Kitchen / Garden / Sanctuary - Urban Homesteading to Nourish Body + Spirit

Month: August 2011 (Page 1 of 3)

Gazpacho & Garden Shopping List

I love this time of the year because meals can be made almost entirely out of the garden! Today I made one of my faaaaaavorite dishes, Gazpacho. How can a combination of vegetables taste so good?!

And since the gazpacho used up almost all the produce I picked last week at my garden, I was really tickled to be writing up a “shopping list” for the things I need to get when I go back in the next couple days. Going shopping in one’s own garden is way too much fun!

Late August Garden Tour

These photos are from my visit to the garden last week. It’s definitely not as much of a jungle this year as other years (or more accurately, the jungle isn’t as tall)…it was pretty late in getting going, but that’s all right. At least it’s not the worst year those raised beds have seen! That honor, I believe, went to Summer 2007. 😉

So what’s your garden been up to?



Gratitude Sunday * August 28, 2011

Sunday’s a good day to remember what we’ve been grateful for over the past week, don’t you think? I’m joining Taryn over at Wooly Moss Roots in her Gratitude Sunday tradition, and here’s my list:

– That we’re not in the path of a hurricane. I feel like I’m going through an “inner” hurricane but, oh, I think going through an actual physical one would just completely put me over the edge. My heart goes out to all of you having to deal with that real, live, looming hurricane.

– Limping my way through the latter part of this week, and hopefully onto a better week ahead. I must’ve jinxed it when I said I was feeling so much lighter last week!

– Remembering, as I write this, to choose love over fear — and then immediately feeling lighter. Why is it so hard to remember this when we’re in crisis??

– Also remembering to not resist what is. When we resist, we suffer. After I’ve exhausted myself going round and round in my head, it’s a relief to finally give up and accept.

– Eating a bell pepper straight off the stalk. And then a tomato with basil. And then celery… and pretty soon I’ve had lunch in my garden!

– A flower in the bathroom.

– Going into the beautiful, tempting Whole Foods store and leaving without buying one single thing. Self restraint can feel so satisfying.

– Going swimming on Thursday morning with my mom at our friend’s apartment building’s warm indoor pool. That was so fun!

– Watching Annie Hall (1977) on Friday night after both Hubby and I each had a horror of a day. It felt so great to laugh!

– My garden cucumbers. And how they’re flooding in right now when I need them most; when my tummy is delicate and finicky, often the only thing I want to eat is cucumbers with vinegar, salt, and pepper. It feels so good to nourish my body with my own stuff.

– Organic raspberries on sale at the store.

– Magazines. Sometimes there’s nothing like a magazine. Few words, lots of pretty pictures, and inspiration. I turned some frequent flier miles into subscriptions to Sunset and Coastal Living last year, and have been enjoying those so much more than I thought! I find myself grabbing for them more often than my (beloved) Mother Earth News, cause sometimes I just don’t feel like turning on my brain and learning something, and instead want to feast my eyes and imagination. I love sitting outside in my stair garden in the evening, with tea and one of those magazines.

– Music on my MP3 player and how it can calm me down and bring me back to Earth at 2:30 in the morning after a terrible dream.

– Returning completed library books. There’s something really satisfying about that!

– Enjoying the last of summer, but also welcoming the subtle hints of fall.


What blessings have you appreciated throughout your week? Leave a comment and let us know!



Chicken-Foot Bone Broth


Chicken feet! In this post, I mentioned that I’d found pastured chicken feet at the farmer’s market, and how excited I was about that! (I bought them from the good folks at Cottonwood Creek Farms — their pastured chickens are awesome…if you’re in Colorado, definitely support these local farmers!) I made chicken-foot bone broth from them, and WOW. It’s incredible stuff. I was amazed at the amount of gelatin that ended up in the stock…three or four times the gelatinousness of Jello! A delicious, rich broth…rich without being fatty.

Calcium-rich bone broth (stock) is a staple in my kitchen; I make sure it’s always in my freezer. It adds so much nutrition to a dish, and the taste is incredible. It’s the cook’s secret weapon! Lentils made with homemade bone broth instead of water is an entirely different experience (and one of my all-time favorites!). I like to simmer down my bone broth till it’s really concentrated and delicious; it’s both easier to store — taking up less space in the freezer — and adds a deeper flavor to whatever I use it in. I could dilute the concentrate once I thaw it out, but usually I just use it straight.

And so, Why bone broth? Well I will tell you. Well actually I’ll let Sally Fallon tell you. She’s the author of one of my favorite cookbooks that I sometimes mention here, Nourishing Traditions.

“Meat and fish stocks are used almost universally in traditional cuisines — French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern and Russian; but the use of homemade meat broths to produce nourishing and flavorful soups and sauces has almost completely disappeared from the American culinary tradition.

Properly prepared meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow, and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth.

