It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yay!  Back to school!  Some consider the kids’ return to school the most wonderful time of the year. If you are a homeschooling mom, you may not feel that way.  I am by no means a homeschooling expert, but I have completed over thirteen years of home educating my children.  My oldest child graduated and is off to college so I guess I am what is considered a home school veteran.  So here are some of my survival tips to get through the school year.

1.  Put God first.

I know this should go without saying, but sometimes we forget.  Start each morning by having a quiet time with the Lord.  I know it can be hard. After a sleep-deprived night, all I want to do is send my husband off to work and then crawl back into bed.  I cannot tell you how many times I have fallen asleep reading my Bible or praying in the morning.  At some point in the morning, have some time with God.  It will set the mood for the entire day.

2.  Pray without ceasing.

I do this a lot.  There are those times when one child just is not getting it and the baby is screaming and another child is literally climbing the walls (Yes, my children climbed the hallway walls).  All you want to do is run away.  That is when you need to pray.  God gives us what we need if we ask.  All we have to do is take a deep breath and give it over to Him.

3.  Get organized.

I’m not talking about daily routines.  I’m talking about taking time away from everything and spending that time planning the upcoming school year.  You can go over material and familiarize yourself with it.  I have previously done this with a group of friends for a weekend.  We shared ideas and discussed materials.  I also have friends who have gone to a hotel for the weekend. If you do not feel that you can do this, home school conventions are great for getting away just for a little while.  This is also a great way to recharge.

4.  Don’t get bogged down by schedules.

This does not mean throw everything that you planned out the window.  Life happens.  Many of us are in the “sandwich generation” where we take care of children and parents.  This can be the cause of many unexpected events.  If something happens or one of the children get behind, remember, we home school.  We can always “catch up” later.  Be flexible.

5.  Start the year off with something fun.

We always start the year off with baking cookies.  I know this may sound strange but I think I got the idea from a home school convention.  What we do is I pick out a recipe.  I do not help with making the cookies, but I sit in the kitchen and tell each child what to get and what to do.  They must follow directions and work together.  If anyone fails to follow directions or do their part, they do not get to eat the cookies.  This really encourages and helps with listening skills and cooperation.  This helps set the tone for the year.  If you need to do it later in the year to get them refocused (or you just want the kids to make you some cookies), then do it again.  Oh, I almost forgot the most important part–they have to clean up, too!

6.  Make time for your husband.

Sometimes we spend so much time being a mom and teacher that we forget to be a wife.  Our husbands are just that: husbands, not children.  Be there for them and support them.  Make them their favorite meal.  Listen, really listen, to what they say.  Be supportive.

7.  Take care of yourself.

As moms, we put everyone else ahead of ourselves.  It is hard for us to not take care of everything and everyone and take a moment for ourselves.  Take a bubble bath; go shopping; have lunch with a friend; read a book.  If we do not take care of ourselves, we will not be able to take care of our children.

8.  Have fun.

Spend time playing games, singing together, dancing silly, taking nature walks.  These can be fun and educational.  Education is not just working through books; it is also experience.  Anything can be educational.  Homeschooling is not school at home.  It is educating the entire child.

We must remember that we only have 18-19 years with our children and it will be gone before you know it.  Spend that time having fun.

Do you have any other tips to make back to school the most wonderful time of the year? 

school-year-survival-tips-1

Raising Kids in the Church

Raising Kids in the Church

Candace B

Candace B

I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am currently a stay-at-home-mom and I help my husband in every way in his position as a youth minister (It's a true labor of love and we wouldn't be anywhere else!). I am also working on my teacher certification so when both my kids get into school I will have a job that I am passionate about, get to see my kids all the time, and will be out when they are out. I am most importantly a Christian and strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
Candace B

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I never thought it would be this difficult, did you? When you became a parent did you realize just how hard it was going to be? Most (if not all) would say a resounding, “No!” I know I would.  Most importantly, did you know how hard it would be, not just to raise your children in God but also get them to Bible class and worship without losing your mind?

 “It is just too hard.”

“My kid doesn’t even understand.”

“We will get them into Bible class when they get into the youth group.”

If we wait until they get into the youth group, we have waited too long.

God gave us these blessings to show them love, support, and how to put God as the highest priority!  School is great and sports are fun too.  However, when we as parents start putting those things first, we need to look inside ourselves and see if our priorities reflect the Bible’s guidance on the matter.

