Thursday, October 11, 2018

Classic Chicken Pot Pie & Ice Cream Cake for Breakfast

Our oldest turned 21.  How in the world did that happen???

Anyway, let's talk about food because that always makes things better, right?

Emily's a girl of tradition so I've been making Chicken Pot Pie and Ice Cream Cake for many many years of birthdays.

These recipes in video version can be seen here.

Classic Chicken Pot Pie is the most comforting of all the comfort foods in the world and this recipe is super classic with the very basic of ingredients which makes it a crowd pleaser.  And it starts with a roux and we know that anything starting with a roux is bound to be DELICIOUS !!

CHICKEN POT PIE (recipe for 1 pie)

2 pie crusts (top & bottom) either homemade or store bought
1-2 cans Veg-all mixed veggies
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. diced onion
1/4 t. salt
pinch of sage or poultry seasoning
1/4 t. pepper
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
3 cups cooked chicken

Roll out pie crusts if necessary.  Drain veggies.

Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour, onion, seasonings.  Cook stirring constantly until mix is bubbly.  Stir in broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened.  Stir in milk.  Add chicken and veggies.  Pour into pie crust.  Sometimes there's a little filling leftover so just eat it because it's that good.  Place top crust and crimp edge well.  

Prick top crust and bake at 425 for about 35 minutes until crust is well done and prick holes bubble a bit.

Now for the ice cream cake.  This is adapted from a recipe found in a Duggar book.  This year we actually had ice cream cake for breakfast.  A bit unusual, but fun for everyone involved.

Emily's Ice Cream Cake

24 ice cream sandwiches
2 small cartons of Cool Whip
chocolate syrup
caramel syrup
3 crushed Butterfinger candy bars

Unwrap ice cream sandwiches and make one layer in 9x13 pan.  Top with 1 carton Cool Whip.  Squeeze chocolate syrup and caramel syrup over whipped topping (as much as you'd like).  Sprinkle with half the Butterfinger crumbs.  Create another layer just the same.  Place in freezer until time to serve.  You might need to let it thaw a little before cutting.

Watch the full length video at A Country Life.

Bible Camp Baked Oatmeal {Recipe}

Our older kids all went to a Bible Camp up North many summers.  This baked oatmeal was a breakfast staple.  One that Emily loved and looked forward to.

This recipe was first shared on my bulk cooking video here.


3/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 t. salt
1 1/2 T. baking powder
4 1/2 c. quick cook oats (regular work fine, too, it'll be a little firmer)
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. raisins or any dried fruit you like (optional)

Mix all ingredients together.  Pour into greased 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar if you'd like.  Refrigerate overnight.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes until oatmeal is set.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

I often split this into two smaller square pans, wrap with plastic wrap and then foil and freeze for up to 3 months.  To bake I set it on the counter before bed and bake in the morning for a little less time than a full pan - about 25-30 minutes.  This keeps well in the fridge once baked and can be warmed up on the following mornings.

You can watch this recipe in action on A Country Life.

Crock-Pot Venison (Beef) Stew

Stew.  Is there anything more comforting on a fall day?  I thought not!!

I first showed this Crock-Pot Venison Stew here on YouTube.


3 pounds venison, cubed (1 inch)
6 med. red potatoes, unpeeled, 1 inch cubes
6 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1-2 large onions, cut into large chunks
2 cups V-8/home-canned tomato juice
3 T. quick-cooking Tapioca
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. beef bouillon
1/4 t. pepper

Dredge meat in flour seasoned with garlic salt and pepper.  Quick fry in hot melted lard or shortening just to brown the outside.  Place in crock-pot (6 quart). Add all ingredients.  Slow cook on low for 5 1/2-6 hours or until meat and veggies are tender.

I've made a lot of stew recipes over the year and this one from my sister-in-law is always the favorite.  I think it's just so simple and doesn't have any surprising flavors.  Just good comfort food especially when served with warm crusty bread.

The full video including the recipe can be found at A Country Life.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Young Whit & the Traitor's Treasure Review & GIVEAWAY

I'm a huge sucker for chapter books.  Often, I don't know who enjoys the books more, me or the kids listening.

I've teamed up with FrontGate Media as a reviewer and I've reviewed some great books and DVDs.  This time they sent a chapter book....Alleluia!!

