Grandma’s Chicken Stock

For me, homemade chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food. The scent fills the house and wraps me in warm memories of my grandmother’s kitchen.  This food was a staple for me growing up.  But for many people a good quality chicken stock has been replaced by the salted water of canned and boxed “stocks”.

Real chicken soup is made from good quality stock. And to make a stock all you do is toss a whole chicken and a few vegetables into a pot of water and simmer it for an hour.  It’s probably the easiest recipe on the planet. If you can boil water, you can literally make chicken stock.

The Benefits of Chicken and Beef Stock:

Because most people’s digestion is far from optimal, eating homemade soup stocks can be a wonderful way to provide your body with vital nutrients while you work to fortify digestion.

  • Stock contains vitamins and minerals in a form that is easy to assimilate.
  • The gelatin contained in stocks is very unique because it actually attracts digestive juices. (Most cooked foods are hydrophobic or water-repelling which means they repel digestive juices making them harder for the body to break down.)
  • The gelatin in stock is effective, therapeutic treatment for digestive and intestinal disorders as well as anemia, ulcers, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, and even cancer.
  • And the collagen contained in stock is beneficial for those with arthritis and other joint problems.

My Grandma’s Chicken Stock Recipe

For the Stock:
• 1 gallon water (enough to cover the chicken)
• 1 whole chicken 4 – 5 lbs (organs removed)
• 1 large white onion, peeled or 1 large leek
• 3 stalks celery broken to fit in pot
• 2 carrots, peeled cut to fit in pot
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Instructions:
• Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Do not cover.
• Skim off any foam from the pot with a skimmer or large spoon
• After about an hour your chicken should be done. Check this by grabbing a leg of the chicken with a pair of tongs. If the leg has loosely separated from the rest of the chicken at the joint, it should be done. Carefully remove the chicken and place in a large bowl to cool.
• With a hand strainer or large slotted spoon, remove all of the vegetables from the stock and discard. (All of the flavor and vitamins from the vegetables are now in the broth.)

*Note this broth has no salt in it.  This is on purpose! When you use it in other recipes, you may be cooking it down reducing the amount of water.  Then it would become too salty. So make sure to salt your dishes to taste. The plain broth tastes like dishwater! That salt brings out all the flavor and makes it delicious. 

• Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove all the skin and discard it. Pick the meat from the bones and discard the bones (or freeze the bones to make bone broth.)

Use the broth in soups, stews, gravies, or sip as a snack.

Use the meat in soups, chicken salads, or as a filling for burritos, tacos, and enchiladas.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Why I Love Bone Broth & Flaxseeds

When I grab a mug of bone broth, I love to add a spoonful of ground flaxseeds.  These two nutritionally unique foods blend deliciously and make for one of the healthiest snacks out there.  

While you may know some of the more glamorous benefits of bone broth (such as promoting skin health, arthritis and joint pain relief, and immune system support) I want to talk about some of the less sexy benefits of bone broth.  Things like inflammation control, antioxidant protection, and digestion support.  These properties are hugely important especially from a preventative care perspective – and help to keep us healthy not just “fix” us when we are feeling ill.

And hey guess, what!  Flaxseeds have these same properties!  But because they work in different ways they make a great team.

Here’s why I sip my bone broth with ground flaxseeds:

Inflammation Control:

Bone Broth: Bone broth contains gelatin which is made of protein.  And protein is composed of amino acids. Studies show that many of the amino acids in bone broth (such as cysteine, histidine, and glycine) reduce inflammation, and L-glutamine specifically reduces gut inflammation. 

Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds have very high Omega-3 content. Flaxseeds are the #1 source of the plant-based Omega 3 fatty acid ALA (alpha lipoic acid). Studies show that ALA helps to reduce inflammation.  And the body converts ALA to EPA.  And when people eat flaxseeds EPA increases in the bloodstream.  This Omega 3 also help to provide inflammation protection, especially in the bloodstream. 

Antioxidant Protection:

Bone Broth: Bone broth is rich in glutathione, so working it into your diet is a great way to boost your supply of this powerful antioxidant. The body uses the amino acid glycine (also in bone broth) to recycle glutathione.  Glutathione deficiency contributes to oxidative stress which leads to early aging and many diseases including liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.

Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds have a high lignan content.  Lignans are antioxidants which scavaging free-radicals and protect against cancer and other diseases.  They actually contain more antioxidant power than blueberries.  Lignans are also a fiber.  Fiber inhibits the formation of platelets in the bloodstream and decreases C-Reactive protein levels (CRP on a blood test) –  which is an indication of the inflammatory status of the cardiovascular system.

Digestion Support:

Bone Broth: Bone broth contains gelatin which improves gut integrity and digestive strength.  Gelatin has a unique property of drawing stomach acid into the stomach. This acid enables the breakdown and absorption of nutrients into your body. It also contains glutamine an amino acid that works to repair any leaks in your intestinal tract. Gelatin also absorbs water and helps keep fluid in the digestive tract, promoting a healthy bowel.

Flaxseeds: When you soak flaxseeds in water they produce a goo.  This mucilage or gum contained in flax is particularly soothing to the gut. When consumed, it acts as an emollient coating, helping to delay gastric emptying. Keeping the food in our intestines longer and improving absorption of nutrients. Flaxseed fibers also help to steady the passage of food through our intestines. Finally, the lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. This impressive group of digestive tract benefits is likely to receive more attention in future research studies.

When increasing fiber intake, it is a good idea to increase water intake.  And a cup of bone broth counts toward your daily 8-11 cups per day of water.

Most studies are showing these benefits when consuming two table of flaxseeds per day.  

I suggest adding 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to 1 cup of hot bone broth and enjoying 2x per day.

*In some people, flax causes discomfort at first.  I recommend starting slowly with 1 tsp per day and increasing the amount every few days.

  • Check out my favorite brand of broth: Kettle and Fire uses bones of organic, pasture-raised animals along with organic vegetables, sea salt, and herbs, all slow-simmered for 24 hours.

However you choose to get your hands on this liquid gold, be sure to make bone broth a staple in your diet!

References:

Boosting Surgery Recovery with Bone Broth

Doctors often give us information about pain management, but neglect to offer advice on true healing after an operation. 

My husband just had a hernia surgery.  And those of you how are familiar with this surgery may know that it has a fairly long recovery time. Expect to stop working and driving for 2 weeks, pain usually last 4 weeks, no strenuous exercise for 8 weeks, and no lifting for 3 months.  And because the doctors know how painful this surgery is, they often prescribe hydrocodone which is an addictive narcotic with brand names like Norco, Vicodin, Lorcet and Lortab, and other pain medications like acetaminophen and NSAIDs like ibuprofen for inflammation control.

Beyond the pain, the main concern is often also constipation, so a stool softener and or laxative may also be suggested.  This is because, for one, the anesthesia slows down your bowel function, two, the narcotics and NSAIDS have constipating properties, and they also don’t want the patient to strain and undo the surgery.

While these medications, may make the pain bearable or manage the side-effects that they cause, they really do little to actually help the body recover from the trauma of surgery.  

For both loving and selfish reasons, I wanted my husband back on his feet as soon as possible, (we have a bouncy four-year-old that does not understand things like his dad needing to rest) so I proposed to him a protocol for speeding his healing.  

And after just 1 day, he was not constipated, after 2 days he had stopped taking the Norco completely, and after 4 days was completely off of all painkillers. And on day five he was able to stroll around the park with us for over an hour.  And after 1 week he is back to work.  

Now in no way is he fully recovered, and he is paying close attention to his lifting and driving restrictions.  But by adding a few powerful nutrients to his diet, he was able to reduce his pain and get back to work in half of the time that the doctors expected.

 

Bone Broth

The basis of his healing protocol was bone broth.  I always stock Kettle and Fire boxed bone broth in my pantry.  So as soon as we got home, he began drinking ½ a cup 4 times a day.  This gave me time to make a couple batches of my homemade bone broth which he is still continuing to drink daily.  He’s basically been having a cup or two for the last couple of weeks.

 

Bone broth is an important part of a surgery healing protocol for several reasons.  

