Spring forward, into turkey season

Spring, spring, spring. With all this snow melting on the ground, it’s easy to see spring coming. Before the previous couple of winter storms came roaring through, the foilage from the daylilies and iris had already broken ground.

While technically we are springing forward late tonight, early tomorrow, I’m looking forward to spring turkey season. Opening day is only 28 days away, so I figured it was time to transition our gear from deer to turkey. The first thing I did was dump everything out of our back packs.

deer supplies

deer supplies

A few things will go back into the packs, but in order to keep order some things had to go. The deer calls, scent cover, scent spray, hand warmers, rattlers, and big gloves were put up for next deer season.

Turkey season most definitely takes up less backpack space, which is good because we can’t always use the big blind. Sometimes we have to tote chairs and popup blinds, so the less weight in the packs, the better.

My idea of essentials for turkey season.

My idea of essentials for turkey season.

With the exception of the big flashlight, there is not a lot to pack. The most important things are your hunting license and photo id. I keep my hunting and drivers license in a waterproof pouch, in my pocket. Last year we ended up getting a boatload of licenses, so this year we are opting for the Sportsman’s License. It includes all we need for archery or big gun, big game or small, and fishing.

The second most important thing, when you are not hunting on land that you own, is a letter of permission from the land owner. They are kinda bulky for a pocket, so we keep ours in zipper bags, in our packs.

The rest of the stuff is perdy much what I took for last year’s spring and fall turkey seasons.

  • binoculars
  • trash bags and vinyl gloves
  • toilet paper
  • range finder
  • his and hers turkey calls (mine is the green one)
  • rail and bow string wax
  • call chalk
  • ink pen

The ink pen is something I’ve added this season because we needed one, one day during deer season.

This is all the pack gear that can be packed this early. We take bottles of water, but do not pack them until we walk out the door. Decoys and pop up blinds are usually put in the truck a few days in advance of opening day.

Since I got zero turkeys last year, none within the range of my crossbow (because guns are too loud), I may try out the new turkey gun Big Sexy got me. It can’t be any louder than Thor (my muzzleloader that I got my two bucks with). Speaking of bucks, Mr. Dallas called back early February, turned out spring came early…

This is John. John Deer. My 12 point buck. I wipe him down weekly, so I had to call him something.

This is John. John Deer. My 12 point buck.

 

 

 

 

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When less really is more, steak tacos

We were some of the lucky ones during ice-aggedon. Our driveway isn’t a 90° drop off, like many of our neighbors drives. (well, it’s pretty flat out front, past the house it’s like an asphalt slide)

While I didn’t drive the first 13 days, my hot husband was able to get me to the store for emergencies, you know like chocolate. (kidding, maybe) Anyways, maybe it was day 12 when I went with His Hotness to Nashville to see how the roads were coming along, to know if he’d be able to take out the big work truck.

The roads were much better than the roads up these parts, but the work site was a no-go. Anyways, I’ll just claim my 5th amendment rights and not tell you about the amazing authentic Mexican tacos we got just off Charlotte Pike in West Nashville.

Most of my adult life, tacos have been more like the supreme version of Taco Bell, the crunchy, soft is fajitas daggumit (giggle). In those tacos that I will not talk about, I found that really truly, less is more.

Something odd happened that day, he told me he could eat those tacos seven days a week. I was going to hold him to it, they were so freaking easy, but by day three, he was all taco-ed out.

Less is more, gosh I love them, steak tacos, LCHF style

Filling:

  • 1 pound thinly sliced beef steak, round, flank, square (haha), what ever kind, just not the green kind.
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: pink salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano.
  • coarse black pepper

Cut steak into strips, against the grain. Heat a skillet (I like stainless, use what you like) over medium high heat, add bacon grease. Add steak. When it is no longer pink, add seasonings. For some odd reason, steak in this day and age loses a lot of water, if it gets watery, heat up the griddle and griddle it dry, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.

Sorry, this is chicken. With ceviche and steak tacos, do you blame me for not having a chance to get the steak griddle pic? Use your imagination, thanks :)

Sorry, this is chicken. With ceviche and steak tacos, do you blame me for not having a chance to get the steak griddle pic? Use your imagination, thanks 🙂

Topping: 

  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • coarse pink salt and coarse black pepper as you like it
  • 1/2 lime

Put the onion and cilantro in a glass bowl. Toss it around with the salt and pepper, squeeze the lime over the top and mix once more for good measure. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge until your tacos are ready. (I don’t always use a glass bowl for cooking, but when I use lime or lemon juice, I always use a glass bowl. You’re welcome)

Because you’ve already made a large batch of the broccoli cheese waffles, tortilla style, pull a few of those bad boys out and heat them up on the griddle.

