Tag Archives: nutrition

Hen For a Best Friend?

A dear Canadian farmer friend who keeps me updated with the current events of the chicken  world  touched base today.  He and I were wannabe -chicken -farmer -dreamers years back and we both have made our dreams of chicken poop and blood orange egg yolks a reality.  His dream expanded far wider than mine and he is going to town on his farm in Canada. His dream is his livelihood.  Mine is my hobby.

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Farmer Doug

He sent me the following story of a young sailor guy who is sailing the world with a hen.   The sailor  desired an animal companion rather than a human. Gee, I wonder why.   He settled on a hen.  It is my guess you cannot imagine why in the world he would choose a chicken for a sailing mate.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36475672

Please  open link to take a gander at his priceless photos.  Precious.

It is  my opinion that chickens get a bad rap.  They are stupid animals they say.  Well…I beg to differererer……Its all relative.    What would you expect given  their heads are the size of a cherry tomato?  Of course, we cannot compare their intellect with ours.  Is that what those people are doing?  Can we please look at the rest of their character attributes?  Intellect ain’t all there is, sista.

My chickens are gentle.  They chat with me when I enter their house. And they ALL  have a little to add to the conversation.  Personalities vary just like ours.  They know when I am coming to treat them and when I’m not coming to treat. They wait patiently for me to feed all the other animals.

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They walk quietly in single file line to their treating ground.  I could learn a thing or two from our “stupid” chickens.

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Chickens live in the moment.  They are honest about their moment.

They hoot and howl their eggs out.  These guys work HARD for your Saturday morning omelet.

They quibble and squabble away their differences.  No harm. No foul. No lasting resentments.  Unless of course there  is a weakling  lurking about.  I never said they were perfect.  Maybe that’s why the sailing guy chose only one hen to sail instead of a buddy system.

As with any being, if you love them, they can in turn love back.   If you give them room to grow, they will flourish.   If you keep the  creature locked in a cage  physically, mentally or emotionally where they can’t stand on their little legs, they can not blossom. They will lack the love and luster.

Every night after dinner, we abandoned the dirty dishes and run to  the swing to watch the chicken show.  There must be  some redeeming qualities in these little guys if we invest our evening entertainment hours in avian performances. Maybe I have the intellect problem.  Not the chickens.  I’ll have to think about that.  Or not.

They require no showers before bed time. No teeth brushing.   They march right on to their school bus (roost) at dusk  without being asked and lights out.   I do need to train them to shut lights.

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Could I go boating with one of my hens?  Oh yes.  If I liked boats.  Can I take her on a jaunt around the world in my pickup?  I’d love to.

 

Long live the hen.

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Peace,

Karen

 

 

 

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Diagnosis: Nuts

Picasso,  Science and Charity, 1897.

One note… this was Picasso’s painting when he was 16 years old. And before I go on with the subject at hand (which is why I chose the above painting in the first place),  this next painting was when he was 15 years old.  He had nowhere else to go but …well…Picasso.

Picasso, First Communion, 1895

I was diagnosed with an ailment last week that has me a bit concerned.  It actually is a disorder, that if not treated it will continue to get worse and ultimately attack my total health, both mentally and physically,  they said.  The doctors  prescribed several different medicines that will make me healthy again.  The thing is, I don’t like, or I haven’t heard wonderful things about these particular meds.   But I did find a medicine that I think I like better.  It doesn’t do the things the ones prescribed do but I think if I take the ones I like, I will get along.    I called the dr. and told him that I found ones that I liked better.   He said ,  under any circumstances, they would not work.   I don’t buy it.   So, I think I’ll stick with my own treatment.

You are probably thinking at this point – “has she totally fallen off her tractor!”

I really wasn’t diagnosed with anything last week.   But wouldn’t you think I was bonkerly crazy if I had said that and meant it?

Ok….Let me reword the above statement.

