The thing about breakfast sausage…

To be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with breakfast sausage. If it wasn’t a link or maple, count me out, more for you and all. Things changed when we (mainly my sister, they lived at her pond after all) raised some pigs a while back. (Sausage, Bacon, and Ham, later known as Bubba)

As I told you way way back, we took Bubba’s sisters to Yoder Brothers in Paris, TN. OMG that was some FINE porky eats, such cuts, such beautiful fat, even bagged me up back fat for making my lard, lard have mercy, the memories make me salivate…

Bubba turned out to be not so tasty. Maybe because he was a boy, maybe because he had gotten so big since evading the trailer before our trip to Paris, or maybe because he was just so lean, who knows? They had the same diet, we snorted with and scratched them all the same (and by we, I mean me, because I’m a pig whisperer, you know, giggles)

Anyways, we finally found a way to make Bubba tasty and of all things, it turned out to be sausage. After his city bacon playing a staring role in the summer sausage and receiving a standing ovation, we decided to use a bit more Bubba in breakfast sausage.

  • 6 pounds venison (we boned another shoulder and added a couple tenderloins)
  • 2 pounds pork, we used 2 thick cut Bubba chops, what little fat left in tact, boned, and boil meat (uncured jowl)
  • 3 T sage
  • 1 T crushed red pepper
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 2 T season salt
  • 1 ¼ t Lem cure, I buy it at BPS, AS&O doesn’t carry the un-seasoned cure. Here’s a link if you don’t have a BPS nearby. http://www.basspro.com/LEM-Products-Meat-Cure/product/82821/

The plan was to make links when we made breakfast sausage. The news of a flu season of epic proportions in Nashville made my inner flu-a-phobe settle for just bagging it in freezer bags and making patties as needed. Yeah, one can purchase fancy sausage bags for slicing sausage, but seriously, once sausage is thawed completely, slicing a patty is out of question and we’re patting them out anyways.

Step 1: Remove fat, gristle, and bone from meat if needed.

Step 2: Cut meat into chunks (venison and pork).

Step 3: Process all the meat through the grinder. This time, we put in a little venison, then a little pork, then a little venison and well, you get the point.

Step 4: Combine all seasonings and cure with 6 ounces ice cold water, mix well, until salts are dissolved.

Step 5: If you are like me and do not have a meat mixer, glove up and mix the seasoning/cure mixture into the meat.

Step 6: My inner control freak added this step… Run the whole kit and caboodle through the grinder once more to ensure extra yumminess.

Step 7: I’m not so much a control freak to weigh it out, so I eyeballed one and 2 pounds, per bags, removed the air from the bags, and popped them in the deep freeze.

The sausage turned out not near as fatty as store bought sausage. It’s lean enough that lubing a hot skillet with a tablespoon or so of bacon juice to prevent sticking is a good idea. The sausage also turned out quite darkly colored, but cooks up pink in the non-seared areas and middle. It is mild, so if you like hot, double or even triple the crushed red pepper.

The teen and Big Sexy gave it two thumbs up, and even I ended up liking it. It also worked out quite nicely in my low carb sausage ball recipe.

While I didn’t manage to get any pics while making the breakfast sausage, I did get a nice pic of the new grandson in what the girls refer to as his man suit. 

King Brandon Manuel Serrano, we can already tell at 10 days old that he's going to be a goof-ball.

King Brandon Manuel Serrano, we can already tell at 10 days old that he’s going to be a goof-ball.

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Summer sausage in the wintertime

Summer sausage: is any sausage that can be kept without refrigeration. Summer sausage is usually a mixture of pork and other meat such as beef or venison. Summer sausage can be dried or smoked, and while curing ingredients vary significantly, curing salt is almost always used. Seasonings may include mustard seeds, black pepper, garlic salt, or sugar.[1][2]

I think that maybe we made one of our most wise of purchases when we bought the meat grinder. It was half off at Academy Sports right after Thanksgiving, so it was well below budget.

Being sausage virgins, we opted for a kit that came with casings, seasonings, and cure. (Academy Sports and Bass Pro shops both carry the kit we used,  Lem Backwoods summer sausage kit, the link is if you would rather shop online during flu season)

While the kit really eased our minds as far as first time sausage making went, I found out later while making breakfast sausage that it’s just as easy to gather spices and such from the pantry, and much more cost efficient. Nevertheless, breakfast sausage is a whole nother ball game and a post for another day.

