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how to make bone broth

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving is a great time to make bone broth using the turkey bones and carcass. Really, any time you have roasted a chicken or turkey, or have grassfed beef bones on hand, you can save the bones to make bone broth. Plus, you can freeze the bones to use for later if you don’t feel inspired to make bone broth right away.

What’s the deal with bone broth? It’s chock-full of all the good minerals and proteins and nutrients and healthy fats to keep your body well. And with a little time and TLC, it is super cost-effective to make from scratch versus store-bought broths that are often high in sodium. To read up more on the benefits, check out this great article from Sally Fallon Morell at The Weston A. Price Foundation. There is also a great post about bone broth at Nourished Kitchen.

So, after last week’s Thanksgiving at Craig’s sister’s house, we were fortunate to get to bring home the turkey bones and carcass. The easiest way to make bone broth is to disassemble the turkey and get all the bones to fit in your crock pot. Then you want to cover all the bones (fine if there is still some meat left on them) with cold filtered water. I use enough water to nearly fill the crockpot. Then add about a cup of organic apple cider vinegar to the mixture.
organic apple cider vinegar

Let the bones and water and organic apple cider vinegar “soak” for an hour. The organic apple cider vinegar helps to leach all the good stuff out of the bones before you start cooking. After an hour, turn your crockpot on to high for a few hours to get your concoction bubbling nicely.

Then turn the crockpot to low and let it go. Really let it go—24 hours is a good amount of time to get the bone broth humming along slowly and gently.
crockpot bone broth

You can stir the mixture around occasionally to make sure the bones aren’t burning or getting stuck to the bottom of the crockpot. After 24 hours, (less is okay too if you are in a time crunch) turn off the crockpot and use tongs to discard the major bones. Strain the bone broth into a large bowl or bowls, and allow the broth time to cool at room temperature.

Cover and put in the fridge to give the naturally occurring fats in the broth time to rise to the top. After a day in the fridge, skim off the fat. Then you can re-strain the broth using a frying pan splatter shield into mason jars for easy storing.
bone broth in mason jars

Leave room at the top of the mason jars if you plan to freeze them. Bone broth keeps in the fridge for at least a week if you want to use right away to make soup or for adding to rice or a stir-fry. It keeps in the freezer for several months.

We try to keep bone broth on hand at all times so we have some nourishing goodness ready to go for making Sunday soups. I just take a mason jar or two out of the freezer on Saturday and give it time to defrost in the fridge. Then I use part bone broth and part water to make a soup base.

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Posted in Cooking Adventures, Reduce Reuse Recycle | 5 Comments »

i will not turn the heat on yet!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Okay. So it’s getting a wee tad chilly here in Southern NH. Especially at night after the sun sets (which is pretty much now before I get home from work) and even more so in the early morning when I wake up and have no interest, whatsoever, in dragging myself out of bed when it is FRIGID.

But sadly, I am a New England stalwart. And I don’t have kiddos yet. Which means I will suffer as long as I can get without turning on the heat. Because once I give in, there’s no going back. Once we fire up that thermostat, I will want and CRAVE heat each and every day. Sigh.

When we first moved into our house 4 years ago, we were ridiculously house poor. And we didn’t even know it. We were in complete, over-our-heads, first-time-homeowner, about-to-tank-homeowner DENIAL.

We kept our heat at 55°F during bedtime and during the day while we were away at work. And when we got home, we would turn the heat up to 62°F max. If we were feeling generous. We ran around our little house in sweaters, hats, turtle furs, thick socks, you name it—for at least two years of bone-cold winters.

We have 2 heat zones, one downstairs and one upstairs, and we never ran the heat upstairs. In the winter we never spent any time upstairs unless it was off to bed. And in that case, you dove under your covers and waited for the burrito-blanket-cave to take effect.

Let’s be honest. Mornings in these conditions are the worst. I wake up in a complete sweat from the lodge of blanket layers I’ve piled on throughout the night. But in no way, shape, or form am I at ALL interested in leaving the blanket nest to get out of bed in the morning to freeze and then peel off all my layers of clothing to get into the shower.