“Train up a child in the way he should go,

Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

proverbs-22-6

This scripture is powerful! Training up a child means making God the ultimate priority.  If we place him in every part of our life, our kids will follow our lead!  As parents, our kids want to be just like us, so we need to make sure we are showing Christ through ourselves first.

The world is already an imperfect, sinful place and it craves for us to be the light.  Some in the older generation might say, “This world is going to pot,” or “These kids don’t have a chance.” These types of comments truly break my heart because my kids are growing up in this world.  I refuse to believe that they have no chance but to live in a corrupt world!

If we let our kids grow up thinking there is no hope, not only will they feel discouraged but they will lose sight of what God needs them to be and that is THE LIGHT!  I pray that we encourage them as much as possible to believe that they CAN make a difference!  Bible class and worship reinforce hope in their lives.  I witnessed my daughter sharing this hope with another child at my son’s t-ball game. It was the sweetest thing ever and I welled up in tears.

“Did you know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins?

She gets it! And it’s because she is part of the church.

Let’s encourage our entire family to be part of the church. Don’t wait to introduce them to God’s family until their formative years have passed.

make-it-a-priority-to-worship-and-fellowship-with-the-body-of-believers-it-will-become-a-routine-and-worship-will-become-second-nature-to-our-children

A few ways to make life easier and enjoy going to Bible class and worship:

1. Take the kids to Bible class. This gives parents and children the opportunity to connect with the body of believers, and most importantly, they get to learn more about Jesus!

2. Rotate different toys and books. Each week in a small bag or backpack, bring something to worship that they haven’t had the chance to play with in a while.

3. Talk to your kids.  Set expectations of how to act during worship before it begins.

  • “We need to whisper.”
  • “Stay seated on the pew.”
  • “We need to pray, sing and listen.”
  • “Worship is not about us, it is all about God. If we stay nice and quiet, more people will hear more about God”.

4. Bible class and worship are important.  Make it a priority to worship and fellowship with the body of believers.  It will become a routine, and worship will become second nature to our children.

This has been on my heart. I hope it is a great source of encouragement to you and plants the seed that Bible class and worship are a blessing. Most importantly, know that your church family doesn’t mind that your little one wiggles and giggles. They are glad you are there. May God bless you and your sweet families!

What are some ways you have found helpful in making Bible class & worship a priority?

Hanging on to Dollar Bills: a Mini Guide to Big Saving and Less Spending

Hanging on to Dollar Bills: a Mini Guide to Big Saving and Less Spending

I’m a natural saver. I blame it on my dad. From the age of thirteen (and my first official job), my dad taught me to save. His method for my paycheck savings involved putting 50% in a bank account to be “saved” and the rest I could spend however I wanted.  I later figured out the purpose to my “saving” was so he could “borrow” (and not necessarily return) the money for family expenses that he and my mom couldn’t afford (or didn’t budget for).  Sometimes that meant 50% of my paycheck went toward groceries, school supplies, or gas for the car.  While this is not an example I would encourage parents to follow, it did get me into a habit of saving.

With Dollar Bills Come Great Responsibility

Over the years, I’ve read books and blogs, watched videos, and taught courses on how to save and spend wisely.  That by no means makes me an expert, but I have learned a thing or two about making the money that comes in last as long as possible. (I attribute this newfound interest in learning to my husband, who is an excellent teacher of good methods of handling money and all things finance-related.)
Every dollar is important (of great worth), and we have a God-inherent responsibility to be a great steward of each dollar we get.

(Insert song: She works hard for the money!)  We work hard for our money, don’t we, friends? Since we work hard to earn it, we need to learn to work hard to save it and spend it.

Today’s post is about spending!  It’s a little bit about saving too–frugal ways that allow us to hold onto those dollars so they last a little longer.

Couponing Done Easier

Ok, I’ve tried the whole Extreme Couponing thing. It doesn’t work for me!  To those of you who do it well, I commend you!  I’m not going to teach you anything extreme.  Instead, I’ll show you slow, diligent moderation.  If you want extreme, check out some of the Queen C’s (C for Coupons!) online like: Krazy Koupon Lady.

Frugal Couponing:  Guidelines I use when couponing

1.  Only coupon what you normally buy anyway.

I used to get caught up in all the coupons: “Buy 2, get 1 free.” “Buy 2, save 50 cents.” “Save $ on over-priced items that wouldn’t normally end up in the shopping cart and are a more expensive alternative even with the coupon.”

Don’t fall for these marketing techniques unless it’s:

a) something you need,
b) something you’re buying anyway,
c) something you need that quantity of, or
d) the best alternative, price-quality wise–if there’s a cheaper alternative you and your family can live with “this time,” then save and go for the cheaper alternative.

