Saturday, October 20, 2012

Crock-pot Chicken Stock/Broth

Homemade chicken stock is so healthy and convenient, I felt almost obligated to make some in preparation for the winter months ahead. A good homemade chicken broth will boost your immune system, aid the digestive system, and has even been said to prevent depression! A must during cold and flu season. 

I have yet to obtain a good stock pot, however, and put off the task until I had an, "Oh, duh!" moment while washing some leftover chicken soup from my crock-pot.

I compiled this recipe from numerous sources and it was molded around what was available to me at the time. I suggest wild experimentation when you try this yourself. :) 

Crock-pot Chicken Stock/Broth
Leftover Chicken Bones (necks, backs, wings, legs, etc.)
1-2 Tbls Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 Tbls Coconut Oil
Dash of Cayenne Powder
2 Tbls Sea salt
1/4 cup chopped/grated Ginger
4 cloves crushed, chopped Garlic
1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
Place Chicken Bones in crock-pot. Cover with water and vinegar and let sit for one hour (The vinegar will help draw out the minerals in the bones).
Add coconut oil, Cayenne, Salt and Ginger. Turn your crock-pot on and cook 10-12 hours.
1 hour before the broth is finished, add Garlic and Parsley.
Pour through a strainer, then divide and freeze! 

I plan to perfect this recipe over the years, making it as healthy and flavorful as I can. Feel free to comment with any suggestions!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In Sickness and In Health

Growing up, my mama was a budding herbalist. I watched and learned, and aspired to care for my family with the same skill and efficiency she demonstrated. I came in to marriage absolutely convinced of my ability to handle sickness! One year later, I have been humbled. Head knowledge was proven to be somewhat unreliable, and my family has not been the picture of perfect health. I am however, determined to learn from my mistakes and experiences and would love to share them here.

I've chosen the title for this series, "In Sickness and in Health" for a number of reasons. First and foremost it is a familiar yet beautiful allusion to our wedding vows, and one of the main reasons I find natural health so fascinating. And then, as any alternative health expert will emphatically insist, it refers to the fact that to lead a truly healthy and wholesome existence you must think of it in terms of lifestyle rather than supplement. Your exertions must extend to times of health as well as sickness (More on this later). Finally I intend to describe all  aspects of my journey as an aspiring herbalist, including the seasons of illness that I don't necessarily conquer. This is meant to be both an encouragement and a warning to my readers.

I would like to begin by highlighting various herbs, natural remedies, and preventative measures that I have either had direct experience with, or have been studying. I will do my best to cite sources whenever possible, but as is common with traditional medicine, experience is often the best  teacher.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Grand Vizier: Part II

The Vizier sat down on the ottoman heavily and pulled off his pointy shoes. Dropping them each in turn, he sank his bare, aching toes into the thick carpet.  Eyes closed, he put out a hand and as always Carlisle placed a fluted femur in his hand.   The Evil Emperor in whose mighty Black Spire he now resided had sumptuously fitted out his own chambers with thick rugs, canopied bed, and bones.  Lots and lots of bones.  Taking a sip, he wrinkled his nose.  It was always the same vinegary draft.

“What is this swill again, Carlisle?”

“Orc’sh Blood, my lord.”

“That’s nice.”

“Yesh, my lord.”

“Where do we get it again?”

“From the Darkwoodsh, my lord.  The orcsh make it.”

“Do they by any chance bathe in it?”

The homunculus stood silently blinking his enormous eyes for a long moment. “I can’t rightly shay my, lord.”

“Not, with your lisp, no.”

Unperturbed, Carlisle continued. “Would you like a bath, my lord?”

“No. This swineherd will be along any moment now and I really would rather die with my boots on.  My pants also.”

“Ash you wish, my lord.  Would my lord, like shome shupper?”

“I’m not hungry.” There was another silence.  “Carlisle?”

“Yesh, my lord?”

“How long have you been here?”

“Oh, I can’t rightly shay.  Three, four hundred yearsh, maybe?”

“You ever feel like leaving?”

“What doesh the master mean?”

“You know, collect your earthly goods in a hankie, put it on a stick and make a run for it.  Down the side of the volcano and past the Darkwoods and the Evil Caves and the Troll Bridges and the Dragon Lairs and the Beast Pits and the Haunted Mines and through the Fanged Pass and over the Black Fire River to the Greenlands?”

“I don’t think they would like me very much in the Greenlandsh, my lord.  Only nishe and pretty folksh in the Greenlandsh.  Carlisle is not a nishe and pretty folksh, my lord.”

“What if I went with you?”

“Who would be the villain, my lord? Shomebody hash to do great evil upon the land.”

“Oh.”

There was a horrendous wrenching noise in the hall. The Vizier stood with a sigh as the door was flung open.  Without looking over his shoulder, he moved to the window and stared out over the glowing volcanic landscape. It was time for the monologue.

“We all want it my young friend.  That great elixir, that lustrous potency which alone can quench our thirst…”

“My lord?” The homunculus sounded worried.

“Not now, Carlisle.  The monologue.  Very important.  Must explain how I can justify all the evil I’ve perpetrated.  Makes me much more human and relatable.” The man at the window cleared his throat. “To stand atop this spire and…”

“Whaaa…” This was not Carlisle.

The Vizier hazarded a look over one shoulder.  The swineherd was careening across the enormous room toward him, both arms outstretched, his head slightly askew.  There was saliva dripping from his slack jaw.  The wound across his abdomen was still gaping.   Caroming off a bed post, he spun, fell over the ottoman and lay struggling like an upturned turtle.

“Mashter?”Carlisle was standing next to the fireplace. He was holding a fire poker in both hands like a great sword.

“Huh.”

There was a flash of white light and the room was flooded with the smell of hyacinth.  A willowy, dark-haired teenager in a flowing white gown and winged helm was suddenly hovering above the floor.  Somewhere in the distance ethereal voices were chanting.  The girl blushed violently.

“I’m really, really sorry!  He ran off before I finished.  I didn’t even get to give him the speech I practiced.”

“Me neither.” The Vizier said dryly, folding his hands behind his back. “Could you please do something about the drool, I really do like this rug.”

The girl wrung her perfect hands. “Could you possibly kill him over again and I could try one more time?”

Copyright 2012