One of my favorite things to do is make stock. I know, it might seem silly. But I just love throwing those roasty chicken or turkey bones into a pot of water, looking in the fridge and finding things to throw in with them, and then boiling the tarnation out of everything. It makes the house smell lovely. Going in the kitchen and giving the stock a stir every so often just makes me happy. I love the smell when I take off the lid. I love mashing the garlic cloves against the side of the pot with the back of my wooden spoon to infuse the broth with garlicky goodness. I love knowing I am making something from stuff that otherwise would be garbage. In this case, one person's trash truly is another one's treasure.
How often have you just thrown away the bones and skin and leftover junk after you have chicken or turkey for dinner? Oh, it pains me! No bones get tossed here. How about the ends of carrots or the celery tops and leaves? Do you chop em and toss em? Sadness!! The best thing to do is this: every time you trim carrots, celery, onions, etc, throw the ends and bits into a plastic baggie in the freezer. You can freeze bones too. When you have plenty, just toss it all in a pot together and make fantastic stock... better than any canned stuff or bouillon cube you can buy!
I have the recipe for Turkey Soup and Magic Chicken Soup on this page (on the left side) but it's really the same idea. Sometimes I re-roast the bones at 425 for 15 minutes to bring out the flavor. Sometimes I don't bother. Just throw the bones in a pot. Cover with water. Today I added celery tops, garlic, half an onion, a handful of baby carrots, slices of ginger, a sprig of sage from my kitchen garden, and spices: sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne, thyme, parsley. Don't be shy with the flavoring. You can always add more water if the stock is too strong.
My stock is simmering away, making me happy. I don't even have to eat it to get the comfort it brings. But yes, eating it is good too! After 3 hours I will strain it, pour it into a container and let it sit for awhile. Then I'll remove all the fat. Then I can freeze it or make soup. I will probably make myself some Egg Drop Soup tomorrow... so easy and delicious! Just bring stock to a boil, thicken with a little cornstarch, then slowly pour in a beaten egg and simmer a minute or two. Season to taste... add scallions if you like!
You know what else makes me happy? Looking at clouds. Every day I look to see what's new. I point out the changes to my daughter. I love the colors and the striations and variations each day. Sometimes the sky is so breathtaking I want to frame it and hang it on my wall, but photos never do the real thing justice. I just *love* looking at the sky. It makes me so happy.
Tea makes me happy, too. I have a serious *thing* for tea. I have at least 50 different types of tea in my kitchen right now, I kid you not. Herbal teas, green teas, white teas, black teas, imported teas, mate teas, Rooibos teas, dessert teas. All of the teas have zero calories. Every time I go shopping and bring home a new box of tea, my son says, "MOM!! Don't you have ENOUGH teas??" They fill two very large drawers and one big tea box. I usually drink 3 or 4 cups of tea each day. I add agave to some, milk to some, honey to others. Just sitting and holding a warm mug and smelling the delicious aroma makes me happy. Sipping it is wonderful. I am going to do a whole post on my favorite teas one of these days.
And my kids. My kids make me happy. Watching my daughter dance fills my heart with joy. Some of the best times of my life have been days camping with my children or sitting in the bleachers watching my boys play baseball. I adore them, I live for them. Yes, they bring me heartache and annoyance and all manner of other emotions, but they bring me more joy than anything.
And you know what? Writing makes me happy. When I sit down here and just start plunking on the keys without any forethought and something comes out that I am proud of, it makes me very glad. I love the creations that seep out of my mind and heart through my fingers onto these pages. I rarely if ever edit anything I write (except for spellcheck). I just enjoy giving birth to *something*. Words on a page. My thoughts, going to other people. I love it.
So, you see, life is rich. It's good and it doesn't have to be about food anymore. I used to be so blanketed in food obsession and compulsions to eat that nothing else... rather, NOTHING... made me truly happy. Oh, I *thought* I'd be happy if I got that box of chocolate truffles or that fried chicken and biscuits. I even *thought* I was happy eating it. But I wasn't. I was sad. I was so sad that I look back now and wish I could reach out and hug that very sad, very lost woman who was really crying out for help, but no one could hear. She binged in darkness, behind closed doors, alone. She was oh so alone.
Now I savor many things. Food, yes. I savor my food, but I also savor the ache in my legs after I have biked 7 miles, the softness of a warm blanket over my bare arms, the lilting ballerina music my daughter plays and dances to. I embrace input from all of my senses now. My life is full of bright skies and crunchy leaves and sweet hugs. I love my life. I am happy.
Lately: The Strawberry Edition
1 hour ago