Bacon-Wrapped Venison Round Roast

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned my husband had a very successful hunting season in November. With the 2 deer he shot, the one we were gifted and the one he tragically hit with my car, our freezers are overflowing with venison. 

This is great for my grocery budget, but I am still a little nervous when I cook it. We have had some mishaps with roasts getting too dry in the Crockpot. Even worse, I have prepared the meat and had it be so gamey, we couldn’t actually eat it. I am getting better at it though. 

My new favorite is this Bacon-Wrapped Round Roast. It was super simple to make. The fat from the bacon kept the roast moist. I used a pre-made seasoning pack. Best of all, once it wrapped, there is pretty much nothing to do other that let it roast in the oven. 

I started with 12 slices of thick cut pork bacon. I placed 6 pieces into a straight row and then weaved the other six pieces in perpendicular lines to the initial 6 slices. It’s sort of like weaving a basket.

Next I placed my roast on top of the bacon. I seasoned it on all sides using a Lipton Beefy Onion Soup packet. I recommend rubbing it into the meat like a dry rub.

After seasoning the roast, I tightly wrapped the weaved bacon sheet around the roast. The edges got tucked under the roast. I then transferred the roast to a grate inside a baking pan. 

The roast went into a 375-degree F oven for one hour. Then I removed it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes it before slicing it. 

I should have taken pictures of the sliced roast, because it was a beautiful medium rare. Unfortunately, my family had turned into starving jackals who failed to wait for me to take pictures before serving themselves. 

Here’s the recipe anyway: 

Bacon-Wrapped Venison Round Roast

Ingredients

  • 12 slices think cut bacon
  • 1 pk Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
  • 2.5 lb venison roast

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F. Place a grate into a baking pan, or pull out your broiler pan. 
  2. Place 6 slices of bacon in a straight row and then weave the other six pieces in perpendicular lines to the initial 6 slices as if weaving a basket.
  3. Next, place the roast on top of the bacon. Rub all sides of the roast with a Lipton Beefy Onion Soup packet. 
  4. Tightly wrap the weaved bacon sheet around the roast. Tuck the edges under the roast. Transfer the roast to your prepared baking pan. 
  5. Place your baking pan into the center of the preheated oven. Allow the meat to roast for 1 hour. 
  6. Remove roast from the oven. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving 
Calories377
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14.9g19%
Saturated Fat 6.4g32%
Cholesterol 168mg56%
Sodium 604mg26%
Total Carbohydrate 0.8g0%
Dietary Fiber 0.1g0%
Total Sugars 0.1g 
Protein 54.4g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 6mg34%
Potassium 382mg8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by 

This may be my new favorite way to make a roast. If you don’t have access to venison, it will also work with a beef roast. I encourage you to give it a try and then tell me all about it. 
Have a great day!Kristie

Potato, Bacon and Cheese Muffins

My three year old is super into holidays this year. She was disappointed when we took down the Christmas decorations, and only perked up when we told her about Valentine’s Day. She woke up last Saturday morning and asked us, “What’s next?”

Well for us, that is St Patrick’s Day. My husband is about 75% Irish, and I have a little bit of Irish ancestry as well. That doesn’t mean that I cover my home in green shamrocks and leprechauns. What that means  is I pull out some of our favorite Irish recipes and we eat like our ancestors for a month. 

The first recipe I pulled out is for Potato, Bacon and Cheese Muffins. Traditionally this recipe uses Yukon potatoes and Irish Cheddar cheese. I used redskin potatoes and cheddar jack, because that’s what I had in the house. The results are still an amazing cheesy potato muffin. It just didn’t have the sharp cheddar taste I usually get.

I do recommend that you skip the muffin papers and just spray the muffin tin with baking spray. The potato and cheese stuck to the paper. We had to scrape the muffin edges off the paper in order to eat the entire muffin.

No one in my house complained, and I bet people at your house won’t either. The muffins ended up being a great alternative to mashed potatoes. I served them alongside a bacon wrapped venison roast that I will share with you tomorrow.