I was diagnosed with an ailment last week that has me a bit concerned (anything chronic).  It actually is a disorder, that if not treated it will continue to get worse and ultimately attack my total health, both mentally and physically,  they said.  The doctors  prescribed the  foods that will make me healthy again.  The thing is, I don’t like, or I haven’t heard wonderful things about these foods (fresh veggies, protein, fruit and whole grains) that are good for me.  They are boring and don’t taste yummy.   But I DID find foods  that I think I like better (sugar, processed foods, colas).  My food wont  heal me like the ones prescribed will,  but I think if I take the ones I like, I will get along.    I called the dr. and told him that I found foods that I like better.  He said those,  under any circumstances,  they would not work.   I don’t buy it.    So, I think I’ll stick with my own treatment.  Which is called (for lack of a more effective word)  poison.

The cycle of chronic illness continues to go ’round and ’round.

Really?  Do we really sound and act that nuts?   It is our health for goodness sake.  It is our mind.  It is our body.  Let me take this one step further….It is our ONE mind.  It is our ONE body.

NUTS

I think we all have these nutty marbles rollin’ around in our heads.  Don’t you?

Can we, maybe,  try to think of our food as the medicine needed to stay far, far away from chemical manufactured medicine?   SOOOOOOOOOOOO many illnesses can be relieved and avoided if we would only take the best “medicine”.    Try thinking about it from another perspective and see if it has an impact.   It is hard,  HARD.  But with practice,  it can have huge benefits.

I seriously pray  that God will give me the wisdom to know better and give me the strength to resist temptation and give me the patience to do what it takes to eat properly.  For my health and those that are dear to me.

I hope that you don’t think this preachy….I am as guilty as the next guy.   It just is really serious business.  And I am really  concerned about my own health, my children’s and their children’s.  Our food, and therefore,  our health,  is in dire jeopardy.

God bless,

Karen

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Fermentation Is The Key To Paradise

Good Morning!

I lay flat on my back with a torn disc. Very minor compared to past experiences.  I really need to leave the heavy lifting around here to someone else.   I have lots of time this morning to leisure in my thoughts.

I think I’ll go to a place that will (prayerfully) be of interest to you.  Eeek.

When my body was ailing from all the toxins from sugars and antibiotics and processed foods, the first thing my doctor taught me was to get a leg up on fermented foods.  What in the world.  Fermented foods were a popular way of preserving foods for cold months way back when in the era I should have lived.

You can ferment foods for all different effects and reasons.  You may be familiar with the process of making wine and beer and other alcohols.  A fermentation process is used to change the sugars in the grains and fruits into alcohol.

Sourdough bread goes through a fermentation process whereby the  wheat mixed with water goes sets off a breakdown of enzymes converting the so-an-so’s into something or other.   Bacteria cultures come about (I have no idea what I am saying here) and it makes the bread taste sour.    This process is done mostly for flavor purposes.  Only has minimal health benefits over regular wheat bread.  But  bottom line it taste AWESOME for all you gluten people out there.  Love, love,  love the  taste of sourdough bread.

These are not the culture processes I want to talk about today.  The fermentation foods that are power packed, probiotic filled,  life saving wonderment.  That is what I want to hit on.  The stuff saved my health.   And what started out a science experiment and dislike for the flavors, turned in to a lifeline to well-being.  My body craves the stuff when I don’t have it.

So what are they?

They are clean, preferably organic (we want cultured food not cultured chemicals)  foods that when left to their own devices produce their own good bacteria (probiotics) which when live in our bodies fight off any incoming bad bacteria to ward off illness.  Our bodies have naturally occurring good bacteria which do that.  But the stress and compromise that we subject our vessels to negate many good things in our bodies.  Also, fermented foods are pre-digested, meaning during the culturing process the food has started to break down itself so the digestion, by the time it hits your stomach, is easier.  Our bodies are asked to digest some really hard things.  Like foods with chemicals and foods with stripped nutritional value.  Our bodies simply do not know what to do with it.

If you:

eat processed foods

eat sugar

take antibiotics( they kill not only bad bacteria but ALL bacteria.  If you must be on them, take over the counter probiotics with them so you are not depleting all of your fightin’ buddies)

drink alcohol

any chemical laden foods

….you most likely have a compromised immune system, which means you are lacking good bacteria.

My dr. gave me lots of necessary steps to take but this cultured food deal was, in my mind and body, the most important.

