Keeping the Flu Bug Away

I don’t get sick. The flu doesn’t darken our doorstep but once every 5 years or so. I can count on 1 hand how many times one of the four of us has had the flu. And why does it always strike in the middle of the night? 2:30am Monday it hit me. No swollen glands, no achy body, no headache. Just some indigestion, or so I thought, around bed time and then my first trip to the bathroom at 2:30. Oye. Today has been much better. Thank goodness!

When I get sick, it’s usually a message from my body to take better care of myself, starting with my nutrition. I’ve been pretty good, but my sugar and processed foods have gotten a little out of control. My body rejects the yuck and craves the raw, natural foods like fruits. Veggies will take some more time. Berries are at the top of the list of things I’m eating. Fresh raspberries, blackberries, and frozen blueberries. Some of the awesome bone broth I put away after thanksgiving. That sounds like a lot. It’s not. It’s been about 5 raspberries, a half cup of broth, and my blueberries are sitting in front of me. I’ll get to them… eventually.

So what’s the deal with bone broth? My mom always makes THE BEST broth. I can’t seem to be able to replicate it yet. Hers always gels so beautifully and is so rich and delicious. Her beef stew is one of my favorite meals ever. I digress…

Bone broth really isn’t difficult. It’s all about timing and getting all of that good-for-you collagen released from the bones.

  1. You’ll need a good sized stock pot or pasta pot for this one. I use chicken or turkey caracas or beef roast bones left over from a prior meal. Stick them in the pot and splash on 2-3 tablespoons of natural apple cider vinear. The acid in the vinegar helps break down bone and release the goodies inside the bones. Let it all set for around 30 minutes.
  2. Cover the bones with water and bring to a boil (2-4 quarts). Once boiling, turn down to lowest heat and let it cook below a simmer for 8+ hours. Skim off any impurities that float to the top. Sometimes I add carrots, celery and onion, other times I leave it plain.
  3. Enjoy the warm, lovely smell of the broth. Strain the broth through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or thin tea towel into a clean glass bowl. Be careful with this step! Don’t dump all at once, or your’ll end up with a mess running all over.
  4. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. I usually freeze mine 2 or 4 cup containers for later use. I’ve seen it frozen in ice cube trays as well, but I’ve not tried that. It seems I typically need either 2 or 4 cups for recipes, and I usually have some in the fridge for smaller fill-ins.

The gel factor:
If you have the correct ratio of bones to water is right, your broth will gel when cold. I admit, I’m guilty of using too much water. Though it still tastes good, it only half gels for me. I need to be more patient. All that gelatin helps heal so many things in our bodies, not to mention promotes healthy joints & keeps us from losing elasticity in our skin. It’s healing from inside out, one cup at a time.

What are your broth secrets?

bone broth

Forever Thankful

blog pic

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It’s the perfect kick off to the holiday season. There’s nothing I enjoy more than having our home filled with laughter, good food, and wonderful company, whether that be family or friends. We always start with a basketball game on Wednesday night, then into the festivities on Thursday. Knowing everyone leaves with full tummies and fuller hearts tops everything.

Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. I love the spirit, the decorations, the movies, the music, the giving of oneself to others, the celebration of Jesus birth. Gift giving holds a special place for me. I love giving more than receiving. The look on faces when they open that special thing they didn’t know they were getting. I look around our house and see so much stuff. It’s overwhelming at times. I cringe when family ask what the boys want. None of us really need anything. They really don’t even want much. I’m ok with that. But I also know they will be disappointed if they don’t get anything.

I dislike the commercial garbage the Christmas holiday brings. Black Friday and shopping on Thanksgiving day don’t bother me as much as the fights and injuries over trivial, material things. All of the ads, the emails, the push at the kids for more. It’s all so much pressure to find the perfect thing; to find something they didn’t know they will get and are still interested in. No one likes to help decorate, but complain when things aren’t up yet or when something they like isn’t out. No one helps take down but wonders why things are still up after New Year’s. The month of December feels more like a list of obligations than a preparation for the celebration. Is this a reflection of my parenting? Is it a lack of focus being placed on what’s most important? Perhaps. Maybe I’m being selfish and missing the point. Very likely. I find myself faced with the term “Refocus” more often than not as of late. I believe this is one of those times I need to stop and refocus my vision of the Christmas holidays.

I know this for sure– We live a blessed life. We have jobs, good health, enough food to eat, and a roof above our heads. We are able to work hard every day. We teach our kids the value of a dollar, goal setting, and about following their dreams. We don’t have everything we want, but we definitely have everything we need. I want to celebrate the little things, hear the joy in the air, and be in the moment with those who matter most to me. The picture above depicts my vision of perfection- being with my boys and lots of laughter.  May we all find the vision of the season and enjoy the simple pleasures. May every day be a day of Thanksgiving.