Side Note about “This Time”:  Part of being frugal (and a good steward of resources) is to keep a “this time” attitude.  It puts into perspective the short life of each purchase. When comparing brands and prices, think about the life of the product.  How long will it last? One week? A month?  Will my family survive with (cheaper toilet paper or generic ketchup) for just this month?  What about every other month?  Can they handle a cheaper, generic brand just this one time?  You might argue that the difference in price is only a dollar, or even only few cents.  

Remember our goal: to hang onto each dollar a little bit longer. That includes those few cents of savings on each item in the cart. It’s the small things. In order to be more frugal, we have to learn to make small changes now. Small changes now will turn into big changes later.  Every penny counts.  Don’t spend it “just because you have a coupon.”

2.  Use coupon apps.

There are so many money-saving apps out there. Depending on your city, some work better than others.  It might take some trial and error to find the apps that work best for you and your region, but if you want to save money, it’s worth the time to figure out.

Personally, I only use apps that give me real cash savings or cash back, not the ones that work on a points system.  There are some good points systems, but right now, I focus on real, immediate cash.

My favorite apps are:

  • Walmart Savings Catcher – download your receipt after each purchase and watch the real cash grow.  Transfer to PayPal or a Walmart gift card.  They also have an online version: https://savingscatcher.walmart.com/.
  • Kroger and Whole Foods coupon apps–because I don’t have to print anything.
  • I check the Krazy Coupon Lady app just for things I’m going to be buying anyway, so I don’t get caught up in the hype of spending gas, printer ink, and time running all over town to get free things or ‘money-maker’ things that I don’t need.  Time is worth spending frugally too!
  • Ibotta has become another favorite app.  I look for items I plan to buy, and then scan the item and receipt for cash back via PayPal or gift cards.
  • This app doesn’t usually have many items that I normally buy, but for the little time it takes to scroll through and upload receipts, I still consider Checkout 51 worthwhile.

Even if you average 25-50 cents per shopping trip (like me), that small change quickly adds up.  I’m currently at $5, but hey, that’s a free coffee!  Who doesn’t like free coffee? With Checkout 51, I can cash out when it reaches $20, in which case, who doesn’t like a free movie?  Or one hour of free babysitting? Compliments of a grocery app–yay!

3. Stay on Budget and Just Say No.

Have you noticed we live in an extremely high-consumption society?  The rest of the world calls us consumerists and gluttons.  Why do we let ourselves get caught up in the hype?

Part of frugal living is just saying no.  No to things we don’t need.  Delaying ‘wants’ until we’ve saved up to pay cash for them, which means saying ‘no’ for right now.  There is a time to spend.  Our culture is REALLY good at it.  Admit it, so are you!  I definitely am!

First, though, we need to learn to save.  Save for future needs, for emergencies, for wants.  Save just to save.  If you’re wondering why we learn to be frugal, it’s for those reasons just listed.

A Side Note on Saving:

Saving is the foundation to Big Giving.  Do you ever wish you had enough money to support a missionary for an entire year or build a hospital in a small village? Do you ever think about what it would be like to fund an entire non-profit event?  Or sponsor your kids’ sports team or band trip?

People who give big first had to learn to save big. I recently read that somewhere.  They learned to say no to things they didn’t need so that later, they could enjoy (and appreciate) the things they wanted.  To learn to save big, start small. Start with small, frugal decisions.  Talk it through with your spouse, kids, and friends.  Get them on board and excited.  They’ll hold you accountable and learn along the way!  Who knows? Maybe they’ll do this with you!  It’s so much more fun together!

Being frugal doesn’t have to mean turning into a skimpy cheapskate, but if we learn how to be thoughtful and conscientious about our spending–and saving–we will be on a good path to better things in the future.

Have any other easy couponing tips or apps to share?

hanging on to dollar bills_by tina
Six Tips to Prepare for Your Mission Trip

Six Tips to Prepare for Your Mission Trip

Toni B

Toni Burns was raised in a missionary family, they lived in Italy until she was 11.Upon returning to the states her family worked in South Dakota. While in college at Oklahoma State Toni did a summer mission trip to Ukraine. The following year she moved to Lubbock, Texas to attend missions school.She interned in Kosice, Slovakia for 13 months.After her internship she finished missions school and got a degree in Human Development from Texas Tech.Toni and her family lived in Guadalajara, Mexicofor 10 years.During that time they helped plant churches and minister to the Mexican people.Toni and her husband, Cory, mentored 21 year long interns during their stay in Guadalajara.
Currently Toni is a Realtor® in Lubbock, Texas and enjoys ministering to those she helps buy and sell houses.

