Nutritious Chicken Broth

When I was a little girl we didn’t have a lot of extra money which meant meals were often simple and always budget friendly. One of the meals my mom used to make was “chicken and rice”. A homemade chicken broth with rice cooked in the broth. No frills. Just chicken, rice, salt and pepper. (still one of my favorite meals!!)………..The secret ingredient was the broth.

My mom didn’t spend $3 on a pint of watered down broth from the grocery store. She took the left over carcass from a roasted chicken and made her own. She covered the carcass with water and boiled it until all the left over bits of meat and bones just fell apart.

I would watch her sift through and pull out all the bones and inedible stuff like cartilage and skin. I remember saying, “ewwwwww, I’m NEVER going to touch meat like that. Gross!!”

Guess what?

My finances became tight and I found myself doing things the way my mom used too, in order to feed my own children. Trying to save a few pennies, I learned what my mom had known for years. A bit of invested time and left over bones from a chicken dinner can be turned into a super healthy broth that can be used a zillion different ways.

Think about this. If you’re already buying a chicken or pieces of chicken (anything with bones), making this broth is a net cost of zero!!. It’s like FREE food. How can you argue with that!!!

Nutritious Chicken Broth

  • Time: 2hr
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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Things you will need

  • Bones from a whole chicken or parts of a chicken to equal same amount.
  • Large pot with a lid.
  • Second pot or large bowl.
  • Strainer.

Directions

  1. Take left over bones from a chicken dinner.
  2. Put the meat in a pot and cover almost to the top of the bones.
  3. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to a low-medium for about 45 minutes. Make sure it’s on a low boil or all the liquid will boil off and you will lose the broth.
  5. Once the bones are broken apart and the cartilage pulls away from the bones easily, remove from heat and let cool.
  6. Put your strainer in a large bowl.
  7. Pour cooled broth and bones into the strainer, making sure the bowl underneath is catching all the broth.
  8. Sift through the bones to keep any extra edible meat.
  9. Use immediately or freeze in baggies or ice cubes for later use

Not only is this broth SUPER friendly on your wallet, but it’s also amazingly healthy.

  • This broth aides in digestion (and leaky gut syndrome).
  • Because of the boiled down cartilage, you get extra glucosamine which helps with joint discomfort.
  • You get to decide how much sodium you want to add.
  • This broth contains a high amount of calcium from the boiled bones.
  • The gelatin in the broth promotes healthy hair and nails.
  • Studies show that homemade chicken soup has soothing immune boosting qualities, not to mention the sheer comfort of sipping on a cup of warm homemade broth when you don’t feel well.

Here are just a few ways this super food broth can be used:

  • Base for any kind of soup or stew.
  • My mom’s chicken and rice.
  • Chicken and dumplings.
  • Cooking vegetables.
  • Instead of water in rice/pasta/grains.
  • As a base for gravy.
  • When making mashed potatoes.
  • As a braising liquid.

This broth can be frozen in large freezer bags for your next pot of stew or frozen into little ice cubes to use as a flavoring agent in sauces. I also like to freeze single size portions for those times when someone in the house isn’t feeling well.

If you don’t have the time to make the broth just freeze the carcass until you do. Remember, throwing a carcass away is like throwing dollars in the trash. In fact, I am SO sold on this idea that my roommates have started giving me their left over chicken bones!! (hahaha, does that make me weird?)

Step by Step

Use any left over chicken bones. It can be a whole chicken or a mix of legs/wings/thighs/bone-in breasts.

Put bones into a pot and add enough water to cover the bones. Yes I know, not a pretty photo – BUT, it’s a carcass!

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Cover pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes (until the cartilage easily separates from bones).

Remove from heat and let cool.

Put a strainer over another pot or large bowl. Pour broth and bones into the strainer, sifting out the bones and catching the broth in the bowl underneath.

Sift through the bones for any left over edible meat. This is what mine looks like at the end. The left is what I kept for my next pot of soup, the middle is what I will feed my little pup Snap and the right is the only part of the chicken that goes in the garbage!!  Look at that tiny pile of bones and skin – not much waste there!!

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……………… and the final product!  (Delicious, nutritious, hearty, SUPER food).

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TRY this recipe (especially if you hate throwing food away). Feel free to share!!

Come visit again for more wallet friendly kitchen tips.

References:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/16/bone-broth-benefits.aspx

http://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/

Hey Renee

*What you are about to read is a true story.

My early years
When I was a young girl we attended church regularly. We had an elder neighbor that would have church sing-a-longs at her house. We celebrated Christian holidays. Jesus was no secret in our home.

As I got older and went out on my own, church became a thing of the past. Jesus was always in the back of my mind and I didn’t doubt His existence, but I didn’t rely on Him for strength or pray on a regular basis.

