“Hunter’s Pie”

Well, last week we got a stomach virus. So that was fun.

20161215_194725Anyway, Hubby got a deer this year, so we’ve been spending time processing and eating it. The roasts have been amazing, but I’ve been hesitant to make anything with the ground meat. I had this weird idea that ground venison wouldn’t taste so great so I kept putting it off.

I did a little experiment to see if shepherd’s pie would translate well with ground venison. I made a few adjustments to the recipe and it turned out pretty delicious so I’m sharing it with you guys! I’m really glad it turned out well because we have a lot of ground venison, so it’s nice to know that this is one option that’s palatable. Hamling even had two helpings!

Hunter's Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: medium
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5-6 medium potatoes, cubed
3-4 Tbs butter (or other oil)
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup broth
1 cup frozen corn
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb ground venison
4 slices of bacon
1 Tbs butter (or other oil)
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup broth

  1. Fry bacon in a 3 qt oven-friendly dutch oven until crispy.
  2. While the bacon is frying, start boiling the potatoes. Boil them for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the bacon and place on a plate. Melt the butter in the bacon grease and add the diced veggies. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the venison, spices and garlic and cook until the meat is fully brown.
  4. If using fresh green veggies, add them with the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and turn to low.
  5. Preheat oven to 420°F
  6. Simmer the meat and veggies for as long as it takes to preheat the oven.
  7. At this point the potatoes should be done. Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Mash until smooth.
  8. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
  9. When the oven is preheated add frozen corn and bacon to the filling and spread the mashed potatoes over top. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes start to get golden. Let sit for 15 minutes and then serve.

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler.

20160911_201718It’s peach season (sort of, it’s kind of the end of the season now) so we’ve got a lot of peaches. That means a lot of peach cobbler (and lots of frozen peaches). I’ve been experimenting with different recipes to get the perfect peach cobbler and I think I’ve done it. It’s perfectly bread-y, and just the right amount of sweet. This is one of those recipes that, if you didn’t say anything, no one would know it was gluten free. It’s also easy to make this vegan and, though I can’t personally vouch for this, I bet it’s equally delicious because coconut oil is amazing.

The first cobbler I made didn’t have enough cobbler base. It called for a 3 qt (I think) dish, so I looked on the bottom of my 9×13 pyrex and confirmed it was the proper size. I think what the recipe actually wanted me to use was something smaller with a higher lip. Anyway, what I ended up with was a cobbler that was good. It was reminiscent of the “graham” crackers I make sometimes in flavor, but it was just too thin.

20160911_201612The second cobbler was all oat flour and it was the perfect thickness in the 9×13 pan, but it called for a whopping 4 teaspoons of baking powder. When I was mixing everything together I thought, wow that is A LOT of baking powder! But gluten free cooking can be weird sometimes so i figured I’d just follow the recipe and see how it turned out. Well, it definitely had too much baking powder. You could taste the baking powder. Not good.

So the third (and fourth) cobbler(s) I made were a mix of the two recipes. This recipe is a winner. I took two photos of it, but I couldn’t pick which I liked best so I included both of them because I think they both show the texture of the cobbler accurately.

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup sucanat
1 cup flour blend
1 cup oat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (any kind, I used almond milk)
6 cups peaches

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Slice the peaches into a bowl. Peeling is optional.
  3. Mix batter together and pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish and spread to the edges using a spatula. The batter will start rising right after it’s mixed, this is normal, don’t worry!
  4. Pour in peaches, making sure they cover the entire surface of the batter and bake for 35-40 minutes until the cobbler is light brown.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  6. Serve with heavy cream, ice cream, dairy free ice cream, or dairy free milk.

Fondant (that isn’t death by sugar).

20160827_135127When I asked Hamling what kind of party he wanted for his birthday this year he said he wanted an airplane party. While we were scrolling through the internet trying to pick out a cake he’d like to have he saw one that was made with fondant. I’ve never made fondant before, and I had only heard people say it was gross. Not only that, but any kind of frosting that takes as much powdered sugar as fondant gives me an unpleasant tickling feeling at the back of my throat just thinking about it. I wanted to make a fondant that was not as sweet, but still functioned fairly well. Impossible, right?

Challenge accepted.

I ended up with something that was still pretty sweet, but I was afraid to use any more starch than I already had. As far as frosting goes, this was pretty good, and it was very workable. Maybe I’ll practice my fondant smoothing skills next time I make it.

Fondant

  • Servings: 1 cake
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: medium
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1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (agar agar if making a vegan cake)
1/8 cup cold water
1/4 cup organic corn syrup
1 Tablespoon shortening or butter
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine gelatin and water and let sit until thick. Place it on a double boiler to melt.
  2. Add the syrup and mix well. Add shortening or butter and mix until just melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Cool mixture until lukewarm.
  3. Put 1 cup of starch and 1 cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the liquid gelatin mixture into the well. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the remaining starch and stir.
  4. Generously dust a flat surface with powdered sugar and pour out the sticky mess in your bowl onto the sugar. Knead in the remaining powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the fondant no longer sticks to your fingers.
  5. Roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap, brushing the top of the fondant with oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Apply to cake.

