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February Favorites

Happy leap day everyone, it is already time to share my February Favorites with you. I cannot believe how fast this month went. I have been so busy planning our wedding and trying to purchase a house. I hardly had any time to blog the month. This is an exciting time for us but it seems like there is always something we need to do. Hopefully once we close on the house things will settle down a little bit. In the midst of all the craziness I still managed to find a few favorite things for the month.
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1| Benelli SBEII- Cinderelli, Cinderelli my beautiful new Benelli. The Super Black Eagle II shotgun is my new semi-automatic shotgun with an Ultra-reliable Inertia Driven system and ComforTech recoil reduction system. I purchased this gun specifically for my upcoming Nebraska snow goose hunt. Everyone I talked to recommended the SBEII and after some research decided it would be the best gun for me. I’ve only had a chance to shoot it one time so far, but I am completely in love. I feel like Ralphie from the Christmas Story when I talk about it. The only thing that it is missing is the compass in the stock. 

Thank you to High Grade for special ordering it for me. If you are from western PA I would highly recommend this shop. They people were very friendly and the price was unmatched

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2|First Lite Uncompahgre Puffy Jacket-  I have been wanting some First Lite fusion gear for a while, although I was hesitant to order it since they currently do not have women’s outerwear. But when it went on sale I decided it was worth a try. Since I was ordering all mens wear I contacted Outdoor Allie, who works for First Lite, for sizing tips. She was very helpful in helping me choose a style that would be best for a women’s frame.

It is a little bit baggy on me but I can easily layer up for a better fit. I am in love with the pattern too. The fusion is great for all seasons which is one of main reasons I bought it.

PS.  Allie’s just posted a video on her YouTube channel which she talks about the new women’s line coming out this year! So if you are thinking about purchasing some First Lite gear you might want to wait for that to launch.

3|First Lite North Branch Soft Shell Pant- I also purchased the First Lite Fusion pants to go with the jacket. I am excited to really put them too the test out in Nebraska on the snow goose hunt. They are a highly water resistant, wind proof, durable pant made from patented 37.5 Active Particle technology. Here is some information on the technology taken from the website.

  • Proprietary water-tight zipper system provides complete thermal regulation and instant “call of nature” response.
  • Designed and engineered to work within the First Lite layering system
  • Integrated gaiter system protects ankles when post-holing through snow drifts or during quick stream crossings.
  • Exclusive 37.5 fabric uses Active Particle Technology moving perspiration (your human signature) to the outside of the fabric where it is functionally neutralized.
  • Built-in stretch for complete range of motion.
  • Tailored with biomechanically accurate shooter’s seat, knees and gaiters.
  • All zippers, pockets, closures and adjustments quietly managed on-the-move and do not interfere with targeting.

4| Life and Little Things Antler Studs I am a total sucker for hunting inspired jewelry, accessories and fashion. When I came across these little antler studs I couldn’t resist. They came from the etsy shop Life and Little Things run by two sisters, Amanda and Bonnie. The two of them share a passion for life’s little things. Their motto is that the little things that can make us happy. The little things that allow us to set ourselves apart, to be unique. They hope to bring that piece of unique happiness to you via their shop. Check out their shop and give them a follow on instagram for cute jewelry trends, daily inspiration and more.a4010144710994ccc91ac1071ee68c14
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5| GoPro Hero 4 Session- This little guy was purchased to replace the original GoPro I bought Tom a few years ago. I wanted something small for traveling but also high quality. After doing some research I ended up going with the new session and here is why.

  • It is 50% smaller and 40% lighter than other HERO4 cameras
  • HERO4 Session is a rugged and waterproof camera that you can take down to 33’ (10m) without a separate housing.
  • When the camera is mounted upside down, Auto Image Rotation automatically adjusts the capture orientation to right-side up so there’s no need to flip your footage in post-production.
  • HERO4 Session is compatible with all GoPro mounts.
  • HERO4 Session maximizes battery life by only using power when the camera is recording. It automatically powers off when not recording. This means you can capture a full day of photos and video clips or record up to 2 hours continuously on a full charge.
  • HERO4 Session features two microphones: one on the front of the camera and one on the back. When you’re filming in windy conditions or during high-speed activities like motorsports, the camera automatically switches to the mic that’s best-suited for capturing optimal audio. The result? Reduced wind noise and enhanced audio capture—no matter what the conditions or activity.
  • Auto Low Light mode intelligently changes frame rates based on lighting conditions for optimal low-light performance, enabling you to move between bright and dark environments without having to adjust your camera settings.

