What Is Bone Broth?

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

What Is Bone BrothHave you heard of bone broth? Maybe you’ve heard it mentioned but aren’t quite sure what it is and why it is so highly praised by many. Just like coconut oil, it has many passionate admirers who claim it is good for just about everything under the sun. Nutritionally, it is a powerhouse that should not be ignored.

Bone broth is simply a liquid obtained from simmering the bones from chicken, turkey, pork or beef in water. The biggest difference between bone broth and regular stock is that bone broth is cooked much longer. The end result is a tasty liquid that’s delicious on its own, but it also makes a wonderful and nutritious base for soups and stews.

Nutritional benefit is one of the main reasons people make and consume bone broth regularly. Of course nothing beats the flavor either, but more on that in a second. When you simmer bones for a long period of time all sorts of nutrients, minerals and other beneficial things like glucosamine and collagen, are leached from the bones. The bones are a nutritional powerhouse and since we don’t eat the bones, this is how you extract the nutrients and the yummy goodness.

Broth is great for your immune system. Remember mom making a big pot of chicken noodle soup anytime someone would get sick? The same principal is at work here. Bone broth is a concentrated healing soup. The broth may even help you sleep better at night. Sip a warm cup of the tasty liquid before bed. It’ll work better than hot milk.

To make bone broth you take bones like those from that leftover roasted chicken or turkey carcass. Cover it with plenty of water and simmer for several hours. How long you cook your broth is up to you. Twelve hours gives you a very decent broth, but cooking it even longer makes it even more nutritious. Broth can safely bubble away in a crockpot or stock pot as you go about your day. You can keep leftover bones in a freezer bag until you have enough to make a good broth. Once made, the cooled broth can be stored in the fridge for about four days or in the freezer for up to a year.

If you want to freeze some for soups and stews these nifty, large silicone trays are excellent for freezing broth. Just pop them out as needed or transfer the blocks to another, larger container. These freezer containers are pretty awesome and they are stackable. Glasslock also makes some stackable glass containers that are safe to freeze. Glass is always better than plastic!

You can drink the finished hot broth as is, season it up with your favorite herbs and spices, or use it to make a pot of soup or stew. How many recipes do you make that require chicken broth or beef broth? Make it yourself! It will be healthier for you and it will be cheaper.

The next time you pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or roast that Thanksgiving turkey, don’t toss out the bones when you’re done. Use them to make a batch of delicious bone broth that’s good for you. Once you try it, you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to make and how truly wonderful it is.

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

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5 Ways To Preserve and Store Produce

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Preserve Store FoodPreserving and storing food is becoming a bit of a lost art and it’s a shame. Our grandmothers and great grandmothers all saw the inherent economic and practical value in learning to preserve food and teaching their daughters to do the same. Some may say that this skill is not as important in this day and age but I think self sufficiency is always important.

What do you do when you come across a great deal at the grocery store or the farmers market? What do you do when you’re offered a deal on a bushel of produce that you can’t pass up? What do you do when you have a bumper crop of green beans, squash or tomatoes? There’s only so much of any one food you can eat before you lose a taste for it or it begins to go bad. If you know how to preserve it, you can put it up and use it throughout the year. It is a common sense skill we need to utilize.

Freeze It

A great place to start is by freezing food. It is so easy anyone can do it. Just cook up your harvest in some of your favorite freezer friendly foods, or clean and blanch them before tossing them in the freezer. Blanching veggies is important because it stops enzymatic action (preserving flavor, color, texture) and it removes bacteria.

Freezing is also a great way to store fruits like berries and peaches that don’t last long once they are ripe. The only real disadvantage to freezing food is that you’re limited by the amount of room you have in your freezer. Be sure to get in the habit of labelling frozen food well (with dates) so you know what it is before you pull it out to thaw and how long you have had it.

canning bookCan It

Canning is one of the most versatile ways to preserve food. You can make and can anything from jelly and pie filling to chili and green beans. Canning is perhaps most awesome because it does not require any space in your fridge or freezer. You can store your canned goods in the pantry, in a root cellar, on shelves in the kitchen, or in your basement. Heck, you can keep canned goods under the spare bed if your are running out of room! Properly canned food stores a lot longer than any other method and that is a great way to preserve your harvest and feed your family all year long.

Dehydrate It

If you don’t have a lot of space, consider dehydrating food. You can start by using your oven on the lowest setting. Try dehydrating some apple slices, or any type of food to use in baking and cereal throughout the year. Then explore further and come up with fun snacks like kale chips, fruit leather, and even dried veggies that you can use in soup.

picklingPickle It

Another favorite old-fashioned way to preserve food is to pickle it. Pickling involves submerging the produce in a brine made of salt, sugar, water, and various pickling spices. The most common pickled item is of course pickles and it’s a great place to start. But don’t stop there. You can pickle peppers, okra, cabbage, carrots, and a wide variety of other veggies and even fruits. Play with it and see what you like. Pickled veggies make a great addition to sandwiches and salads throughout the year. Once you start pickling you might just decide you need to try fermentation on a grander scale. It’s a slippery slope, you have been warned.