The three cultured foods I eat religiously are:

YOGURT AND KEFIR.  Both of these are cultured milk products.  They are full of probiotics.  You can make them your self with culture starters or good yogurt.  Or you can buy from the store.  Buy ORGANIC, PLAIN  yogurt or kefir.  You are only wasting your money if you purchase fruity stuff.  The sugar and other stuff that is added makes it useless.   Add your own berries or what have you.

COCONUT KEFIR WATER.  Young coconut water store-bought.  Use a kefir starter which you can by at health food stores or online.  I buy online at http://www.bodyecologydiet.com.  You can get all culture starters there.  Buy her book while you’re at it.  Her book saved my life.  When I drink it, it turns my skin translucent.  Beautiful silky.

Coconut Water

You just add kefir starter and coconut water into glass crock with rubber gasket (they get the best seal) and sit on counter for 2 days.  It will taste effervescent.  A little champagney.  After all, it is fermented.  It is a treat!  Stocked full of yummy bacteria.

Finally and most importantly,

Cultured Veggies in glass crock

CULTURED VEGGIES!!!!!.   This is it, man.  I’m tellin’ you what.   It is like gold.  I am starting to see this stuff at my food store and it is sold for 10.99 a pint.  10.99 A PINT.   I have to buy it when I am out and it is gone in three servings.  ugh.  When I make it, I make 10 litres at a time.  And since it is naturally preserved I can take all the time I need to gobble it up.   This past   year I invested in the old german ceramic crocks that they used in the olden days to preserve their “kraut”  in the old dark cellars of yesteryear.  They come in sizes from a gallon, I think, up to 10 gallon crocks.  They are very cool.  I bought two- 10 litre crocks.  Very heavy duty.

German Ceramic Crock

I will post the Cultured Vegetable recipe on the recipe page.   I can just say that it would be very worth your while to make it.  There are many great recipes out there.  I have settled on one that I have used for 7 years that works for me.

To your health!

God bless,

Karen

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Rain and Pickles. Pickles and Rain.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about  the weather.  WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE WEATHER?

We lived in New Orleans for three years in the early 80’s.  Oh my goodness.  If you want to feel oppression at its best (or worst) take a stroll through New Orleans in July or August.  Summer has never held the same meaning for me since those days in the Crescent City.

Ahh, those were the days! Still not sure if they were good days or bad.

I have been running from the sun and humidity ever since.  If there is a shade tree, I will find him and he WILL  become my friend.

Since  we  moved to the farm, I have had to buck up and take the heat.  My chores take me outside throughout the day and I have now decided that 95 is nothing.  Much time has been spent in trying to   convince myself of that.  I have realized that 98-99 is the danger point for my animals so I am pretty calm if it stays under that.

BUT FOR CRYIN” OUT LOUD!!!!

I’m just sayin’.

On a serious note, I look at the country scape, suburban scape, or where ever you have your eyes set right now,  (if you live in the heartland) and I want to weep.  I will accept the 95 degree days if we could just get water to our trees and crops.  In all of my years, I have not witnessed such a sad state of affairs.

What happens when trees totally dry out?  Do they just fall over?  I keep imagining trees falling randomly onto roads and highways.

Where do we get water if our lake source dries up?

What happened to Atlanta when their lake source dried up a couple of years ago?

What is going to happen to our trees that are indigenous to this area when they are no longer capable of surviving?

Are we going to be witness to a severe shift in our environment and ecology?  Our environment may survive this season,  but two seasons in a row?

Am I being paranoid?  Maybe.

We say the Serenity Prayer a lot around here:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

I need to say it more often so that I can stop worrying about things I have no control over.  I obviously think that if I worry enough that it will start raining.   Or worse yet   cynicism  will creep in because I have lost faith that it will ever rain.  That is the worst thing that I could do.  Cynicism is more toxic than worrying.  So, I think I’ll jump back on the saddle and say my Serenity prayer.

Homemade pickles

We have cucumbers coming out of our ears!  Many recipes I have looked at contained sugar.  I did not want to do that.  This recipe is supposedly the same as Bubbies.  Found in grocery stores.  Kind of considered top of the line, old style, wonderful pickles.  My family are pickle snobs so this was/is tricky for me. Ours are done and they taste wonderful.   What is really cool is that it said if I wanted my pickles to keep a crispness crunch to add oak leaves to the jars.  We only have 90 acres of oak trees so it was my pleasure to oblige.   We like crispy pickles.

