Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Venison Anyone?

This last summer a neighbor shared some venison and elk steaks from her last Autumn's hunting trip. It brought back so many memories from my youth of tall bottles of canned venison and jerky made from the deer Mom got when she went hunting with friends. We loved the jerky, and the way she knew how to make venison with gravy and tiny potatoes. It made me want to go hunting too.

Some friends from church gave us about 25 pounds of venison after their hunting trip last week. I was so tickled! I was able to get 12 pints of canned meat, a huge batch of jerky, and enough left over for several pounds of burger and sausage. This is some nice deer meat, it was quite a large deer, and you can tell that my friends know how to take care of it. My Kitchenaide mixer has a nice food grinder attachment so I can do this at home. Almost everything is done but the sausage, which I am now going to find a recipe for. For dinner we are having venison chili, yay!

The rest of the story- It's a family tradition for my friends to go hunting each year. There are 5 brothers and their wives and families. They circle the campers and go out on their 4 wheelers to hunt. They were quite successful this year and so most of their freezers will be full. The brother that shared with us doesn't really like the meat except in jerky form, so he will keep what they need for jerky and give away the rest to those who might need the meat. Why did we get some? Well the wife was supposed to be here to help with our Super Saturday, but asked to bow out so she could go. Her husband wanted her there, and since they have a son on a mission right now, they thought it would be important for for all who could to go. I jokingly said I wanted some jerky, and they were way more than generous. As for me, I am very grateful to be able to relive memories of the past because of their generosity. We have already sampled some of the finished jerky and it is delicious! If you would like the recipes drop me a note.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stuffed Pork Chops with Creamy Sage Gravy

I have to start this by saying how pleased I am with my husband! The other day we found out our neighbor upstairs had the back window smashed out of his car. This is the second time he has had his car vandalized. We've had a few problems with this man, and he hasn't been the nicest person to anyone here in town. He likes to bag on our religion when he's at work and makes it uncomfortable for anyone to be in the teachers lounge because of his anti-Mormon stance. In spite of all his orneriness my darling husband went to him and offered $50 towards a reward to find out who did this. I'm proud of my husband for being able to look beyond the sour demeanor this person has, and offer to help.
As an aside , we probably already know who did this, as the teacher had a run in with a certain student who has become a punk. It's sad because this young man is smarter than most of the adults around him, and could really make something of himself if he had a good male role model in his life. Don't know where the dad is, but he's not in the picture, and there's no other men in his family circle to pick up the ball and run with it.
On a happier note, I was watching Sandra Lee yesterday and she had a recipe for stuffed chicken thighs. I happened to have some very nice thick pork chops out ready to prep for dinner so I decided to stuff them. As I always do I added a couple of things to my recipe and the pork chops turned out great! My husband was so happy with dinner that the recipe will definitely go in the must have again file. This recipe is for two, but you could double or triple it for your family's needs.

Stuffed Pork Chops with Creamy Sage Gravy Serves 2

2 inch thick lean pork chops
1/3 c. each minced apple, onion and celery
I clove garlic, minced
1 cup dried bread cubes, coarsely chopped
1/4 t. seasoning salt
1 sprig of Rosemary, stripped of half it's leaves
3-4 leaves fresh sage or 1/2 to 1 t. dried if not available
2 +2+2-3T. olive oil or bacon grease
splash of juice or water.
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk
In a frying pan saute onions and celery for 5 minutes in fat of your choice. Add apples and saute 5 minutes more. Add herbs and seasoning salt and a dash or two of black pepper. Toss in your bread cubes and add a splash of juice or water to moisten slightly. Stir.
Butterfly cut your pork chops so that it creates two flat pieces still attached on one edge. Spoon in as much stuffing as you can on one side, fold over other side and toothpick in place. You may have a bit left over. Save that.
Add 2 T. olive oil to your pan, and turn up to medium. After oil gets hot add your chops. Cook for about 10 minutes on each side, until they are golden. Remove and place on a plate. Put in the oven and turn to 225 degrees to keep warm.
Add 3 T. fat to your frying pan and 2-3 T. flour, to make a thick mixture. Brown lightly, stirring occasionally. Add a chicken bullion cube and sage. Then add milk 1/2 a cup at a time stirring and letting thicken. Only add as much milk as will make a nice creamy gravy. Season with a dash of seasoning salt and pepper if needed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sabbath Sharing

