Friday, December 31, 2010

Guest post: "Girls who sew can eat venison jerky and like it too" by Huzunteit

I'm pleased to be the first "Guest Blogger" for Ahmelie and am going to do my best not to screw this up.  I'm Huzunteit, or the Huzband behind all that's well and good with Ahmelie.

I can't sew, but I can eat.  And I can shoot things.  With arrows.  For just as Ahmelie heads to her studio to crank out some new renditions of modern handmade goodness, so do I head to the deer stand to take in one of my own life "passions".  Nothing says "I can provide for my family" like an arrow through a buck in November.  Ahmelie usually gets so excited after hearing of another successful venture in the woods that she breaks 3 needles on her sewing machine instead of the normal 2.

After a "victory" in the woods, one is left with a lot of meat.  The question then becomes: To process...Or, not to process?  With an Excalibur Food Dehydrator, some fresh venison, a good recipe, and a little free time, you can skip processing at the local meat market and indulge yourself in your very own home made venison jerky.  The jerky below is me:

Here's my latest recipe:

Hot and Sweet Venison Jerky
This jerky recipe flavors the venison with the heat of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes, and is balanced by the sweetness of brown sugar and molasses. The recipe makes enough marinade for five pounds of sliced venison.
1 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of molasses
1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of onion powder
2 tablespoons of canning salt
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of Morton® Tender Quick®
1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper

Make sure that the sugar and salt are completely dissolved before adding the marinade to the venison. Marinate at least one day, and up to two before dehydrating.

Now, be aware: the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper may sprout a new hair follicle or two on your chest.  No problem...that's normal.


Friday, December 24, 2010

A Tradition, a Gingerbread House and a lot of Sugar!

On one of our snow days we assembled a Gingerbread House decked out in a wonderful assortment of brightly colored candies.  Santa will love this one!  I finally got the consistency of the frosting to be like "toothpaste" as the directions advise and Yeowza! did that frosting dry fast and hold tight.  It was much more fun decorating a house that wasn't constantly losing a wall or having half of the roof slide off.  The boys had a blast adorning it and had very little coordination on design with each other, isn't it cute?!  I love it!

Of course we finished it off with me squeezing a large sum of extra frosting right into the boys' mouths, an annual tradition with the leftover frosting.  They bounced off the walls for the next two days.  I hope Santa doesn't chip a tooth on the hard candies!  What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New "Do" by the Boys

Snow days are great for inside activities--and we've had our fair share of those this winter.  The boys and I sat down to Alvin and the Chipmunks and they decided to fix my hair for me.  Now you have to understand that I grew up in a household with 5 girls so we had plenty of "hair-do" time.  My kids have all brothers so fixing hair is a bit of a new thing to them...

From the back:

From the front:

Do you think they have a future in the hair bidness?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

DIY Eco Friendly Art

It was time to update the art in Owen's room. Sadly it still sported the wonderful artwork of his older brother, who has a different room now.  Owen loves animals and I love great looking wall art that costs next to nothing and is eco-friendly.  So....I snatched an old calendar that I used in 2009 and saved just in case I was inspired.  Today was my inspiration day.  It's stocked with some great black and white pictures of frogs.  Check out these great photos...
King for a day...

A little fishing anyone?

Just hanging around.

This was a 5 minute makeover switching out the current art for some sophisticated looking frogs.  It didn't cost me a thing and I have professional looking photos on the walls.   Best yet,  Owen doesn't have to be bummed that we have 4 feet of snow in the window wells for the next 3 months instead of a well stocked pad full of frogs and toads.  And the finished product....drum roll please.  


What eco-friendly projects have you encountered lately?

Ahmelie's "I Love Your Heart" Granola

I grew up on homemade granola and it's truly a treat to have it in the house.  I also love making this and giving it as gifts.  It's a hearty breakfast that sticks with you on those cold winter days.  I also add a variety of dried fruit to make it deliciously sweet.  It takes 2.5 hours to toast it to a golden brown and requires being stirred every 15 minutes so it really is a labor of love.  Here's the goods on how you make it.

Ahmelie's "I Love Your Heart" Granola
10 Cups Quick Oats
2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
3 Cups Oat Bran (May substitute other dry ingredients: flax seed, wheat germ, etc)
1 cup almonds, slivered or sliced
Mix dry ingredients in roaster.

Mix Seperately:
1 Cup Honey
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Oil
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Salt

Pour honey mixture over oats, stir in.  Bake at 300* for 2.5 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.  Add 1 cup raisins, 1 cup craisins, 1 cup dried/chopped apricots,  1 cup coconut. Stir into granola mixture.  Serve over yogurt or with milk.  Yummy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Easy No-Bake Oreo Mint Cookies Recipe

The kiddo's are loving prepping for the holidays so they jumped at the chance to help with the Cookie Baking Marathon.  Last year I made these Oreo cookie treats by dipping a regular oreo in white chocolate and sprinkling them with candy cane sprinkles.  This year I knew working with hot chocolate would be hard for the kids so we drizzled them in white chocolate instead.  I also got the Mint Oreos as I thought it looked festive having the green in the center and the white and red candy cane on the top.  You can't mess these up and another quick and easy no bake recipe that is kid friendly.

Chocolate Mint Cookies
Mint Oreos
White Chocolate Almond Bark
Candy Canes, Crushed
Christmas Sprinkles, optional

Directions:  Line cookies closely on wax paper--this is a great task for little hands.  Drizzle with almond bark and sprinkle with crushed candy cane.  Garnish with Christmas Sprinkles if desired.  If you ask the kids, they'll say yes!

I love the makeover we made to this recipe and the kids had a lot of fun making them.  Grab a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolcate and enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Easy No-Bake Haystacks Special Recipe

I asked Huz what kind of cookies he wanted since I'm doing a Christmas Cookie Baking Marathon at our place today.  He said, "Do you know how to make a Haystack?"  Well I think I do, but since they are so simple I thought maybe his mom had a special haystack recipe or something.  Negative.  There is nothing special about them, but this is the way he likes them...

Chocolate Haystacks

2 bags (12 oz. size) chocolate chips
1 package (18 oz. size) chow mein noodles
1.5 cups coconut
Directions:  Heat chocolate chips in double boiler or saucepan until soft. Add chow mein noodles and coconut. Form into balls and cool on waxed paper or just drop spoonfuls of mixture on waxed paper. Let cool until firm. 
Voila!  You're done!  Disappear for awhile so Huz thinks these are much more time consuming and you've been slaving away over his favorite treat.  I'd recommend sewing for a bit then having him do the dishes.  But's our little secret!