Venison Round Steak Fajitas

So I didn’t have a lot of time and I knew I wanted to cook something at home. I have some venison in my freezer (thanks Dad), but my husband doesn’t like it. Sooooo….I thought maybe a flavorful marinade would disguise the flavor. And guess what!? It totally worked. The 8 year old boy said it was the best dinner ever and the husband had no idea it was venison. SUCCESS!! Here’s what I did.

Ingredients:
1 lb venison round steak
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 soft taco shells
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grape tomatoes sliced
1 medium onion
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/3 cup black beans

Directions:
Put venison into a baggy with the olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Mix around and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Slice onion into strips. Julienne carrots. Put carrots and onion into medium-high frying pan with vegetable oil. Cook about 5 minutes or until onion is clear. Remove from hot pan and place in a serving dish.
Remove venison from marinade and slice into 1/4 inch strips. Put into hot pan. After a couple of minutes add the rest of the marinade juice for extra moisture. Cook about 7 minutes total or until venison is cooked to your liking.
While meat is cooking you can slice up your tomatoes, warm up your beans, and set cheese aside for use.

When the meat is done warm up your shells (I like to pop mine in the microwave covered for about 30 seconds) and serve! Enjoy.

Again…I don’t have a picture of it, but it was quick and easy and low cal. Here’s what I calculated for nutrition information.

Per Fajita
305 Calories
19 Carbs
12 Fat
26 Protein
380 Sodium
2 Sugar

Yay! Another one under 500 calories! Unless you have 2….which I did.

Chicken with tomatoes and celery greens on buttery orzo

Here’s a recipe for my friends.

5 chicken breast tenderloins
1 1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic
1 small onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon diced celery greens

Orzo:
1 cups orzo
2 tablespoons butter
1 can chicken broth (I used Better than bouillon chicken broth)

Start Orzo first: melt butter in medium sauce pan and toast orzo until golden brown. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 15 minutes or until done.

While orzo is simmering, dice up onion into small pieces and put into skillet on medium-high heat with olive oil. Let onion sweat for a few minutes and then add garlic. Slice chicken breast tenderloins into bite sized pieces and add to onion, garlic, and oil mix in pan. Cook chicken until about half way done and add sliced up tomatoes and celery greens. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until everything is warm. Serve over orzo hot/warm. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:

492 calories
48 carbs
19 fat
35 protein
794 sodium
4 sugar

Sorry I didn’t get a picture, but believe me….it was pretty and yummy. I’ll make this again.

Thanksgiving Pies

In our family we split the duties of Thanksgiving meal prep. This way there isn’t one person totally stressing out about getting their house ready and timing everything just right for the meal. My job for the past ummm….probably 10 years…has been pies! At first I bought them (usually from Village Inn). Then I decided I could do this and I started baking. Now I love this part of the holidays!

This year here’s what I’m making -

  • Classic Pumpkin Pie - I like this recipe because it uses Sweetened Condensed milk instead of just evaporated milk. It just sounds better, right?!
  • 3033930460_91c1a25af0_oThe Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie - The best, hands down, recipe for this pie ever! I never liked Pecan Pie until I tried this one.
  • My mother in law’s apple pie (secret recipe) – Sorry, you’ll have to bribe my mother in law for a taste of her yummy pie.
  • Sour Cream Apple Pie - Trying this one for the first time this year. I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Grasshopper Pie –  Don’t tell my nephew that it’s called Grasshopper Pie. He asked for Mint Oreo and this is what I’m making him. This is another first time recipe. Wish me luck!

I might do some Christmas baking this weekend too. I found some yummy ones to try on Pinterest this year….

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What are YOU making for Thanksgiving this year? Share your recipes! I’d love any tips you might have too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and happy baking! God Bless!

We have all sinned and fallen short

I’m totally borrowing this from an email I read a few days ago, but I had to share it. I was struck by a comment someone made on facebook. It made me sooooo mad! I don’t normally get involved in the drama and reaction commenting that happens there, but I was compelled to respond. And now….everywhere I turn, everything I read seems to be from God saying “you did the right thing…you were right in calling that person out”. Thank you Lord. Here’s parts of what I read.