Without going into great detail (maybe that will come on later posts), the paths I chose in life took me to some very dark places. My life became a whirlwind and out of control. I fell farther and farther away from my Christian upbringing.

As my life became more unmanageable, I found myself leaning on what I knew as a child and walked into a church for help. There I met an amazing woman I like to call my Angel. It was her love that brought me back into the church.

Full of doubts
I spent several years working on strengthening my faith, changing my lifestyle and becoming a better person. My life seemed to be going pretty good until I found out some unsettling news about my husband. We talked about the issues and tried to seek counseling, but in the end, the choice was made to end our marriage.

So many things went through my head and my heart. What did I do to deserve a failed marriage? Why hadn’t he loved me enough to try harder? Where was God in all this? Why didn’t God work harder to change his heart, after all God doesn’t like divorce, right?

Many nights I cried myself to sleep struggling with the new life of single motherhood, sole provider, fear of the future, doubt in my own abilities. Many nights I wondered, “why ME”.

My defining moment in Christ
One particular morning I felt more defeated than usual. I guess you could say I was having a pity party for myself. Going through a divorce, single mother working two jobs to pay the bills, not enough time to spend with my children. I was exhausted and there was no one around to give me any relief.

When I got into my car to head to work, I broke down with tears and I cried.

I reached my hands towards the roof of my car and yelled, “God you’re NOT even real. If you were, I wouldn’t be suffering so badly ………….. yeah right, pearly gates and streets of gold. Just a stupid story some hurting person made up to feel better about their life on earth.”

Up until that moment, I held onto a hope that God was real and His promises would show up in my life, but that didn’t happen. I truly felt alone in the world. The stories of God were like that of Cinderella, just fairytales.

Since God wasn’t going to help and no one else was going to pay my bills, I made a choice to just suck it up and get to work before I was late. I wiped the tears from my eyes with a sigh, “all that time wasted believing in a God”.

I turned on my car and this is when my life changed forever.

My radio was tuned to an A.M. Christian channel and as soon as I turned the ignition, this is song I heard……

“Hey, Renee
How you doing today, Renee?
Picking up a cup of coffee
Then you’ll be on your way”

The world literally stopped at that moment. The lyrics went on to talk about lying awake at night and contemplating life, daydreaming about erasing the things in life that went wrong, and having days full of doubt. This song was my life!

The song ended with these words:

“Hey, Renee
It’ll all be okay
Sorry, no, you don’t know me
Hope you have a nice day

You got a tough role to play
Jesus loves you, Renee
That’s all I wanted to say”

My face was soaked with an uncontrollable stream of tears. The God I just mocked and rebuked had just spoken to me. And it wasn’t just a feeling in my heart or a thought that “might” have been from God. It was the most audible way God could have spoken to me.

In that moment of deep desperation, my unbelieving heart was renewed with something so powerful words could never express. God knew that I was giving up on Him and that I had to have a powerful sign from Him so not to chalk-it-up as coincidence.

Could this be coincidence? ……………..

20 preset stations on my radio, 24 hours and 1,440 minutes in a day, millions of songs that could have been playing on my radio at that moment.

My name, my story, my moment of despair. A voice in my radio speaking MY name, confirming “I” had a tough situation………… and then those ever precious words, “Jesus loves you Renee”.

Coincidence? Not a chance!

I was a young single mother without an education, worried about feeding my children, wondering if I would have enough to pay rent and keep a roof over our heads.

God took the most desperate moment in my life and turned it into the most inspirational. When I feel negative thoughts creep up in my life now, I only need to remember this moment. The moment God revealed Himself to me, in all His glory.

God came to me and told me He loved me. He called me by name and told me everything was going to be ok.

Life changed forever
I look back now and see, every struggle I went through, He was by my side.

My children were always fed (sometimes through help from the church), we always had a place to live (even if sometimes it was in someone else’s house), we didn’t always have a car (but we always had two feet to walk to the grocery store, to school and to work).

I’ve learned to wait on God’s timing and trust that His plan is always the best.

Please come back to Faith, Farm & Family Table to read more about my journey. Many more stories from my crazy, funny, inspiring life to come.

See you soon!

ps. I’m trying to get permission (and to figure out the technological part) so I can upload this amazing song to this post.

This song titled “Renee” is from the album Revolution by Scott Krippayne – THANK you Scott for writing this song! It literally changed my life!

Best Garden Fresh Salsa

Every year we have an abundance of tomatoes from our garden. Big juicy red tomatoes, crisp and so full of flavor. We eat them sliced as a side, as a garnish on a grilled burger, and we always make homemade salsa. We start with a few veggies from the garden. 11089031_909130752470726_428707637_n And finish with THIS…….

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Look at that chunky goodness! It’s amazing how just a few ingredients from the garden can become such a flavorful addition to any meal. Read below to see some delicious ways to impress your family and friends with this garden goodness. I promise, once you’ve made this recipe, you wont ever buy salsa from the grocery store again.