  • 5 – 6 pound bone in venison shoulder (or 4 pounds boned venison)
  • 1 pound fatty pork (we had a pound of “city bacon” left over from Bubba)
  • 1 packet seasoning from the 10# kit
  • 5 casings

If using a bone in shoulder, remove fat and cut meat off bone, being sure to remove any gristle. (while fat is my friend, the “wild” game taste tends to come from the fat and meat that has not been well drained.)

Date night! Seriously, new New Year's eve tradition. Getting him in the kitchen, priceless!

Date night! Seriously, new New Year’s eve tradition. Getting him in the kitchen, priceless!

Once you have the meat off the bone, cut into chunks, make sure they are not tiny, but also not too big for the grinder chute.

He seriously did all the work, which made me doing all the clean up worth it.

He seriously did all the work, which made me doing all the clean up worth it.

Grinding the sausage was faster than we figured. It would probably be a good idea that once you have your venison in chunks to go ahead and start soaking your casings. The soaking procedure varies with the type of casing you use, refer to your directions for optimal results.

Use the coarse blade on the grinder and get to work.

Use the coarse blade on the grinder and get to work.

Push it down with the pusher downer thing, do not use your fingers... safety and all

Push it down with the pusher downer thing, do not use your fingers… safety and all

Mix seasoning and cure packet with water per directions in kit and mix with ground meat. Because I am a control freak, it is at this time we re-ground the entire batch to make sure it was mixed well.

I must apologize in advance for the lack of stuffing pictures. Turns out that stuffing and tying the sausages takes at least four hands.

I did take a pic of the stuffed casings after un-gloving and washing my hands.

I did take a pic of the stuffed casings after un-gloving and washing my hands.

Once your sausages are cased and tied, put them in the fridge for 24 hours to cure. Because we didn’t want to wait and we had a bit of ground meat leftover, we rolled some up uncased and baked in the oven.

Uncased summer sausage. It looked like mini meatloaf, but tasted like summer sausage, go figure.

Uncased summer sausage. It looked like mini meatloaf, but tasted like summer sausage, go figure.

There are directions in the kit and on the Lem site for either baking or smoking. We decided to do both. We baked them for half the time and finished them in the smoker, making sure that the internal temperature was 165°.

Upon removing them from the smoker/oven immerse them in ice water to stop the cooking.

The finished product, straight out of the ice water.

The finished product, straight out of the ice water.

The summer sausage turned out really nice. It goes quickly in these parts, so next time I think we’ll do a whole ten pounds.

 

 

 

The most important thing I learned during hunting season…

Sunday, January 4, 2015 was the last day for whitetail hunting here in Tennessee. Saturday had been a rainy day, I learned that deer don’t move much because they can’t see well in the rain. No sense in hunting, so we waited til afternoon to go get Michael’s hunty spot set up for one last hunt. (and by we, I mean Big Sexy went and did it himself while I goofed off)

5:00 am Sunday morning came early, the ground still wet from the 3 days of downpour that had just recently subsided, and the bed was all warm and cozy. I almost hit the pillow, but he had already turned the light on, I started some coffee instead.

It was quite warm (mid 50s) when he started the Tahoe, the weather lady said that was going to change by a couple degrees each hour on out. We went ahead and donned the cover-alls, gloved up, and hit the road.

It was still dark when he parked the buck box at the usual spot.

I started calling our blind the buck box after I got my first buck. It held true to it's name on closing day.

I started calling our blind the buck box after I got my first buck. It held true to it’s name on closing day.

Sunday was not the first time I’d been on my own. There have been a few times that he hung out in his tree stand a hundred yards away while I had the awesomeness that is this blind all to myself. Sunday was different though, after unhitching the blind and firing up the heat (part of the awesomeness) He drove off. Normally I can see where the guys park when they go further back, but watching him through the window, I lost track of him before he even parked. He was far enough away that I couldn’t see his flashlight and he probably couldn’t hear me knocking the coffee thermos over.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous, and glad to feel the phone buzz when he texted to see if I was ok. Since I had a good hour til sunup and the radio didn’t bless me with some Nick Jonas on the trip to, I hit up youtube to get my Jealous on. Our teen says I’m too old for teenybopper music, but seriously, that song wakes me up and makes me want to dance, so take that brat!

After the video, I still had pert near 56  minutes of dark left. I did what any other girly girl huntress would do in that situation and opened a window to have a look-see. With the moon closer to full than not, I was able to see across the way, something glowing, eyes? I pulled out the binoculars, but it was too dark to see what it was. What ever it was, it wasn’t moving, the eyes would glow, and then they wouldn’t.