Here’s the recipe: 

Potato, Bacon and Cheese Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 med red skin potatoes (about 8 oz total)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 1/4 c skim milk
  • 4 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 slices pepper bacon, chopped 
  • 1 TBSP bacon grease
  • 1/2 c shredded cheddar jack cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick baking spray. 
  2. Use a fork to poke holes all around the potatoes. Put them on a paper towel in the microwave. Cook on HIGH for 5 minutes. Remove from the microwave and let cool, about 5 more minutes. 
  3. Peel the skin from the potatoes. Then grate the potatoes into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Then create a well in the flour mixture and set aside. 
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, egg and bacon grease. Pour the milk mixture into the well. Stir the dough until just combined, making sure not to overwork the batter. 
  6. Gently fold the grated potatoes, shredded cheese and bacon into the batter. 
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, evenly divide the batter into the muffin cups, filling them almost to the top. 
  8. Place the muffin pan into the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, and the tops are a golden color. 
  9. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes. Serve warm with a pat of butter on top. 

I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I can’t wait to share more family recipes with you over the next month. 

Have a great day. 

Kristie

Chicken, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Life needs to slow down. I feel like all I do is run, and there is never time for me to relax and do the things I want to do for myself. Case in point, today before work I had to get dog food from Tractor supply, because monster pup eats everything in sight. I grabbed a smoothie, because I needed to put something in my stomach. Then I went through the grocery store so that I would have stuff for dinner.

When I got home, there was a mad rush to roast a sweet potato and red pepper. I also made rice and mixed corn and black beans. It is not my usual style, but I was able to make a nutritious dinner for myself to take to work, and for my family to eat while I was gone. 

Here’s the recipe: 

Chicken, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 c brown rice
  • 1 med sweet potato
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/8 c olive oil
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
  • 15 oz can sweet corn
  • 2 c shredded chicken
  • 1 c salsa
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 c lettuce
  • 1/2 c chipotle aioli

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. Cook the brown rice according to package directions. Set aside to cool. 
  3. Peel the sweet potato and chop into bite-size chunks. Remove the seeds from the red pepper and cut into bite size pieces. 
  4. Toss the potatoes and red pepper pieces in the olive oil. 
  5. Spread the potatoes and red pepper pieces on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Set aside to cool. 
  6. Mix the corn and black beans together in a strainer. Rinse under warm water. 
  7. Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 1/4 of the beans and corn, 1/4 of the potatoes and peppers and 1/2 c of chicken. 
  8. Top with shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce and chipotle aioli. 
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving 
Calories807
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 38.2g49%
Saturated Fat 10.8g54%
Cholesterol 84mg28%
Sodium 1333mg58%
Total Carbohydrate 78.9g29%
Dietary Fiber 10g36%
Total Sugars 8.1g 
Protein 39.9g 
Vitamin D 3mcg17%
Calcium 301mg23%
Iron 6mg34%
Potassium 1153mg25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by 

One of these days, life will slowdown and I will actually be able to cook from scratch and enjoy the process. Until then, at least I am feeding my body good food and not living on takeout while I’m at work. 

Have a great weekend. 

Kristie

Meet Piper

Yesterday, before I got up on my soapbox and started ranting, I mentioned that we had added a new member to the family. Some of you who have been with me for a while, might be expecting an ultrasound picture, but not quite yet. 

Instead I present you with Piper the Wonder-Pup. She is an 11 week old, pure bread German Shepherd who joined our family three weeks ago. Her parents belong to my daughter Aly’s para-pro. The puppies were bottle fed in her classroom. Coincidentally, the puppy I picked to bring home is the same one Aly was most fond of. I guess this was just meant to be. 

She was so tiny and sweet when we brought her home. Her ears weren’t even up yet. The girls loved her right away. Hannah has never had a puppy before, so she thinks Piper is all hers. Then I counter with she’s mine since I picked her out, and magically she is everyone’s puppy again. 

This is how she likes to sleep while I type at the kitchen table. She pretty much thinks she always needs to be by one of us. At night she sleeps at the bottom of our bed. She has never had an accident on the bed, so I can handle that. 

Look at how much bigger she is already. She plays hard and then she crashes. If we try to snuggle her in her sleep, she rabbles and grumbles because we are disturbing her. Last night she rolled off the bed, and didn’t even wake up. Scared the pants off of me, but she was fine, and wanted right back up on the bed. 

I have a feeling miss Piper is going to add to the adventures for this Michigan Mama and the rest of our family. Hopefully those adventures don’t include getting her head stuck in the deck, though. 

I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures of my new pup. I would love to meet your fur babies as well. Why not share some pictures in the comments. 

Have a blessed day. 

