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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Pot Full of Bones

I never thought I'd see the day I was going to blog about bone broth...

Okay.  There's a few good reasons I'm 'down' with the idea of doing this. 

I love soup.  My family loves soup.

I love cooking.

I have read that people who consume bone broth daily following surgery heal better and faster.

I am very anemic, and I want to 'fix' this with diet and also I do NOT want my kids to be anemic like their mother.

I love doing things the 'old fashioned' way, (as long as it includes modern conveniences and an air conditioned home in Florida heat!

I have a LOT of stomach problems, and my poor gut could use some healing, naturally. 

I've made broth plenty of times, but I can honestly say I've never roasted bones, (beef or otherwise), and simmered them for days.  Though I like the idea of it.  

So after much reading, I have decided I AM going to start making bone broth, on a regular basis.  I will store it in mason jars.  I will use in soups, sauces, gravies, cook my rice in it, and anything I'd normally use water in, to add flavor and nutrition.  

At the grocer I've been taking notice of the beef bones and chickens feet.  I've never bought, handled, touched, or had anything to do with a chicken foot in my entire life.  Well, we did have chickens when I was a kid, but I was more interested in petting them and gathering their eggs than I was their odd looking feet.  I've looked at them frozen in the reach-in freezer at the grocer, and I'll admit I think they look GROSS.  But, no one is actually going to EAT them, and from what I've read they make the broth taste better and add to the gelatin factor in the broth.  

(2 days later)
I started two days ago with ham and chicken bones, onion & garlic, a couple of carrots and a few tablespoons of vinegar.  Today I found out that keeping the pot on 'low' is not good enough.  You MUST keep it at least at a low simmer.  I have thusly drained out everything but the bones themselves, which are now clean, and added them back to the pot with the strained broth plus a little more water.  I've picked through and got out the meat, and fed the carrots to my doggies.  The meat will go into something (gravy?) over the weekend, (frozen until I decide), and I've now got those bones at a decent simmer.  The idea is to simmer them until they're crumbling and the marrow is out of the bones.  Yes... I'm close, but no cigar.  Back into the pot, strained, with now only the broth, the naked bones, and a little more water.  In the meantime, I've bought some beef bones for my next pot of bone broth.  I'm going to get this down to a science yet. :)

Following day:

After boiling the bones more last night, they DID finally get where they were crumbling and the marrow came out.  FINALLY!!  I strained out all the bone, and took that very dark broth and stored it in the fridge.  It did not make as much as I thought that it would.  It made about a quart and a half.  But it's highly concentrated.  After it was cold in the fridge, I was able to scrape the layer of fat off the top and discard.  The rest is the nice jellied stuff to flavor things with.  I will add it to rice or grains when I cook them, or to gravies, sauces, etc.  WAY better for us than bouillon.  It makes me happy to do something that I KNOW is going to benefit my family's health. :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Sunday of Tears

A Sunday of Tears

Where to begin?  My daughter had someone hurt her today..  apparently because she is autistic.   Seeing my sensitive, tender-hearted daughter crying because she has such a hard time making and keeping friends upsets me.  All kids have trouble, but I am here to tell you that it is harder for kids who are special needs.  And it's not always the other children.  Sometimes it is the parents.  Ignorance abounds, and it is so, so sad.

It took another mom, (God bless her!) to help me to realize I need to be my daughters playmate.. I knew this of course, but sometimes we just 'need' to 'hear' things, to 'ring that bell' in our brains.  Thank you dear lady!

I have heard that Padre Pio could 'read souls'.  I am wondering if our own Fr. Sal is the same?  After mass we chatted a few moments with friends, and seeing the priest approaching, we were going to just quietly slip out so they could talk.  He stopped us.  Not a word, but called us over.  Looks into my daughter's face, and asked her if she was okay.  She responded she was fine, but had had a "bad morning" but it was better now.  Father Sal told her that when she was sad, she should pray to Jesus and His Mother, and ask them to help her and they would.  Then he hugged her, kissed her face, and told her he loved her.  The floodgates opened.  My daughter wept her little heart out.  I was moved to tears watching the kindness of this dear man, and my little girl.    So afterwards, he made her "pinky promise" that she should call him any time.  Dear, dear sweet man.

So then he turns to me, looks into my eyes, and asks me if I'm taking care of myself.  "I'm trying to..."  He tells me, "You must.  It's important..." Gives me a couple of big hugs and kisses me  (sweet, Grandfatherly old Italian man who always kisses ♥ LOVE HIM!) and then he says it.. he looks into my eyes, like he's looking THROUGH me, and says, "Please open yourself to Jesus".  That's when I realized I'd been "holding my breath" with Jesus..  Father knew.  I don't know HOW he knew..  *I* didn't even know..  Robyn and I were mopping tears all the way out to the car.

