Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hunting Homecooking

My Mighty Hunter

Well, it's finally here, opening day of gun season for our deer hunters!  Every year around this time I think of chili and chex mix, both of which I made yesterday for my hunting folk.  My homemade chili is easy and just takes a little time to simmer on the stove top.

My basic chili recipe

1lb ground round
1T extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 stalks of celery
8 oz fresh mushrooms, chunked
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 qt jar of canned tomatoes (or 28oz can of crushed or stewed tomatoes depending on how chunky you like it)
1 15oz can of kidney beans (drained)
1 10oz can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (lightly drained)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mrs. dash
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1/2 tsp oregano
1-2 Tablespoon chili powder
dash of cinnamon
more S & P to taste

Brown ground round in dutch oven, drain.  Saute onions, celery, mushrooms, & garlic in same dutch oven with 1T EVOO with a dash of S&P until veggies are tender.  Return meat to pot, add tomatoes, beans, Rotel, and all other seasoning.  Let simmer covered on low a minimum of 1/2 hour.  If watery, let simmer 15 min. longer with cover off to boil off some of the water.  Makes about 4 servings.

Next up, chex mix.  The guys always need some goodies to take with them so I always have chex mix and cookies on hand.  I make a variation of the traditional chex mix recipe on the General Mills cereal boxes but kick it up a notch by adding some hot sauce.  I use about 2 1/2 T of Sriracha hot chili sauce and 1 T red hot, however that may be a bit too spicy for some.  In addition, I substitute worcestershire sauce with a combination of soy sauce and steak sauce because it contains sardines. (Greg's allergic)  This is what I use for my basic recipe...

                                        Chex Mix

6T salted butter
1T soy sauce
1T steak sauce (like A-1)
1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
3C rice chex
3C wheat chex
3C corn chex
1C deluxe mixed nuts
1C rye chips
1C butter snap pretzels (or 1C flavored snyder's pretzel bits for variety)

Heat oven to 250 degress, melt butter in large roasting pan in oven while it's heating up.  Add all seasonings (and hot sauce if you want it spicy) to butter and stir to combine. (I use a heat proof scooped spatula).  Add all other ingredients trying to do so in rows so all chex mix items have an even amount of surface touching the spicy butter in the bottom of the pan.  That helps the seasoning to be more even.  Stir to coat and place in over for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread on paper towel until cool.  Store in air tight container or zip-top baggy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Salty Pumpkin Seeds

In honor of the Halloween season Greg and I decorated decorated our front porch with corn stalks and pumpkins.  Decorating with corn stalks, though it seemed intimidating at first, was actually quite easy.  I used about 10 stalks per pole and tied them with twine.  Not gonna lie, I did need a lil help from my hubby ;-)

Now, please disregard the couch on the front porch.  We had just brought it home and hadn't moved it in yet, lol.  We are  not THAT hickish!  I added a LOT more pumpkins but can't find that picture...and there's no couch in that one!

Though the porch turned out cute, we had to remove one of the pumpkins from its perch to carve!  After all it was close to Halloween and who doesn't love a lit carved pumpkin.

Didn't my hubby do a great job!  We had a fleeting thought to spell out our whole last name with more pumpkins but that seemed a bit too ambitious for a Tuesday night. :-)

If you do your own carving do NOT let your seeds go to waste!  I have been making pumpkin seeds since college and have learned that, as long as you don't leave the oven unattended, they are foolproof!  Some recipes say to clean them but I leave the pumpkin goop on because they seem to be crispier and more flavorful that way.  We like ours really salty but you could also use any type of spice, seasoning, or sauce to make them reminiscent of a dish you love!  Use cinnamon for a sweet flavor or add a bit of tabasco for a kick.  And remember to lay out newspapers before you get to carving, it will make clean up way faster.  Get creative and have fun!

Per Cup of Seeds:
1T melted butter
1T salt

Heat oven the 350 degrees.  Place the seeds, melted butter, and salt in a bowl, toss to coat.  Spread onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, flip and bake for another 5 minutes.  Watch closely making sure they don't get too dark.  Keep in mind you can slow roast for an hour at 250 degrees, flipping occasionally, or use your broiler to do an even quicker batch.

Beautiful Start to November

November 1st started off as such a beautiful month!  Most importantly my sister gave birth to her first child, Greyden William Hockenberry, who was 6lbs 3oz,18 1/2 inches long, and healthy.  The icing in the cake is that he was born on my mom's birthday so Leah totally got out of buying her a present considering she gave her her first grandson on that day, wouldn't you say?!
Leah and her first baby!

Greyden William Hockenberry 11/1/10

In addition, I started a new job as an admission counselor for Vincennes University which I think I will really enjoy!  Right away I made my boss aware that I would have my phone attached to me on my first day because of Leah's impending labor.  The best part was that he was SO supportive that actually told me to get on a plane and start work in two weeks and that family comes first!  I, of course, stayed at work but was on high alert.  I don't think I retained anything from that first day :)  This first week has been so exciting/stressful with the new job and not being able to see my new nephew that I am just exhausted.  Not to mention Greg has been gone for over a week so I didn't have him here to share in the excitement/fear/stress/happiness of Greyden's birth and my new job.  I guess whatever I get through alone can only make me stronger!  Needless to say I am ready to take this weekend to recoup and relax.  Now that Greg is home I hope we can enjoy this weekend and get some together time...that is IF I can get him out of the woods!  Darn hunters anyway ;-)