Tuesday, December 30, 2008

God's Midwestern Gifts: or How to Prep a Southerner for the Snow

First, have Nana put on the gloves.

Next, the jacket.

Kindling the spirit of the film The Christmas Story, wrestle your toddler onto the floor and bundle her into a snow suit, hoping the whole time she'll be able to move once you stand her up.

Add snow.

Put that boy to work.

While Mamma sits inside enjoying the view and a good new book.

Thank you, Lord God, for Grandparents.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Gift We Gave the Most

Mimi first introduced this to me. It took forever to try it, but soon became a favorite: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day - read the whole article from MotherEarthNews.com, which summarizes the book and gives recipes.

We made up at least a dozen buckets of this dough and delivered it to our friends and family as gifts. As a little girl, my parents used to load us into the car, along with a dozen packets of homemade Bean-Pot Soup Starter Bundles or - my favorite - my dad's peanutbutter fudge. It is a blessing to give.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gifts from God - December Liturgical Life

St. Nicholas' Feast Day Morning in our Parish Narthex

St. Herman's Feast Day

The Blessed Nativity and the 10 years of marriage God has given us to enjoy it together.

The Gift of Salvation

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gifts From God - December Country Living

I gaze out of the window while doing dishes, God's creation carefully cultivated by my grandparents.

Droopy from the rain, the mums still drum up some color near the door.

Nandina does it's assigned seasonal duty, this season with red berries. Thank you, God for such a versatile bush.

The camellia, that I've watched pointlessly for 4 years, blooms for the first time.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Thank You for Jennifer's Giveaway

I was blessed to win Jennifer's Giveaway and almost used up all the cards and mailed them off before I took a picture!

Thank you for the perfect gift that fit my need at this moment exactly!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

St. Herman's Feastday

Well, we were going to have a little gatthering of 14 people in honor of St. Herman's Feast Day on Dec. 13.

We were going to read a book about St. Herman, then chant his troparian and process around the house with his icon and candles.

We were going to feast on Alaskan Salmon Patties, Pea Pie, and Sweet Pretzels (which St. Herman made for the orhpans on his Island).

But many of our group became sick, and one by one called, the phone ringing with news that none of the kids could make it. So we put our lonesome, crestfallen, sick kid to bed and ate salmon patties.

We had gotten the idea from reading Father Seraphim Rose's Life and Works. The brothers at St. Herman's Hermatige celebrate with this little feast each year, in honor of their patron saint.

We wanted to set before us a model of a life dedicated to God - and an "American" saint at that! We also wanted to remember to love the poor and needy around us like St. Herman did.

The night ended up fine, the sick ones ended up mended, and we look forward to celebrating next year. That night, as I lay in bed comforting my sick, wimpering little one, I thought: well, I am living out the concept of caring for the needy children more this way than if I would have been partying!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tofu Spanikopita Recipe

This is adapted from one of my favorite fasting cookbooks: The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley. Some of my modifications were based on family preferences, some on price, and some on what I could buy in our local store. This might be the only Spanikopita recipe you'll ever see that used Puff Pastry dough instead of Phyllo, but that's all I could find.

Obviously, I whole-heartedly encourage you to make it better by baking it to fit your life.

Gather up these Ingredients:
2 TBS olive oil
4 cups of thinly sliced onions
2 TBS chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregeno
salt & pepper
1 box of frozen chopped spinach
1 bunch of turnip greens
1 lb. of extra firm tofu, rinsed & squeezed
2 TBS lemon juice
box of puff pastry

Really, like so many fasting dishes, the onions probably make this dish. The first step is so close to M'Jeddrah.

The Steps
1. Simmer oil, onions, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and 2 tsp of salt for 25-30 minutes

2. Microwave the spinach according to package directions. Don't overcook it.

3. Those pile of greens. So pretty, but what to do?

Get your kids to tear the greens into little pieces after you rip them off the stalks. Drop them into a bowl of cool water to rinse the dirt off.

4. Transfer the greens to a large pot and steam over high heat, covered, for 5 minutes or so. Drain them in a colander then chop them up smaller. Now that I think about it, I don't think you have to tear them into little pieces before you steam them - just destalk them. I just needed an occupation for the toddler, so I added that step. Preheat the oven to 350.