Deer aren’t the only things that hang out at the hunty hole. There are also coyote and bobcats. I only hunt what I eat, so I wouldn’t hunt either, but I wouldn’t want to be vittles myself. I took Thor out of his case and loaded him up. (Thor is my muzzle loader) I re-filled my coffee and continued my stare down with the glowing eyes.

Finally, the sun came up. I couldn’t find the thing with the glowing eyes, so I opened the back window to check out the scenery.

The view from behind, nice, huh?

The view from behind, nice, huh?

Every now and then a birdy will come, lighting on the window ledge and I never have my phone ready. Sunday, my phone was ready, but none came calling. I did see a murder of crows hanging out in the distance. With sunup and quiet time in full force, I sat watching and waiting for the sound of Big Sexy’s rifle, sure that the need for Thor passed away with the sun coming up and the disappearance of the glowing eyes.

Giggling to myself about how the weather lady had made a mistake, I started to turn off the heat when the cool wind started rising. Instead, I closed up some of the windows to keep the heat in. There was movement out front on the mountain of earth, but it was some cut down brush and the wind. I pulled my deer call can out of my backpack, but just set it beside the coffee thermos and put my gloves back on.

Not long after the cold winds, it started getting hot in the blind, time to open up the windows when I heard a slight thud. I figured it was the crows again, so no need for ninja like stealth when opening the back windows. Thud said the wood on wood as I let the window plop. To my amazement, there was a buck almost upon me. Because they can’t see me if I close my eyes (the things we tell ourselves when practicing being invisible), I closed my eyes and shut the window.

I picked up Thor and for a moment I thought maybe the guy had run off while my eyes were closed and the back window was shutting, when all of a sudden he was beside me.

When I got the big guy, I was nervous. The scope jumped with the beat of my heart. This time, the only thing on my mind was needing one more for the freezer. Most likely, there was time to put on the ear muffs, but I didn’t think about them. All I thought about was breath, aim, cock the hammer, pull the trigger.

There had to be a boom, I saw the muzzleloader smoke, my phone vibrated. “Are you Ok?” he asked, I couldn’t reply because by the time I got the text was too long of a wait for him and he was calling. “Hey Big Sexy, I got him” I answered. “Ok, just stay put.” he replied, “I’m on my way.” I was pretty sure he was the same guy that was stalking me during fall turkey season, so I said “I think it was my lil boyfriend from turkey season”

Fall turkey season, had to shoo this guy away and away, and away.

Fall turkey season, had to shoo this guy away and away, and away.

It took a couple days and Big Sexy looking at the pictures to see that it wasn’t my lil stalker, but maybe his cousin, brother, or nephew. While they both had deformed racks (one “horn like antler” and one stumpy) the stalkers was on the left, and this guys was on the right.

Hormone and antibiotic free, grass fed, free range, as primal as it gets.

Hormone and antibiotic free, grass fed, free range, as primal as it gets.

During hunting season, I learned that being in Unit L, the deer population is at epic proportions. So much so that during archery and muzzleloader season the bag limit is three antler-less per day, three antlered total season, even so many as to offering a Type 094 for an extra three antlerless per day during big gun season. Harvesting deer in such a densely populated area like middle Tennessee helps to cut down on the disease and starvation that comes with the ever expanding population. It also makes for a nice protein source in this day and age of feed lot, hormone and antibiotic injected, buy it at the grocery store fare.

While I learned that I could hang with the guys and not “girly girl out”, it wasn’t the most important thing. The most important thing was something I’ve known all along, just kept it at the back of my mind, thinking surely all this walking and hiking, toting wood in the summer, thanks to the awesome neighbor who had a few large trees taken down, lots of movement, and any movement is exercise…

You just can’t “out-exercise” a bad diet. During hunting season, I consumed some things I hadn’t consumed in years, all my rules went out the window because my blood glucose was still pretty good. My weight though, was creeping up on me. How much? I didn’t know, my camo pants were getting snug, no one could see my yoga pants under my coveralls, I hid the scales. I’d weigh in after hunting season. My size eights evolved into size tens, then to twelves, so I’d wager that I packed on some poundage in my plot to out exercise my really bad diet.

If I could change anything at all about hunting season, I’d change the food choices I made. I tried really hard to get myself back on track back when I posted “What are you waiting for?“, but it’s really not so easy to get back on track when you’ve got your old friends “Denial and Justification” rearing their ugly heads again. While I really really want some {chocolate, fried pickles, whopper with cheese, a bun, and fries by George} I really would rather just slip into my size eights and get into some general goofiness.

So here I am, six days into the new year, two days into getting my head back where it needs to be. The freezer is stocked with this year’s harvest and not a bite of chocolate to be found in the house.