Tonight I was reminded about the baby bottles we're supposed to be filling with change for Emergency Pregnancy Services.  This is dear to my heart, so of course I'm happy to save/collect change "for the babies".  So I'm home filling this baby bottle with change, and I look at the slip of paper inside, and it says you can donate the money "in memory" of someone.  


This November will be 8 years since my beautiful 36 year old friend died suddenly, in her sleep, with no warning.  I think of the three babies she lost, and I believe in my heart that now she is with her babies in Heaven..  

I don't know what made her pop into my head.  Her.  Her babies.  But it's been almost 8 years and I swear the pain is just as fresh today as it was the day she died.   I grieve her babies I would have loved like my own children, the way I love my nieces and nephew.  I grieve all the things I said or didn't get to say.  That I didn't get to say goodbye to her.  That she's still in an unmarked grave pains me in a way I can't even describe.. I've even called the cemetery and sobbed, begged, and pleaded if I could get some kind of marker for her..  anyway... I can't shake her tonight.. I miss you Steph.  

Tonight I weep for friends and babies taken away too young and too soon.  For special needs children who feel lonely and friendless... and for sweet loving clergy who comfort us and pray for us all.  Pray for the religious...  they have such a burden to bear..  
God bless them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Do You Know The Muffin Mom?

Saturday mornings is Special Olympics bowling for my youngest daughter. Hubby and I LOVE going, watching, and cheering her on. Last week, we left without breakfast, and I swore that THIS week, we'd not repeat this. So I decided to make muffins.. with ingredients I had on hand. I decided to share my recipes. Hope you like them too. :)

Rise and Shine, Banana Sour Cream Muffins

1 cup self rising flour
a pinch of Blessed salt
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. Beat together banana, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir in the sour cream. Stir banana mixture into flour until just combined. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Spread liberally with cream cheese.  YUM!!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Susan's Morning Muffins
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 and a half cups of self rising flour

a pinch of blessed salt
2 fresh eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
cold leftover coffee

Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs, sour cream, vanilla, a pinch of blessed salt, cocoa powder and then flour. Add cold leftover coffee a little at a time until you get a nice batter consistency. Spoon into muffin tin, (greased or with papers) and bake in a pre-heated 350 oven until done.  Yummy plain or with a little butter.  Enjoy. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Staying In My Catholic Bubble

There's a reason I stay "in my Catholic Bubble".    Out there?  In the world?  It stinks.  

I am having 'one of those days'..    the devil is breathing his 'stanky' hot breath all over me right now, and I'm in a funk.   I've had a few incidents of rudeness from different people.. who have totally hurt my feelings, but I didn't say anything.   I am weary of people trash talking our new pope, whom I LOVE and think he is a Gift from God... and sorry if you have nothing nice to say I'd rather you just not even mention it to me.

So, here is my compilation of the things done/said, where I bit my tongue, and tried to let it go.  

I do NOT worship Mary.  Or statues.  The Catholic Church is NOT the whore of Babylon.   No, I don't eat meat on Friday, and no, I'm not doing that just to annoy you.  

Yes.  I veil at mass.  No, that does not make me holier, nor do I think I'm holier than you.   Honestly I wear it for Jesus, and I promise it actually has nothing to do with you.  Really.

Yes, these are my pets.  Yes, the puppy is part pit bull.  NO, this does not mean she eats/mauls babies.  Yes, I can see how she is threatening to you wanting belly rubs and happily licking your hand.   Clearly she is a blood thirsty killer.

Yes.  These are my kids.  Yes, my eldest has ADHD, and my youngest is legally blind and autistic.  Yes, they know.  No, they don't need you staring at them.  No, I don't need your parenting advice.  And yes, I do home school, and have done so for five years.   No, they do not need to be socialized.  Clearly you do though, to ask me something so inane.   

For Catholics.... Sorry, I pass on the salad bar.   You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe.  You're either faithful or your not.  No, I don't want to listen to your arguments and 'why's.  That's between you and God.  You're not going to change my mind, and no, actually, I'm NOT a 'blind sheep'.   But for Heaven's sake, if you're going to dress like a hooker, and live like the devil, PLEASE quit telling people you're Catholic.  They might actually believe you. :(

PLEASE PUT ON SOME CLOTHES when you attend mass, and PLEASE stop talking through the entire mass.  Some of us actually want to HEAR the priest, and do NOT want to see all your "body parts" hanging out.  Really.

Other moms:   DO NOT talk down to my child, or I will show you first hand how "Westside" I can be.   Please do not cuss and carry on and tell filthy jokes in front of my kids.  Sure, they've heard bad things plenty of times, but as an adult, we need to be setting an example.  While I'm on the subject...  my youngest is in Special Olympics.   I don't want to hear the "R" word.   It is OFFENSIVE.

