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Bone Broth: When Old-Fashioned Goes Vogue

Bone Broth: When Old-Fashioned Goes Vogue

Bone broth is a new fancy, schmancy name for what I’ve been making for years. I first made it in the late 1970s after we moved to Harding County. Only we didn’t use the now trendy term “bone broth.” If we boiled a chicken or turkey carcass in a pot of water for a couple hours, we called it chicken broth. Or turkey broth. If we did the same with beef bones or ham bones, we called it beef broth. Or ham broth.

This morning, I made chicken broth. Not bone broth. The sight and smell of the pot bubbling on the stove reminded me of the Harding Country values that blessed my kitchen during our 7 years living there and for the 36 years since we left.

  • Use what you have because “running” to the grocery store is a pain when the grocery store 23 miles away.
  • Refuse to throw away something that looks like garbage (like bones) until after every bit of goodness has been eked out of it.
  • Homemade is best.
  • A deep freeze is your friend.
  • So make lots of whatever you’re making and freeze it.
  • In winter the great outdoors makes a good freezer, too. (Which explains while several jars of broth are cooling on the front porch before they go in the deep freeze.)

While the broth cools, I’m brainstorming ideas about how to incorporate those cooking lessons into future books in the West River Mystery series. More than the recipe included at the end of each one. Something integral to the cozy mystery being solved. Because in kitchen values are worth passing along. Because there will be no pressure to use the phrase “bone broth” since no one in protagonist Jane’s world would use such a pretentious term. And because See Jane Cook! is a really good title.

See Jane Run into 2021

See Jane Run into 2021

See Jane run into 2021. Or to be more accurate, see me dance for joy because the revisions to See Jane Run! requested by the publisher are done. That means the manuscript is off my plate for a few months as it’s now with book coach Anne Fleck for a consistency edit. She’ll check it over to see how the book flows with t he odd bits that have been added and those that have been removed. Once she’s done, I’ll look over her suggestions and decide what and how to incorporate them.

If you’re looking for an editor, I highly recommend her. Not because she’s my daughter, but because she’s really good at what she does. Her website is being revamped at the moment, but if you need a good fiction book coach or editor, you can contact her at novelspiritsbooks@gmail.com.

Back to what I was talking about. Writing time’s going to be scarce in January as I’m teaching some virtual workshops. I’m hoping for a little time for polishing first draft of See Jane Sing!, but I’m not banking on it. Teaching workshops is tiring and time-consuming. They also pay very well, so I’m not complaining. By the end of January 2021, I will have earned more income than in all of 2020. Maybe that’s why I’m dancing for joy.

Before 2020 runs out, I want to say thank you to all of you for your encouraging messages throughout this writing journey. It began over 10 years ago when I first wrote the idea down in the notebook pictured above. The theme, the names of characters, and the story have evolved since then, but my reason for writing has not. You are the reason I keep working to get the West River Mysteries published. Which is going to happen in 18 months. Here’s the timeline for the first three books in case you missed it before.

Summer 2021: See Jane Run!
Fall 2021: See Jane Sing!
Winter 2022: See Jane Dance!

After that, the plan is to publish a book a year until I run out of ideas. So here’s to running into 2021 and beyond! I hope you’ll run with me.

Sign up to receive website updates and See Jane Run! book news on Gravel Road’s home page right under the picture of–you guessed it–the gravel road.

 

Ekalaka, Montana: The First Town Over the Border

Ekalaka, Montana: The First Town Over the Border

Ekalaka is the first town west of Camp Crook, the town upon which See Jane Run! and the rest of the Tipperary County Mystery series is based. I snickered when I first heard the town’s name because, I mean really, who names their town something that sounds like a cheerleading chant.

Ekalaka, Ekalaka, shish boom bah!

Someone mentioned that Ekalaka was named after an Indian princess. An interesting factoid to toss around, but that was all to a young college graduate who was pretty sure she knew everything. Before life broadened her lens and took her down a peg or two.

In June of 2007 a fellow writer, who had once lived in Ekalaka, and I visited the tiny western towns where we had once lived. We toured Ekalaka’s museum, which was amazing for a county seat which boasts a population of 369. The museum even has a complete stegosaurus skeleton. More on that in another post.

The exhibit about Ijkalaka Eagle Man, the town’s namesake, took the older and wiser me down a few more pegs. Like twenty. Or a hundred. Or a thousand. When I read the plaque under Ekalaka’s portrait, I thought of the changes she experienced–moving from a Native American upbringing to life on a ranch to her marriage.