So after reading all of that I determined that the session would be the best GoPro for hunting and fishing. I am just getting the hang of it so stay tuned for videos and footage from upcoming hunts.

 

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The Great American Outdoor Show 2016

The Great American Outdoor Show is a nine day event dedicated to hunting, fishing and the outdoors. The show features hundreds of exhibitors ranging from guns to fishing poles and everything inbetween. Not to mention concerts, fundraising dinners, speaking events, archery competitions, celebrity appearances, seminars, demonstrations and much more! 

I have never attended anything like The Great American Outdoor Show before this trip. I had no idea what to expect and nothing to compare it to. The only thing I knew about it was that it’s where the biggest brands in the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and firearms come together under one roof. I should have known two days was not going to be enough time to see everything, but I made the most out of the short time I was there. I met some awesome people, discovered new brands, and purchased a few items. I can’t wait to go back again next year.

My recap of the 2016 Great American Outdoor show presented by the NRA

Tom and I arrived at the show around 10am Saturday morning. I learned right away how massive the show was when I had to leave Tom at the entrance to go locate my ticket at willcall. I was there representing Sportsmen’s Box so I got a fancy VIP badge with my name on it. We made our way to the Sportsmen’s Box booth and finally got to meet the founders/owners, Adam and Will. I also met fellow field operatives, John Harman and Hanna Frank, who were also there representing the field opts team. It was wonderful meeting people with similar passions for the outdoors. Everyone was so genuinely nice and easy to talk to. It was humbling and made me even more appreciative to be a part of the team.

We spent most of the day helping pass out coupons and telling people passing by what Sportsmens Box is all about. If you don’t already know, they are a monthly subscription box that delivers hunting and fishing gear to your door. The price varies based on the amount of months you sign up for. The average cost is around $38/per month but the price of the items you receive is a much greater value. It’s a great way to discover and test new products. Sign up for a box and receive $5.00 off when you use the coupon code: FODELATTRE.

We were at the booth when Kip Campbell from Red Arrow TV stop by to meet fans and film the February “unboxing” video. I enjoyed seeing the look on the faces of his fans as they approached him for pictures, particularly the younger ones who looked up at Kip completely star struck. He was really down to earth and easy to talk to. We chatted about hunting, guns, and game of thrones… three of my favorite things.  You can watch the new season of Red Arrow TV when it returns July 2016!

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After the show on Saturday we joined Adam, Will and John for dinner at a place called The Brew House. It was a nice opportunity to get to know them better. All of them are true sportsmen that share the same passion and love for the outdoors. It was fun sharing our different hunting and fishing stories. We even discussed some plans for a future field operatives hunting retreat. It is top secret so I can’t say anything more. 

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Sunday we got up early so we could get a decent parking spot and also help prep the booth for the last day of the show. Doors didn’t open until 10 which gave us a chance to walk around to check out the other booths. First stop was obviously the archey section. I had a blast looking at all the new 2016 bow models. Tom even convinced me to test out a Matthews (I’m more of a bowtech girl). I can’t lie, it was a really smooth. I also shot a recurve for the first time. I was a little hesitant but John gave me a few tips and I ended up really enjoying it. I think I need to buy one for myself. Also, John if you are reading this thanks for the tips. I had a chance to say hello to the boys from Bowhunter Brotherhood who were working at the flying arrow booth, they were really nice and I am excited to see what the future has in store for their brand.

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Shopping time! If you know me at all then you know I didn’t leave empty handed. I purchased myself a beautiful hat from The Buffalo Wool Company and some smoked trout. Two completely different categories, but I love food and fashion so it makes sense. We also spent a decent amount of time in the firearm showroom. Talk about getting distracted. Everytime I turned around there was something to look at. Guns, guns, and more guns. It was awesome! Benelli and Smith Wesson were probably my two favorite booths. I just ordered the Benelli Super Black Eagle 2 for my upcoming goose hunt, so I kept going back to look at it. Next year I hope to spend a little more time in the firearms area.

Me and Tiffany from the crush tv
Finally the perfect ending to a great weekend was meeting Lee and Tiffany from Crush TV. We were getting ready to leave when we saw them hanging out at the Polaris booth. There was hardly anyone around so we decided to go say hello. They were both so nice in person. We got to talk to them for a little bit about archery hunting and even showed them the bucks we harvested during the season. They are truly an inspiring couple.  Tom and I hope we will be able to hunt together all over the world someday too. They are living example of the phrase “couples who hunt together, stay together”.