  1. Bone broth contains collagen protein.  There are a whopping 10 grams of protein in just one cup. And extra protein is essential when the body is under stress like from a surgery.  This extra protein helps the body to regenerate cells and heal.  And collagen protein is especially useful for wound healing because it contains the amino acid proline. I always recommend adding 25% more protein to your diet during times injury.  And hey, as my son says, “Daddy’s got holes in him!”
  2. Bone broth contains glycine.  This amino acid supports the liver and helps it detoxify.  And between the anesthesia and the medications the liver needs all the help it can get to process and remove these substances. Glycine also promotes muscle repair.
  3. Bone broth boosts digestion. The gelatin in bone broth has a unique ability to draw stomach acid into your stomach.  This helps you break down the food you are eating and helps to counteract the sluggishness that the anesthesia caused to your digestive tract.

 

Vitamin C

I also had my husband take 2500mg of Vitamin C powder every day  

  1. Vitamin C helps to stimulate the bowel preventing the dreaded constipation
  2. And it works synergistically with the amino acids in bone broth to facilitate the building of collagen to repair the wound.

 

Magnesium

I had my husband take 250mg of magnesium glycinate (other forms may cause loose stools) 2x per day.

  1. Magnesium attracts water. Increasing water in the colon softens stool making it easier to pass.
  2. Magnesium also works as a muscle relaxer and was helpful in helping him to rest and relax.

 

Fish Oil

And after the second day, he added 750mg of high-quality fish oil 2x per day.  (We waited to add the fish oil on the recommendation of the nurse, who said it can cause bleeding after surgery.)

  1. The Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil act as an anti-inflammatory agent.  Reducing inflammation speeds wound healing.  
  2. Unlike the anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, fish oil does not weaken your immune system.

 

Use the links below to see the exact products that I used to speed my husband’s recovery:

Bone Broth

Magnesium

Vitamin C

Fish Oil

Get 25% off your first purchase at my e-store by using the code: FIRST25

Moroccan Style Lamb Stew

P1050144

As the weather is getting colder stews are both a way to warm your home as well as warm your bones. One of my go to meats for stews is lamb.

I like using lamb for a couple of reasons. The way lamb is farmed is typically grass fed in a non-factory-farm situation. Grass feeding provides a cleaner (free of pesticides and herbicides) protein source that is higher in the healthy Omega 3 fatty acids DHA & EPA. These good fats can help lower triglyceride levels; reduce inflammation, especially in your joints and lungs; lessen symptoms of depression, and is essential in the brain development of babies. Lamb has about 50% of the Omega 3’s as a piece of fish (cod) which is a lot!! And lamb also contains CLA which is an Omega 6 fatty acid which new research has shown helps blood sugar regulation, promotes weight loss, and reduces inflammation.

Some people have an aversion to lamb because it’s “gamey”. But this more powerful meaty flavor is due to the lamb (or any grass fed animal) eating food that’s intended by nature and not a bunch of genetically modified corn. And this increased flavor pairs incredibly well with bold aromatic spices.

Today I made a Moroccan inspired lamb stew with chickpeas and raisins. The sweetness of the raisins mellow out the dish and it’s full of spice without being spicy. My toddler ate it right up!

Moroccan Style Lamb Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb grass fed lamb stew meat. (Typically bite sized pieces from the shoulder)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1-2 diced green bell peppers depending on size
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
  • ½ cup raisins

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven or large pot, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers, add the lamb pieces. Brown the lamb – depending on the size of your pot, this may have to be done in batches so you don’t over crowd the pan and steam the meat. It’s supposed to be loud and sizzling. Remove lamb once browned.

 

Reduce heat slightly and add the onion, (add another tbs of oil if the pot looks dry). Once onion is translucent, add the spices, bell pepper. Once pepper starts to soften, add the tomato paste add cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes to cook out the raw flavor of the paste. Add the chicken stock all at once to deglaze the pan scrapping up all the brown bits that have stuck to the pan. Return the lamb and all juices to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or longer. Add the chickpeas and the raisins and continue simmering for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Serve over brown rice and top with chopped kale.