Young Whit & the Traitor's Treasure by Phil Lollar & Dave Arnold

Adventures in Odyssey is a popular Christian radio program and now John Avery Whittaker has made his way to the pages of this first in the series historical mystery.  Although the back book cover recommends this book for 10+, my 10, 6, and 5 year olds are all enjoying the story.  

More important though, is that I'm enjoying it because let's face it, come bedtime story time if the book is a dud I'm going to nod off and start making up sentences not even written on the pages.  You've done that, too, right?

FrontGate Media is giving away multiple copies so be sure to click over there and enter to win.

Enter to win here.

Of course, if you don't win or would like to score yourself a copy today, you can click over to Amazon.  If you'd prefer it's also available at Focus On the Family.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Large Family BULK COOKING ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿฅ”๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿง€ Pizza Dough, Tater Tot Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Salad

I recently had another 3 day bulk cooking session where I cook for about 3-4 hours with plenty of large family distractions each day.  In the end I stock up the fridge and freezer with food that'll last 3 weeks or more.

In the video I shared the following recipes:

➡️Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad 
➡️Pizza Burger Mix 
➡️Cinnamon Roll Dough 
➡️Soft Italian Breadsticks   (I do not make individual breadsticks.  I roll the dough into a large 1/2 sheet pan, bake for 15 minutes, then top with butter and mozzarella cheese and bake until completely done, about 10 more minutes.
➡️Cream of Anything Soup  (very peppery)

A few recipes I haven't ever shared at my blog so below you'll find the recipes for:

Tater Tot Casserole
Savory Chicken
Chicken and Rice Hotdish
Pizza Crust (thin style)

Tater Tot Casserole (makes 3 large family size casseroles)
6 pounds ground venison (or beef or turkey, whatever floats your boat)
2 onions, diced
6 cans cream of anything soup or use the link above and make your own.
6 cans Veg-all, drained slightly
4-6 bags tater tots (depends on how many tots your family likes)

Brown meat and onion.  Drain grease if necessary.  Mix in large bowl:  meat, soups, veggies.  Divide into 3 greased foil casserole pans or 3 gallon freezer bags. 

If freezing in foil pans, top with tater tots, saran wrap and then foil wrap.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  To bake:  remove casserole from freezer in the morning, set on counter to thaw throughout the day, bake at 400 for 40-60 minutes depending on how thawed the casserole was and how crispy you like your tater tots.  Sometimes kids like this served with ketchup.

If freezing in bags do not add tater tots.  To bake:  thaw casserole mixture thoroughly in fridge, squeeze into greased casserole dish, top with tater tots and bake at 400 for 35-55 minutes depending on how crispy you like your tots.

Savory Chicken Sandwiches (I only made a single recipe of this - double or triple if desired)
3 pound bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup italian dressing
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
2 Tbsp. minced dried onion
2 tsp. powdered bouillon or creamy soup base - chicken, beef or vegetable

Place all ingredients in crock-pot.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Shred chicken and place back into liquid.  Keep warm and serve on a bed of lettuce or buns.  My kids like to add BBQ sauce to their sandwiches.

Chicken & Rice Hotdish
6 pounds boneless skinless chicken, breasts and thighs
3 cans cream of mush
3 cans cream of chick
3 cans cream of celery
4 1/2 cups Minute rice
6 cups shredded cheddar cheese
9 cups milk

Cube raw meat into bite sized pieces.  Combine soup and milk in large bowl.  Grease 3 large casserole pans - 10 x 13 OR extra deep foil pans.  Add about 2 cups of soup/milk mix to each pan.  Add 1 1/2 cups rice to each pan, add about 2 cups of soup/milk mix.  Sprinkle 1 cup cheese, add 1/3 of the cubed chicken, pour over remaining soup/milk mix (2 cups/casserole), dot with a couple Tbsp. butter and sprinkle with remaining cheese about 1 cup/casserole.  Saran wrap and foil wrap each pan.  Freeze flat; this will be quite soupy.  I froze mine on a cookie sheet for stability.

**Be sure all the rice is "tucked in"; if it's out of the liquid it will get hard and not soften all the way.

**Since I'm freezing raw meat I like to buy fresh, unfrozen chicken so that I'm not refreezing raw meat.  Doing so increases the chance of freezer burn.