It was Dr. Pottenger who pointed out that stock is also of great value because it supplies hydrophilic colloids to the diet. Raw food compounds are colloidal and tend to be hydrophilic, meaning they attract liquids. Thus, when we eat a salad or some other raw food, the hydrophilic colloids attract digestive juices for rapid and effective digestion. Colloids that have been heated are generally hydrophobic — they repel liquids, making cooked foods harder to digest. However, the proteinaceous gelatin in meat broths has the unusual property of attracting liquids — it’s hydrophilic — even after it has been heated. The same property by which gelatin attracts water to form desserts, like Jello, allows it to attract digestive juices to the surface of cooked food particles.”



Below is the Chicken Stock recipe straight from Nourishing Traditions. Nowadays I stray from the recipe — no longer bothering to weigh or measure — and often leave the veggies out to achieve a truer chicken flavor. Sometimes I’ll add the veggies too, but never the carrots since I dislike the sweetness they impart.

Anyway, I simply dump some bones (usually chicken backs, feet, or the carcass from a whole chicken) into my crock pot, fill with cold water according to how many bones I have (this is all very unscientific — you’ll get a feel for it quickly). I tend to add less water than is called for in the original recipe because I like a very concentrated stock with lots of flavor. To the water, add a tablespoon or two of vinegar. Turn on your crock pot and let it simmer away for about 24 hours. I’ve also done this on the stove many times, but I definitely prefer the crock pot.

When it’s done, I pour everything through a strainer, reserving the bones and picking off any meat for another use. I like to munch on the ends of the bones (which will be very soft by then) — a great calcium & mineral supplement. Pour into jars (leaving at least an inch of head space if you’ll be freezing them), and place in the fridge so the fat can harden on the surface; if there’s lots of fat I’ll skim some off, but I do like to leave at least some. Use, or transfer to the freezer. (As a side note, I’ve noticed a big difference with stock made from pastured chickens — much less fat, much more gelatin!)


Nourishing Traditions Chicken Stock

1 whole free-range chicken or 2-3 lbs of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones, and wings

gizzards from one chicken (optional)

feet from the chicken (optional)

4 quarts cold filtered water

2 Tbsp vinegar

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

1 bunch parsley

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them — they are full of gelatin. (Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth.) Even better, use a whole chicken, with the head on. These may be found in Oriental markets. Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

Cut chicken parts into several pieces. Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar, and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or chicken pieces with a slotted spoon. Remove meat and reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches, or curries. (The skin and smaller bones, which will be very soft, may be given to your dog or cat.) Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.



Gratitude Sunday * August 21, 2011

Sunday’s a good day to remember what we’ve been grateful for over the past week, don’t you think? I’m joining Taryn over at Wooly Moss Roots in her Gratitude Sunday tradition, and here’s my list:

– A new, lighter feeling these past couple weeks. Feeling really excited to wake up each morning because of all the things I want to get started on! Can I just tell you how good this feels?! Have you been feeling a little lighter too?

– Eating so well out of my garden. My garden food makes me so happy.

– The luxury of being able to have a quiet week with no obligations, no have-tos. Actually as I write this, I realize it’s no accident. A luxury, oh my yes, but very much engineered. In order to get to this space I’m in now, there was lots of hard work & hard thinking, shuffling and hemming and hawing and vacillating, saving money, and then finally mustering my courage to take action around my job dissatisfaction. And I’m so grateful to be reaping the rewards of all that now.

– Watching a dragonfly hunting bugs in the evening light; turns out they are agile, lightning-quick bug-snarfing machines!!

– Doing my mending while finally watching my “Creating Your Space of Love” DVD that I bought at an excellent Anastasia workshop a couple years ago. Have you heard of the Anastasia series (by Vladimir Megré)? It’s quite something. Far out, and I love it. The workshop was incredible, too. I took lots of notes, and maybe someday I’ll post them to this blog.

– Ripping through lots of library books! It’s been a hang-low, not-feeling-well week…and I’ve been outside reading a lot in the beautiful summer breezes.

– Clean(er) house!

– Mending favorite things rather than buying new ones…and looking around to see what I can use to make a new laundry bag instead of buying a new one.

– Feeling as though I’ve gotten a really important bit of divine assistance this week. All I can think is “thank you thank you thank you.”

– Forgotten, long-buried creative impulses beginning to bubble to the surface again!

– Having my Hubby to go through life with. And how much he makes me laugh!!! (I think I said this last week. Ah well it bears repeating.)

– Having a nice break from the computer, and then coming back again to post this Gratitude Sunday list.

– Having a wonderful evening visit with my folks last night, sitting out in the perfect air, chatting until past 10pm with crickets and cicadas all around.

– Washing the scum off our shower curtain; heehee, it’s the little things… (at least the scum was a pretty pink though).

– Alone time. We all need alone time…

– That my body, in its wisdom, tells me what would be good to eat. I love how I don’t have to wonder…how it just lets me know. It’s very certain!

– A long nap on a blanket in the grass today.


What blessings have you appreciated throughout your week? Leave a comment!


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