As I finished wiping off the remnants of a failed attempt at Honey taffy I pondered on the events of the week. Friday it seemed that no matter what I did, with the exception of laundry, failed. The taffy wouldn't get stiff, the pinto bean fudge turned to a tasty but gooey vat of chocolate, and the white fudge, both batches, turned to sugary masses of not so usable candy. I did manage to get the peanut butter candy to stiffen up, as a matter of fact it was so stiff after sitting in the fridge I had to wait for hours before I could even attempt to pull it out and use it.
So why such a frustrating day? Perhaps it had to do with several things. One, I had a deadline. Murphy's Law states that if you wait til the last minute so to speak, you will have failure. Two, I was trying recipes I'd never used before. Three, I wasn't feeling well. Four, sometimes life is like that. Luckily, through inspiration I was able to salvage the pinto bean fudge, which became part of brownies both inside and as frosting. People loved it! The peanut butter candy I was going to make Reeses peanut butter cups out of, and after dipping a few balls and putting them in the pretty foil cups and realizing that it would take fooooorrreeeeevvvver! to do that, I had the idea come to me that I should take the rest of the candy, shape the rolled out mass into a flat rectangle and spread the melted chocolate over it. Then I could just cut it into squares when cooled. It worked! Funny thing, it was the most popular treat at our Super Service Saturday yesterday. All this was supposed to be for a tasters table showing all the good treats you could create from food storage items. Well I have a mission now, to find that best pinto bean fudge recipe, one that will work. And to get someone to show me how to make taffy. I know someone who knows how but she lives hundreds of miles away.
Speaking of service, here's a story that I found heart warming


Here's the recipe I had success with that can be made using all food storage items. Yes, it's okay to have chocolate chips in your food storage....:-)

Peanut Butter Candy

2 c. peanut butter
2 c. honey
2 c. powdered milk

1 c. chocolate chips

In a heavy duty pot warm up honey and peanut butter. Do not bring to a boil. You are just warming it. Add powdered milk slowly, stirring to mix well. On a clean surface, knead candy until smooth. Lightly dust a sheet of tinfoil with powdered sugar and roll out candy to about 1/2 inch thick. Shape into a large rectangle. Melt your chocolate chips over a warm pot of water in a double boiler. I don't use the microwave as I have a lousy one, but if you know how to do this in the microwave, go for it. Spread your chocolate over the peanut butter candy and when the chocolate is set, cut into squares.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The words we use... My Yay! for the day.

The other day in Sunday School the teacher asked who doesn't ever swear. I didn't raise my hand because I didn't want to be put on the spot as he sometimes does that. It's true though, I don't swear and don't even think that way. We are judged by the words we use. While I was a little miffed at the question as it wasn't appropriate to put us on the spot like that, it does bring me to my YAY! for the day.

Some one I love deeply has decided to clean up their language for various reasons. They are too well educated to speak that way for one, but mostly to be a better example to family and friends.

So, how does one clean up their language? Well we all know people who will say things such as "freakin", or "flippin" in order to avoid dropping the F bomb. Like we all don't know what that means! The one I hear from the college kids is "shez" or "shezzy" as a replacement for the S word or "shoot" or "shucks". Clever? Not so much. Some of the old tried and true are "heck" to replace hell, gosh, goshdarn or golldarn to replace taking God's name in vain. The one that really get's my goat is the P word for anger. When I was growing up it was considered a swear word, and now I hear women use it that I would never have expected to hear it from. They will excuse it away saying it's just a little crude?? Really?
I have never forgotten a lesson I heard when I was younger regarding the use of these replacement words though. Most likely, if you are saying the replacement word, you are thinking the word you are trying to avoid saying and thus will slip on occasion. We are what we think and speak so how do we clean up both mind and mouth? It's funny that we even need to but society has lost much of it's civility in language and behavior. Anyway, it's something you can have fun with. There are so many marvelous words that can replace a crude or foul word that won't have you thinking the one you want to drop. Children appreciate this as well. Here's an example.
The school I used to substitute teach at has mostly Mexican students. They will gasp in horror if they hear someone calling someone else stupid, but have no problem saying OMG or dropping the F bomb. Not sure why that is, but it seems to be a cultural thing, and not a bad one to avoid calling someone stupid, even if they deserve it...:-). So I started telling the children that they should say, "Oh my goodness" because to say the OMG phrase is disrespectful to God. They had never thought of it that way, but the funny thing was that they started saying what I taught them, and then would tell their friends to do the same. It also snowballed into cleaning up other words in their vocabulary as well.
Here's my list of words or phrases I use when I get hurt or angry.....
Boo boos - Ouch! (Such an under used word), rats!, it hurts, it hurts it hurts!, wow! Here's a funny one.... oh swear word!