 

References: The George Mateljan Foundation (2001-2014). Worlds Healthiest Foods: Lamb, grassfed. Retrieved from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=117

Trying to get veggies into my toddler can be a challenge.  One day, out of sheer exhaustion and guilt that I wasn’t feeding him “right”, I served him a handful of frozen peas.  The line of thinking was kind of like, “Frozen peas, do they need to be cooked? Fresh raw peas are delicious….he loves frozen blueberries…what the hell.”    And guess what, he loves them! I haven’t tried frozen corn yet only because I keep forgetting to buy it at the grocery store.

So serving my kid frozen vegetables is the absolute easiest way that I’ve found to get him to eat his veggies.  But this recipe for Creamy Any Vegetable soup may be the second easiest way.  I serve it to him in a coffee mug and he gulps it down.  It’s a super fast recipe that is dairy-free!  You can use almost any veggie although I don’t recommend combining them.  I used broccoli in the batch in the picture, but you could use:  carrots, celery, asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, butternut squash, peas, corn, pumpkin, spinach or whatever you have on hand.

The oats add a velvety, creamy texture.  This soup pleases kids and adults alike.  And only takes about 20 minutes to make.

Yields about 6 cups of soup.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion chopped

dash of nutmeg (about 1/8th tsp)

1/3  cup old fashion rolled oats (Rob’s Red Mill makes gluten free oats)

4 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock to make it vegan)

1.5 pounds broccoli (or vegetable of choice)

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. In a large sauce pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, cook until softened and translucent about 5 minutes.  Add the nutmeg, cook until fragrant, less than a minute.

2. Add stock, oats, broccoli, and 1 cup water.  Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until broccoli is tender.  5- 10 minutes.

3. Puree soup in batches in a blender. (Don’t fill blender more than 1/2 way or it could come out the top and burn you.) Return soup to the pot, taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve immediately.

Creamy Any Veggie Soup

Yogurt Oatmeal Pancakes

IMG_0013

I have been cooking gluten free more and more because I feel better when I don’t eat as much gluten. And pancakes a great place to skip the gluten, and not feel like your missing anything. By using corn flour and rolled oats you can create a mouth watering cake packed with flavor as well as fiber and whole grains. Corn flour is an inexpensive gluten-free flour and is wonderful to have on hand when making cornbread. (Look for Organic or Non-GMO.) Buttermilk is cultured milk that has a lovely tang and a very popular pancake ingredient. But I never have any on hand, but I always have yogurt in my fridge. So why not swap out one cultured milk for another? All you need to do is add a bit of water to smooth batter. My one year old and my husband made these pancakes disappear so fast that next time I will be making a double batch. This one yields about 10 fist sized cakes.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup corn flour (masa)

1 cup old fashion rolled oats (Rob’s Red Mill makes gluten free oats)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup water (more will be necessary if using greek yogurt)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 large egg

1 tsp coconut oil

Preparation:

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. 2. Combine yogurt, water, butter, and egg in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. 3. Heat coconut oil in a griddle over medium heat. Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter per pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles; cook until bottoms are lightly browned – about 4 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second. Top with fresh fruit and enjoy!

Quick Lentil Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs butter
1 yellow onion diced
3 stalks celery diced
1.5 tsp ground cumin (or more to taste)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tps garlic powder
1 tbs sea salt or more to taste
1 tsp fresh ground pepper or more to taste
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups filtered water
1 cup green lentils
1 bunch chopped red chard (or any greens about 3 cups)
1 tbs sea salt or more to taste
1 tsp fresh ground pepper or more to taste

Directions:
Heat the olive oil and butter over med low heat in a 4 quart or larger pot. Add the onion and the celery and saute for 10 minutes. Add the cumin, garlic, garlic powder, salt and pepper cooking 1 minute or so until fragrant. Add the tomatoes including the juice from the can and cook another 10 minutes. Add the water. Bring to a boil. Add the lentils. Lower heat and simmer with a tilted lid for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender, stir occasionally. Add the greens, simmer 10 more minutes or until greens are desired tenderness (spinach may only take a few minutes). Taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy.