Cultivating conversation through food

Cultivating conversation through food

Using food to have deeper conversations with your loved ones.

Kim Calichio-25

As with many tough conversations, food makes things a little easier to address. It eases our discomfort and insecurities and it creates a bridge between the now and more broad ideas.

Using food to bridge that gap and be the container for some more difficult conversations is a great way to feel more comfortable with being vulnerable and offering a new concept to your children.

Here’s how I create the container for deep connection through food:

Make sure you aren’t already multitasking

This will require all of your attention. That means you should NOT attempt this in the middle of the work/school week when there are a million of other things happening and that need to get done.

Be sure your mind is cleared. (I know...that’s WAY easier said than done)

Let go of expectations

The point of this space you’re creating is to CONNECT. Not to make your best dish. That means food is the medium and whatever gets on the plate is a plus.

This also means letting go of an expectation that things need to stay neat and clean. Again - the purpose is to focus on the conversation. This can be tricky, so lots of self-reminders will help. 🙂

Have a plan

Having a clear idea of what you want to express and get out of the conversation will free you up to focus on the cooking a bit more.

Having a clear idea of the SIMPLE RECIPE you will cook, will allow the food to flow easily and give you the space to talk about the topic you’d like to.

Kim Calichio-27

And remember that this can apply to talking with your kids about their school grades, stuff with their friends, something that’s worrying you as their parent or anything in between.

It’s also a great way to talk with your partner or a friend/family member about something sticky.

Join our Connected Chef Community

We invite you to come along and be a part of our community for additional support and opportunity for continued connection.

A Family Affair

Cooking is not the only way to engage your child into the world of cooking.

Family Affair Blog #1

Engaging in a two-way conversation around whole foods is the first step to establishing healthy and independent food choices for your child.

Cooking doesn't have to be the only path to healthy eating though.

Beginning a conversation around food is the first small step any parent can make when wanting to establish or change the choices that their child (or family) is making around food.

Here are some great ways to BEGIN the food conversation in your family...

Take some time throughout the month to talk with your children about what real food is.

That’s it.

No matter the age of your child, these are conversation can and should happen regularly.

Name the ingredients you have!

Even if in just passing or when cooking, state the name of the ingredients you have around and are eating.

You can expand with the color, shape, and size or the various foods.

Comparing flavors is a great way to extend this conversation with older and younger children. We talk about salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami in all of our classes!

Talk about where your food grows

Connect the things your child eats with our planet.

This is a vital step to your child understanding that their food choices are bigger than themselves. Connecting them to the source of their food, even if in conversation, will bring a greater respect for the product and mindfulness over time.

What regions do your ingredients grow?

Does it come from the sky? The soil? A tree or bush?

Discover what nutrients are in different ingredients

Google different ingredients and find the nutrients they contain & the benefits each different food has on your bodies.

Frame this conversation with pure curiosity. “I wonder why it’s good to eat cucumbers?”

This will likely be a learning experience for you too!

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Join our Connected Chef Community

We invite you to come along and be a part of our community for additional support and opportunity for continued connection.

Braising

Tips to get the best of this Blog?

  1. Schedule intentional time for the email, videos and cooking
  2. Print out the materials and hang them on your fridge
  3. Practice (schedule in that cooking during times that work for you)
  4. Ask questions & be fearless!
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Braising

is often referred to as the “low and slow” approach to cooking large, tough cuts of meat or hard, fibrous vegetables.

Often times, home cooks are braising food and just don’t know it!

Braising is one of my favorite methods of cooking because it is almost all hands off cooking and yields delicious meals.

Braising is also the easiest way to cook a big portion meal to have it for leftovers or use for a party you may be hosting.

What is Braising?

Braising is a cooking method by which meat or vegetables are first seared, then simmered in a liquid to finish the cooking process.

The liquid that your product is cooked in should come up ¾ of the way up the product.     

What Type of Meat & Vegetables Can You Braise?

  1. Tough cuts of meat with more connective tissue (legs, shoulder, butt.)
  2. Hard, more fibrous vegetables (Fennel, collard greens, swiss chard or root vegetables)

The Method of Braising

Braising is done in five steps and whether you are cooking pork shoulder or fennel, the process is the same each time.

The Cook

  1. SEASON your product with salt pepper and any spices you may choose to use.
  2. SEAR YOUR MEAT in a very hot pan (enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan)
  3. BROWN VEGETABLES and add everything back in the pot
  4. DEGLAZE your pan with a flavorful liquid that comes ¾ of the way up our product
  5. Cover & put in the oven to cook at a LOW SIMMER!

The Sauce

If you are braising vegetables, you can simply add a bit of salt and pepper to you sauce to finish it off.

For meat, you will want to take the extra step below.

Strain your braising liquid and cook it down by half to create a yummy sauce.

Be sure to re-season and add a splash of acid!

OR

Blend everything in your pot to make a nice, thick sauce.  

(You may want to strain after blending to get out any lumps.)

Don't forget to print your Braising Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Examples to Get Started:

Check out our braising recipes and pick one to start you off!

Remember you can also braise vegetables!

You would use the same steps, just substituting the meat for some veggies.

Braised Cabbage

SEAR: sauté some onion and garlic, add chopped cabbage,

DEGLAZE: add some beer and vinegar

SIMMER: reduce to simmer & voila!

Braised Collard Greens

SEAR: sauté some garlic & onion, add chopped greens

DEGLAZE: add white wine and veg stock

SIMMER: reduce & simmer.  

You can even throw in some chick peas & chili flake for a kick!

Pro Tips:

When braising veggies you do not have to cover your vegetables when braising them, since they are so delicate and will cook quickly.  

Letting the water steam out of your liquid while cooking it uncovered will enhance the flavor of your sauce later on.

Resting your meat

Most meat braises will benefit from sitting it their juices either over night or at least until it cools.  This isn’t necessary, but will make for a delicious piece of meat, that melts in your mouth.

When reheating your food DO NOT BOIL the meat. Simmer it in the sauce gently. Otherwise, you will reverse all that slow cooked goodness and toughen up your meat.

Don't forget to print your Braising Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Cooking With Your Kids:

Finishing the whole process of braising with your child could feel overwhelming, depending on their age and skill level. You can have them help you with some of the prep though!

1. peeling carrots or other root vegetables
2. crushing garlic and peeling the skin
3. seasoning food or making a spice rub for your meat
4. cutting soft vegetables (celery, peppers)
5. picking herbs

When cooking with your child, be sure to give them their own station to work from. Their own cutting board, kid safe knife and hand towel. Not only will this make them feel more independent, but it will give you both space to work side by side instead of on top of each other.

It will lessen the stress on your end and that’s all that matters!

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Don’t forget to print your Braising Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Searing

Tips to get the best of this Blog?

  1. Schedule intentional time for the email, videos and cooking
  2. Print out the materials and hang them on your fridge
  3. Practice (schedule in that cooking during times that work for you)
  4. Ask questions & be fearless!
searing

Searing

is the true way to fast & flavorful food, THAT’S HEALTHY!

It yields delicious flavor by browning and caramelizing your ingredients, be it veggies or protein.

Searing is also the key to getting through the week without a meal plan.

If you know how to sear, you can make a variety of dishes without a recipe and with whatever you have in your fridge.

The trick is that searing tasks bravery!

Searing often pushing our boundaries of what’s comfortable and “right” in the kitchen, which is why so many people don’t execute it properly.

What is Searing?

Using high heat to brown your food and create an outer layer on caramelization.

Brown = Flavor

When you sear your meat or vegetables, you are caramelizing the natural sugars in the product.

This can be done two ways:

  1. Grilling: over open flame; intense heat and slotted grill
  2. Sauté: shallow fry; pan fry (very little oil)

*Both have essentially the same principles

Don't forget to print your Searing Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

The Method of Searing

Like many techniques in cooking, there are a few key rules to ensure that you get the most flavor out of this method.

Hot Pan

Your pan should be smoking hot.

When you sear an ingredient, your goal is brown food. You cannot caramelize your food without this high heat.

Without a hot pan, your food will stick. Oil helps in preventing sticking, but a hot pan is the real key. Once it’s seared we can lower the temperature if necessary.

A Little Oil

You want just enough oil to coat the pan. With a hot pan, your oil should be literally smoking.

Using plain old olive oil is ideal. Extra virgin has a lower burning point and may give your food a bitter flavor.

Your product will absorb some oil as it’s cooking, so if you are sautéing a lot of product you can always add a little oil if the pan becomes dry.

Don’t crowd the pan

When we put too many ingredients in a pan, it creates steam and prohibits browning.

Make sure there is space in your pan and cook in batches if you need to.

Don’t Touch!

This is the biggest mistake everyone makes. When you are constantly moving your food, your are interrupting that contact between your ingredient and the bottom of the pan.

That contact is ESSENTIAL in browning.

Don’t touch until you see the bottom edges of your ingredient beginning to brown.

Don't forget to print your Searing Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Browned meat isn’t enough…. it’s important to learn to balance browning the outside and keeping the inside juicy & moist.

Different meats cook at different rates (i.e. chicken breast vs chicken thigh)

  1. Leaner cuts of meat cook faster than fattier cuts
  2. Bone out cooks faster than bone in

Cooking steak (red meat)

Once your red meat is seared on each side and has a nice char, you can use the following guidelines to get to the desired temperature.

Rare +2 minutes

Medium rare +4 minutes

Medium +6 minutes

Medium well +8 minutes

Pro Tips:

Let your meat get to room temperature before cooking. This will allow it to cook more evenly.

Rest your meat at least 5 min to allow the juices to settle.

You can cover with foil to keep warm.

**Remember: When your meat rests it will continue to cook. Red meat always carries over 1 temperature.

Cooking With Your Kids:

This cooking method may feel a bit too much if you are not used to having your child in the kitchen.

Whenever our clients do not yet feel comfortable bringing their kiddos in the kitchen, I always recommend engaging in other ways.

  1. Allow your child to watch from a safe distance with their eye level even to yours. (stools and kitchen chairs will help bring their gaze to a safe level to watch the food cook)
  2. Talk your child through what you’re doing and tell food-centric stories
  3. Allow your child to prep other elements of the meal

crushing garlic

picking herbs

cutting soft ingredients with a kid safe knife

searing

Don’t forget to print your Searing Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Rubs

Tips to get the best of this Blog?

  1. Schedule intentional time for the email, videos and cooking
  2. Print out the materials and hang them on your fridge
  3. Practice (schedule in that cooking during times that work for you)
  4. Ask questions & be fearless!
rubs

A Rub

is essentially a mixture of spices that are used to enhance the flavor of a piece of meat or hearty vegetables.

The kinds of spices and how they are combined is based on your likings, but there are a few key things that are helpful to keep in mind when building this kind of flavor.

What is a Rub?

A combination of dried, ground spices used to coat your protein or vegetables.

Ratio - 25% Kosher Salt : 75% ground spices

When cooking any meal, you want to make sure you are balancing flavors. That means you are mindful about having as many types of flavors in one dish as you can.

Typically, we think about the 5 basic flavors: Salty, Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy

Spices are more complex and also bring flavors like:

  1. Earthy
  2. Smokey
  3. Floral
  4. Nutty

The thing about spices is that they don’t typically have only 1 flavor and bring so much complexity to a dish.

That’s why using even ONE is so impactful!

The Method of Making a Rub

When creating a rub, you will be simply combining various spices in a bowl. I like to start with the spice combination first and then add 25% kosher salt to the mix.

The action is easy, but often folks don’t know WHAT to put in their spice rub.

Step 1

When thinking about what goes into your rub, it’s easiest to think in terms of region of the world to start.

Below are some examples of flavor combinations that we enjoy here at The Connected Chef.

Italian spice rub

Mexican spice rub

American spice rub

Dried oregano Cinnamon Paprika
Paprika Smoked paprika Chili powder
Lemon zest Oregano Coffee
Red chili flakes Clove Coriander
Dried chili of choice Cumin
Cumin

Step 2

Once you’ve decided WHAT your spice will be, you want to think about HOW MUCH of each you will add.

Nobody has time for measuring, but keep this in mind…

  1. Half of the spice rub will come off in the pan, so be sure to use big flavors and a lot of it.
  2. Start with the mildest flavored spice and do a little at a time of the others from there.

You should be tasting as you go!

What are you tasting for? Making sure you can taste a little of each spice and they are not too overwhelming to each other.

Step 3

When you have tried some classics and your ready to experiment, think about the flavors that each spice is bringing to the dish.

Here is a small starter list of spices and the flavor they bring to your rub. Choose from various columns when creating combinations.