Did I mention they freeze well? In freezer bags, make sure to put parchment paper squares between each.

Did I mention they freeze well? In freezer bags, make sure to put parchment paper squares between each. (and OMG if the bacon chicken were really #37, does that make these #38? Gonna have to work hard to fill in the blanks, but at least it has me out of my “writer’s block” good deal, really.

Once your waffle tortillas are heated up, top with filling, top with topping. That’s it. You don’t need no cheese (it’s in the tortilla anyways), no sour cream, just a wedge of lime to squeeze on top before that first bite…

Yummy, yummy

Yummy, yummy

Ok, so this is like the third bite out of my second taco... So freaking good.

Ok, so this is like the third bite out of my second taco… So freaking good.

They were really nice with the ceviche and chips last night. So good, that I heated up a couple for a breakfast sammich…

This pic is from the first batch. Bacon, egg, cheese, and mayo. Do I miss my fork lately? Oh hell no!!!

This pic is from the first batch. Bacon, egg, cheese, and mayo. Do I miss my fork lately? Oh hell no!!!

 

101 things to do with broccoli waffles, ceviche and chips

I’m seriously in love with these things. In case you missed them, broccoli and cheese waffles, from The Primitive Palate are what I’m talking about. Anyways, my friend Brenda and I got to brainstorming and ended up with some tortillas. I ended up typing myself into a tasty corner by calling the chicken bacon tacos #37 of 101 things to do with broccoli cheese waffles.

Anyways, I figure the #1 thing to do is the recipe as written with a waffle iron. I plan on doing just that, once I make my way to Goodwill or find a waffle iron on the cheap.

The roads are nice and clear now, still cold, but we hit the store. Since the only thing I changed with the waffles was basically the shape last time, well, and my sub for Mrs. Dash, I thought I’d branch out and count using a 50/50 mix of cheddar to mozzarella could at least count as one of the 101, I went ahead and added a bit of oregano to my last batch’s changes.

 

With the cheddar and some eggs from the back yard, they are more colorful.

With the cheddar and some eggs from the back yard, they are more colorful.

Tossing the cheddar in the mix ended up making them more bendy, they almost looked like round doritos, so I thought “what the heck?”, I made some ceviche anyways, what’s the worst that could happen.

Ceviche

  • 2 fillets tilapia (about 3 oz each)
  • 6 oz calamari
  • 4 oz bay scallops
  • lime juice, about 1/2 cup
  • coarse pink salt and coarse black pepper
  • pico de gallo (chop up some onions, cilantro, and tomatoes, mix well, and add a little lemon juice, heck, add jalepeño if you would like)

Chop fish, calamari, and scallops into somewhat uniform sizes. Mix together in a glass bowl with pink salt and black pepper. Pour lime juice over to cover. Use a little more if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours to overnight. Seafood is done when it is opaque.

Serve onto dishes with a slotted spoon, topped with pico de gallo.

Love ceviche, normally just eat it with a fork. Not again :)

Love ceviche, normally just eat it with a fork. Not again 🙂

I love ceviche, we make it often. Normally May and I eat it with a fork, not tonight though!

Cut tortillas into triangles, and griddle over medium high heat a couple minutes, flipping as needed.

Cut tortillas into triangles, and griddle over medium high heat a couple minutes, flipping as needed.

Remove the chips from the griddle on to a paper towel.

Remove the chips from the griddle on to a paper towel.

At that point, these were great. May thought they were bland. I told her “more for me” (Big sexy doesn’t like ceviche, so he didn’t get any broccoli cheese waffle chips)

Once we got that ceviche plated, she changed her mind about the chips. Half were on her plate. I couldn’t get mad because I was like OMG… best thing I ever ate a-freakinggain!!!

These things stand up to ceviche, imagine the possibilities.

These things stand up to ceviche, imagine the possibilities.

Anyways, because I missed lunch, had too much time on my hands, and really really wanted tacos again… I made some tacos for dinner tonight with the ceviche. It’s getting late, so I’ll just have to give you the recipe and pictures for that one tomorrow.

