Monday, November 17, 2014


25 degrees this morning. My flower beds are toast. Well...more like melting ooze.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Must Try-Venison w/Blueberry Sauce and Balsamic Roasted Cauliflower

When Pinterest first came out I hated it. I would see something that I had to make, or learn more about, or flat out buy, click the link and go nowhere. Sometimes there'd be a brief bit of text "isn't this GORGEOUS! I found it at" and then I would spend hours trying to find only to wallow in a stew of disappointment and annoyance. So I ignored Pinterest for a couple years, loftily pronouncing it a worthless site whenever my friends would sing it praises, and happy in my ignorant freedom.

Until someone sent me a link to a recipe, saying I HAD to try it. And I clicked.

I'm not sure if the site had changed since I'd last been there or what but wow! Pictures! Pictures everywhere! And links!! Beautiful links that led to stories, recipes, instructions!! I was in DIY heaven!! And the recipes! Recipes everywhere!!! Of course I started 'pinning' and now I have 20 boards worth of ideas and I'm constantly being sucked into the time vortex that is Pinterest.

Tonight I was at a loss for supper ideas and had the bright idea to look in my 'Must Try' folder. Hmmm...venison? Check. Cauliflower? Check.

First up was Hunter Angler Gardener Cook's Icelandic Venison with Blueberry Sauce. I was unable to go hunting this year but my dad and brothers were all able to fill their tags and they shared some of their catch with me. I pulled out a package of mule deer tenderloins and got cooking.

The recipe was very simple and extremely quick to put together. In fact, it came together so fast I spent a touch too long on the sides and let the venison cooked more than I like. Hubby and Tadpole scarfed it up (Hubby even had seconds) but Munchkin pronounced it 'ew' and barely touched her plate. She doesn't care much for recipes that include wine so I wasn't too surprised.

For a side I went with Paleo Grub's Balsamic Roasted Cauliflower. I had two heads of cauliflower from last week's CSA box threatening to turn brown if I didn't use them up, and quite honestly I'm sick of the cauliflower n' cheese recipe that Hubby loves. A roasted veggie sounded perfect with the venison, and it would use these heads up. I changed the recipe a touch in that I used the last of my cherry balsamic vinegar I made last year rather than regular. I'm not sure if this change was a good idea as everyone found the dish rather tart. Personally, I liked it-the cauliflower flavor was quite strong (and I like the taste of cauliflower) with a touch of nuttiness and tart fruit that I found intriguing. Next time I will use regular balsamic.

As a second side I roasted a bunch of carrots, then mashed them with a touch of honey, a tablespoon of melted butter, salt, and a bit of parsley. I had this idea that they'd end up like mashed potatoes, which they did. Kinda. Not nearly as smooth and nowhere near fluffy, but still tasty. Eh, its was fast and made the plates colorful.

And here's my dinner plate:

If you want to follow me on Pinterest click HERE and join me in the craziness.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Recipe: Pickled Beets

I've never liked beets. They've always tasted like dirt to me; and not good, sweet, rich earth but more like dry, nasty road dust. I've known some people who love them, saying that they are sweet, especially roasted. So I tried roasting Others said to only eat the little ones...nope. Glazed? No. Raw? Oh, absolutely not!

So when I got a bunch in the CSA box last week I immediately put them aside to give to my mother-in-law. With one thing or another though, the beets never made it to town. I finally decided that I needed to do something before they went bad (also, I wanted that fridge space back).

Searching the web for inspiration I stumbled on several bloggers who disliked beets as much as me, but who loved pickled beets. Pickled? Well...that would be different. So I went to one of my favorite cooks, Marisa of Food in Jars, and, sure enough, she had a recipe: Pickled Beets with Honey. The recipe was created by Camille Storch of Wayward Spark. Oooooo-a new-to-me gardening/cooking blog!! After spending a couple hours checking out Camille's website I finally got down to business.

First I scrubbed the beets. They looked like a bunch of rather odd mice.

Next I trimmed off the ends and peeled the outer layer using a potato peeler. The little ones were quite aggravating.

After that was steaming, cooling, and slicing. Oddly, these beets didn't have that intense earth smell while they steamed. After they cooled I sampled a slice and was rather surprised at how sweet it was. Still dirt-tasting but not bad-I could see how, with a touch of butter and salt, they would be tasty. 

Finally the slices were packed into jars with a bit of chopped onion and processed. I was rewarded with 3 pints of jewel-like pickled beets. I'll give them a week or two to cure and then have a taste test.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy (late) Samhain!

Did y'all have a fun Halloween? I had a blast! Its my favorite holiday and I always go all out. This year I've been practicing with ways to conserve energy so I didn't put up the lights and smoke machine and all that craziness but we carved pumpkins, baked apples, made cupcakes, roasted pumpkins seeds, and roamed the neighborhood trick o' treating.

Doc McStuffins and her sidekick Lambie. Lambie wasn't about to walk over there and pick out her treat.
The fall plantings are (slowly) coming along though my lack of weeding and using older seed is showing. My carrots sprouts are about an inch high and the snails have taken out most of the rutabagas. The Brussels sprouts are about a foot tall and starting to form tiny sprouts-but I'm pretty sure the plants are supposed to be bigger and sturdier. I have hopes for sprouts for Thanksgiving but...we'll see. At the moment my Favorite Plant of the Year Award goes to this volunteer mini pumpkin that I didn't have the heart to pull when it started growing and that provided tons of autumn decor.

Ignore the mess at the bottom of the wire. My compost apparently didn't get hot enough.

I canned the last of the preserves right before Halloween: green tomato pickles, applesauce, and a big crock of sauerkraut. I'm a little sad that the summer/fall bounty has mostly passed, but honestly I'm just flat exhausted trying to keep up with everything going on. I'm kinda looking forward to spending time indoors, preferably semi-hibernating. Not that the kids will allow this, but I can dream.

With Halloween past the holiday season is before us-full of fun, good food, stress, and just flat insanity. Even more exciting-in just a few days my nephew is going to arrive!! Well, my SIL's due date is in a few days, we'll see when he ACTUALLY gets here. I can't wait to snuggle a newborn again, seems like forever since Tadpole was a tiny, floppy, baby. Now she's a walking bundle of stubborn curiosity, babyhood has been left far behind and I have a bad case of baby fever.

What are your favorite things to do for a new mom?

A late Happy Birthday to little Tadpole. I can't believe how fast the year has flown by.