Bone Broth aka Stock‚Ķ So good for you!

Quite a bit has been said lately about bone broth ( I call it stock) and it’s health benefits from keeping the immune system healthy to remineralizing teeth!!

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Crock-Pot Stock

I make stock at least once a week. ¬†Usually from chicken, but sometime from beef. ¬†Stock is an amazing way to use up veggies and bones from other meals like roasted chicken or beef short ribs. ¬† If I am pressed for time (who isn’t), I usually throw the ingredients in a crock pot on low before bedtime and strain it in the morning. ¬†The recipe below is for a stove top simmer, but if you are pressed for time or want a great meal when you get home from work, just throw it into a crock pot in the AM and set it to high. ¬†When you get home, strain it and add some veggies, beans, rice, tomato paste‚Ķso many options!

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Slow Simmering Stock

Ingredients:

Please us organic ingredients if at all possible.  Sometime I use whatever I have on hand to make a stock. Leeks, red onions…whatever herbs I have around as well.  The Recipe below is a standard recipe to follow.

  • A 4 pound ¬†chicken
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2
  • 4 ribs celery and tops, cut in 1/2
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 to 10 peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 gallons cold water

Directions

Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in 12-quart stockpot. Cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Turn heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer.  Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. After about 2 hours, remove the chicken, pick off all of the meat and return the bones to the stock for additional simmering.  Allow the meat to cool and use in the finished soup, shred and season for chicken burritos, chop chilled chicken and mix with mayo, lemon juice and thyme for chicken salad….so many options!!
Back to the stock…Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.
Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids (or eating them as a warm snack..yum!!). You can finish the stock by making into any stock based soup of your choice or cool immediately in  a sink full of ice water to below 40 degrees. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove solidified fat from surface of liquid (you can keep the fat to sauté in or freeze it for use in roux) and store in container with lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Use as a base for soups and sauces.

Here we are‚ĶA New Year!

Whoa! ¬†As wonderful as 2013 was for us, it was by far the busiest I think we’ve ever been in our business and in our personal life. ¬†It isn’t until we look back that we see exactly where we’ve been and what we’ve done. ¬†I am so very thankful and feel very fortunate that we were able to accomplish all that we have this past year‚Ķwithout any mental breakdowns (although we were close!)

This New Year, my goal is to visit here more‚Ķto write more, for me and for the kids. ¬†To really put forth a great effort and push on their schooling as we have a bit to catch up on and the allow them to be kids through it all. ¬†I want to have more field trips, less craziness and more calm. ¬†One can hope at least. ūüėČ

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Before…

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During…

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After… (Play Area)

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After… (School and Office Area)

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After…(School Area with Magnet Wall)

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After…(Office)

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After…(New Stairs)

We’ve finally finished (well, mostly) our new school/play/office and added a bathroom. ¬†It was a ton more work than we thought it would be, I blame HGTV for that. ¬†They can redo and entire house in an hour‚Ķwhy can’t we put an addition on our house in 3 weeks‚Ķseemed like a no brainer to us! ¬†As we found it, it doesn’t work that way and I thank the contractor that raised the roof, so to speak, for not laughing out loud in our faces for even suggesting it. ¬†His portion was done in 2 weeks which left us to do sub-floors, wiring, framing, ¬†bathroom, floors, insulation, sheet rocking, taping, sanding, mudding‚Ķblah, blah in a week. ¬†Well, lets just say that 6 months later we are just finishing up. ¬†We had some family help along the way. ¬†My father in law was with us for a 2 week stint that turned into 5 weeks. I do believe that him being here saved our marriage from ruin as the Hubs and I don’t do projects together very well, or we didn’t until this rather large project came to be. ¬†His knowledge was invaluable and I learned so much!

So here we are! ¬†The best part of all of this, was that it all happened so fast that there wasn’t much time to think “what the hell are we doing, we don’t know how to do that!”. ¬†I watched a lot of you tube to learn and the rest we figured out.

¬†We haven’t planned any big projects for this year, thankfully, ¬†but may add a little something to the farm‚Ķat least we are talking about it any. ūüėČ

Master Tonic..it’s for all that ails you!

