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Rustic Chicken Stew

rustic chicken stew www.anniesgoathill.comAutumn, the season when we begin thinking of comfort food.

I picture a log cabin with a large hearth in the kitchen, with a black iron pot simmering a soup or stew. Of course, this fills the home with the aroma of mouth-watering goodness.

Well, the hearth isn’t any part of things in my home today, nor is the cabin in the woods, but I have the smell of wholesomeness going on.

On the stove is Rustic Chicken Stew. I found this recipe in the HEB flyer.  For those of you that are non-Texan, HEB is our main, and much-loved, Central Texas (and more locations) grocery store. I did some tweaking to the recipe, which I will tell you about after the instructions.

Rustic Chicken Stew

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb chicken, diced

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp granulated garlic powder

1 small onion, chopped

1 can sliced carrots, drained

1 32 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1 can (14.5 oz) great northern beans, drained

32 oz can low sodium chicken broth

1. Heat olive oil in large pot on medium-high. Add diced chicken and herbs to hot oil and brown thoroughly. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. In the same pan, add the onion and simmer until tender.

3. In the same pan, add the carrots, tomatoes and beans. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes.

4. Pour in chicken broth and simmer on medium heat for at least 20 minutes.

These are the revisions that I made to the original recipe:

  • I used bone-in chicken. The recipe called for boneless. I boiled the chicken, allowed it to cool, then deboned and diced the meat. I used part of the fresh chicken broth as a substitute for canned chicken broth.
  • I used granulated garlic powder instead of 3 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • I left out the 5 oz of baby spinach, chopped. My dear husband does not know what is good for him! If you opt to include spinach, add it when you add the carrots, tomatoes and beans.
  • The original recipe also called for 4 tomatoes, chopped, added after the fresh carrots are simmered until tender (yes, 2 of them, chopped – instead of canned).
  • The original recipe did not call for adding the herbs until after the chicken was browned. I am the type of cook that does not follow directions, and I love the taste of meat that has browned with herbs. Either way, the recipe works beautifully. Browned herbs add a certain type of flavor to any dish – compared to herbs added to the liquids after browning of the meat or vegetables.
  • I simmer this stew on low heat for several hours, and stir as needed.

Cook time: 2 hours

Prep time: 20 minutes

Makes 6 servings, approximately 180 calories and 4.5 grams per serving

Hot homemade cornbread anyone? I believe that would top this off. Don’t forget the real butter!

 

Stories of Hope

360 degrees of grief, hopeAs I removed the key from the lock and I turned away from the door, the warmth from the gleaming sun captured my attention. At that very moment, I promised myself to take notice of every little speck of nature that I could see, smell and hear.

I became aware of newly formed anthills – which looked like tiny volcanoes in the soft rich red-brown earth. I saw indentations in the grass that looked like paths for tiny feet to follow, and there were squirrels hopping from tree to tree – unaware, and not caring, if they lost their grip. Beside them were birds twittering happy tunes while perched on branches that were swaying in the breeze. I took deep breaths of the October scented air. Despite this being Central Texas, I caught the fragrance of autumn.

I lifted my chin up to the endless lucid blue sky and spotted a soaring black bird. It floated and circled in tranquility, and then memories surfaced that shattered my peace.

Heartache appeared out of nowhere, like lava emerging from a crack in the earth. There was no stopping it and I struggled to keep the pain from reflecting on my face. The thought that caused this emergence was, What if that same bird were flying above my farm? I would have avoided this memory at all costs if I had known it was coming, but that is not how grieving works.

Grieving is a process. It starts out with hurt feelings, good memories, anger, wild rides through the ups and the downs, or a mixture of all of the above, and then it settles out. A memory pops in randomly at some point in the future, triggered by a sight, a smell, a voice, or a sound, and the hurt is raw once again — but for a much shorter moment of time.

Through this anthology, I am here today to share hope with you: 360 Degrees of Grief: Reflections of Hope (Selah Press, author Kayla Fioravanti).