Now I need to just go have a good cry and get it over with... and tighten up my bubble walls.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Learning Spanish With a Very Southern Tongue

When our family was in Miami a couple of years ago for a U2 concert, I found that my English, heavy with Southern accent, is not understood by most folks in Miami.. and that my Spanish skills.. well... have a lot to be desired.

My dear friend had to order for us, (no, I cannot even order beans and rice), and I was pathetically grateful for the idiot proof pictures on the bathroom doors so I could distinguish the ladies from the gents.  

(no they weren't these, but these ARE pretty funny!)

During our five day visit, I learned one phrase.  Papas fritas.  Oh joy.  I can now order french fries.  And thanks to Sesame Street, I can order more than one serving for my family of four. :)

Pending a highly probable future visit to Miami, I am attempting to learn a few more phrases to make life easier during our visit.  The same dear friend has taught me to say "No picante, por favor."  Which means NO Spicy Please!  (I am a wimp and do NOT want to get stuff with spicy food I cannot tolerate.. such as the delicious beans and rice I had last time.) :)

As I walk around, cheerfully chirping out my newest phrase, hubby is amused.  I know I'm probably annoying.. and totally running this phrase into the ground, but this is the only way I'm going to remember it.  I talked about papas fritas constantly when I first learned it, and now I'm throwing out 'picante' and 'por favor' every chance I get. 

Next on my list is how to ask where the restroom is.  I am pretty sure that will be helpful, especially since I still don't know what 'el bano' (men or women??) means. :)  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Being a Fish Eater

The first time I heard the term "fish eater", it amused me, and brought me the mental image of poor fishermen living in Europe eighty years ago, somberly eating fish stew... sitting at a scarred wooden table in a cottage with his wife, their nine children, by the light of oil lamps while the cold wind blew through the cracks of their rustic home.  THAT was a 'fish-eater'.    But now I know the 'real' meaning of this term.  "Fish eater" means, 'Catholic'.

The Urban Dictionary reads:  "a slang term for Catholics, so attributed because Catholics eat fish on Fridays during the season of Lent."

Do we?  Most Catholics I know don't "do" meatless Fridays any more.  I personally have only "done" meatless Fridays for about three years, because to be honest I didn't think the Church "did that" anymore.  Funny how a little reading can enlighten you.  :)    Meatless Fridays are NOT just for Lent.

Before Vatican II, the Code of Cannon Law said:

 "Can. 1251: Abstinence from eating meat or some other food according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can. 1253: The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

What the U.S. Bishops Have Said:

Here’s what the document, Pastoral Statement On Penance And Abstinence, says about abstaining from meat on Fridays:

22. Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified.

23. Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.  (What this reads 'to me', is that EVERY FRIDAY of the year, is a 'little' Good Friday.  

24. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. (READ:   first place to abstinence from flesh meat.)  We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. Our expectation is based on the following considerations:

We shall thus freely and out of love for Christ Crucified show our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became, especially in times of persecution and of great poverty,no mean evidence of fidelity to Christ and His Church.

We shall thus also remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish.

A little FYI... the 'push' has started to bring back meatless Fridays 'officially' in the United States.  

In my home, we are fish-eaters.  I have fish eater friends, and one of my dearest friends is a brand new fish-eater. :)    Fifty years ago, it MEANT something to be Catholic.   We were set apart.  Now you can't tell us from anyone else.   We need to get that back.  We are 'in' the world, but not 'of' the world.    At one time, Catholics were pro life, pro traditional marriage.  Now we have Catholics who seem to think they can pick and choose what the Church teaches.  That's not being a Catholic... that's the "Church of YOU//Your FEELINGS//Your Opinion", ... which frankly, does not matter one whit.   

Jesus does not change.  The Church does not change.  It is the people.. who have changed the church, or what they have accepted or allowed.   We have GOT to remember WHO WE ARE!!    When someone looks at us, do they recognize we are a Catholic by our actions... our example... how we live our life/treat others?  Or can they tell only because you're wearing your Guadalupe tee shirt or your scapular is peeking out?   Or do they see kindness..  someone who serves others and puts others first?   Do they see someone who takes a stand for what is right, instead of what is popular/accepted/politically correct?  (Worth noting here that Jesus was NOT "politically correct".)   :)  

I challenge you all... BE 'that Catholic'.  BE set apart.  Make every Friday a 'little' Good Friday.. Remember HIS Passion..  and join the growing numbers of Catholics who are meatless on ALL Fridays of the year.   I truly believe it helps us feel connected to each other - and to be a witness to our faith.

Be a fish-eater. :)