Monthly Archives: October 2011

Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, and Jackson Hole

My husband, our doggie Jackson, and I took a week and a half road trip earlier this month through Yellowstone National Park, to Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole, WY.  It was such a good time and we saw a lot of country during this lovely Fall season.

I got to have a lot of fun with my camera, so wanted to show you some favorites from the trip (there’s a lot of them).  I posted them on my Facebook page but wanted to share and journal them here too.  =)

All of the photos were taken in YNP, Mesa Falls in Idaho, GTNP, and Jackson Hole, WY.



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Stocking up on Chicken Stock

Well the beauty and chill of Fall came and set in so quickly, and it feels like winter is just around the corner.  Even though it’s getting colder and darker every day, I have been thoroughly enjoying Fall this year.  The changing weather and colors are so inspiring to be knitting up something wooly and warm, and cooking up something warm and comforting in the evening.

I love making lots of soup this time of year, and always need so much stock for it.  I used to load up on chicken stock from Costco, when they had the Pacific Natural Foods organic chicken broth which came in a box of 6 quart-size cartons, and at a great price.  Costco just quit carrying that and switched to the Kirkland stock, which I don’t trust so much to be so natural and organic.  So I decided to start making my own.  In the last two weeks I’ve made two pots of Chicken Stock and am working on stocking up a lot of it.  =)

One of my favorite things is having homemade soups and stocks in the freezer all winter.  It’s so great to pull out on those cold nights when you don’t feel like cooking but just want something homemade and warm.

I buy whole local Hutterite chickens at the grocery store here, and usually get 2-3 at a time so I always have some on hand.  It’s less than $2/lb this way, and so nice to know where it comes from.



::Homemade Chicken Stock::

(Note: Use one whole chicken (neck and other giblets optional), or if you have a few carcasses and bones, roast them at 350 F. for 30-40 min., then use in stock.  Also can cut the whole chicken in pieces and then set in pot if you’d like to enhance the amount of nutrients and gelatin in the broth.  On thawing: I take the bird out of the freezer, set it in my sink full of cold water, it thaws quickly.  Rough chop all vegetables, and use with or without the peelings.)

1 (4-5 lb.) roasting chicken
1 large yellow onion
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
3-4 carrots
3-4 stalks celery
3-4 sprigs each of fresh rosemary, thyme, and/or parsley
2 bay leaves
1-2 t. black peppercorns
1 T. kosher salt

Rinse the chicken and set in stockpot, whole or cut into pieces.  Toss in the remaining ingredients and cover with 7-8 quarts of cold water.  Bring to a boil on high heat, once it reaches a boil reduce to med.-low so you maintain a gentle simmer.  Skim off the foam/scum off the top often during the first hour and a half of cooking.  Simmer uncovered 4 hours, adding a little hot water as needed to keep everything submerged.

Halfway through the cook time, you can remove the chicken with a tongs from the pot onto a cutting board.  Let it cool enough to touch and peel off all the meat and use this later in soup, pizza, burritos, etc.  Return the carcass and bones back to the pot and finish cooking.

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof bowl and discard all of the solids.  Cool immediately in an ice bath or fridge, store in fridge for up to 3 days, or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

So far I've got about ten containers like this stocked up =)

Here are a couple more good posts on chicken stock, from The Nourishing Cook and Nourished Kitchen.

At the restaurant I work at, the chef cuts all the whole Sage Creek chickens into the pieces he needs for one of his dinner entrees, then sets all the carcasses on a large baking sheet and roasts them for 40-ish minutes.  Then sets them in a large stockpot and makes stock with the roasted bones.  Whether you do it that way or with it whole, meat and all, it’s bound to be delicious, good for you, and so rewarding.  …And make the whole house smell wonderful!

Enjoy!!

Mission Accomplished: Crabapple Jelly

Mid-season, little fruit

I finally finished making and canning my Crabapple Jelly and I am so excited it is done.  I really have a love-hate relationship with canning and sometimes I feel like I have to move mountains within myself to just do it already.  It is so rewarding when it’s done, but sometimes seems like so much work.

We picked the tart little apples off our tree (btw first time in my life using fruit from our own apple tree!) last weekend and got 15 pounds.

I find it so tedious to clean all of these little guys and get all the juice extracted, but when the job is done it’s so rewarding.  I’m happy I now have 9 jars of jelly for the pantry, which has just run out of jam and jelly since I haven’t canned any this year.  And the jelly has the most beautiful, brilliant pinkish-red color.

::Crabapple Jelly::

7 c. juice from crabapples
9 c. sugar
1 package Sure Jell pectin

I followed the instructions from the Sure Jell packet for Crabapple Jelly, thus boiling the mixture for 1-2 minutes.  Mine ended up a little thin and didn’t set up enough, so I would add on another 1-2 min.  Follow canning instructions on the packet.  I filled jars to 1/8″ and boiled in water bath for 7 minutes.

My cousin helped me realize that I can just open one jar at a time and boil it for a couple minutes then return it to the jar and set in the fridge so it will set up more, rather than pour all of the jars into the pot and re-can all of them.  Easy enough!

Anyway, it’s very good and the perfect combination of tart and sweet.  The color is so brilliant and pretty.

Happy canning!