5. Mash the tofu in another bowl. Add the greens, spinach, lemon juice, onion mixture, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well.

At this point, you could just eat this like a salad, honestly. In fact, I think I saved some away for my lunch the next day.

6. Lay one of the puff pastry layers on a greased pan. Brush it with olive oil. Spread the filling over the layer. Top it with the 2nd layer and brush with more olive oil.

7. Bake at 350 for 70 minutes or until nice and golden.

8. Invite some girls over who will appreciate this meal, because the husband and kids probably won't. Yeh, I know, they helped tear the leaves and everything. Still didn't like to eat it.

9. Give thanks to God for such lovely provisions.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Feeling Thankful... Gifts from God

Abundant and yummy foods, like Tofu Spanikopita, that make the fast more bearable.

Pudgy little fingers enjoying a blueberry muffin.

Cousins, leaves, autumn.

Playful eye peeping through.

St. Nicholas festivities start tomorrow night with Vespers and Artoklasia.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Looking forward to St. Nicholas

First, thank you for your Chicago prayers. We made it back safely and one student even made it to the "Top 12" in Prose/Poetry Interpretation.

Our parish is doing something lovely this year:

St. Nicholas Creative Arts Festival

All adults, teens, children, and friends are invited to participate. The theme is St. Nicholas' love for the poor and for children. We are encouraged to express our reflections in a creative form. Here's the schedule:

Friday, Dec. 5
6 pm: Great Vespers w/ Artoklasia

Saturday, Dec. 6
9am: Orthros
10:00 am: Divine Liturgy
11:30 am: Potluck brunch with Art Exhibit

12:30 pm: Oratorical and Awards Presentation
Creative Essay

Price of Admission for the Festival:
1 can or box of food for the needy

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pray for Me

I've done something very ridiculous. I've taken 16 high school debaters to Chicago for a huge tournament.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

123 Meme: from Green, toward God

I'll show my Geeky Green side by participating in the Meme I read at Anastasia's.

1. Open the closest book near you.
2. Turn to page 25.
3. Skip the first 5 sentences and write the next three.

Book = Building Green by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan

"There are a number of ways that loads can put stress on the structure of a building. Compression is a force that squeezes something together. Tension is a force pulling something apart."

You know, stress-- that has nothing to do with a parent's life. (smile)

I think it would be funny (or sad, or... gratitude-inducing , these ugly beautiful things) to consider the compression loads and tension loads in our lives.

Building Green goes on to consider ways to distribute those loads so the structure won't break.

I can think of another one.
With thanksgiving, make your requests known to God, and the peace that surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. St. Paul's epistle to the Philipians, I believe.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Millions of Fasting Meal Ideas

For those of you who are new to Orthodoxy and would like some logistical help with vegan meal-planning.

1. Veggie Fajitas

2. "Cheese" Enchiladas

3. Wet Burritos

4. Spinach Queso over Rice

5. Spinach, mushrooms, & rice-cheese quesadillas
Shrimp Fajitas

6. Black Bean, Frito, and Cilantro Cream Burritos - the Fritos really make this dish!

7. Fried/Grilled Fish Tacos

8. Use Soy-rizo (like Chorizo) in any recipe, replacing the meat

9. 7 Layer Dip for Office Parties (layers starting from bottom layer): refried beans, silken tofu blended with taco seasoning, quacamole, lettuce, tomatoe, olives, green onions. Serve with chips.

