Saturday, August 25, 2012

No-Fuss Chicken Stock

It's been different here, having taken Hannah 400 miles away to college and now just having one child here at home.  We've been back a week and I think I mostly spent the week in a fog, recovering from the intensity of the "college drop-off" (all the emotion, the getting ready, the last minute shopping for items that were forgotten, the move in, etc) and trying to get started with a bit of a homeschooling routine.

I expected spend this weekend seriously weeding and rehabilitating the summer heat and drought ravaged garden, but have ended up with our 3 year old granddaughter spending the weekend with us.  She's still asleep this morning (having not settled down until 11:00 last night), and we are having a very welcome gentle steady rainy morning.  So, with my gardening plans gone awry, I decided to make some no fuss chicken stock.

Whenever I roast a chicken or buy an already roasted chicken from Costco, after we eat or pull off as much of the meat as we can, I like to make stock from the remaining carcass.  Often I don't have the time or the desire to deal with it that night (especially if we are eating one from Costco -- generally means I am too busy to cook one myself, or in the summer time because it's just to hot and I'm not thinking about soup and such).  I simply put the carcass in a ziplock bag and stash it in the freezer.

I had two carcasses squirreled away, so I pulled them out of the freezer, put them still frozen in my stock pot, filled the pot with water, added some "parsley sage rosemary and thyme", some salt and pepper, a bit of vinegar to draw out the calcium from the bones, and set it to simmer for a couple of hours.  I COULD have added some chopped onion, celery, carrots -- but I didn't feel like messing with chopping.  Remember, this is NO FUSS chicken stock.

After a couple of hours, I drained out the liquid and put it in the fridge so the fat rises to the top and can simply be lifted off.  When the solids cooled, I recovered about a cup of meat that can be added back in for soup.

Now I have stock to make some soup tomorrow, stock for the freezer for future use, and even cubes of stock frozen in an ice cube tray, which I then pop into a freezer bag and can get whenever I just need a few tablespoons or half cup of stock.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Getting Ready . . . .

our dining room - ground zero

My life the past 2 weeks:

getting ready to send Hannah off to college across the state next week (and Tennessee is one loooong state!  It's as far from here to the other end of the state as it is from here to New Orleans or to St. Louis);

the blue bottles aren't going

getting ready for the new homeschool year for my youngest and only one left;

setting up the Civics/government class I'm doing for 15 homeschool teens;

ordering a boatload of lab chemicals and protective lab gear for my youngest's exploration of "Forensic Science" (which I'm sure will land me on some kind of government watch list);

 downloading Mountain Lion OS for my laptop;

 buying a computer for Hannah for college during tax free weekend;

replacing all of our 2 year old and battery-failing cellphones and trying to understand why "stupid" phones like we use are way more expensive now that "smart" phones (which would double our monthly cell phone bill, with the mandatory data plans) and don't even have cute cases available;

adding youngest on to the cell phone plan and getting her a "stupid" phone for her birthday;

other assorted birthday shopping for the youngest, during tax free weekend

hmm -- guess that explains why I've hardly had time to visit my favorite blogs, much less post here.  Another two weeks, and things should settle down into our "new normal".

Hannah: "why will I need a dustpan?" Why indeed.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Calendar Challenge

Each month this year I have been participating in the 366 (this is a leap year) Calendar Challenge at artist Kate Crane's blog, The Kathryn Wheel.

My completed July pages:

July was tricky -- my days were arranged numerically, rather than grouped in weeks, and somewhere along the way I got off track, with the wrong butterflies.  And then there were several days where maybe I was abducted by aliens or something and my memory wiped clean -- as I would see I had missed some days and have absolutely no clue about what I did.  I suspect all of this may have had to do with the "getting ready to go off to college" preparations going on here, as well as several birthdays, realizing 2 days before the Altered Book Club meeting that it was my turn to lead a project . . . guess what we did? -- created artsy calendar pages!  Thus, I was able to come up with something for the meeting AND create my August pages -- although I haven't had a chance to blog until now.

Here is how my August pages started -- some paint, some napkins, a bit of stamping and painting with watercolor pencils:

And here it is with the days applied:

Now, I have to show you this -- notice who is lurking behind the book as I was taking pictures:

That was actually the first picture I took.  With Ophelia, the magical garden cat preparing to make her move:

As I was bending over trying to take pics with my IPod, she jumped on my back and settled in.  All the other pics were taken with her on my back.  Here she is, looking indignant, after I convinced her that this was just not working for me right then.