“for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isa 59:2

What is God’s standard? God’s standard is perfection! The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “for all for sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of perfection” When we slip up, what are we to do? Does God still love us? Has Jesus left me? “He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whosoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13.

Confessing our sins to God simply means, “agreeing” with God that we have missed His standard of perfection and that Jesus would restore us back into fellowship with Him again. Our relation with Christ is secure, but our fellowship has been broken.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

We are encouraged by reading Psalms 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us”. He no longer remembers our sin! Beautiful!

It took me a long time to figure out that once I’ve asked for forgiveness for that sin….it’s gone. God forgave me and it’s wiped clean. The only one that continued to hang onto it was me. Satan wanted to use my sin to bring me down, make me feel unworthy, dirty and by hanging onto that sin, that’s just what it did.

Then this morning I read this: Luke 6:37-38 37“Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands—all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.”

Thank you Lord for filling my cup. For being my all. For forgiving this dirty sinner. Help me to let you carry my burdens and not try to fix it all myself. Thank you for loving me despite my imperfections. You really are an awesome God.

If you are my friend…

If you are my friend you know some things about me. Like…

  1. I’m pretty blunt, but I don’t say or do things to hurt others. Ever. My intentions are always good, but sometimes my mouth gets ahead of me. If you’re my friend, you are quick to forgive me  if my words bite.
  2.  I’m social. I thrive in social situations. Noise, busyness, discussion, music…I need this stuff to function. If it’s too quiet, too long…not good. It’s like when a 2 year old is quiet in the other room too long…you know it’s going to end badly.
  3. I am not one to get jealous. It’s a trait that I struggle to understand. When others are jealous of me or something I have…it confuses me and I’m very slow to recognize it. Sorry for being dumb and naive friends.
  4.  You never have to wonder what I think. I will always tell you the truth. If I’m NOT talking to you about something it probably means that I don’t have anything nice to say…so I’m choosing to shut up. If you don’t want to know…don’t ask. As the saying goes…”If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Yup. That’s me. The good news is, if there is something ugly to be discussed I will always talk to you about it. Even if that means we aren’t friends for a bit.
  5. I despise people talking behind my back. There is nothing more hurtful to me. Since I try to be honest with you…I expect you to be honest with me. If you choose to talk to others about your “beef” with me, I will not lose sleep over it. You are not my friend.
  6. I cry. Kind of a lot actually. This does not mean that I’m depressed or that you should worry…I’m just a ball of emotions all the time. I cry when I’m happy. When I’m sad. When I’m lonely. When I’m touched. At weddings. Funerals. To the lyrics of a song. When I’m singing. And the list goes on.
  7. I love the Lord (as in Jesus Christ, son of God, Holy Spirit…that Lord). I have since I was very little. I try very hard to live my faith out in a way that can show others what it means to be a follower of Christ. I like to share my faith, but not push it on those around me. I try to show Christ’s love and not judgement. I haven’t always been very good at this…but I’m a work in progress.
  8. I am a dreamer. I struggle because I have some pretty big dreams and I’m not sure how to get them right now. I have lived in a dream world since I was about 12 and reality has only recently set in that some of them MIGHT never happen. That’s kind of rough…but I’ll continue to strive towards them and whatever else the Lord has in store for me.
  9. I’m quick to trust someone new. I’m easy to forgive. The first time. And maybe the second time. But after that…I might consider you a friend, but I won’t trust you for a looooong time.
  10. Words don’t mean that much to me. I mean…don’t get me wrong…they’re nice. But if you don’t back up your words with actions….then your words mean nothing to me after awhile. (Call me scarred). If you are my friend…you know what I mean. ;-)
  11. I’m weird. I don’t mind being weird either. I’m sometimes loud and obnoxious. I’m goofy and bright and colorful. I like to enjoy life and have fun. I’m messy yet organized. I don’t get why everyone isn’t like this!? ;-)
  12. I am NOT perfect. I remember in High School someone said to me “Oh you just think you’re so perfect!” I didn’t then…and I don’t now. I will always strive to be the best version of Sueann that I can be…and I was raised to not concern myself with other’s opinions of me. It stuck. I will not waste my time with what others think of me. As long as I know I’m on the right path, I have my family and friends by my side…I’m all good.