And about those glowing eyes… Turned out to be a bit of trash someone had tossed, picked up the moonlight each time the wind blew.

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Random acts of children…

The girls have known for a while that they had a little brother on the way. The date and time had been chosen, so the girls were going to stay with us while their little brother entered this world. The date and time meant that they would miss a little school/daycare, but Aunt May still had school and Pepaw still had to go to work. Two rounds of breakfast is enough, so I copped out. I gave in to their “Reeses Puffs dreams” and bought some freaking cereal (yeah, bad memaw you think, but hey, even us memaws need a cop out now and then.)

Since the girls were missing the most important days of the school year, you know the holiday parties, in addition to the evils of cereal, I also bought sugar, brown sugar, and flour (oh the horrors). After my purchases, I pulled out and dusted off the ole cooky press and set out planning for spritz as a baking lesson that was just party-like enough to keep them from whining about missing the festivities at school.

Sweet baby Cam and I picked the girls up on Sunday afternoon. Ever the conversationalist, Diamond sat shotgun. We talked about where were Aunt May and Pepaw, and what we were going to be doing. I told her about cooky making and she was especially excited, “Chocolate chip cookies?” she asked, and I said “no, shapes, like Christmas cookies”. “I really like chocolate chip”, so I told her we’d make both.

Eventually we got to talking about school and how she likes school but the kids laugh at her. Imagine this beautiful little girl being picked on, I asked her why would the kids laugh at her, they must be jealous. “Oh no Memaw, they aren’t jealous, they laugh at me because I have a memaw”. She told me. “They have grandmas” she added. Since Diamond not only has a memaw, but she also has a “grandma”, a “grandmother”, a “mimi”, and so on with extended family, I told her that now I knew for sure they were jealous because I know she’s got a “Grandma” and me, they were jealous because they didn’t have a memaw.

Turns out nobody has memaws and “nobodys not supposed” to have memaws, kids should only have grandmas. (Dem dare kids are gonna light my fuse, I tell ya) Anyways, I told her about how their Aunt Lori is also their friend’s memaw and we went on to talk about how Aunt May played her saxophone in the Christmas parade.

The first thing they noticed upon arrival was that “Oh! Memaw got Reeses Puffs!” “Thank you Memaw can we have cereal for dinner?” (um, no!)

Since Lovely and Faith had slept through the over the river and through the woods conversation, I asked Lovely if the kids laugh about her having a Memaw. She said “No, I keep it a secret.”

Had I known that being a “memaw” would be making them subject of ridicule, I would have insisted they call me “grandma” like they call their grandma, but I never would have dreamed this outcome.

Anyways, being a Memaw takes special skills (read good freaking luck lol) and I ended up showing them a picture I took of Cam’s memaw during the Christmas parade.

Super sweet huh? They should have driven her in the parade, not just parked on the sidelines.

Super sweet huh? They should have driven her in the parade, not just parked on the sidelines.

I don’t know if telling them that even Cam has a memaw made them feel any better about having a memaw or if it just gave them a good giggle, they haven’t talked about the down side of “memaws” since right after we got here.

Since the late night dance party didn’t end until I about blew a fuse at 3:00 am Monday morning, only Diamond got up early. It was too early to make the cookies, so we just prepped for them. By the time the other girls got up, she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t feel like helping.

Not many green trees. Stupid cooky press I haven't used in forever!

Not many green trees. Stupid cooky press I haven’t used in forever!

Lovely and Faith ended up eating a crapload of mistakes before I could scrape the dough off the pan and get it back in the press. By the time we got around to the blue snowflakes, we had the hang of it. The girls did not consume any raw blue cooky dough, but they thoroughly enjoyed the green.

Pink wreaths. Not flowers. Wreaths.

Pink wreaths. Not flowers. Wreaths.

The cookies ended up being a success. The girls had fun, and by Tuesday, Diamond felt better and got to try them herself.

Today’s plan is to make the chocolate chip cookies, when ever the lazy bums who stay up half the night wake up. Diamond and I have been up all morning, keeping this house cleaned (lol) while those lazy bums sleep all day. again.

Most likely, they will wake up and want Reeses Puffs, just like Diamond did. They’ll probably wait a good ten minutes after eating to ask me to make them some bacon or eggs, they’re still hungry, just like she was and they all have been each morning. Turns out cereal wasn’t a cop-out after all, I’m preparing four different breakfasts now.

Whattaya know, Memaw is also a psychic, they’re up demanding the cereal. Guess I’d better get the griddle going again so we can get straight to cooky making after breakfast fixed number 5…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gyro Jerky is amazing…

I told you back in the spring how I was inspired to try something new. I’ve not made a gyro kebab since then, but I have been quite busy turning ground venison into jerky.

