Stock and more stock

For the past two years I’ve been on a “quest” to eliminate processed foods and sugar from my diet. I was surprised to find that many brands of store bought stock and broth has sugar added to it. So I started making my own from scratch. I started making it using a stock pot, but the process was too involved for me and I wanted something I could set and walk away from. Thank goodness for crockpots (and mine certainly gets used… A lot). It’s so simple too. Have bones leftover from a roasted chicken, don’t toss the carcass. I make my own roasted chicken, roughly once a month and I buy the expensive organic one, because I know I’ll be using it in my bone broth. During the month, before I make my stock/broth, I collect the leftovers from onions, celery stalks (the tops and bottoms, thoroughly washed), and peeled carrots (you know those annoying shavings you take off whole carrots, yeah those) and I save them in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

Current accumulation for next batch of bone stock

Then, when I’ve made my roast chicken (I’ll do a separate post for that and the leftover chicken pot pie too), I take the remaining carcass (I peal it clean of any meat remaining to use in my chicken pot pie with homemade crust) and put it in my crockpot, add my bag of frozen veggies (and if there isn’t enough of a particular vegetable (usually carrots) I add more of those), add water until it covers everything up to the top, and a teaspoon or so of fresh peppercorns.
  
I then set the crockpot on low for 10 hours and then set it again until it’s been cooked for at least 24 hours. I will sometimes add more water if I feel the level has dropped. You’ll know when the stock is done when the bone breaks apart easily when squished with your fingers. 

After the stock is done I put it into mason jars, let them cool in the fridge and then put them in the freezer (make sure there’s enough head room in the jar to avoid cracking, which means you can toss that jar of goodness right in the trash).

Just to state the obvious, this also saves a good deal of money. Not only am I getting a solid staple that has many wonderful nutritious properties, I use leftovers and scraps to really stretch my money. The organic whole chicken costs about $13, however this will be used for two meals (roasted chicken and pot pie) and almost a gallon of chicken stock. The chicken stock would, by itself cost roughly $15, so the cost of the chicken has already been recouped. Then spreading it out across two meals, making it $6.50 per meal, it’s an even better deal. The pot pie, which is probably 42oz (or more) would cost upwards of $10 (Marie Callender’s 45oz pot pie goes for $9.99), but that doesn’t even include organic ingredients. A rotisserie chicken usually goes for $5.99, but that’s not organic either and is usually loaded with salt (although I do brine my chicken, so we’re not exempt from the higher salt either). So the cost of the separate meals and the stock would cost roughly $30, but instead I’m spending about $18 (when you count additional ingredients for the pot pie) and I’m getting wholesome ingredients with no additives or preservatives, so the health wins are even greater. 

Closet doors, seriously?!

The past few days have been very stressful. We just filed our taxes and MMC was pretty insistent on me putting money into my IRA (good strategy, since I don’t have a paying job and should have some type of money put away for later). This also means an increase in the amount of money we get back from the federal government, yay deductions. However funds are pretty low and now we’re operating with very little room to breathe until that refund comes in. So of course everyone is on edge and some of the bumbest things come out of stressful situations.

Our son went to bed at 6:30pm tonight, he was exhausted, so of course MMC is upset because he’s convinced our son won’t sleep the whole night (I disagree with that assessment, not to mention MMC comes home “early” tonight, at 7:30, and immediately argues that our son has been in bed since 5pm, even though I texted him at the exact time I was taking him to bed and MMC responded). At 10pm our son comes downstairs and daddy takes him back to bed. Of course our daughter is still up and now she needs pajamas, so I take her upstairs to pick out a pair. As we’re leaving her room I scream, because there’s a wasp sitting in the middle of the floor and our daughter almost stepped on it with her bare feet. I yell at MMC to get a glass. He starts to question why. I just yell again to get a glass. He finally complies and we trap the “beast”. Now, I was going to just set it free outside, but MMC wants to kill it. At which point I’m now questioning the validity (and technique) of doing so. MMC is convinced the thing will find its way back in, I could care less, I’d rather not kill it. He now proposes to flush it down the toilet. Ok genius, how do you propose we do that? I suggest releasing it outside again, he says no. I say, fine, then you figure out how to flush it. At which point he starts asking me how he should do it. I just tell him, well you want to flush it, you figure it out. He finally does. I don’t know how he got it in the toilet, but he flushed twice (the second time for good measure). 

At this point I’m already back downstairs and getting the little one into a new diaper and pajamas. I ask him if the flushing worked, he says yes. And then…. He proceeds to tell me that I leave all the closet doors open. I ask him which one he’s talking about. He says all of them, it doesn’t matter. To which I now respond, because I’m getting annoyed, it does matter because you’re now bitching at me. To which he says, I’m just stating a fact, it’s like you leaving all the lights on (I’ll admit I’m not the best at turning the lights off, but that’s a valid request, versus closet doors, which is a petty annoying comment that has no bearing on anything, other than the fact that he hates it for some reason). There’s no arguing, or anything, beyond this and after it I make my way upstairs to get ready for bed with the little one. I take off my clothes, get into pajamas and I walk over to the hamper to find…. 

