption also tripled while I was doing IF, it was the only way I could get through the day.
  • My libido disappeared.
  • I started experiencing night sweats.
  • Even though I was exhausted, I was unable to fall asleep at night and I would commonly wake up in the middle of the night.
  • I experienced heart palpitations, particularly at night when trying to fall asleep.
  • Holy mood swings! I would become insanely crabby, once I broke my fast for the day. And I mean CRABBY.
  • My body did not ovulate during the cycle that coincided with IF.

(Since stopping IF, all of the above issues disappeared within 2 weeks. Also my body ovulated, 3 weeks late, after having had resumed normal eating for 2 weeks)

Alone each of these signs could mean nothing, however I felt due to all of them at once it was a clear sign from my body that I should quit intermittent fasting. I could go into a lengthy discussion of the different hormone pathways in our body and how fasting may have affected mine.  But, I’ll save you the time and just says this: I suspect fasting suppressed my appetite regulatory hormones, raised my cortisol levels and caused my reproductive hormones to become unbalanced.  Of course this is all speculation, since I did not have any blood work done.


There are some things that are just more important.

I had come to the conclusion, that at this point in my life IF wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it to my body and my hormone health. Or to my family.  I wasn’t a great mother  while I was practicing IF. And let’s be honest, above all else these are the important things.  In the big picture of life, I would rather my kids remember me as a mom who played and was fun than a mom who was below 15% body fat but exhausted and crabby AF.  The final straw was when my dinosaur obsessed 5-year-old asked me to take him to the museum to look as the dinosaur bones and I shuddered.   Just the thought of taking my kids to the museum exhausted me. I had no idea how I could possible muster up the energy to do it.  Then I looked in his eyes and I knew.  I needed to quit IF.

I originally did IF with the hope to shed a little body fat.  Interestingly, I did not lose any body fat, but I did put in a wee bit of muscle and stored more water.  I started IF at 118.2 pounds, and an estimated 17.3% body fat.  When I quit I weighed 119.2 with an estimated body fat of 17% In full disclosure while I did attempt to log all my food as accurately has I could.  I suspect I may have under estimated my intake due to the binge style eating.  (It’s hard to know exactly how much peanut butter you are eating when standing in front of the fridge while spooning it straight from the jar.)

Now with all that said, I am actually considering doing IF again. If I do, I will make even more modifications though.  I plan to try a more cyclical version, where I will only fast a few days a week (on rest days or very light workout days) and would only fast for 12-14 hours. I also will test my hormones before and after (and during if need be).  Of course, if I feel my any of the symptoms I experienced this time I will quit immediately.  My thought is that with this more relaxed version of fasting will be easier on my hormones.

While IF wasn’t for me.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t for everyone.  There are a lot of people out there getting great results with IF.  I hypothesize that IF works better for

  • Men
  • Young adults
  • Those already fairly fit (women under 20% body fat and men under 15%).
  • Those without ANY binge-restrict eating history
  • Anyone who has never suffered from an eating disorder (or any form of disordered eating)
  • People whom are busy during during their fasting window
  • Women whose hormones are stable, and not perimenopause or postpartum.
  • And those who do not have a history of any extreme diets.

Even though I would call this IF experiment a fail I was able to learn and take away some positives.  I have been reminded I can be more laid back with my eating.  I can miss a meal and it will be ok. And that is ok to be hungry.

Bottom line: whenever you are trying out any new diet always listen to your body.  Not every diet it best for every person.  You have to find the one that works best for you and your body!