Cold Store It

Last but not least let’s talk about the simplest way to store food. Things like root vegetables, apples, and cabbages store well in a dry, cool, and dark place. This used to the reason most houses had a root cellars. Today your pantry might be a good place to store this type of food. If you’re lucky enough to have a basement, you can set up some shelves to keep a lot of produce for months to come.

Take steps towards self sufficiency and economic freedom by learning to preserve food during the harvest months and make it last long into the winter.


Survivalist versus Prepper

by Tiffany in Self Sufficiency

Survivalist versus PrepperSurvivalist versus prepper…Is there a difference?

When it comes to being ready for anything that life may throw at you, there are survivalists and there are preppers. Often times these terms are used interchangeably as if they mean the same thing but they are actually quite different. Survivalists and preppers do have a common goal, both seek a certain outcome when all hell breaks loose. There are major differences though in their attitudes and the way they go about preparation for the worst. Though both terms are a bit strong in their description of me and my family’s outlook and attitude, I definitely have more in common with survivalists.

The Common Bond Between Survivalists and Preppers

There are many commonalities between survivalists and preppers. At their core, both have the similar ideals in that they want to be ready for a disaster. They both spend time, energy, and resources to prepare for disasters such as major weather events, war, riots and looting, economic collapse, pandemics, and other disasters.

In both these individuals there is perhaps less confidence in current government and systems to be able to handle these disasters adequately. They want to ensure the survival of themselves and their families during the disastrous event, but also after the event. Many common preparations involve supplies that will allow them to continue to live without aid for an extended period of time.

Survivalist versus Prepper

The difference between survivalists and preppers comes down to how seriously they take up their cause. Make no mistakes about it, both of these groups of people are quite serious about their preparations for the future safety and comfort of themselves and their families. The core difference is really how extreme their plans and preparations are.

There are also differences in how both of these groups prepare for unforeseen events and disasters. For example, one group might stockpile huge amounts of non-perishable foods while the other will have a smaller stockpile and rely heavily on seed saving to grow their own food.

Survivalist Manifesto

Survivalists differ from preppers in the way they make their preparations and their overall idea of surviving after an event. They tend to look to the earth and wilderness for much of their survival needs. A survivalist will learn about the area around them and look to live off the land rather than having huge stockpiles. These people will likely hunt, forage, and grow their own food for their survival needs.

A survivalist is really exactly what their name suggests. They will do what needs to be done to survive. They do not expect to rely on the comforts of civilized life to sustain them during or in the aftermath of a disastrous event. After all if something really bad happens even a stockpile will eventually dwindle. Only a self sufficient family can survive, or so goes the mantra of survivalism. This is also why survivalists are more likely to live off grid, be more solitary, and probably also stockpile arms and ammo rather than huge quantities of freeze dried food.

Prepper’s Platform

Preppers differ from survivalists in how they plan to survive and even thrive after a disaster. They will usually have large stockpiles of supplies, non-perishable foods, and other items that will help them remain safe, alive, and even comfortable during and after such an event. A prepper will typically have a stockpile large enough not only to get them through the event, but large enough to sustain them until rescue. They do usually plan on rescue and things going back to what they once were so in many ways they are thinking more in the short term.

Preppers are usually considered to be the more “serious” or “fervent” in their preparations. This might be because their preparations are often more visible to the people around them. Having a basement full of medical supplies, water jugs, and freeze dried food is pretty intense. The lengths at which preppers will prepare and stockpile are extremely varied from person to person.

In the end these names are just labels. Survivalists and preppers are different in the way that they make their preparations and their overall ideals for how to survive, but at their core they are very similar. Both groups do the work and planning necessary to ensure that they not only survive a potential disaster, but thrive in the aftermath. They are both built on the platform of hard work, forethought, and optimism that they will survive no matter what happens.


Essential Oil Groups Guide

by Tiffany in Essential Oils

Essential Oil Groups GuideEssential oils can be categorized into eight broad groups. It can be really helpful to know these groups and what oils go in each because it can help you choose alternative oils to fit your needs when you don’t have the exact one you want. For example…if you want a strong floral oil for a DIY essential oil perfume and you don’t have the jasmine essential oil you want you can easily choose another from the floral category such as Neroli. Or if you need an earthy essential oil to make a beard oil product for your husband and you don’t have sandalwood, then you can elect to use another woodsy/earthy oil such as cedarwood. It helps when you know the general groups the essential oils fall into.

