I’m not feeling well this week… so it’s one of those weeks I’m thankful for several things:
(1) Workbooks. They’re not always the enemy! This week, my children’s homeschool workbooks are ensuring that they continue to get lots of review on phonics sounds and math concepts, even when I don’t feel like doing much else. If I were feeling better, I would concentrate on games, hands-on activities, etc. But this week? Well, at least we can keep having school.
(2) Read-aloud books. I don’t have a sore throat, so I’m quite capable of cuddling on the couch with my kids and continuing to read through The Secret Garden, The Sign of the Beaver, and our Bible reading. We’re reading slowly, but books give me a chance to cuddle even when I might not feeling like doing much else.
(3) Homemade soup. I made stock yesterday. I found a whole chicken in our grocery store that wasn’t free-range, but at least it had no antibiotics or growth hormones, plus no injections of MSG-laden broth (usually 15%). It was an improvement, so I brought the poor hen home for my soup pot. 🙂
My daughter enjoyed watching me wash the chicken. Then we put it in my BIG stock pot, and we covered it with filtered water (about 1 1/2 gallons). I added a splash of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, covered the pot, and let it sit for an hour or so.
Next, we brought it to boil, then I rem0ved the scum that rose to the top. (This chicken didn’t have much scum, which tells me something about the other chickens I’d been using.) Then I added a chopped onion and two chopped carrots. I turned the heat down low, covered it, and let it simmer until this morning.
About an hour ago, I removed all the chicken meat and bones from the pot. The chicken was very tender, so I used tongs to take out all the little bits. Then I put a strainer over an 8-cup measuring bowl I have (Tupperware). I began pouring the stock into the bowl. The strainer caught bits of bones, carrots, onions, and meat that I had missed. When the bowl would get full, I would remove the strainer and pour the broth into wide-mouthed mason jars. I continued until I had strained all the broth. This particular pot of stock yielded 6 quarts of stock. I covered the jars with lids, and they’re sitting on my counter cooling right now. When they’re cooler, they’ll go into my freezer. (I left about an inch at the top of each jar, so that there would be room for the stock to expand in the freezer.)
One of the jars is for lunch, though. I grabbed my small stock pot, and I immediately started this recipe.
Homemade Chicken Soup
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 medium potatoes, washed and chopped
1 quart chicken stock
thyme (fresh would be nice, but I only have dried on hand)
1 large zucchini, trimmed and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cream
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, stir, cover, and cook over low heat 15-30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft. Add potatoes, stock, and a few cups of water. Bring to a rapid boil and skim if needed. Reduce heat and add thyme. Cover and simmer until potatoes are soft. Add zucchini and cook until tender. Puree soup with a handheld blender, season with salt and pepper, and add cream. Yum!
We’ll be eating this soup, plus warm sourdough bread with butter and honey, plus hunks of Parmesan cheese and cups of raw milk for lunch today. I have some little oatmeal cookies for dessert.
Homeschooling, combined with homemade soup, store-bought sourdough bread, and a fabulous husband, is even possible on the rough days. 🙂