Kristie 

The State of Mental Health in this Country

I have been on hiatus for a a few weeks. I have spreadsheets and lists of writing topics and ideas. What I don’t have is motivation and commitment. Now, when I finally feel like I have myself together, I am dealing with a family crisis.

My original plan was to introduce you to the newest member of our family, but after this past weekend, I feel compelled to discuss the horrors of navigating the mental health system in America.

I have been aware of the hoops an adult has to jump through to get help for years. In 2018, after suffering three miscarriages in a year, I was broken and showing all the signs of postpartum depression, but without the baby. I was crying all time, having anxiety attacks just going to work or the store, and had started to lose interest in the world.

My regular doctor’s office prescribed medications that had SEVERE side effects, and then took me off cold turkey, which made me tail spin into an even worse state. The wait to see an actual psychiatrist who accepted my insurance was close to 3 months, and you have to call within 15 minutes of the facility’s opening time to be able to schedule that far out.

Getting help was almost as upsetting as the depression sending me to seek assistance. I was lucky, because I have good insurance, a supportive husband and loving family backing me up. I feel horrible for people trying to navigate this system without all my options, because even I had moments I wanted to give up and felt like everyone was turning me away. I wondered if it was actually worth it.

Fast forward a year to me finding out my teenage daughter is hanging out with the wrong people, considering self medicating and drugs to help with her depression and having thoughts of suicide. Again, I was lucky, because I know the signs of depression, having experienced them myself. We were able to get my daughter into therapy, a support group and a doctor for medication and regular med checks. For a year she has been doing well, but about two weeks ago, things changed.

My daughter started to withdraw. She stopped spending time with the family and isolated herself in her room. She was ALWAYS tired. When we asked if she was alright, she claimed she was, but we were still worried.

All of the passwords for her social media accounts are on the fridge. I don’t like invading her privacy, but she wasn’t talking to me, so I needed to check on her. On Friday, I found out she was talking to a friend through Instagram Chat about the hopelessness of life, and how they would end it all if they weren’t worried about upsetting a few people. It was dark. It was scary. AND IT WAS SERIOUS.

As all this was going on, I was at work. I had my husband bring her upstairs from the basement to keep an eye on her. I got in contact with my ex husband and filled him in on the situation. I also confronted my daughter and got her to start talking. Together we came up with a plan of action. I made her a doctor’s appointment and a counselling appointment. We ordered a journal and started doing daily wellness activities. WE PAID ATTENTION.

My daughter is safe and supported. Her friend on the other hand is not being heard. She is a 15 year old girl who has asked her parents to get her help, gone to the schools and her friends, and no one is doing anything. The reason you ask? Because in this country, a person must be 18 to consent to psychiatric care without their parents’ consent. This little girl’s mom doesn’t think her daughter’s depression is real, and refuses to seek help for her and that is not considered neglect.

How is that right? A 16 year old can get birth control without her parents’ knowledge. My 16 year old can go talk to her Primary Care Physician with no adults present, in case she wants to talk to the doctor about something she isn’t comfortable saying in front of me. BUT she can not consent to therapy and medications without a parents’ consent.

I have read a bunch of articles in the last couple days about how psychiatric medications are not tested on kids and how they can increase thoughts of suicide. I have also read multiple articles, written by doctors and therapists saying that with proper monitoring, the risk can be mitigated.

So why are we still not addressing this on a national level. 1 in 5 teenagers will suffer from depression, and yet 2/3 of the kids will probably go undiagnosed. Teen suicide is the highest killer of our children and we are doing NOTHING.

I know there will always be children who are good at hiding their symptoms and feelings. We will never stop all suicides. BUT if a child is asking a parent for help, asking the school for help and her friends, and no one is seeking medical assistance, because the parents’ refuse, shouldn’t that constitute neglect, child endangerment or abuse?

I did what I could today. I went to the girls’ school and talked to the counselor. I emailed screen shots of what this child is saying to the school, and they confronted her mom with the evidence. Now I can only pray she does something.

In the meantime, I am researching mental health lobbists and contacting my representatives on a state and national level to find out how they are addressing mental health care reform. I encourage you to do the same.

Have a blessed day,

Kristie

Cozy Couch & My DVR

Happy Monday!!! I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. I pretty much did nothing other than relax. After 3 crazy days at work, plus the side effects of the Femara I was not motivated to do anything. 

So I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and threw on my favorite pair of sweat pants with a tank top. Then I curled up on the couch for some much needed snuggles with my family. 