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Preparing for Summer Mission Trips

Summer is my favorite time of the year. I love the warm weather and traveling. Over half my life, I have been blessed to do mission work and travel to other countries. I have worked in Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Italy, and most recently spent ten years in Mexico.

There is no greater joy than traveling around God’s creation sharing Jesus with others. Many of you might be preparing to leave, or have a loved one leaving for summer mission trips. I would love to share some things with you that I have learned about missions to prepare you for this great experience.

Mark 16:15

1.  The American way is not the only way.

Yes, we live in a great country and are very blessed in many ways. Please do not expect or want natives to act as Americans do. They are God’s creation just as much as you are, but they might do things differently than you do.  It’s not a question of right or wrong–it’s just different. Embrace the differences and praise God that we are all different even though we are made in His image. Praise God for the diversity in cultures.

Enjoy the culture you are visiting. Try new foods, activities, and enjoy the sights.

2.  Bless the people, but at the same time make your work simple and reproducible. 

It’s fun to bless the natives with neat gifts and crafts from the United States. Just make sure that you are not making it an environment where they think the only way they can bless others is by having neat things that they might not be able to get.  Help them see that sharing God’s message can be simple and is reproducible.

3.  Don’t make promises you can’t keep.  

You will fall in love with people and places on your trip. Please don’t tell them you will come visit or promise to send them gifts, etc.  Remember, “let your yes be yes.” It is easy to build a deep love for those you will serve. As you leave you will want to promise them that you will see them again. Hopefully that is true, but realistically you might not ever get to go back. They will hold on to that promise and will be disappointed or bitter when you can’t fulfill your promise.

4.  Be more like Jesus every day. 

While living on the mission field my husband and I mentored twenty-one interns. One of the most important things we tried to instill in them was that being more like Jesus every day is all that is expected of them. God will do the rest. We go on these mission trips wanting to save the world. If we go with expectations of baptizing and converting we might come home feeling like a failure. This is one of the devil’s ways of discouraging the church. Did you come home more like Jesus? Do you have more of a vision for what God wants? Did others see Jesus through you? Don’t define your success with things that are out of your control.

5.  Don’t expect those at home to understand what you have experienced. 

You will come back a changed person. Unfortunately many people back home will not understand how life-changing the experience was. They might not even think to ask you about how it went. Before you leave, set up some times to meet with people when you come back. Maybe you can host a breakfast or lunch for your supporters, missions committee, and family. Plan times when you can talk about your experience so others can be blessed by what you learned.

6.  Have a great time and keep your eyes open to His blessings!

 

Six Tips to prepare for your mission trip

Quick Recipes When You’re in a Pinch

Quick Recipes When You’re in a Pinch

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

If you have young children at your house you’re probably familiar with the witching hour.  You know, that time after all of the day’s “scheduled” activities are over but before bed?  Since I stay home with my kiddos my witching hour is generally more like a witching two or three hours sometimes.  It runs rampant right through the time when I should be preparing dinner.  And while I have learned a few tricks in my seven years as a mother, I’ve still not figured out how to nurse a baby, console a screaming, teething toddler, and break up a fight between the bigger kids while maintaining enough coherent thought to mentally prepare an acceptable dinner, much less physically do so!

Short on Time? Skip the Pizza!

So what’s a girl to do when the dreaded 5:00 rolls around?  Well, have no fear momma, tonight I’m gonna rescue you from pizza.  Don’t get me wrong, I love pizza, but sometimes it’s better to have something from home.  Here are a few recipes that I love to use in my home when I’m short on time and groceries.

I’m not sure you can call this first meal a recipe per se.  It’s more like a delicious concoction that my family loves even when the ingredients change!  I’ve seen it called 10 Can Soup, but our family affectionately calls it Bean Soup. Here’s our general recipe:

Bean Soup

A bunch of cans of your favorite beans
A can of corn
Ground hamburger or turkey (optional)
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 packet of ranch seasoning

Now I prefer two cans of black beans, two cans of kidney beans, one can of garbanzo beans, one can of butter beans, and one can of great northern beans.  If you’re making this with a barren cupboard then just throw in what you’ve got!  I’ve used frozen corn in place of the canned option and we regularly eat this without meat.  If you’ve got the time to brown the meat, excellent; if not, it will be great without it.  I generally throw mine in the crock pot in the morning and let it simmer on low all day, however I have also thrown it into a large pot on the stove and had dinner ready in twenty minutes.  This is definitely one flexible recipe.


Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.  

Colossians 3:23-24


Another family favorite is:

Italian Chicken and Rice

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-16 oz bottle of zesty italian salad dressing
Rice

This one is so great because all you have to do is throw some frozen chicken breasts into a crock pot, dump the dressing in and let it cook all day.  Then right before dinner, you can prepare some rice and a salad and you’re set!

A similar recipe that my family always loves is:

BBQ Crock Pot Chicken

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

You’ll do the same with this one, throw it all in the crock pot and go.  I usually only use about a half a bottle of BBQ sauce, however depending on how many chicken breasts you’re preparing or your family’s preferences, you may use a whole bottle.  We’ve eaten this on buns, alone, or with rice.  Any way you fix it, it’s always delicious.


She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  

Proverbs 31:27


If I’m really in a pinch and am out of groceries and out of time I make quesadillas.  My kids LOVE quesadillas.  Here’s my recipe for:

Easy Black Bean Quesadillas

Tortillas
1 can of black beans
Shredded cheese

Lay one tortilla out, cover it in cheese, sprinkle black beans on top, add some more cheese and throw it under the broiler at 450 degrees until it starts to brown, then I flip it.  The second side will brown much faster than the first so you’ve got to be committed to standing next to the stove while it’s browning!  Pull it out and you’ll have a crispy, cheesy quesadilla in no time.  I serve mine with sour cream for dipping and something super simple like carrots on the side.


The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands, tears it down.  

Proverbs 14:1


Last is a recipe for a delicious breakfast casserole that my beautiful sister-in-law shared with me.  It’s a regular in my house and is an excellent way to have a nutritious dinner in a pinch.  Just remember to prepare it in the morning so the flavors can mingle!

Jessica’s Breakfast Casserole

2 cups of croutons (I just use a whole bag)
4 oz shredded cheddar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk
Bacon bits
Optional ingredients:
1/2 tsp each of dry mustard, salt, and onion poweder
1/8 tsp of pepper

Pour the croutons in an 8×8 glass casserole dish.  For my large family, I generally double the recipe and use a 9×13.  Beat eggs slightly, mix in milk, cheese, bacon bits, and optional ingredients as desired.  I don’t find that I need any of the seasonings to please my family’s palate since the croutons we buy are seasoned.  Pour mixture over the croutons.  Mix it around a bit to be sure your cheese and bacon aren’t all in a heap on top.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, or if you’re making for dinner, refrigerate for the day.  Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes.  I love this recipe because it can be so easily adapted to fit your family’s preferences and you can easily add veggies.  You could even hide some veggies in it if you dice them small enough. Your kids would never know!


By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.  

Proverbs 24:3-4


I hope these recipes help you through the witching hour at your house and I’d love to add some new recipes to my arsenal!  Please share your quick and easy recipes in the comments! 

Quick Recipes When Yur in a Pinch

 

 

 

 

Homemade Chicken Broth {Super Soup Series}

Homemade Chicken Broth {Super Soup Series}

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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Chicken Roast is one of the easiest meals to make!  A friend, Rick, who is also a chef, taught me a few tricks to make it even easier.  Not only that, but with some more time, you can have homemade chicken broth, which is amazing! This allows you to turn one meal into 3-6 meals!!  Who doesn’t love getting the most out of their food budget?!

I’ve taken his recipe and added a few little twists but basically a chicken roast is a chicken roast, right.  You can add whatever veggies you like but this is what I used in this recipe.

The Basics of the Chicken Roast

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • 10-15 minutes prep (depending on how many times the kids interrupt)
  • 2-2.5 hours to reach 165° F

Ingredients:

  • 3 celery ribs – rough-cut into inch-long pieces
  • 3 carrots – rough-cut into inch-long pieces
  • 2 med–large onions – cut into quarters, then separate rings (leave the skin on)
  • 6–8 garlic cloves – smash them with a knife once and then put them skin and all on into the pan
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 large sweet potato

(I add the sweet potato because I love how vitamin-packed sweet potatoes are. Plus, if I’m going to cook a roast, I might as well add extra veggies so our family can enjoy an entire meal.)

homemade-chicken-broth-starts-with-a-chicken-roast-1

Homemade Chicken Broth starts with a Chicken Roast. (I’m not sure why the roasted chicken looks so red in the picture. It wasn’t that red in person. Lol!)