1. Stir Fry & Rice

2. Sweet & Sour Shrimp

3. Thai Tofu & Broccoli with Peanut Sauce over Rice

4. Shrimp Fried Rice

5. Veggie or Shrimp Lo-mein

6. Asparagus Stir-Fry

7. Eggplant with Garlic Sauce over Rice

8. Ginger steamed Fish with Veggies & Rice

1. Pasta & Marinara

2. Gnocci with soy-milk Bechamel blended with cooked zuccini (yes, it's green sauce)

3. Bowties, Broccoli, Carrots and Primavera "Cheese Sauce"

4. Bolognase using soy crumbles or crumbled Boca Burgers, or TVP

5. Shrimp Fra Diavlo

6. Eggplant "Parmesan"

7. Tomato, Peas, Rice-Mozerella Orzo

8. Butternut Squash or Mushroom Risotto

9. Veggie Lasagna

10. Seafood Lasagna

11. Near East "Pine Nut" flavored Cous Cous with Garlic-Basil Veggies on the side.

1. Shrimp Jambalya

2. Jambalaya Pasta (with carrots & white beans instead of meat)

3. Gumboz-n-Herbs (Gumbo made with lots of different kinds of greens)

4. Shrimp Etoufee'

5. Crawfish Etoufee'

6. Fried Catfish

7. White Bean & Carrot Etoufee' (or choose whatever veggie/bean your family likes)

8. Corn, Crab, & Tomatoe Stew

9. Okra Shrimp Gumbo

10. Cabbage, Green Bean, & Potato Gumbo

1. White Bean (carrot, onion, celery, tomato)

2. Greek Lentil Soup

3. Black Bean (garlic, onion, cumin, chili powder)

4. Winter Squash Bisque

5. Clam Chowder (I've used non-dairy powdered creamer mixed with water as the "cream"... I know, sort of pathetic)

6. Corn Chowder

7. Broccoli "Cheese" Soup

8. Split Pea Soup (use liquid smoke to add ham flavor)

9. Indian Curry (sweet peas, onion, potatoes)

10. Cauliflower Chamomile Soup (from the inside of a Celestial Seasonings box)

11. Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger

1. Eggplant Casserole (shrimp, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, canned tomatoes, bread crumbs, mushrooms)

2. Smothered Beans-n-Greens w/ Corn Bread and Sliced Tomatoes

3. Veggie or Tofu Pot Pie (if I did this, I'd probably use a pre-made crust on a week-night)

4. Veggie Pizza (we like rice-mozzerella on top)

5. Greek Smothered Peas, Mushrooms & Garlic Tomato Sauce over Rice

6. Crab Salad (corn, cooked rice, green onion, mayo, salt, pepper & sugar)

7. Tuna Salad

8. Salmon Patties

9. M'Jeddrah (Lentils & Rice with Caramalized Onions)

10. Squash, Bean, & Tomato Ragout over Polenta

11. Hatian Beans & Rice

12. Beet & Potato Salad (Russian Style)

13. Eggplant "Caviar" (which varies greatly, from basic to cilantro-flvored with pine nuts)

14. Greek Potato Salad (olive oil, parsley, green onion, salt, pepper)

15. Grilled Fish

16. Magic Loaf (leftovers are good for lunch sandwiches)

17. Any Bean/Grain Combo, like Crock Pot Grains

18. Black-Eyed Peas Patties with Remoulade

I have printed these ideas in a Monday through Saturday Table-Format and keep them on my fridge.

If you like, whenever you post a new idea or recipe on your blog, let me know and I'll add a link on this page back to your site.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Breakfast Burrito Experiment

During the fast, I would like to have something with a bit of protein for breakfast, and oatmeal, malt-o-meal, and polenta are good for warmth but wimpy for protein. I suppose a glass of soy milk would bulk up a porridge breakfast. However, I like to experiment, I like to cook, and we have 6 weeks of breakfasts, so...

I would like to make something like these:

I could make them and freeze them, pulling one out to microwave on a hurried morning.

I don't feel bound by these ingredients, but it's a start. If you have advice on this process, I'd be glad to hear it.

What about you? What is your go-to breakfast during a fast?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nativity Fast Approaching...

... in one week! Time to gather my tools:
Kale tamales, black bean enchiladas, and lively alternatives to liven up our palates after too many meals of pasta and marinara or PBJ.

Best All-Around, with ideas like "Butternut Squash & White Bean Ragout with Polenta" and "Tofu, Mushroom, & Spinach Spanokopita".

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nurtured to Knit

I told my husband, October rolls around and I want to start crocheting and knitting. I don't know why, so strange.

When my mom saw me knitting last week, she commented, Your Nana always used to pull out her crocheting in the fall. She said it was too hot to bother with in the summer, but October through April, she always had yarn by her side.

Mystery solved.