If you are growing them, please use this recipe.  It is yummy and healthy.  If you are not, buy pickle cucumbers at your farmer’s market and make them.  It is super easy.

If you do not have a lot of experience in fermentation of foods (natural way of preserving food which has been used hundreds of years until we discovered chemicals) it may be scary as it contradicts the way we have been taught to preserve food.  I have been doing it for 7 years and it works.  And not only does it work,  it provides you with naturally grown probiotics which we all need desperately.

Pickles from the Shieling

The following ingredients will fulfill the requirements for a 1/2 gallon ball jar.  Use less if using smaller jars. You may use whole, spears or any cut you would like pickles.

Fill jar with pickles

Add:

3 T. non- iodized sea salt

1 Head of garlic, peeled chopped

1.5 T. whole dill seed

1 T. whole coriander seed

1/2 t. whole mustard seed

1/2 t. whole peppercorns

1/2 t. fennel seed

1/2 t. red pepper flakes

1-3 oak or grape leaves

Fill jar with filtered warm water and put lid on.  Shake about to dissolve salt and mix ingredients.  Open jar back up and put a weight of some sort on top of water to keep the cucumbers submerged.  You do not want the pickles to get air during the fermentation process.  You can use  a stone or small tile.  I used two sticks crisscrossed that were wedge into the neck of the jar.  It keeps contents stuck underneath.   Keep a loose seal on jar lid.  Set in nice warm place for 1-4 weeks.  Check after a week and see if they are tasty enough for you.  I kept mine on the shelf for 2 weeks and they were perfect.  Afterwards place them in cool place (refrigerator or cellar) for as long as it takes to eat them.  Once they are done sitting and you put them in fridge it is no longer necessary to keep weight on pickles.  They are self preserved through the fermentation process.  Enjoy!

As I finish this post after starting last night, I’d like to report 1/4 inch of rain.  It was specTACular!

God bless,

Karen

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“You Cant Always Get What You Want, But If You Try Sometime

..You just might find, you get what you need.”

Words sung by the beloved Rolling Stones.

Can’t  speak of them without paying homage to them, now can I?

I did not take this photo, although it would have been pretty cool if I had.

Not sure there is anyone out there who hasn’t sung that  tune under their breath at some point or another to themselves or directed at someone else.   I think I walked away from my kids on numerous occasions hummin’ the tune.   It’s easy to sing it about someone else but it stings when you have to sing it to yourself.

There are definitely some things that I want.  I want real bad.  And it has become obvious to me that I (and our society as a whole) have a hard time differentiating between  wants and needs.  I say “need” a lot.    I need to take a shower.  I need new sheets.  I need to eat dessert.  I need to cut the grass. I need to comb my hair.  I need to hem my pants.  I need to buy more spatulas to add to my other 5 because I may need to flip 6 things at once.    These aren’t real needs, are they?   I think we say “need” to convince ourselves of the urgency of our wants.  We learn when we are toddlers to interject  that urgent word to be taken seriously.  I NEEEEEED that cookie!!!!!!

Ok.. So what do I want so badly today?  MILK!!!!!  I know I don’t NEED milk because I have gone 7 years without it and have felt great.  In fact, I have felt better living without it than living with it.  But my mind has convinced me that I need it.  I yearn for it.  The honest truth is I would love a tall glass of cold, cold milk.  I miss it.  And I’d like to see it in my life again.  No big deal.  So why have I gone to such great lengths to touch it to my lips again?  Maybe I’m OCD.  Who knows.

I cannot tolerate cow dairy.   I figured that out 7 years ago.  Felt sick from it for 30 years prior to the discovery.  But, hey, who’s counting?   When we bought the property 5 years ago, I began planning our dairy goat venture.  5 years of research led me down the road to buying 3 goats.  2 does and 1 buck.  I had the set up for many years of milk production to fill my tummy with yummy thick 6.5% butterfat milk.   COULD NOT WAIT.  Got the girls pregnant.  Waited patiently, then impatiently for many more months than it should have taken for these little kiddies to be born.  The day arrived.