We watched Frozen and The Secret Life of Pets. My husband and I also binge watched Part 8 of the Ranch and the first 12 episodes of Season 3 of S.W.A.T. 

I know that is a lot of laziness and time spent with the idiot box, but sometimes you need those types of weekends. We prepared by grabbing doughnuts from Wesco, who are awesome by the way. The made the blue icing inside the doughnut special for us because it is Hannah Bear’s favorite. We also grabbed pizza from Marco’s and a Rotisserie chicken from Polly’s. 

Minimal cooking. Lots of snuggling. That’s how my weekend went. 

How was yours? 

Let me know in the comments, and have a wonderful week. 

Kristie

White Chocolate and Cranberry Granola

I feel like the winter blahs have hit me full force this week. I have no motivation to write, clean my house or go to work. I seriously just want to curl up in my bed and binge watch mindless TV in between naps. 

I am hoping that if I make it a point to eat a healthy breakfast, maybe it will kick start my metabolism and give me the energy to get through the day. Problem is that I HATE eating breakfast. Cereal is boring, and ends up soggy before I finish. A hot breakfast is preferred, but I have no time to cook before work. 

My solution is to make homemade white chocolate and cranberry granola to sprinkle over Greek yogurt. I love the flavor combination of cranberries and white chocolate. The Greek yogurt gives me a burst of protein first thing in the morning. And the toasted oats and nuts will give me the slow burning carbs to maintain my energy levels. 

I started with a cup of rolled oats, some sliced raw almonds, pecan halves and coconut flakes. 

Then I stirred in a combination of maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt. 

I then spread the mixture out onto a greased baking sheet and put it in a 325-degree oven for 15 minutes. I stir the granola at the halfway point and then put it back in the oven to finish baking. 

After the granola cools, I stir in white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. It can be stored in a canister or sealed container for up to 2 weeks. 

I sprinkle 2 tablespoons of granola over 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. It makes for a great breakfast or midday snack. Hannah keeps calling it ice cream and crunchies, which is hilarious. 

White Chocolate and Cranberry Granola

Ingredients 

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c raw, slivered almonds
  • 1/4 c raw pecan halves
  • 1/4 c shaved coconut
  • 1/8 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Spray baking spray onto a cookie sheet and set aside. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, almonds, pecans and coconut.
  3. In a small bowl combine the the syrup, oil, cinnamon, vanilla and salt until smooth. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until evenly combined. 
  4. Dump the granola onto your prepared cookie sheet. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread out the mixture. 
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring and flipping the granola at the halfway point. 
  6. Remove the granola from the oven and transfer it to a sheet of wax paper. Allow to cool completely. 
  7. Toss the granola with the cranberries and white chocolate chips. 
  8. Transfer the granola to a canister or airtight container. 
  9. Serve over Greek yogurt, or just eat it like trail mix. 

Makes 4-6 servings. 


Wow that looks like a lot of steps! Maybe I separated each step too much. Oh well. I promise you this is really easy to make. I was serious when I said I have zero energy and motivation. I would not have done this if it took any major effort. 


I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know your opinion.

 Kristie

Bonus Day Bowling

Yesterday was MLK Day. That means the kids got a bonus day off from school. Even better, I didn’t have to work either. 

Rob and I piled the kids into the car and headed to Hillside Lanes. We haven’t been bowling in close to 8 years; longer for Rob. 

We borrowed the bowling ramp and had bumpers but out for Baby Bear. Sadly, I’m pretty sure everyone was saved by the bumpers at least once. 

She couldn’t lift her ball up onto the ramp, and insisted on using a ball because it’s her favorite color, but she was so excited every time she knocked down a pin.

Kenzie needs to work on her form, but seemed to have fun. She twists her arm when she releases the ball. Her final score was 85.

Miss Aly didn’t want to pose for a picture. She won the game though with her high score of 90 pins. Clearly none of us is a professional bowler. 

Mmmm. I love watching my sexy husband. He hasn’t bowled since before his accident in 2004. It was frustrating for him to realize how difficult it is with a prosthetic leg and a messed up shoulder. 

All in all we had a great day. I am so very blessed to be able to create these memories with my kids. 

Life is short. Make yours count. 