Best Garden Fresh Salsa

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium vine ripe tomatoes
  • 1  large jalapeno
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 packed cup cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice from 1 small lime

Directions

  1. Rinse all the veggies and pat dry.
  2. Chop tomatoes and onion, small to medium chunks.
  3. Deseed jalapeno and chop into pieces smaller than the tomato. This will help disperse the “hot” throughout the salsa.
  4. Mince the garlic.
  5. Chop cilantro into small pieces.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together and squeeze the lime juice into the mix (making sure not to let any seeds fall in).
  7. Add salt.
  8. Can serve immediately or let sit for an hour to let the flavors blend together.

Enjoy!!

Here are some great ideas for using this Garden Fresh Salsa.

  • Add this salsa to your tacos, nachos or quesadillas.
  • Use as a filling with some cheese and sour cream for a breakfast omelet.
  • Stir into cooked rice with some chili powder for Spanish rice.
  • Top a Sprouted Veggie Bean Burger.
  • Mix with Ranch dressing for a Salsa Ranch!!
  • Add to any of your homemade soups or my Turkey Tortilla Soup.
  • Add to the middle of a grilled cheese or veggie sandwich.
  • Mix with Velveeta for a hot cheesy salsa dip.
  • Use as a topping for a baked potato.
  • Purée and add to tomato soup for a spicy version.

If you don’t have a garden, you can still get the ingredients and make this delicious salsa for under $3.00.. Thanks for coming by. Please feel free to share this recipe.

Top 5 Reasons Children Should Grow a Garden

So the sun is shining and Spring is in the air. You’re wondering what you can do to get your children out of the house. Something worthwhile that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Something you can enjoy as a family.

When my children were young, this was the time of year we always started our vegetable garden. We were able to enjoy each others company and decide as a family what we wanted to plant. With every year our gardens became more exciting.

We started with plants like tomatoes and herbs. As my boys grew older, we began planting things based on what we wanted to cook. One year my youngest wanted to grow cucumbers so he could make a giant jar of pickles. Another year we grew tomatoes, cilantro and onions to make salsa. Then we became super creative and grew hot peppers to go with the salsa to make a pot of spicy chili.

From my personal experience, gardening with children is one of the most satisfying thing a parent and child can share together.

Here is why:

It teaches them about nature and how the ecosystem works

What a gift to see a child’s eyes light up with excitement as they learn about how nature works. When they’re young start them gardening with a couple of seeds and a cup of dirt. They learn that with a little bit of attentiveness and nurture tiny plants start to grow.

As children get older, parents can teach how non-living organisms, such as sunshine, water, and weather, all work together for a purpose. Once they have a grasp on that, teach them how microorganisms in the soil have an impact on the plants, just as pollution and chemicals do. By the time your children are young adults, they will have a great understanding  of how the world of nature works. And it all starts with one little seed.

* if you’re lucky, when you loosen the soil for planting seeds, you will find earthworms. A perfect opportunity to teach how important the earthworm is to the health of the soil. When we found them, we would carefully dig a little hole and put them back so they could do their magic.

It fosters a sense of responsibility and purpose

When my boys were young, I read a book titled, “Raising Self Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World” by H. Stephen Glenn. In this book, the author speaks of a time when children were required to help out with tending to the farm animals and land to keep the household running. If Billy didn’t milk the cows, Betty wouldn’t have a bottle to drink. At a very young age, children were doing chores that really made a difference. Billy felt accomplished for doing his part feeding the family. Now-a-days, our milk is purchased at the grocery store (unless you are lucky enough to have your own farm) and that sense of purpose has completely changed.

Through gardening, children are able to get a sense of what Billy experienced as a young boy. Imagine your child tending the garden and then imagine the look on his face when he prepares a dinner salad from greens HE harvested. I promise your heart will melt with joy as you watch your child feeling so accomplished and proud.

It promotes self-confidence

Children have a constant stream of media and peer pressure that tells them they need to do this or that to “fit in”. Every where they turn, they are bombarded with commercials, magazines and posters telling them they aren’t good enough. As parents we can combat some of that negativity with positive influences in our home.

Gardening increase self confidence in so many ways.

  • It gives them knowledge (and we all know that in knowledge is power!).
  • It gives them a sense of purpose.
  • Children learn to take pride in their accomplishments.
  • They learn to act independently.
  • They take on responsibility and feel important.
  • They become more excited to accept new challenges and try new things.

It gets children actively involved in healthy eating

When a parent teaches a child how to garden, that child learns the value and health of the veggies. He will want to partake in the consumption.. As a family we would decide what to do with the veggies we grew. We’ve made salsa, pickles, chili, garden salads, homemade stews, and more.