I began milking the two does several weeks ago.  Between the two of them I got about 6 ounces.  Ok.  That’s ok, I thought.  We’ll get there.  I brought the milk in, strained it, plunged it in ice water then stuck it in the fridge.  I am a huge advocate of raw milk.  Many medicinal qualities and unbelievable amount of nutrients that are killed through pasteurization.  (I will tell that story another day). I wanted those nutrients.!!!   I wanted my body to feel what it was like to have those intense nutrients.  The milk tasted U.N.B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E.

Two days into the milking, I began to get the same symptoms that I get with cow milk.  Respiratory infection symptoms.  By the way,  this has nothing to do with raw milk.  I got the same symptoms from pasteurized milk.  There is enough difference in goat milk and cow milk I was hoping that difference was going to be the difference for me.

I have “leaky gut syndrome”  (I know, sounds gross.)  which is where the intestinal wall is weak in some places and undigested proteins from foods leak out into the blood stream and poison the body.  The intestinal wall can heal and people can resume foods but mine must not be healed completely.  And may never.    Lots of foods can do this and manifest itself in many ways in the body creating symptoms of illness that may not seem related to food.  We think that all food problems will only be felt in the stomach.

Our bodies can be compromised and weakened by many things we consume.  Processed foods.  Chemicals.  Alcohol.  Sugar.  Gluten.    And then, if compromised, the foods that can wreak havoc are corn, gluten, dairy, tomatoes, and nuts.  Probably meat for some people.  Things that are more complicated in nature that take extra time,  energy  and enzymes to digest.

So……. I have 6 goats.  And I can’t drink the milk.  Got goats?  Got milk?   Yes.   And since I haven’t gotten more than 6 ounces at a time and everyone else here can drink cow dairy, I am baggin’ the dairy thing.  (I think…)  I am very disappointed as I have spent an enormous amount of time learning, dreaming,  planning, etc.  and I am at a loss.  I feel really sad that I didn’t get what I want.   My plan did not work out.  Maybe I shouldn’t put so much stock into “my” plan.   My warped mind still keeps trying to figure this out.  I think, surely, I can get this thing to work in my favor.  When you spend so much time working toward something it should work, right?  That’s what I think.   But I’m afraid it is not to be.

But I always get what I need.  Thank God for that.

God bless,

Karen

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Omega What?

Omega 3.  What is it?  We are reading it on a  lot of labels, aren’t we?  Omega 6.  Same thing.  What the heck?  Why does it matter?  Sometimes I think the “whoe’er out there”  just makes this stuff up.     (I wont go there…I want to be positive)

But we DO need to talk about the Omega 6’s and 3’s.

Omega 6 AND 3 are fatty acids that we need for a healthy body.  Our body does not make them.  We  get them through our foods.  Once consumed, they are converted into the building blocks for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting, and cell growth as well as components of cell membranes.  In my book, important stuff.

THE IMPORTANT THING IS that it needs to be in balance in our bodies to work properly.   THE TYPICAL AMERICAN IS NOT BALANCED.   The ideal ratio is 2:1 (omega 6: omega 3). The typical American has a ratio of 20:1.  Not good.

What happens when we are out of balance with our 6’s and our 3’s?  Well….  This is what my research turns up:

The imbalance causes an inflammatory environment causing chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, diabetes and arthritis.   As well as heart problems and depression.    That is not good.

****What may seem really bizarre is that many people who eat very healthily can be susceptible to these chronic diseases because they are out of balance.

What we have to remember is that Omega 6  is necessary and good ONLY if it is balanced with the omega 3.

So what foods have omega 6 and what foods have omega 3,  you ask?

Omega-6

Vegetable oils: grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils.

Processed foods.  Most made with very cheap oils.

Grains

Meat

Dairy

As you can see many of these items are good for us.  And that is not the issue.  The issue is keeping all in balance.

Omega-3

Flax seed/oil

Cod liver oil and fish oil ( the label above is THE BEST you can buy.)

Walnuts

Beans (not all beans are rich in omega-3.  Some are more than others.

Fish

Olive, macadamia, avocado and coconut oils.

Grass fed meat and chickens.

Free range eggs

So while it is not necessary to refrain from the omega-6 rich foods, it is vital that you add more of the omega -3 rich foods with it.