Salty Spicy Smokey Bitter Floral Earthy (depth)
Kosher Chili powder Smoked paprika Coffee Coriander Cinnamon
Himalayan pink salt Curry Cumin Bay leaf Thyme Cloves
Sea salt Red pepper flakes Curry Turmeric Cardamom Star Anise

Print your Spices and Rubs Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Pro Tips

I love to make a couple different rubs in big batches. Then you can store than in a mason jar and pop them on your kitchen spice rack for when you want them.

There is nothing better having a go to bottle of flavor to add to a quick meal!

You don’t have to limit yourself to dried ingredients and can add some citrus zest into your rubs for a bright pop.

 

Cooking with your kids

Making rubs are the PERFECT kid friendly task!

Kids love to experiment and combine flavors and it’s an awesome way to get them involved into the meal.

It may feel nerve-wracking to give the freedom with you spices, but talk to them before hand and let them know what you’re doing.

A pre-session talk goes a long way with kids.

  1. Tell them that you’re making a spice rub and why.
  2. Explain what a rub is.
  3. Let them taste, smell and feel the individual spices before you begin combining the together.

If you feel up for it, you can alway let them make their own combination for the next meal.

Kids are much more likely to eat food that they have taken part in! And if they don’t - that’s ok too - talk to them about what didn’t work and what you’d do different next time!

rubs

Don’t forget to print your Spices and Rubs Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

3 Adjustments to Soothe Your Back to School Transition

 

So, it’s October now.

Do you feel settled yet in the back to school grind?

Kindergarten parents – I’m specifically sending you all the transition love in this new phase of life.

I remember our Kindergarten days being so inconsistent and so reactive. There were times when Lucas would ask me, “why do we just go to school, come home, eat and go to bed.” Then there were days where he NEEDED to be active, but was too exhausted and after was a DISASTER! Nothing was ever consistent and I never knew the “right” thing to do for him or me.

It felt like being back with a newborn and having to figure out what he needed and nobody having the words to be able to communicate with each other.

Honestly, I was a little shocked by just how INTENSE it was.

I remember very quickly realizing that this year was going to be all about slowing down to a HAULT. Doing the bare minimum and just moving through this time of life.

We NEVER did after school activities.

We NEVER had playdates (well, maybe 2)

We ALWAYS had meltdowns on the sidewalk

We ALWAYS finished our day exhausted.

Fast forward a year and first grade is SO different. I learned a LOT as a parent and what it means to be a parent of a school aged kid through our first year of Kindergarten.

I learned how to navigate the school system, interpret my son’s needs within this larger system and how to adjust to do what’s best for our family while having to adhere to a bigger picture.

As always, I learned to chill out EVEN MORE as a parent and was reminded of what’s important and worth my focus. That’s something I am constantly learning in new phases of life.

I’d love to share those with you some KEY CHANGES that helped us along the way – because even though it’s October –

It’s never too late to make the right adjustments for your family and we still have 8 months to go! 🙂

Here are 3 adjustments to help soothe the rest of your school year:

 

A realistic and simplified morning schedule.

This starts the day off and will carry your child through the day with positive energy. A strong morning routine can look different for everyone, but consistency is KEY.

Once you’ve assessed the situation and come up with some potential solutions, have a conversation with your child about what’s not working. Ask them how they would LIKE to have their day look.

It is SO important that we open up the lines of communication with our kids and let them in on the discussion of making change in your days. Whether that is change in meals, change in schedule ect. TALK about what’s happening, what’s working and what’s not.

Playtime in the morning.

Once kids start school, they often don’t have enough time to just play freely. Play is how our kids learn, process and unwind. By giving them some time in the morning to wake up – they can engage with themselves and begin their day settled.

Some of you might be saying that – “If I let my kid play, he will never want to stop and it will be a mess.”

  • I get that and this will work better for some kids than others, but the CONVERSATION around this routine will ensure that this is something you are doing TOGETHER.
  • Adding structure to it will be KEY to success.

Make a plan & visuals to aide.

My morning routine with my kids looks like this:

  1. 1st alarm goes off at 6am. I wake up the kids and let them know it’s time to get up and they have 30min. to play (I go back to bed)
  2. 2nd alarm goes off at 6:30: This is there 5 minute warning that play is about to stop
  3. 3rd alarm goes off at 6:35: Time to start getting ready
  4. Go to our “Are you ready?” chart and start the routine. They have a choice to do the routine in whatever order they choose.
  5. If there is extra time, they can read or play some more. (be careful of the play some more piece here because that can be ard for kids to pull away from when it’s time to actually leave. (but remember a pllus – their shoes and all are already on.)

