Monday, March 18, 2013

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade chicken stock has SO many health benefits, and is even friendly to your pocket books! It's easy too! Sure it's convenient to go to the store and buy broth, but by making your own you gain so much more. Rather than spending 3-4 bucks on a box, make your own for near the same cost that is double or triple the supply, with a more flavorful and nutritious stock. To start here are just a few of the benefits you gain from homemade stock:
*Homemade stock helps speed up the recovery of those common colds, flus and viruses.
*Chicken broth is one of the most easily digestible foods, easy on the tummy and helps strengthen your gut.
*Other minerals from your homemade broth that may be lost in those boxed brands include: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, etc.
*The gelatin (the BEST ingredient) in homemade broth is what helps cure those sicknesses and diseases faster and is often lost in store bought broths!
So jump on board and spend a few minutes throwing chicken, veggies and herbs in a pot and let it simmer for the day! You won't be sorry.

Homemade chicken stock is super easy, you basically dump either a whole organic chicken (which is what I do), or leftover chicken carcass/bones in a pot with veggies and herbs! let it simmer all day and you are done! Your recipe can vary, but this is what I have done.

1 whole organic chicken -bought mine at costco, also available at trader joes/whole foods
1 whole large onion chopped
1-2 celery stalks
1-2 peeled organic carrots
2-3 T raw apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic
parsley or 2 bay leaves

The first time I made my stock I used a big stock pot and dumped all the ingredients in and covered my chicken with purified cold water (probably between 6-8 cups water). Then let it sit in the cool water for a half hour-hour. Then I brought it to a near boil, then let it simmer the day away... literally. Today, I'm trying my crockpot (set on low all day). Cook, I read anywhere from 6-24 hours. I personally thought 10-12 was perfect. Keep checking on it throughout the day and skim any of the nasty that surfaces... you'll know what i'm talking about. When you are done and content with the wonderful aroma, simply strain out the veggies and chicken parts and fill glass containers with the cups and cups of perfect broth you have made. It is probably easier to strain with a cheese cloth, but I didn't have one and worked just fine without.

The stock lasts a good week tightly sealed in the refrigerator, otherwise it freezes very well.  I use glass jars to freeze mine, and let it thaw when I'm ready to use in the fridge. GREAT for recipes and soups! The best part about using a whole chicken rather than just the bones... you can shred off the chicken and here you have cups of chicken for any recipe of your choosing! :) MOST COST EFFECTIVE WAY to make chicken and broth.

GOOD LUCK! :) Wishing you a happy, healthier stock filled day.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Caleb has yet to really be introduced to the concept of "dessert". But when he does, I hope to have many more recipes in my back pocket, like these healthy homemade popsicles. My mom called me the other day and told me to turn on the Katie Couric show, Jessica Alba was on it talking about allergies, eating a clean diet, as well as reducing environmental pollutants in  your home. She was FULL of wonderful information, and I am very interested in learning more about her Honest product line. One thing I really enjoyed that she shared on the show, was learning how to introduce HEALTHY snacks to our children... as well as affordable and tasty. She shared two different popsicle ideas. Here they are!

First was a "Strawberry Lover's Ice Pop"
2 C. of strawberries (organic... strawberries are in the "dirty dozen" for pesticides, so if you can buy organic, i recommend it, otherwise wash wash wash)
2-3 TBLS honey (we use raw)
2 TBLS lemon juice
2 TBLS basil leaves chopped up
1 C. milk/water

puree the strawberries, milk, lemon juice, honey and basil leaves together until desired consistency. Pour into ice cube molds, add popsicle sticks, and freeze! 

2nd recipe: "Go Green Ice Pop"
3 bananas
2 C. of fresh pineapple chunks
2 C. of fresh spinach
1 C. of 100% pineapple juice or milk 

blend spinach and liquid of choice. Add the pineapple chunks and puree. Then add the bananas and mix until smooth. Pour in popsicle molds and freeze! (usually freeze in a couple hours)

I love the concept of these. Your child still gets a yummy treat, but its made of whole fruits and vegetables. You can basically get creative and add whatever you want, but these are no fail recipes to try first. :) Can't wait to get my popsicle molds and try with caleb. I'll post a picture as soon as I do. :) Maybe once the snow melts here. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

the most DELICIOUS GF Chicken Enchiladas

As I was racking my brain on what to make for dinner Tuesday night... I knew I didn't feel like cooking any meat so I searched my freezer for leftovers. I had some leftover shredded chicken, 2 cups, from our burrito bowls last week (consisted of chicken/homemade broth/fresh salsa/black beans in crockpot), and about a half cup of leftover italian shredded chicken from a few weeks prior (consisted of chicken/homemade broth/homemade cream of chicken soup and cream cheese) . Hmmm... interesting combo, but why not try mixing the two together for enchiladas! 
So I found a delicious gluten free recipe online and began to modify it to make it organic/soy free/gluten free, yet flavorful!
First off... I needed the base... enchilada sauce. I have never made my own before but why not, so easy and this way you can control the ingredients. :)

 Enchilada Sauce Recipe
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion- diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can organic crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sugar/stevia
1 splash of balsamic vinegar
2 tsp of dried cilantro

sautee the onion, chili powder and cumin for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and cilantro and stir. Simmer for 15-20 mins. WAHLAH!

