Have you heard of bone broth? It’s become a bit of a hot topic lately. But instead of spending $3.50 on a cup of bone broth (ludicrous), I’m here to teach you how to make your own. It’s really very simple and requires about 5 minutes of actual hands-on time.
The hardest part is sourcing the bones. This specific broth is made with beef bones, specifically femur bones (but knuckles and necks are also good choices due to their cartilage content). My husband and I belong to a raw milk coop from a farm that is home to some very well-treated grass-fed cows. Sometimes I can get bones from them. If not, I pick up a few pounds of frozen beef bones at Whole Foods (also from grass-fed cows, according to the label).
There are some extra steps you can take if you’d like that supposedly add more flavor, such as roasting the bones in the oven for an hour before beginning the broth. I always skip this step, simply due to time constraints and having a toddler running around at my ankles all day long.
But basically, you throw the bones in a large pot (I use an enameled cast-iron pot with a lid), throw in some roughly chopped veggies, like onion, celery, carrots, etc. And then cover them all with pure, filtered water. Bring this mixture up to a gentle simmer. Bubbles and scum will form on the surface (you can see it a little in the photo above, taken around this point in the process) – skim those away and throw them down the sink. Throw in a tablespoon or two of raw apple cider vinegar and some good quality sea salt. Once no more scum forms, you are ready to put the lid on and let time do the work. Leave the broth to bubble very slowly and gently for at least 24 hours. 36 is ideal. We generally do 24-28, depending on what time Finn takes his nap and I have the time to focus my attention!
Now you must strain the broth – this can be tricky because the pot will be heavy. Strain it through a fine sieve. Use a ladle to spoon it out into the sieve if you’re unable to lift the pot and pour it. Make sure the sieve is positioned on top of another pot to catch all that good broth! I’ve definitely almost strained all the liquid gold down the sink before…
And your broth is almost ready! The next step is another waiting game. Let the broth cool at room temperature for a little while. Then transfer it to a jar or other container, and place in the fridge to cool completely (overnight probably). A layer of solidified fat will form at the surface – scoop this off and keep for another cooking purpose. NOW your bone broth is ready to either eat or freeze!
You can freeze this broth for a good 3 months in the jar. Or keep in the fridge for a week. Heat up to a simmer before slurping! Or use it as a base for soups and stews.
So why on earth would you jump through all these hoops just to make a semi-clear liquid? The reasons abound.
- Homemade broth is packed with essential minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, and other nutrients, such as gelatin and glucosamine – they are leached from the bones through the slow-cooking process and the inclusion of apple cider vinegar, which helps to draw the minerals out.
- These minerals are very easily absorbed by the body, making it an amazing healing food for those who have compromised immune systems or digestive issues (such as leaky gut syndrome or irritable bowel). It’s also wonderful for babies and small children who don’t yet have the digestive capacity for red meats.
- One pot of broth will give you several weeks’ worth of servings, depending on how often you drink it. If you (and your family) are sick, you could easily go through a pot of broth in a week, and will be making it more often. But since the broth lasts 3 months in the freezer, chances are if you’re good and healthy, you won’t need to do this process more than 5 times a year. However, it’s a great practice to get into!
- Gelatin is a powerful nutrient that deserves a bit more attention here. Its’ health benefits are numerous – it can strengthen your hair, skin & nails, joints, and muscles. It can help to balance hormones. It is the crucial aspect in broth that supports digestive health, lining the intestinal walls which can be damaged due to leaky gut syndrome or IBS. (This is the reason I started making it in the first place, since Finn had some digestive issues around his first birthday. Since drinking broth, things have greatly improved!)
- It is wonderfully supportive to the liver, making it an amazing detox food/beverage. In fact, it is just the thing to consume on my Winter Renewal Detox, starting this Monday!
- 3 lbs of grass-fed beef bones, ideally rich in cartilage or marrow (knuckles, femur, neck)
- 1-2 onions, roughly chopped
- 3-4 organic carrots, roughly chopped (don't bother peeling)
- 2-3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
- Any other veggies or fresh herbs you'd like to add to flavor your broth! Choice is yours
- 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- Plenty of pure, filtered water
- Place all ingredients in a large, heavy pot with a lid. Cover the bones and veggies with pure filtered water. Bring to a simmer and skim off the surface scum.
- Put lid on and continue to gently simmer for 24-36 hours, refilling with filtered water and skimming surface as needed.
- Strain broth through a fine sieve into another large pot.
- Leave to cool before decanting into storage containers, just as mason jars. Place in the fridge overnight.
- Remove layer of solidified fat - this can be used for other culinary purposes, so save it!
- Broth is ready for consumption or storage! One cup is the serving size, so feel free to portion it out before freezing for easier defrosting.
- Prepared broth will keep in its container in the fridge for up to 7 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Since before Finn was born, I’ve been interested in recipes that I can make for him as he grows and is better able to eat solid foods. Now that he’s 10 months old and rapidly approaching the picky toddler years, I’m enjoying his current very UN-particular eating habits! This kid eats anything. And then smears it all over himself and the table. And throws things on the floor. And mostly I don’t mind! I’m just happy to watch him discover and taste new foods, pretty much every day.
What follows is a recipe that came from a cookbook specifically designed for growing babies and their parents too (The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook). These chickpea patties, or as I call them, Baby Falafel, are great for both little ones and adults alike. They’re palm-sized, great for a healthy snack or lunch on the go, and have been Finn-approved (but to be completely honest here, most foods are Finn-approved).
Better yet, they’re freezer-friendly, a bonus for tired parents. Instructions on how to prepare these for immediate consumption or for the freezer are both found below.