Angry - get's my grits, perturbed - ing, frustrating - ed, want to slap someone ( okay, maybe expressing violence isn't so good so I will work on that one), annoyed, furious ( a very good word for extreme anger), irritated, and not necessarily last or least, just plain ole' mad!

To exclaim - Oh wow!, how wonderful, marvelous, fabulous, horrible, awful, terrible, delightful, wicked, evil, charming... this list could go on and on.

So my YAY! for the day goes out to that special someone who is trying to improve. What words do you use to avoid swearing, that don't mirror the words you are are trying to avoid?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So you think pot smoking is okay..... and other things bugging me...

For all those who think they know. Try this on for size and see if you still think it's okay.


01. MYTH: Marijuana is harmless.
01. FACT: Can lead to a host of significant health, social, learning, and behavioral problems at a crucial time in a young person's development. Getting high also impairs judgment, which can lead to risky decision making on issues like sex, criminal activity, or riding with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, teen users are 5 times more likely to have sex than teens who do not.

02. MYTH: You can't get addicted to marijuana.
02. FACT: Research shows that marijuana use can lead to psychological addiction. Each year, more kids enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.

03. MYTH: There are no long-term consequences to marijuana use.
03. FACT: Research shows that kids who smoke marijuana engage in risky behavior that can jeopardize their futures, like having sex, getting in trouble with the law, or losing scholarship money. Marijuana can also hurt academic achievement and puts kids at risk for depression and anxiety.

04. MYTH: Marijuana isn't as popular as other drugs like ecstasy among teens today.
04. FACT: Kids use marijuana far more than any other illicit drug. Among kids who use drugs, 60 percent use only marijuana.

05. MYTH: Young kids won't be exposed to marijuana.
05. FACT: Between 1991 and 2001, the number of 8th graders who used marijuana doubled from one in 10 to one in five.

HEALTH HAZARDS OF MARIJUANA USEThe main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Short-term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem-solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks.

Effects of Marijuana on the Brain. TLC changes the way sensory information gets into and is acted on by the hippo campus, a component of the brain that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. Researchers have discovered that learned behaviors, which depend on the hippo campus, also deteriorate.

Effects on the Lungs. Regular use may lead to respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. This may be due to marijuana users inhaling more deeply and holding the smoke in the lungs.

Effects of Heavy Heavy Use on LearLearning Social Behavior. A study of college students has shown that critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning are impaired among people who use marijuana heavily, even after discontinuing its use for at least 24 hours. Researchers compared 65 "heavy users," who had smoked marijuana a median of 29 of the past 30 days, and 64 "light users," who had smoked a median of 1 of the past 30 days. Marijuana users made more errors and had more difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing, and using information.

Longitudinal research on marijuana use among young people below college age indicates those who used have lower achievement than the non-users, more acceptance of deviant behavior, more delinquent behavior and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents, and more associations with delinquent and drug-using friends.

Sources: Journal of the American Medical Association, Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States. May 5, 2004. Wilson M. Compton, MD, MPE, James D. Colliver, PhD and Meyer D. Glantz, PhD (National Institute on Drug Abuse­ NIDA); and Bridget F. Grant, PhD and Frederick S. Stinson, PhD (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - NIAAA). Additional source: National Institutes on Health (NIH) research data archives.
AgeVenture News Service, www.demko.com

As a former idgit, who thought that my poor behavior had no impact on others, but knew that certain things were wrong and did them anyway, I say let's stop the madness. It's time to grow up all you who think it's okay, and get a real life. I don't often go on rants here, but this issue has hit close to home now and my heart is breaking.
It's interesting to me that the same people who won't eat meat because it's wrong to hurt animals, have no problem drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and pot, and drinking coffee as well as other high in caffeine drinks. But then these are the same sort of people who castigate someone for wearing fur, but have no problem having an abortion. They tell me I should drive a hybrid vehicle to save the earth and conserve energy, but will pass me on the freeway going 90 miles an hour while we are driving 60 to 65 to conserve gas and money. They also tell me to go green, but buy adult beverages in glass and paper containers that need to be recycled using what? Fossil fuels. Hmmmmmmm.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gingerbread Bats and Pumpkins, What fun!