The great thing about making your own jerky is that the flavors are endless. So far this jerky season, I’ve got seven flavors in the freezer BBQ, Fajita, Flaming Fajita, General Tso, Szechuan, Teriyaki, and Gyro.

Ground meat jerky is really easy to make. It takes a fairly inexpensive initial investment, a dehydrator and a jerky press, time, and patience. The hard part is really clean up/washing your equipment.

Since I’ve upped my jerky game this season, Big Sexy got me a new dehydrator, a Presto Dehydro®. The new dehydrator holds three pounds of pressed meat as does my old faithful Nesco/American Harvest dehydrator. The cool thing is that I can now process six pounds a day instead of three, on the down side, that’s only three pounds of finished jerky, but let me tell you, Gyro jerky is worth it!

I’ve been on the fence about sharing this recipe. It’s one of those recipes I really want to keep secret, but then again, when I’m gone it would go with me, and then the world would be gyro jerky-less lol.

  • 2 T salt (I use Himalayan, you can use that too, or seasoned salt)
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 2 t oregano
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 t corriander
  • 1 t parsley
  • 1 t cardamom
  • 1 t celery seed
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • 1 ½ t Lem cure (sodium nitrite) (if you opt for no cure, make sure to keep finished product refrigerated)
  • 6 pounds ground venison

Combine first twelve ingredients in a jar or small bowl. Mix well. Add Lem cure if using, mix well. Place ground venison in a very large bowl. Add seasoning mix and mix well by hand or use your kitchen aid or like stand mixer (for six pounds, my kitchen aid is an arm saver).

Load your jerky press according to the directions and shoot it out onto the drying racks.

 

shooting out slim jims

shooting out slim jims

yeah,  jerky pressing and taking ones own pics is not an easy task.

yeah, jerky pressing and taking ones own pics is not an easy task.

You want to keep them close, but not touching for good circulation.

You want to keep them close, but not touching for good circulation.

If your dehydrator has a temperature gauge, set to 165°, if not, follow the “jerky” instructions from your manual. I like to check the meat after a couple hours, flipping it if it is dry to the touch (gloves, gloves, gloves people). Depending on how well drained your meat was to begin with the drying time is 4 – 8 hours. (placing your meat in a colander, set into a larger bowl, covered over night will shorten your drying time and will also help get rid of any gamy taste that sometimes comes with wild game)

Once your jerky is dried, unplug your dehydrator. Remove jerky to a sheet pan for cooling. Wait until it completely cooled for bagging, so that there is no condensation in the bags.

Cooling it off is really important. Placing hot jerky in bags makes for gross slimy not jerky stuff.

Cooling it off is really important. Placing hot jerky in bags makes for gross slimy not jerky stuff.

For long term storing, place bags of jerky in the deep freeze.

In case anyone is wondering “Can I use this recipe on flank steak or venison steak for strip jerky?” the answer is no. This recipe is best used with ground meat, mixed well. The seasonings applied to steak strips even with using soy sauce instead of salt, makes for parsley and oregano on the outside of the meat, which in the mouth was like eating something that had been dropped in a pile of leaves, not good. On the other hand, using this recipe with soy sauce instead of salt, as a marinade for grilled ribeyes or venison steaks was pretty amazing…

 

 

 

What are you waiting for?

Tis the season. The season to over-shop, over-spend, over-indulge in the spirit or is it the “spirits”?, and over-consume all things “comfort”.

Sometimes I catch myself wondering why certain foods are labeled as “comfort”. Maybe it’s the comfort while eating, because after a big ole plate of “comfort”, a slice or scoop or bowl of “comfort”, I never much felt “comfortable” afterwards. Tired, lethargic, irritable, moody even, but most definitely not comfort.

With this time of over-everything, we  realize come January that there is a price to be paid in over-everything. Be it that credit card we got to make Christmas happen, the serious hang-over from a week of excess, or maybe those clothes are a bit more snug than last winter, heck maybe more so than last week when we tried them on.

We see it every year come resolution time. Resolutions to stop bad habits, to lose weight, to improve health markers, save money, spend less, the list is as long as the number of us human beings are different in what we perceive as needed changes in our lives.

