Venison Burgers

A family friend gave us a deer (um, for our freezer, not for a pet) this past winter, and what a blessing! We have had a freezer full of deer, and it has saved us so much on groceries!  It's pretty safe to say that venison is basically organic - and you know how much organic meat runs.  Not to mention the added bonus that venison is much leaner than beef.  I chose to get most of my meat ground, with a few cubed steaks, tenders, and backstrap packs thrown in.
The biggest complaint I hear from people is that venison tastes too gamey.  I'm hear to tell you, that if your venison tastes gamey, then you may not be cooking it properly.  Meat like this needs seasoning, especially if you're used to the taste of store bought, grain fed, minimally exercised meat.

We had a cookout for all our naysayer friends and family who thought venison was gamey, and all who tried our "deer burgers" said that they were delicious.  Most were very surprised by how good they were.

Here's our general recipe:
I start by tossing 1 medium yellow onion and a few cloves of garlic in the food processor.
Pulse until finely chopped.
Add in a handful of spinach leaves and pulse mixture until it looks like picture above.
Combine with 1 pound of venison.
Mix in salt and pepper to taste.
Form patties and grill to desired cook temp.
*I cook our burgers well done - that's just my style.
Dress your burgers as desired and dig in! So delicious!

How do you feel about venison?  Have you cooked it before?


Pregnancy: Week 15

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This week:
Baby is 4 inches long and about the size of an apple.
Baby can sense light and is forming taste buds!

Maternity Clothes:  Are so expensive and hard to find!  It's definitely slim pickin's in our town.  Luckily, my sister-in-law gave me some to add to the few I did buy, and I've bought some large regular shirts that should last me through to the end.  Still using the ponytail holder method on any remaining pants.

Food Cravings:  This week I've been loving apples, but certainly haven't forgotten about the carrots - they're still my fave.  Mmm!

Sleep:  Still tossing and turning, but much less often now that I have the Boppy Wedge.  Waking up 2-3 times a night to pee now.

Morning Sickness:  Came back!!  What in the world?!  I woke up and had to make a beeline for the bathroom.  Couldn't keep anything down until almost lunchtime, and then just as quickly as it came, it left.  *Slams door* "And STAY OUT!"

Showing:  I'm thinking so.  Unless you may just happen to think I drink lots of beer, but since I think beer is pretty disgusting, I'm hoping you realize it's a baby.
Boy or Girl:  Not a clue.

How Many Babies:  We have no idea, but we'll find out in a few more weeks.

Wedding Rings:  Now have to come off every night before bed.  My hands swell so much while I'm sleeping that they end up so tight it hurts in the morning.

Exercise:  Still walking the trails in the mornings.  I've also been doing yoga squats throughout the day to open up my hips.


Pregnancy: Week 14

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This week:
Baby is the size of a lemon (about 3.5 inches)!
The yolk sac is gone and baby is now completely dependent on the placenta.
Baby is growing eyebrows and can now pee!

Weight Gain: I had an appointment with my midwife midweek where I found out that I've gained 7 pounds so far.  

Maternity Clothes:  Starting to break some out.  Any pants I have left have to be buttoned with my ponytail holder method, and I've packed away about 1/3 of my shirts.  I've also had to buy bigger bras.

Movement:  Still not feeling anything, but there is definitely visible movement going on in there.  Baby is still doing the shift to one side or the other thing.  It's so cool!

Symptoms:  Achy lower belly - called round ligament pain.  It's like a sore/achy feeling on either side of my lower belly.  And when I sneeze, it's a sharp, shooting pain unless I crunch into a ball.

Sleep:  Getting really rough.  Definitely no more tummy sleeping.  I had to buy a Boppy Prenatal Sleep Wedge  (it was the only thing that helped me make it through the night when I was pregnant with Little Guy).  I'm telling you, this thing is fantastic.

Food Cravings:  Still loving carrots, but also milk and V8 juice.  I'm usually not much of a milk drinker, but I've wanted milk with a spoonful of Ovaltine almost every day.

Showing:  I say (and so does everyone else who sees me regularly) definitely!
Worries:  At my first prenatal appointment, the midwife's assistant measured me to be around 12 weeks (I was 10 wks, 6 days), which is not too big of a deal (besides the fact that I'd been having dreams of twins a lot).  At this week's appointment, the midwife wasn't there, and there was a midwife who only performs homebirths there to fill in for her.  She measured me to be 18 weeks (I was 14 wks, 4 days).  Now we're really nervous about twins.  The substitute midwife said we don't have to be too worried, but if it made us feel better we could schedule our ultrasound for 18 weeks instead of 20 weeks.  I suppose that's what we'll do.
Aside from all of the obvious reasons I'd be nervous for multiples, I'd have to switch from my birth center to an ob-gyn because in Florida, midwives aren't allowed deliver twins or more.  So....we shall see how it goes.    Que sera sera....

Vegetarian Enchiladas for Cinco de Mayo!

I love Mexican food. I don't know if it's because I grew up in Texas, or because I just like spicy foods in general, but enchiladas are one of my favorites.  I came up with these enchiladas during the year we went vegetarian, but they're such a household favorite that I continue to use them for Meatless Mondays.

Let me put my **Disclaimer** here:  If you are Mexican, turn away now, before you get angry.  There is virtually nothing authentic about these enchiladas, and your great grandmothers' will probably begin to haunt me after I post this.  They sure are tasty though....

Here's what I normally use to make them:

1 bag frozen corn
1 small can green chilies
1 large or 2 small cans (red) enchilada sauce
1 red onion
1 can black beans
1 pack flour tortillas (yes, enchiladas are usually in corn tortillas, but I really don't like soft corn tortillas)
1 bag (2.5 cups) shredded cheese (the mexican blend is really good)

That's it.

I was so excited to have these for dinner, but when I started to make them, and realized I only had a yellow onion, no corn, and no green chilies.... whomp, whomp, whompppp....


I wasn't going to let that stop me.  Instead of corn, I subbed diced tomatoes, added in some taco seasoning to make up for the green chiles, and used a yellow onion in place of the red.  They turned out alright.... but trust me, you really want to use the ingredients I listed above.  But because I say so, just pretend the pictures below have the proper ingredients.  Ok, thanks.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the onion in a pan with a bit of oil, add in the frozen corn, then the green chiles, and lastly the can of black beans.
Lay a scoop of mixture down the center of a tortilla, then sprinkle with cheese and roll up.  Place into a 9x13 glass baking dish.
Repeat until you have filled the baking dish.  Depending how you stuff them, you can usually get about 6 in a dish.
Pour 1/2 of the large can (or 1 entire small can) of enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas.  Try and let the sauce seep under and in between the enchiladas a bit, you'll be glad you did.  Pop the dish into oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove dish from oven and add 1/2 of the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and top off with the last bit of enchilada sauce.
Place dish back into the oven for 10-15 minutes (until cheese has melted).
Enjoy your tasty (and cheap!) non-authentic Mexican meal for Cinco de Mayo!

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