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WritersButt Wednesday – It’s All in the Bones

Is it really Wednesday again? Wow! I’ve been a crazy little energizer bunny, only my batteries do indeed seem to be losing some juice. I keep meaning to add in more days to my blog, outside of my WritersButt Wednesday posts, only time slips away from me.

As a matter of fact, one of the new fun things to which I’ve given some of my time is a group blog with some of my favorite people on earth, some members of my 10+ years-strong critique group. We talk writing all the time and the publishing industry and whatnot. Because we are all voracious readers in addition to being writers, we also talk reading – and books – from a writer’s perspective and we thought we’d start sharing some of our conversations with, you know, anyone who’d like to chat with us.

Our new blog is … drumroll …

Reading, Writing, Raising Hell (or Heck!)

Now doesn’t that sound fun? I can tell you we are pretty cool and we’d LOVE for you to hang out with us by following our blog, which you can do by clicking the FOLLOW button from our site. Come’on, you know you want to. We are just getting started, so help us grow and talk books and reading with us!

All that said, why in the heck have I titled today’s blog ‘It’s All in the Bones’? Well, I’m going to tell you about a serious power food, like a super-packed-nutrient-bomb that is incredibly easy to make and cheap to boot.

It’s homemade bone broth. You can make bone broth from any bones; beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, etc. What you are going for is the minerals and nutrients from within the bones that you can extract through long (LONG) simmering.

Here’s an excerpt from Wellness Mama’s Blog about the benefits of bone broth:

Besides its amazing taste and culinary uses, broth is an excellent source of minerals and is known to boost the immune system (chicken soup when you are sick anyone?) and improve digestion. Its high calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus content make it great for bone and tooth health. Bone broth also supports joints, hair, skin, and nails due to its high collagen content. In fact, some even suggest that it helps eliminate cellulite as it supports smooth connective tissue.

But wait – did you read that last sentence carefully? Ladies, lean in here real quick, especially if you are someone who battles ~whispers~ Cellulite. Incorporating bone broth into your regular diet may actually help get rid of that cellulite, naturally and deliciously.

The following is from Balanced Bites regarding bone broth and the support of our cells:

But fighting a cold, combating disease and healing a leaky gut aren’t all broth can help to do: Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, explains in her interview with Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness that the collagen found in home-made bone broth is a “super-food” when it comes to cellular integrity and in reducing the appearance of cellulite. Yes! There is a way to naturally, and legitimately, reduce cellulite – and it’s as simple as incorporating bone broth into your regular diet. Dr. Shanahan says that “cellulite is fat that lacks collagen support” and that “people who have more collagen in their diet… are less likely to have cellulite in their fat.” It’s not about just losing the fat – it’s about getting back to a diet that will support the structure of your cells.

How about I show you my first homemade bone broth experience. I used soup bones from the ¼ of a cow that I recently purchased from a local cattle farm called Raising 5 Cattle. It’s a family owned cattle farm right in my hometown. The herd grazes freely on their land and is grass fed and family-raised.

Soup Bones from Raising 5 Cattle

Soup Bones from Raising 5 Cattle

 

I diced up some veggies I planned to use.

Veggies for homemade broth

Veggies for homemade broth

I put the onion in the bottom on my crockpot, threw in a ton of garlic cloves and a healthy handful of whole peppercorns.

Ready for the slow, long, simmer

Ready for the slow, long, simmer

Then I filled up the crockpot with filtered water and set it on high. This was around 4 pm. I let it come to a good simmer for a while. When I went to bed, I switched the crockpot to low. We woke up to our home smelling so amazing. At that point, the water had evaporated enough that I added in the rest of my veggies.

Doubles as a centerpiece

Doubles as a centerpiece

I covered it back up and let it simmer all day. Finally, at nearly 4 pm, so about 24 hours later, I turned it off and strained it. I poured it into a stock pot through a steamer basket. Then I strained it again through a wire mesh strainer into my 8 cup Pampered Chef glass mixing bowl, filling it all the way to the top with this nutrient dense broth.

8 full cups of homemade super-food

8 full cups of homemade super-food

It will stay fresh in your fridge for up to a week or so, or you can freeze it for month. Once it cools in the fridge, any sediment will sink, all the fat will rise to the top (called tallow) and the broth will ‘gel’. You can use the tallow to cook. I did the other night and the family went crazy for the flavor of our chicken sausages, which I’d sautéed in the tallow.

You can use the broth in many ways. You can obviously use it simply as broth, for soup. Add in veggies, meat, etc. It would make a mean French Onion Soup. You can use the beef broth in any recipe that calls for broth as a liquid.