I cringe thinking about it.

Because while over the past two years we have come into our little home a bit more, and we have over time nudged the thermostat up a few degrees after work… we still don’t go crazy with the heat. We hold out until we are chilled to the bone to finally fire up the furnace after work. In fact, I think last year we had already given in by early October.

So, hah! So far, we are making do. The chilliest I have woken up to this October is 59°F inside in the morning this past Monday. Once the heat gets turned on, we will probably consent to 63°F or 64°F downstairs after work.

Ooooo! Crazy! Extravagant!

And then there are those nights when we get home from work, weary and bleary. Suddenly we decide to get ridiculously indulgent and crank it up to maybe 66°F just to get the heat going for a little while and feel somewhat normal. It’s awesome.

Mornings, however, are still a perpetual cold-fest. There are mornings where (usually Craig) gives in and turns on the heat upstairs when he gets up for just a little while so that getting out of the shower isn’t such a painful, wrenching experience. I mean, it IS first thing in the morning! Any a tiny bit of comfort goes a looooong way.

But we are still very conservative with heat. It’s costly. Very costly. It can be wasteful. We try to be energy efficient and conserve. And sweaters help. After-work exercise helps. Hats are an easy fix. And here’s to the amazingness of Polartec fleece!

Until we have kiddos and reallllllly need to be generous with the heat upstairs and down, we are quite good at making do. It’s just one of those things where we kind of had no choice at first, and now we see it as frugal sacrifice that will pay off down the line.

So, nonetheless, the countdown to turning on the heat is coming. It’s upon us. I’m trying, trying, trying to embrace this eventuality.

No, I’m not. I’m lying.

I’m raging.

Not. Ready. Yet.

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Posted in Household Management 101, Reduce Reuse Recycle | 1 Comment »

herbs make great centerpieces

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

It has been so much fun thinking back on my wedding, which was one year ago on the 19th. Craig and I had a lot of fun planning our wedding and putting together a celebratory weekend without spending a ridiculous amount of moolah. One of the ways we saved a ton of money was growing our own herbs that we then potted and used as table centerpieces and decoration. These also doubled as our wedding favors, as guests could choose a potted herb to take home.

We grew parsley, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. The parsley, thyme, and oregano I grew from seed, and I bought rosemary starts because, well, rosemary is gorgeous! But rosemary takes quite a long time to grow.

After starting the seeds indoors, I put the trays outside for a few weeks late last spring and then potted the herbs in 4″ pots I got a great deal on at A.C. Moore (4 for a $1).

potted herbs for centerpieces

potted herbs for centerpieces

Herbs... hangin’ out in trays by the tomatoes and eggplants.

I used trays that I got from asking nicely at Home Depot and Lowe’s to put the pots in. These worked so well to transport the herbs by car to our ceremony location in Northern NH up in the mountains at the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel. We put the trays in the back of our car and even with the usual jostling involved in travel, they held up great. Once we were at the hotel, I sunned the herbs outside for a day before delivering them to the ballroom.

wedding herb centerpieces

We arranged some of the pots on the tables along with river rocks and votive candles.

wedding herb centerpieces

I had made labels for the herbs incorporating design details from our wedding invitations and wedding website.

wedding herb centerpieces

On our wedding day we hiked to the summit of Mt. Washington and got married at the top. At our reception that evening, we named the tables after mountains we had hiked together that we loved.

wedding her centerpieces

The staff did a great job decorating. They also used some of the potted herbs for the long buffet table.

Total out of pocket cost for the centerpieces, decorations, and favors combined was around $60 and covered the cost of 120 terra cotta pots, soil, seeds, rosemary plants, river rocks, and candles. Not too shabby.