Emmett and grandma, (that would be me) made some gingerbread bats, ghosties, and pumpkins last week. We had so much fun! Emmett especially loved testing the frosting.....
and again.....
and again. I wonder what time he went to sleep that night? Giggle! We used my favorite gingerbread recipe. It's definitely time tested as I used it numerous times to win grand champion of the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer Gingerbread House Contest. Here's the recipe so you can start planning now for creating your own gingerbread cookies, or even a house for the holidays.

Gingerbread Dough
5 c. flour, 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/2 t. cloves, 3 T. cinnamon, 1 t. ginger
1- 1/8 t. baking soda, 1 c. shortening, 1-1/4 c. sugar, 1 egg well beaten,
1 c. light molasses, slightly warmed, 1/3 c. water

Sift together 1 c. flour, salt, spices and soda. Cream shortening, then add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg, then slightly warmed molasses. Stir water into mixture. Stir in sifted flour and spice mixture gradually. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time, until dough is soft and moist to the touch of your finger. Cover and chill 6-8 hours. Roll out on oiled foil to 1/4 or 1/8th inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes. If you are making house pieces bake as dark as you can get it without burning. It's very important to bake house pieces long enough. Cookies don't need as long.

Tips for making gingerbread houses.
1. As soon as you take the pieces out of the oven lay your pattern over each piece and trim with a very sharp knife. This will insure that your pieces go together nicely. If the pieces start to harden before you get them all trimmed put them back into the oven just to warm them enough to trim easily.

2. In the widest frying pan you have, melt about 1 cup or more of sugar at a moderately low temperature until liquid. Dip one joining side into the hot sugar mixture and then quickly match up with other piece to make a corner. Continue to do this with all your pieces. The hot melted sugar makes a wonderful edible glue that hardens quickly and nicely. If you get drips on your pieces, wait until the sugar hardens and you should be able to remove them. This makes it a lot faster and easier to put all the sides and roof together, and it's much sturdier. I hope to make a small video to show you how it's done.
If you have any questions just drop me a line.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kuri Stew, Pueblo Style

There is an abundance of winter squashes at the store right now, so with the colder weather, what better way to warm up than with a steaming bowl of hot stew. This recipe is an adaptation of a pumpkin soup recipe from a Pueblo Indian recipe booklet I picked up years ago when we visited the Grand Canyon. It's easy, and is easily adapted to what squashes are on hand. I bought a Blue Kuri squash because it has such an intriguing color on the outside, and makes a wonderful decoration to add a splash of contrast to the usual reds, oranges, golds and browns of my Autumn decorations. To justify the purchase when hubby asked me why I was getting it, I told him to eat. He made the comment that I probably would never use it so I decided to prove him wrong, and then I would go get another one...lol. He usually doesn't like this sort of dish as he considers it trendy yuppy food, so I made it on a night that he wasn't supposed to be home for dinner. Well, wouldn't you know it, he called and said he would be home for dinner, and asked what we were having. When I told him the other end of the phone got silent, but then he said he would be home soon. To my surprise, when we had dinner, he ended up eating 3 bowls full, and want's to eat the leftovers tonight. He admitted that he has a somewhat narrow list of foods he will eat on a regular basis, even though I can fix just about anything and he loves it. So he apologized for being a fussy brat. :-) He is actually very easy to cook for which I'm grateful for, as I love to try new foods, recipes, and ingredients. Oh, and the difference between this and the original recipe is the bacon and the red chili flakes. It also calls for one green bell pepper, but I love red peppers. I also substituted the squash for pumpkin in the original recipe as it is easier to find. You might also want to try this without the bacon, it is still very tasty, or, try some italian sausage, wow, that is very yummy!
I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Kuri Stew, Pueblo Style
3 slices of thick bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 each, red bell pepper and green pepper, chopped
2 cups cooked cubed squash
2 large tomatoes, chopped,
1/2 t. each dried mint, sugar and nutmeg
1/2 to 1 t. each, seasoning salt and red chili flakes
2 cups chicken stock or 2 cups water and 2 bullion cubes
1 T. corn starch
1/2 cup cream, or canned milk

Cook bacon until crisp in deep pot. Add all veggies except squash and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add seasonings, stock, and squash; simmer for 20 minutes. Combine cream or canned milk with corn starch and add to stew, stirring until thickened. Serves 4 to 6.