Sometimes folks talk about how they’ve been meaning to do this or that, since it’s resolution time, the meaning is over, they’ve decided that it will happen, it’s a resolution after all. Don’t get me wrong, resolutions are great, we get all gung-ho the month of January, half of February, revived during Lent, and pepped back up for bikini season…

Not everyone loses their way with a new year’s resolution. Sometimes we actually attain our goals set and accomplish change. Sometimes though, we find ourselves re-hashing resolutions past, excusing away why we weren’t successful, making a new and improved plan for success.

Here we are, a couple of short days away from the biggest comfort food event of the year, Thanksgiving, followed by the best deals and biggest shopping days, which ironically includes Thanksgiving for some retail giants… and I wonder, what are we waiting for?

Why wait until January, a whole month away? Why not start right freaking now? I’m not saying make a major dietary change just two days before the annual gorge-fest, maybe just make a plan to be a little more thankful and a little less comfort food minded? Maybe instead of leaving the table for a grand Thanksgiving day sale, stick around, watch a football game (football games have the greatest commercials btw…), hang with the fams, reflect what we’re thankful for and how maybe we can be more mindful year round of things we should be thankful for?

I know, I know, it’s no fun to think about resolutions in November, but it’s really not any fun in January either, sitting at the computer in our newly tightened clothes, thinking “good gracious, I’ve got my resolution right here” or looking at the cobwebs in our billfolds thinking maybe there is something to that 52 week money challenge. (word of advice, if you do the 52 week challenge, don’t wait until January to start, start now, with a dollar, be ready to have your cash flow in November, not January, spend the cash on Christmas instead of using it to pay interest in January, duh!)

 

 

 

“Souper” easy Venison-esque Salisbury steak

The plan for dinner was to make Salisbury steak with roasted root vegetables and broccoli. I figured it was as good a time as any to break out some ground venison and give it a go.

I thought about the worst that could happen – taste too gamy, and decided a 50/50 mix of venison to beef would tip the scales in my favor as far as not having “too gamy” uttered mid meal.

I had gotten a late start on setting the meat out to thaw. Ended up taking a couple short cuts where normally, I would have made my own gravy, rather than using canned soup. As an advocate of “whole foods” I should be ashamed of myself for using a couple of processed cans of something, I guess. The saving grace though, is that the roasted root vegetables (parsnip, sweet potato, turnip, carrot, onion) were fresh and peeled, roasted with salt, pepper, and garlic. The broccoli/mushroom bake was fresh broccoli, cut up, tossed with butter, wiped and sliced mushrooms, and topped with a little parm, no shortcuts on the sides anyways…

  • 1 pound ground beef (73/27 is what I used)
  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 T minced onion
  • 1 t seasoning salt
  • 1/2 t fresh cracked pepper
  • 3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese (the kind in the can)
  • 2 T Dale’s seasoning/marinade
  • 1 can french onion soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, garlic powder, onion powder, minced onion, Parmesan, Dale’s seasoning, salt, and pepper. (mix well) Glove up and mix in the ground beef and ground venison. (a mixer is too harsh, a fork just doesn’t cut it, mix it like you’re kneading dough). Grease two 8″ x 11″ oven safe dishes (I used a couple of glass lasagna pans). Pat out about 1/4 pound patties, you should get 8-9 patties, and place in baking dishes.

Open the french onion soup and use a slotted spoon to spoon a bit on each patty, then divide liquid between both dishes like the following picture:

Patted out, ready for the oven

Patted out, ready for the oven

Cover both dishes with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and drain liquid into a sauce pan. Add the cream of mushroom soup to the pan drippings and mix well. It is at this point you can combine the patties staggered into one baking dish. Pour the “gravy” (soup/drippings mixture) over the patties and re-cover with foil. Bake 30 – 45 minutes more, covered.

venison/beef Salisbury steaks.

venison/beef Salisbury steaks.

Like I typed up there somewhere, I served it with roasted root vegetables and a what’s the worst that could happen baked broccoli/mushroom toss. It was a hit. Nobody knew it was venison, well, except for me, and only because I prepped it.

While this recipe is not “keto” it is lower carb than traditionally prepared Salisbury steak and gravy (no flour, no breadcrumbs). While I had no problem with my postprandial blood glucose readings, be sure and test yours prior to and one and two hours after consuming any new to you foods.

Muzzleloader day one…

I almost didn’t go hunting this morning. Bad sleep, bad mood, bad hair day. Wasn’t really feeling it, but then again, didn’t want to miss it. Put on my big girl coveralls and got in the truck. We headed down to the hunty hole, blind in tow, around 4:45 this morning. Maybe it was a few miles from the house when I realized I’d forgotten my phone. No biggie. Forgot a knife too, potential biggie, but I wasn’t really expecting the need of one.

This is the blind my hot husband built us.