How did she navigate those changes? What was it like to see her way of life obliterated? How did it feel to learn you were worth eight horses and a hundred pounds of sugar?  

Those are questions I’d love to explore and answer in a novel. Maybe once the Tipperary County mysteries have run their course. The wonderful thing about fiction is that once the research about a time period and place is done, imagination and life experience can fill in the gaps. They can answer the question that’s niggled at me since I read the plaque in the museum: What it was about Ekalaka that led white settlers to name a town after her? In my book, that’s a question worth answering and a story worth writing.

Eklalaka. It’s a wonderful name for a town.

Sign up to receive website updates and See Jane Run! book news on Gravel Road’s home page right under the picture of–you guessed it–the gravel road.

Top 10 Signs Your Family Is Full of Tolkien Fans

Top 10 Signs Your Family Is Full of Tolkien Fans

How do you know your family contains generations of Tolkien fans? Here's how I figured it out.The Man of Steel and I are proud of our kids for many reasons. One of our faves is that we turned them into J.R.R. Tolkien fans before the movies came out and remain so to this day.

10. Our family food fave analogies always follow the same formula: I like _______________ as much as hobbits like mushrooms.

9.  Entirely too many family dinner discussions cite Silmarillion references. In great detail.

8.  Family members look for ways to sneak words like “clad” and “strode” and “smite” or “smote” into every day conversation.

7.  We each can describe the cover art on the first Lord of the Ring trilogy we ever read.

6.  Some of our kids’ favorite childhood memories are of reading Tolkien (not only The Hobbit, but also the trilogy and The Tolkien Reader) out loud as a family.

5.  When a family member swallows loudly at any meal, everyone else at the table calls him or her “Gollum.”

4.  We have a family tradition of watching the entire trilogy at some point during Christmas break to commemorate the original releases and our first viewings of the movies in December of 2001, 2002, and 2003.

3.  The under-the-stairs closet with it’s 3 foot high door was immediately dubbed “the hobbit closet” when we moved here in 1991.

2. We agree that Spock and all other Vulcans are Middle Earth elves in disguise.

1. In this family, the word “precious” is uttered in a reedy voice with long, drawn out hisses.

Is your family comprised of Middle Earth fans? Leave a comment to describe how you know.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Three Thoughts for Thursday

The end of summer, a new exhibit at the Louvre, and the Man of Steel's latest adventures in this week's 3 thoughts.

 

  1. The saddest day of summer is when the public swimming pool gets drained. It’s just so final.
  2. Several passersby on our Gravel Road have mentioned seeing the Man of Steel mow the lawn with a 40 pound pack on his back. Lest a rumor starts that I banished him and all his possessions to the yard, please note that he is training for a mountain climbing adventure. (I’m not making this up.)
  3. One of this summer’s exhibits at the Louvre in Paris is a Barbie doll retrospective. Can you imagine what her presence is doing to Mona Lisa’s smile?

What makes you sad at the end of summer? Leave a comment.

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Summer Recipes on Our Gravel Road

Summer Recipes on Our Gravel Road

In August, most of our meals revolve around what comes in our weekly CSA share and what’s in season at the grocery store. Since many fruits and veggies are available for a very short time, I’ve been cooking family favorite recipes rather than trying new ones. That’s why today’s post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately.

1. Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.To use up tomatoes, sweet peppers, and jalapenos we’ve been making double batches of this delicious summer salsa. This summer’s new twist has been to cut the corn off two ears of sweet corn, microwave it for a minute, and add it to the salsa. How can something good for a person be so sinfully good?

2.  Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.

Summer heat’s been great for the basil in my herb garden. I’ve lost count of how many batches of pesto we’ve made. We make non-dairy basil pesto, which is as tasty as the regular version.

3.  Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.Most of the pesto goes in the freezer to be used throughout the winter. But some of it gets added to pesto pasta, to which we add summer vegetables that need to be used: zucchini and grape tomatoes are two faves.

4. Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.Peanut chicken stir fry is another summer favorite at our house because we can add whatever veggies are available. Our favorite is Joni’s Cashew Chicken, garnished with peanuts instead of cashews. You can find other stir fry recipes by typing “chicken stir fry” in the Gravel Road search box.

5. Today's post is a parade of the previously published recipes that have been prepared in our kitchen lately using seasonal produce.With peach season going strong, we’ve been eating a lot of peach pie for dessert. This morning I made two for supper with friends tonight. This fresh peach pie recipe can’t be beat.

So what’s cooking in your late summer kitchen? Leave a link to your favorite recipe in the comment box if you like.