Instant gratification

Here it is, January 9, 2015 (yeah, I backspaced the 4, the 5 is so new and all), five days into getting my head on straight and I’ll be damned if my size eights still do not fit! {pouty sniffles}

Granted I have lost three whole pounds and lord knows I’ll surely find them, but it hasn’t really been all bad. I actually misplaced a couple of pounds Monday morning, which reminds me of finding them Tuesday morning. I don’t even want to talk about Wednesday and Thursday because I didn’t even check in with that old hag the scale.

It’s got to be that I’m not doing it right, I picked the wrong diet, which isn’t really a diet anyways, I call it meleo (combo of primal, paleo, without carb loading and crossfit (giggles) what works for my diabetes and me). It didn’t even make the cut, but it’s great uncle “Paleo” did and came in dead last. {Don’t wag that finger at me, I know, I know, I shoulda done #13, Slimfast (howling laughter at this point, seriously, bottle of chems or whole foods, yep, chems it shoulda been)}

Maybe I should have re-started Atkins, you know, hit the new and exciting Atkins 40, for when you just want to lose a little, but if you checked out the linky-do, Atkins is on the last page too, #32 to Paleo’s #34.

To be completely honest, I’m not even doing anything aside from what I was doing prior to hunting season and really, really, losing three pounds in five days of doing absolutely nothing is pretty spectacular, maybe downright scandalous. What exactly is that absolutely nothing? No sugar, no starches, simple. Leafy greens, meat, cheese, eggs, fish, even slightly higher carb veggies like Brussels sprouts.

Since I proved to myself what I already knew (you just can’t out exercise a bad diet), I’m not even counting my general goofiness like toting firewood as exercise, so without my general goofiness, I’m pretty much sloth-like. (general goofiness takes up most of my time, so I’m not sloth-like often)

I’m not doing anything silly like putting an entire stick of butter into my 32oz coffee, or just eating sticks of butter talking about my deep ketosis. Ketosis-smosis and all that, you won’t see any snap chats or instagrams of my pissedonketostix for a few reasons, #1 I don’t pee on sticks, that’s what potties are made for. #2 I don’t have snapchat which leads to #3 nor do I have instagram.

I am doing what I found to be most helpful when I lost the weight in the first place, right prior to thinking I was ten foot tall and bullet proof…

Dr. Jack Kruse’s Leptin Rx combined with Mark Sisson’s When Hunger Ensues Naturally. Anyways, both of these were big helps back in 2011 and 2012 when I was discovering my path to controlling my diabetes and losing weight. As far as combining them goes, on the days I wake up hungry, I eat within 30 minutes of rising, high protein breakfast, (I never stopped following the sleep well part), wait 4-5 hours (or longer) between meals. The couple days I’ve awoken without a thought of food, I’m IFing and eating when hunger ensues naturally.

Anyways, I was just thinking that with all the technology, things should be going quicker. My eights pert near falling off me by day five, but no, I’m human just like everyone else. Sometimes we just have to think “yeah, I want it now, but it’s going to take time.” Maybe I’m trying to tell any of you sweet folks out there in Readerville that no matter which diet you chose, what eating plan you adapt, that no big change after 5 days is no big deal. Weight loss is not a transporter from fat to flat in an instant, it’s a series of fits and starts, ups and downs that ultimately lead to getting into shape. The key though is not a “diet”, a “pill”, or a “superfood”, the key is to find what works for each of us as individuals and sticking to it.

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.

 

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…

 

 

 

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!!!

 

 

Girly Girl Adventures in Fall Turkey Hunting

I’d been looking forward to opening day since, well, closing day of spring season. Having not gotten my own turkey in the spring, Big Sexy shelled out another thirty on my “big gun” license. I love Tennessee, but I just don’t understand why one must get a billion different licenses just to hunt. I’m up to $130.00 in the license department and have yet to so much as catch a fishy-poo (Good thing I decided to be a hunter for the whole “grass-fed, free-range, no anti-this-or-that” instead of the delusion of thinking “game is saving money” concept, huh? lol). Smart guy Big Sexy is though, we’re getting the “Sportsman”‘s license next year so not to have to deal with needing one for this, another for that, and so on.

