As soon as we arrived home I called our insurance company, researched car collision centers, and began the two and a half week wait for my car to be repaired.  I soon discovered these inconveniences were insignificant.

“What just happened?” I asked with a puzzled expression as I heard a “whump” and then the sound of metal dragging on the roadway as I fought for control of the car. “You hit a deer! exclaimed my husband.

What might have been

About a month ago around 7:30 on a dark Friday evening I was driving my husband and myself home from a relaxing dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. We were enjoying a pleasant conversation and were in no particular hurry to get home. We live near a lake and were approaching a bridge when out of nowhere a deer appeared.  The first and last thing I saw in that moment was its face in front of the headlight on the passenger side. After the impact, we were able to pull over to the side of the road and so did the car behind us. As we got out to assess the damage and comprehend what had just happened, a young man in his early twenties approached us.  He was on his way home and saw what had happened and wanted to make sure we were okay.  I could not help but notice how pleasant, reassuring, and kind spoken he was as he shined his flashlight at the damage on the car.  Once he realized we were okay he got back in his car and continued his drive home.


A day or two later the realization of just how lucky we were became visible in my mind. If the deer had been say eight or twelve more inches across the road the results of the impact would have been much worse.  Just eight or twelve more inches and my husband could have been injured since that is the side of the car that received the damage.  The impact of the hit might have thrown the deer up onto our windshield or into the path of other cars.

I also began to reflect on the effect it could have had on that kind young man. What if we had not been the car in front of him?  That deer would have probably been full body in front of his car in its quest to cross the road, and the results might have been devastating. That young man could have suffered grievous injury, or even death.

As I look at the big picture, we sustained minimal damage in a situation that could have ended in tragedy.  I have replayed the timing of those moments before and after the impact in my mind.  Perhaps God used us to be placed in the path of that deer, allowing us to take the hit because He still has plans for that young man.  I offer thanks to our Heavenly Father for the “what might have been” that was avoided.

When I was in my twenties, I felt somewhat invincible and I can only imagine that young man does as well.  He probably never gave the incident a second thought.  Probably never considered the “what might have been” if another car had not been in front of his that evening. I wish I could tell him I think God has big plans for him.

Beef Bone Broth Recipe

The weather has turned colder this week so I was thinking about how to use some of my bone broth so vegetable soup came to my mind. I had a request for the bone broth recipe I wrote about in a recent post.  I used several sources to create my own recipe so here it is.  I hope you enjoy it!


  • 4 pounds beef bones, preferably a mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them such as ox tail, short ribs, or knuckle bones, (cut in half by a butcher)
  • 2 medium unpeeled carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium leek, end trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic head, excess skins removed, top chopped off to expose the cloves, cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns (you can also add some fresh thyme or dried mushrooms, even 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste)
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Water (I use filtered, but it probably wouldn’t matter that much)

Special equipment: 6-quart (or larger) stockpot or a large slow cooker

  1. Blanch – cover the bones with cold water, bring to a boil, and let them cook at an aggressive simmer for 20 minutes before draining and roasting.
  2. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place beef bones, carrots, leek, onion, and garlic on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Then take out of the oven, toss the contents of the pan and continue to roast until deeply browned, about 20 more minutes.   Place any crisped brown bits on the bottom of the pan (loosen them with a little water and a metal spatula) and pour into the stockpot or slow cooker for added flavor.
  3. Place roasted bones and vegetables into your pot. Add celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar. Make sure you added the browned bits from the roasting. Add just enough water to cover the bones and vegetables. You don’t want them to float.
  4. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally. (I rarely have to do this because I blanch the bones first.)
  5. Simmer for at least 8 hours but I have done it for up to 2 – 3 days. I do not cut it off at night if it is on the stove top. The longer it simmers, the better your broth will taste. If you use the crock-pot, I start it on high until it begins to simmer, and then reduce the setting to low and leave it alone. (Because the bones used are thick and hardy, they have a lot of flavor to offer up. This is in contrast to the bones in chicken stock, which are smaller and thinner and could disintegrate after a few hours and won’t add much flavor.)
  6. You can add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged.
  7. Once you have determined you think the broth is complete, cool it as quickly and efficiently as possible. First, remove the bones with a slotted spoon and/or tongs. Strain the stock into a large bowl (this will remove the vegetables and any small pieces of meat or bones left from the beef bones). I usually add some ice to help the broth lose heat more rapidly. (The ice does not dilute the broth if you roasted the bones and simmered them for a very long time.) Then scoop the broth into mason jars to freeze. (If you used bones that created a lot of fat, I usually pour it in my fat separator to maximize the broth in my mason jars. It is okay to leave it you want the additional fat.)
  8. You know you simmered it long enough if the texture is gelatinous. If not, it is still delicious!
  9. I usually add a little Himalayan salt or sea salt to bring out the flavors.

