Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Easiest Best Tasting Homemade Bone Broth

Bone Broth 101

The Easiest Best
Tasting Homemade Bone Broth 

Bone Broth is one of the easiest super foods to have available for your family and has been consumed for centuries for it's healing powers.  Our gut health-which accounts for about 80% of our immune system, is greatly improved with the addition of bone broth in our diet.  Make this super easy elixir for your family to help them improve health.  
It is downright trendy to be sipping cups of bone broth and I am thrilled broth is back in fashion.  It has been an important food for humans throughout history and with it's absence human health has suffered greatly.

Chicken Broth

     In my opinion the best product from the chicken is the broth.  If we eat chicken we go harvest our own bird from roosters we raised earlier in the year.  The white-get-fat-fast meat bird is not in our flock.  When we harvest our bird there is very little premium white meat, but what is missing in meat is gained back in rich bone broth.  Here is a bird we harvested and you can see there is not much meat but it will make a flavorful broth.  I do not roast chicken bones and usually simmer the bones 24-48 hours or longer if I am making continuous broth in a slow cooker.  *Note* If you add chicken feet your broth will be more gelatinous.  The continuous simmer method is great to start on Sunday, as you take broth out add water back to the slow cooker.  Sometimes I will keep it going until Friday.  In the morning before school your children can dip out a mug full of this super food or take a thermos for lunch.  Super easy.   

Beef Broth

Beef broth is my favorite.  I love beef and I love the richness of well-made bone broth and stock.  We have been using the bones from our own beef for many years.  I remember the first time I asked the butcher to save the bones they couldn't believe we wanted them.  

First and foremost, choose the correct bones.  One of the best attributes of harvesting calves is the best bone broth is made from rose beef bones.  The younger the animal the more collagen.  Rueffer Ranch Rose Beef is from nursing calves aged 6-8 months weighing 500-600 lbs.  I shared a link at the bottom giving detail about bones.  Adding meaty bones will make a richer broth and please make sure to save all the bones leftover from cuts such as roast or steak.  If we eat rib eye steaks I will cut off the bone after it is cooked, but before it is served (store in the freezer until ready to make broth).  When trimming beef for cuts such as stew meat always save the trim, just put in into the freezer and take out when ready to make broth.  Here is an opportunity to use all of your beef.

Gelatin rich beef bone stock

I add the bones to boiling water for 2-5 minutes, then drain, this helps remove impurities and improve taste.

You can roast the bones at 425 degrees for 30-45 minutes but a bit of nutrition will be lost.  I usually roast.

I only add onions, garlic, peppercorns and a splash of apple cider vinegar (sometimes I add nothing).  I use this type of stainless steel pan to roast the bones then I add water directly to the pan then put on top of a burner on the stove-top to heat to a simmer.
I loosely cover the pan and cook at 250 degree for at least 3 days.  If I need my oven I make the stock in a slow cooker and use continuous simmer method.  (Take out broth and add back water)

Very important to cook broth at a bubble not a simmer!  You may need to adjust your oven temperature to only a bubble.

I added garlic scapes

I love the oven method because it is so easy and you don't have to worry about stove top heat.

When the broth has been bubbling for at least three days, I cool slightly then strain the broth into a glass bowl (with a lid) then chill in the refrigerator.  The next day I scrape the layer of beef tallow off the cooled broth and set it aside so I can heat it and strain the tallow into freezer jars.
    The fat is gold and there are many uses; such as the best moisturizer for your skin and lips, a healthy fat for cooking, and tallow candles.  Potatoes and sweet potatoes are best when oven-roasted with beef tallow.

Beef tallow for roasting pumpkin.



There are several methods if use to store broth:  

*  I put the lid back on the glass bowl and put it into the freezer.

* I warm the broth and pour it into freezer jars, then freeze.

* I pressure can the broth if I don't have freezer space or need the broth for my daughter at college.

My canner is a double decker and will hold 19 pints.

All-American Pressure Canner

Canned beef broth with mushrooms.

Canned beef broth. This is headed to Texas A & M.

A useful is hint:  As you need stock for soup or dishes while the stock is bubbling, just remove stock  and add water back.  I plan to make soup while I am making stock.  Super easy!

There are many ways to make bone broth and you can choose the perfect method for your lifestyle and family. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lip balm 101

Way back in January I began to search for the best and easiest recipe to make my own lip balm.  Many attempts later I think we have a winner.  I embrace a simple life and like recipes that don't require buying extra ingredients or equipment that take up space in my home  Economics and my valuable time play leading roles in selecting the best recipes.   Homesteaders must accomplish many task daily.  

The first thing we need to talk about is carrier oils.  There are many to choose from but I urge you to use oils that are readily available and in your budget.  Also, you need to do some testing to make sure you aren't sensitive to the oil.  (Just put a bit on your lips and see how you react).