This….

  
Yup, those are MMC’s dirty work socks. He dumped all his dirty clothes into the hamper (that white bin behind the socks), but couldn’t be bothered to put his dirty socks in the hamper. So I think I’ll continue to leave those closet doors open just a little longer… Considering I’m constantly picking up things like this all day anyway. It’s the same with dishes in the sink, instead of just immediately moving them to the dishwasher or the fact that he leaves his coffee travel mug right by the front door, when he comes home, versus just bringing it into the kitchen. I don’t complain about the latter because he’s usually engaging with the kids and gets distracted (and I don’t want to take that time away from him for a mug he’ll eventually bring up anyway, he only has two, so they need to be washed to be used).

So, that was my evening….

Oh, forgot to add that MMC does not like to place a new roll on the toilet paper dispenser in any of our bathrooms and he’ll literally leave one square of toilet paper on the roll and start a new one (which he leaves on the counter, next to toilet too) just so he doesn’t have to change it. He does this with everything, shampoo bottles, milk on the fridge, crackers/chips, Eric. It drives me up the wall some days, like seriously dude, can you just make a little more of an effort?
  

Seriously… Does anyone?

Me. Man Cold strikes again. I swear I don’t make this stuff up. He’s been much more helpful around the house, even though he’s still feeling sick, so I do give him some props for trying…. But…. Check out the pictures below. The first is the bottoms drawer of the dishwasher.

  
Now here’s the top drawer…

  

That little bowl, with marinara sauce…. It was still filled with food. 

Now I’ll admit we have a pretty nice dishwasher (it’s a KitchenAid), but I don’t think the dishwasher is supposed to be washing dishes AND food. So, seriously, does anyone put food filled dishes into the dishwasher and assume that everything will get cleaned (instead of what actually happens, which is the remaining dishes get coated in the said food).

I didn’t even bother saying anything to him, because any attempts to tell him that he needs to take extra food off dishes is met with total and full resistance.

So that was Easter 2016 😳

Technology shmology

I love technology. I’m pretty addicted to it. For many people it’s a way to connect to the rest of the world and for others it’s a way to disconnect. I find I’m the first, whereas Mr. Man Cold is the latter. So much so that he misses out on a lot of things and I’m constantly calling his name to get his attention. Today, on Good Friday, even though we’re not religious, we partook in the coloring of eggs. On Sunday we’ll hide the eggs and have the kids go on an egg hunt (thankfully this is outside and it’s much harder for Mr. Man Cold to zone out, but he does always seem to be in a hurry to get back inside). I honestly don’t know how he does it, because I constantly have my ears open to anything that’s happening if the kids are around. But, while we were coloring eggs, he had his iPad going and kept checking his phone. Last year he specifically barred me from posting some of the pictures and videos I took, because he was on his iPad the WHOLE time and he didn’t want people to know that. Seriously, dude, if it embarrasses you that much then pick your dang head up and participate. 

Pretty colored eggs, so vibrant

On a more positive note I do feel like he’s being more helpful and I’ve started asking for more help. However he’s now started taking issue with the way I load the dishwasher… Really!? I’ve recently started adding making more things from scratch (pizza dough, bread, stocks, sauces, etc), which requires using some tools that don’t fit well in the dishwasher. Having two young kids hand washing everything is too time consuming and shitz needs to get done. So I load what I can in a manner that allows for everything to get cleaned. Mr. Man Cold apparently believes I am doing it wrong, but I take issue with that.  Whenever I load stuff everything gets cleaned, but when he loads stuff somehow there’s always some dried food stuck on the dishes somewhere (like the garlic press he puts in the dishwasher, closed, so the outside gets cleaned and the garlic inside even gets a washing, but the press itself will need to be washed again). This is also the same guy who puts a pot in the bottom rack and then puts the colander right on top of it, how the HECK does the water reach that to clean it?!?! But I’m the one who needs to learn how to load the dishwasher. 

About two years ago I started designating areas in the utensil basket where each type of utensil goes, this made for easier cleanup (I hate sorting through three sizes of spoons and forks, which are also all mixed together). This was apparently too much for him to handle, including how my pots are all stacked in the cupboard, eight total. It’s always been the same (for the past 3 years) and yet when he puts them away he runs out of room. If they’re stacked correctly then there’s no need to leave one pot out (this is why, when he washes them, he leaves them on the stove). 

See, the pots stack perfectly

Maybe one day he’ll figure it out, but for now I’ll take that he’s washed them for me and left them on the stove, for me to put away.

The pots are clean!

Some days are difficult and then some days just surprise you. Today was the latter. I came downstairs, to the kitchen, with both kids (who insisted on being carried, together, along with blankies and various other items) to find all the pots from last night’s dinner washed and stacked. It was definitely a nice surprise. I should probably also mention that I managed to shower before coming downstairs, which is a significant rarity since having kids.