Four-thirty came early this morning, so early that I was in the blind a full hour or so before the butt-crack of dawn, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

In the cover of night we arrived at the hunting grounds. It was a decent 61°, with a light mist. A big change from the 38° for last weekend’s deer hunt, and this time I was a tad over-dressed with the coveralls and wool socks, but I swear the temp was going down as the sun was coming up, toasty as I was, it all worked out.

Big Sexy popped the turkey blind up right beside where we’d previously seen turkeys. We got my chair, shot gun (with turkey choke), back pack, and other essentials.

After setting up and His Hotness going further into the dark of the woods to his deer stand, I figured I had a good hour before sun up and pulled out “Clockwork Prince” (Book 2 of The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare and fell back into nineteenth century London with the Shadowhunters and Autobots.

While I couldn’t see the sun actually rise through all the clouds, I did see that daylight was upon me. I put away my headlight and book and pulled out the turkey box. There were cardinals, owls, crows, and smaller black birds all around. No turkeys. I called and called “here turkey turkey” < totally joking, I purred and clucked like a good lady bird. Lotta good that did me, I heard a THUMP and looked to my left to see the most beautiful hawk had just took a swipe at my blind.

This is not "the hawk" from this morning. This is another beauty that hangs out in the back sometimes.

This is not “the hawk” from this morning. This is another beauty that hangs out in the back sometimes.

He musta really thought all that noise was from a lady gobbler shut up in that blind because he swooped again, this time going for my decoys!

That turkey fan I saved from Big Sexy's spring gobbler made for a nice decoy on a stake. Hey!! What's that back in the bushes???

That turkey fan I saved from Big Sexy’s spring gobbler made for a nice decoy on a stake. Hey!! What’s that back in the bushes???

I’d guess it was three hours into my hunt while trying to find some gobblers to gossip with, that I looked up and saw gigantic rabbits hopping down the road. (Ok, I’m kidding, them weren’t no rabbits!!) Seriously though, about halfway between my decoys and the telephone pole, some perdy Bambi mamas came traipsing out. The lovely ladies musta made plans earlier because they took a hard left, totally away from me, never even looking back.

Being a law-abiding citizen, I was sitting in my blind with a turkey-choked shotgun, no bow for Bambi-mamas, so I did what any other hunty girly girl would do. I texted Big Sexy and said “You shoulda stayed with me, I see deer”. (Did I mention it was a whole hour and half earlier than we normally see them deep in the woods?)

I must tell you that deer are quiet. (turkey are pretty quiet too) Those ladies pranced up a gravel road without a sound, so it was no surprise to me when I looked up and saw big ole stud-muffin Bambi daddy prancing out of the woods. (OK, maybe I was a little surprised, he was big, that’s his back in the background of that pic up there) The big guy went to the left after a small breakfast salad, following his ladies at a nice distance, so not to look to eager, I’m sure.

I went back to calling turkeys, watching the battle of the birds (crows and hawks), and thinking about how cool it was to see the deer when out of nowhere there were more deer. The second group was too far down the road for me to tell if they were ladies or gentlemen, so I didn’t really dwell on it, when something caught my eye in the distance.

Phones don't do zoom well.

Phones don’t do zoom well.

When he looked my direction, I felt our eyes lock. Having on full camo and face paint, he musta had his glasses on to see the whites around the blues of my eyes. (yeah, I know he didn’t actually see “blue” but the contrast, yeah, that’s it)

Instead of turning left, this guy decided to hit the salad bar to the right of the pic.

He then came back to my side of the road...

He then came back to my side of the road…

I figured he was just a little curious about my decoys and tried to keep taking pics.

When he got really close to the decoys, I figured he'd leave, but no...

When he got really close to the decoys, I figured he’d leave, but no…

I’m thinking this guy was a teenager because he was so nosy. He ended up coming right up to the decoys and bent his head down for a quick snack. It was then that we locked eyes again, me figuring he would bolt, him looking all dreamy (giggles). I swear the next thing that happened shocked me.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think that guy was sweet on me because he came all the way up to the blind. I had to shoo him off, not once, but twice. (Makes me think of that commercial, but with deer/turkey instead of credit/car “Bad deer ruined my game” lol)

Anyways, as magically as the deer had appeared, this little guy finally got the hint “Hey dude, I’m married!!” and disappeared.