Make a mixture of the following:

  • Salt to taste (2 parts)
  • Pepper to taste (1 part)
  • Herbamare (1-2 parts)

(Herbamare is an amazing herb/salt blend that Toni introduced me to years ago.  I use it constantly in so many dishes that contain poultry or veggies to enhance the flavor. It’s my not-so-secret ingredient for this recipe.)

homemade-chicken-broth-herbamare-1

Here are the tricks Chef Rick taught me:

1. You can use onions and garlic with the skin on…it’s faster than peeling them off!

2. How to close the chicken legs using the skin instead of string! Tie the legs closed by cutting slits into the fatty skin from the neck and then sliding each ankle of the drumstick through the slit across from it. (I use scissors to make the slits but you could also use a knife.)

tie-chicken-legs-together-without-using-string

These are brilliant tricks.

After you’ve chopped up all the veggies, put them in the 9×11 baking dish (or whatever size dish you have on hand).

Put the chicken breast side down on top of the veggies and fill the inside of the chicken with some of these veggies.

Season the outside and the inside of the chicken with the salt/pepper/herbamare mixture.

Tie the legs closed.

Before you put it in the oven be sure to add the bay leaves and enough water to cover the veggies.

Set the timer for two hours and go enjoy doing something else until the oven dings.

Use a meat thermometer to make sure the inside temperature of the chicken is at least 165° F.  If it’s not, then put it back in the oven for up to another 30 minutes.

Once the chicken has reached 165° F, let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes, debone the chicken, then enjoy a lovely chicken roast for dinner.

Chicken Broth Basics

OK, here is where I have to be brutally honest. This homemade chicken broth is so good, I have at times drank anywhere from a cup up to a quart of it by itself.  This is the perfect broth to use for soups but also when you are not feeling good and need some good nutrients.  It is delicious!  So feel free to drink a cup the 1st or 50th time you make it.

  • 15 minutes prep
  • 1.5-2 hours simmer time
  • Optional cool-down period of 30 minutes or stick in the fridge for the next day.
  • 15-20 minutes of separating and bagging for the freezer
  • Use a large stock pot to simmer the broth
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Look how much richer the homemade chicken broth is!

After the table has been cleared, if you have time, now you can make the chicken broth!  If you don’t have time, put all the ingredients in the fridge till the next day.

Once your ready to create the broth, decide if you want to add more veggies to the broth.  I usually decide this based on how  many veggies we ate.

If you want more veggies, then saute the following in coconut oil in your large stock pot:

  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery ribs
  • onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • add a little more pepper, salt, and herbamare to taste

Once the onions are transparent, then add in the following from the leftover chicken roast:

  • bones
  • leftover veggies
  • broth
  • then add liquid about an inch from the top of the pot

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Bring it to a boil, then put it on low for an hour and a half to two hours.

I recommend letting the broth cool for about 20-30 minutes before trying to separate the bones and veggies from the broth.  I’m in the habit now of even popping the whole stock pot in the fridge and coming back the next day to separate everything.  If you wait till the next day, you will have to warm it up a little but not so hot that you can’t handle it immediately.

Separating the broth from the bones and the veggies

This part is easy but probably the most time-consuming part.  It usually takes me 20-30 minutes, depending on interruptions.  I simply put a round colander in an 8-cup Pyrex bowl and ladle the contents of the stock pot into the colander. I have two other large bowls waiting.  One to accept the bones and the other to accept the veggies.

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I would recommend taking the onion and garlic skins out at this point.  If you don’t want to deal with this now, you can choose either to not use the skins in the beginning or to sift them out later.

Don’t Discard the Veggies!

For the first time ever, I decided not to discard the veggies after separating them from the broth but to puree them in my food processor and use it to further my chicken broth.  This was a brilliant idea my mother had and I’m so thankful for it.  I’ve used this to stretch leftover soups by adding water to it and thinning it out some.  Seriously delicious!  You could also choose not to thin it out and use it to make a creamier base for a soup.

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How many meals am I planning for this one chicken roast to make?

At least six!

So far it has made:

  • A chicken roast dinner
  • I used some thinned-out veggie puree to extend the life of some leftover turkey mushroom soup

There are so many wonderful dishes that could be made with this but here are some I plan to make:

  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Vegetable Pasta Soup
  • Potato Soup
  • Chicken & Rice Soup

What meals would you make with your homemade chicken broth?

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Our family of six eats a lot, so I enjoy stretching food to last longer and help our food budget!

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