Ok, so I’m not just going to pretend that I haven’t been absent from posting for quite a long time. Let’s all address the elephant in the room with some real life truths:
Truth #1 – Maintaing a full time blog is hard work with very little return. When I love it, it’s great. When I don’t, blah ugh pfft.
Truth #2 – Parenting is something best done AWAY from the computer. Crazy, I know, but I just seem to do a better job of it without a screen in my face. Lately, the demi-human has been finding her voice and we have been finding it hard to get her to listen, not argue and follow rules that have been in place SINCE HER BIRTH without squashing that little, developing point of view. Raising a human is almost harder than maintaining a blog, am I right?! (Yes, mommies, I’m kidding).
Truth #3 – I’m grouchy and have to force myself to do EVERYTHING, basically. Yes, it’s true, I’m not a robot nor am I even a super organized mom type. I’m a grump with extreme inconsistencies and no drive (at times). Blame it on my personality (Phlegmatic), blame it on my school (I got good grades by being friends with the teachers) or blame it on the weather (because it NEVER knows what the heck it should be doing), but some days I’m just lucky to get a load of laundry on. It doesn’t always make it to the dryer, either.
Truth #4 – The blog is undergoing a facelift. She’s looking a little dated and is about ready for an overhaul. Also, I’m flakey and my tastes change with the Oklahoma weather, but this should be done real soon and then you’ll be thinking “Daaaang, girl! This webspace has GOT. IT. GOING. ON”. Hold tight.
Truth #5 – My husband and I are in the pre-production stages of something VERY EXCITING. I’m not going to give too much away (I will in the coming weeks, however), but let’s just say if there’s a little person in your life, you’re probably going to love it. Unless you (and that little one) don’t seem to love amazingly cute, well-made, fabulous things. In that case, I’m so sorry. Bear with us! I’ll be dropping hints here and there and hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll have something to release. Exciting times call for vague updates, you know.
Now that I’ve spilled the metaphoric beans regarding my absence, I want to share with you a recipe that has been in my family for a fair while. It’s simple, and we all have our own variations, but this is mine. The perfect comfort meal for the grouchy lady mentioned in Truth #3. The perfect end to a gray, cold day and the PERFECT remedy for all those cold weather-induced ailments. Oh yes, the humble chicken soup.
Some say it’s an old wives tale that Chicken Soup can fight the flu etc. It is, if you use chicken breast or any other inferior cut. What you want to use is something with substance, something with BONES in it. During the cooking process (particularly in the slow cooker, when done right), the bones release all sorts of good things – antioxidants, collagen, good fats and VITAMIN C! Obviously there is a long list of benefits to this soup such as promoting joint health, anti-aging properties and overall skin/hair health, digestive health, immune health etc etc, but did you know it is the easiest thing to make, once you know how? It is. First, however, I want to teach you what NOT to do:
- Do not use store bought broth/stock in this soup. You’re boiling chicken bones and vegetables for pete’s sake. THE WHOLE THING IS A STOCK.
- If creaminess is your desire, step AWAY from the powdered cream of mushroom. Full fat cream, coconut cream or even almond milk (unflavored, unsweetened) will do the trick.
- Keep away from white meat. I have never understood the love of chicken breast unless it’s stuffed with cheese and bacon or wrapped in something equally as delicious, plus – no bones. It is beyond me. Because this soup needs time, dark meat is the way to go. No dry chicken morsels here, oh no.
- Frozen vegetables. Nope. The goal here is to nourish. You’re probably not going to achieve that with anti-clumping agents and other weird junk. Potatoes, carrots, celery and cabbage are all really cheap, staple items. Do it right.
- Lastly, do not attempt this without tongs. You can thank my poor burned fingertips for that one after the realization that one of the ONLY utensils we do not own are darn tongs.
The Best Chicken Soup
1 Package of chicken legs (about 5-6 will feed about that many people). Preferably organic, particularly if you worry about antibiotics or hormones as much as I do
2-3 large red potatoes, washed and diced
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1/4 small purple cabbage, roughly chopped (I dare you to google the nutrients contained in this humble little veggie)
Any fresh herbs or spices you like, I usually go for fresh parsley, turmeric (just a few shakes, we’re not making a curry) and oregano. YUM
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt (To begin with. Season to taste once the soup is through cooking)
Place thawed chicken legs (whole, bones, skin, all of it) on the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour apple cider vinegar over legs, careful to cover them all. Leave to sit and soak for however long it takes you to chop the vegetables. Pile all vegetables, herbs and spices on top of chicken and fill to the top with filtered water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8 (everyone’s slow cooker seems to be different, so just wing it. I’m sure you know if your cooker is faster/slower than normal). You’ll know it’s done by reaching into the cooker WITH YOUR TONGS to pull out a leg. The meat should fall off. Get a garbage bowl and pull out the legs one by one, carefully removing the bones and skin (to trash) and putting the meat back in the soup.
Once you are sure the soup is free of bones, you’re ready to go! Add your choice of creamer at this point if that’s your jam and salt to taste. If you want to make it a bit more filling or if you want to make it go farther, it is especially delicious served over Soba (buckwheat) noodles, brown rice or quinoa.
Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days, making sure to bring to the boil before consuming again. You’ll know you did a particularly good job if the soup kinda turns gelatinous when refrigerated. Don’t let it scare you off, that’s what we all aim for, that means you got all the good stuff out of the bones and cartilage.
So there you have it! A long-winded recount of Chicken Soup. You’re welcome and happy healing!