To bake:  Thaw completely in fridge (1-2 days); remove foil and saran wrap and bake at 275 for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  Stir once early on and then no more stirring.  Check to be sure meat is cooked thoroughly.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough
3 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/8 tsp. sugar
3 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. warm water
7 1/2 - 8 cups flour (all-purpose or bread)
2 1/4 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast and salt in water; allow to rest for 8 minutes.
Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
Pour yeast mixture over flour and stir with a heavy spoon.
Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.
Divide into 6 pieces.  Wrap in saran or put into quart bags and freeze without letting it rise first.

To bake:  Thaw dough.  Roll out to desired thinness.  We like very thin crust that gets crunchy so I roll it out to the edge of my 14" and 16" pans.  Allow to rise if you like a thicker crust or bake immediately for a thinner crust.

Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes.  Then add sauce, cheese and other toppings bake for 3-7 minutes longer until crust is done and cheese is bubbly.

Looking for the video with all these recipes?

Sunday, July 15, 2018


 Do you like devotion books?  I love them.  There's something about a book filled with short and concise essays.  Start them off with scripture and I'm all in.

I think I like devotion books because there's no commitment to finish a whole book in a timely manner so that you can actually remember the beginning when you get to the end.  Can I get an Amen on that one.  If I had a dollar for every book I started, but never finished because I lost interest over time I'd be wealthy, like really wealthy.

That brings me back to devotionals.  I can open one up read the page or two for the day, ponder it for a few minutes and go about my life.

Front Gate Media sent me Never Too Much | Always Enough by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan to review and they are kind enough to offer a giveaway which I'll link to at the bottom of this post.

From the publisher:  We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.

Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God's truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you  banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.

When I opened the book I dove right in and read "Even When You Make Mistakes" then I took a look around the book and found that it's a flip book.  I was on the Always Enough side.  One look through the tables of content told me that the Never Too Much side was definitely for me.

I'm truly enjoying the style of these essays...Never Too Much....Even When You're Like a Tornado.  Well was this written for me or what?  How about another....Even When You Cry Easily.  These essays are great reminders that we are all created by God for a purpose.  Some of us are meant to be tornadoes and cry easily and that's ok.

You do you and own it is my biggest takeaway from this book.

So if you're a devo junkie like me why not enter the giveaway. You could be the winner.

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And if you can't wait you can buy it at Amazon here.

Have you seen my other giveaway?  You could win Paul:  Apostle of Christ DVD or Blu-ray.

PAUL Apostle of Christ | REVIEW & GIVEAWAY #PaulMovie

I have to confess I am not a movie buff, movie fan, movie critic, movie anything.  I find myself getting pretty antsy midway through most movies wanting the storyline to "just get to the point."

So when FrontGate Media offered to send me a review copy I thought twice before responding back with a "yes, please do."  But, you see, my family is full of movie buffs.  The kind of people who watch a movie once and can recite line after line making them even funnier than when said in the movie.  Those are the kind of people who would be all like:

What?  You could've gotten a free movie and you turned it down.  Are you nuts?

As you can tell from the blog post title I did indeed agree to view the film, form an opinion, write about it and offer a giveaway.

Let's get on with this, shall we?

I actually watched this movie at 5:30 a.m. because it's not for young kids and after the kids are in bed I'm tired and there's no way this non-movie girl is going to stay awake at 9:00 p.m. for any movie.

Here's proof

Computer, DVD, coffee, and in bed

Paul  Apostle of Christ
Affirm Films

The basic premise of the movie is Paul has been imprisoned by the Romans for apparently contributing to the devastating and city destroying fire because of his belief in Jesus Christ.  Nero is in charge and is clearly not a Christian for he believes in multiple Roman gods and wants Christians to be persecuted.
Luke visits Paul in prison to write another book.  They have thoughtful conversations about staying true to their faith despite the difficulties.

Then all kinds of things happen.  I know that's very vague, but I don't want to spoil it for you all.

This book that Luke writes is the Acts of the Apostles.  I loved how I recognized many scripture passages and watching the events unfold helped to solidify the meaning of the scripture in my mind.

Movie checklist

thought provoking ☑
elicit intense emotions ☑
provide education ☑
high interest ☑
quality acting ☑

There's definitely a risk in sharing my takeaways from the movie.  We are all different.  Many people can watch the same movie, but what they actually see can vary greatly. 

My Main Takeaways

1.  Evil must be fought with love.

2.  We bring others to Christ not by convincing them of Christ's love, but through our witness to Christ's love.

3.  Being a Christian is hard - often isolating, uncomfortable, and confusing to others, yet we forge on in faith.

I also found myself asking a few questions:

Who can I love more?

Who needs more of my love?

