Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock

Chicken stock in a crockpotChicken stock is a blessing to the food world. It makes rice and pasta taste amazing, is essential to risotto and soups, and when you’re sick, it’s so good for your recovering body. Especially if your chicken stock is homemade. Homemade bone broth is soothing, flavorful, and SO GOOD FOR YOU. If you haven’t before, I highly suggest you take a quick browse online and read about the benefits of bone broth! Thankfully, homemade chicken stock is so easy to make. This is important to me because all of the stock options (at least that I’ve seen) sold in grocery stores have celery, potato, carrot, AND/or corn-derived ingredients.

Fortunately, with a carcass from a Roasted Chicken Dinner, a few vegetables, and a crockpot, we can make something that is healthier and tastes infinitely better than any grocery store product. Continue reading

Citrus Salt

20131220-123333.jpgThis year, my dad asked for “homemade goodies” for Christmas, and I decided to make extras of everything to give as work and neighbor gifts! In addition to bottles of homemade vanilla, I gave little jars of this elegant pink citrus salt, fragrant rosemary salt, and homemade apple butter (recipes to come)! I will claim those projects as the reason I haven’t blogged in so long…

This salt, to be used primarily as a finishing salt, smells so good, looks so unique, and tastes excellent on veggies, poultry, and fish. To make it you can use any combination of citrus fruits and any kind of sea salt. For my recipe I used lemons, limes, oranges, and this course pink Himalayan sea salt that is so pretty and good for you! (Read about the benefits of Himalayan sea salt here.) You can make any amount of this salt, just use 2 tbs. zest per cup of salt. My recipe filled about 8 adorable half pints jars.

Citrus Salt

  • Servings: 8 1/2 pints
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 cups pink Himalayan sea salt
1/2 cup citrus fruit zest

Let your fruit sit in a vinegar water bath (1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water) for 20 minutes to wash off all the toxins, pesticides, and who knows what that are on the skin of the fruit. Since you are using the peel in this recipe, this step is highly recommended.

20131220-123258.jpg

Zest the fruit until you have the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of zest per cup of salt. (I didn’t have a grater so I used a peeler and a paring knife…. Obviously, it’s much better to use a grater.) Pour the salt and citrus zest into a baking pan and spread it out until it covers the bottom. Bake at 225 degrees F for 1-2 hours, or until a piece of zest crumbles between your fingers.

20131220-123311.jpg

Let the salt cool, and process in a food processor until the zest and salt have reached the consistency that you desire. Store in whatever airtight containers are most adorable and best for your use! I loved these quilted half-pint jars for Christmas presents.

20131220-123318.jpg

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Note: I made this before I learned of my allergy to white potatoes. Next time I’ll use Ketel One or Ciroc!

bottles

I was surprised to find out that most store bought vanilla contains multiple corn ingredients. Fortunately, it was already my desire to make homemade vanilla for Christmas gifts, so I had already been researching how to do so! All I needed to do to make sure that I was able to enjoy it too was to make sure that my recipe was corn free.

Like most of my recipes, making your own vanilla is SUPER easy and will yield a product 100x more delicious than what you buy in stores. Better still, you can rest assured because you know every ingredient that went into it!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Servings: 10 4. oz bottles*
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1/4 lb. vanilla beans (I used Madagascar Bourbon beans, and found the best price at Olive Nation)
1 Liter of Chopin vodka (can also use Ciroc)

Cut vanilla beans in half lengthwise and then in half the other way (so cut them in half vertically and horizontally). Put the equivalent of three whole vanilla beans in each 4 oz. bottle and pour enough vodka over the beans to cover them. Cap and shake the bottles vigorously, then store in a cool, dark area (like the back of your pantry) for 2-6 months. Of course, the longer you store it, the stronger the flavor will be.

Note: A great thing about making homemade vanilla is you can just keep pouring vodka over the vanilla beans as you use the vanilla and the one bottle will last you about 3 years! Just make sure you keep the beans covered with liquor at all times.

*Any bottles used to store vanilla should NOT be clear as the light that gets into the bottle will harm the vanilla. I used amber bottles from Specialty Bottle when making mine.

20131205-230926.jpg