I have a confession to make….I HATE being sick.  I am sure that no one likes being sick, but I HATE it.  I am a giant baby when I am sick and I tend to panic, which makes things worse, way worse.

I will do ANYTHING to avoid being sick which is nearly impossible when you have little petri dishes walking around touching everything and then touching their faces, eyes, mouths, each others faces, my face. ¬† I’ve even turned my head a time or two only to have a tiny hand shoved in my mouth, because suddenly a 4 year olds hand is an ice cream cone that “Mom ¬†just has to try!”. ¬† Ahhh‚Ķboundaries.

Anywho, I found this recipe last year for this super tonic hailed “Master Tonic” because I was looking for natural ways to keep us all from getting sick. ¬†We take our vitamins, drink our elderberry syrup, I made stock often, we were eating organic, but we were still getting sick. ¬†I happened across this article¬† from Heal Thyself and we’ve been making it ever since. ¬†You have to think ahead enough to make it for when you need it as it takes a couple of weeks to steep. ¬†We take it at the hint of a throat tickle or if anyone else is sick, we double, triple up. ¬†It is a little hard to take at first and it may run right through you, but it gets easier every time and actually I enjoy the taste now, well most of the time anyway. ūüėČ

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Master Tonic!

1 part fresh chopped organic garlic cloves
1 part fresh chopped organic white onions
1 part fresh grated organic ginger root
1 part fresh grated organic horseradish root
1 part fresh chopped¬†organic¬†Cayenne¬†peppers, jalape√Īo, Serrano, Habanero, African bird peppers….any combination of the hottest peppers available

**Please use fresh and please use organic ingredients

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There are many versions from rough chopping to putting everything in the food processor.

Wash all ingredients. Chop and fill a glass jar ¬†(or 2 or 3) ¬†3/4 of the way full with the ingredients. ¬†Fill the remainder of the way with Organic apple cider vinegar. ¬† We use Bragg’s, but any OCV with the mother will do fine.

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Cover and shake.  Move all of that vinegar around to fill air bubbles.  Top off the jar with more vinegar.  Seal and wait.

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You should shake it when you walk by, but at least once a day.

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You can put herbs in it as well. ¬†I’ve been cooking with turmeric lately, so I may just throw some in there. ¬†Fresh thyme would be good as the¬†essential oils in thyme are packed with¬†anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-rheumatic, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal¬†properties.

It is recommended that you make it with the new moon and strain it on the full moon (about 14 days). ¬†While I try to follow this, I don’t always. Sometimes you just need it quicker. ūüėČ

On the 14th day ( or round about there) strain your tonic into glass jars and keep in a dark place.  I keep one on the counter in a darker jar and the rest go in the cupboard.  The last batch (the 2 large jars) yielded about 4-5 pint-sized jars of the tonic.  Some folks save the strained out parts for soups and stocks.  I think I might do that the next time too!

Be wary of smelling it when making it…it WILL clear your sinuses.

The very first time I tried it, it was a strange feeling, I took a swig and felt it go straight down into my tummy warming along the way. ¬†An odd feeling to say the least, but it works! ¬†Knock on wood, everyone around me has fallen to ¬†some sort of cold/flu already multiple times this year. ¬†I am still standing. ūüėČ ¬†Sometime I get a very miniscule versions of what others have, but so far, never a full blown cold/flu.

