Chicken Stock

Ok, so I have been talking about how great stock is to eat. I guess it is time to share how to make stock. There are 2 different ways that I make it. 1) cook a whole soup hen, then half way through take the meat off. 2) purchase soup bones from your butcher. Either way it works, if you cook the whole hen you just add 1 extra step. Since my local farm has been selling their organic soup hens for $3 ea. I purchased 12 🙂 So I will share how to make it with the whole bird.

Ingredients:
1 soup hen
2 large carrots, trimmed and peeled
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
2 celery stalks, trimmed
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1. Place the first 4 ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover with water and cook over medium heat.

2. As the stock cooks a foam will develop on top, skim this off and discard. The foam contains any impurities there may be.

3. After foam has been skimmed off then add the peppercorns and bay leaf.

4. After cooking for about 3 hours, you may remove the bird from the water. Allow to cool to the touch ( we don’t want burnt fingers). Then remove the skin from the bird, placing it back into the water. Remove the meat and place in bowl, cover the meat and place it in fridge for later use.

5. Return the bones to the stock pot. As you have noticed the amount of water has gone down significantly as there is a lot less to displace it. Add about 4 more cups of water to the pot and continue to cook for another 3-5 hours.

6. The stock should have reduced and be a golden color. Remove pot from heat and strain it into another container. I like to use a big plastic pitcher to strain it into.

If you plan to use it immediately then follow the instructions in your recipe. I don’t like to salt my stock until I use it. That I can control the amount of sodium that I am consuming. If you are going to use it within 2-3 days cover and place in fridge. When you go to use it, you are able to skim off the fat that rises to the top (if you wish). Otherwise freeze the stock in a freezer safe container.

Under the weather

My daughter is feeling under the weather this weekend 😦 She has some sort of virus. So we are going to be trying several things to help her.
1. Coconut water- this has lots of electrolytes in it, which will help her keep hydrated. It is a great healthy alternative to Gatorade. It can usually be found in the health food section of a normal store. Beware if you aren’t a huge fan of coconut you may not like the water. The upside is that you can buy naturally flavored coconut water such as acai berry, tangerine, pineapple, peach mango, etc. These taste very good, however you may have to go to a specialty store (i.e. Whole Foods, or a natural health store).

2. Elderberry syrup- There are several brands of this type of syrup ranging from the 365 (Whole foods) to Sambucus. This can help clear up the congestion that causes coughs.

3.Cod Liver Oil- I know what you are thinking- yum!! But grandma and great grandma are right nothing beats good old fashion cod liver oil! Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cod_liver_oil”> for more information about cod liver oil.

4. Broth- homemade broth is full of vitamins an minerals that are essential for healthy living. It warms you from the inside out, and in general is a great comfort food. Please make your own! It only takes a few minutes of your time to get it started, then you leave it cook while you can do other things. Don’t want to leave it on the stove because you need to go out? No problem! I have made small batches in my crock pot, and large in my roaster oven 🙂 It saves money, tastes better, and you don’t have to worry about unwanted junk in it!! So happy cooking!

Again please read the disclaimer under about graftedvine. Thanks!

Whole Wheat Mixer Bread

3 -4 c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c warm water
1 Tbsp dry active yeast
1 Tbsp salt
1/8 c honey
1/8 c olive oil

In your stand mixer place warm water and stir in yeast. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until it proofs.

Stir in salt, then add honey and olive oil. *tip* I use a 1/4 c measuring cup, fill it half way with olive oil, then the rest with honey. This helps the honey slide out easier.

Once combined add in 3 cups of flour. Set the mixer on medium speed using your dough hook for kneading (for kitchenaid use 4). Add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until the dough is scraping the bowl clean. Once it is scraping the bowl clean continue to mix for another 6-8 minutes. Do not over mix!

Place dough in a greased bread pan and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap that has also been greased. The dough should be slightly tacky and elastic. Put the pan in a warm, but not hot place for about 1-2 hours. Once the bread has risen to a desirable height (keep in mind it will not continue to rise in the oven). Place it in an oven that has been pre-heated to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes. Allow bread to cool before removing from the pan.

Intentions

I plan on starting a series where I tackle a new topic every week. I will still do posts as God leads me, but also have one food related issue or how to project every week. If you have any requests I’ll be happy to take them. Please just post a comment so that I can add it to the list. Here are a few things on the agenda so far to make: whole wheat bread, pasta, sourdough bread, yogurt, and stock.

Roots

We have been studying creation in home school the past couple of weeks. Last week we were talking about seeds, bulbs, plants, etc. To tie it in with fall we discussed how you can plant a bulb in the fall, then in the spring it will come up with flowers. You may not see it under the ground, but it is there growing. To make the point we took hyacinth bulbs, poked toothpicks in it and placed it over jars of water. Next we placed the jars in a cool dark place.

It was totally God that inspired me to make the analogy of how we are like seeds or bulbs. When we become a new creation in Christ we are to be planted in good soil (i.e. the Word, church, etc.) We are to grow roots, by studying His Word and by prayer. That way when life’s tests and trials come we have a good root system to cling to the soil (God’s Word). The evidence of our growth like a plant is through the growth of our leaves, flowers, or as the Bible says our fruit. Our life should show the evidence of our spiritual growth through our words, the way we conduct ourselves, the treatment of others, and our longing after more of God.

Over the next few months we will continue to check on our bulbs, and it will be a constant reminder so that I can keep sharing this truth with her. With God’s help hopefully it will be a lesson that she will remember for the rest of her life.

To you I would pose the questions: How are you flowering? How deep is your root system? Will it withstand any upcoming storms? No matter where you are on your walk there is always room to dig deeper into the Word of God and expand your root system! God Bless!

Sauteed Thyme Greenbeans

These green beans are a staple in my house. I have some picky eaters, but this is a hit with everyone.

1/2 lb of fresh or frozen french green beans, ends trimmed, and left whole.
2 pats of butter
1 clove of garlic finely minced, or put through a garlic press
1/2 tsp of dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. Turn stove on to a medium heat. Melt the 2 pats of butter. When melted add the garlic, stirring to keep from burning.

2. When the garlic turns a golden color, add the green beans, and saute. Then add the thyme when the green beans are coated in the garlic butter mixture and have turned a bright green.

3. Cook until the green beans reach an al dente. about 10-15 minutes depending on fresh or frozen. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Easy Chicken Drumsticks

Easy Chicken Drumsticks

The simple things I find sometimes taste the best. My daughter was begging for more after she tried these 🙂

Drumsticks
Salt and Pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
1-2tsp of Italian Seasonings

1. Preheat grill. Remove drumsticks from package and place in a shallow dish for seasoning.
2. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on chicken, make sure to coat well. Add black pepper and salt (you are the best judge of how much you like).
3. Sprinkle italian seasonings on chicken. The more chicken you have the more seasonings you will need.
4. Grill over medium heat until cooked through

Raw Milk

* Please read disclaimer under “About GraftedVine”

I have had several people give me a look of confusion when they hear me say that we use raw milk. What is the difference? Let’s go back to when it all began. Originally everyone drank raw milk, but what changed? People began to get sick from milk and other drinks. The reason mainly from the lack of sanitary conditions. The farmers and processors were not following strict sanitary standards. They weren’t washing their hands and keeping their equipment sterilized.

So in comes Louis Pasteur and some other scientists. They had a theory that if heated to a high enough temperature the bad bacteria, that was causing people to get sick, would be killed. Obviously it was successful which is why we have so much pasteurized products in our stores today.

In theory this is a good idea, it helped the people in mass be confident that it was safe to drink their milk. Unfortunately, it also allows the farmers to be more slack in their sanitary standards. Now I am not saying that these farmers are not keeping their equipment and farms clean by any means. That is why we have the FDA and the Board of Health (if you trust them…but that is another story) to insure that they do keep certain standards. Raw milk dairy farmers are held to the same standards if not stricter than the ones that pasteurize their milk.

In the act of pasteurization not only do you kill all the bad bacteria, but you kill all the good and healthy bacteria as well. In fact it is believed that by doing this it also increases food allergies in people. Again PLEASE READ DISCLAIMER before making any changes to your diet. I personally have had an intolerance to milk all my life, not milk products, but milk itself. Since I have switched to raw milk, I no longer have any of those uncomfortable symptoms that I use to.

If you are interested more in raw milk please visit http://www.realmilk.com/

If you are not quite sold on raw milk I encourage you to at least find a milk that comes from a grass-fed cow, that is not ultra pasteurized. The reason for ultra-pasteuriztion is to make the shelf life of the milk last longer, thus lining the pockets of the milk corporations, it does not make your milk any safer. If you are from Ohio I recommend Snowville Creamery, visit their site http://snowvillecreamery.com/ to find a store near you that carries it. It is expensive I know, the benefits far out way the costs.