This book holds several of my stories, and I was part of the editing team. I was deep into studying one of the stories when God touched my spirit. I became aware that I had been under a blanket of heaviness. I had not walked through the bright new door that God had opened; in fact, I had my foot in the door so that it would not close behind me. What a healing experience that revelation that was! I let go.

I felt compelled to share my breakthrough, so I submitted a third story to this book.

If you are grieving, and even if you are not, this book encapsulates hope. Each author shared their own unique openhearted story of grieving, but by the sheer fact that we gathered and wrote our lessons for you to read, we all grew and moved ahead in our personal journeys. I wish that same healing for you, and for all!

start writing www.anniesgoathill.com

Annie may not have goats in the barn at this point, and she is only in the thinking stages of returning to soap making, but she is definitely glued to some major tasks – book writing!

Update on my books:

Annie’s All About Goats is in the hands of my trusted, talented and extremely appreciated editing team! Progress!

Annie’s lotion making book is approximately 80% complete. In this book I teach the simple process of basic lotion making for the crafty person that wishes to personally benefit from their own made-from-scratch lotion, with goat milk as an ingredient as well. If that were all that I wanted to include in this book, however, the manuscript would be finished. I am in the process of adding product information for people that desire to sell lotions and creams as a business. I have also included my Annie’s Goat Hill formula in the book, which is a creamy viscous lotion that easily squeezes out of thicker pump tubes. A former customer said, “This is goat milk cream!”

Annie also has a youth fiction book which is in the advanced stages of completion. The antics of those two kids! Need I say more?

At this point, I’ll not go into detail about my other book projects – most of which are handwritten on notebook paper and in journals.

Let me know if you have any questions…and look for my books to come!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps…Where You Smell and Feel the Goodness!

essential oil safety, aromatherapy www.anniesgoathill.com

Be careful…be very careful.

I am speaking out about formulas, recipes and instructions that I’ve seen in print – over the internet (Facebook, social media in general, soap making lists), and in books that I’ve downloaded, that have included very poor and/or misinformation about essential oil use.

So, today I am sharing a compilation of basic truths that I feel cannot be expressed enough.

Truths:

  • Essential oils are not safe for ingestion! Do not drink them, and do not include them in your food.
  • Essential oils cannot be derived from each and every species of plant. Other than citrus, a fruit scented liquid that is labeled essential oil is not so! A fruit scented oil (such as strawberry, blueberry, banana, apple, coconut, etc…) is a fragrance oil.
  • Essential oils should not be applied neat (oils must always be diluted – normally with a carrier oil – before applying to the skin).
  • Essential oils must be used with caution – and even more so with the elderly, people that are sick or weak, and children. Use extra caution, or avoid usage altogether, on infants and animals.
  • An absolute diluted in a carrier oil does not equate to a pure essential oil. (Example: Vanilla is in its best form as an absolute. It does not distill well as an essential oil. Vanilla absolute can be diluted with a carrier oil, but the result is NOT to be labeled as pure essential oil). 
  • Any book that teaches essential oil blending, aromatherapy, or the formulating of products that contain essential oils, should include safe usage instructions and warnings.
  • Your nose knows! When an aromatherapist is in training, oils are studied by the book (chemistry make up and how the oil is derived), and through scent. The trained nose becomes familiar with good oils (oils that have not been adulterated). Trust your nose! If you suspect that an oil is not as labeled, you are more than likely correct. Do not use an oil that smells “off”.

Please help protect the freedom we have to use these oils. Misuse and misinformation will speed the boat up that could carry regulation to our doors, or worse, someone could die or become very sick. Stop the dreaded words, “It is natural, so what can it hurt?” It can hurt much…natural does not equate to safe or non-toxic.

 

My background: I am a base level aromatherapist. I took a course through a well-known school, completed projects with actual people, made formulas and products, took a detailed final exam, and received a certificate. Even at that, this does not make me an expert. I have a good understanding of the basics of aromatherapy – safety, usage and chemistry.

