Heal Your Life with A Cow Bone and a Chicken Toe

Know what’s on my mind lately? I’ll tell you.

Everything is split. Not just into FOR or AGAINST, but a million different shards of opinions.

There is no pleasing everyone, in any situation. Also, it’s very difficult to change someone else’s mind. And no amount of angry arguing with an un-like-minded individual is gonna make it happen. I wish I could give that word “angry” a spiky font to illustrate how uncomfortable it makes me.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t stand up for what you believe in and work toward change. That is a wonderful and powerful thing, and that’s how change happens.

But I do wish there was less anger everywhere. I can feel it’s spikes jutting out from people as I pass them on the street. Spikes poking through my phone as I scroll through facebook conversations between people I love. Heck, the spikes are even manifesting in the weather patterns these days.

I wanted to do my part to bring some shiny light into the internet world with some happy little blog posts about positivity and health and looking forward to things. Because these are what I want my life to be full of. But I can’t help but fear that I’m going to say some little thing that’s going to offend someone looking to be outraged. “How can you be so positive when the world is ending?! You are selfish to think you can enjoy life while so many terrible things are happening! Rainbows cause cancer and smiles killed my Dad!”

These are the words of the imaginary dude who lives in my head and proofs my writing before it gets typed onto the page. Seriously though? F this guy. I never even hired this guy. He just started showing up every day, that was four years ago. (Any High Fidelity fans?)

I don’t write for that guy, I write for anyone who is looking for a little softness in their world. Anyone who has a suspicion that joy is beyond powerful and changes worlds. Anyone who is open to the idea that joy is born from joy alone, and multiplies exponentially when practiced often.

If this doesn’t apply to you, then you may go read some more angry words and let this little blog float off on its lily pad, never to intend harm on anyone.

ANYWAY the whole point of this post is to share with you how I make bone broth. But when I went to brush up on my research, amid all the glowing reviews of bone broth, there were a couple articles that couldn’t wait to tell everyone that bone broth is a HOAX! Like “First of all, IT’S NOT EVEN BROTH. It’s STOCK. NEXT, Everyone who thinks bone broth good for you is A PSEUDO HIPPIE IDIOT (and yes, technically it does have amino acids that help build your skeletal structure, and it has lots of electrolytes and sodium so it’s good, like, after a workout) but IF YOU REALLY THINK DRINKING COLLAGEN IS GOING TO GROW COLLAGEN IN YOUR BODY, THEN YOU ARE SO MUCH DUMBER THAN ME!”

I’m exaggerating obviously. Perhaps I feel a bit defensive when it comes to this sort of thing, mainly because it appears to me that these folks are just getting worked up over people drinking home-made stock. The tone of these articles do feel condescending to me and even made me feel like I’m an idiot for wasting time on bone broth. It may not be a cure-all miracle tonic, but it’s a good source of amino acids and has been proven to improve joint flexibility, and most importantly it’s a home-made food that’s ingredients can be traced back to your own kitchen cupboards.

So the title of this blog post, “Heal Your Life With A Cow Bone and A Chicken Toe” is me having a bit of satirical fun. Sorry if I got your hopes all up for a quick-fix witches brew, but alas, healing seems to only come from within ourselves.

From my Pollyanna-silver-lining perspective, the spiked interest in bone broth is a happy sign that people are becoming more drawn to the natural, the original, and the organic. Since the Green revolution in the early aughts, more people have been turning their cheeks to processed foods, chemicals, and the like.

Yes, there is more knowledge of health sprouting up in people, and corporations are having to adjust to fit us! That’s what I’m most excited about! There was once a time when we could be convinced by a simple magazine ad that we could eat fried food every day  with a clean conscience as long as it was fried in Crisco, because “medical tests” prove it’s healthy!

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And to show how far we’ve come, let me tell you about this Panera Bread commercial I saw. They were bragging about how their food is REAL FOOD, no chemicals or dyes. (Who the heck knows if it’s true or not, but I’m just happy to see that that’s what is testing well in their focus groups!!)

 SO getting back to the whole point, here is how I make bone broth.

