Beef Bone Broth

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You may remember a post from a few weeks ago where I touted the benefits of bone broth. In that post I used our leftover turkey carcass from Thanksgiving. Since then I’ve used that turkey bone broth in all kinds of dinner dishes and soups. Not only does it add a wonderful, concentrated flavor, it is fantastic for gut health.

Use All Organic Ingredients

Use All Organic Ingredients

Now don’t mistake broth or stock with bone broth. In bone broth you use bones and joints and it simmers in a crockpot or on top of your stove for many hours, sometimes days. When it cools it becomes solid and gelatinous. This is how you know you were able to get all of the “good stuff” out of the bones and joints.

After 12 Hours

After 12 Hours

This is just a basic post on beef bone broth. Not many photos because I ran through the process in the last turkey bone broth post. The beef bone broth is a bit different because this time I added vegetables and fresh herbs, but otherwise, the process is pretty much the same. The beef bones cook off a lot of fat. You can skim it off the top before you store it, or wait until it has set and you get it out of the freezer to use. Or you can use the fat, it’s up to you.

After 24 Hours ~ Everything Is Out Of The Bones & The Cartilage Has Boiled Down To Almost Nothing

After 24 Hours ~ Everything Is Out Of The Bones & The Cartilage Has Boiled Down To Almost Nothing

You can go here for straining and storage directions.

Beef Bone Broth

Grass Fed Organic Beef Marrow Bones, Beef Bones, and Beef Joints

2 Medium Organic Onions

2 Large Organic Carrots

2 Ribs of Organic Celery

Fresh, Organic Rosemary & Thyme Sprigs

1 Organic Bay Leaf

1 Whole Head of Organic Garlic, smashed & skins removed

2 Tablespoons of Raw Unfiltered Organic Apple Cider

A Few Grinds of Peppercorns & Sea Salt

(I salt and peppered a little before the cooking process and then I don’t add it again until I drink the broth or cook with it. You can also wait until it’s done cooking and salt and pepper to taste.)

Place the beef bones and joints in a crockpot. Add the chopped vegetables, herbs, and garlic. Add the apple cider vinegar.

Cover the vegetables and bones with filtered or spring water. Cover and cook on low for  at least 24 hours. My crockpot only cooks for 12 hours so I had to reset it for another 12. 

Bone Broth For A Healthier You

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Turkey Bone Broth After 17 Hours of Simmering

Turkey Bone Broth After 17 Hours of Simmering. Turkey carcass, skin, cartilage, etc. Break the carcass to fit in crock pot or stock pot, rinse off any leftover stuffing that may be attached, fill to the top with filtered water and add 2 Tablespoons of organic cider vinegar. Simmer for up to 24 hours.

When most of us hear the words bone broth I think soup usually comes to mind. However, did you know there is a big difference between broth, stock, and bone broth?  Broth is generally made with meat and a small amount of bones and only simmered for a short time. Stock is generally made with bones and water and is simmered for 3-4 hours.

Bone broth is made with bones and cartilage and sometimes a little meat that was left on the bones after roasting. Then, a couple of Tablespoons of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar is added, sometimes vegetables, it is simmered either on the stove or in a crock pot for a long period of time, usually up to 24 hours. Although I’ve heard of people leaving it for days.

The benefits of drinking and cooking with bone broth are well, amazing really.

The carcass leftovers of an 18 pound organic turkey

The carcass leftovers of an 18 pound organic turkey.

Bone broth has the ability to:

~ Increase your body’s ability to absorb minerals

~ Heal leaky gut syndrome (which many doctors agree is the leading cause of food allergies)

~ Support connective tissue

~ Grow stronger, healthier hair and nails

~ Keep your joints healthy

~ Heal adrenal fatigue

~ Detoxify the liver because it is high in glycine

~ Give us healthier bones, ligaments, tendons, and skin because it is packed with glycine and proline which is the biological glue that holds our bodies together

~ Calm an overactive immune system and help to rebuild stronger and healthier cells

~ Heal autoimmune conditions by healing the gut

~ Aid digestion by regulating bile and gastric acid

~ Balance blood sugar and help reverse heart disease by reducing plaque build up

~ Improve nervous system function

~ Help with inflammation

~ Aid in thyroid health and hormone balance

Turkey Bone Broth

Turkey Bone Broth

Who knew something so incredibly easy to make could be so beneficial for our health? Now, let’s get down to the brass tacks. Here are the absolute MUSTS of making bone broth:

You can use beef bones, chicken bones, turkey bones, lamb bones, buffalo bones, fish bones…but they MUST be 100% healthy. Which means no hormones, chemicals, GMO feed,  and they need to be free range, preferably grass-fed, etc. That might seem a tad overwhelming, but what kind of sense does it make to boil bones for 24 hours and then drink condensed chemicals and God knows what else? There’s a bit of sticker shock when it comes to organic meat/bones, but once you get used to that, it’s smooth sailing from there. Look for sales, find a local butcher who may even be willing to give you the bones at a discounted price, find a local (very good) farmer and work out a deal. There are options! And the more we support organic farmers and ranches, the less expensive it will be in the long run. More demand helps the farmers to better afford to do things organically and brings the price down, if you can believe it.

Bone broth will last in the fridge for 3 days and in the freezer for months. Use canning jars for freezing. Strain the broth into the jars.

Bone broth will last in the fridge for 3 days and in the freezer for months. Use canning jars for freezing. Strain the broth into the jars.

You MUST use just a bit of organic, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar. About 2 Tablespoons for a big pot. This helps leach all the good stuff out of the bones. You MUST also use joints, cartilage, even chicken feet or turkey feet add a ton of gelatin benefits. I used filtered water, you can also use spring water. I don’t know if this is a MUST, but it makes sense to me. If you fill your very expensive pot of bones and goodies with chlorine and fluoride and who knows what….what’s the point really? You can add whole organic veggies, veggie scraps, and organic herbs if you like. If you don’t want the smell of food in  your house, you can put your crock pot in a safe place in the garage or basement. But beware, if your garage or basement get really cold, you run the risk of cracking your pot. This very thing happened to my sister-in-law and she came out to the garage to find broth running down the front of whatever she had set the crock pot on. The thought of leaving it in our garage all night freaked me out a little, so I went ahead and left mine on the kitchen counter. I had already been cooking our Thanksgiving meal all day, so really, the smell of food for another several hours was not a big deal.

You can cool the broth and scrape off the fat layer, or not, it’s up to you. You can drink it hot in a cup like tea, use it in soup, or cook with it.

Leave some room in the top of the jar for expansion or the jar can crack. I've learned that the hard way!

Leave some room in the top of the jar for expansion or the jar can crack. I’ve learned that the hard way!

So there you have it. Bone Broth. Loaded with all kinds of good reasons you should make it and use it in your daily cooking. I plan to drink at least a cup of it each day. This week it’s turkey bone broth, next week I’m going to do a post on beef bone broth.

DSC_6873

There’s so many easy and tasty things we can do each day to take control of our own health. If you’re ill, have food allergies, migraines, hormone issues, skin issues, mood issues, weight issues, blood pressure issues, whatever the problem may be or even if you’re healthy as an OX…don’t wait around for something to change and someone else to tell you how to take control of your health. Do a little research, see what ailment alternatives are out there that may benefit you and your family. Partner up with your physician for a healthier you!

Resources:

Townsend Letter, The Examiner of Alternative Medicine

Oh Lardy, Everything You Need To Know About The Benefits of Bone Broth

Dr. Jockers, Supercharge Your Health, The Amazing Benefits of Bone Broth

Real Food RN, The Health Benefits of Bone Broth

Coconut Mama, Benefits of Bone Broth

Eat Naked, Healing Foods 101, Seven Reasons To Add Bone Broth To Your Daily Diet

Herb Cheese Logs

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Guess what? You can freeze goat cheese. Who knew?

I had no idea. According to the internet, soft cheeses freeze quite well, actually. This opens up all kinds of ideas for different types of goat and sheep’s milk cheeses. This cheese is mild and delicious. Not overly “goaty” like a lot of aged goat or sheep’s milk cheese. Perfect on crackers, toasted baguette slices, on top of a baked potato, in your favorite salad, sprinkled over your favorite pasta dish…the options are endless. You can make it sweet with zest and agave nectar or savory with herbs and spices. I’ve used sweetened goat cheese with breakfast crepes and it was amazing. Get creative!

