Better Broth–and that’s not all…

better brothOK.  Yes.  This looks gross.  But it’s not. I mean it won’t be when I’m done with it.

I recently posted a great way to make your own broth with the bones of whatever animal you just served for dinner.  You may or may not recall that one of my dilemmas was that I liked to cook the bones for a long time, but didn’t like leaving it on my stove top for multiple hours as it was using energy and I couldn’t leave it.

Well, I’m not sure why I couldn’t come up with this on my own, but–earth to Michelle–use a crock pot!  And then, go ahead and cook those bones for about 24 hours ( bring to a boil then reduce to low) after adding a couple of teaspoons of cider vinegar and whatever other seasonings you like.  The cider vinegar helps to pull all the nutrients (including calcium) out of the bones.  When done and chilled your broth will be a bit gelatinous (this is good!) and all the fat will rise to the top so you may grossly and easily skim it off.

I have had a few epiphanies over the past week as my commitment to solve Josie’s not-horrible-but-still-persistent eczema problem.  I’ve taken her off gluten which is a bit pricey but in a modern metropolitan area not all that hard as there are tons of gluten free breads, crackers, pastas and more.  No more little dabs of prescription chemicals  and petroleum based products on my daughter’s skin please!  They are not working and I have hated them for too long!

One thing led to another and through my hunt for creative diet options I also began exploring natural skin products.  Long story short (is it already too late for that?) I have since made my own deodorant (I know, right. What the …?) and laundry detergent.  Then (it gets better) I traded some of my elderberry syrup to Didi who made me her homemade hand soap and body butter.  How crazy awesome is that!?

I am so proud of my wild west apothecary trading post that I’m considering making some of these all-natural-chemical-free better-for-my-family-my-pocket-book-and-the-environment  products, after having tested them on my family (wouldn’t dream of using animals!) for sale to, well, anyone who would want to purchase them.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller…?

How did I get from bone broth to hand soap?  It’s just been that kind of week…  Stay tuned folks.  I’m not done yet!

p.s. Thank you Kate Doubler (aka: realfoodrn) for starting me on this journey!

p.s. #2 Lesson learned today: grating one bar of natural soap to make laundry detergent is a lot harder than you think.  Next time grab the food processor.

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Gee Your Garage Smells Terrific

garage crock

So I recently mentioned that So-cal weather is ridiculously gorgeous.  This is true.  However, we are entering the two months (give or take) of the year where the heat up here in the foothills of Pasadena gets just a tad oppressive.  I’m not complaining (yet) but I do seek out some alternative food prep methods keep my kitchen from getting even hotter.

Here you see my crock pot simmering away on the shelf in the garage.  I threw some ribs in this little honey the other day but couldn’t stand the thought of the heat that would be gently permeating my personal space.  Enter: garage crock!

I also put my rice cooker out here if I use it on hot days.  Who wants a bunch of steam blasting around the kitchen when it’s 100 degrees outside?  Thanks, but no.

My family is used to these appliances sitting in the garage.  Sometimes one of my kids comes running inside with a “Mom!  The garage smells great!  What’s for dinner?”

Four Photos and a True Story

I swear I’m not making this up.

Once upon a time there was a five-year-old (give or take) crock pot.  One charming evening I went to open said crock pot from which I planned to serve my family a delicious and healthy meal only to discover (gasp!) that the handle on the lid had broken.

broken handle
Major bummer!  This is my handy-dandy-six-quart-progamable-and-still-fully-functioning-except-for-this-dang-handle crock pot!  It seemed such a shame to toss this handy and still fully functioning gadget just because of a little flaw like this.

“Call the manufacturer!” suggested Mike.

So I did.  It was easy to do as the phone number is actually printed on the side of the slow cooker.  I know.  Weird.

To my disbelief, after only a very short phone tree, a real live, uh, what are they called?  Oh yes: customer service representative answered the phone.  The friendly rep stated, repeatedly “I am so sorry that this happened to you!”  Seriously.  The rep said this so many times that I actually told her that she needn’t be so concerned.  Last time I checked, a broken crock pot handle is not grounds for such heart-felt sorrow.
“I’m gonna make it.”  I told her.  “Really.  It’s true.  All I want to know is if I can get a new handle to screw back onto the lid.”

“Oh my,” she replied, “I couldn’t ask you to do that!” (Cannot stress enough how distraught this poor woman sounded.)  “I think we can send you a brand new lid.  May I place you on hold while I check?”

Eleven seconds pass.  She’s back.   “I’m so sorry,” replied the rep, “But we’ve discontinued that model of crock pot.”  Gasp again (her, not me.)  “And so,” continued the rep “if you’ll please read me the model number on the bottom I’ll be happy to send you a brand new crock pot at no cost to you.”

“What the what?”  Am I on candid camera?  Is it 1952?  Have I been drinking but I don’t recall? (not that something like that has ever happened before.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I kid you not.  I swear the facts described in this vignette are true.  Rival sent me a new crock pot for free and it arrived three days post phone conversation.

new arrival

I unpacked my new cooker so we could check out the newest addition to my gadget family.

Tah-dah!

new pot

You may recall that the title of my post is “Four Photos…”  What else could I possibly photograph?  Would you believe…

punch line

The new lid does fit the old pot.  Just has a fancy new model number.