Sunday, March 24, 2013


Yesterday we planted onions, potatoes, peas, beets, cilantro, and green onions. The Hub even went fishing (nothing caught). We are actively stalking our asparagus garden and really relishing spring. But, you give me snow and I'm smiling. We did some target practice. Ate some yummy fried shrimp. And then just watched the snow.

Today delivered the best snow. We were able to throw many snow balls at Bear. He is really cute and sweet. Unfortunately, I am not finding a pic quickly. I'll try to send you a picture of Mr. Bear tomorrow.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Venison Cabbage Rolls with Tomato, Saurkraut and Kielbasa

There is something so liberating about making a dish the day ahead of time and then just having to cook it on the day you plan to enjoy the dish. I rarely use a crock pot but sometimes the crock pot can make these make ahead meals even more fun because you can have the dish simmering all day. This will allow you to graze on your finished meal all day. I just had a cabbage roll, some sauerkraut, and piece of kielbasa. I told the Hub I think I will eat one every half an hour until I have to go to bed. They are that delicious!  The layering of this cabbage rolls with kielbasa and saurkraut is actually my aunt Liz's idea.  I think it tastes brilliant!
Grill a package of kielbasa.
Crumble venison into a bowl, add sauteed onions, and brown rice.
Drain a bag of saurkraut, get your tomatoes ready (for me this meant thawing a bag of roasted tomatoes from last summer), boil your cabbage leaves, and then roll your cabbage rolls with about 1/2 cup of meat/rice/onion mixture in each roll.
Time to layer your crockpot. I start with tomatoes, then sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, kielbasa, tomatoes, sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, sauerkraut and finally tomatoes again.
Turn the crockpot on high for about 4 hours before you want to start grazing. You end up with this:
Cabbage Rolls
1 head cabbage
3 cups roasted tomatoes
1 pkg. kielbasa
1 bag sauerkraut
1 1/4 lb ground venison
1 cup brown rice
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 large onion
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Boil a big pot of water to boil the cabbage head in. Slice the cabbage at the bottom so you will be able to peel off leaves as they cook. Once the water has come to a boil place the cabbage head in the boiling water. Slowly peel the leaves off as they cook until you have enough. I actually only used about 1/2 the head of cabbage.
Slice the kielbasa in half, then thirds then in half. Grill until done.
Bring 2 cups of water to boil, add 1 cup rice and 1 tbsp salt, turn temperature to low and simmer until there is no water left. Turn off heat and cover with a lid. Let rest for about 15 minutes
Dice onion. Add olive oil, 1 tsp salt and onion to a saucepan on medium heat. Saute in golden about 7 minutes.
Mix venison, onions and rice.
Roll the cabbage rolls by adding about 1/2 cup of venison mixture to each wilted leaf.
Once you've done all this you're ready to layer the crock pot and cook as I've described above.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Super Decadent Chocolate Cake with a Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Perhaps the phrase 'Death by Chocolate' was inspired by a cake like this. My wonderful darling sister found this recipe from a Hershey Cookbook. Last time I visited my sister I begged and pleaded that she make it but to no avail. Therefore, I had to take matters into my own hands. You'll notice I only made a half a cake so pretty much it's half the fat and half the calories, right? I wonder if my trainer would agree. I doubt it, he's used to my trickery. The original recipe calls for regular cocoa powder but we modify it using some black cocoa powder to intensify the richness. The frosting is also modified by whipping cream instead of using milk. This amps the fluffy factor, which is always good.

Cake Recipe for a full cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup black cocoa

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Whisk the dry ingredients together and then stir in the wet ingredients. Add the boiling water last. Pour into 2 9" cake pans that have been greased and floured. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool.


8 tbsp softened butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the butter and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift in the sugar and cocoa. Sifting is really important so that you don't get a lumpy frosting. I was lazy and skipped this step so you can see my frosting isn't quite as smooth as desirable. It still tastes amazing. Once the cake has cooled frost your delicious cakes and enjoy!

See! Half a cake! How cute is that!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chipolte Deviled Eggs



Deviled eggs are a family favorite. Honestly, I think my husband is much better at making them. Probably because he has way more patience than me. But, today he had to shoot up the hills with his friend (having fun target practicing). So while they were having fun I figured I'd make fun. The fun I made were these deviliously delicious deviled eggs. The devil is in the chipotle.


Chipotle Deviled Eggs

9 hardboiled eggs

1/2 stalk of finely diced celery

2 tbsp of finely diced red onion

1/2 tbsp adobe sauce (from the can of chipolte peppers)

1/2 chipolte pepper

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blue Cheese and Celery Potato Salad

This was actually (in my opinion) the best potato salad I have ever made. Why? Honestly, I think because it was room temperature. I cooked the potatoes, let them cool, mixed them with everything else and then set on the table to serve. Obviously this worked because I made the salad close to dinner time. You will need to refrigerate if making the salad in advance.


6 russet potatoes (peeled and boiled until tender, cut into cubes)

1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise

1/2 cup low fat sour cream

2 cups buttermilk

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp black pepper

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne flakes

3 stalks celery sliced

1 bunch green onion sliced

4 ounces blue cheese crumbled

3 hard boiled eggs minced


Friday, March 15, 2013

Smokey Buttery Brisket

There is no butter in this brisket. Buttery is in reference to the texture. It cuts like a stick of soft butter. Melt in your mouth deliciousness. The Hub and I bit the bullet and purchased a Big Green Egg last weekend. I've heard that they are amazing but you can never imagine how much until you actually cook on one.

This weekend is supposed to be pretty dreary and rainy so today was my outside day. We had the parents come over for a wonderful dinner of smoked brisket. YUM!

Smoky Brisket

about a 5 pound brisket

1/2 cup salt

Place the brisket and salt in a bag or pot for at least 12 hours up to 48 hours to brine. This will help breakdown the meat to make it really tender. Refrigerate during this process.

When ready to cook bring the meat to room temperature. Drizzle olive oil all over and sprinkle liberally with the dry rub.

Dry Rub

1/4 cup salt

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp ground black pepper

2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ancho chili powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

My mother-in-law thought I cut too much for our little group of four. But everyone kept grapping another 'little' piece.

We ate all of it. I'm so proud!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Yummy Cheesy and Moist Venison Burgers

The Hub and I are pretty darn excited! I think we've perfected the venison burger. As lean as venison is, it can sometimes be a bit dry. Grilling venison burgers has been troublesome because they tend to fall apart because there's not much holding it together. So to keep the patties held together I tried cooking in a cast iron skillet. Okay, I'll admit this version was a little fattier than I prefer but man was it delicious. I melted some butter in the cast iron skillet to pan fry the burgers. A little bit of egg and gouda cheese mixed into the meat helped to hold the patties together. Here you'll see that we did a patty melt version but we've eliminated some fat by using fresh onions instead of fried and serving the burger on a english muffin instead of buttered bread. I think this has become our Friday favorite!!!!

Venison Burgers
1 1/4 pound of venison
1/2 cup shredded gouda
1 tsp worsteshire sauce
1/2 egg (mix an egg and add about 1/2 depending on moisture of the venison meat)
1 tbsp of salt
1 tsp black pepper

For this burger we made it into a patty melt. We took fresh rye bread spread with butter and sandwiched the burger, grilled onions, and american cheese. We then pan fried the sandwich to get a nice crisp on the bread. Beautiful comfort food!