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Posted in Reduce Reuse Recycle, The Growing Season | 29 Comments »

how to make beetle juice

Friday, May 28th, 2010

One day your lillies are doing wonderfully in your garden. Perhaps they are tilting a tad like mine.

asian lillies

Leaning tower of lillies.

And then, wallah! Those darn little red beetles attack. And start feasting on lilly salad.
chomped lillies

Chomp, chomp, chomp. What fun for them. And I get to supervise and try to break up the party. I’ve researched quite a bit on what to do, and some of the research involves picking the red beetles off one by one and killing them and using icky pesticides to try to control the invasion.

But I really don’t want to be touching those beetles. And I really, really don’t want to spray pesticides.

So this year I’m combatting them guerilla style based on suggestions I’ve read online. I made a home brew of Seventh Generation dish soap, water, and hot sauce to spray on my lillies. I used a healthy squirt of the dish soap, several drops of hot sauce, filled my recycled spray bottle with lukewarm water, and then I mixed it up real good.

beetle juice

Laid back... sipping on beetle juice.

I’ve been generously spraying this little cocktail on my lillies every day.
beetle juice on lillies

Was it fun to make? Absolutely. Do I think it will work? Doubtful. But I will keep you posted. Half-eaten asian lillies, here we come.

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Posted in Reduce Reuse Recycle, The Growing Season | 1 Comment »

when iris eyes are smiling

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This weekend was one of those rare kinds where time slows down and everything seems light and airy and long. And it was actually a packed weekend to boot, but it went by nice and slow. Why can’t every day be like that?

I met my good friend Allison out on Friday night at a local bar/eatery called Timber Grille after my long work week. I was kind of dreading going out because I was so tired, but Allison was in town from Denver, CO, and I hadn’t seen her since December. I rallied and went out.

The Timber Grille has this fantastic outside deck that looks over the river in town, and it was so relaxing to get a Longtrail Blackberry Wheat on draft and sit outside in the warmth watching the sun set over the river. Our other good friends joined us one by one, and instantly I was in complete relaxation mode. It’s important to get out, see the good peeps, and laugh. We laughed a lot. I miss Allison already, and I look forward to hopefully hanging out with her again soon.

Saturday I wanted to sleep in, but I also had chores to get done. But first, the garden sweep. Hello irises. They’re all opening now, and I’ve got a few different varieties in the back flower bed.
irises

irises

pink iris

irises

I just can't get enough of them. They make me smile.

Saturday afternoon, we were off to a BBQ at my parent’s house and a chance to see both of my sisters and brothers-in-law and kiddos. A chance for babies to interact with babies.

baby feets

1 week old foot and 8-month old foot meet.

My dad also debuted the return of Cheyenne the Wonder Horse. It was awesome.

cheyenne the wonder horse

This is the same horse my sisters and I rode on when we were kiddos. It was made in the '70s.

cheyenne the wonder horse

Whereas we used to get hurt frequently on this bucking bronco by misstepping or falling off, my dad has geniously reinforced Cheyenne the Wonder Horse with pipe insulation and duck tape. I think he even got new springs. And smartly moved Cheyenne outside for riding.

I loved bouncing and riding on this thing when I was growing up. And I had no idea that my dad held onto Cheyenne the Wonder Horse all these years. He’s amazing like that, storing something in the basement and then refurbishing it to glory. She looks amazing for her age!

Cheyenne the Wonder Horse

Yes, I mounted Cheyenne. Gingerly perhaps, but damn, it was fun. And no, I didn't break her. Those springs are, um, resilient.

Craig and I returned home to get nesty and catch up on the last season of LOST. We were the full 16 episodes of the last season behind when we started watching on Thursday night. But we methodically and strategically banged them out one by one, watching from the interwebz with limited commercials. We must have watched 6 or 7 episodes Saturday night alone. And by Sunday evening, we were caught up and ready to go for the series finale.

Despite all the activity, time passed slowly and wonderfully this weekend. I love that.

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Posted in Reduce Reuse Recycle, The Daily Balance, The Growing Season | 1 Comment »

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