Have you seen Paul Apostle of Christ yet?  Why not?

Now for the details of the giveaway.

Fill out the form below and you could win 1 of 5 copies of Paul Apostle of Christ on DVD or Blu-ray.

* indicates required

Giveaway form also found here.

Don't want to wait for the giveaway?  Paul Apostle of Christ can be found at Amazon in PrimeVideo ($5.99), DVD ($14.96) and Blu-ray ($22.79).

Find Paul Apostle of Christ on social media:

Watch my YouTube channel for the video version + a Sunday family vlog. C O M I N G  S O O N


Saturday, July 14, 2018

BULK COOKING Large Family Style {June Edition}

Bulk Cooking is totally my style especially when summer takes over and we have so many activities pulling us in multiple directions.  Rarely are all nine of us sitting down to supper at once which makes having multiple meals in the fridge and freezer a godsend.

In this edition of BULK COOKING Large Family Style I make:

x5 Pancake Mix  Click here for this old-fashioned recipe
x3 BBQ  Click here for the cookbook

x4 Taco Meat  Click here for a video of my homemade seasoning mix

x2 Pepper Steak  Click here for the Stove top version

x2 Beef Short Rib Soup  Click here for the cookbook
x2 Ham, Bean & Potato Soup  Click here for this giant batch soup recipe

24 Hamburger Patties  Click here for the hamburger press I use & patty papers

10 pounds Twice Baked Potatoes  Click here for the recipe

All these recipes can be seen in video format, too.

Large Family BULK COOKING๐ŸŒฎ๐Ÿฅ”๐Ÿฅž๐Ÿฅฉ Soup, BBQ, Taco Meat, Twice Baked Potato, Pepper Steak, Pancake Mix

A Country Life - My YouTube channel

Slow Cooker Ham, Bean & Potato Soup

Making food in large quantities makes me happy.  If it makes you happy grab a giant Nesco and let's make some soup. 

If you like smaller quantities then cut the recipe in half and it'll fit nicely in a 7 quart Crock-Pot.

Slow Cooker Ham, Bean & Potato Soup

2 pounds dry navy OR great northern beans, rinsed
2 large onions, diced
6 celery stalks, diced
8 potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
8 cloves garlic, minced OR 4 tsp. jarred minced garlic
4 large carrots, sliced
2 ham hocks OR 1 ham bone
4 bay leaves
2 T. oregano
16 cups chicken broth (I use water and Knorr seasoning powder)
4 cups chopped ham (I use Sugardale Diced Ham for ease)
Salt & Pepper to taste (usually doesn't need much salt)

Place ingredients except diced ham in Nesco.  Cook on medium high for 6 hours or until beans are soft.  Stir often.  Remove ham hock or bone.  Pick meat from bone.  Use immersion blender to cream the soup a bit leaving plenty of vegetable chunks.  Add all ham to soup, season with salt and pepper, serve warm.  This soup really holds its heat.

Serve this up on a cold and snowy evening or do what I do and annoy my family with soup in the summer.  Any time of year it tastes great.

Twice Baked Potato {Freeze Some For Later}

Potatoes, Spuds, Russets - whatever you call them they deserve to be baked, scooped, mixed with bacon and spooned back into their skins.

I'm talking about making up a pile of twice baked potato and here's how I make it happen.

Twice Baked Potatoes (large batch style)

10 pounds Russet or Baking Potatoes
1 pound bacon (save the grease)
1 stick butter
2 cups sour cream
1-2 cups milk
chopped onion to taste (1/2 - 1 cup)
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Start by baking the potatoes in your usual fashion.  I baked mine at 350 for 1 hour + until they were tender.  Allow potatoes to cool just enough to handle them.  Slice in half the long ways and scoop out potato.  Don't worry about cleaning it out perfectly.  Leaving a little potato behind will keep the potato skin sturdy.

Fry up the bacon until it's fairly crisp.  Save the grease because you're going to use it later.  You're welcome.

Add butter, milk, and sour cream to potatoes and mash well.  Stir in chopped bacon, onion, cheese, salt, and pepper.

Now comes the fun part.  Pour in some of that bacon grease you've been saving.  Not all of it, just enough to add good flavor.

Spoon back into the potato skins.  Sprinkle with a little cheese.  Set on large cookie sheet and flash freeze.  Once solid place in zip top bags.

To use immediately: Bake at 350 until hot and slightly bubbly - about 20-30 minutes.

