Favorite Things – July 2011

How it’s almost August 2011 is beyond me. I feel like it was just August 2006 and I was getting ready to get married. Now all my friends are having babies and I’m this close to old. Actually, I take that back. Thirty is nowhere near old. Sixty is old… Mom.


And with that slap in the face to the woman who raised me, let’s get to Favorite Things July.

The Longchamp Tote.

This is mine. It is green. Green is extremely versatile, believe it or not. I bought this bag in the early spring of 2004 at Picadilly Circus in London. Should have bought it in Paris at the flagship store, I know, but London’s pretty good, right? Navy blue and hot pink are other favorites of mine, but green will always be the winner. You can find one stateside at Nordstrom, or other fine retailers.

The Library.

Here’s why the library is fabulous: you can check out loads of books for free. {Unless, of course, you forget to return them on time, in which case that will be 60 cents per day, please.} Technically the library isn’t free, since you have no choice but pay for it out of your taxes, which is all the more reason to go! You better believe I am milking the Arkansas library for all it’s worth considering they took a BAJILLION dollars in taxes from us for the TWO MONTHS we lived here in 2010.

I have been eyeing both of these books at Barnes and Noble but have never had an extra $30 lying around for books {since Arkansas took all my money!}. Now they are both ALL MINE until August 25th!

Homemade Chicken Stock.

Read this. Then make it for yourself. It’s seriously so good.

Ben F. on The Bachelorette.

How have we not talked about The Bachelorette yet? I mean really, it’s way too fun. Every year I swear I’m over it. Every year I roll my eyes and am sick of the drama. Then every year I laugh my head off with the crazy girls I watch it with, make fun of the awkward TV romances, and wind up really liking some of the contestants. This year Ben F. has been my favorite since the beginning. He’s silly, he’s nice, he opened up about his Dad’s death, he’s from Sonoma, and he’s a winemaker. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG HERE?

Despite the fact that, no matter who Ashley picks, there is no way they will last, Ben F. seems like the type it would be worth spending time with. And Ashley thinks every wine tastes like “his” wine, so he could clearly spend some time teaching her the ways of the grape… there, I have the first 2 months of their relationship planned out already!

Chick-fil-A Oatmeal.

Chick-fil-A, you’ve done it again. How is this oatmeal the best oatmeal in life ever? And I know oatmeal! ├é┬áRemember when I wrote an entire blog post about oatmeal? There is honestly only one oatmeal I’ve ever had that is better, and it’s only available in like 1/48 of the country. {It’s Jamba Juice’s, FYI.}

This oatmeal is hearty, flavorful, and healthy. If you eat it plain it’s 120 calories. Add the brown sugar/cinnamon mix and it’s 150. You can also add in the nuts and berries, but I like it best with just the brown sugar/cinnamon. Plus that keeps it on the lighter side. Go to your local Chick-fil-A and order the oatmeal stat.

That’s it for July. Who’s ready for the Sports Bra Challenge today???


Homemade Chicken Stock: A Step by Step Guide

Step by step…ooh baby… gonna get to you giiiiirrrrllll.

Oh, pardon me, I just had a flashback to 1991 and the NKOTB pajamas that were all over JC Penney when all I wanted was something pink with Disney characters. I was not ready to be an Amerian Tweenager at the ripe age of nine.

Back to 2011, and how to make homemade chicken stock.

Making homemade chicken stock is something I always thought was insane. Even for someone with a lot of time on their hands, it just seemed like such a waste. I mean, why make it when you can buy it for just $3.50 a carton?

I’m here to tell you: MAKE YOUR OWN CHICKEN STOCK! It’s so much better, and it’s actually a lot less expensive! Oh, and it’s super easy. Just follow these ten steps.

Step 1: Buy a whole chicken (mine was a 4.5 pound fryer that I bought for $5).

Step 2: Remove the chicken from the plastic, and shake out the gizzards. I know this kind of grosses some people out, but you don’t have to reach all the way into the chicken, just shake it out over the sink and the gizzards will fall right out.

Step 3: DO NOT THROW THE GIZZARDS AWAY! Set them aside, or set them into the large pot you will be using to make the chicken stock, like I did. The gizzards are full of flavor and we want all that goodness in our stock!

Step 4: Place the chicken in the oven based on whichever chicken-roasting method you prefer. The recipe I was using called for my chicken to lay on its side. Awkward. I mean really, doesn’t this chicken look like it’s posing nude for Picasso or something? #Uncomfortable.

Step 5: Gather the rest of the ingredients for the stock.

Step 6: Remove the roasted chicken from the oven, then remove the cooked chicken meat from the roasted chicken. You could serve this to your family for dinner, or pluck off chunks of perfectly crisp skin with perfectly moist meat and shovel them into your mouth. Not that I would know anything about that…I also pulled the rest of the meat from the bones and placed it into little ziploc baggies so I could have a healthy helping of protein whenever I wanted.

Step 7: Place the chicken carcass, gizzards, and other stock ingredients into a large pot. Cover it all with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 3-4 hours while you ruin your nails.

Step 8: Walk by the stove often, breathing in the wonderful aromas.

Step 9: Allow the stock to cool {I stuck mine in the fridge overnight!} then scrape the fat off the top {there isn’t much, but this helps make the stock virtually fat free}. Strain the stock into a large bowl, then into freezer containers or ziplocs!

Step 10: Store the homemade stock in the freezer and remove whenever a recipe calls for chicken stock. You will not be disappointed.

Love to you all!