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Bone Broth

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The homestead way has always placed emphasis on preparing and utilizing the entirety of whatever plants or animals the good Lord has blessed you with.  One way our family lives this out is with some good ol’ fashioned bone broth.

If there’s anything everyone needs to have in their kitchen at all times – besides a working coffee pot – it’s a stockpile of homemade bone broth.

Bone broth is the backbone (pun intended) of homestead cooking. This broth is the essential ingredient for making soups, sauces, cooking grains, and making comfort foods. True bone broth is made from collecting leftover bones and small amounts of meat and slowly simmering them overnight. The results are a delicious and nutritious broth.

By slowly simmering the bones overnight, you are able to create a broth that’s rich in protein, gelatin, which supports digestive health and healthy skin, and calcium. Also, it tastes delicious and isn’t chock full of sodium, like the store bought broth alternatives. The best part? Anyone can make bone broth. All you need are chicken bones, vegetables, water, and a large stock or crockpot.

The first – and most difficult – step: cook and enjoy eating a whole chicken. I know, torture, right? How horrible it will be to fill your house with the scent of baking chicken and then enjoy that fall off the bone, melt in your mouth goodness.

Once you’ve enjoyed a hearty dinner, collect your leftover chicken bones and scraps and throw them into the cooking pot of your choice. We typically simmer our bone broth overnight, so a crockpot is ideal – no one wants to leave the stove on all night long. Although, if you’ve feasted on your fresh chicken for Sunday luncheon, then by all means, use your large stockpot and cook on medium heat for a couple hours.

Bones in? Good. Now for the vegetables! We’re using the harvest, baby! Slice up your carrots, celery, and onion and toss them in.

Top off your bones and vegetables with water, a bay leave, and a dash of parsley. Now you’re all set to simmer away and wake up to the best smelling kitchen you’ve ever smelled before – you know, except for the smell of your first brew of coffee. Or brown sugar rising in your homemade wheat bread. Okay, I guess there is more than one way to fill your kitchen with sweet aromas. A homestead kitchen is a little piece of heaven on earth, y’all.

With your nose leading the way, you stumble toward the kitchen after a peaceful night’s rest. Peaceful meaning your baby only woke up twice for late night snacks – And behold! The ordinary kitchen scraps from last night’s delicious dinner has become a magical bone broth.

Take a few moments to lift off your pot’s lid and breath in deep. That’s the smell of sustenance. Strain out the bones, vegetables, and herbs and you’re left with the only broth you’ll ever need.

(Bonus – you can throw your cooked down carrots and celery into your backyard compost – food for you and your plants!)

The broth is best stored frozen. Grab your extra mason jars or plastic tupperware and fill, leaving an inch at the top for the broth to expand when frozen. Keep the jars in your freezer until you’re ready to prepare you next delicious homemade meal.

What you need:

  • Bones from a whole chicken
  • Carrots (2-3, chopped)
  • Celery (3-4 stalks, chopped)
  • Onion (½ an onion, keep in rings)
  • Bay leaf
  • Parsley

Fill crockpot with ingredients above. Cover all ingredients with water – fill just up to the top of your crockpot. Turn on “keep warm” and let simmer overnight (8+ hours). Strain out bones and vegetables. Fill mason jars with broth, leaving an inch of headspace. Freeze. Take your cooked down carrots and celery and throw in the compost bin.

And may this bone broth fill your hearts – and your bellies.

 

 

bonebroth

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Our Time

Doesn’t a fresh snow just warm your heart? There’s nothing I love more than waking up to see a fresh inch or two of snow blanketing the world around us. There’s something magical about the snow – something that brings me back to a sense of childlike wonder and awe.

This morning, I woke to find a fresh inch covering the outside world.

I stood, wrapped in a blanket, sipping fresh coffee in the kitchen while watching our dog playfully romp around the yard. The aroma of newly baked bread filled my soul and the sounds of my son cooing at his crib mobile filled my heart. Moments like this are just want I need – a reminder to stop being busy and breathe deeply in the world around me.

We had anticipated planting the beginnings of our garden this weekend, but the snow has forced us to postpone.  I should note, it’s the middle of March – and two days ago we were sporting shorts and 70 degree weather. Oh, Missouri.

It’s important to remember that everything has it’s time – just as the snow reminded me this morning. This is going to be our first planting season owning our own property. We’ve been dreaming and anticipating the first time we could dig out a small patch to be our garden in our yard. We’ve mapped out what plants to grow, when we need to start the seeds, when to transplant, and when to harvest. We’re a bit eager, to say the least.

A few months after we were married, we came across a beautiful house on a little over seven acres. The house had a huge kitchen and a wood burning stove in the basement. The land was mostly flat and cleared. It was ready for us. There was room for a potager garden and rows of fruit trees. A place to build a chicken coop and to plant a rose garden. We could have moved right in and begun the homesteading life we’ve been talking about.

But it wasn’t our time.  We’d been married only a few months and were mid-lease on an apartment. Our daily work commute and our bank account weren’t ready for us to start a farm.

I like to sit and wonder – how would our lives be different if we’d bought that land right away? Would we be happy there?

And then I remember, it wasn’t our time, our place.

This white cabinet filled kitchen. This split level, three bedroom, quarter acre lot. This wintery morning. This warm cup of coffee. This is our home, our moment, our time. And we are going to live in each moment and in each memory that we make here. We are meant to be here.

And my heart is full, here in our home(stead).

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Be Full

Life is meant to be full.

Full of people, stories, good food, dreams, love.

We have big dreams here in our little home. We dream of filling our plates (and our bellies) with fresh picked produce from our backyard. We dream of raising our son to appreciate all the earth can give us. We dream of simple, sustainable living. We dream of walking humbly with our God. We dream of buying more land to fill with children, animals, gardens, and memories. We dream of living a full life, with a heart fully invested in all we do.

Dreams have to start somewhere, and we plan on letting our dreams run free – here in our suburban home on a quarter acre. We are homesteading with full hearts.

Will you join us?