Stockings Hung, Tree Lit, & Chicken Feet Simmering

Happy December!

I’m in awe 2015 is nearly over. I feel like it’s flown and at the same time, like each week has been a year in itself! Planning a wedding, beginning marriage, living in different 4 different cities, job changes, SOOOOO many moving boxes…I’m still processing all of it!

Our holiday season started strong! We went to Richmond for Thanksgiving and it was a whirlwind of catching up with both of our families. Nothing else says “Thanksgiving” than watching the sunset beside a fire on the farm!unnamed-9

When we returned, I dug through a few of those moving boxes and found myself in a decorating frenzy. I’ll never forget the look of excitement on Michael’s face when came home from work and saw the tree lit, stockings hung, and random Christmas novelties around the house! A great start to our first Christmas together!




We also spent another 12+ hours going to and from Washington, D.C. the first weekend in December for his work’s Christmas party. It was fun to meet his coworkers and also see D.C. as adults. The handful of times we’ve been in D.C. were on school field trips to monuments and museums. I’m sure we stood out as obvious tourists as we took an embarrassingly long time figuring out how to buy a metro pass, have our Iphones out for directions, and look up Yelp restaurant reviews! We had a blast though exploring together.



Since our Capitol trip, we’ve been busy with day-to-days. We had a few late nights that have left for little sleep: Michael’s Christmas work dinner and his 10:00pm Thursday night Star Wars premier. (I left it to him to experience “the force” for the both of us…aka…Star Wars ain’t ma thang.)


And for the real meat…err should I say “bones”…of this blog post:

Another factor that led to little sleep has to do with chicken feet…or “chicken paws” as Food Lion calls them. Look, this next story is gnarly, so read with caution.

When we moved to Johnson City, a kind lady brought us the most delicious sausage, kale, & sweet potato soup. After hearing Michael exclaim the soup was the “best he’s ever had”, my inner Iron Chef rose to do a soup throw down competition. I got the recipe and read the base of the soup starts with bone broth. Now, if you’re not familiar with bone broth, it’s a stock simmered from actual animal bones. The health benefits are apparently worth the efforts, as I did ample research here, here, & here to validate my reasons for collecting bones around town! After I found beef knuckle bones and chicken feet…I read here that I needed to…wait for it…blanch the feet, remove the skin…and the talons. (Talons are…um…toe nails.) SO…in the name of love, health, and delicious soup…I carried on. (When re-telling my friend Brandy this story, she exclaimed to me, “No Shea! Love is giving someone a pizza and health is putting vegetables on it!” She has a very good point.)

If you’re saying to yourself, “That is the most disgusting thing imaginable”, I want to confirm your assumptions and reply, “YES IT WAS.” I’ll skip the slimy details of the story where I nearly begged Michael to help me and once he gave in, he got so grossed out that he dropped one chicken foot down the sink! After a few profanities, I was the one who had to hunt it out with grill tongs. #marriage

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I wish this was the end of the story…that I could say I braved the chicken feet, the soup was the better than the original, and we glow of vibrant health! That dream was rudely awakened at 4:30AM when my precious bone broth burnt to a crisp. Hell’s Kitchen, anyone?



YA SEE… the bone broth called to simmer between 6 to 24 hours. I decided to simmer overnight: one batch in the crockpot, one batch on the stove. Alright, lesson learned: water evaporates. The crockpot batch was the successful golden child. However, doing anything overnight related to food isn’t the best idea unless you want to sleep/dream/think/smell whatever food cooking the entire night. You would have thought I learned that one back when I overnighted curry. #wolf.

Alas, with my crockpot batch, I made the rest of the sausage/kale/sweet potato soup and it was good. As tasty as the kind lady’s? No, maybe because we knew what it took to make it? Or maybe because our house reeked of burnt bones? I’m no Miss Colombia at the Miss Universe pageant, but do know how to accept defeat in a soup competition. However, I’m not giving up. Yes, there are still “paws” and “knuckles” in the freezer and I plan to brave another crockpot batch, sans the blanching of the chicken feet. I later learned that step really isn’t necessary. On the menu tonight: burgers and home-cut sweet potato fries. Michael is grateful.


3 thoughts on “Stockings Hung, Tree Lit, & Chicken Feet Simmering

  1. Shea, in between tears of laughter and tears over the death of those chickens whose poor little feet look like human hands!! I don’t know what to say except; “Say it isn’t so.” I do eat poultry but i cannot go to the dark side where you went and see the pieces and parts that are typically hidden in the back of the grocery for us squeamish types! I’m just feeling so sad for that chicken with nails that would look so pretty with polish. Bone broth=Good. But i will stick to the breast bones, thigh bones, turkey parts i think when i need extra nourishment. I was happy to read more about your other adventures leading up to our Lord’s Birthday 🙂

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