What things, I wonder, will I pass down subconsciously to my children?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little Builder's Current Favorite Book

(Thank you, Godmother Mary & Godfather Jim for the stash of books!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

From an email from our parish priest:

On this monumental day, which will decide who the next president of the United States will be, it is critical that we, the members of the Body of Christ who live in this nation, turn to our Heavenly King in prayer, asking for Him to grant mercy to our nation and to provide us with godly leadership. Let us take this day especially to pray for the people of this nation and for "all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence"(I Tim 2:2). Furthermore, let us, members of the royal priesthood of all believers, offer repentance on behalf of our nation and its leaders, asking God to forgive the sins of the American people and to protect us from falling into worse sins.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We made prosphora last night - click here for the recipe.

The Seal. I don't remember the exact month this part went from impossible to a working reality, but I'm glad it started working for me! I always used to feel so bad that the priest would have to use a strong imagination to find the lines.

I am thankful for the blessing to participate in the sacrement of the Eucharist.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Making Orthodoxy Real

Today, after celebrating the Liturgy for St. Raphael of Brooklyn, we had the huge blessing of making a little pilgrimage to honor him.

Let me give you some background. One hundred years ago, Father Raphael used to travel the country, seeking out "lost" Orthodox Christians who had no parish. He would arrive in a city, sometimes at midnight, only to drop his bags in a hotel and then head back out into the night. Armed with a phone book, he would find Syrian and Lebanese names, then go knock on their doors, offering to serve liturgies, baptisms, or other sacrements.

Near the end of his earthly life, as he was traveling around the country to minister to Orthodox families, some Syrian and Lebanese Christians in our city heard he was coming through on a train on the way to another location. They arranged to meet him at the train station, where he blessed them and their desire for a church in this city. He reposed before the parish could be realized, but we consider this blessing as the beginning of our new little parish that exists today.

No one knows where these original families are now. Maybe they chose to attend Episcopal or Catholic parishes. Wouldn't it be nice to reunite with the descendents of those faithful ones from 1912?

Anyway, today after liturgy we trapsed over to the now-closed old train station, sung hymns to St. Raphael and processed around the building singing the apolytikion:

Rejoice, O Father Raphael, adornment of the holy Church! Thou art champion of the True Faith, seeker of the lost, consolation of the oppressed, father to orphans and friend of the poor, peacemaker and good shepherd, joy of all the Orthodox, son of Antioch, boast of America. Intercede with Christ God for us and for all who honor thee.

The little ones lead the procession, holding icons. It felt like we were taking part in St. Raphael's ministry and like we were somehow "sanctifying" the city.

Thank you, Lord, for a blessed day!

O holy hierarch Raphael, in obedience to the will of God thou didst proclaim the Word to a scattered people, calling together the descendants of those first called Christians. Nurtured in three cultures, and having adopted a fourth, thou didst reach out to all who would hear thy voice. As the first bishop consecrated in the New World, thou art a symbol of unity in the Orthodox Faith. Now by thy prayers help lead us into the kingdom of heaven.

all links and photos from http://www.angelfire.com/pa3/straphaelcanonized/

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lenten Lunch Box

Today my lunch was sitting on the kitchen counter at home.

While I was at work.

So I ate in the school cafeteria. The bag on the counter at home had green bean-honey-mustard cous cous salad and blackberries.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pondering Headcoverings

In the past, I've read with curiosity Alana's and Juliana's posts about head coverings.

On my lunch break today, I was reading about Mimi's retreat and ended up over on Xenia Kate's blog. Her post about her new snood reminded me of something my son said last week.

He was walking with his papa through the local university campus and saw a young arabic lady with a full headcovering. Little Builder pointed to her and said, "look, Papa! She looks like a saint!"

I don't wear a full-time headcovering or even wear one all that often to our new church. I did at our old one, because almost all the women did and we shared a meaning together. Almost no one does at our new parish, and since I feel separated instead of sharing together, I often don't wear one anymore. But there are times that I would like to... in and out of church.

I suppose that having my son look at me and think "saint" wouldn't be terrible! If only I could LIVE like one...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hope for New Mothers of "Psycho" Babies

As I was telling Presvytera today, my babies seemed psycho before 3 months, and then un-psycho afterwards. Don't know if was the Dr. Brown bottles or the neurons connecting in the brain, but God knew I needed a break by 3 months and granted precious relief. Truly, a huge if untangible Gift!