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First, I go to the Rochester public market and buy a bag of bones from the nice guy, you can usually get two big bags for $6. Then I pick up some chicken paws. That’s right. The feet of a chicken. They have them at Price Rite. They add the gelatin you’re looking for when you make bone broth, but are not essential. They are… difficult to look at. The bones aren’t great to look at either, hence this crisp pot-handle and blurry carcass parts pictured below!

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So first things first, I dump the bones and feets in this big ol’ pot. I fill it with water, just covering the stuff (these were frozen in a log shape but fell under the water when they defrosted), and bring it to a boil and simmer for an hour. And surprise! This isn’t going to be the actual broth! Tricked you!! Aw man. You were like “but you said crockpot, not STOCKpot!” Shoulda seen your face. Anyway, there are WAY more steps involved. This is just to get rid of all the “scum” that will mess up the taste in the end.

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Here is the scum-water, looking pretty appetizing, but trust me, it smells kinda weird in here. And then this gray foam forms on top that you have to skim off.

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So next, preheat your oven to 400. Once your scummy hour is up, drain the bones. I usually just pour out most of the water because there are too many bones for a colander to hold. Then, get a 9×13 baking dish. Use tongs to put the bones in the dish. I don’t roast the chicken feet, because I dunno what the hell would happen to those freaky things in the oven. God, they’re gross. I’ve heard recommendations to roast the bones, but not the feet, so I just let them chill off to the side for this part.

Roast the bones for apx. 1 hour, but the longer the better tbh. The roasting gives the broth more flavor.

Once they’re roasty toasty, let them cool a bit before FINALLY putting them into the crock pot with the chicky feet. Cover everything with COLD water, and add a splash of the good stuff:Bonebroth4

Now you gotta let it sit in the cold water for ANOTHER hour. You pretty much need a free day to do this, by the way. This step sucks minerals from the bones that otherwise would be missing from the broth!

K, it’s been an hour. Now you can add any aromatics and flavor-boosters you want, although I’ve read it’s best to keep it simple with just some onion, garlic cloves, and black peppercorns, so that’s what I do. But feel free to add carrots, celery, etc.

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Next, switch the crockpot dial to “low”, go to sleep, wake up the next morning, and discover that you never plugged the thing in. This IS an essential step!!! (JK, Mommy messed up) PLUG IN, make sure it’s set to “low”, come back in 24 hours.

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Ah, yes. This time I woke up to find broth.

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The next step is to get a bunch of big glass jars, a strainer, a bowl for discard bones, and a few shallow glass containers, like the pan you used to roast the bones in. Ugh, you have to wash it. Sorry.

The reason we need shallow containers is because at this stage, the broth needs to cool quickly, or it’s in danger of growing bacteria. Also, have a few ice cube trays filled and waiting in the freezer, too. Here’s my little set-up.

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Now begin ladeling the broth through the strainer and dump the strained bits in your garbage bowl. Or your recycling bowl if you want to re-broth the bones, which you can do by all means.

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Once all the broth is ladel’d, drop a bunch of ice cubes in to help cool the broth faster. This is a pretty potent broth, so adding water won’t dilute it too much.

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Then, carefully ladel the broth into your mason jars (I always make a mess everywhere so don’t feel badly if that happens) and pop them in the fridge, careful not to put them next to anything that might spoil with a little extra warmth. When they cool they will have this layer of fat which isn’t harmful, but you can scrape it off if you want. If all goes according to plan, it should have a jello-like texture. This broth will be good for about 5 days in the fridge, months in the freezer.

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So there you have it! That’s how I make bone broth, and I use it to make rice and quinoa and soup, and sometimes I drink it by itself! Make it or don’t, but please don’t shame the broth-drinkers. We’re just trying to figure out way to be better to our bodies.

Softly,

Your Peacefriend

Turmerlemonlentil Soup with Kale

We’ve been having the best days. And the better it gets, the better it gets. I feel so blessed to be living a freelancer’s life. Alex and I have sacrificed the comfort of financial stability (for now, at least) for a free and flexible schedule. Our mornings are a sleepy yawn of “what should we do today?” and “where’s a cheap place we could go for breakfast?”

I’ve been working on a sewing project (that I’ll post about later) that was giving me grief, and today I was spitting and huffing and puffing about it. Alex was being very wonderful and reassuring, and he suggested I step away from the project for now and do something that makes me feel happier. So we decided to go find some more nature to walk in. And then he gave me a dum-dum he had in his coat pocket. I’m the baby.

