Spending time on your feet.

It’s been fair sailing up here in Montreal. It has been consistently above 0 degrees, perfect for a fall jacket in late-freaking-November. Truly excellent. The uni seems to have slightly overshot the frigidity of the outdoors, which seems pretty typical- the libraries are stuffy, hot, and I always leave sweaty with a buzzing head. All the more inspiration to take breaks and walk up the nearby Mount Royal I suppose, which I’ve been doing a lot lately. It adequately fuels my podcast addiction too, which is nice.

One study technique I’ve really taken too is finding the counters you can study at bar-stool-style, and alternating sitting and standing. I get a sore back from sitting for extended periods of time, and at home only study in my stand up “desk” aka “bookshelf with a drawer that opens and I do work on”. It’s nice to have a school option. If you want to geek out on why you’d want to try standing while doing work, Wired did an article a while ago that covers the basics, and Kamal of Pain Database wrote about the exercise-y side of standing desks (bonus, photos of standing desks in action!).

DIY with a free bookshelf thing you found in the basement of your building version.

Closing hour, highlighted with terrible book stacking skillz.

After a battle with an ear infection-cold-sinus-nonsense-combo, I have had quite a bit of studying to catch up with. This means I’ve felt a bit like I’m running on empty and my health is just out of reach. Aches seem a bit more achey, and maybe-endo symptoms have been a bit harder to keep under control. Because of this, I’ve decided to tighten a few things up around here- really keep the pantry/freezer/fridge WELL stocked so that meal preparation is that much easier, taking advantages of times that I’m feeling good and getting all the prep work done ahead of time, and adding some fortifying foods to help give me the boost I need.

One of the staples of healing for me is a nice rich broth. Broth is a staple of so many awesome recipes, and we go through an amazing amount. I like it in a cup with some spices as a savory drink, as the basis for rich stews, and as cooking liquid for rice and vegetables. I wrote about it earlier, but I thought I would share one of my favourite variations- broth made with chicken feet.

Chicken feet are one of those things you see and think- how could anyone possible eat that? But chicken feet are a reservoir of cartilage and connective tissues that turn broth into a rich, velvety texture. When you cool the both, it gels right up so thick you can cut into it like desert jello. The resulting mouth-feel is amazing, and gelatin is considered very soothing on the gut- great for when you are recovery from sickness or just trying to avoid it! One of my favourite things to have when I’m not feeling well and hardly find anything palatable, is rice cooked in both broth seasoned with seaweed flakes and a dash of soy- lots of the flavour of sushi and so easy to digest.

This is a time period away from being a lovely congee, but I like texture so keep it right here.

Chicken feet, in my experience, is available in most grocery stores where there is a wide variety of meat cuts including organ meats- I had no problem finding them in Montreal or Victoria in fairly regular grocery stores. Sometimes they’ll have them in the freezer section. Otherwise, China town will for sure be able to hook you up with chicken feet.

For this broth I stuck to my regular recipe, but added some chunks of ginger and eliminated the celery and lemon. The result was a warm ginger spike in the final product- however if you want more versatility, you can leave out the ginger and add seasonings as you use the broth.

Chicken Foot Bone Broth

1 kg (about 2 lbs) of chicken feet

2 carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled if desired

1/4 c of ginger segments, roughly chopped, unpeeled

2 star anise, whole

1-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Water, to cover

1) Prepare all ingredients above. Optional- roast the onion, carrot, and chicken feet in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes to get extra colour and flavour (I rarely do this because, uh, dishes mostly).

Slow Cooker Method: Place all ingredients in the slow cooker. Pour water in until everything is covered- I fill mine up all the way. Put on the “low” setting (or “1” if yours uses numbers) for 12-24 hrs. Strain out the solids and refrigerate the liquid for up to a week.

Dutch Oven/Heavy Bottomed Pot Method: Place all ingredients in your pot, and cover with water. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. You can leave it on the stovetop for 6-12 hrs, or throw it in the oven at 225 degrees F for 6-12 hrs. Check a few times to make sure it isn’t bubbling or water isn’t evaporating- add water as needed. Strain out the solids and refrigerate the liquid for up to a week.

Storage tip: If you have leftover stock, I recommend freezing it in silicon muffin cups if you have them- that way they will be in nice portions that you can easily take out and use, and the silicon will let you easily pop them out once they are frozen.

Roasty toasty.

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