Monthly Archives: February 2012

I have a small Kenmore oven. It’s just big enough to roast two chickens—two chickens because I plan to have a week of sandwiches. It takes no longer to roast two than one. More important, I’ll have homemade chicken broth, as the incidental result of serving roast chicken is more than a pound of chicken bones.

It’s easy to make broth, and the processes allows me to use the bones from the chickens as well as cast-off bits of vegetables; the core of a cabbage, parsley stems and celery leaves.

Because stuffy noses and sore throats happen without notice, I freeze broth. Sick people will need chicken soup.Chicken Soup

My family likes to have soup in the winter months and I enjoy making it. Homemade chicken soup is super healthy – and when you make it,  you’re in charge of the ingredients. Most soup recipes are quick and can be made ahead. Having the soup at-ready means we have time for after-school swim practice or if we’re not out, we’ll make corn bread, tortillas, or wheat rolls with the soup.

If saving-time and feeling less wasteful are not reason enough to try making broth, how about health benefits?  There have been a lot of studies into the health benefits of Chicken Soup (I wonder if the studies were done because the researcher’s moms told them to?) The studies found chicken soup (the homemade kind) had a positive effect on neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cells. If you’re very interested in the results of these studies, they are available online at The Chest Medical Journal.

celery for chicken soup

Other than the chicken bones, what goes in the stock pot?

Just about any late vegetable, especially the cabbage type. But not the choice parts. When making broth use the cores, stems and imperfect vegetables.

• chicken bones
• carrots(two cups, pieces)
• celery(center stalks and leaves)
• parsley (stems are fine)
• one large onion, quartered
• cabbage core and/or cauliflower core and/or broccoli stem

Combine all ingredients, add enough water to cover the contents of the pot (8-12 cups), and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer. Simmer not less than 1 hour. Strain to extract all the broth. Adjust seasoning to taste (salt and pepper) when preparing as soup.

If you have a pressure cooker, use it for making broth. The cooking time is reduced by half, and the broth is just as good. Maybe better.

Pressure Cooker Instructions:

Combine all ingredients, add enough water to cover the contents of the pot. (8-12 cups) Bring to pressure on high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain to extract all the broth. That’s it!

With the not-so-cold winter we’ve been having, my thoughts are turning to the coming spring – perhaps to be earlier this year than most.

There is a little strawberry patch in our back yard. No, that’s a lie. There are strawberries growing in our yard. That part is true. But, we can’t truly call it a patch. There are six plants. We don’t produce enough berries for a pie or even a single jar of jam. We could get an ample amount to top a bowl of Cheerios. Then our Cheerio breakfast would look just like the one on the box.

We could have that picture-perfect cereal bowl, if the kids could refrain from eating the berries as they ripen. In the spring the law seems to be: first guy out in the morning gets the berries. The boys have both defended their selfishness with the same excuse, “if we leave them too long, the birds and squirrels will eat them.” How can I argue with that?

They started picking and eating the berries when they were big enough to toddle across the lawn. I think having the strawberry plants has provided much more than just berries. They have given my boys wonder and surprise. They’ve learned to care for the plants and a little responsibility too. We’re still working on *sharing*

I’d like to add, my kids have also learned how a strawberry should taste. If  you only buy strawberries from a supermarket, there is a good chance you’ve been missing out. Some communities sponsor Farmers Markets. We are not lucky enough to have a year-round market in our community. But we do have a Spring till Fall market. Beginning in June, Strawberry season!

One day my son Jack announced, “Mom, I kinda do like cow milk.”

Up to this point, he had grown-up on Eden Soy soymilk, because, well, cow milk is for baby cows. Really there was more to my decision to serve the boys soy milk than just the fact that they were not little cows. But the baby cow line seemed to settle them on accepting the soy milk. It was logic that was hard to argue with. And every one seemed content until: “I kinda like cow milk.”

We still drink soy milk, but we drink “cow” milk too. Our dairy milk comes from Calder’s Dairy Farm.

If you have a preschool aged child in my town, more than likely you’ll get the opportunity to take a field trip Calder’s Dairy Farm. Whomever it was that surmised four year olds would dig visiting a real farm, was truly inspired.

Calder’s 140 cows are fed  a high quality, home grown forage and grain diet. You can meet some of the cows at the Calder family farm in Carleton Michigan. You can buy milk there and at their store in Lincoln Park (where the milk is bottled) . Luckily, Calder’s products are available at indie Markets too.

They have a super website and Facebook page. The site has a lot of information, a list of Markets, and pictures of the cows… including baby cows.

Real Time Farms
Local Food and Local Farms
Gardener's Supply Company