These are just a few things that my friends know about me. Thanks to those of you that have stuck with me through all these years. I love you more than you’ll know. I know I haven’t always been the most pleasant person to be friends with…but know this…

If you are my friend I will always be here for you. Through thick and thin. Through cancer, babies, husbands, parents, financial struggles/successes, and so much more….I love ya.

My heart is heavy…and yet I rejoice!

My 7 year old said in church on Sunday, “I love Bible trivia! I love Jesus, because He’s my true Father! I love to read the Bible and learn more about Him!” He said it with such excitement and joy and it blessed this mama’s heart like crazy even though I’m not sure he REALLY gets all the words he’s saying.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a parent it’s that my worst fear is that our kids wouldn’t get it. That they wouldn’t know the Lord. That they would choose to NOT be followers of Christ but rather followers of their own ambitions and of men and the world. We work hard to weave our faith into every little thing that we do everyday so that we can be good examples for our kids and also to those around us. We don’t get it right all the time. In fact we probably get more wrong than right…but then we can have the conversation about forgiveness and grace. Phew!

And then there’s always a nagging question of “are we doing everything we can?” For our kids, for those around us, for the world. Are we making a difference? Are we doing what Christ called us to…making disciples. It can be so overwhelming at times and devastating to think that something you say and/or do or maybe don’t say could affect your kids, your friends, your families eternity. Thank you Jesus that you are in control. That it isn’t up to me. Thank you for carrying that burden.

I pray that each of you knows Christ on a personal level. I pray that you understand on some small measure His great love. I say on a “small measure” because can we really truly understand the love of the Father? I think it’s far too big for any of us to get. I pray that you have a taste of that child-like faith the Bible refers to.  Don’t try to over complicate it. We don’t have to be intellectuals about everything. We don’t have to have all the answers. We don’t always have to be able to explain it. God is so amazing and true. He is the answer. Period.

It’s always been easy for me. I never doubted it. I’ve had highs and lows, but I’ve never doubted that my God says who He says He is. I wish that for you. For everyone. With all this world battles and debates…it’s just simple. He is who he says he is. He loves you. He came here to save you. He will return again. Will you go with Him in the end?

I pray you will. I pray your spouses will. I pray your children will. I pray you aren’t afraid to share His love and His message. God is so good.

Top 10 Favorite Restaurants

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a week. My favorite places to eat. And go!

10) Old Chicago

Love their pizza better than the rest. I like a Chicago style pizza with pepperoni, green chilies, olives, and mushrooms. NUM.

9)  Olive Garden

I worked here for 2 1/2 years. Ate the food all the time…and yet I still love it. I can never decide what to get because I just love it all. My favs here are Eggplant Parm (light on sauce with extra cheese), Ravioli di Portobello, and the best dessert EVER…Berries and Zabaglione (well it’s close to the best dessert ever).

8)  JL Beers

This place wins best burger. I like a classic buttered and toasted bun with a plain old cheeseburger. No extra fuss…just a clean classic and they know how to throw that down.

7)  Capital Grille

Best drink! See previous post regarding the “Grapefruit Soda.” The service is top notch and the food was perfect, I mean…perfect. But it’s a bit on the pricey side so save your pennies.

6)  Red Lobster

I know that I’m a little biased, but this was my first real job. PLUS it’s where I met my awesome hubby so it has to be on this list. But seriously I learned a lot working here and I’m proud of this restaurant. They try to do everything with excellence as far as your service, your food, and your experience. I always go away satisfied and get to try new things from time to time as well. I love how they’re always thinking about what’s next. And I love the coconut shrimp, fresh fish, scallops, and so much more.

5)  Lambert’s

I’ve only eaten here once. It was on a youth group trip to Springfield, MO when I was in high school, but I won’t ever forget it. First off, everything was HUGE. You ordered a soda (or a coke as they call it there) and it was practically a bucket of soda. You ordered a burger and it’s enough to serve 4 people. But the best part are the people that walk around and yell “Hot Rolls. Get your hot rolls here!” And in order to get a roll you have to raise your hand and catch when they throw it at you from wherever they are in the room. You might miss…and they’ll throw another one. Careful, you might get hit in the head with a missed roll. But I tell you, they’re yummy when you get one. And hot! Things also handed out upon request are fried okra and molasses. So fun and quite an experience. I recommend it.

4)  Leela’s

New discovery. LOVE. Thai Food. Try it. Especially the fried rice or the Chicken Panang.

3)  RC Otters

I ate the best crab of my life in this wonderful place. Stone crab caught right off of Captiva Island beach. The bartender caught it himself and showed us his scars from getting them out of the trap. PLUS the entertainment is the best! My brother plays here a few days a week and he’s quite gifted and witty! PLUS it’s outside…a block from the beach.

2)  Maggiano’s

I got to share in a fun experience with great friends as one of them prepared for her groom’s dinner in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area. We got to try food and eat until we were ready to burst. All kinds of wonderful Italian delights made their way to our table. When we got to the actual groom’s dinner months later it was just as great as I remembered. I just wish the one in Minneapolis didn’t close so I could eat there more often!

1)  Sarello’s

Oh Sarello’s. You are near and dear to my heart. Your food is always better than I could imagine. Your service impresses me every time…even though I know what to expect…I’m always in awe. You have the best Filet Mignon I’ve ever had, the best dessert I’ve ever had (Chocolate Zabaglione with Strawberries), the best appetizer (Scallops in a curry sauce), the best everything. You are my favorite place to eat and when I try new places that people say “compare” to you…a) I feel like I’m cheating on you and b) they never compare. I think about you the whole time I eat at the other place.
So there you are my friends. I just needed to get this out of my head. Maybe this blog will inspire you to go and share a meal with the one you love. I hope so. Now I want to eat…hmmm. Sarello’s anyone??

The Best Thing I Have Ever Made…besides my kids.

Prepare yourselves people. I just made the best thing (to date) that I have ever made.

Broiled flank steak with a warm tomato sauce.

Here’s the scoop:

I got the idea for the recipe on a Cooking Light website. But I don’t like jalapenos or spicy food in general so I improvised.

The Steak:

Instead of using cumin and red pepper I used, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and Adobo. I used that for the rub on my steak. Then I cooked it as suggested in the recipe.

The Sauce:

Then for the tomato sauce I used olive oil and garlic (according to the recipe), salt, and tomatoes (according to the recipe except for the cumin). I cooked it down and then removed from heat. I added freshly chopped basil and a little bit (maybe 2 tablespoons) of balsamic vinegar. Then let it sit. And soak in that sweet flavor…yumm.

The Orzo:

I don’t know about you but I’ve never made Orzo before. I looked up a recipe online and once again…improvised. I used this recipe. That is right up until the point where the orzo is done cooking. All I did was toast the orzo in butter and cook it in chicken stock. It didn’t need anything else. It was perfect just the way it was. I didn’t want anything heavy with the steak.

The Result:

Ladies and gentlemen, the steak was tender and perfectly flavored, the sauce was just the right topping, and the orzo was buttery smooth. My 6 year old ate every bite and asked for seconds…twice. He said it was awesome, amazing, sweet!, sooooo good, and many other things between spoonfuls. My 2 year old ate most of it and then wanted to play. I can’t wait to make this again and again…and the best part. It took 20 minutes, was low cal, and SO YUMMY!

Kids…try this one at home. You won’t regret it.

My Maria

The Beginning

I don’t remember the exact time that I met her. We were young. We were both at Trail Ride Family Camp. We probably played in the dirt together. But I do remember the summer we went to Lakewood Park Bible Camp together. That was the week we REALLY got to know each other.
A solid week in a cabin with her, me, 3 other girls (Nadine, Sarah, and Jenn) and a counselor.

Highlights from that week for me:

1) Maria was convinced that everyone should where eyeliner. I tried to tell her it looked terrible on me with my pale skin and light hair. She didn’t believe me until she put it on me. Then she said, “Yeah, I guess you’re right! It does look terrible.” We had a great laugh over that.

2) Maria tried out her hair cutting skills that week. Nadine let her cut her hair. I’m not sure it was Maria’s best work, but it was a good trial run for the future! :-)

3) There were midnight runs in the rain to get Mt. Dew. This may have been the time where my Mt. Dew addiction started…hmmm.

4) I gained a new friend that week. One that I stayed in touch with until the end.

Baby news

The next fall I saw Maria in Harvey at a football game. And she was HUGE…about to pop with that sweet boy she named Drew. I had no idea until I saw her that day and she was like, ‘So yeah…I’m pregnant.” I remember saying something to the affect of “Well obviously!”

Maria was the kind of friend who was honest as all get out. To the point of causing pain…but that was never the intention. She just wanted to be honest. This is one of the traits I most loved about her.

When we met at that football game we were able to pick up right where we left off. She was that kind of friend. We didn’t have to have long phone conversations or be pen pals or e-mail…we just were friends. Kindred spirits.

The next time we spent time together was the NEXT summer at Trail Ride Family Camp. She had that sweet baby with her in the camper. She was adjusting to being a mom…being a single mom. I remember thinking “How is she able to do this? It’s such a big job!” I was consumed by a boy at Trail Ride at the time so we spent time together, but to be honest, my head was someplace else. She told me I was stupid for being with that boy. He was no good…he couldn’t be trusted. I was blind. After the relationship with that boy ended…it was my friend Maria who said “I can’t believe you ever dated him! You are so much better than that.” Love that honesty and something I’ve carried with me forever…with friends, be honest, no matter the consequence.

Grown ups

After that we met up in Fargo…she worked at Target. I shopped at Target. We saw each other quite a bit just shopping. I always made a point to look for her if I was there. I loved our chats no matter how short or long they were.

One day I got a phone call from my sister…she had been at Target and the weirdest thing happened! She was in the check out line and this strange woman asked her if she was from Langdon. To which my sister hesitantly said she was. Then the strange woman asked if she was a McDougall. “Um…yes” was the response. “Are you Sueann’s sister?” said the stranger (Maria). My sister was shocked. She couldn’t figure out a) who this was b) if she should know her or c) how this strange woman figured it out just by a simple conversation. Maria told her that she knew I had a sister and that my sister sounded just like me so she figured it had to be my sister. I got a phone call from Maria later that day too…to tell the same story. So funny. It will always be something that makes me smile. About how she picked my sister out of the crowd…having never met her before. :-)

In April 2006 I became a mom. After a few months of being a mom my mind went immediately to Maria. I remember thinking “How on earth did she do this by herself!?” I would have gone crazy without my hubby’s help. The next time I saw her at Target I stopped and said that very thing. She simply said “Drew was just a great baby. He’s a great kid. He makes it easy.” She was such a good mom. And man did she love that boy.

There are a scattering of times where we spent time together…but deep down she was just that kind of friend that it wasn’t the amount of time we spent together…but the quality of the time and the bond that we had.

Cancer Sucks

I’ll never forget when I heard she was sick. I went up to the hospital to see her as quickly as I could. She was in good spirits and very clearly told me she had stage 4 cancer and that the type of cancer she had was not good. Most people that get it don’t make it. She told me that it was not something that a 20 something gets. It’s something that someone in their 40s or 50s gets. So she was determined that since she had 20 years on the average person that dies from this thing, she was going to beat it.