My favorite method is using a large stockpot. Each time, the broth has been gelatinous and flavorful. (Once the gelatinous broth is heated it melts to make a smooth broth.) I especially love to use the broth in vegetable soup, to cook rice, and just about anything else I need a broth.  This is a photo of the bone broth in my vegetable soup recipe I am cooking this afternoon. It gives it a rich and hearty flavor.  Look below the photo for general tips in making the bone broth.


General Tips:

  1. Try to use several types of beef bones. Grass fed beef is better, but not necessary for a delicious flavor.
  2. Don’t skip the blanching step. It removes any impurities (nasty bits) from the bones. If you are using the right bones, there will be some nasty bits. I usually have to skim off scum or foam at this stage.
  3. ALWAYS ROAST THE BONES. This browns and caramelizes them and this results in better flavor. This is really the most important step. I cook mine up to 40 minutes total and even longer sometimes taking them to the edge of “too done.”
  4. Do not skip the vinegar step; it draws the minerals out of the bone.
  5. Make sure to deglaze your roasting pan with hot water and get all of the brown bits, pour this liquid into the pot and then add additional water to cover the bones and vegetables. See * in the next step.
  6. Use a large enough container to cook your broth. When you *add just enough water to cover the bones and vegetables. You don’t want them to float. Too much liquid will result in a watered down taste.
  7. Make sure you simmer it long enough. I have read some people simmer no less than 12 hours and no longer than 72 hours.  I cooked mine for 60 hours.
  8. Don’t let the hot broth cool slowly.

If you use a crock-pot the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly as with a stockpot. So be careful not to add too much. Make sure the lid is weighted down and that simmering can’t move the lid around or you will have water everywhere.


Bone Broth

The very idea of putting snail, head cheese, liver, tongue, or blood sausage in my mouth is something that repulses me beyond words.  They may taste absolutely delicious, but I will never know and it is based solely on the name. Bone broth is borderline. Kind of grosses me out, but kind of doesn’t.

Always up for a challenge in the kitchen, I decided to make some beef bone broth. Chicken bone broth was not a contender because it tends to remind me of when I stayed home sick with a fever from school as a child. My mom would open a can of chicken and rice soup and serve it with saltine crackers to help me feel better. Sweet memories of mom, but not of the soup.

I found a few recipes online and I took a little something from each and made it one recipe for myself.  M. and I took a nice drive to the country to purchase some grass-fed, grass finished beef bones from our favorite farm.  We also bought organic vegetables. I followed the directions and boiled the bones for about 20 minutes before roasting them. This is one of two trays of the beef bones roasting with the vegetables.


I then put everything into my crock pot, added filtered water, and let it simmer on low.


Sixty hours later – yes 60 hours – I removed the lid, drained the liquid, threw out the veggies and bones, and skimmed out any fat.  I poured the broth into glass jars – about 12 pints – and put most of them in my freezer.  I took one to school for a mid morning snack at my desk and it was just as delicious as I had hoped.


I have since added this broth to other recipes such as my homemade vegetable soup or to use as flavoring rice or potatoes.  My favorite way is heated in a bowl or a cup. This was very good and I will be making it again.   

By the way, oxtail was an ingredient in this recipe. Trying it was out of my comfort zone, but happy to say it was absolutely delicious.  Although it was not enough to convince me to try snail, head cheese, liver, tongue, or (gag) blood sausage.


Open Book Blog Hop -February 12th — Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

This week we have to write about the most irritating aspect of Valentine’s Day: In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is perpetuated by the greetings card industry for their own profit (remember when they tried to flog cards for ‘Grandparent’s Day’ which never took off?). Valentine’s cards start arriving in the shops every year around the […]

via Open Book Blog Hop -February 12th — Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

Be more than an “I love you”

I wrote this post last February and it is actually one of my favorites.  Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I wanted to share it one more time:  

What does it mean to love someone or to be loved by someone?  Maybe it is the security of knowing that we occupy a place in someone else’s heart or the significance we hold in someone’s life.

Maybe it means that in spite of our silly oddities, our looks, and our imperfections someone can see us for who we are…..and they love us anyway.

We are someone who matters to somebody else.


Once in a while the words “I love you” can be just that ~ words.

