Above is another one of my favorite things - an antique dresser set my mother gave me for Christmas. She found it in a second hand shop and decided it would be the perfect gift to go along with the vanity Woodley was planning to surprise me with as his present. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of having a vanity to sit at and do my hair and makeup. Woodley's gift, the vanity, turned out perfectly so now my dream has come true! I was definitely spoiled this past Christmas but it is so nice to get such functional yet beautiful presents that always brighten my day.
One of my new year's resolutions was to make home made bread and chicken stock. For the last couple of weeks I've actually started working on that goal and it seems to be going very well. This past Monday I made the same whole wheat bread recipe I baked a couple of weeks ago and it turned out very well. This time I made two loaves and I think they quite possibly came out better than the first. I timed myself and found that it took me 7 hours altogether to bake them. Next time I'll have to start earlier in the day (This time I started at 3pm so I didn't finish until around 10pm).
Along with my bread, I decided to make some chicken stock that I can store and use for future dishes. After searching a bit Epicurious I found a recipe for Chicken Stock that I liked.
Monday morning I went to the store to get ingredients for the stock, as well as to do my other shopping for the week. Sadly though, I forgot to get the celery (I accidentally crossed it off of my list before I actually added it to my cart!). Since I was busy taking care of the bread, I asked Woodley to pick up some celery for me when he went out to Fry's with Steven. Since they didn't get back until close to 8pm that night I didn't start the stock until around 8:30 and it wasn't done until around 1am. I always intend to start cooking earlier but I really am such a night owl when it comes to working in the kitchen!
Here are all of the veggies sautéing for 10 minutes before the herbs, chicken, and water were added.
Such lovely greens to add to the stock! 6 stocks of Italian parsley, 6 basil leaves, 6 stocks of thyme, 2 basil leaves broken in half, and a tablespoon of peppercorns.
Here it is after I added the water and the chicken. I let it go a bit longer than the recipe called for and it was so nice and homey watching it bubble away on the stove (especially when my bread was baking in the oven beneath it!).
Almost done! Here I am ladling out the stock into a colander and cheesecloth lined strainer which you can just see the corner of in the picture. I strained it into a big bowl and let it cool in the refrigerator until morning.
In the morning I skimmed off the fat and poured it into bottles that I had just sterilized in the dishwasher. I figured they didn't need to be absolutely sterile because I would be freezing the stock.
Here are my completed labeled pint jars of chicken stock after they were left in the freezer overnight. Since I wanted to allow the liquid space to expand, I left the lids of the jars a bit loose. I took them out of the freezer this morning to tighten them up. It will be so much nicer to be able to use homemade stock now!
Oh - this project also motivated me to clean and re-organize the freezer which was in desperate need of some attention. It looks so nice and orderly now! Yay!