Now if you don't have leftover chicken for the enchiladas like I did, simply cube up and cook some organic chicken, then mix with 3/4 cup of sour cream, some chopped green chilies. 

You will also need:
olive oil
8-10 corn tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Now the remaining RECIPE for the chicken enchiladas:

~Spread some olive oil on a 9 x 13 glass dish and add a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom. 
~Heat up each corn tortilla before you stuff it, with some olive/coconut oil in a pan. Then stuff with chicken, some shredded cheese, and a bit of sauce. Fold, set in dish, and cover with some more enchilada sauce and shredded cheddar cheese. Continue until you are out, and then cover the whole dish with the remaining enchilada sauce, top with a bit more cheese... and bake for 20 mins in the oven (350 degrees).

ENJOY! :) They were seriously the best enchiladas I've made to date. :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

a HEALTHY cookie?!

Since we began our health kick, I haven't attempted to bake a thing (except for gf banana bread in my bread maker and that was a disaster). I just figured cookies = sugar = unhealthy. WRONG! I found a cookie which is truly not bad for you, and if it didn't have peanut butter in it, i would even consider giving it to caleb! (caleb is a deprived little boy who's sugar content comes from fruit alone at this point, so a cookie would be AMAZING i'm sure!) ;)

There is no flour in this cookie, no added sugar... so what do you use? GARBANZO BEANS!!!! what?! I would have never in a million years even considered trying a garbanzo bean cookie, and definitely not bake my own! awhile back when i was just looking for gluten free dessert ideas my sister in law Sara had mentioned that her friend had an amazing chocolate cake made at a party and when they asked what made it sooooo good... the chef said, garbanzo beans! so I did some research and took a stab at these garbanzo bean dark chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and they were actually good! Adam and I each consumed at least 3 right out of the oven! Here is the recipe :)

1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c honey (i used raw honey)
1/4 c milk (also could use almond or coconut milk)
2-3 T All natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c quick- cooking oats (certified gluten free, if you want the cookies gf)
1/2 c dark choc chips

~Place the garbanzo beans, vanilla and milk in a food processor, pulse until the mixture forms into a smooth paste, then pour into a medium bowl
~Add your honey, peanut butter, egg whites, salt and baking powder to the batter and mix
~Add oats and grind until you have a flour like consistency
~Stir oats and chocolate chips
~Drop cookies by the tablespoon and flatten onto a cookie sheet (they do not spread so form them into cookie shape)
~Bake for 15 MINS @ 300 degrees, turning halfway @ 10 mins. WAHLAH!
yield: 28 cookies

We both truly enjoyed these cookies. Next time I think I will add a bit more peanut butter, maybe a few more dark choc chips... but overall a success.  Fills that sweet tooth  and you dont have to feel guilty about it! :) Hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we have. 
PS. they are much better when eaten warm and gooey, so heat them up a bit each time to fully ENJOY! :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Organized Kitchen?!

Organized Kitchen?! Who has one? not me. Now that i'm on this healthy food kick, we are not only eating out less... but eating in MORE, which means MORE food, MORE groceries, MORE stuff in the kitchen. Our cupboards were full, we had random items everywhere. and I'll be honest, i'm a clutter bug. So i'm looking for some help... any useful organization that has helped you in the kitchen.  I'll share just a few we have adapted this past year, in a large part thanks to my handy husband. :)
The first was our utensil drawer... it was exactly that, it held EVERY utensil we owned, which made it frustrating to dig your way around to find that potato peeler stuck in the back. My husband was at someones house when he noticed they simply had a cute basket on their counter that held their tall utensils... brilliant! it freed up so much space in our drawer and now make those utensils much easier to access when baking and cooking. 
The next mini project my  husband took on was to add some shelves to our kitchen. We were running out of space for our bowls/appliances/food, especially now that we have Caleb and the daycare kiddos, i needed space for their cups/snacks/and such. So rather than cluttering up our counters even more, Adam added these... super easy to put up and fit in a tight corner of the kitchen.
 They arent' the most beautiful to the eye, but boy did they make a HUGE difference in counter space! :)
Ok that's all for now, if anyone has any helpful hints on organizing their kitchen... please share!
Also link up to my sister in law's blog, her "Tuesday Tidbits" are helpful