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Blue raspberry dum and a red raspberry beret. Putting myself in time-out for this caption.
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Even though Alex has a cold right now and was feeling hazy, he still managed to make friends with a tree. Something he is good at.

When we got home I knew I had to rear up and kick my own butt into gear and cook an adult meal! We’d been living off of leftovers and snacks and our parent’s generosity for the past few days. I decided I would make more of a very popular soup that hasn’t lasted more than a couple days in our little apartment. I nicknamed it “Turmerlemonlentil Soup with Kale” …just now as I was writing this post. Because “Lentil Soup with Turmeric, Lemon and Kale” is a bit too on the nose for this moi.

I took two recipes and mushed them together to get this soup, and it’s always a little different every time because I use the palm of my hand instead of a measuring spoon, and sometimes we have 3 potatoes and sometimes we have 5.

So the “Turmer” in “Turmerlemonlentil” actually stands for Turmeric, believe it or not. This is something that wasn’t in either of the original recipes. I love turmeric, and from what I’ve read, it loves us too. It’s been used in India for thousands of years not only as a spice, but also as a medicinal herb. Turmeric has been proven to be anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-brain and heart disease, anti-depression, as well as cancer-preventing and Alzheimer’s-preventing! It’s pro-health, in short. So I add it to whatever I can. And it gives the soup a happy yellow tone!

I also like to use another F.O.H. (Food Of Health), bone broth. I didn’t have a batch made today, so this time I just used store bought chicken stock.

Turmerlemonlentil Soup with Kale

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs Ghee or olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 3-5 potatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4-6 cups bone or chicken broth
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup chopped kale, stems removed
  • salt and pep to taste
  • 1 med lemon

How to make:

  1. Rinse the lentils and pick out any stones. Soak them in cold water until you’re ready to use. This makes them easier to digest. You can even soak them overnight.
  2. Chop onions, mince garlic, peel potatoes and carrots and cut into small cubes (I like them to be fun-sized) and chop Kale and set all aside.
  3. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pot or dutch oven over med heat for a few mins.
  4. Throw in the onions, cook till softened a bit. Bout 4 mins, then throw in the garlic. After another couple minutes add in the carrots, potatoes, and spices. Season a bit with salt and pepper, but not all of it. I like to salt as I go. Sauté 10-15 to get the softening going.
  5. Add in lentils and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 45 minutes.
  6. Blow on a spoonful and taste to see where we’re at salty-wise. Salt to taste.
  7. Turn off the heat, add in Kale and stir to wilt.
  8. Now add in the lemon juice. I like it REALLY lemony, so I usually do a whole lemon’s worth, but start with half and go from there.
  9. Serve with some crusty sourdough
  10. Good job
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Bite sized cubes to soak up max flav
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Prepping these flat beanies for bath time. They hate bath time.

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Here’s Alex… “helping”. Look at the delicate grip he has on the spoon. Masterful technique. The key is to drag the spoon in a circle, just barely scraping the surface of the soup.

Take a peek at my messy little apartment kitchen, decorated for a joyful meal prep experience with bright colors, twinkle lights, and lots of fun trinkets that cheer me on and celebrate whatever I happen to be cooking.

It was real dumpy when we moved in. Painted sad, muted gray, which I’ll admit is a trendy color right now, but with only two windows in that room that get exactly zero sunlight, the results are DUMPY to the max. And the horrible, dusty boob-shaped single overhead light really gave it that authentic college dorm feel. I can’t stand single overhead lighting, it makes me emotionally Hulk out. Hence the happy twinkle lights. We also threw this chick up on top of our fridge.

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Yet another unrealistic beauty standard for women. Smooth, bare pits and an electric skull.

So here’s the final product, and I’m gonna be real with you, folks. It looks like Campbell’s Chunky barf with my phone camera. Soon I’ll be the proud owner of a glamorous camera, but until then, even my fancy yellow Cousances dutch oven can’t help a bro out.

But I can assure you it is a healthy, rustic soup with spice, salt and tang. Just what we crave after a long sniffly walk through snowy woods.

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Tiddly pom,

Your Peacefriend