A while back when I saw my first deer “in real life”, I said it was “the best day ever”. I’ve got to say it again today, because today was even better. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t get a turkey, I’ve got until the 24th to get 6. With plenty of hunting friends I’m sure to get at least a drumstick anyways.

Sushi and Nori, with Ham, oh my!

If you are of the belief that it still isn’t sushi without the nori, well then, call it by another name. The nori could care less what you call it as long as you’re not just letting it sit in the pantry.

The last time I typed about sushi, I think it was the freaking amazing blt sushi. Lately though, May has been on a ham and cheese kick. Her bento box normally contains a couple sliced rolls, a cheese stick, strawberries, and a bottle of water.

Let's call this one Sammich Sushi lol

Let’s call this one Sammich Sushi lol

If you’ve never rolled sushi (with or without rice), hit up youtube for some videos or just check out the directions on the back of the nori pack. Sushi mats are fairly inexpensive at ethnic stores.

Sammich Sushi

  • 1 sheet nori
  • 2 slices sandwich type, deli style, what have you ham (turkey, chicken, and roast beef also taste quite nice)
  • 1 t mayo
  • 1 slice American cheese (or Swiss, pepper jack, you get my drift)
  • 2 leaves Romaine lettuce
  • a little thinly sliced red onion

Place nori shiny side down onto your sushi mat. Spread mayo from 1/4″ up from the bottom to 1″ down from the top (the area you would normally use rice). If you are using pre-packaged sliced baked ham, place slices vertically side by side on nori, over the area you spread the mayo. If you are using circular or whatevs shaped slices, just cover the mayo with it. Fold cheese in half and place half on each slice of ham, towards the bottom, just above the bare area of nori. Next place lettuce on cheese and onion slices onto lettuce. Roll it up.

When you get to the end, dampen the bare nori with a little water. Finish rolling and wrap in plastic wrap. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to overnight (I do overnight for the lunch box, easier to slice when it’s soft).

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I cannot tell a lie. The other night whilst making May’s sushi, I made myself a little snack, YUM!

 

 

 

 

From garden to ranchero

One of my favorite lunches out is huevos rancheros con chorizo from Jose’s here in Greenbrier. The staff is always great, and if there isn’t a drama club field trip scheduled to do lunch for 25 at the same time you arrive, the service is spot on and the food never disappoints.

It had been a while since my hot husband and I had had a lunch date at Jose’s when I decided on Tuesday that it was too cruel for my taste buds, having kept them from that which they desired for so long. I decided “breakfast for dinner it is” and hit up google on the hunt of the next best thing, a recipe for ranchero sauce.

When you hit up google for a good rachero recipe, you quickly find that there are a gazillion of them, fresh tomato, canned tomato, vinegar, no vinegar, heck even Emeril Lagasse has a friggin’ ranchero sauce recipe.

Preferring to be a fly by the seat of my pants/what’s the worst that could happen kinda girl, I decided to just read a few recipes and then just freaking do it. I read Emeril’s, all recipes’, chow hound (maybe?), don’t remember all the ones I read, but my friend google always turns those linkydos purple, so I’ll know them when I see them again.

Started with 15 pounds of home grown tomatoes. Ended with 3 quarts crushed, 2 pints and a quart of juice, and 1 very messy kitchen.

Started with 15 pounds of home grown tomatoes. Ended with 3 quarts crushed, 2 pints and a quart of juice, and 1 very messy kitchen.

The recipes with fresh tomatoes were out of the question. I already had three quarts of beautiful crushed tomatoes needing to take a taste test, so I set a jar aside.

Some recipes called for bell peppers, most for jalepeños and lucky for my taste buds the plants out back were ripe for the pickin’. I picked one large green bell pepper and a couple of fat jalepeños. I then proceeded to gather my ingredients:

  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 fat jalepeños, seeded and chopped (this was quite mild, use more if you’d like)
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 T oregano
  • 2 T cooking oil, I cook with bacon oil, feel free to use olive oil if you so desire.
  • 16 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 t ground chipotle red pepper
  • salt to taste

Heat skillet over medium and add cooking oil. Saute onions, peppers, and garlic until veggies are softish and onions are translucent. Add oregano, crushed tomatoes, ground red pepper, and salt. Simmer for 30 – 45 minutes until sauce is thickened.

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The ranchero sauce was quite nice with some chrorizo and eggs. So nice, that last night I used it to make football shaped mini meatloaves for dinner.