Thursday, November 27, 2014

Dog sweater

I had the darndest time trying to start a new crochet project.  I don't think I have ever had such a time trying to decide what to do.  I've had this fun funky self patterning yarn for a while now.  And I was looking for the "just right" project for it.

I don't know how many times I started and stopped various projects with this yarn, and other yarn, before I finally settled on a dog sweater for my beagle Hammond.  And not just any dog sweater.  This pattern is supposed to be the end all be all of dog sweaters,  based on your dog's individual's not a pattern as much as it is a tutorial.  And best yet, it's FREE!  Yup...head on over to Jenna Wingate Designs, and download the PDF!  I LOVE free patterns!!!  If I wasn't distracted by things like cooking and cleaning I would have been able to complete this project much faster.

As it is, my pup hasn't wanted me to take this off him, even when I was just trying it on for fit while I was working on it!

But now that it's completed he has been snug as a bug in a rug.

Stay warm!

Bring on the pumpkin!!!

Ah Thanksgiving.  A time to stuff yourself so  much you need stretchy pants!  I LOVE IT!  This  year I get to enjoy the cooking of others, except for the pumpkin pie.  That my dear readers, is my contribution to dinner this year!  And, I have help making it! Not that it's all that difficult to make...

I decided to try a new recipe this year.  One I found via Pinterest, it's a Classic Pumpkin Pie.  As usual, gather the ingredients,  I was using this opportunity to teach my helper a bit more about baking...

Get the oven going, in this case it's 425.  and then set out your pie crusts, I cheated and purchased mine...hee hee

Then get to measuring and mixing.

Carefully pour your filling into the deep dish crusts, and the extra goes into an oven safe bowl.

Bake as directed, mine took an extra 10 minutes, they look D-E-LICIOUS!!!

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

One of the many things to do with Venison

Venison has been processed and the ground portions are sitting in my fridge in my turkey pan....being that Thanksgiving is a week away, I needed to do something to get it OUT of my turkey pan.  I looked up recipes for making venison summer sausage and settled on one.

So I went to the local grocery store to get the stuff I needed to make summer sausage, and to get some beef fat to add to the ground venison.  One site suggests a 10% ratio of fat to meat, so for 20 lbs of ground meat I needed 2 lbs of beef fat.  The butcher was more than happy to give me as much beef fat as I wanted, for FREE!  Which makes the overall cost of our venison uber cheap!!!  As in pennies a pound. We used the same grinder to grind up the beef fat.  And while DH was slicing up the fat chunks, and grinding away I started mixing up the sausage.

For this recipe I used three pounds of venison, and two pounds of ground beef.

One of the ingredients is fresh ground pepper, and I wasn't about to take the time using my hand grinder, so I dumped the peppercorns in my spare coffee grinder and went to town.

The spices and water get mixed together in a bowl and then added to the meat.  I did increase the garlic to 2 tsp instead of the 1 tsp they called for.  I LOVE garlic.

The next step is to mix for two minutes, so I removed my rings, and washed up real good....then dug in with both hands

Once two minutes is up, time to cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the fridge at least overnight, but no more than three days, mixing once a day.

Set the oven to 350,

and start forming the logs, about 2" in diameter.

You will also need either a broiler pan, or a pan with a rack over it.  If you don't have access to either of those things, you can put a drip pan under the middle rack and place the sausages directly on the oven rack.  Just remember you will have to clean the rack afterwords.

After the sausage has baked for an hour and a half, remove from the oven and take them out of the foil and put them on paper towels to absorb the rest of the fat.

Then once cooled (or while hot if you just can't wait) slice and serve!

Happy Snacking!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's deer season, and yes this post has pictures!

I got my hunter safety permit years ago, but unfortunately my first season out, didn't get a deer.  In fact I haven't been out since that first season.  I don't have a proper deer rifle!!  My husband has one, and I used it that first year.  Maybe soon I can get one, then I too can go hunting!  I love venison, it's hormone free, free range, and very lean!  Not to mention very versatile. I cannot wait to start making yummy things with this beautiful deer.

With the temperatures bottoming out this past weekend I was not sure if my husband would be successful getting a deer.  He went out Sunday late morning to his hunting spot, and didn't see anything.  Then got up super early Monday morning (like 3am) to head back out so he could be in place when the sun came up.  By noon he hadn't seen anything except a bobcat...and he was coooooold!  Fortunately just a while later (like three hours later) a gunshot on another property spooked a doe out of her hidey hole and into his range.

After taking the requisite picture to send to me, he did the field dressing, don't worry, no pictures of that, and loaded her up for the hour and a half trip back home.  Now I have to say, we have the BEST neighbors ever, we borrowed a cherry picker (engine hoist) from one neighbor, and another came down to help us process it!  I'm not gonna post a ton of pictures, cause honestly my hands were icky because I was helping process...  But after skinning we started removing the meat.

And then all of the meat went into a cooler overnight.

The next day we started removing all of the fat and silverskin...

...and chunking it... so we could grind it into burger...
...which is now sitting in the fridge, we still need to add some beef fat, not a lot, and then I will be making jerky, summer sausage, and a bunch of yummy things!  Hopefully he will get another deer either next weekend, if the weather cooperates, or during the antler-less portion that is the first week of December. 

Until then...Happy Eating!

Friday, November 14, 2014

When will I ever learn to follow a recipe exactly?

My brother and sister-in-law are headed home for a short stay.  Super excited to see him, and hopefully share some meals...between the two of us meal planning can be difficult, see I'm very much a meat eater, and he and his wife are veggies...and not only are they veggies, but he is allergic to no tomatoes, potatoes, peppers (spicy or otherwise) or paprika and many other ingredients...and I don't like tofu.  Most of the vegetarian meat alternatives have tomatoes in them...ugh!  Fortunately I found a recipe for Minestrone soup, that I will have to tweak to rid of the nightshades.  Ridding a recipe of the tomatoes is difficult, but doable.  You can double the other veggies to replace the bulk of the tomatoes, and add more water to replace the liquid of a can of tomatoes.

I was going to cook this in my large cast iron dutch oven, but alas, I cannot because even cooking near potatoes is enough to spark an allergic reaction, so my handy stainless steel stock pot will work.

Heat the oil, then sauté the onion, celery, carrots and garlic until soft,

Add the Celery Root or Jicima , zucchini, butternut squash (or pumpkin), and broth, and pasta.

Ensure the mixture is covered by liquid by at least 1 to 2 inches, adding water to cover if needed.

Bring to a boil, and then cook for about 20 to 30 minutes over low heat until vegetables are tender.
Add the parsley, basil, salt and pepper and mix well. I also added some thyme and oregano.

Add the kidney beans, Boca crumbles, and chopped greens, cover and simmer an additional 15 minutes.

Serve warm, with a drizzle of the pesto oil mixture on top.  It's the perfect meal for a cold night!
You can also make this non veggie by using chicken or beef stock, and adding cooked crumbled Italian sausage.  Which is what I did for pot #2, because I didn't measure the ingredients and ended up with a TON of soup!  Good thing I can bag this up and freeze it!!!