Here are a few options for carrier oils:

Olive Oil-used in many cosmetics and available in most pantries

Sunflower Oil-heals damaged skin

Apricot Kernel Oil-for sensitive and mature skin

Avocado Oil-rich and slow to absorb

Castor Oil-adds gloss and smoothness to lip balm    

Next ingredient


I went to Fain's Honey located east of Llano, Texas and bought a slab of beeswax that might possibly last my lifetime. The beeswax candles from Market Square in Mason are pure beeswax and safe to use for this project.

An optional ingredient
Butters such as Shea, Cocoa, or Mango

Now for the recipe:

3 parts carrier oil

1 part butter

1 part beeswax

Combine ingredients in small pan then place the pan inside another pan with water to make a double boiler.
Beeswax is flammable so best to be safe.
Warm slowly until beeswax is melted then pour into lip balm containers.

Additions to lip balm

You can add your favorite essential oils.
For color you can add mica powder, here is a link to the brand and color that I use.

About Deodorant

We discussed three options for deodorant at our class.  This article by The Healthy Home Economist will give you great incentive to make your own.

Here are direction how to make a deodorant close to organic name brand deodorants.

This article is a recipe you can use to make stick deodorant.

And then we have my simple recipe for deodorant that works great for us.
Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, stir then adjust to consistency you like.  You can adjust recipe with the seasons.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Best Cooking Method for Grassfed Beef


This subject is a topic of debate for all of us who have taken the reins in sourcing our own beef. The number one complaint I have heard for years is grass-fed  beef is so tough or perhaps reminds one of shoe leather.   We have been raising our own beef since 2004.   Our calves run with their mothers which gives them a diet of milk and grass.  We harvest the calves on weaning day which gives a definite advantage of tender beef.   The younger the animal the more tender the meat.

So let's discover some options for those who want tender delicious beef.

The method we have tested many times and provides true and tried results is the REVERSE SEAR METHOD.

I will discuss two good sources for information.  

The first method and the method we are currently using to cook steaks is from "Cook's Country".  Here it goes.  

  1.  Rinse steaks and pat dry, then place on rack over a cookie sheet.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.  You want the beef to dry on the outer edges.
  2.  Set oven at 200 degrees and sprinkle half teaspoon of kosher salt on each side of the steak, place the cookie sheet with the steaks in the oven.
  3. After one hour take the internal temperature of the steak.  Depending on your preference of doneness for your steak you will continue to cook and check 15-30 minutes until the preferred temperature is reached.  Our steaks are cut 1.5 inches thick and we usually leave our steaks in the 200 degree oven for two hours.  
  4. When your perfect temperature is reached remove the steaks from the oven and let them rest.  I usually let them rest until we are fairly close to dinner.  Maybe I let them rest one hour.  
  5. Now is the fun part.  Mr. Rueffer will get the grill roaring and sear each side of the steak for one minute.  Any fire source will work great.  Sometimes we sear the steaks in a hot cast iron pan then add butter and one clove of garlic for each of the steaks.  Divine I must say.  The picture above is tenderloin with garlic-butter sauce.  
  6. Let the steaks rest at least 10-15 minutes.  
  7. Enjoy fork tender steak. 

The second source for Reverse Sear Method.

This post is full of great information and pictures.  So take a look and decide which is your favorite.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cattle Health

     Today I would like to discuss cattle health and our strategies for maintaining a healthy herd.   Our dairy and beef herd provide our family with home-grown and thoughtfully sourced milk and beef so we place high standards on bovine health.  We study research to ensure current understanding of bovine diseases, especially diseases that are known to be zoonotic.

     My journey began 15 years ago when we bought a dairy cow.  Thank goodness we had a knowledgeable vet who educated and guided us through testing for diseases we most definitely did not want in our raw milk.   As time marched on beef cattle were added to our farm and I realized that they are carriers of many diseases we really didn't want in our family's beef supply.  We decided to close both dairy and beef herds and raise all replacement females.  Our decision to quarantine our herd has come with many challenges such as wearing plastic gloves, covering shoes with plastic covers, and endless expensive testing.  We believe this has been a worthwhile endeavor and we are grateful to have a clean dairy and beef herd.

    A few weeks ago Mr. Rueffer decided we would have the whole herd tested at one time and to verify where we were on bovine health.  The above pictures is from that very long day for both man and bovine but the results were worth it.  The beautiful girls and a few boys above are not only vibrant with health but have lab-work papers to prove it.  THE RESULTS WERE 100% NEGATIVE FOR BVD, BLV(BOVINE LEUKOSIS VIRUS-I added some links for you to read about this disease, JOHNE'S; (, AND NEOSPORA.  We are so happy and feel so blessed to be care-takers of these cattle.  Most disease transmission occurs maternally to offspring.  I think most of us are unaware of disease in cattle because many diseases are sub-clinical and it is often hard to detect with out lab work.  