Over the years I have learned (sometimes the hard way) about love and relationships.  Not just in the romantic sense like the love I share with my spouse, but also the love I share with all my children and grandchildren, my BFF, my extended family, and other meaningful people in my life.

The most important thing I have learned is: It is the ACTION taken that can create the strength, emotion, and significance of those three simple words.

For example:

  • Supporting each other is essential in any relationship ~ marriage, parenting, friendships.  Have each other’s back.  Celebrate successes and comfort disappointments.
  • Respect one another because you each deserve the other’s respect.  Treat each other the way you wish to be treated as you express opinions, thoughts, dreams and desires ~ make these matter as much to you as it does to the other.
  • Be a safety net and refuge from the outside world.  A person you can always trust.  Strive to create an environment that is a welcoming place of comfort, joy and peace.
  • Commitment takes work, commitment is not easy, and commitment must become a priority. Become the “something that you want to last forever” every single day.
  • Forgive the forgotten item at the grocery store and forgive the forgotten birthday present. Forgive when the other lashes out because they are tired after working hard all day.
  • Forgive the other for not knowing what you needed when you really thought they would or should know. Forgive the other when they fall short even when you know they are trying their best. Forgive because no one is perfect.

Be More Than An “I Love You”

This Word – Embrace

Most of us look forward to the new year and see it as an opportunity to make a fresh start.  Resolutions are made and some people are lucky enough to actually reach their goal.  Based on an article I recently read I decided to try something different this year and choose a word.

The concept of choosing one word to focus on each day of the year is appealing to me. Maybe focusing on just one word, and letting that one word guide me each day, might help me in my approach to all aspects of my life during the new year.


But which word?  Words like trust, simplicity, and discipline came to mind, but none of them fully satisfied or expressed what I wanted for this year.  They are all great words, but my objective is to sincerely BE as well as DO this word in my daily life, and these particular words were not settling just right.  After much thought and prayer, the word I was looking for came to my mind. “Embrace”  Yes, that’s it!

Mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally ~ there are endless possibilities to put the word embrace into action each day. My prayer time, my marriage, my children and grandchildren are at the top of the list. I am hopeful this word embrace will help me to slow down and appreciate the glorious sights and sounds of nature, read more books, and really listen to what others have to say.  I hope this word embrace will open my eyes to new opportunities and fresh starts.

As odd as this may sound, I understand that struggles will also need to be embraced ~ the trials that can sneak up out of nowhere, the heart-breaks as well as disappointments that can occur. Embracing difficult decisions that need to be made or the many temptations that will be placed in my path will be a challenge.  It is my desire to stay faithful to this word embrace.

Taking it one day at a time, I wake up every morning thinking about embrace.  Moments that might have gone unnoticed have gradually started to enrich my life.  The adorable antics of my dog, the clever ways my students challenge me daily, and the empty, hollow feeling I felt inside after attending a recent gathering are all current moments I have embraced.  It was hard to make myself embrace the empty, hollow feeling and quite honestly I didn’t at first. It was miserable, but it caused me to reflect.  I now embrace those unhappy feelings, because they brought an affirmation in regards to a decision I have been struggling to make for a while.

We usually see what we look for and I am choosing to “embrace.”  What word would you chose?

Savoring Julia Child’s…

Beef Bourguignon

For the past several years, once January arrives, I set aside a day to prepare this flavorful dish. I love to cook and not afraid to try new recipes, so after watching the film Julie, Julia I was intrigued by the challenge.  It is a hearty stew perfect for cold winter evenings and is well worth the time and effort.


The recipe I follow provides a generous amount, so I freeze the leftovers in smaller portions and we are able to enjoy this treat for weeks to come.  I wish I could take photos of food and make it look appetizing, so please know I really did try.


The stew simmers in the oven for about 3 hours. Then you have to carefully remove the liquid and boil it down for about 40 minutes. (Look how rich and delicious it looks!) Once this step is complete you are left with a silky broth to pour back into the stew. Placing it in the refrigerator to sit until the next evening makes it taste even better.


I would like to say I baked this bread, but I could never get the hang of the step which required dissolving the yeast in any of the recipes I have tried.  Also, the loaves I bake lack flavor (probably because of the yeast step), so this loaf is store-bought.


There are many ways to serve the beef bourguignon – over noodles, with mashed potatoes or maybe a side vegetable ~ anything that suits your fancy.  M. wanted to try it with noodles and this is all we had in the pantry.  In my opinion, these noodles were not a positive addition; the sauce fell through the noodles instead of around the beef.  I will not serve it this way next time. I like to keep it simple and serve it with warm, crusty bread, maybe a small salad, and of course, wine.

I am hoping Julia would approve!