Chicken soup…for the soul (and dogs)

Last week when I made and canned chicken stock, I froze some of it to save for this weekend so I could make some chicken soup.

Chicken soup

I make my chicken stock and chicken soup as frugally as I can. The chicken stock is made with bones and random pieces of chicken that I save up for a while in the freezer–backbones, neckbones, even the liver and other inside pieces that they give you when you buy a whole chicken. Then I throw in some odds and ends of vegetables that I save in the freezer, like the ends of celery and carrots. All of that goes into a big pot with water to cook for a few hours to make chicken stock.

Then for the chicken soup, I do use fresh vegetables, not the odds and ends (carrots, onion, and celery). The chicken is bits and pieces I’ve been saving for a while in a bag in the freezer, little bits left over when we have chicken for supper and even the bits I manage to pull off the bones after making chicken stock. I use the chicken soup recipe from the Ball Blue Book, though I do use less onions than they say to use. I like onions, but I prefer not to have a strong onion flavor. Then during the winter, when I open up a jar I add in some egg noodles while I heat it up and have homemade chicken noodle soup.

Zoey

I had just a little bit of broth and chicken pieces left over, so the dogs got a little bit of their own chicken soup too. They licked their bowls clean!

It’s apple season!

Apple peeling

Apples are popping up at the farmer’s market, a sign that fall is here! I bought a few different varieties this weekend and got to use my apple peeler/corer/slicer for the first time. I hosted a Pampered Chef party a few months ago and used my hostess perks to get a discount on this thing. I LOVE IT. Once I figured out how to use it, it made everything go so quickly.  I used it to slice up some apple rings, which I put into the dehydrator sprinkled with cinnamon. Oh, those things made the house smell SO good. I just got my dehydrator for my birthday last month, so this is my first time making apple chips. I’ll definitely be making more of them!

Canning

I also used the peels along with a few more chopped apples to make some applesauce, and then used the leftover juice for apple juice. I ended up with 3 pints of applesauce and 3 quarts of apple juice (one of which didn’t get canned, it went straight into the fridge to drink right away). I also canned four pints of the chicken stock that I posted a picture of in my last post. Since the busy season of canning tons of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peaches is over I can work on getting chicken stock and soups done in between making applesauce and juice.

Beautiful chicken stock and homestead dreams

Chicken stock

Is it weird that the above picture makes me giddy? Freshly made chicken stock (in my vintage Pyrex, which also makes me giddy on its own), strained and ready to go into the refrigerator so the fat can congeal and be removed before I can the stock. This is what I think of when I think of my dream life furthering our homesteading goals: homemade chicken stock, nutritious soups, jars and jars of jams and fruits, chickens and goats and rabbits out in the yard.

We’re not all the way there yet in our dreams, but we’re working on it. I do can as much as possible each year–peaches, pears, jams, jellies, tomatoes, tomato soup, beans, corn, pickles–and many of the vegetables come from our own garden. We have the chickens and keep a supply of eggs from them. We’re planning to get meat rabbits, hopefully by next spring? And I’m trying to make as much homemade foods as I can. Which is why I spent the last few hours cooking chicken pieces and vegetable scraps on the stove.

I also made chocolate ice cream during that time. Not on the stove. In the ice cream maker. Just to be clear.

It’s a lot of work sometimes, but I do love this life!