There you go…Master tonic!  Make, drink, stay healthy!

~~~~~

Want to know more??

Here is a ¬†little bit more information on why this all works‚Ķsomething to read while you wait 2 weeks for your tonic. ūüėČ

Horseradish Root: From the same family as the mustard and cabbage family and has anti scorbutic and expectorant properties. The root reportedly cures tonsillitis and is a natural treatment for rheumatic and respiratory disorders. The root is also laden with a potent amount of vitamin C and B complex, minerals, potassium, calcium and iron as well as enzymes. It is a natural antibiotic which can kill bacteria in the throat that cause bronchitis. Horseradish heats up the body and has a cardiotonic effect (strengthens the heart). The glucosinolates found in horseradish are thought to increase resistance in humans to cancer. These glucosinolate compounds are only found in plants which are in the mustard family such as horseradish, mustard, broccoli and cauliflower. They have powerful anti-oxidant properties. It is interesting to note that a study in 2005 showed that glucosinolates increase the liver’s ability to detoxify and eliminate carcinogens. Horseradish contains an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of the glucosinolates which makes it easier for the human body to benefit from its therapeutic properties.

Ginger root: The ginger root is actually an underground stem. It may have blood thinning properties and cholesterol lowering properties. Compounds found in ginger known as gingerols have analgesic, sedative, anti-pyretic (lowers fever) and anti-bacterial properties. They also have anti-fungal properties that supposedly are effective against even athlete’s foot. Ginger contains protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, choline, folic acid, inositol, manganese, pantothenic acid, silicon and a small amount of vitamin B3. Ginger has good properties for menstruation problems, and many say that it is good for settling and upset stomach.

Garlic: Garlic contains antiseptic properties and it helps to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, is an appetite stimulant and is good for the hair! Garlic is known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic as well as a blood purifier. There are recipes for treating tuberculosis, whooping cough, rheumatism, ringworm, pneumonia, wounds and ulcers, parasites, asthma, high blood pressure, digestive problems and acne. A cut garlic clove rolled on pimples several times a day will make the blemish disappear without a scar. Rubbing garlic over ringworm will burn out the infection. The skin falls off leaving healed skin behind. When cooking with garlic, by chopping or crushing the garlic clove and letting it rest for a few minutes before adding it to the dish you are cooking gives the anti-cancer properties a chance to form so that they are transmitted into the food even after it is cooked.

Onions: Onions contain phytochemicals called flavanoids. One flavanoid called quercitin may inhibit tumor growth and keep colon cancer at bay. A newly discovered compound in onions may actually inhibit bone loss in menopausal women. Onions contain vitamin C and chromium, B6, biotin, folic acid, vitamin B1 and K, and healthy sulfur compounds as well as enzymes. They also have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic properties and are a source of fiber.

Peppers: Red peppers contain lycopene which protects against cancer and heart disease. Peppers contain large amounts of phytochemicals that have antioxidant capabilities such as chlorogenic acid, zeaxanthin and coumeric acid. Hot peppers also stimulate blood flow in the body, but cayenne pepper is also good for helping to stop bleeding. I have applied some to a cut finger before, and it helped stop the blood flow.

Raw apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples in a wooden barrel. It contains calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, malic acid, acetic acid, pectin, potassium. Pectin is good for the colon, regulates blood pressure and also removes bad cholesterol. Malic acid is good for fighting infections, as it is anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.

Information above from Fair Hill Farms.  Thank you!!

I am a mom and Chef by training‚Ķnot a medical professional. ¬†Everything posted on this blog has been used by myself and my family and is for informational purposes only. ¬†That being said…I do hope you try it and let me know how it works for you!

Bacon and Sausage everywhere!!

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Bacon and Sausage everywhere!!  After the processing of the pigs, it is always bacon and sausage time.  With each of the 8 bellies weighing about 9 lbs and about 100 lbs of ground pork, we were in for a busy weekend.

We started by curing the bellies with a traditional salt, sugar, molasses and herb dry rub for 7 days.  On day 3 of the cure, we drained the liquid that had been purged and re-rubbed with more cure.  Using salt as a cure allows us to NOT use pink salt ( sodium nitrite/nitrate).