The Crush TV

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ADDED BONUS:

If you spend a little time with me you will quickly learn I am very clumsy. Which is why it doesn’t surprise me that I tripped over the sportsmen’s box sign a few times. The best part is that John happened to be filming a timelapse on his GoPro and caught me graceful moment on video. Here it is, enjoy!

Never Be Ashamed…

A few weeks ago Jeremiah Doughty, the mastermind behind From Field to Plate, posted a photo on his instagram account. In the post he was talking about how social media has skewed the way some people look at hunting. There are so many hunters who want to be sponsored or on T.V. they tend to create this “false” reality of what hunting is truly about. They get too caught up on trophies and lose sight of the true purpose.

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The post was extra meaningful so decided to message Jeremiah to let him know how much I respect his views on hunting. I also told him about the personal experience I had on the topic. After he heard my story he asked if I would be interested in answering a few questions for his blog. I was honored that he wanted to interview me and I agreed to do it. Below is the interview we did together. You can find the original interview on his blog.

I did a separate interview with Jeremiah on his views of social media and the role it plays in the hunting community. It will be posted soon so be on the lookout.

 

The Interview:

How long have you been hunting?

I first started hunting when I turned 12 years old. That was the legal hunting age in PA at the time. I got away from hunting for a few years during high school and college. I got back into it when I started dating my (now) fiancé, which was about five years ago. This past season was my first year hunting archery and most certainly will not be my last.

 

Who introduced you to hunting?

My family has a deep history with hunting. My dad and his siblings are all incredible hunters, which they inherited from my grandfather. I was introduced to hunting very young thanks to them. When I was a little girl I would often help my dad process his deer in our garage. My girlfriends thought I was weird but that didn’t bother me. I couldn’t wait until my 12th birthday so I could finally get my own hunting license.

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How did you feel when you harvested your first animal?

Emotional—I cried right after. Taking a life is not an easy thing to do. I hunt for food and quickly reminded myself of the purpose. I then was overcome with a sense of accomplishment. I will never forget my first hunting experience.

 

How did you feel when you harvested your first big game animal with a bow?

I was in shock at first. It all happened so quickly; I barely had time to process it. I knew I’d hit him, but he took off running and I wasn’t able to see where he’d run off to. I was shaking with excitement as I texted my dad what had happened. Tom and my dad came to help me track it down. The moment we found him I was filled with joy. I started to jump up and down with happiness. You can see how proud I am by my expression in the picture.

The story continued a week later  when I took another buck with my bow. This time it was a 9 point that I shot from 14 yards away. He only went a few yards then went down. I couldn’t believe what happened. I kept repeating, “no way, no way, no one is going to believe me”.

Two bucks in two states exactly one week apart in my first season! This is when I started to become angry that I removed the first buck from social media.

 little buck

Why did you post your picture to Social Media and how did you feel when you did?

I was proud of myself for what I had accomplished. When I purchased my first bow at the end of the summer everyone seemed to doubt that I would hunt with it. I was told that I should practice and wait to start hunting next year. My goal was to prove that I was capable of hunting with a bow and I was serious about hunting.

Every day, rain or shine I was outside practicing. There were a few lost and broken arrows, but eventually my groups became consistent. I watched hours of archery hunting videos on YouTube and reached out to fellow female hunters on Instagram for pointers. All of this was to prepare for the season. When it was finally time to hunt my fiancé was gracious enough to take me out to teach me what to do. We went out every chance we got. Eventually I felt I was ready to go out on my own. All the time I put in finally paid off. I posted the picture to show I succeeded in reaching my goal.

 

How did you feel when you got negative feedback?

Let down. It was not up for very long because I could not get past the negativity. It made me really angry that I was being ridiculed for something I felt so passionate about.

little big buck

Why did you take the picture down?

I took it down was because I felt I was being discredited as a hunter. The “booooo, girl hunters shooting small deer just for Instagram likes” comment I received was the one comment that led me to delete the photo. I didn’t want people to think that was my reason for hunting. More importantly I worried that I’d made other women in the hunting social media community look bad.

 

If you could change anything would you?