Goat’s Milk Cheese Logs

*Makes four 4-5 inch logs

1 Gallon Raw Goat or Sheep’s Milk

3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt + more for seasoning later

Juice of 10 Organic Lemons, about 1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

About 2 Tablespoons Organic Chives, chopped

About 2 Tablespoons Organic Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped

About 1 1/2 Tablespoons Organic Thyme, chopped

About 2 teaspoons Chopped Garlic ( I used the organic garlic that comes in the jar)

Ground Pepper

I have a new obsession. Making my own goat’s milk and sheep’s milk cheese! Once you try it, you won’t believe how incredibly easy it is.

I’ve read that it’s important to use raw milk because pasteurized milk doesn’t clot the same way. If you’re able, I would suggest trying to find a local organic farm where you can buy the raw milk.  And then of course, use organic lemons and organic herbs. I buy organic and all natural whenever possible. It just makes sense to eat pure, clean, food as much as I can.

But as you probably already have experienced yourself…pure, locally grown food comes with a little sticker shock.

I paid $16.58 for 1 gallon of raw goat’s milk. One gallon of goat’s milk made into cheese gives you about 12 ounces of cheese. That’s about $1.38 per ounce. Expensive, but really no more than you pay in a grocery store. And the satisfaction of making it yourself and knowing exactly what is in it and where the ingredients come from…priceless!

So give it a try, you won’t be disappointed, I promise:

In a large dutch oven or stainless steel pot (do not use aluminum) add several inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes to sanitize.  I carefully sloshed it up and around the sides. Drain, add the milk and salt, stir. Heat to 185-190 degrees stirring frequently. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scald on the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, line a large strainer with the cheesecloth. I used all of the cheesecloth in the small package I purchased. Just fold it over and make sure it drapes over the sides. Place the strainer over a deep bowl.

When the milk reaches 185-190 ish degrees, remove from heat.

Slowly stir in the lemon juice. It starts to curdle right away.

Add a pinch of parsley, chives, and thyme, reserving the rest for after the cheese has drained. Allow to rest for 25 minutes in the pan.

After it has rested, pour slowly into the cheesecloth. Allow to drain for about 30 minutes.

Do yourself a favor though…keep an eye on it and don’t go check your blog or your Facebook page while you’re waiting for it to drain. Because you’ll end up with this:

And more importantly this…

Carefully pull the sides of the cloth in and twist into a ball, carefully squeezing out some more of the liquid. Allow to rest and drain for another 25 minutes or so checking and draining the bowl every so often so that it is not sitting in its own liquid.

Remove the cheesecloth from the strainer and scrape the cheese off with a spoon into a bowl. Add the remaining herbs and garlic and stir to combine.

Taste and add a bit more kosher salt and a few grinds of good peppercorns.

On a clean working surface pull out a piece of plastic wrap and fold in half. Spoon goat cheese onto the middle of the plastic wrap in a small row.

Gently roll up one side of the plastic wrap and snuggle it over the log. Roll the log to the other end of the plastic wrap, twist the ends tight and tuck under.

Continue to do this with the remaining cheese or if you’re going to use it within a couple of days, you can also make it into one large log or any shape you like, really.

Once all of the cheese has been rolled, refrigerate for three hours. Remove from fridge, roll in one more layer of plastic wrap, cover in tin foil, enclose in a freezer bag and freeze up to one month.

April’s Gone Crackers

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Not really, I’m still “normal”, I haven’t lost my mind. Yet.

These crackers? These crackers have me jumping for joy. They have me thinking about all of the yummy food combinations you can eat on a cracker that I haven’t been able to eat in years.

To Die For

So yesterday on just an average grocery shopping trip I ran across these amazing little table crackers from Schar. I thought…”Hmm…table crackers. Do I dare?”

Typically gluten-free crackers are either very dense and kind of pasty chalky or very crunchy, like in the form of those round rice crackers you see. Those rice crackers kind of resemble “diet” crackers. They taste like it too. Or how about that certain brand that looks like something you should feed your horse and is likely to send you to the dentist needing a crown and at the very minimum gives you heart burn for a good five hours? We eat them anyway, because really, sometimes life just calls for crackers and how many choices do those of us with multiple food allergies really have?

So after I scanned the ingredients I took a leap and thought, “Why not?”. If they end up tasting like any other gluten-free cracker so what.