What about you other mothers? Is 3 months the magic number?

God, grant all of us mothers to not go crazy ourselves, but to have the ability to raise these kids to see the Unseen, the Heavenly Kingdom and seek it. Yikes - grant us to model that journey!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lenten Lunch Box - Spinach Queso Recipe

spinach "queso" leftover from wednesday
tortilla chips
celery boats with peanut butter

Spinach "Queso"

1. Make a white sauce by melting 1TBS of oil and stirring in 1 TBS of flour, until bubbly. Add 1 cup of rice milk, stirring so as to avoid lumps. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

2. Add 1/2 can of diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of chili powder, and 2 TBS of nutritional yeast flakes. Nutritional Yeast does NOT have candida and does have protein. I'm not gonna lie... it looks like orange fish food.

Buy it from the local health food store. You can add more unless you don't end up liking the flavor. I've also been known to use rotel tomatoes or salsa, as well as onion dip mix.

3. Cook and stir and adjust seasonings until it seems like good "cheese" sauce.

4. Mix in cooked chopped spinach (I used a box of frozen spinach, cooked in microwave).

5. Serve the first night over rice - yum! Eat leftovers with chips.

Or, use the base for a Pasta Primavera:
Omit the cumin, tomatoes, and chili powder but add broccoli & carrots, then mix in cooked bow-tie pasta.

Has anyone ever tried this book?
I saw it advertised when I found the nutritional yeast link on Amazon. Sounds interesting, though I'm not really wanting to repeat the "cheese" I made my first lent, which involved grinding cashews and gelatin and nutrional yeast and making my own fake block of cheese. But more reasonable ideas are welcome! Like this one for Tofu Pot Pie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Artisan Bread

from http://www.amazon.com/Artisan-Bread-Five-Minutes-Revolutionizes/dp/0312362919

Jump over to Mimi's for a video about making easy, no knead artisan bread. My favorite part of the concept is that you leave the dough in the fridge for a week, pulling some off when you need it. I'm a big believer in having dough pre-made, so I can just set it out to rise when I get home in the afternoon. Currently we have 6 balls of pizza dough in the freezer, ready and waiting to go.

I'd like to try this artisan recipe, though. I think that the longer it sits, the more flavors develop. And the wetness of the dough reminds me of my Godparents' Jim & Mary's foccacia dough - still the best bread I've eaten IN MY LIFE. So I'm going to try it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gifts from God

* small pink crocheted hat, with little embroidered ribbons tied below my toddler's chin... she actually kept it on much longer than I thought she would.

* a ride home from church when we couldn't find our keys.

* an evening with friends, complete with wine, garlic & herb goat cheese, raspberries, good bread, and grapes.

* clean toilets.

* leftovers in the fridge for tomorrow's supper; I only need to add a little sausage to the bean soup.

* Organic strawberry crisp high fiber cereal - on sale for $.99 at the local health food store because it's DATE was Oct. 7, 2008.

* the soft pale sage comforter resting on our bed, the one we've had since we were married. The only thing in the whole "wedding registry gift selection" that we both could agree on almost 10 years ago. The one we packed away last year to try something new, but were so happy to pull back out again a few weeks ago.

* Little Builder, who points to a wall and says to his friends as they play outside, "look, a wonder-working icon of St. Nicholas!" I asked him later and he said of course he didn't really see anything, he was just playing. What I'm thankful for is that these things of God are growing inside of him and are there to come out, albeit in odd moments and ways.

Oh Lord, who lavishes us with earthly good things, deprive us not of heavenly good things.

Implant in my heart to fulfill Thy commandments, and to forsake evil deeds, and to obtain Thy blessings; for in Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, save me.
(from evening prayers of St. John Chrysostom)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Theology from a 5-year-old Perspective

Me: So then Satan lied to Eve and told her that nothing bad would happen if she ate the forbidden fruit, that she would be as wise as God.

Little Builder: Then God turned Satan into a snake, huh?

Me: Um. Adam and Eve were ashamed and hid from God...

LB: So, if Satan turns into a snake, he is like a Transformer!

Me: Well...