Given a chance to do it again I would have left the picture on Instagram. I regret feeling ashamed of the antler size. I wish I had taken pride of the fact that I shot my first deer with a bow. It was my first year of archery and I successfully filled my buck tag. That is an awesome accomplishment. Not to mention I was hunting alone and had no one there to guide me. Some hunters go years without having success so I am extremely grateful for my first kill, regardless of the size.

 

In your own words how do you feel social media affects the hunting community in the following ways?

 

Positive:

The most positive thing I have discovered through social media is the support from fellow female hunters. In my experience most of the women help inspire and empower one another. That is a great thing for the hunting industry. So many companies are coming out with apparel lines and products specifically designed for women. The growing online presence of female hunters on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter only benefits that even more. It is also great to see girls embracing the best of both worlds. I wish there was a #socialvsstealth when I was growing up. I was shy about telling people I was a hunter in fear of getting made fun of.

 

Negative:

Anti-hunters commenting on pictures is one of the most negative things I see on social media. My dad always says there are hunters, anti-hunters and non-hunters. Be the best hunter you can be and lead by example. Strive not to give the non-hunters a reason to become anti-hunters. It’s hard when you put yourself out there online for the world to see. You are bound to get some heat but how you handle it will show your character. When I get negative comments or messages from anti-hunters I just delete them.  It is when I get the hate from fellow hunters that I am most disappointed.  We are all fighting the same cause so we should do our best to support one another.

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Why do you hunt and how has this changed you?

I hunt for food. Plain and simple. I will not eat meat that has not been harvested by a hunter. I feel that is the way nature intended it to be. I don’t believe in factory farming and avoid supporting it whenever possible. I even went vegetarian in college when I had no access to wild game. I won’t order it at a restaurant either. When people ask me about my diet I jokingly say that I am a “gametarian”, it’s a word I came across in a hunting cookbook that describes someone who only eats wild game.

 

That is my reason for hunting and it has forever changed the way I feel about food. It has also uncovered a talent for cooking and recipe developing that I never knew I had. I find knowing where my meat comes from, how it was processed, and what went into making the meal the most rewarding part of it all.

 

My goal on social media is to show hunting is a good thing. I want to be an example of why we do what we do. Not all hunters kill for the sake of killing or for acquiring a trophy. That is what upsets me most about getting negative comments on my small buck. I realize now that the size of the antlers does not define you as a hunter. I shared my story with you because I am proud. My first buck with a bow might have been small but it sure was delicious and that is what matters most.

 

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Venison Chili

This year my Super Bowl party entree is titled “Carolina Chili.” Chili is one of those things that always goes over well. Obviously there’s a million different ways to make chili.  Who I am cooking for usually dictates what kind of chili I make.  If I am making for my Mom and Dad I have to keep the spice down.  If it’s just Tom and I, I like to turn the heat up.  When cooking for the masses, such as Super Bowl Sunday, I like to make my chili simple. In general good chili doesn’t need too many bells and whistle. I like making the ingredients stand out rather than mask them. This is why I believe venison chili always makes the best chili. It brings a depth of flavor to the pot that beef simply cannot.

 

Venison Chili

 

With simple chili as a base each guest can customize their own Super bowl of chili. I put out different toppings like slices jalapeno, avocado, chives, sour cream and smoked cheddar cheese. It’s also a great dish to pair with homemade cornbread or ladle over a baked sweet potato.

 

Cookbook collection

 

I have tested my fair share of chili recipes, but I always find myself going back to my original. When I say my original, I really mean my dad’s recipe, but with a few adjustments I’ve made over the years. Thank goodness he doesn’t read my blog, or I might have to start giving him royalties… unless he is reading them. “Hi dad, thanks for the recipe, love you.” Just kidding, he wouldn’t care either way, the fact is that it’s a great recipe and great recipes are worth sharing.

 

Venison chili

 

Stop back tomorrow to see what dessert I’ll be serving my super bowl guests. It’s sure to be a sweet victory. (Hooray for football puns!) Also check out the Buffalo Chickpea Dip I made for a game day appetizer. I hope everyone enjoys the big game. I’m personally extra excited about Lady Gaga singing the national anthem. What are your favorite parts about the Superbowl?