To use from frozen:  Thaw slightly and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

๐ŸฆŒMini Cheddar Meatloaves | Cooking With Venison | Large Family Freezer Meal

Meatloaf sure does get a bad rap.  But it shouldn't.  If you haven't had meatloaf since childhood it's time to give it a try now as an adult.  There are so many yummy recipes out there for meatloaf, but if you like cheese as much as I do this is the one you'll want to try.

If you've been following along with me on YouTube you'll know that I rarely make a single recipe of anything.  This is another large family sized recipe.  Enough to make some for tonight's supper and then flash freeze the rest.  Pull those out of the freezer on an exceptionally busy day for an easy supper.

Mini Cheddar Meatloaves (makes 42-48)

7 pounds ground venison (or meat of choice)
6 eggs
4 1/2 cups milk
6 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups oatmeal
3 cups onion
6 tsp. salt (regular, seasoned, garlic - whatever you like)

Mix together in giant bowl with clean hands.  Shape into small oval loaves.  

Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and freeze.  Transfer to freezer bags.

If making some tonight.  Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and top with ketchup topping.

Topping: (enough for about 8 loaves)
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard

Whisk together and spread over mini meatloaves.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

If preparing from frozen I set out a bag at lunchtime to thaw slightly.  Make ketchup topping and bake at 350 for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

For the full YouTube video tutorial click here.  

Sunday, July 1, 2018

How to Make a Rhubarb Pie & Homemade Pie Crust

Who doesn't love pie?

I love pie so much.

And if you love pie as much as I do you are going to want to learn how to make them homemade because have you looked at the price of a bakery pie?  OMG - they are crazy expensive or unthinkably small.  

Does baking a pie scare you?  It shouldn't.  It definitely isn't difficult, just a little time consuming.  In an effort to be always efficient today we made TEN pies at once.  It helps to enlist a few extra hands and in my case I grabbed three unsuspecting TV watching nappers and put them to work.  It wasn't long and we were filling the freezer with rhubarb pies.

Let's talk about crust.  It needs to be flaky and light.  The best way I've found to get the most desirable crust is to use lard.  Yes, lard.

This recipe makes enough crust for 2 double crust pies or 4 single crust pies.  It also freezes well so if you don't use it all just shape a crust size amount of dough into a small round, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.  

Best Ever Pie Crust

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup + 2 T. lard
5 T. water
1 T. vinegar
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in lard until crumbly.  Whisk wet ingredients and stir into flour mixture.  Stir together just until mixed.  Divide dough and roll out using a little extra flour.

That's it.  I'm sure you can do it, just don't over mix or you'll get tough dough.

On this particular day I made two different rhubarb pie recipes so we could compare and see which one we liked better.  Since this was my first time freezing rhubarb pies I wasn't sure if they would get too juicy and need a little extra flour.  (They didn't)

Rhubarb Pie

3 cups sliced rhubarb
1 cup sugar
sprinkle of nutmeg
1 egg
3 T. flour

Mix all together and pour into unbaked pie crust.

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter

Mix flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.  I use my food processor to make quick work out of this.  Spread over rhubarb mixture.  Place in 2 gallon freezer bag and freeze.  May stack after all pies are froze solid.

(Repeat for each pie you're making.)

Rhubarb Nut Pie

3 cups rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup flour

Layer rhubarb, nuts and brown sugar in unbaked pie crust.  Beat together eggs and melted butter.  Add white sugar and flour.  Mix well and pour over rhubarb.  Place in 2 gallon freezer bag, freeze, may stack once completely frozen.

Baking frozen pies

Do not thaw.  Place frozen pie in 350 degree pre-heated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Turn off oven; leave pie in for another 10-15 minutes.  Both pies can be served warm, room temperature or cold - whatever you prefer.

If you'd prefer to watch the making of these pies in action check out my YouTube video.  Click here.

Tell me, are you a pie baker?  What's your favorite pie?
Haven't you taken the plunge into baking pies?  Why not?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Large Family Style Salisbury Steaks | Big Family ๐ŸฆŒVenison Recipe

Hey there! ๐Ÿ˜€ I'm in the kitchen AGAIN and this time I'm making Salisbury steaks.  Really they are just seasoned flattened hamburger or meatloaf patties.  It's been a family favorite for a long time and super simple to make.  They're also so easy to transport I always take this meal when we go on winter family vacations to a cabin up North.  I make the meat mixture ahead of time and then form the patties and broil when we get there.

