Happy Valentine’s Day


Whether you are a romantic, a practical, or a single person, I hope this Valentine’s Day at least brings you some chocolate. 

My man and I are fixing dinner at home. No crowds, no hustle bustle.  A nice steak, a good bottle of wine and my honey. 

Be my Unromantic Valentine?

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I got up early to get the fixins for our Valentines dinner we will have on Monday.

Yes, Monday.

The grocery store had the Big Tent in the parking lot, the cashier set up in the floral dept.

The men in line looked….unhappy. I felt a bit bad for them.

Like the commercialism of Christmas, Valentine’s Day seems to bash people over the head with “have to”, “supposed to”, and “you better”….

I was tempted to tell those poor souls in line for their overpriced roses, hydrangeas, and carnations that Romance doesn’t come from the store. Maybe it’s just a little bit more?

My loving man is off working at the deer lease. Yep, he’s snuggling up to deer feeders, feed pens, food plots, and deer stands. He even went to the dump. Yep! My man at the dump on Valentine’s Day. He is the epitome of the Romantic Fool.

We didn’t exchange cards. There were no trips to the jewelry store, no candy, no candle lit dinner, no overpriced flowers.

Does my man love me? You bet he does.

Do I love my man? More and more every day.

He shows me everyday how he cares about me. He adores how I care for him.
Heck, clean the bathrooms, dust the house, and vaccum….it is the balm for his weary soul. If I weed the front flower beds, he’s kissing my hands and whispering pretty love words!

On a limited time schedule, my gift to him was room to breathe. No “have to, ought to, or you better!” A kiss at the door, and flirting on the phone.

Room to do what needs to be done is the best Valentine’s Day gesture I can give him.

Romance at its best. Personal, genuine, and no strings attached.

Gifts from the heart, not from the store,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunday Gratitude

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Slow Sundays

Chicken soup
Slowly cooked
Meat from the bone
Vegetables blended into the broth

Fragrance fills the kitchen
The soup pot bubbles over the flame
Chicken, onions, celery, and carrots
Fill my home with the scent of dinner.

Rosemary from the pot outside
Thyme from the front flower bed
Oregano from my new plant
Parsley from what is left after the heat

Little bits from my garden
Little bits from my kitchen
Little bits from my knowledge
Little bits from my love

Good bread
Crisped in the broiler
Olive oil to flavor
A little garlic to scrape into the toasted goodness

Wine on the back porch
Looking at the evening sky
As the rain– precocious–runs away
Again, we enjoy a meal together

It is the slow days
Taken in small bits
Filled with love and laughter
A bit of soup and bread

I’m thankful for small things
Prepared and planned
Not detailed or worrisome
Just enjoyed- no strings

2nd Thanksgiving week thought

Today I’m grateful for fresh venison.

The thing with being a part of a hunting family, is that we really use what we harvest. We manage the land we lease, we work with the wildlife bureau to manage the wild herds to prevent over population, and to make sure the herd is not over hunted.

I’ve found that just about any recipe that you can find for lamb will generally work with venison if additional fat can be introduced to the recipe with olive oil, bacon fat, or beef fat.

I really enjoy our venison. It has pushed my culinary creativity to new heights. So here’s the latest lovely dish.

I combined roasting and stewing techniques for this recipe:

Venison roast
Savory roast starts with kitchen basics. If you have some time to put some love into this Venison, you’ll end up with a lovely Sunday Dinner.
INGREDIENTS
2 to 3 pound venison roast
6 slices of bacon chopped
4 tbsp olive oil divided
3 medium carrots
1 large red pepper
1 large onion
Button or Cremini mushrooms 1/2 lb
3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
1 bottle dark beer, Shiner Bock if you have it
1 cup beef broth

potatoes
2 pounds of red potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

for the sauce
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Trim Venison of any silver skin or other fat. Season the venison with half the salt and pepper. Coat with flour shaking off any excess.
2. In a large heavy bottomed pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil till it gets ready to smoke. Sear venison well on all sides. Pick a pot that has a tight fitting lid, or get some foil to cover.
3. While venison is searing:
4. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
5. Chop the onion, red pepper, and carrots to bite size pieces. Keep them uniform so they cook evenly.
6. Quarter the mushrooms.
7. Remove the rosemary and thyme from their stalks and chop. If using dry herbs, 1 tsp rosemary, 1/2 tsp thyme.
8. Remove your evenly seared meat from the pot.
9. Add the chopped bacon, and cook till crisp. Remove from pot.
10. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and cook your veggies till the onions are translucent.
11. Add the remaining salt and pepper to the veggies along with the rosemary and thyme.
12. Add all the meat back to the pot. Add the beer and the beef broth and bring to a simmer.
13. Cover the pot, and place in the oven to cook low and slow for 2 hours.
14. When the roast is almost done. Start your mashed potatoes. Clean your potatoes, put them in a pot, cover them with water, add some salt to taste and bring to a boil until they are fork tender. Takes about 20 minutes.
15. I use medium sized red potatoes, or Yukon gold. If you have big russet potatoes, you can cut them up to make the boiling go faster. If you like to peel them, please make your potatoes as you like.
16. When the roast is done, remove from the oven and place the pot back on the stove top. Remove the meat from the liquid onto a cutting board, and cover with foil.
17. Combine your Flour and butter ingredients in a small bowl. I use softened butter, if the butter is too hard, give it 10 seconds in the microwave. Add your flour and combine into a paste with a fork.
18. Bring your liquid up to a simmer and add your Flour butter paste stirring as the liquid thickens.
19. Slice your venison across the grain and add it back to the liquid that should be a lovely thick consistency, along with any juices from the meat.
20. When the potatoes are done, drain them of their cooking liquid. Add your milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash away.
21. I serve this in a bowl, potatoes on the bottom, with the roast on top. Enjoy.

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It’s May, It’s cold, and I’m confused

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So I’m not sure why it’s 40 degrees in Houston today, why the Midwest got snow yesterday, and why we are breaking out the big coats.
But I’m grateful to be home, out of the wind, and I think it’s going to be chicken soup for dinner with some fresh baked bread!