Ask yourself: What is my child’s temperament?

Is your child an introvert – an extrovert – or a little of both?

This can be  really telling aspect of your child’s personality. Recognizing and honoring this part of your child’s personality will allow you to best support and understand them.

What is an introvert?

The definition of an introvert is someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments. Introverts tend to feel drained after socializing and regain their energy by spending time alone. This is largely because introverts’ brains respond to dopamine differently than extroverts’ brains. In other words, if you’re an introvert, you were likely born that way.

What is an extrovert?

As with Introverts getting “filled up” by getting some alone time, Extroverts get “filled up” and energized by being around others.

If they finish a full day, sometimes the best way for them to ground is by being at a playground with friends. That’s relaxing and calming to them.

What is an introvert/extrovert?

Being introvert or extrovert is always on a scale and people are typically not just 1 or the other. Being an introvert/extrovert could mean that you do your best work with others, but than when you are tapped out, you need to be alone to recharge.

Paying attention to how your child reacts in different situations can give you clues to whether they have introvert or extrovert tendencies. This can help you better asses what they need after a long day at school.

So, what does my child need right after school?

  • Down time with minimal stimulation
  • Quiet connection with you or another person
  • Get out pent up energy from their day

Talk with them and find out!

Ask them what makes them feel calm? What makes them feel recharged? As always – don’t have this conversation in the moment. Have it during bedtime or on a weekend when you are just hanging around the house.

Eat Dinner Earlier.

Majority of kids internal dinner time is often at 4:30-5pm

  1. Pay attention to when your kids hungriest. When are they eating the most snacks
  2. Utilize that time to get healthy food into them at that time. Maybe it is a sit down and have dinner or maybe it’s a really healthy schmorgas board (cheese, olive, vegetables, grains)
  3. You can still have your sit down dinner at 6:30 if that is what works with your families schedule, but the pressure is off because you know they’ve eaten something healthy already.

This early fuel will give them the energy and ability to make it through the rest of the day and minimize the big feelings and tantrums.

Reminder: Don’t forget to play with your kids!

Our kids connect with us THROUGH play. Making 10 MINUTES of focused time to play together can make a huge difference in your after school. Set a timer – focus on play – move through the rest of the afternoon.

At the end of the day, everyone’s family works differently, but the more we can slow down and prioritize deep connection within our busy lives – the stronger, more grounded & capable we AND OUR CHILDREN will be.

Xoxox

Kim

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Get Cooking With Us!

Consistency is the key to a healthy eater.

kids cooking classes in the garden

Join me in a conversation about why consistency will help your kiddo (any age) begin to make more healthy food choices.

I have some great news to share!

Because our kids cooking classes are not JUST kids cooking classes and provide your child with an immense toolbox of skills, these classes are also best when done consistently.
When kids are given constant and ongoing exposure to whole foods, they cultivate a strong relationship to their food and healthy eating in the long run.
That is the exact reason why I have decided to move from a series based schedule to a membership schedule for you all.

 

We are now offering monthly memberships to our Afterschool and Weekend Series.

These new membership options provide a financial savings for you.
It will give your child that constant exposure they want and need.
It will also allow your kids to continue to take a step deeper into their skills in the kitchen and garden every three months.

 

The most fun part?

The kids will get to celebrate their new skills and learning every three months with a dinner that they cook and present to you!
Kind of like a recital, but kitchen style! 🙂
And Tangy Sweet Photography will capture our kids cooking classes. This means you will have the option to purchase professional photo’s of your child during their kids cooking classes.

 

So here are the details:

  • With the membership, you are able to cancel at any time, no charge (30-day notice is needed)
  • More flexibility – Our schedule is expanding to 6 days a week and you will have the ability to switch classes should when your schedule changes.
  • Monthly payments are auto-recurring. No more worrying about signing up in time and dealing with reminder emails or forgetting that discount code.
  • The best part – Your kiddo gets to look forward to their weekly cooking class and continue to build their skills developmentally & cultivate this lifelong relationship of healthy eating.