I've had to adapt this recipe many times since the original makes 2 servings.  We definitely need more than that.

Salisbury Steak (large family style)

4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs (Progresso are only $1 at Dollar Tree)
4 tsp. dried minced onion
2 Tbsp. Better Than Bouillon beef soup base

Mix well to make a slurry.  Add 4 pounds ground meat (venison or beef or even turkey) and mix well until everything is combined well.  Shape into flattened oval patties about 3/4 inch thick.  Place on greased broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet.  Broil 3-4 inches from heat for 7 minutes per side.  Mine take a little longer in my gas oven compared to when I had an electric range.

The easiest way to make the gravy is to use 2-4 brown gravy packets.  Cook according to directions and serve with mashed potatoes and green beans for a delicious filling meal that just screams, "My mom loves me!"  If you like a tangy gravy add a squirt of yellow mustard.  I don't, but the original recipe calls for that.

These can be prepared and frozen raw, too.  Just flash freeze the patties and then store in a zip top freezer bag.  Thaw before broiling.

Click here to watch full video on YouTube.

Do you cook with venison?  I'd love to hear about your favorite recipes.  Share those in the comments.

Join me on Instagram.  I'm taking part in the #megamotherhood photo challenge.  Posting every day in June something related to motherhood.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bedtime Books | Go to Sleep, Sheep! book GIVEAWAY

I don't know about you, but bedtime at our house can turn into complete chaos in an instant.  Take last night for example.  The evening was moving along normally.  I was planning out next year's curriculum so Warren took the four youngest fishing.  Emily was gone.  Nick was working on his truck and Amber was working.  The house was QUIET!!!

I was working at wrapping things up so I could get out the pajamas and put toothpaste on the toothbrushes when Peter came running in with a full bucket of Perch.  He and Maria were each telling stories about fish caught and lost and how they out-fished Dad...at the same time.  It was loud and completely disrupted my nice peaceful evening.

One look at the clock told me it was going to be a late night.  There were fish to clean, toys to pick up, and bodies to bathe.  All while the kiddos were hyped up and reliving every fish's story.

Warren cleaned each and every fish while Peter jabbered a mile a minute, the toys were put back onto the shelves and I filled the tub with kids and soap disregarding age and gender.  Everything got done.

The kids know we always read bedtime stories so they each had a pile of books, but I just wasn't up for it.  The clocked showed it was past 9:00 and I still had a few things on my to do list.  Joseph opened a book and said, "read, Mama."  So I described a few of the pictures and then it was prayer time and lights out.

But you know what, it didn't feel right.  I missed our snuggle time where they dishevel my bed blankets and whine about their book being read first.  A routine is a routine and life doesn't feel the same when that routine isn't followed.

Tonight we're going to sit down to a pile of books (even if it's late I keep telling myself).  One of the books we'll definitely read is Go to Sleep, Sheep!  It's a super cute book about sheep who just don't want to go to sleep.  They're not tired, they're hungry, they're thirsty, they want tuck in time.  Sound familiar???  As Mama urges them to go to sleep they meet up with all the other barnyard animals, too.  But, after they pray and snuggle in the hay they finally fall asleep.

We love farm books so this board book, although new, is already a favorite.  Maria especially loves it.

Frontgate Media sent me a copy to review and they also have 5 copies to giveaway on 6/10/18.

Don't be shy, click here to enter to win one of 5 copies of Go to Sleep, Sheep!


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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Homemade Granola Bars {Large Family Food on a Budget}

Yikes!  Granola bar prices just keep going up at Aldi.  It was time to leave those grab and go snacks on the grocery store shelves and make our own.  Like just about everything I do in the kitchen we did this big time.  At last count we made a total of 80+ bars and one bowl of delicious granola chunks.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Amber and I spent some time on Pinterest looking for granola bar recipes similar to the kind I've been buying.  We settled on four recipes, grabbed our coats (and Joe) and headed to the grocery stores for all the ingredients. 

I'll share links to each recipe and any changes we made.  We doubled all the recipes because we're a lot of people.