Annie’s Goat Hill, Smell and Feel the Goodness!

reversable apron, crocheting www.anniesgoathill.com

Annie’s is not dead. Sound like a familiar movie title? Well … Annie’s Is Not Dead!

Annie’s Goat Hill currently does not have goats on the apartment patio, nor does it have fresh soap in the (non-existent) spare room…but Annie’s is alive and kicking.

Annie (Mary Humphrey – myself) has authored books (Essential Soapmaking and Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery), along with stories she contributed to the Selah Press anthology 360 Degrees of Grief: Reflections of Hope, all of these books are available on her blogs, and on her Amazon.com author page. She’s also polishing her first edition, soon to be published, of Annie’s All About Goats. Behind this writing project is the first draft completed of Jackson and Delilah’s Adventures, a fiction youth novel. Devotionals follow suit, which are in the stage of notes written in pen and ink. There may also be books from the kitchen, because this woman can cook. Did you know that? She cooks from scratch and follows the little-bit-of-this-and-that method.

Soap creation and sales may return to the agenda in late 2014. Can you imagine creamy, skin loving goat milk soap once again coming from Annie’s studio? It just might happen.

What you absolutely have not heard about, until today, is Creative Expressions by Annie. You know, she thrives on creativity – writing, DIY personal care products, sewing, crocheting, soap making, aromatherapy and crafts that work all of these things together. The photo above is a sample of things to come – a series of blog posts that she hopes inspires you to new (or renew) your passions. The world is full of beautiful things…and the freedom to use your imagination!

“In this time of ‘information overload’, people do not need more information. They want a story they can relate to.”  – Maarten Schafer

Annie’s Goat Hill – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

 

www.anniesgoathill.com coconut oil

I plunked my money down on a name brand skin care product that promised nightly renewal with rich vitamins and skin-nutritional ingredients. What did I get? A heavy cream that absorbed quickly, but without any noticeable softness or sign of skin rejuvenation. In fact, after several weeks of use I developed peeling patches on either side of my nose. My skin was dryer than before I used the product!

I always keep a jar of organic coconut oil in my pantry. Coconut oil is healthy for cooking, is great for seasoning pans (or as a coating to prevent sticking), and I use it for one more thing – my bulldog’s dry nose. Seriously! I keep a small container of coconut oil in my dog care kit. I apply a small dab to his nose when I routinely clean his folds and ears. I am sure the coconut oil is healthier than the much more expensive petroleum-based salves and ointments made for bully noses.

A few weeks ago I dabbed coconut oil on my dry skin patches. It melted luxuriously and immediately felt soothing. Then I applied a small amount to my face, and to my hair as a leave-in overnight conditioner. It left my hair looking oily, but it washed out beautifully the following morning, with a noticeable soft result.

After I experienced a difference in my skin condition, I decided to take it a step further by swirling up (hand stirring) a batch of my own natural coconut oil skin care moisturizer…simple!!!

Mature Skin Moisturizer

6 ounces of organic coconut oil (white solid that melts at 76 degrees)

1-2 drops each of the the following oils which are well-known for mature skin care – elasticity, wrinkles, and dryness

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia)

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) can be drying, use 1 drop

Rose (Rosa damascena) cell regeneration

Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) anti-inflammatory, can be drying, use 1 drop

Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

Myrrh (Commiphora myrrh)

Cedarwood (Cedra atlantica) can be drying, use 1 drop

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Unfortunately, I did not have Neroli (Citrus aurantium) and Carrot seed (Daucas carota) oils in my possession. Add 1-2 drops each for additional nourishing and anti-aging properties.

Store in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid, in a cool area to prevent melting of the product.

This formula does leave a healthy glimmer to the skin. It does not create an oil-slicked look and feel, but that also depends upon the dryness of your skin and the amount of moisturizer applied. A small amount is all that is needed.

The scent of this formula is not overpowering. I personally cannot tolerate fragrance. I have to cover my nose as I walk through the detergent aisle in a store! I can live with pure unadulterated essential oils…but I cannot tolerate a hint of fragrance. If you are sensitive to fragrance, are you also sensitive to fragrance free products? I am. I believe I am sensitive to the chemicals that are used to mask the ingredient odors, fragrance or not. If this is also your situation, you might consider eliminating fragrance from your life entirely – and go with products that are as natural as possible.

