Homemade Chicken Stock

It has been a long time since I posted any kind of recipe, and if you have recently had a roasted chicken dinner, like the one above, this one is for you!  Homemade chicken stock!  I have seen so many recipes out there that just say boil the chicken neck and some bones for an hour before making soup; well I’m here to tell you, you are missing out if that’s all you’re doing.  I feel like a grandma making my own stock, but this recipe is SO good.  Trust me a good homemade stock will rock your world! (Or at least your cooking.)  Seriously, it is a sad, sad day for me when I have to buy stock from the store.  It is nowhere near as flavorful and inspiring as my homemade stock.  Fortunately, this recipe will have all your stock needs met for quiet some time!

Here’s what you’ll need:

The carcase of a roasted chicken, plus the neck (giblets optional).  If you want to save some of the crispy skin or bones from the wings or legs from your roasted chicken dinner those can be thrown into the pot as well, but they aren’t necessary.  I usually stuff my chicken dinners with onion, a lemon or orange, and celery or herbs; all of this goes into the pot with the carcase.

Note: this also works well with leftover turkey.

In addition, you’ll need carrots, onion, celery, and herbs.  Do NOT add salt!

I like to use my large pasta pot with its fitted colander.  It makes your life a whole heck of a lot easier at the end of the boiling process!

Add the carcase and neck to the pot and fill with as much water as possible.  Boil for an hour and a half. (I did not take any pictures of this cause who wants to see a boiling carcase?!)  Do NOT stir at any point throughout this process!

After the first hour and a half, roughly chop the carrots, celery, and onion and toss them into the pot.  You can add a lemon here as well if you want for a hint of citrus in the finished stock.

Next cut a piece of cheese cloth (double layered) or use a tea ball, and fill it with slightly cracked whole peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, and sage.  Here I have also added mixed Italian herbs, garlic powder, and onion powder.  The intensity of dried herbs work best for a stock.

Use some string and tie into a satchel.  Drop the herb satchel into the pot and tie the other end to your pots handle for easy retrieval if you aren’t using the colander in the pot method.  Boil for another hour and a half.  Do not add more water, you want the flavors to concentrate.

After all three hours have passed, turn off the heat and let cool slightly.  When the handles are cool enough to hold remove the inside colander and put that in your sink to cool off the pile of bones.  If you weren’t using a colander, use tongs and a slotted spoon to remove everything you can.  It is best to do this near a thrash day if possible.  I toss the boiled remains into a double layer of shopping bags, and tie that up before throwing away.  Anyways, you should end up with a lovely pot of liquid like this and a house that smells fantastic.

Now you want to cool this down rapidly before bacteria starts to form.  I stick the whole pot directly into ice water.

Keep an eye on the ice, replacing them when melted.  This takes about 1/2 an hour or so to cool down.  Now it’s time to strain this again.  Pour the cooled stock into another large bowl through a colander lined with a double layer of cheese cloth.  This will remove any tiny bits that might be left.  You’ll end up with a beautiful golden liquid.

Cover this with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, any fat will have congealed on top.

Place this by the sink and skim off as much of the fat as possible.  Now you can ladle your finished stock into jars for freezing!  I always fill at least one Tupperware container to go into the fridge for more immediate use.

Take care to not fill your jars to the top, leave room for expansion.  It is a very sad day when after all that work, this happens to you. 😦

Sigh, I can’t tell you how disappointing that day was.  Anyways, now that you have fabulously, delicious stock check out my Chicken Soup for the Cold Soul recipe.  Stock makes a great base for some many meals, it can also be added to just about any meat dish to keep it moist.  In my kitchen it is a must have.  Enjoy!

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New Goal, Setting up a Real Studio

Hi Everyone!  I have been at Starbucks for a month now, and while I still like being there, I am frustrated I that I haven’t been keeping up with Mrs. Peas.  I don’t necessarily have a good reason either.  Often when I get home from work I am still amped up and ready to get things done, but I still need to eat my late lunch and catch up on housework.  Then before I know it Mr. Pea is coming home and it’s time to start dinner.  I can forget about getting anything done after that, my energy is spent for the day.

Today is my day off and while I was trying to sleep in all I could do was toss and turn, Mrs. Peas is weighing heavily on me.  In my mind I reevaluated my goals and where they stood now.  My firm conclusion, from all that inner turmoil, is I want to be successfully working from home while my children are small.  That is the ultimate goal.  Now to get there I need to break that goal down into smaller steps.  Step one, reinvent my studio!

I actually broke down my studio, from the Get Organized post, shortly after we finished painting our bedroom.  The books that belong on those shelves had been in a huge pile and it was time to put them back.  I am sure not having a space to go to work is a big part of why my Etsy shop is being neglected.  My in-laws gave me some money for my birthday back in March that was supposed to go towards a cooking class, but I think what I want/need the most now is a proper desk to work from.  I have researched drafting tables off and on for the past few months and when I sat down this morning to actually buy one something else caught my eye, a sleek, glass top desk.  What to do?