     Dairy cattle have more incidence of disease due to confined living conditions.  We will talk about raw milk and disease another time.  In both dairy and beef herds, disease is spreading rapidly due to our current conventional systems for milk and beef.  I hope we can change our system into a system free from confinement eating of commodity crops and shipping cattle long distances for harvest.  I believe the model we are striving for here at Rueffer Ranch aids in mending our broken food system in America.

 Benefits of our model:

*Mother and calf roam freely grazing until the natural weaning time for a calf.

*Calves are born in sync with nature giving them lots of green grass and favorable conditions.  

*Calves are not shipped long distances which is stressful for the newly weaned calf. 

*Calves are milk-fed from their mothers and graze with her for supplementation.  

*Since they are born in the spring the grass conditions are prime for great beef nutrition.

*Our ancestors always harvested "the fatted calf" which provided them with tender meat, bones, and organs.  They did not have refrigeration and a calf was the right size for harvest.

*The smaller animal has smaller cuts which are just right for a healthy meal.  

*There is no use of commodity crops or factory farming.  

*Calves are from a closed tested herd which speaks volumes.

*Calves are harvested locally.


Our cattle are gentle and we handle them very gently.

We had a Christmas picture made with our Jersey cow "Rainey".

Monday, August 7, 2017


We are offering our 16 month-old bull for sale, his dam is an amazing cow Rainey and his sire is Mary Jane Farm's bull Samson.  He is tested for BLV, Neospora, Johne's, and is from a closed annually tested herd.  His grand-dam is registered with the American Jersey Association and his Dam is registered with Heritage Jersey Organization.  His grand-sire is Bruno from Holt Creek Jerseys in Nebraska that specializes in grass-fed genetics.  Please contact me at:  Caren-325-347-7261

Happy Milking!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meet the Girls

Presenting Our Milk Cows

Life is kinda funny how we never know where we will go and what passions we will pursue.  I find it extraordinary that a person can live in the city and by chance move to the country and find a passion that grows daily!
I have found my passion MILK COWS!
The learning curve has been steep but I hope to share all that I have learned with others and strive to breed the perfect family Jersey cow.  Perhaps a cow that existed around the early 1900's.
A family milk cow does and has always played a vital role in providing nutrient dense food to her homestead.
Due to the amazing impact a milk cows brings to your homestead, I want to share the qualities I find important in finding your perfect family milk cow.
I Can't stress this enough.  It is so important to test your dairy cows yearly and know their background.  
Chances are you will drink raw milk and it is very important to know the status of your cows health BEFORE  you drink her raw milk.  Our herd is tested every May for the following dairy diseases:
TB (tubercolosis)
BVD (bovine viral diarrhea)
Q Fever
BLV (bovine leukosis virus)
She must be free from mastitis.
On this subject I don't necessarily mean the most popular American dairy genetics.
Remember if you want to a grass-fed cow you must choose grass-fed genetics.  If you want to feed grain then choose accordingly.  We follow holistic management and strive to follow a Weston A. Price influenced diet, so for us our milk cow's level of nutrition is directly linked with our level of nutrition and health.
   Our herd sire is "The Balladeer of Branched Oak Bruno" purchased from Ben Gotschall of Holt Creek Jerseys in Nebraska in 2012 and we have been very pleased with Bruno and his offspring.
To read more about grass-fed genetics and information about Bruno go
We believe an "easy keeper type cow" is desirable for a family milk cow. Maintaining body condition  while lactating on a grass-fed diet is very important to us.

We want to introduce you to the girls!
I will be adding more cows and information, but to start with here is:

RAINEY Born July 14, 2013
Her mother is a registered Jersey named Dolly and Bruno is the sire.  She has a super sweet disposition and is absolutely gorgeous.  Grass only body condition.  Her mother was one of the friendliest cows I have owned and Rainey has the exact personally of her mom.

Dolly x Bruno


Nickel is from one of our favorite cows named
Penny (funny name).  Penny is one of our
cows milked for Cole's Creamery raw milk.
She is consistent, small statured, very agreeable
and enjoys being milked.
We have high hopes for Nickel!

NICKEL born September 10, 2013

Penny x Bruno


Meet Belinda the daughter of Blackie (Jersey x Holstein).  Blackie is used to provide milk for Cole's Creamery and is very reliable.
Belinda was born October 2014 and is sired by Bruno.  She will have an ample supply of milk.





Bruno remains in great condition despite our dry and very hot temperatures.
We have owned him almost 3 years and he maintains great body condition in all seasons.