One day my son came to me and asked if he could eat some cherry tomatoes. Don’t ask me why, but without thinking, these words came out of my mouth, “you can have a handful right after you finish your dinner”… He was so excited!!! He grew a little older and realized that tomatoes weren’t a dessert food but what an amazing illustration of how my children perceived their work in the garden!

It creates strong family and teaches everyone to work together

Not only is menu making and cooking in the kitchen a bonus for growing a garden, now you get to add in quality time with your loved ones. Instead of sitting in front of the television on a sunny day, we spent our afternoons in the garden. Getting excited for the anticipated harvest. Learning to be patient together. This is great for teaching children patience in other areas of their life too! (BONUS)

So many summers spent getting dirty with my boys (with the occasional attack of the hose on an unsuspecting mom hahaha.), working as a team and sharing responsibility, learning to appreciate all our hard work and not wasting any of our food.

We were growing watermelons one year and one of our visitors had a toddler who picked our baby watermelon LONG before it was ready. My son immediately said he wanted to eat it!! I cut it open and all that was there was the rind. None of the delicious juicy red watermelon had formed yet. He didn’t care!! We did the work and he was eating the harvest. I watched him eat everything but the tiny little rind. To this day, we laugh at that story!

There you have! My favorite reasons for growing a garden with children.

Happy Gardening

Copyright

My son took this photo of his first cilantro plants!

Here is a terrific site where  you can get some fun children’s lessons on the ecosystem and our wonderful earth. Click HERE

Sprouted Veggie Bean Burger

So it’s the first week of April and the weather man says the high today is only 43F. I keep thinking that “if I were in Las Vegas or California my garden would already be sprouting out of the ground”. I realize this way of thinking is only tormenting myself, so today I have decided to make the veggie bean burgers from the sprouts I grew last week.

If you’ve never had a veggie bean burger, you’re really missing out.  Whether you’re a vegetarian or you just want to eat a burger that is super healthy, this is it!!

These burgers hold together perfectly and also freeze well.

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Sprouted Veggie Bean Burger

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup sprouted beans of your choice (this comes from sprouting 1 cup of dry beans)
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup baby carrots
  • 1/4 large white onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour (I used Gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. After day two of sprouting, rinse the beans well. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes, Drain most the liquid (the beans should be a tiny bit moist) Let cool to room temperature.
  2. While the beans are cooling, chop spinach, carrots & onion into small pieces. I like to use my Vitamix (adding carrots first, then onion, then spinach. Pulse on level 3 until all the veggies are chopped). Pour  veggies into a bowl and add the minced garlic.
  3. Add beans to blender and pulse, scraping down the edges. Do not over pulse the beans. The beans should be blended just enough so there are little chunks for texture.
  4. Mix the blended beans with the vegetable mix.
  5. Add the egg, flour, smoked paprika, thyme and sea salt. Blend well.
  6. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray a light coating of olive oil.
  7. Measure 1/2 cup per burger, shape into a burger, and place on cookie sheet. I found the easiest way to do this is scoop with the measuring cup, plop it onto the tray and then form it. Otherwise, you will get SUPER messy! (I like to take my rings off for this part).
  8. Spray the top of each burger with a light coating of olive oil. This will create a crispy outer layer for the burger.
  9. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may take a little longer. To make sure the burger is cooked all the way through, touch the center. It should feel firm with a slightly dried outer crust.
  10. Garnish with all your burger favorites.

Enjoy!!

The first step to making these delicious burgers is to sprout the beans. For step-by-step instructions and all the health benefits of sprouted beans check out this POST.

Once the beans have been sprouted, they are still crunchy so need to be boiled and then simmered until they are soft.

While the beans are cooling off, chop your onion, carrots, spinach and garlic.

Using a high power blender, pulse the beans until they are mushy and sticking together, but not so much they look like refried beans. There should still be some texture in the mix.

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Blend all the ingredients together. If mixture seems dry, add a little water so it’s moist.

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Spray with olive oil and bake at 375F for 30 minutes.

Garnish with your favorite burger toppings.

I topped my burgers with the alfalfa sprouts that I grew at the same time I sprouted the beans.

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Substitutions

  • Use a can of lentils or garbanzo beans instead of the sprouted beans. Just make sure to drain all the liquid off so the burgers aren’t too runny.
  • Yellow onion, red onion or shallots in place of the white onion.
  • Zucchini works well in this burger – can replace the carrots or the spinach.
  • If you are vegan, substitute chia seeds soaked in water for the egg.
  • Garlic powder in place of the garlic cloves.
  • Regular paprika in place of the smoked. In fact, I’ve made these with Cajun spice, chili spices and even rosemary from my garden.

I hope you enjoyed this creation of mine!! Feel free to “like” this post or share it with your friends.

Thanks for stopping by.