I am torn between this drafting table:

And this desk:

They key feature to both is the glass top, so I can use it as a light table when I need to.  They are both within my budget, and both fit into the space available for a desk.  The debate in my mind is how useful will the tilt feature be for me?  If I don’t need to tilt the desktop the desk wins out hands down.  I can put my laptop where on the keyboard tray and have the desktop for my printer and cutting mat.  The larger storage drawers would be perfect to keep my papers and supplies on hand.  PLUS when I need to switch the guest room over to a nursery the desk will still be attractive in our bedroom.  However, a tilt feature is nice for drawing and the drafting table storage is better for all the little things like exacto blades, pencils, rulers, glue sticks, ect.  However, that means I need an additional storage unit for my printer and papers, and it wouldn’t be the most attractive thing in the master bedroom.  Sigh.

Which would you choose?

Friday Reflection: Life at a Coffee Shop

Working at Starbucks has brought back a lot of high school memories for me.  I worked three jobs in high school, often at the same time, and my favorite was the coffee shop, Cafe on the Common,  a close second was being the range-aide for the NH-DMV motorcycle training course (aka cone girl).  😉   If you are wondering how I got a job setting up cones for the course, it was because my step-father was one of the instructors.  Finally, I worked on the events staff at the Governor’s Inn catering mostly weddings.

Me making a sandwich at Cafe on the Common

Cafe on the Common was amazing, it was only open for a couple of summers, but non the less a very fond memory for me.  I worked with my friends and served a lot of friends too.  It became my group of friends hang-out spot.  It was much larger than your average Starbucks, it had served ice cream and sandwiches too, but it was a lot slower than the store I’m in now.  I can remember having time to do a bit of homework or getting in some study time while on the clock, no way could you do that at the store I am in now.  There was a “sober” biker gang that would come hang out on our decks every night and boy did they come in useful.

The Gangs all here!

I remember one night a drunk guy came in and was hitting on me while I made his sandwich, (I mean come on don’t I look hot making that sandwich up above!), well he decided he didn’t like this counter between us and actually tried to come behind the bar!  Man, those bikers were in the shop showing him the door faster than I could even register what was going on.  Not only did they give us a bit of security, and a lot of humor on our shifts; they were by far our best customers.  Funny thing was the Dunkin’ Donuts down the street hated them, but we welcomed them with open arms.

The owners had a son in college, so him and a couple of his friend were usually the shift manager.  I remember how cool we all felt hanging out with the college kids. LOL!  I even managed to bring the owners son as my date to the high school prom, but that’s another story all to itself.  These guys started a poetry night and when they went back to school I took it over.  I had the best time creating the fliers to put up at school, and I even got a good turn out each week.  For my opening night I got my parents to sneak in behind the crowd to play hand drums while I read my angsty teenage poem, emphasizing words like HATE and FEAR, now that made an awesome opener!

The college guys, my prom date was the one with the green hair. 😉

It was a sad day when the cafe closed.  It is now a doctor’s office, named Clinic on the Common, if you can believe that.  I had to go to the doctor there once and it felt so wrong to be there.  All of my memories inside of that place were defiled in some ways.  You just can’t go back sometimes.

I loved those green pants!

However, because I have such great memories of working at that coffee shop, it lead me to work now at Starbucks.  My memories haven’t steered me wrong.  I really enjoy working as a barista again.  It’s not my forever job, but it is an enjoyable one.  The people you work with and even the customers you serve make work fun and light.  I appreciate the job even more now that I am older too.  I love that I can leave whatever stress there may be at work.  It does NOT follow me home! I also really enjoy getting out and interacting with people all day.  I don’t even mind the opening shift at 6am.  So if your high schooler or college kid is looking for a fun/ cool job, I would highly recommend a cafe job.  Likewise, even if you are older Starbucks can be a wonderful place to work and grow.

 

And I’m back!

Happy Monday everyone.  I apologize for disappearing last week, the last two weeks have been crazy for me.  Painting the bedroom turned out to be a much bigger task then I allotted time for, especially while starting a new job.  We finally finished on Wednesday night, only to scramble to get the our room and the guest room pulled back together for our guests, my step-mother & sister, Friday night.  My father’s heart procedure was Friday and everything went well this time around!

Finally I have photos to share of the room!

Before

After!

Paint Close-up, El Camino & Desert View

Mr. Pea Paints too!

I couldn’t resist adding a little note under the primer. 😉

I hate to say it but after all that work, the paint colors aren’t quiet what I was expecting.  In full sun they appear to be purple and pink, in the shade and artificial light they read as the intended taupe and gray.  The purple and pink aspect is going to take some getting use too, otherwise in the evenings it looks lovely.  I am certainly NOT repainting! I think adding more sophisticated curtains in a gray will really enhance the room and pull it together for me.  Right now I am loving these from Crate & Barrel!  They are on the expensive side, but serve as good inspiration.

It feels so good to have this part of the room’s make-over behind me.  I gave this project my all and even hurt my right hand in the process.  Today is the first day I have been able to use it without pain.  That feels good too, I was about to call the doctor!  Next up for the room addition is getting a light on that ceiling already!

-Margaret