Archive for Healthy Eating


Chickens & Spring

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This year we wintered over our back-yard chicken. Now I grew up on a chicken farm during the 50’s so I know a lot about chickens, however we never wintered them over. It was not economical; we purchased a new flock of baby chicks every year.

This time I watched our hen settle down into winter by first ceasing to lay eggs, then she started molting. This means she loses a lot of her feathers all at the same time. I was shocked by how many feathers she had piling up under her roost, and scattered around in her pen! Apparently it bothered me enough that I had a dream about her running out of the chicken house half naked! Well it never went that far, thankfully!

Henrietta was decidedly less lovely to look at in winter. Not only was she straggly looking with scant feathers, the pin feathers that grew in were white ‘pins’ sticking out all over her head and neck between the feathers that remained. She acted subdued and droopy during the dark days of winter – but then so do I!

Finally, as the days started to get longer, and we no longer saw anymore pin feathers sticking out white against her reddish brown feathers, she perked up! Henny started rearranging the straw in her nest and digging up places in her pen for a dust bath. Then one morning she did not race out of her house when the door was opened. She was sitting quietly on her nest in the back of the chicken house. We left her alone.

Later that morning, when she was back out in the yard, we opened up the nest box and found not one egg but three eggs! YAY! This means Spring is on the way for sure! If we had a rooster (not allowed in Denver County) she would have chicks by Easter! What a lovely surprise for a morning we had run out of eggs anyway. Since then Henny is back to laying an egg a day, and struts around her yard looking glossy, happy, and proud! Yay Henrietta! You ARE a Spring Tonic for me!


Healing Bone Broth

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When we are sick, we need a good healing broth that feeds us without making us digest much to get it into our body. It is a good idea to make one or more of these in advance and have them in the freezer ready to go. I recommend letting them defrost in a bowl of hot water or on the counter and heating them up in a pot rather than using a microwave. I don’t use microwaves due to the chance that they might change or reduce the healing qualities of the broth.

I use the old bones I have saved in the freezer from roasts, turkey and chicken carcasses, and other good bones. I try to get organic or at least humanely raised meats to use. For this purpose, maybe you can at least get good bones from the healthiest sources you can find. Using the best veggies and ingredients obviously will be the best for you when you and/or your family is sick, however some broth is better than none! You are looking for rich, condensed, unprocessed nutrition to feed you at a cellular level.

Put your bones and even some veggies in a roasting pan in the oven at a low temperatyre (250 degrees) for a few hours or until they are nicely browned and NOT scorched or BURNED! Add water or broth at the end to loosen up the lovely browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan. Get out your biggest soup pot/stock pot and transfer everything from the roasting pan to the pot, cleaning out all the wonderful stuck bits with the liquid. Crack or break as many bones as you can since you want the marrow in the broth. Place on the stove burner.

Thoroughly wash some veggies of choice (carrots, potatoes, etc), an onion, and some garlic cloves. Roughly chop them and add to the pot. Throw in a handful of fresh parsley, a couple of bay leaves, some pepper corns, and other similar seasonings if you want to. Use just enough filtered water to cover the bones and veggies and after it has come to a boil, skim all the foam off (if any) and throw it away. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer the pot of bones and veggies for a few hours until the bones are falling apart and the meat is falling off of them. I actually use a potato masher during the cooking process to help get all the goodness out of the bones, meat and vegetables.

When it is well cooked, place a large colander over another pot or heatproof bowl and with a slotted spoon, or strainer, scoop the bones and veggies into it to drain. Do not pour directly  into the colander or it will splash hot broth on you. When you have finished pouring all of it through the colander, drain the broth you gathered back into the soup pot through a finer strainer, cheese cloth or old thin dishtowel, to make sure all the bone bits are removed. Throw away, or compost, the remains in the colander after you have pushed on them to remove as much broth as possible.

When you place the broth in a container or two and put it in the refrigerator it should jelly completely. This tells you it is full of protein. This is a very good healing broth and can be eaten as is or vegetables can be added at will. It’s also good as a cooking broth for other dishes, of course.

For vegetarians who eat butter and eggs, use butter to roast some veggies, and use good tomatoes as a broth base. If you use fermented soy products, make sure they are organic or at least non GMO. Tomato broth will jelly all by itself when it is made with heirloom varieties, which is how we used to make tomato consume. There is nothing like having some (even small) amount of animal protein to help re-energize the body. (See Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions” for more info on this.)

You can also make a ‘white’ broth by not roasting any of the bones or vegetables. It’s just not as rich tasting although equally nourishing.


It’s Spring! Fresh Wild Greens are Back!

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It’s that lovely season when the early Spring greens are up in abundance and are at their peak of nutritiousness. It is also the time when I start my wild edible walks and talks as the Urban Forager! This coming Saturday, April 12th, I will be opening the season with a foraging event at Denver Sustainability Park. We will focus on the Spring greens that our Grandmother’s knew were the best help in clearing the Winter ‘funk’ out of our bodies, gently and surely. These little greens will also nourish you with a super load of vitamins and minerals. So come join me for a two hour experience of learning, foraging, and asking any questions about wild edibles that you have. You can sign up for my walk or contact me for a tour of your own backyard and neighborhood! Remember, if you know your wild local edibles, you’ll never lack for food!