Note: When working with essential oils, always test the formula for allergies and sensitivities by applying a small amount to a patch of skin before applying to larger areas. I test for allergic reactions on the soft skin inside my elbow.

Some oils are photosensitive, meaning, they can cause an adverse reaction or sensitivity when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Avoid using any skin care products containing these oils (do your research beforehand) if you are going to be exposed to sunlight.

I have a foundation level certificate in aromatherapy, I am not a licensed practitioner. I am telling you this because I do not want you to dabble in essential oils without knowing your stuff. Essential oils can be dangerous! Natural does not mean safe! Natural can be toxic, especially when essential oils are either not diluted in a carrier oil (1% is a great start), or if the oils are taken internally.

Do not blindly use essential oils on young children, pets, pregnant women, the elderly, or anyone suffering from a health condition! Leave it to trained professionals.

 

Annie's All About Goats www.anniesgoathill.comI am allowing myself to become excited, but not so much that I cannot concentrate on my writing. But still…let me give it a shout, Annie’s All About Goats is looking like a book!

This book project has grown. On a daily basis I add fresh notes, new ideas, and the research abounds.

When will it be published? My goal is middle May, 2014.

I want to take the time today to thank you for your comments, your questions, your email. Goodness, this blog’s readership has grown!

Thank you!

Mary Humphrey

Share, Encourage and Grow!

www.dreamstimefree_236739

Many of us need a second or third (in addition to a first) income stream to make financial ends meet.

Thankfully, starting a small business does not always require the investment of thousands of dollars.

Right off the top of my head I think of a soap making or beauty product business. Begin with research – look at other small businesses in the industry, study how to make soap or beauty products, determine where to purchase supplies, and ask yourself where you will sell your product and determine your pricing (how you will make a profit).

Start small, and place your profits back into your business. Continue on a small scale, do not spend money on unnecessary supplies. With a much loved product, like hand-made soap, it will not be long before you turn your business into an income producer.

Other small start-up businesses that do not require a fat bank account or additional funding: baking, cooking, cleaning, writing (blogging, books, editing), delivery service, personal trainer, personal shopper and/or errand runner, farmer’s markets (hand-made items, home grown, resale). The list is endless, depending upon your personal interests, willingness to work hard, and your initial investment.

Always consider your local business codes, laws, and insurance requirements.

I urge people, especially women that want to work from home, to give entrepreneurship a try. I strongly believe God gave each of us talents, gifts, that we may never realize if we do not let go, let Him, help us branch out.

After a decade of owning small businesses, I can tell you my experiences have been rewarding, challenging, fruitful, wisdom gaining, and I continue to take on more avenues that keep me independent with additional streams of income. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Freedom!

Email me if you have any questions about starting a soap making or small business. I also recommend:

Books by Selah Press, Kayla Fioravanti, How to Self-Publish, DIY Kitchen Chemistry, The Art, Science and Business of Aromatherapy, Melt & Pour Soap Base From Scratch

Books and business coaching by Bath and Body Academy, Alyssa Middleton, as well as her most recent Kindle book, 12 Revenue Streams for Your Bath and Body Business (Beauty Business Basics), in which she shares additional ways to expand a beauty business to bring in additional revenue streams. I highly recommend this book to people entering the handmade bath and personal product industry, and to business owners in need of fresh ideas for their existing businesses.

I offer two books, co-authored with Alyssa Middleton, the first of which helps you get started in soap making, along with the business basics, Essential Soapmaking, and Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery, which focuses on progressive methods of soapmaking.

Before I began to write books, and before I shifted my motto to Share, Encourage and Grow (blogging both here and at www.hispasturepress.com), one book made an incredible impact on me, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life, by Laurie Beth Jones. After reading the book, I developed a precisely clear vision of my life and work mission.