This is the blind my hot husband built us.

Sweet blind, right? I type “built us”, but he’s not skerd of no tree stand, he built it so I wouldn’t have to get too far out of my comfort zone and up a tree. Another way to tell he built it with my comfort in mind is that it has a freaking heater (YEAH BABY!!!).

Normally it’s between 8:30 am and whenevs before we see deer. Today, a flock of geese flew over really early, the butt crack of dawn to be precise. Not long afterwards Big Sexy said “deer”. I didn’t see nothin’. A bad night of not sleeping, my hunty eyes were only working at about 2%, when she moved and I saw her.

He asked if I wanted her and passed me the muzzleloader. Yeah, I wanted her. There was a smaller deer with her and he said it was probably her baby. (insert second thoughts) “Will it live without it’s mom?” I asked. “Yeah, it’s a yearling at least” he said. I took aim. She turned and went behind some scrub. “You can’t shoot through all that brush” he said. “Ok”. I said. “Take your time, wait til you’re ready” he said.

About that time, she turned again, I was ready, pulled back the hammer and he said “buck”.  I don’t know if I said anything. I remember seeing another deer approach them, it happened so fast, the lovely lady and her youngster took off up the hill with the little young buck in hot pursuit.

Big Sexy did what any other Hot Husband would do in that situation, he pulled out the call. Grunted. BAM~! Big daddy buck pops out of freaking no where. “Buck” he said. “Take your time, are you nervous?” he said. “no, {panting, think labor breathing}” I said as the scope jumped each time my heart beat. “When ever you’re ready” he said. He had a clear shot at that point, but I had the muzzleloader. I couldn’t get a good aim because I was too far to the right.

He’s been telling me how during the rut the big guys act like they ain’t got no sense. He wasn’t just whistling dixie. This beautiful buck just stood there, posing, looking right in our direction. He didn’t see us because he didn’t snort. Matter of fact, he started coming a bit closer like that love stuck little buckaroo that didn’t want to leave me alone in the turkey blind last month.

Like I typed a few paragraphs up, I had already pulled the hammer for that doe. I don’t think 5 minutes had passed since pulling that hammer, but it felt a lot longer than that. Deep breath, deep breath, finally I don’t think I’m shaking anymore, and BOOM. Ok, I had on ear muffs, so I didn’t really hear a boom.

“Did you hit him?” he asked. “I don’t know, it happened too fast, it wasn’t loud, my shoulder doesn’t even hurt” I said, “let’s go see” I added. He told me about how it’s a lot easier to just wait a little while before running out there, turns out, if you spook them, they run further. After a few minutes that felt like more, Big Sexy got out just to go see where the big guy had been standing.

“You hit him” he told me.

Until today, I always thought the waiting to see one, getting one in range, was the hard part. Today I learned that part is easy. There was a little blood where I had shot him, so we looked around and picked up his trail. With tall grasses and woods, one must keep a keen eye out for the blood trail. A spot here, a smear there, 100 yards later, we came upon him.

I will not tell a lie. I cried. Not tears of sadness, I wasn’t like all boo hoo cry baby like if my feelings were hurt, it was different than that. If I had to explain it, it was seriously like giving birth. The anxiety, the nervousness, the adrenaline, the joy, the wonder… I sat on the ground beside him, tears in my eyes, rubbing his soft fur, as I thanked him for providing meat for our family.

My 12 point buck

My 12 point buck

(Yeah, I rock those Isotoners even in the woods lol)

He  counted up 12 points. Big Sexy was telling me how awesome that was, that 12 was great. He took a couple pics for me since I had forgotten my phone.

Looking less like a goober, but the bad hair day is evident lol

Looking less like a goober, but the bad hair day is evident lol

We took the big guy to Shackle Island Processors in Goodlettsville, where we picked up last weekend’s doe.

Perdy lady from last weekend, yeah, there were tears when I thanked her too.

Perdy lady from last weekend, yeah, there were tears when I thanked her too.

Shackle Island Processors is pretty fabulous. They had the doe all ready for us and when we asked about when the cape would be ready on the big guy, they told us 10-15 minutes. I won’t go into details, TMI and all, but the butcher is an artist. At most, we were down the road at Mr. Dallas’s taxidermy 15 minutes later. Mr. Dallas said he’d never seen a rack like the big guy’s rack. It was so cool to see his shop, bobcat, fox, fish, turkey, deer, ducks, etc. Even got to pet a coyote!

Anyways, I’m on hour number 15 since the alarm went off and think I hear a glass of wine calling my name. Fingers crossed for sleeping well and LATE!!!