Venison Chili

  • 2 medium Onions- chopped
  • 2 medium Yellow, orange or red bell pepper- chopped
  • 3 cloves Minced garlic
  • 3lbs Ground Venison
  • 1 28oz can Whole tomatoes, undrained, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dried oregano
  • 2 tablesppon Chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato paste
  • 2 cups Venison broth
  • 1 15 oz can Kidney beans drained & rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can Black beans drained & rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can White kidney beans drained & rinsed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons (optional) Crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. In a dutch oven saute the onions and bell pepper over medium heat until tender. Stir in the minced garlic add cook for 30secs or until fragrant.
  2. Add the meat and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the meat is cook through add all the ingredients except the beans to the dutch oven. Heat until boiling then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the beans and continue to cook uncovered for another 30mins. Garnish with toppings of your liking. I use jalapenos, Tofutti* and avocado.

*Dairy free sour cream

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Buffalo Chick “Pea” Dip

Buffalo Chickpea Dip

Super Bowl 50 is upon us which means time to cook up some game day grub. This week I am doing a series of my favorite football foods. I chose recipes that I feel are easy to make and can feed a crowd. Today it is appetizer time featuring: Buffalo Chickpea Dip. Be sure to stop back Thursday to see what I’ll be cooking for my super”bowl” entree. Hint Hint.
Chickpea hummus

Buffalo chicken dip, better known in our house as Buff Chick Dip, has always been a crowd favorite. It’s creamy consistency mixed with a spicy kick makes for the ultimate game day snack.  Unfortunately it is not the healthiest thing and is very high in fat.  That is why I decided to seek out an alternative. That lead me to discover buffalo style hummus. I’ve always been a fan of hummus’ smooth creamy taste. I tested several recipes and finally tailored it to what I feel is the perfect balance. The end result comes velvety and zesty, much like the original. Only this version is better for the waistline.

Chickpea hummus 2

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cans Garbanzo Beans (drained and de-skinned)
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic Cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Organic Tahini
  • 1/2 of a wedge Lemon Juice
  • 4 tablespoons Hot Sauce (Franks Red Hot or Sriracha)
  • 3 tablespoons Warm Water
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Directions:

  1. Remove skins from the garbanzo beans by lightly pinching the bean and discarding the skin. It can be tedious but it is totally worth it. It is what gives it a nice smooth, creamy consistency.
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Adjust hot sauce to your liking then blend again if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Serve with pita chips, corn chips or assorted veggies. (I like carrots and bell peppers). Enjoy

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*It also tastes amazing on wraps or sandwiches incase you have any leftover… But I doubt that!

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January Favorites

Happy Friday everyone, I am excited to share my January Favorites with you. It seems to be a popular topic in the blogging community, so I thought i’d start my own monthly favorites collection. These can include food, fashion, hunting or whatever else I enjoyed over the month. The sky’s the limit. So without further ado, here are some things I have been loving this month.

January favs

1| Hide and Hunter Bag– These custom handmade purses have been on my radar for a while. I discovered the brand on instagram one day and i’ve been swooning over them ever since. I used my birthday as an excuse to email the designer to see what was available. Everything she had in stock was amazing. I choose to go with black (go figure) since it goes anything. I also ordered myself a Hide and Hunter camo hoodie. When the package arrived it was almost too pretty to unwrap. Fitting for this post since it was literally a brown paper package, tied up with string. Those are a few of my favorite things. Get it? I crack myself up. Anyways, the bag is stunning. More beautiful than I imagined it would be. I’ve received a ton of compliments each time I wear it out.

I asked the Hannah, owner/designer, of Hide and Hunter if she would give me some information on the Brand. Learning more about them made me like my bag even more. Here is what she had to say about her Company:

  • Hide & Hunter was founded in 2014 by Hannah Christine after being inspired by her senior runway show at the University of Alabama
  • The leather is sourced in person by Hannah to ensure not only a great quality product but an ethically sourced hide
  • All bags are cut and assembled by hand
  • Due to the handiwork involved in making the bags, every design varies, even just slightly, from the next. She believes her designs are a representation of her customers. Each is different and unique, no two are alike. That’s what makes the bags special.
  • This last year they added clothing which has been very sucessful. Each tee, tank, and sweatshirt is examined closely to ensure a soft fabric that will maintain its shape and feel over time.
  • What a lot of people don’t know that they donate a portion of their sales from certain products to a charity that rescues and houses women and children from the human trafficking industry. Which is totally amazing if you ask me.