She had been planning a wedding up until then. I had never met Zach, until that day in the hospital. At that moment in time her focus changed from wedding to living.

She fought hard and valiantly. The Lord brought her to my mind so many times in the next 3 years and we chatted a lot about faith and family. I prayed for her every time she was brought to mind. We shared music and hopes and dreams. I got to witness the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to last September. I mean…stunning. So much love there that day.

And then one day I heard she was in the hospital again…on her birthday. Her 30th birthday. I was on a family vacation, but as soon as I got back I was at her bedside. We talked and laughed and talked and laughed for about 2 hours. It was so amazing. The nurses kept having to check her and felt bad for interrupting. They wanted to join in the fun.

I was honored to be able to be by her side several times through the coming weeks. I was honored to do what I could for her and her family. I don’t know where the extra time came from, but the Lord multiplied my time and my energy so I could do what was needed at that time. I loved that lady. I loved her beauty inside and out. I loved her sense of humor and her laugh. I loved her brutal honesty. I just loved her. There aren’t very many times where you get to have friend like that. Some people never have a friend like that.

I was blessed to know her. I was blessed to love her. If you knew her, you are too.

To my Maria – you are missed my dear. You will be missed. You will never be forgotten. And because you knew the Lord, I will see you again. Of this I am sure.

Much love…from me to you.

Your friend – always -

Sueann

Spoiler Alert

P.S. Dear Maria – I watched a movie last night. It was called “A Little Bit of Heaven”. It had Kate Hudson in it, who I love! I thought it would be a fun movie to watch. It made me think of you the whole entire time. The movie is about a young, beautiful, talented, and fun loving woman who finds out she has advanced colon cancer. She falls in love with her doctor. Her friends and family (her divorced parents that don’t really get along) are by her side. Her friends are there to make her laugh and enjoy the life that she has. She has a friend that doesn’t know how to deal with the sadness.

She struggles with how to say good bye and the ones that she will leave behind. She gets everything in order in the end and says good bye to everyone that she loves. She asked for her funeral to be a celebration of the life she had.

Does any of this sound familiar. I mean…good grief. I bawled. Dan watched the end with me and he cried! I think I’ve cried enough for a month now. You can laugh at me now. And shake your head. Say “Oh, Sueann”. I know I know…love ya lady. Me.

Try this…Yum!

About a month ago, my hubby and I managed to get away for the weekend without our kiddos. We stayed in a hotel, ate delicious food, and got to see a concert that we were really excited about. NEEDTOBREATHE!!

It was a great weekend! The time away as a couple, the food, the concert was all great! But interestingly enough…the take away for the weekend was something we drank! We both decided that we MUST try this at home. We thought we knew what it was…so convinced in fact that I bought all the “necessary” ingredients and Dan tried it last night. NOT GOOD. We were wrong.

Ok, now you want to know what it is, right?

Grapefruit soda! Yes, it was divine. We ordered like 6 or them…at $3.50 per drink. Eek.

Recipes we tried…

Last night we tried grapefruit juice and soda water…not it.

Today we tried grapefruit juice and Sierra Mist…also not it.

Tonight I “googled it”. And guess what! I found the exact recipe! Duh…why didn’t I do that earlier.

So if you want to try something special and yummy…check this out.

Grapefruit Soda Recipe

(from http://atlanta-restaurantblog.com/2012/02/grapefruit-soda-from-the-capital-grille/)

YIELD: 1 Order

INGREDIENTS:
Grapefruit Juice 2 oz
Elderflower 2 Tbsp
Soda Water 4 oz
Lime Wedge 1 wedge

PREPERATION:
1. Build in Specialty Highball Glass, Elderflower, Grapefruit Juice, Soda Water and juice from a lime wedge.
2. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and mint leaf

SERVING GLASSWARE: Specialty Hi-Ball Glass

GARNISH:
a) Grapefruit Wedge
b) Mint Leaf

Enjoy!

And you’re welcome!

p.s. Does anyone know where I can get some Elderflower?