New to The Connected Chef? Check out a Drop In Class of your choice at anytime to make sure it’s a good fit!

How do you get started?

For ongoing students:

  • Register for the “Monthly Membership Program” via our scheduler
  • You will receive a confirmation email and contract from our client care coordinator, Maryann
  • Every month, there will be an automatic deduction in your account for the program.
  • Enjoy the benefits of a healthy, happy kiddo!

For new students: Try our classes before committing!

  • Sign up for a “New Student Drop In” class and choose a date/time that works for you.
  • Check out a class to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your child.
  • Once you are ready – Register for the “Monthly Membership Program” via our scheduler
  • You will receive a confirmation email and contract from our client care coordinator, Maryann
  • Every month, there will be an automatic deduction in your account for the program.

I’m SO, SO excited to get to offer this to you all and look forward to seeing everyone the first week of March after our 2-week hiatus.

AND….

 

We would like to offer you a (10%) discount for our new spring offerings if you take advantage before March 7th.
Enter the coupon code MEMBERSHIP to take advantage of this exclusive offer!
Get Cooking With Us!

 


Get Cooking With Us!

P.S…
As you may know, we’ve hired 3 new teachers!

In addition to bringing their own specialties, including art & composting to our classes, our teachers will enable us to assist your child in sharpening their skills and allow new students to have the ability to go at their own pace.

Classes are beginning to take shape with 2 different levels; Those who have been with us for some time and then newer students.

This will give our veteran students a chance to be further challenged in their skill and work in the kitchen and garden.

We will also be offering a number of demonstration experiences that your kiddos will have a chance to sign up for monthly at various locations throughout the city this spring/summer season.
These demonstrations will allow your kiddos to show off their skills and build confidence in themselves and empower them to choose healthier food options.
AND they are free for membership students!

Get Cooking With Us!

Bone Broth 101

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Bone broth, thanks to hipsters and crunchy folk, is trending now.

BUT…that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s EXTREMELY good for you and tastes delicious!

If Bone broth has your attention because of its health benefits, great!

But you don’t have to just drink it from a cup.

After you check out the steps below on making a hearty, nutrient dense bone broth, you can use it to make a number of different dishes!

How you make a bone broth in 5 simple steps…

Step 1: Buy your bones from a local butcher

When I headed into my local butcher on afternoon, he asked me, “Where are the boys?”

My response, “Home sick. That’s why I’m here. I need some bones.”

He shook his head in complete understanding. “One second”, he replied.

A few minutes later I was handed a big bag of beef bones cleaned and cut.

FOR FREE.

I see my butcher every week. He knows my kids, knows what I like and makes sure that the quality of what I get is top notch. He also will let me pay with a credit card even if my purchase is under $20. 🙂

Creating a relationship with your local butcher will not only leave you with good quality products where you know the source, but it’s strengthening your community for yourself and your kids. Not to mention supporting a small business.

It also may come with the perks of free beef bones. (since the bones are scrap for them anyway)


Step 2: Roast Bones @ 350 degrees

Put your bones on a sheet pan and pop them in the oven until they are seriously brown. The more brown, the more flavor.

 

 


Step 3: Simmer with Aromatics & Skim the Fat

Aromatic vegetables include onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass ect.                                        My traditional bone broth had:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Black Peppercorn

No need to be fancy. Just quarter the onions, cut the garlic head in half and rip the celery. Big pieces are good because they will be simmering for quite some time.

 

Then cover the bones and vegetables with water & simmer.

Simmering means small bubbles in your liquid that barly pop. Not big boiling bubbles. If you boil your stock it will be muddy in both look and taste. Gentle my friends. Give it your love.

As your stock simmers, the liquid level will drop and you can continuously add more water to keep it up.

When making your broth (or any stock), be sure to skim the fat off the top as it cooks. As your bone broth is simmering, the fat will naturally get pushed to the side. You can use a small ladle and gently dip it a centimeter in the liquid to collect the fat.


Step 4: Strain and cool quickly

After 15 hours of simmering and numerous times of adding more water to your pot as the levels decrease you want to strain and cool your liquid.

This is your end product:

That’s right…bone broth when cooled should look like jello. That’s all your collagen.