While most mornings consist of trying to rush to get out of the door, today I decided to take a much slower approach. We made scrambled eggs for breakfast and I had the kids help (each got their own bowl and eggs, which they each cracked and then whisked). They both wanted to help stir the eggs in the frying pan, but our step isn’t tall enough and my 4yo kept getting his arm too close to the edge of the pan. I’d move the learning tower closer, but it’s pretty cramped by the stove as is. He was definitely disappointed that he had to stop, but safety comes first.

We went to our weekly forest school creators group, where both kids had a wonderful time with the other kids and being outside in the woods. We made a trip to Target after, because we needed supplies for homemade popsicles and we were out of bananas, eggs, and strawberries. Sometimes it’s just easier to go to Target, than going to the grocery store, however admittedly today was not one of those day. My 4yo had a complete meltdown when I mentioned it was time to go (I always give them a five minutes and two minutes warning) on top of realizing that, while he absolutely thought he needed the super Dino charge sword, there was no way we would be taking it home. Today this experience was a hard lesson for him. In the past he’s always been understanding, that we won’t be buying something, but today was clearly not that day either. He eventually calmed down and we had a discussion about why we can’t always buy the things we want (because we need to have money for the things we need).

Amish White Bread, made using a KitchenAid

After yesterday’s post about bread, I decided I’d try my hand (again) at making a homemade version. I’m not a fan of kneading bread and, while I loved my bread machine (which I gave away last summer), I was not a fan of the shape of the bread out of the bread machine. So… Pinterest to the rescue. I found a simple recipe for Amish White Bread for the KitchenAid (see image below, if you don’t know about this magical device). Both kids helped to make Daddy’s bread (carefully measuring the yeast, sugar, salt, flour, water, and oil). The mixer did all the hard work for me and the bread came out delicious. 

KitchenAid Stand Mixer, blue

Mr. Man Cold got home a little after 9:20 and both kids were bouncing happily at the door for him. The bread was just about to go into the oven too. So hubby took the 4yo to bed and I put the loaves in the oven. He came back down to get dinner (leftovers) and we were able to spend a few minutes hugging (yes, that’s all that happened) while he waited for the food to warm up. Tomorrow he’ll have fresh bread and he has a day off from work. I’m hopeful for another good day (dying eggs and Chuck E. Cheese’s for the 4yo, with daddy). 

You left the bag wide open!

On any given weeknight Mr. Man Cold gets home anywhere between 8:30pm and much much later (the average time is usually 10pm). He works very long hours, leaving the house by 6:30am and coming home well after mealtime and bedtime. As a result of this schedule the kids’ sleep schedule is somewhat adjusted to that, so he gets to spend time with them during the week. 

Tonight he pulled into the driveway at 9:45pm, but didn’t come inside until about 10:15pm. I heard the car in the driveway and then waited a bit before opening the garage to “check” on him. This usually prompts him to end whatever conference call he’s on and come inside. Both kids are usually bouncing at the open door for him to come inside (it’s really very cute). 

Dinner was leftover meatballs (defrosted and cooked in homemade marinara sauce) with thin linguini, a favorite for everyone. In addition to the noodles Mr. Man Cold likes to eat the noodles and meatballs on bread. Until very recently that bread was some artificially laden crap that tries to pass for the really delicious stuff. As he now puts it, “it’s not natural that this bread doesn’t grow mold”. (Ya think?). For the past 13 years I’ve been trying to convince him that it isn’t healthy to eat and now all of a sudden he’s come to the “dark” side. I used to make bread from scratch, but have been a bit busy to do it myself, so I buy Calandra’s bread, usually whole wheat (all simple ingredients and no added sugar or other additives).

Tonight he asked if I bought him new bread (only refined white will do), but they were all sold out by the time I normally go to the grocery store (Sunday nights, usually after 9pm… Another post for another time). So he’d have to have my whole wheat bread. I took two slices out for him and put them on the counter and then went back into the living room to be with my daughter (the almost three year old). 

  
After he’s done eating it’s time to go to bed, so we clean up the dishes and put away the food. I see the bread on the counter, with one of the slices stuffed back into the bag, but the bag is wide open. Now, I don’t know if anyone else has this issue, but my husband has a HUGE aversion to closing any type of bag (chips, cereal, any bags inside boxes, bread bags, and even the coffee bag, even though that comes with a sticker to seal it). It’s a rather annoying pet peeve of mine (we’ve had to toss almost full bags of chips and cereal, because he just can’t seem to master closing them… Is it rocket science? Does it require a degree is astrophysics? I don’t know, doesn’t seem too complicated to me, but for him it apparently is). So, I gently remind him that this bread is not like his chemically enhanced sugar slices and he has to close the bag. His response, I kid you not, was “you left the bag wide open, I just slid that second piece of bread back on top”. Let that sink in for a second… Maybe re-read the sentence. Now, even though he was the last one to handle the bread, and I did leave it open (I fully admit that), because I wrongly (or correctly) assumed he’d go back to the bag for more (he had too much, so he needed to access the bag either way), it’s my fault that the bag is still wide open…. 

I can’t win…

I guess it’s time for bed!