Antiseptic Essential Oils

These oils are antiseptic and cleansing with a strong camphorous smell. They are great for disinfection uses.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea Tree

Citrus Essential Oils

These oils all have refreshing and stimulating citrus.

  • Bergamot
  • Citronella
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarin
  • Neroli
  • Orange
  • Melissa
  • Lime
  • Tangerine

Fresh Essential Oils

These oils have strong stimulating and refreshing scents.

  • Cypress
  • Niaouli
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Spearmint

Floral Essential Oils

Light and relaxing floral oils:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Juniper
  • Palmarosa

Heady, strong floral oils:

  • Jasmine
  • Rose
  • Rose Otto
  • Rosewood
  • Petitgrain
  • Neroli

Herby Essential Oils

  • Basil
  • Clary Sage
  • Fennel
  • Marjoram
  • Aniseed
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary

Spicy Essential Oils

These are warm and spicy oils.

  • Black Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Nutmeg

Woodsy/Earthy Essential Oils

These oils have the lovely earthy scents from the nature all around us.

  • Cedarwood
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Sandalwood
  • Patchouli
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Vetiver

Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself

by Tiffany in Green Cleaning

Cleaning Products You Can Make YourselfOur rivers and oceans are under constant threat from fertilizer and weed-kill chemicals that run off from treated soils, and from chemical cleaners and prescription medicines that are being disposed of in our household water supplies. As a result, the concept of green living has naturally progressed to green cleaning.

Many of the ingredients needed for homemade cleaning products are probably in your kitchen cabinets right now. These recipes use vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil, fresh citrus juice or baking soda. To add a clean and fresh scent, you can use essential oils or infuse the vinegar with fresh herbs, or citrus fruit rinds.

1. Stubborn Drains: Would you believe that baking soda, citrus fruit peels, vinegar and boiling water could be just as effective as a bottle of Drano, but less expensive and less harmful to your eyes and skin? It’s true! You can even trust that it is safe enough to use it around your children, pets, and plants. You’ve probably seen the vinegar and baking soda volcanos made for childrens’ science fair projects, and the principal is the same except instead of letting it bubble into the sink or tub, you cover it and let it bubble down into the drain.

2. Fabric Softener: This one is so simple you don’t even have to mix anything. It involves hanging your clothes out on a line just before a summer rain and letting them hang until they are dry. The rain will give them a fresh clean scent that costs you nothing, and it works to soften the fabrics without breaking it down as the heat from a drying can do.

If you must dry your clothes in a dryer, you can make your own dryer sheets using leftover fabric squares or old cut up sheets. Simply put the squares in a jar with vinegar and a few drops of whatever essential oil scent you choose. When you need to use one, just wring out the excess liquid and toss it in the dryer with your clothes. When it comes out with the clothes, just put it back in the jar to use another day.

3. Antibacterial Cleaners: With natural anti-bacterial properties, citrus fruits are acidic enough to be used on every surface in your kitchen and bathroom. Using the peels of lemons or grapefruit, you can infuse vinegar before putting it in a spray bottle with water. You can also infuse vinegar with fresh sage. It has not only antibacterial properties but also antimicrobial properties against E. coli and Salmonella typhi.

4. An All Purpose Cleaner: Vinegar and water can do almost all the cleaning in your house that you want (but it is not recommended for use on marble or travertine). Adding a touch of fresh citrus juice or an essential oil will also give your home a fresh smell. You can also use fresh herbs or citrus peel to infuse your vinegar before diluting it with water in a spray bottle.

5. A Moisturizing Dust Spray: For a simply spray that will replace your store-bought (and aerosol) furniture dust spray, use one cup water, ¼ cup distilled vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 15 drops of an essential oil in your favorite scent combined in a spray bottle. Shake prior to a quick spritz on surfaces that need dusting and wipe off with a clean cloth.

6. Coconut Oil: Not just a healthy oil substitute for you, coconut oil is an incredible household jack-of- all-trades! You can create a 50/50 mix with lemon juice and use it as a furniture polish, or use it to remove stubborn spots from carpets. Use it to condition wooden cutting boards and utensils, and to remove rust from scissors and knives. It can be used to polish leather jackets, boots, and shoes, and to remove sticky label adhesive.

As green living becomes closer every day to being the “norm,” new ways of green living are developed. Substitutes for toxic cleaners and chemicals are being found that use natural materials and are better than or as effective as the “man-made” chemicals. More and more families are choosing to “homestead” by growing their own fruits and vegetables, and canning, freezing, or air-tight sealing their harvests. Hybrid cars are becoming more affordable, and soon new houses will be built with solar roofs as a standard.

kaceyKacey is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective”. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.