We have just been drinking it, from a mug. I never thought I’d see the day that I’d even type that. But it’s truly delicious and basically a mug of savory, healthy broth/soup. I scoop out the gelled broth into my mug and heat it in the microwave, then sip my super-soup!

My 15 year old son is currently in 2 theatre productions and his throat felt scratchy. He sipped him some broth on the way to school today. Such a smart boy!

So, who’s going to try it?

 

 

 

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WritersButt Wednesday – Traumatized by Chicken Thighs

I hesitate to write this blog because I know I’ll get some teasing from it. For I am going to tell you a true story. A story about how I was traumatized by chicken thighs, for real!

At the risk of committing a writing faux pas, let me give you some back-story.

I’m kind of wimp when it comes to preparing meat. What is raw is often visually unappealing NASTY. Normally I buy boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. When I buy them, I look at all the packages and choose the one which has the least amount of ‘extras’ attached to it. Sometimes when I get home and go to prepare the breasts, I’m appalled that the packager managed to tuck up the yucky parts so they wouldn’t show through the film. That’s false advertising! Now I buy the all natural, hormone free — and all that good stuff – chicken and it’s pretty clean. Yay!

Lately I’ve been trying to mix up our meals more, give my family, and myself, more variety. I love to cook and I’m trying to branch out. I don’t eat red meat but I’ve started to prepare it for my family, in addition to my poultry and fish. This makes my teenage sons and my husband really happy. BEEF – it’s what’s for THEIR dinner. But that beef stuff always comes with blood. Turns my stomach.  But again, I try to take one for the home team and just grimace and get through it. (Or I ask my husband to handle it and wrestle it into whatever pot, pan or grill I’m using. He’s my Superhero!)

So, back to chicken thighs. In one of my new cookbooks there are many delicious looking recipes which use chicken thighs, some boneless and some not. I have a good friend who insists that her family inhales chicken thighs like they are a bowl of M-n-M’s.

So last week when I was with this friend I announced, “I bought something at the grocery store I’ve never purchased before.”

She was naturally curious and waited in rapt anticipation for my revealing admission. (Okay – that part may have been in my head.)

I proudly said, “I bought chicken thighs. Three pounds of them.”  (She may have laughed. Alright, she did laugh.)

Then she warned me, “Now, Ginger, you will have to clean them up a little. There will be stuff.” She then proceeded to give me advice on how to cook them.

Back at home, I girded my loins (how does one actually gird a loin?) and sliced open that package of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs. I’m thinking with no bones and no skin, how bad could it be?

It was bad.

Not only was there fat, which I can deal will, there appeared to be many flappy bits. Like, who knew a chicken’s thighs had so much detail, and pockets and extra appendages hanging on for dear life.

I’m thinking chickens need to do more squats, pump up those thighs a bit, so they can looks as lovely as their breasts can. Instead, they are flimsy, flappy and foldy.

Since my loins were quickly losing their girding, I threw some spices on the suckers and tossed them in the pot with the coconut oil, covered em up and prayed they’d turn out edible.

Which, they did! Family loved them. Gobbled them up. I nibbled them with trepidation for the image stuck with me. The experience left a mark. I cannot lie.

But since the meal was met with such appreciation and there was much devouring of chicken thighs, I feel compelled to share the recipe with you, should you fare better in the prep department than I.

Savory Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Savory Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Savory Chicken Wraps

*Prepare your chicken thighs. This is the hardest step. If you survive, proceed.

*Liberally coat them with spices. I used smoky paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, cracked pepper.

*Heat your oil in your pot. I used coconut oil in cast iron.

*Get rid of  Gently add thighs to oil and don’t move them! Let them sear and brown. When you can turn them without them sticking to the pan, turn them, and repeat. Once they are all browned, check your thickest one to test for doneness.

*Transfer your cooked thighs to a cutting board. Slice those flappy thighs into strips. They will start to look better now.

Serve with lettuce wraps. I love red or green leaf, butter lettuce also works well. Or you can serve in tortillas, which is what my kids did. Garnish with fresh salsa, large chunks of avocado and sliced cherry tomatoes.  My kids added shredded cheese and sour cream.

Now tell me I’m not alone people! Are there some things that you struggle to prepare for healthy meals? I mean, I don’t even like chicken breasts on the bone because, you know, I see the chicken’s little ribs and stuff.  And yet, I can power through some boiled blue crab like nobody’s business.

It’s a mystery!

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