A Healing Broth

Delicious bone broth

Bone broth after a few minutes of bubbling away…

 

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!

Cooked bone broth

After 24 hours of cooking, here’s my pot o’ goodness

 

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.

Jar of bone broth

Jar of bone broth before I removed the layer of fat. Yum!

 

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!

Bone Broth
 
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A healing slow-cooked bone broth that will last for months in the freezer!
Author:
Serves: several quarts!
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Put lid on and continue to gently simmer for 24-36 hours, refilling with filtered water and skimming surface as needed.
  3. Strain broth through a fine sieve into another large pot.
  4. Leave to cool before decanting into storage containers, just as mason jars. Place in the fridge overnight.
  5. Remove layer of solidified fat - this can be used for other culinary purposes, so save it!
  6. 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.
  7. Prepared broth will keep in its container in the fridge for up to 7 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 


Baby Falafel

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.

Baby Falafel

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).

photo 2

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.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baby Falafel
 
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Palm-sized chickpea patties great for babies and parents for snacks or lunch!
Author:
Recipe type: Snack/Lunch
Serves: 2 adults and 1 baby
Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Heat some sunflower or canola oil in a frying pan and cook the patties for a few minutes on each side, until slightly golden.
  4. Enjoy right away!
  5. 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.

 


First Birthday Cookies

Since having Finn in July, I’ve gotten to know many other new mamas in the past year. And all of a sudden, those babies are turning ONE! It’s hard to believe how quickly a first year goes by (and yet, how very slow it feels in the moment). I’m attending my first FIRST birthday party this weekend and decided to bring along these delectable cookies in celebration of my dear friend’s baby girl. The recipe comes from the LEON Baking & Desserts cookbook, one of my personal faves from England, along with the other Leon cookbooks available. All are terrific.

chocolate chip cookie

These cookies are gluten-free, egg-free, and contain no processed sugars. Plenty of butter though, which gives them the perfect gooey cookie middle.

chocolate chip cookies

Make these if you feel like celebrating along with me!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
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Based on a fabulous recipe from Leon Baking & Desserts
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups gluten-free oat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup organic unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including the chocolate chips).
  3. Mix together all the wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until they are well combined, but do not over-mix.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking tray. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
  6. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, and allow the cookies to cool on the tray for 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack.

 

 


Power to the Potato

We’re back in Boston after a wonderful warm week away in Florida. Seriously, that trip couldn’t have come at a better time. This winter has been brutal, particularly since Finn and I are both getting major cabin fever! But spring is just around the corner, so I’m trying to think about my favorite foods of the colder months and look on the (snowy) bright side. Something I haven’t made all winter: BAKED POTATO. Why not? I guess when I think about making potatoes, I usually jump to sweet potatoes and roast them up with some fish. I also associate baked potatoes with long cooking times (which is true – they take about an hour in the oven) but it’s not like it’s a labor-intensive hour. You poke a few holes in them, throw them in the oven, and leave them alone. My son can’t be left alone to play longer than 10 minutes, so you might say a baked potato is easier than a 7-month-old. But that would be a pretty weak analogy.

fried egg baked potato

But anyway.

It’s pretty easy to make a meal out of a baked potato. In England, “jacket potatoes” are a familiar vehicle for all manner of toppings that make a tasty and filling lunch. It’s not just sour cream and chives over there. Baked beans and cheese, for example. Or tuna and cottage cheese (woof).

Last night, as Phil and I embraced the fact that winter isn’t over, we settled in for a really satisfying and comforting dinner: baked potatoes with tomato sauce, cheese, and spinach, topped with a fried egg. Sounds simple? That’s because it is. And I’m totally having it again for dinner before the warm weather sets in (so hopefully not more than once…?)

The following recipe is loosely based on an article from the always fabulous, always miniature, Everyday Food magazine.

 

Fried Egg Baked Potato

by The Particular Kitchen

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 baking potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter or Earth Balance spread
  • 4 tbsp tomato sauce (we used a simple jarred pizza sauce that we had in the fridge already)
  • handful of organic baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese
  • 2 organic eggs, gently fried
  • ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425F. Poke the potatoes a couple of times each with a sharp knife and rub the skins with olive oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for about an hour, or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.

Everything else can be prepared when the potatoes are about 5 minutes from being done.

Once cooked, place the potatoes on 2 plates and slice open down the middle. Let the butter melt inside before sprinkling on the cheese, spooning on some sauce, stuffing in the spinach, and topping with the fried egg and some grated black pepper.

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Baking for Two

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.

strawberry rhubarb crumble

 

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

by The Particular Kitchen

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

    Instructions

    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!

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