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped in quarters
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- juice of ½ lemon
- handful fresh parsley
- pinch of ground black pepper
- 2-3 tbsp plain flour (spelt or other non-wheat flour are fine here)
- Place all ingredients except the flour in a food processor and blitz until thoroughly incorporated. Some chunks are okay - this doesn't need to be completely smooth.
- Coat your hands with flour (and sprinkle some flour on a plate) and start scooping out the mixture, one handful at a time, to make small patties, about the size of your child's palm (about half the size of yours probably?). Place the patties on the floury plate until you have about 12-14.
- Heat some sunflower or canola oil in a frying pan and cook the patties for a few minutes on each side, until slightly golden.
- Enjoy right away!
- Or, if FREEZING: allow the cooked patties to cool, then wrap in parchment or wax paper and place in a large ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, microwave or pan-fry until warmed through.
Cooking when you’ve just had a baby sometimes feels like the very last thing you want to think about. And here I am, with a 7-month-old baby, and still struggling to get dinner on the table most nights! So Phil and I stick with the dinners we feel comfortable making, week in and week out. Eventually there will be room for creativity in the kitchen once again. But for right now, we’ve found what works for us. It’s funny, but the idea of dishes you make over and over again, recipes you know by heart, is something I always envisioned I’d do when I became a Mom. It might be a far cry from the way I cooked before, but hey – most things change when you have a kid!
One such dinner we’ve got memorized is a delicious Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad that is slightly adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest. We have probably made this for dinner once a week for the past 4 months. It’s that good. And that EASY.
And its ease is precisely why it’s the perfect dinner for new parents. It only requires a few ingredients, takes about 15-20 minutes to make, and gives you plenty for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day (which we always enjoy).
The adaptations we made to Mollie’s original recipe:
- Added grated ginger to the sauce
- Used wide rice noodles rather than vermicelli-style
- Added red bell pepper
- Cooked tofu
Are there any go-to dinners you make every week?
Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Keywords: saute boil salad entree gluten-free vegan vegetarian wheat free
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 cup organic peanut butter (smooth or chunky, your choice)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 14 oz extra firm tofu, cut into bitesize blocks
- 1 lb wide rice noodles
- 1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 6 scallions, finely sliced
- 3/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
- handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Make the sauce: combine the peanut butter, boiling water, vinegar, garlic, ginger, honey, tamari/braggs, crushed red pepper flakes and sesame oil in a small bowl. Whisk well and pour over the noodles.
Toss the cucumber, pepper, and scallions in with the noodles and sauce.
In a large frying pan, heat some coconut or sesame oil and cook the tofu for a few minutes until lightly browned.
Serve the noodles with a few cubes of tofu and a generous sprinkle of peanuts and cilantro.
Keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Yep, I’m still pregnant. I really really hope I don’t have to say this for too much longer! For now, though, the little one is staying put. We were sort of hoping Phil could celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday as a new dad, but junior has other plans.
So, to distract ourselves from the waiting and watching and wondering, we baked a delicious dessert using beautiful fruit from the weekend farmer’s market.
I’ve used strawberry and rhubarb before to make a truly delicious raw dessert. This, however, is something different, but with very similar flavors. It’s best enjoyed with a dollop of something creamy. Yogurt? Ice cream? (Speaking of ice cream, I cannot wait to try this vegan ice cream place in Boston! A pregnant friend of mine has been raving about it!)
Anyway, here’s a tasty crumble to tide you over, whether like me you’re waiting for an imminent arrival, or you’re just in the mood for something summery and sweet.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free summer
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
For the Filling:
- 3-4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- 1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot starch
For the Topping:
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Combine all filling ingredients and spread out in a baking dish.
Combine all topping ingredients and mix until coated in coconut oil. Sprinkle over the fruit filling in the baking dish.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and topping is browned slightly.
Serve warm with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream. Or leave to cool and keep in the fridge for a cool sweet treat!
There’s a lot going on around here. My baby is due in just over a month and we just bought a house, moving in next week! Hence, a lack of recipes, let alone blog posts.
But every so often, when time allows, I get a strong urge to bake. It’s therapeutic in the same way someone might enjoy painting or singing as a way to de-stress. The simple act of combining ingredients to create something delicious that can be enjoyed for a few days afterward (depending on your level of self-control!) always seems to take the tension away, at least for a little while.
This recipe came from one I found on Pinterest, from a blog called Ambitious Kitchen. They were originally designed to be blondies (i.e. brownies without the chocolate) but I couldn’t find the right baking pan the first time I made them, so they became cookies instead.
The brilliance of these cookies/blondies/whatever you want to call them are in the ingredients. No flour is used. No sugar. No eggs or dairy. You rely on your food processor to do most of the work for you and combine a few items you most likely already have in your pantry or fridge.
With a base of chickpeas and peanut butter, these cookies stay pretty chewy and gooey in the middle. Almost like cookie dough. Pretty decadent.
They’re the perfect comfort food for an early summer filled with excitement and anticipation!!
I’ll be back as regularly as I can – in the meantime, take good care and have a look through my recipes page if you need some inspiration!
Chewy Chick-PB Cookies
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free cookie
Ingredients (6 large cookies or 9 squares)
- coconut oil, for greasing the pan
- 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (a little oil separation is good)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease either an 8×8 baking dish or a 6-cup muffin pan with coconut oil.
Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Add in some melted coconut oil if the mixture is too dry.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
If using a square baking dish, pour the mixture straight in and spread around to evenly distribute.
If using a muffin pan, scoop out the mixture with an ice cream scoop to distribute among the 6 cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Carefully cut the cakey batter into 9 squares in the baking dish (or simply remove from the muffin pan) and leave to cool for 15 minutes before enjoying!