2| Beauty Ignited Lipstick- I have posted several instagram photos of this lipstick brand. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for cute packaging. When I saw these lipsticks designed to resemble shotgun shells I had to order some. I wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I do. They are nice quality, the consistency is smooth and the colors are very pigmented. They remind me of Mac Cosmetic’s Matte lipsticks, but these are more affordable. They cost around $11 each, whereas Mac start around $20 each. My favorite shade is winey cowgirl followed by ruby revolver. If you are a fan of lipstick I would recommend giving them a try.

3|  The Pizzeria Pronto – We were invited to a Party this month hosted by  family friends. It was a build your own pizza night where this pizzeria was the star of the show. It changed the way I feel about homemade pizza forever! I do not actually own one yet, but I wanted to list it as a favorite because I am completely obsessed. We had a blast building the pizzas ourselves then watching them bake to perfection. I was told the key to great pizza is having an oven hotter than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the website the Pizzeria Pronto can reach up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit! Be prepared for homemade pizza recipes when I get one of these bad boys.

 

pizza post

 

4| The Little Red Book of Hunters Wisdom– This book given to me as a gift. I received this from my soon-to-be mother and father in law for Christmas. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy this little book. It is full of quotes, insight and wisdom on hunting and sportsmen ship. It really comes in handy when I am struggling for a good caption. I just pull this little book out to find a good quote. I even purchased a copy for my friend Nicole, a fellow hunter, whom I thought would enjoy it.

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5| Arrow Journal – This was gifted to me by my amazingly talented web designer, Sarah. I have been filling it up with ideas for the blog. Each time I use it I am reminded of her and all the work she did on making this blog so beautiful. I could not be happier with how it turned out. She purchased the journal  here, but it is no longer available. I found a similar one on this website if anyone is interested.

 

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Sweet Sixteen . . . Plus Ten!

I am sure by the title of this post you can guess that today is my birthday. It just so happens to be my sweet 16 . . . +10. I’ve always enjoyed celebrating birthdays. Not just because it’s an excuse to “Treat-Yo-Self” or have a party in your honor, but also because it means you’ve been blessed with the opportunity to add another 365 days of stories, adventures, and wisdom to your life. Twenty-five was a great year. It filled with excitement and travel. It also was a year of learning and taking on new passions. It’s bittersweet to watch another year go by so quickly, but I know twenty-six will be a wonderful year too. I get to be a bride this year which is crazy to think about! So goodbye quarter of a century, and hello to 26. I am ready for another wild trip around the sun.

Here are just a few of the highlights from 25th Chapter of life

Winter 25 blog postSpring 25 blog post Summer 25 blog post (1)Summer 2 25 blog postFall 25 blog pstMisc 25 blog post

|Ÿ Tom proposing at Annapalooza 2015 Ÿ| Snowcation with family and friends in Park City, Utah | Chuck and Lori getting engaged on our hike at Wasatch National Park |Atomageddon aka Tom turns 30 years old Ÿ| Visiting Rebecca in WŸashington, D.C. | Surprising Tom with a trip to Europe | Getting our Engagement Photos taken | Picking a wedding date and venue/ planning the wedding | Traveling to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Bremen | The Cordaro wedding | Getting my first Bow | Skydiving | Tom shooting his first buck with a bow | Shooting my own first buck with a bow | Becoming a Sportsman’s box field Operative | Becoming a CamoGirl Brand Ambassador | Our trip to Utah for the Lengle Wedding | Launching Outdoor Anna Lea |

Venison Pho

While we were in Amsterdam last summer Tom and I had our first experience with Vietnamese cuisine. I ordered some curry dish, but Tom ordered Pho. It was pretty Ph0-king good I have to say. When we returned from our trip the first thing I did was research Pho recipes to recreate it at home. I learned that true pho broth is a made from simmering beef bones with onions and ginger to make a deep, rich, savory broth.

eye of round pho

“PERFECT!”, I said to myself. What a great way to use up some venison bones in the fall.  After Tom and I processed our deer I made 5 gallons of venison stock which is the base of what makes up this recipe. I used this recipe to make the stock. I will do a future post on my rendition when I have more venison bones.Shitake mushrooms for venison Pho

For the noodles and “Pho” spice flavor pack I went to a specialty Asian grocery store. I used eye of the round, which is a prefered cut for Pho, but flank steak or backstrap will work as well. Lastly, the Thai red peppers I used to add heat were grown in our garden this summer. I put them in the dehydrator, then used a spice mill to make my own crushed red pepper. If you can’t find thai chillies jalapenos will do the trick.