 

 

Silly girl adventures in milking a coconut…

Last week’s coconut macaroons left me with shredded coconut to spare. Lucky for me, I never ever run out of things to ponder, so when I saw a link to a recipe for coconut yogurt, I was down like four flats on a Cadillac.

If I take a little time and search my browsing history, I could probably find you the link. Problem is, that particular recipe, while the ingredients were just like all the other coconut yogurt ingredients, the actual “instructionable” part of the recipe is lacking.

The recipe called for a can of coconut milk, probiotic capsules, and a small amount of sugar, honey, what evs, to feed the culture. (I don’t always use real sugar, but when I do, it’s to feed a freaking culture, I tell ya)

Rather than a can of coconut milk, I had a carton. In the winter, often times I make hot cocoa with coconut milk, so in the winter, it’s a staple. Maybe I’ve become lax in my ingredient reading, but the list was long. I didn’t want that crap in my yogurt. I thought about getting dressed and running (ha ha, as in driving) up to the store to grab a can o’ coconut milk, but the “don’t want to leave the comfort of my pjs and a warm house” side of me was thinking “Google is your friend Grasshopper”…

I googled DIY coconut milk and this one link stood out from the rest.

http://chriskresser.com/3-reasons-why-coconut-milk-may-not-be-your-friend

Normally I get Chris Kresser’s blog posts on my FB feed, but this was an older article. Thinking “say it isn’t so”, I ended up realizing the title was a wee bit misleading, he’s talking about the canned kind and lots of ingredients kind. Turns out he has a pretty sweet recipe/instructional on “Homemade Coconut Milk” at the end of the nice read.

Wine glass worthy...

Wine glass worthy…

How to milk a coconut:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

(If you read the instructions in the link, you will see that it calls for 1.5 – 2 cups of the coconut. I had 2 cups, so I went for the extra coconutty option 🙂 )

Heat water to until hot but not boiling. I have a magic bullet type blendermagig, so I placed 1/2 cup of coconut and 1/2 cup of hot water in and zip, zip, zip, zipppppped until it no longer looked like water and shredded coconut. After blending the coconut and hot water, pour it through a fine mesh sieve.

Most definitely better smelling than cow milking...

Most definitely better smelling than cow milking…

Once you’ve got it all blended, place the pulp in a tea towel and squeeze the rest of the silky goodness out. Make sure to try a bit of the warm deliciousness. Store it in a glass jar in the fridge. I don’t know how long it will keep, I used 3 cups of it for the yogurt and drank the 4th cup…

My first attempt at milking a coconut was a complete success. It was easier and less time consuming than getting dressed. It cost less than driving to the store and purchasing coconut milk in a can because I already had the ingredients.

Slow down just a minute, before you dump that there pulp in the compost, I’ve got a recipe within a recipe…

One ingredient coconut flour…

  • pulp from your homemade coconut milk

Not one for waste I thought maybe I could use that pulp for coconut flour. I consulted some friends in that super secret ninja group and ended up giving it a go, and this is how I did it:

Line a large (1/2 sheet pan size if you’ve got it) baking sheet with parchment paper. Thinly spread coconut pulp over the paper. Place pan on the middle rack of a  250° preheated oven. I mixed it around every 15 minutes for about an hour. The time will vary depending on if you squeezed it through a tea towel when making the milk, how long you left it in the sieve before putting it in the oven. Be sure and check it often, you don’t want it brown, you want it dry.

Once it was dry, I placed it in an unused coffee grinder. Zip, zip, zip, zippppp later, and I had this:

Not as finely milled as the kind I buy. Love the color though!!!

Not as finely milled as the kind I buy. Love the color though!!!

It’s almost the texture of almond meal. It doesn’t smell much like anything. I really love the color, and after sifting, used it to make yet another batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Guess what? I finally got the coconut taste outta dem cookies lol.

 

About that yogurt………

It was a flop, the instructable part called for letting it sit in a window sill. Well, the cold winds are rising, my stove top was warmer, the worst that could happen was that it wouldn’t work. It didn’t.

At the store anyways, I grabbed a couple cans of coconut milk, to hell with the three reasons, yogurt was NOT going to be the boss of me (pardon me while I giggle). I hit my ole friend google up one last time and found this recipe.

http://tasty-yummies.com/2014/06/03/how-to-make-coconut-milk-yogurt/

Now I've really gotta clean the fridge...

Now I’ve really gotta clean the fridge…

It doesn’t smell very appetizing, but it tastes good. I didn’t use any thickeners, so it’s not thick. I’m definitely going to make it again, anything worth doing takes practice.