Well, let me tell you something…they are amazingly delicious. Hands down the absolute best gluten-free cracker that I have ever had that does not taste GF DF and has perfect texture.

They are kind of a half way point between the texture and taste of a Saltine cracker and those Club crackers we’ve all served at parties. Perfect texture, lovely “normal” cracker flavor. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

So delicious in fact, that I cannot stop thinking about them. I opened them immediately after loading my groceries in the car. Ate 6 of them on the way home and made tons of “I’ve died and gone to Heaven” noises that quickly irritated my son who was along for some visiting time.

Then, I ate another one while putting groceries away. Then, I ate three more at 10:00 PM before bed with that amazing Parlick Fell cheese that I’ve told you about. And this morning, it was all I could do not to eat them for breakfast with peanut butter slathered all over them. So, I settled for an almond milk yogurt for my breakfast and then counted down the hours until I could make lunch with my new-found crackers at a reasonable lunch time.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Or maybe not, because then that just leaves more for me!

Presto! Fresh Flavor By The Spoonful – Anytime

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Not really sure what to call these…I’m sure there’s a name for them…little flavored pestos, citrus zest cubes, citrus juice…yummy goodness to toss into pasta, top roasted vegetables, season fish, slather meat, throw into smoothies, and add into whatever is your favorite food for the day. I’m not a trained chef or cook, or a trained anything, really. So for now, I don’t have a name for them until one of you can tell me what to really call them. If you can give me a great and unique name for them, then that is what I will call them forevermore.

So, as I was making a batch of pesto the other day, I thought, “Now why couldn’t I do this with all kinds of things? Herbs, fruit, juice, roasted garlic? The things I like to cook with on a regular basis. But in smaller batches, so I could just pop one out of the freezer and toss it in a pan or defrost it quickly to season a beautiful piece of meat or flavor my favorite Clementine Cookies?” There’s no reason why not!

I love freezing little servings of things. People with food allergies need to be a little more organized in that area if they want the convenience of having something fresh and homemade to eat on a whim. I freeze small servings of soups, lasagna, whatever we’re having that allows a little leftover, usually. It’s nice to be able to grab something delicious when my husband is traveling and I don’t feel like cooking, or heaven forbid, if I’m sick with something that only allows me to make it to the freezer, microwave, and back to bed. It’s also nice to have fresh herbs on hand at all times, and if you buy organic, you know they don’t last long. I try very hard to steer clear of sprinkling my food with fresh herb pesticides so this is turning out to be a really great way to have “fresh” herbs on hand all the time.

I can’t wait until summer when I have pots and pots full of plump, fresh, herbs to whiz together and stash away in the freezer for winter!

You Will Need:

Organic Beef, Pork, Poultry, and Seafood Herbs

About 5 Heads of Organic Garlic

Olive Oil

Citrus of Your Choice, I Used Clementines

Juice of Your Choice, I Used Pomegranate

Food Processor

Ice Cube Trays

Tin Foil

Fine Point Permanent Marker

Start off with all of your favorite herbs. Remove the woody ends and check for soil that was left behind. I didn’t remove the rosemary leaves from the stems for the pictures, you will want to do that before you put them in your food processor.

Next, label the herb piles and grab a piece of paper. Make a list of which herbs are in each pile. For Example: 1. Poultry – rosemary, sage, thyme, and olive oil, 2. Clementine Zest…etc. Once you begin to grind up the herbs and olive oil, you will mark each ice-cube tray so that it correlates with your list of ingredients.

This is incredibly easy. I think I did the entire pile of herbs, including photography and clean up in an hour. An extra bonus was that my house smelled fantastic when I was done.

Here’s what you do: 

1.  Place the herbs in the food processor. Whiz them up until they are small bits.

2.  While the processor is running, add a small amount of olive oil…maybe a teaspoon or two at the most,

to bring the mixture together a bit.

3.  With a small spoon, add the herb mixture to the ice trays. Label with the corresponding number on your paper.

EASY!

Below are the herbs, garlic, zest, and juices that I used.

Dill, Parsley, and Thyme

Oregano, Rosemary, and Thyme

Oregano, Sage, Tarragon, and Thyme

Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme

Rosemary and Lemon Thyme

For the roasted garlic you will need about 5 heads of garlic, tin foil, olive oil, sea salt, and a sprinkle of herbs. Slice the tops off the garlic heads with a sharp knife, remove any loose paper. Place on a layer of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil, herbs, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place another piece of tin foil over the top and wrap them up tightly. Roast in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. When they are easily squeezed out of their skin, they are done.

Allow them to cool and then squeeze them out of their skins. Pack them into the ice-cube tray.

The zest and juices are incredibly easy…pretty much a no brainer.

Once everything is in the ice-cube trays and labeled, cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

Once they’ve sat overnight, loosen them by twisting the trays just like you would for ice cubes. Using a fork, carefully loosen each one and place it in a small plastic freezer bag and pop them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. Remember to label the bag and pay attention to which ones you’re removing!

Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread

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Bread is obviously the number one thing that people who have to go gluten-free miss the most. Or maybe I should say real bread, that really tastes like bread. Since I went gluten-free I’ve only found three breads that I like. Udi’s breads and bagels, a recipe that I tweaked a little from a gluten-free cookbook, and Gluten Free Pantry’s french bread mix.

The first time I tried Gluten Free Pantry’s mix, I did not like it at all! But because gluten-free baking can be kind of persnickety, I decided to give it another try with my own flair. I’ve made it numerous times with all kinds of additions since then and have loved it every time. This is also the bread that I use to make gluten-free croutons and gluten-free bread crumbs (minus the herbs).

A french bread pan is a must. They aren’t expensive, just look around in your local kitchen stores. If you’ve never made gluten-free bread it’s important to know that it doesn’t react like regular bread dough. Most gluten-free bread mixes come out more like a batter that needs to be spread. If you place it onto a baking sheet or stone, it will spread out and end up too thin and a little weird. But don’t fret, it’s incredibly easy. Much easier than making “real” bread.

Italian French Bread

1 Package Gluten Free Pantry French Bread and Pizza Dough Mix

Olive Oil

Eggs

Almond Milk

Honey

Cider Vinegar

Sea Salt

1 Heaping Tablespoon Dried Oregano

1 Heaping Tablespoon Dried Basil

1 Heaping Tablespoon Garlic, diced

Mix the bread dough according to the directions except substitute the water with almond milk, use olive oil instead of regular oil, use sea salt instead of regular salt, and add the oregano, basil, and garlic and mix on medium-high for 4 minutes instead of the suggested 2 minutes.

Line the french bread pan with parchment. You probably don’t have to but I hate washing bread pans and baking sheets so I always line them with parchment. (I also think that cookies and breads bake more evenly when using parchment.)

Dollop the batter as evenly as you can on each side of the pan.

With a spoon, spread the batter and even it out into the shape of baguettes.

Place in a warm place (I used the warming drawer in my oven) to rise for about 40 minutes.

Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl. Brush over both baguettes and then slit each loaf down the middle with a very sharp knife.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven (375 if you’re using an electric oven) for a minimum of 40 minutes. Gluten-free bread isn’t necessarily done when tapped on and makes a hollow sound like regular bread. I always cook mine for the amount of time the recipe suggests plus 5-8 minutes longer to ensure that the bread isn’t too moist in the middle and is going to collapse when it cools.

If you can stand it, allow it to cool a little bit before slicing so the loaf doesn’t squish down. We can never make it that long. If you’re careful when you slice off a hot piece, it will be just fine. And really, there’s nothing better than fresh bread out of the oven, so don’t miss out!

Making Do

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It seems like much longer than it really has been since we’ve had appliances. I think it’s been about 2 1/2 weeks but it seems like months. I of course, am used to using my stove every day and bake things at least four times a week so the delivery of our new appliances today has me very excited!  The stove won’t be hooked up to the gas until next week…but even still, at least they’re here.

We’ve been making do quite well, I think. It hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought it would be to live without carpet, flooring, appliances, and living basically in one room for a while. I’m not used to the chaos and mess, but that will be easily fixed by Friday of next week. We are blessed to be able to do a little remodel and life could be much, much, worse so it’s pretty hard to complain too much about a slight inconvenience for a few weeks.

This morning I started my day off with a turkey sandwich (leftovers from our wonderful dinner at my in law’s), potato salad (pre-made Reser’s from the local grocery store), and a nice steaming cup of Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate (via the microwave). A great breakfast, if you ask me!