Pho

For the Broth

  • 6 cups Venison Stock
  • 4-inch piece Fresh Ginger
  • 1 packet Pho Hoa Soup Spices
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 4 cloves Garlic Cloves
  • 4-6 Dried Thai Chili Peppers

To Serve

  • 1/2 lbs Venison Eye of Round
  • 8 oz Rice Noodles
  • 2-4 Scallions
  • 1/2 Lime
  • 1 can Bean Sprouts
  • 1 cup Fresh Basil
  • 1 cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 6oz Shitaki Mushrooms

Directions

  1. In heavy pot add the broth and all the broth ingredients listed. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour.
  2. Use your sharpest knife to slice the venison into very thin slices. Slice across the grain, and aim for slices no thicker than 1/4-inch. Once sliced, keep covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.
  3. In a separate pot bring water to a boil, drop in the rice noodles and cook according to package instructions (typically 1 minute for very thin noodles and up to 4 minutes for wider noodles). Strain the noodles and run them under cool water to stop cooking. The noodles will start to stick together after cooking, so either divide them immediately between serving bowls or toss them with a little neutral-tasting oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Prepare the rest of the pho toppings. Stice the mushrooms thin as possible, also slice the scallions and cut the lime into wedges. Place the bean sprouts in a serving dish. Roughly chop the herbs or tear them with your hands. Arrange all the toppings on the table.
  5. When the broth is ready, strain the solids and flavor packet from the broth. Discard. Place the broth back over low heat and keep it just below a simmer — you should see a fair amount of steam, but should not be boiling. The broth needs hot to cook the venison.
  6. Prepare the pho bowls by placing the rice noodles and top with a few slices of raw venison. Arrange the meat in a single layer so that the slices will cook evenly in the broth (slices that are stacked or clumped may not cook all the way through).
  7. Ladle the steaming broth into each bowl, pouring it evenly over the venison in order to cook it. The meat should immediately start to turn opaque.
  8. Serve the pho at the table and let each person top off their bowl as they like. Enjoy!

Venison Pho

Cheeseburger Soup

Here we go Steelers, here we go! Okay, so I am not a HUGE football fan. But I do enjoy watching the Steelers win and I like when they make it to the postseason. Especially since that gives me an opportunity to cook up some game day grub. As soon as the Steelers clinched a spot in the AFC Wild Card game I started to search Pinterest for football themed recipes. I kept coming across sliders and burgers. That made me think of  The Wild Chefs Venison Cheeseburger Soup. All of his recipes look amazing so I knew I couldn’t go wrong. I was waiting for a special occasion to make this recipe and what better reason to make soup than on the road to the SOUP-er bowl. I also like how the soup is black and gold.

My version is a little bit different than the original but it still turned out delicious. I made some homemade onion straws to go along with it. I also topped it off with some jalapeno and avocado. My uncle Todd and Tom got to be the taste testers. I think they agree this recipe is most definitely a keeper. In fact, I might have to make it again for this Sundays Playoff game.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Ground Venison
  • 6 cups Venison Stock ( vegetable, or beef will work)
  • 1 lb Yellow Potatoes (halved)
  • 2 cups Carrots (rough chopped)
  • 1 large Onion (rough chopped)
  • 15 oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 3 cups (shredded) Artisan Smoked Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dry Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • to taste Salt n Pepper

Directions

  1. In a slow cooker add the carrots, onion, potatoes, garlic, tomatoes and venison stock. Set slow cooker on high for 4 hours.
  2. While the veggies are cooking brown the venison meat in a large skillet over medium heat. Make sure the skillet is preheated so the meat will brown and not boil in its juices. Once it is finished cooking set it aside.
  3. After the vegetable have cooked for 4 hours blend them till smooth using a hand blender. Once you have a nice even consistency add meat, cheese, worcestershire sauce, nutritional yeast, dry mustard, liquid smoke* and salt n pepper. Let the soup cook for about 1 more hour or so.
  4. I highly recommend garnishing the soup off with some jalapenos and onion straws, it really took it to the next level. I also added avocado, green onion, sesame seeds and served it in a giant burger bread bowl. Enjoy!*The original recipe used bacon but I don’t eat pork so I added the liquid smoke for bacon-y taste. I added bacon at the end to the boys soup but not in mine. You can skip the liquid smoke and just add bacon here.

    cheeseburger

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