Kristie 

Hoisin Garlic Chicken Skewers

Winter has finally arrived in Michigan. Friday evening, Mother Nature dumped eight inches of heavy, slushy white stuff on us. The roads were awful to drive home on. I almost got rear-ended by a semi truck who was going too fast and couldn’t slow down. Luckily, I was able to pull into a turn lane and let him go screaming by. 

Saturday the roads were still awful out by my house. Rob drove me into town to get a prescription, and it was hard to drive in his 4-wheel drive truck. There was no way I was driving the hour+ drive to work. 

So I stayed home and made dinner for my family. I wasn’t willing to go all the way to Meijer to get the lemongrass I wanted to marinate the chicken in, but I did have a bottle of Soy Vay Hoison Garlic Sauce. I have never used it before, but it was something different from the normal teriyaki or ginger stir-fry marinades I normally. I try to keep things like this on hand for busy nights I don’t have time to cook, or in this case, when I am snowed in and can’t make it to the regular grocery store. 

This meal is basically a deconstructed stir-fry. It was super easy to prep for. You can easily pull it off on any weeknight. 

Simply start by cubing your chicken. Then place it in a large bowl, and pour half the bottle of Hoison Garlic Marinade over the chicken. Let your chicken soak for at least 30 minutes. 

Then thread the chicken cubes onto bamboo skewers. Spray your broiler pan with grilling spray, and then place the skewers on the pan. Broil on High for 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for 8 minutes more.

While your chicken cooks, heat 1 TBSP sesame oil in a wok. Add 1 cup of broccoli florets, 1 cup of sugar snap peas, 1 cup of carrot chips and 1 can of drained baby corn nuggets to the wok and stir-fry for 10 minutes, or until all the veggies are crisp tender. 

Brush the chicken skewers with some of the remaining sauce after you remove them from the broiler. 

It’s that simple. We served the skewers and veggies with sticky white rice. Everyone loved it. 

What is your can’t live without pantry staple for nights you don’t know what to cook? 

I hope you are staying warm where ever you are. 

Have a great evening. 

Kristie 

The King of Clubs 3 (Undercity Chronicles) Book Review SPOILER ALERT

I am taking a little bit of time to myself and have started reading, again. I downloaded The King of Hearts 3 to my kindle months ago, but haven’t been up to reading it until now. I was excited to read what happens next in London’s Undercity and I am hoping the King of Clubs is as terrifying as he was described. 

The King of Clubs 3: A Paranormal Romance (Undercity Chronicles Book 7) by [Skye, Savannah]

Amazon describes the book as: 

The gripping conclusion of Ursula and Connery’s story!

Ursula Lee has been through hell and back. First, with the nefarious vampire trickster, Jack, and his mystical games that have haunted her dreams. Then, with her love, Connery. Now that they’re back on the same team, the action ramps up full throttle as they try to take on the King of Clubs, whose thirst for blood seems unquenchable.

Can they save the people on the Topside of London as well as the Undercity dwellers from the most ruthless vampire of all? Or will their efforts to protect the city fail, leaving it all in the hands of a madman?

Racy supernatural mystery series, jam-packed with romance and suspense featuring an alpha hero and the woman who loves him. For readers of vampire romance, urban fantasy and dark paranormal romance!

It’s also what is written as the book’s introduction.

Now that I am finished with this trilogy, I am oddly disappointed. The story of Ursula and Connery is a typical love story, with all the ups and downs before a happy ending. Sure they are still facing a war with the King of Hearts, but this final book could have been so much more. 

The King of Nightmares was more monster under the bed than terrifying demon. His wraiths were far scary than he was. I wanted him to DO SOMETHING! Instead he just hid in his cave and let vampires serve him humans from Topside London. Meh. He could just as easily been an Italian mobster sitting in a restaurant bossing gangsters around while eating spaghetti. So disappointing. 

I will continue with the series, just to see how Jack plays out in the end. He has been a part of every trilogy and is old and powerful. I feel like there is more to his story than we know just yet. 

My favorite quote from the book is: 

Chapter 6

“It’s always something with you; killing serial killers, getting kidnapped, saving the country. This is what I get for falling hopelessly in love with a career woman.”

Connery’s wit and always makes me smile. He summed up all the books in this trilogy in one little sentence. I could have stopped reading before i was halfway through the book. 

If you want a simple romance novel with graphic sex scenes. This is a good book to read. If you are hoping for a well rounded adventure with a side of love story, this isn’t it. 

Hopefully the next book is better. 

Kristie