How to balance:

Eat walnuts instead of almonds, every other time.  Don’t forget to soak and dry first both almonds and walnuts!  Almonds are very high in 6 while walnuts are high is 3.

Eat fish more often.

Take cod liver oil or fish oil. Fermented is the best kind and can be purchased online.  I buy a year supply at a time.

Switch oils. Remember oils come in many different forms.  Lots and lots of processed food uses oils.  Including anything that tries to look or act like butter.

DONT EAT PROCESSED FOODS!!!!!

Eat less grains and eat more beans.

Drizzle flaxseed oil on foods high in omega-6

Chronic diseases are ruling our culture and our health care.

Take great care of yourself!

God bless,

Karen

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The Legend Is Truer Than I Knew

Broth is  “sick”.  That is what my kids say when something is really cool.  But I just learned in the last year just how “sick” broth is.

Bone Broth.  I am SO glad I have acquired this knowledge now that we are producing meat.  I can just imagine myself  when it is time to butcher saying to the guy, ” Dont want the bones or anything but steak and hamburger.”   I am realizing some of this stuff is WAY more nutritious than the meat.

I haven’t gotten into beef broth as much as I have chicken broth yet since I don’t have an accumulation of beef bones at any  one time.  I am sure I could get any amount I want from the butcher.  I will check that out.   But the beef bones are coming from our pasture soon!

Broth heals us and it is true what Grandma says about sipping it when we are sick, but it is SO much more than that and I am working at incorporating it into our daily life.  It is one of those total SUPER foods that boosts our health to grand levels.

So what does it do for us, you ask?

Well, it does this:

It is chock – full of  minerals.  We are mineral deficient in a BIG way.  We spend a lot of time concentrating  on just the vitamins that are vital.  To be deficient in minerals is devastating.

It nourishes our immune system.  This feeds our whole system  and keeps illness at bay.  Healthy and Strong.

It enhances our digestion system.  Through all that I have learned,  the digestion system is where it is at.  If it is struggling and compromised, then we are free to welcome all forms of bacteria.

It feeds our body collagen where it is needed:  joints, ligaments, tendons, skin (supple skin reducing wrinkles) , membranes, mucus and bones.

Not a bad deal, eh?

When we eat chicken, I take all the bones when we are finished (yes, all the bones that are gnawed on by individuals) and throw them in a pot.  Fill it with filtered water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 24 hours or more.  What is left is this wonderful broth that is very gelatinous.  I pour into a Ball jar and pop into the freezer.   I use it for lots  of things.  When a recipe calls for water or liquid, broth, etc.  I use the bone broth.  It just absolutely cannot be beat in nutrition.  It is wonderful when cooking rice, vegetables, soups, drink alone, quinoa or other grains.

There is so much wrong with the broth we purchase today.  Canned broth- salt and BPA’s.   Boxed broth- salt and wax from container.    Cubes- salt and what is that stuff anyway??

I CANNOT wait to get my hands on the cow bones. 

I am tempted to scream this from my roof top:

CONVENIENCE IS NOT CONVENIENT WHEN OUR QUALITY  AND QUALITY OF LIFE IS COMPROMISED.

BONE BROTH

Bones of an animal

Filtered water to cover bones

Veggies (optional)

Spices (optional)

Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 24-48 hours.   Less for fish.  More for beef.

YUMMMMMMO.

Have a super weekend!  If you have ideas of what else to do with broth, please share!

On a side note…I looked up the word  “chock” that I used above.  As it sits alone – chock- the def. doesn’t support my use of it.  But there is a word, “chock-full” that does.  And it looks like that: chock-full.  Not chock full, or chockful.  Weird.

Another word thing.  I use the word “smegma” a lot.  I use it to refer to slimy yucky stuff which I see a lot of around here.   I looked it up to see if it was actually a word or did I make it up.

It means:

Smegma (Greek smēgma, “soap”[1]) is a combination of exfoliated (shed) epithelial cells, transudated skin oils, and moisture. It occurs in both female and male mammalian genitalia.

Ooops.  My apologies for misusing a word over and over and with your permission, I would like to continue using  it in the same way I have been using it.

God bless,

Karen

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