I also recommend the Indie Business Network (IBN), especially their social site where both well-versed and budding entrepreneurs share in the discussion forum. IBN serves the handmade and beauty industry with an enormous amount of support for their paid members (including liability insurance).

I look forward to your comments, especially if you list additional resources for budding entrepreneurs (even outside of the handmade beauty industry).

Share, Encourage, and Grow!

Mary Humphrey

http://www.anniesgoathill.com

http://www.hispasturepress.com

newborn goat kid www.anniesgoathill.com

Several goat owners have expressed concern about keeping their newborn kids in the barn overnight during extremely cold temperatures, and have asked how to handle birthing (kidding) during a cold snap. In all of these situations the goats were either in a four or three sided barn, and all had a full roof overhead. I advised that the open areas, if there were any, be shielded from the wind. Cold drafts must be blocked.

There are several ways to add extra draft protection –  one is by using tarps, and the other is the use of straw bales. I do not advise stacking bales of straw two and three high within a stall or paddock because they can fall on top of a very young kid and pen them under, but a straw bale, just one high, can provide extra protection for a dam and her kids to butt up against. Straw bales can be stacked outside of a pen wall, though, such as against a heavy wire panel. This provides a thick layer of insulation from wind and drafts.

I also believe in allowing a layer of used bedding to remain on the ground inside the barn in colder climates, especially around the corners and along the base of outside walls. The used bedding, just several inches thick, packs down and provides a layer of insulation from the cold ground. Very damp or wet bedding will lead to the chilling of a kid and must be raked out.

If you use electrical sources of heat, such as heat lamps, always ensure the lamps are on a safe circuit, and keep the lamps high enough, away from combustible materials, and out of the reach of kids and adult goats. I am not fond of using heat lamps when I am not in close proximity of the barn, due to fire danger, but I have known others to use them successfully by following careful safety measures.

I am a fan of using boxes for the kids to crawl into. Inexpensive sturdy plastic storage boxes, laid on their side, lined with a towel or dry straw for the newborn goats to snuggle into, have provided extra protection for many kids on our farm.

When due dates fall into the cold season, or when newborn kids are on the ground (in the barn) during extremely inclement weather:

  • ensure newborn kids are nursing (which gives them a much better chance of retaining body heat and surviving)
  • promote the eating of hay at a very young age (it helps the young goat to develop rumen activity, and helps them to generate their own body heat)
  • ensure kids are dried off after birth as quickly as possible (keep dry towels on hand to assist the doe with cleaning the kid, which prevents the kid’s body temperature from dropping below normal, and prevents frostbite – especially important for kids with susceptible long ears)
  • set an alarm during the night, more than once if the temperatures drop below freezing, and check on the youngest of kids frequently
  • have supplies on hand that will help you revive an overly chilled kid (see Reviving a Chilled Newborn Kid link below)
  • Provide warm water as often as possible – goats tend to shun the drinking of ice cold water

I have several blog posts in my archives that may assist you:

Reviving a Chilled Newborn Kid

Bottle Feeding Goat Kids

Colostrum – The Most Important Nutrition In a Goat’s Life

Thiamine Deficiency

Selenium Deficiency

Spotlight of Warmth

www.anniesgoathill.com spotlightMost of us, with the exception of my friends (whom I sort of envy right now) that reside on the bottom side of our globe, are into winter – dark and cold days. As I was scrolling through blogs, photos of animals, the promotion of small businesses and farms, and posters of positive thoughts, I thought about all of the brightness that those people brought to me and came up with the idea of an Annie’s Goat Hill spotlight. Why not bring good news into the world during this, seemingly, long season? We can all use a Spotlight of Warmth, it spreads.

So, beginning today, if you would like to share, or link to, one of your photos, blog posts, an article about your small business, most anything of taste relating to natural, farm, small business, encouragement and faith, and handmade personal care products on this blog – I encourage you to contact me (anniesgoathill@gmail.com) with your submissions and ideas.

I have some folks in mind already, which leads me to remind those of you that are small business owners and authors to always provide contact information.

Mary

Share, Encourage, and Grow