5 Ingredient Dark Chocolate Almond & Coconut Homemade KIND Bars {Beaming Baker}

I have to be honest after mixing these up I had my doubts as to how they would turn out.  Come on nuts, coconut, salt and maple syrup will some how turn into granola bars???  Yes, some how it happened and they were delicious.  They turned out very crunchy, yet chewy in the middle.  So good!!  These were by far my favorite.  However, we did not dip them in chocolate or add the chocolate drizzle - they just didn't need any more sweetness.  They also didn't cut well into bars.  I think I was only able to get about 6 bars; the rest cracked and crumbled into what we ended up calling granola bites.  We gobbled it up in one sitting and I have BIG plans on making this again with other nuts and 85% chocolate bits.

Homemade Granola Bars:  No-Bake {Creations by Kara}

Kid friendly describes these to a "T".  No nuts, no dried fruit just regular chocolate chip granola bar stuff with flax hidden deep within the peanut butter and brown sugar.  Emily and Amber doubled this recipe and pressed it into my Nordic Ware 1/2 sheet pan
They were very thick and once cooled, set and wrapped made for a very filling snack.  The kids ate these up so fast.  Next time I really need to "quad" the recipe which would be so easy to do.

Blueberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt Granola Bars {Half Baked Harvest}

These were definitely the most putsy of all the recipes and if we'd made them correctly it would've taken 5 days to be completely finished.  My crew doesn't want to wait that long for any food even a super yummy granola bar.  So after freezing them down we simply put on the greek yogurt frosting drizzle and didn't do the dipping.  I'm sure they would've held together better if dipped, but they still got eaten up.  Oh, and I substituted what else, cranberries for half the blueberries.

Homemade Clif Bars {Liv Lives Life}

These were sticky so we packaged them in snack size baggies, then stored in fridge.  Maybe because they were in the fridge they didn't get eaten as fast as the others.  Nick took complete advantage of that eating nearly every one himself.

How much did we actually save?

Well.  Granola bars at Aldi range anywhere from $0.16 each for the basic up to $1.00+ each for the knock-off Clif and Kind bars.  Since I added all ingredients and divided by the total number of bars my average price per bar is.......

1 Homemade granola bar = $0.30 or less even with the expensive box of cereal added in.๐Ÿ˜‰

This was really a fun day spent in the kitchen with a number of my kids.  It was loud and chaotic, but isn't anything when moms, teens, and littles are involved??? 

Want a peek into our granola bar escapade check out our YouTube video.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Venison Pepper Steak {Stove Top Recipe}

I think the second time Warren cooked for me (way back in our dating days) he made Pepper Steak.  I really liked it, but if you know me, when it comes to food I can't leave well enough alone.  I'm always trying new twists on old recipes.

Somehow (Pinterest) I found this recipe.  The picture sucked me in and since I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use all the deer we put up each year, I just had to try this version of Pepper Steak using venison.   I also adapted the recipe slightly for my large sized family.

Original Recipe is credited to South Your Mouth blog.

Here's my adaptation.

Venison Pepper Steak  (serves 8-12)

3 lbs. venison steak, sliced very thin (1/4" or less)
5 T. soy sauce
2 t. black pepper
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 green peppers, thinly sliced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 t. minced jarred garlic

2 brown gravy packets
1/2 t. ginger paste
1 t. black pepper
2 cups cold water
4 T. soy sauce

Here's the process for those of you who like written details.  Remember the video explanation is on YouTube.

Slice meat into thin (1/4") pieces.  The length of strips doesn't really matter.  For the tenderest meat cut across the grain (opposite the muscle fibers) ๐Ÿค”

Slice all the veggies, too.  Set aside until the end.  But don't wait until the end.  Once you start the cooking process this goes very quickly so everything needs to be ready.  If you have a helpful teen around they could cut the veggies while you slice the meat.  Just saying.

Make the sauce mixture.  Set aside, but stir it a couple of times while doing other things.

Here's the Ginger paste I use.  It really add fullness and richness to the overall flavor. (Similar item at Amazon) I bought mine at Walmart.

Heat very large cast iron skillet (link to mine) with a few T. lard.

Add all the meat at once.  It should sizzle fiercely.  Let meat cook for a couple of minutes, then stir around until done.  Transfer to warm bowl.  Foil.  Set aside.

Add veggies and garlic to skillet.  Stir fry for about 4 minutes.  

Add meat and sauce mix to veggies.  Cook until sauce thickens.  This happens in under 1 minute.  Turn heat off.  Serve over hot rice, which I should tell you to start cooking right away so you're not messing with it while you're stirring, transferring, and focusing on the pepper steak.

This is so incredible.  The venison stays so moist and is ultra tender.  Enjoy!!!๐Ÿ˜‹

For the full video click here.