Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chicken Stock

It's possible that everyone in the universe is fully aware how simple it is to make chicken stock. But I didn't. My sister used to tell me, "It's easy! Just throw the chicken in a pot with....other stuff. It'll be fine! Just do it!" Instead, I pinned "Easiest Chicken Stock" recipes, and researched Food Network, and continued to buy Swanson's Chicken Broth at Publix. The first day that I took the leap and made chicken stock, I felt like I'd arrived. I was domestic. My home was full of the fragrance of love and happiness. PLUS it saves a boat load of money! Not only do you get seven or eight quarts of the best tasting stock of all time, you also get the chicken! Win-win. 

Here's the run-down.

I like to grab an organic chicken.  I don't know why...something tells me it's probably not that much better for you.  I mean, what is Publix's definition of organic?  Maybe I should start raising chickens.  I've been watching too many Netflix documentaries.

Next, unwrap (and remove the bag of innards if applicable....thankfully this chicken doesn't have that added prize), rinse off, and plop that chicken in the biggest pot you've got.  My stock pot is 9 quarts.  I wish it was like, 90 quarts.  

I wash my carrots and celery, but don't peel the carrots.  Just chop them up into big chunks and throw them in.

Same with the onions.  But peel those.

Now take that head of garlic and chop the whole thing in half.  Now throw the whole thing in.  Just do it.

Okay, now the spices.  You should end up with a pot full of goodness, like this.

All that's left is to fill 'er up with water!

Bring it to a boil over high heat, then turn it down to medium-ish to simmer for a few hours.  Honestly, the time depends on how big your bird is.  I usually leave it for three hours.  Just make sure the chicken is done, and you're good to go.  Every once in a while I add more water to keep the pot full.

Just FYI, you can also do this in your slow cooker.  I've done it overnight on low for eight hours, or on high for four hours.  Only drawback in my mind is that my slow cooker is only six quarts, which makes me feel cheated...

When it's all done, let things cool down just a bit, then strain the stock into a large bowl.  Forgot to snap a picture of this step, but I just use a strainer like this:

Toss out the vegetables, but save the chicken!  You can shred it up to use in the soup you're making, or freeze it.  You can use the stock immediately, but I prefer to put it in the refrigerator over night.  In the morning, it'll look like this.  Appetizing, right?

It's just fat and it won't kill you.  But I like to scrape most of it off, so you get something that looks a little more like this.

Then use it!  Or keep it in your fridge for three or four days, or freeze it for six months or so.  Though, it won't last that long...unless you're crazy and don't like fantastic-ness.  I typically use freezer Ziploc bags to store it.

So there you have it!  Super easy, but life changing.  Depending on how boring and/or un-domesticated your life is...

Here's the full recipe.  Click here to print!

Chicken Stock


  • 1 Whole (organic) Chicken
  • 2 Large Carrots
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Pepper (I like to use whole peppercorns)
  • 2 Teaspoons dried Dill Weed
  • 2 Teaspoons dried Thyme
  • Water
     Rinse whole chicken and place in a large stock pot.  Roughly chop carrots, celery and onion and place in pot.  Cut the entire head of garlic in half and add to the pot.  Add all of the spices, then fill the pot with water.  Bring to a boil on high, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is thoroughly cooked - about three hours.
    Let cool slightly, then strain chicken stock into a large bowl.  Discard vegetables and shred chicken for another use.  Refrigerate stock over night to easily skim the fat off.  Refrigerate three to four days, or freeze for up to six months.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jumping on the Ombre Bandwagon

I bet if there really were some sort of wagon painted in a lovely ombre that people could jump on, they would.  That's how crazy the general public is about ombre.  People will ombre their cats in various shades of pink.  It's a sickness.

Regardless of these facts, I decided to join the party.  And while I was at it, I thought I'd take part in the ever-so-awesome Pinterest Challenge (put together by Young House Love and Katie Bower).  Let's make it official, shall we?

Consider it official.

I started out seeeveral months ago, with this.

The woman who sold it to me at a garage sale had the gall to haggle with me, telling me it was her Grandfather's desk, and practically a priceless antique.  Sigh.  If it's that near and dear to your heart, lady, don't paint it eight colors, spill wax all over it, slap no less than twelve drawer pulls on it, then drag it onto your front lawn to be sold to the highest bidder!  Take my money, woman!

Here's a nice sampling of a few of the colors this beauty has been over the years.