Notes:

  • If you want colored fondant and you’re using liquid coloring, add the color of your choice to the liquid before you mix it into the starch/sugar.
  • If your cake is going to be sitting out for a little bit, brush the entire surface with oil to keep the fondant from drying out and cracking.
  • This will store for up to a month in the fridge. If you find it’s dry when you take it out to use it, knead in some more oil.

Dairy Free Creamy Pesto Dressing.

 

First, congratulations to Bianca who won the Lilla Rose giveaway! Super excited for you!

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How do you take a flattering picture of salad dressing??

Ok, that being said, I love The Old Spaghetti Factory. My favorite dish to get is the potpourri which is a mix of red sauce, clam sauce, and mizithra cheese with browned butter. I can’t have it right now because I’m avoiding dairy, but I can dream about it.

Anyway, they have a really tasty house-made “ranch” called the creamy pesto. Again, I can’t have it because it has milk in it, but I found a recipe online for duplicating it and decided to try making it dairy free. It was a success! This dressing is really, really delicious. You can use any dairy free milk of your choice (though I would suggest avoiding soy milk, particularly if you have trouble with your thyroid) and it turns out great!

Dairy Free Creamy Pesto

  • Servings: 2 1/2 cups
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 cup prepared mayonnaise
1 cup dairy free milk
3 Tablespoons potato starch
1 1/2 Tablespoons dried basil
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar (or other mild vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Combine everything, whisking well to fully incorporate mayonnaise.
  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to combine.

Notes:

  • To make this nightshade free use arrowroot starch.
  • If making the mayonnaise in the link, use raw apple cider vinegar instead of whey for a completely dairy free mayonnaise.
  • You can make this vegan by using vegan mayonnaise

What is your favorite salad dressing recipe?

Lilla Rose Giveaway!

I’ve been trying for a really long time to grow my hair out. I could never get it to grow longer than my shoulder blades, no matter how long I went before cutting it. Eventually I resigned myself to that length of hair and went on with my life.

Well, now my hair is down to the middle of my back! I don’t know if it’s because of my diet change, or maybe I’ve just always had latent thyroid issues and when I resolved them my hair started to grow longer. Maybe it was being pregnant a second time. Whatever the reason, I am pretty stoked!

Except I’m realizing that I have no idea how to style longer hair, or take care of really long curly hair. It’s definitely an adventure. Part of my problem is that I’m lazy: the reason I don’t wear makeup every day is it’s too much effort. I’d rather not spend a bunch of time every day in front of a mirror, so styles that require tons of bobby pins or a curling iron are a no-go.

Cue Lilla Rose.

I had heard of Lilla Rose from a good friend of mine when she hosted a party with Katrina. I didn’t pay attention then, because I didn’t think I needed any new hair stuff. It turns out I was wrong, but I wouldn’t figure that out for another two years (I think, I’m bad at keeping track of time) when the bee flexi popped up in my Facebook news feed:

I fell in love with it (because, dangly things!) so I ordered one from Katrina. Now I’m wondering why it took me so long! The style in the picture took me less than 5 minutes and it held all day long. These clips are really pretty and super comfortable, which is a plus because now that my hair is longer my bun claw isn’t so nice to my head.

I got really excited and when I get really excited about things that make my life easier I want to share them with everyone (hence this blog). So, to share this awesome thing with you Katrina has made a giveaway! This giveaway is only open to ladies who haven’t worked with another stylist before (we don’t want to poach anyone’s clients!) and it’s sponsored by the awesome Independent Stylist Katrina Burbank! As an added bonus, there is a sale happening until Saturday night on select Lilla Rose hair candies so you can save some money while you get your goodies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Experiments Brought to you by the Interwebs. Part I.

This week I’m visiting my parents in the Grand Valley, so I’m writing a different sort of post.

I tried a couple of things this week, one of which is a life hack, the other a recipe. The recipe is for a homemade stain remover. I’ve been using it for more than a week now, actually, more like two months or so. I have to say, I’m super impressed. I found this recipe on Mommypotamus‘ blog.

This stain remover takes out baby poop, ya’ll. Just spray and wash, no scrubbing necessary. If you have a set stain (a onesie that has been previously washed but still has that orange-yellow spot on it) just keep spraying and washing and eventually the set stain will fade – about 3 or 4 more washes. We had a paper diaper breach the other day and I happened to be doing laundry anyway, so I just sprayed the poop spot and tossed the onesie into the machine. It came completely out!

20160811_213942Unfortunately I don’t have a before and after picture for you, but I do have a picture of my skirt. You can see the lighter spots on it. Those are where I sprayed the stain remover. My skirt was so dirty that I’ve been having to spray a little more each time I wash it to get all the residual dirt off of it. I would never have noticed except I got oil on the skirt so I sprayed the oil spots. This stain remover took out the oil spots and the residual dirt. At first I thought that the color of the skirt had been slightly bleached, but I compared the lighter section to the yoke of the skirt and they were the same color; my skirt was just that dirty.

I have been putting this stain remover all over our clothes and I have not had any problems with colorfastness, but do always test. Just in case.

The second thing I tried this week was ripening avocados in the oven. I had read that if you need to ripen avocados quickly you can do so by wrapping them in tin foil and popping them in a 200° oven for about 10 minutes.

This does not work.

The avocados stayed in the oven for at least 20 minutes and they are still rock hard. Three days later. I’m a bit bummed with this one; I was really hoping it would work. I guess I’ll have to stick with the old paper bag and bananas trick…