LB: Right. Satan is actually a Transformer!

Me: (sigh)

More Than Meets the Eye!

(picture from http://www.hasbro.com/transformers/)

Will I Never Learn

... to NOT wear my favorite nice sandals on a rainy day, knowing I must walk through mud on my high school campus?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lenten Lunch Box

If you would like a chance to win some Orthodox Children's Books, Sylvia is hosting a give-away.

What you have to do is submit a Lenten Lunch Box recipe for her Presvytera to use in a cookbook. Sounds fun!

On another note. Coming soon... "the man cave" dun dun duhhh!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gifts from God: October

* a day off of school - Columbus Day - to spend at home with my family

* a stroll around the pumpkin patch

* sweet applesauce cupcakes, to eat after shcool as a treat

* mad scientist in the kitchen, laughing while doing his school project

* the picture my mad scientist colored of us doing his science project... don't you love my long pink and red hair?

* cool enough weather that makes it pleasant to be outdoors

* a visit from a beloved Bishop

* waking up and seeing the clock shine 6:45am instead of 5:00am... crossing myself and thanking God that the baby has slept in!

Thank you, Oh Lord, for every good thing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wet Burritos for Friday

Even though Mexican food is my *favorite*, I had never had a "Wet Burrito" until I went to school in Michigan. Michigan folks don't eat a ton of Mexican food, and I imagine this recipe was created to make Mexican more mild for the folks up there in the North.

I was glad to stumble across a way to make them as a fasting meal. It all goes much easier if you make the rice and rice milk the night before, but you don't have to.

Thursday Night - Free Rice Milk
Serve rice as a side dish. Make 2 cups of rice boiled in 8 cups of water, with salt and a little oil. When the rice is done, drain the water into a container to use the next night. This is free "rice milk" (Thanks, Alana, for the idea!)and can be used in baking as well as sauces.

Friday Night
1. Heat 2 pans each with a Tablespoon oil and saute some chopped garlic, but don't let it brown.

2. Add a can of diced tomatoes to one pan and turn to medium, so it gently bubbles until you can deal with it.

3. Add a Tablespoon of flour to the other. Stir, stir, stir. You're making a white sauce at this point. Once it bubbles, add 2 cups of the rice milk, stirring the whole time. Season with salt, pepper, cilantro, chili powder, and half the tomatoes bubbling in the pan next to this one. Turn to low. FYI: the sauce is now a mild red color, not white.

4. Back to the tomato pan. Season with cilantro, cumin, pepper, chili powder, etc and add a can of refried beans. Stir.

5. Adjust seasonings to taste in both pots.

6. Heat some leftover rice in the microwave, about 2 cups.

7. Pour enough wet sauce into the bottom of an 8inch square pan to cover it.

8. Assemble the burritos (we fit 6 into our pan) by smearing some beans and 2 spoons of rice on each flour tortilla and rolling them up. You could also add chopped lettuce, tomato, olives, or onion for the filling. Put in pan as you go.

9. Pour the rest of the wet sauce onto the burritos and pop in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

10. Serve with salad, guacamole, salsa.

I haven't made a meal in a while that every family member ate without complaint, but this one was gone from the children's plates before my husband and I barely started eating.

To make real Michigan Wet Burritos:
Substitue beef or chicken broth for rice milk and ground beef for rice. Cover the final shebang in cheese before popping them in the oven.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Venison without a Gamey Flavor

After dinner last night, my husband offered:

You need to put that recipe on your blog!

Smile. Okay.

We are very blessed to get free, antibiotic-free meat from my dad, an avid deer hunter. Some recipes leave us with a strange "wild" aftertaste, but this one from Rachel Ray's magazine is a huge hit at our house.

I didn't have lemons or mint on hand, so I just omit them. Also, I use 1/8 tsp of cumin, because my hubby doesn't love it, and increase the cinnamon to 1/4 tsp. I know the ingredient combination sounds strange, but when you eat them, you really don't taste any one flavor - just a yummy meatball. And, the last time I made them, I used breadcrumbs instead of bread. Do you what you need to - that's my motto for any recipe!

Meatball tip: always pull out and thaw double the meat you'll need. Make half the meatballs for tonight and freeze the other half for an easy meal in the future.