In the restaurant world, we sometimes have these contraptions that are basically giant plastic bottles filled with water. You freeze them and when you’re cooling stock, you put it inside the liquid AND put the whole container in an ice bath. It cools a giant vat of stock very efficiently.

At home, there is no such contraption. But, you can take a stainless steel bottle or silicone container and turn it into a giant ice pack.

I wouldn’t recommend plastic because I just don’t feel good about hot plastic in food.


Step 5: Repeat & Reseason

Finishing your bone broth is what will make all the difference in your end product.

Once you’ve strained your broth the first time, you’ll want to put the bones BACK IN THE POT with new water and aromatics for another round. 10-12 hours to be exact.

This step will extract all the minerals deep inside the bones and will pull out whatever extra flavor is left in there.

Then, you combine the 2 stocks you have.

Once you’ve done both rounds of simmering and your broth is done, you’ll want to season it. (Notice we didn’t put any salt in yet?)

I finish my broth with a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar and a good heap of salt. The vinegar cuts through all the fat and brightens the flavor. The salt enhances and brings out the flavors in the broth.

NOW COOK WITH IT!!

Bone broth is a great way to add flavor into other dishes.

When I teach kids and adults to cook with their senses and without a recipe, we talk about adding flavor at every step.

What that means is this: When you’re cooking, things are broken down into steps. At each of those steps, you should be asking yourself, “How an I add MORE flavor into this dish.”

cooking whole foods = big flavor and lots of nutritional health.

Check out our recipes on The Connected Chef for some great Chili, soup & legume recipes to add your broth too!

 

Enjoy and stay warm!

New Traditions & Yule Holiday Celebration

 

This Winter season marks the celebration of YULE.

Yule is rooted in our connection to Mother Earth and her cycle.

Becoming familiar with Pagan traditions gives you an eye-opening view into the Earth’s cycles & seasons. Each holiday honors the stage in which the Earth is currently in, taking note of the season & lunar cycles and their effect on our land and crops. They honor all circles of life and allows us the space to look at our own growth and how it is relevant and connected the greater world.

The reconnection to our Earth and the creatures living here is vital to the progress of our society & the joy of our individual lives. It’s both intimate and grand.

What is Yule?

In short – The celebration of Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of longer days to come.

During Summer Solstice we are in the longest day of the year. The sun hangs in the sky and gives us more light on that day than any other day of the year, but from that point on the days are getting shorter and shorter. The darkness is coming in.

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and the end of that move from lots of light to little light.

That means, it marks the BEGINNING.

The BEGINNING of the light coming back in.

From Winter Solstice on, the Sun will hang out in the sky a bit longer each day and slowly we will move toward much light.

 

So…What is Yule?

The celebration of this new light coming in our lives.

For many, it marks a new beginning, a rebirth…a fresh start.

 

It’s a wonderful holiday and can be acquired to mean so much for us personally.

For that reason, I’ve began a tradition in my home this year to celebrate the light to come.

 

I wanted to share this tradition with you —

The making of a Yule Log.

 

Traditionally making a Yule log consists of cutting & sawing wood and drilling hole. (You can read about the history and traditions of the Yule Log here.)

I, unfortunately don’t have the time or space for that. Here’s my lovely alternative…

Take a walk and let your kids collect All. The. Sticks.

If you’re like me, you regularly walk around with a stroller full of sticks, so this shouldn’t be hard.

Find 3 candles

They can be long and skinny, or short and wide. Traditionally, a green, red & white candle is used, but not necessary.

Find a flat surface in your home to keep the Yule Log

Talk to your kiddo(s) about the tradition of Yule and what it means. There are many great children’s books about the coming light.

Bundle the sticks together

You will want to take your string & tie the sticks together a bit on either end. This will stop them from just being a pile of sticks. 🙂

This is where you can be creative. You can bundle them tight or lay line them flat or a combination of the two.

Position your candles

Place your 3 candles on top or in front of the sticks and position to your liking.

You can stick them in between the sticks or just lay them on top.

Be Creative

Decorate the “log” with other festive things and arrange on or around the log (Christmas tree trimmings, pine cones, berries, ribbon, ect)

 

This celebration and tradition is really fun and a wonderful way to talk to kids about seasons, life cycles and our own desire to move inward in the Winter months.

I hope you enjoy it and it brings smiles and joy to your home this month.

With Love,
Kim

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