After day 7, we smoked the bacon with apple, pecan and cherry wood and froze the whole bellies and were ready to slice!

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Once it was frozen, we sliced and packaged the bacon‚Ķmaybe we ate a bit too. ¬†I’ll never tell!

¬†Homemade bacon from organically raised pigs is so different from store-bought bacon. ¬†It’s flavor is so concentrated that you really only need to eat a few slices to get your fill. ¬†Even the most carnivorous of folks get their fill after a few pieces.

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There is something so amazingly cool about making/growing your own food. ¬†Actually it is not all that difficult and mainly requires a time commitment. ¬†There are plenty of folks out there that do it and work a full-time job outside the home..it is entirely possible to do, if you really want to. ūüôā

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The sausage‚Ķit really is the stuff ¬†that dreams are made of! ¬†Last year we went to a different butcher and for some unknown reason, the ground pork that we got wasn’t the best as it had hard chunks in it‚Ķgross sounding, I know. ¬†The really unfortunate part was that we didn’t realize until it was too late and we had made 100 lbs of sausage with it and sent it off to our family and friends. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†We always taste test the sausage before we stuff it, but didn’t find anything odd in the samples that we tried. ¬†That was last year‚Ķthis year a different butcher and AMAZING Sausage! ¬†We played around with maple syrup in the sausage, but found that it often burned when cooked, as pure sugar will. ¬† I was poking around Amazon and found this maple syrup powder¬†and thought we’d give it a whirl.

The stuff is amazing and was perfect for our maple breakfast sausage!!  We used quite a bit to get the flavor that we were looking for.  It turned out so yummy!  One word of caution..it is a very fine powder so it will get everywhere if spilled or mixed to fast.

We also made an italian sausage, neither sweet nor spicy…just in the middle and oh so yummy with fresh garlic, rosemary, fennel and other spices!!

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For the past 2 years of sausage and bacon making, we look at each other and say “we are not doing this again next year!” ¬†I am not going to lie‚Ķit’s a lot to add to our plate, especially this year. ¬†But, when we get the feedback from those who eat it and want to order again already for next year‚Ķit all seems worth it!

 There is a really great feeling that happens when feeding those you care about great, wholesome food.

**sigh** ¬† I do love doing this. ūüôā

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Ps…I wanted to add a picture of us making the sausage‚Ķbut I couldn’t seem to take one that wasn’t terribly phallic. ūüėČ

Fortunate are we!!

Last Month we were fortunate enough to be part of a home school group that attended a class on the¬†weather atop Mt. Washington and rode the Cog Railway up to the summit of Mt. Washington! ¬†What a blast! ¬†The kids are still talking about it and the experience of being on top of the world (at least in our little corner of it, anyway). ¬† ¬†What a cool experience! ¬†I remember going up as a kid, but I remember it being waaayyy scarier. ¬†They have made giant leaps in the form of safety and new equipment. ¬†As a kid, I felt like we could slip back at anytime and plummet to the bottom, which is how I thought I’d feel this time, but the ride was nice, very nice and felt safe. ¬†The conductors were very knowledgeable and we learned about the history of the mountains and how some great folks worked tirelessly to preserve the areas wilderness. ¬†We learned that the first building was built on the top of the mountain in 1852! ¬†I can’t even imagine!

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And finally VERY excited to have the schoolroom coming along!! ¬†It has been a long process and we’ve had to learn a lot. ¬†At this point, I don’t see anymore additions to our home in our future…but we’ll chat when all is said and done and we can move everything upstairs. ūüėČ

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We are hoping that we can get it all finished within the next few weeks and finally have everything back in their places….. ūüôā

A litte bit of Mexico…

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Perhaps the hubs was longing for our honeymoon to Mexico…Perhaps he looked around and saw nothing in the house to eat??

Anyway…

When the man is home on a weekend that we aren’t running around…then he is cooking Which is fine by me!!. ¬†¬†Enter the homemade corn tortillas.

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As I finished my own work, he was busy mixing and resting dough. ¬†He had his Sous Chefs by his side and together they were rolling while the littlest Sous was pressing. ¬†My little guy was so incredibly proud of himself that he showed me each and every tortilla before they were cooked. ¬†Which left me getting very little work done, but hey…them be some yummy tortillas made by a super kid! ¬†I am very lucky. ūüôā

