Chicken Soup for the Soul

We had a much needed quiet week around here, these days are ended perfectly with slow cooked, full of love chicken soup.

Lets Talk Stock:
1 whole free range, organic chicken (including neck,liver and heart)
1 whole onion (leave the outside yellow skin and roots on)
2 whole carrots (sometimes I add one whole apple cut in half to add some sweetness)
2 whole celery stalks
1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
Black Peppercorns
Sea Salt

Rinse the chicken and put it in a large stock pot. Cover with filtered water. Cut the onion in half with skin on and plop it in the water. Really, go ahead, it's good, and EASY! The outer shell of the onion gives the stock beautiful color.

Snap both carrots and both celery sticks in half with your bare hands. You are so strong! Dump those in there too. Now, add about 1 1/2 TBS. of salt and about 1 1/2 TBS of peppercorns. These are not exact measurements, add more to taste. Add the vinegar- you won't even taste it in the final product, but it helps draw out all of the delicious nutrients from the bones.

Bring the stock to a boil and let simmer on medium. After 2 hours or so, remove chicken from stock. Once it's cool enough to touch, pull all of the meat off of the bones, shred or cube it, and store it in the refrigerator. Put all of the bones and cartilage back into the stock and allow it to slow cook for 24-36 hours. You can put this all in your crock pot if that feels more comfortable to you to leave overnight. I use a large stock pot and let it simmer uncovered on the stove, adding filtered water when needed.

After the stock has slow cooked and is a deep, rich amber color, pour through a fine mesh strainer, allow to cool and freeze in food grade containers. This is a delicious, rich, nutrient packed stock that warms the soul. After you make your own, you will never want to buy it again. Stock up your freezer with this homemade stock!

**I also use this same recipe for beef stock, of course I use organic, free range beef bones...smarty pants. The only other thing I change is the cooking time, I let beef stock cook for 48-72 hours.

Now for the Soup:
This stock can be used in so many ways, but our favorite is chicken soup with homemade noodles or dumplings. I usually add 4-6 carrots, 4-6 celery stalks, 1 whole onion- all chopped, reserved shredded chicken, and fresh chopped parsley (both added toward the end) salt, pepper and dumplings. (** for these I make a batch of Great Grandma Wade's biscuits and drop the dough into the soup, cover tightly with lid and let steam for 12 minutes- no peeking!! If you follow this rule, you will have light fluffy dumplings to go with your delicious chicken soup.

I also use this stock as a base for chicken tortilla soup, beef stroganoff, for rice, in enchiladas...the list goes on.

Let me know when you make it, I know you will love it!

Batter Up

Baseball has begun! We are two games into the season already; Ryan is on the A's this year and doing great. It is so much fun cheering him on with the rest of the family by my side. He gives a really cute thumbs up from short stop. :-) More pictures to come!

Ada Belle

Miss Ada Belle; my precious niece!

Kisses from Nana...

Sleeping with Daddy...

Nursing with Mama- love this.

My beautiful sister Karyn, Ada, and proud Auntie.

Oh, I am in love!

My little baby doesn't look so little anymore...sigh.

Fun time with Nana.

Snuggly sleep...

Proud Papa

What an awesome dad, scrubbing the diapers with a smile.

What a special trip! I am missing Alaska, missing that sweet baby smell, staring at my lovely sister and holding that precious niece of mine. Welcome to the world Miss Ada Belle! xoxo

Sir Tyler

Five years old! Can you believe it? Today we celebrated five precious years of Tyler's life. He planned our menu for the day, starting with our birthday tradition of one pancake per year. Tyler had a stack of five and ate them all! Homemade fried rice for lunch, and homemade sausage and olive pizza for dinner. We enjoyed the sun, enjoyed each other, and I reminisced about the day that brown eyed boy was born. Oh, sweet, silly Tyler. He has the most contagious laughter and hilarious sense of humor...

Just over a year

Same funny boy, 5 years old

"Mommy, take a picture of my super hero move!"
I love that boy! Happy Birthday to my cute little Sir Tyler! xoxo

On this day...

We celebrate a very special gift...

Lovely Anna
Cutie Tyler
Wearing my glasses- so cute.
Oh my goodness, this little hunk of love is so kissable! Precious in his fancies.
Handsome Ryan
Tyler playing with his new paddle ball. I love this picture of playtime in dress clothes.
Easter lunch with friends- delicious food! Free range pork butchered just weeks ago from my parents farm.
A fun new game! Which hard boiled egg will break.
My loves

We celebrate the gift of true sacrifice; the gift of eternal life.

He is Risen and I am so thankful! Happy Easter sweet friends! xo