Poor Grandpa.  If he could only see his beloved desk now.  I'm sure wherever he is, he was happy that I took it that fine Saturday.

Then it sat in my garage for quite the while.  One fine day I finally heave-hoed it out into my driveway and started in on it.

If I was patient and long suffering and a true lover of furniture, I'm sure I would have stripped all the paint off and lovingly refinished it.  That is not what happened.

I did, however, sand down and unearth the piece of hardware on the front rather than painting over it yet again.

 Looky there.  A bit bedraggled, but paint free!

I also took the liberty of removing all of the drawer hardware.  They looked like peanutbutter balls in my estimation.  Maybe I should have left them...  Now I'm hungry.

I filled the massive amounts of holes in the drawers with a little spackle...just squished it in there good with my finger and scraped off the excess with a putty knife.

Once it was dry, I sanded it a tiny bit to smooth it out, then started painting!  Pretty simple, really.  I just used a 3" roller and bright white paint.  Just slapped it right on over the other thirteen coats.  Wasn't perfect, but it did the job.

Then I didn't like it.  Part of it was the over abundance of white, and the other part was it was kinda gloppy in places.  Like where the fold-down desk meets the desk frame.

Also, the hinges were ridiculous.  They could barely move.  Soooo, I scraped and scraped until I finally reached the screws to remove the hinges.  That was a good time.

Then, I got myself down to Home Depot and snagged three test pots of paint and had them colored three shades of blue.  I couldn't tell you the names if I had to.  Just picked three off a gradient paint chip.

I put two quick coats on the fronts of the drawers and let them dry over night.  I just sanded down and touched up a couple spots on the front of the desk, and lightly spray painted the hinges.  Then Anthony put it all back together since I'm lazy like that.

Oh, and to spruce up the inside of the desk, I took a piece of cardboard, some cork contact "paper" I happened to have on hand, and a piece of fabric...

I cut the cork to the same size as the cardboard and just stuck it right on.

Then I whipped out my trusty glue gun and wrapped it all up in the fabric.

There you have it!  Instant spruce!

And here's the final product.  Finally.

Hope we made Grandpa proud.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

23 Weeks

Major accomplishment of this past week (yesterday, actually): Silas grew a tooth!  If you are acquainted with Anthony at all, you'll know how proud that makes him.  I guess we'll take a pearly white in exchange for sleeping.  Ever.  For the rest of time.

Here's a couple more for your viewing enjoyment.  My man was putting out the serious vibe today.

And yes, this is the very best I could do.  I probably tried to take fifty pictures of this tooth...  Not much to look at now, but we think it has quiiite a bit of potential.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lolly Bars

I simply can't get over these things.  I could seriously eat the entire pan. By myself.  In....oh...maybe a day?  Twelve hours?  Who am I kidding.  Probably three hours.  So good!  And sort of healthy. Unless you eat the entire pan.

I got this recipe from a friend at church...not sure where she got her hands on it.  But I sure am glad she did.  In honor of her fantastic discovery, I've officially named them after her.

I don't know if that's legal.

First, melt together the peanut butter (I use Smuckers is surprisingly...natural.  There's a rather large amount of sugar in most peanut butters.  But you probably knew that.), butter, coconut oil (you can use butter instead of this, but the coconut oil makes an identical final product while being a tad healthier), and honey.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the oats, wheat germ, and craisins.

 Throw the whole pan in the refrigerator for a while til it's pretty cool.  Add the chocolate chips and coconut.  I actually sorta prefer regular sized chocolate chips...they don't melt so easily while mixing at this stage, but mini is what I had on hand last night when the craving struck.

Sidenote: how is it possible that all the fancy food bloggers I've ever seen only prepare food in perfect sunlight with magical countertops and no dirty dishes or peanut butter jars in the background?  Do they never make anything at ten o' clock at night just because it needs to be eaten pronto?

 Prepare a 9x13 pan by laying down some wax paper.  We're not going for super neat or anything...

 Throw it all in there and spread it out somewhat evenly.

Prepare yourself for a monumental task.  Put it in the refrigerator until it has cooled.  Ugh.  Worst part ever.  I always dig out a little while I wait.

And you're done!  I think they taste a lot like no-bake cookies.  Am I the only adult left on the planet who will still admit to loving no-bake cookies?  I hope that didn't cause you to abandon the possibility of making these.  They're the best no-bake cookies you'll ever have.  Hope you scarf them down love them as much as I do!