Dog training in home, distance education in East Texas


Desserts – Old & New

Man does not live by meat alone, so I’m getting my wife to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert recipes . The recipes below and many others  – including sugar-free cranberry sauce – can be found at I Can’t Believe It’s Sugar Free.

Jan here  . . . David asked me to pick some of our favorite recipes and alas, it is hard to decide which ones to make. And since I’m one of those people that doesn’t like change I rarely try anything new.   But one of our old favorites just may be getting bumped for a new one.   Saw this piecaken online and in spite of the fact that I’m not a big chocolate eater, it did look delicious.  Raspberries and chocolate – what’s not to like?  





A piecaken is new to me, but then we live in the country. Have to say the thought of a pie inside a cake is novel.  Hmmmmm, can you say turducken??

If you’re like me, just seeing the picture made me want to run out and buy raspberries. So rather than put everything needed here, please visit this link for the full recipe.

Ok, now if you’ve gotten past the piecaken, here are a few of our old favorite recipes we’re thinking of having.





Rum Cake  – Made from a box mix so it’s easy !!!  –  Get Recipe       (Note:  a new twist on this old favorite is to use Amaretto in place of the run . . . it is delicious.  In fact, David likes it better !!!  A true endorsement.  )

Bourbon Pecan Pie – with or without the bourbon this pie is fantastic  (David likes it best chilled)  – Get Recipe

Eggnog Cake w/Rum Glaze – made from a box mix, this is an easy fix.  Get recipe

Note:  If you like eggnog, you can make your own eggnog ice cream at home from vanilla ice cream using only 4 ingredients you probably already have.  It does not use eggnog from the store)  Get recipe. 

Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake – lot of work, but worth it !  Get Recipe

Timbal Rosettes – thin, crunchy pastry shells or shapes deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar.  Yum !!  Get Recipe 

Baklava –  Traditional Greek Pastry filled with pecans, walnuts and smothered in honey-lemon sauce.  Get Recipe. 

Rodeo Nuts – cinnamon glazed nuts for giving or snacking.  Get Recipe.

Last but not least  . . .

pecanpralines_2016Pecan Pralines – Smooth and creamy filled with pecans.  Get Recipe


Enjoy & Happy Thanksgiving !!!








Multi-Purpose Jerky Equipment

Most of the time you can get around having to buy special equipment for making jerky at home, but when you do decide to buy equipment, why not make it multi-purpose?

We’ve listed below some equipment you might want to consider purchasing to make the process easier . . . not to mention the other uses available rather than making jerky.


When deciding to purchase a dedicated meat grinder,  one first needs to decide if they want a manual or electric.  Manual is good for use as a home back-up or for those places where electrical power is limited or not available.

In either case, you want to think about getting one with multiple, inter-changeable  plates.  Having it easy to clean and coming with additional tools for making sausage are a big plus too.






If you already have a stand mixer, look to purchasing a grinder attachment.   In some cases you can get a grinder, various plates and sausage stuffer too!!  The Kitchenaide brand seems to offer the best selection.


If your primary goal is to make sausage, you may want to purchase a sausage maker. Some of these offer ‘an extended life’ over the meat grinders, also different plates for coarseness, can also be used for vegetables, nuts, etc.





Extruder/ Sausage Filler


Jerky sticks are always a favorite and for this you will need an extruder. Check the options available – round sticks vs. flat –  and look for one that has attachments for making sausage.    Some extruders can be used for making fruit roll-ups as well.  There are – of course – dedicated sausage fillers.





If using a dehydrator for making jerky, look for one that has enough controls to be used for making dehydrated fruit.  Also consider shape, number of trays, and accessories.



Electric Knife / Slicer

For jerky, the slicing and trimming of the meat is very important. No fat!  And, while a good, sharp  kitchen knife will work, having an electric knife or deli-type slicer  can make the job easier and faster.  Especially if you are making a lot of jerky strips.

For an electric knife, look for one that is easy to clean and comes with more than one blade. It can then be used for not only slicing jerky meat but also slicing holiday meats and breads.

For a food slicer, look for one that again is easy to clean and offers a variable cut. You can then use it for jerky, deli-meats, cheeses, etc.


jerkyslicersVacuum Packaging

If you don’t plan on eating your jerky right away, it can be kept – vacuum sealed in the refrigerator or frozen –  by packaging it in vacuum sealed bags. These same bags are great for storing fresh meat, veggies, etc.    The chart at this link will give you an idea of how long you can deep food stored in the freezer.

Look for a vacuum sealer that offers different size storage bags. Also be sure that supplies are readily available at an effective cost.



For more information of jerky equipment and seasonings, please visit this link.





It’s easy to make jerky from meat products purchased at the local grocery or meat market. For hunters, it’s also easy to make delicious jerky from game such as deer.  But what about those hunters that like to hunt game birds, water fowl or small game, i.e., rabbits, squirrels, etc., these don’t have enough meat mass to make jerky strips.  An alternative jerky is to use them for making ground-meat jerky or as we call them, jerky sticks.




As in any situation when hunting – and field dressing – special care should be taken to use safe, clean butchering processes so as to not contaminate the meat.   This is especially true if you plan on using the meat for ground meat jerky.  And, of course, only healthy animals should be used.


The process for obtaining the meat to be used should include the following:


  • Debone the meat from game or fowl
  • Remove all fat and gristle
  • Cut away all bloody meat and remove any shot
  • Soak deboned pieces in salt water overnight in the refrigerator (helps remove some of the gaminess and also helps tenderize the meat)

Making ground meat jerky from small game or fowl also means that you can use the less tender portions of meat. You may  find your jerky sticks more tasty if different types of meat are mixed together.  For example, try blending the dark meat of ducks and geese with milder meat to tone down the flavor.  Another way to ‘mask’ a strong game flavor is to use very spicy seasonings.





Preparation & Mixing Process

  1. If meat has not been previously frozen, freezing it a little helps in the grinding process.
  2. Make sure the spices you plan on using are dissolved in any liquid you use
  3. Mix everything completely together, including cure, in a large bowl (non-metallic) until tacky.
  4. Refrigerate overnight
  5. Extrude from jerky gun and dry according to dehydrator directions



Ground Meat Jerky Recipe [1]

  • 2 pounds wild game meat, ground
  • 2 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 drops hot sauce (use to taste, can be made hotter)


Note: Try replacing the lemon pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder with your favorite pre-packaged  jerky seasoning like Nesco’s or one of the whiskey flavored ones.  Also, the recipe may need to be adjusted if the pre-packaged seasoning already contains a cure.


Look for  links to the most requested  jerky making equipment, seasonings and info . . .  here.

Final thought, don’t have any small game or fowl, use this ground meat method to clean out the freezer using all your left over game meat. You’ll have an empty freezer ready  for hunting season and lots of delicious jerky to enjoy in the meantime.



[1]   The Complete Jerky Book