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While Mj pressed, Mark cooked.

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This went on for a good while until we had a giant stack of warm, salty, corny (he, he) tortillas.

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We ended up with tostada like yumminess topped with grass-fed beef, our own canned beans, organic corn, organic salsa and the BEST sour cream out there…Wallaby!

 Seriously, this stuff is almost drinkable!

Anywho…Here is the link to the recipe that was used. ¬†We were able to find organic masa harina too! ¬†NO GMO corn here…ever! ūüėČ

Give it a try…It is super fun for the kids too!

Piadina…My new love!

Welcome to the yummy world of Piadina!

Piadina is where I want to live, well actually it isn’t a place (not that I know of anyway),¬†but to me it is a fluffy little island that I forever want to live on or at very least eat everything off of!

Piadina is a soft, fluffy little Italian flatbread made with lard, I said it LARD! Mmmm.

I first tasted a yummy morsel like this many, many moons ago. ¬†It was light and fluffy and it was filled with a caesar salad. ¬†Ever since then I have been searching for that flavor I had no idea what it was, I figured it was an Indian style flatbread. ¬†The hubs was bored and since no plain old chicken salad sandwich will do at our house, he whipped out “I’m going to make Piadina!” five minutes before the lunchtime hunger melt down. ¬†I had no idea what ¬†he was talking about so I rolled my eyes knowing that the wrath of hungry littles was about to pound on him like a sledge hammer carnival game. ¬†Good luck, I thought. ¬†But alas, Dad is way more fun than Mom, so he was able to keep the natives at bay.

I let him do his thing and stayed out of the way until I smelled the fluffy goodness in the pan!

OH MY WORD! ¬†It was heavenly! ¬†Not in a brownie out of the oven heavenly way, but in a salty, bacon-ish angels calling sort of way. ¬†I know, you are thinking “it’s just bread lady!” but it is ohhhh, so much more.

I ran over to the stove, I may have “accidentally” pushed one of the kids out of the way, tore a piece off the bread, shoved it into my mouth and I was taken back to that silly¬†salad-wich that I had tasted years ago int he midwest!

 It was AH-MA-ZING.

Since I wasn’t really interested in the process, honestly I thought “you’re making flatbread, not interested” so I didn’t take any pictures until I tasted it, and then all I could do was snap one picture before I devoured this sandwich. ūüôā

Piadina

¬†You must try this, it doesn’t take long to make and its flavor is amazing.

I am very much on a sprouted what kick lately, but I ran out of the sprouted wheat flour. Boo…So I vow to make this with sprouted wheat and see if there is a difference.

The recipe credit belongs here, to Food52 Blog and to her Nonna!  Thank you Nonna, no chicken salad sandwich will ever compare.

Here is the recipe:

Serves 6 (recipe can be multiplied)

  • 3cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 heaping tablespoons shortening or leaf lard
  • 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • Fillings of your choice like Prosciutto, ham, mozzarella, fritatta, salad, Nutella, pretty much anything you want . ¬†***I vote Chicken Salad!!***
  1. Place flour in a mound on pastry board or counter. Sprinkle on salt and baking powder, and mix together with your fingers.
  2. Make a well in the center. Drop in the shortening and rub it together with the flour using your fingertips. Lumps are okay! And it will still be pretty floury.
  3. Make a well again and pour in water and milk. Mix with fingers until dough comes together. Add a little more warm water or flour, if needed. You want a soft dough ¬Ė not at all sticky. Knead for a couple minutes, and roll into a log shape.
  4. Alternatively, all the mixing can be done in a large bowl. I like to use a fork to mix everything together.
  5. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, using a scale if you have one. With one hand, gently roll each piece on the board/counter into a ball. Mom says to use your thumb and nudge the dough ball under with each turn. Set each ball to the side on a sprinkling of flour and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Heat griddle to medium. Slightly flatten a ball and roll out dough to about 9 inches in diameter. Gently lift and place on hot griddle, scoring the piadina all over with the tines of a fork. If bubbles appear, quickly pierce those suckers with the fork. Cook each side for a few minutes or until each side develops some lightly browned spots. Remove to a clean dish cloth. Repeat with each ball, and stack each cooked piadina over one another. Loosely cover with a dish towel. When done, cut piadine into quarters and enjoy with your favorite sandwich fixings.
  7. Piadina freezes well. Reheat on a griddle.