Welcome & Stay a Little Longer!

Welcome to Slice of Pie! I'm glad you dropped by to visit. You'll find a variety of life styling ideas on my blog ... and lots of grand daughter pictures, too! Miss Phoebe is my best helper and we do lots of special things together. Make sure you take a look down my sidebar! Under the "You're Invited" icon you'll find picture links to dinner parties I've hosted. Under the "Good Food" icon, you'll find picture links to food posts I've done. I usually post a sidebar picture link to magazine articles I've written. You'll find something you like! Hope you enjoy and stay around for awhile!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cranberry Venison Roast!

If you only think of using cranberries at Christmastime, you need to reconsider! I buy extra bags in the winter and freeze them. You don't have to do anything to them except place the bag in the freezer! Then I have them all year. I also love dried cranberries ... in the cranberry flavor.  You probably know that they flavor them with blueberry and cherry ... but I like the authentic tart/sweet flavor!

I'm blessed with a friend who put a deer in my freezer this past fall ... and with a sharp-shooter sister-in-law ... who gave me another half a deer. My brother processed that one (while I helped by watching and carrying on conversation about the old days) ... so my freezer is filled with this wonderful lean flavorful meat!

Venison is so lean, it can be dry ... so I always marinate and sauce my creations. This recipe is so good and anything left from the roast makes a great sandwich the next day. All you have to do is add a little bbq sauce, if you've eaten all the original sauce!

Remember that I frequently cook for just one person, so I had my brother cut all my roasts in less than 2 pound pieces. That has been a hard thing about becoming a widow ... cooking for 1 person and it has taken me five years to learn the lessons of not having left-overs that I'll never eat.

This delicious meal began with this roast that is less than 2 pounds. It has a nice piece of fat on one edge and that adds so much flavor. No need to trim it completely, when you are slow roasting or pressure cooking ... because all the shine and fat will disappear!

I love my electric pressure cooker ... although I am not afraid to use my stove top! I browned the roast on all sides in a little olive oil, before adding the other ingredients that make a spicy sauce.

The primary spices in this sauce are bay leaves, chipotle pepper and achiote (also called annatto). Achiote is made from the seeds of an evergreen shrub and is used to flavor and color foods. Chorizo sausage is colored with annatto seeds and many rice dishes are red/bronze because of the addition of the spice. The secret spice in the chocolate drink from the Aztecs ... was probably achiote!

To my pot, I added 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1 cup of beef broth, 1 cup of a California Shiraz, 1 teaspoon of achiote powder, 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle pepper powder and 2 bay leaves.  I pressure cooked the roast for 1 hour ... remember it was just 2 pounds.

This is the end result ... flavorful, juicy and succulent! The flavors were bold, but not overly 'hot' ... and the sweet/sour cranberry flavors made it perfect. After you remove the roast from the pot, you might have to reduce the sauce for a few minutes ... to thicken it ... but it might be perfect without doing that!  You decide.

I served the roast with buttered noodles, sprinkled with a little parsley ... and it was delicious!  I'll be sharing this with Miz Helen and a few other blog parties ... If you'd like to see another recent post about venison ... click right here!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Grilling Venison Steak

Don't you just love springtime?  I use my gas grill all winter, but there is something fantastic about grilling after the temperatures start to warm up! Don't ask me to explain that!

Grilling venison steaks is simple enough to do. I always marinate mine and this one soaked in cherry balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a couple hours. 

I grill my steaks to medium rare and these were cut thin, so it just took a couple minutes on each side ... on a hot grill. I topped the steaks with chopped green bell peppers pan seared in a little butter.  That simple.

I'll be sharing this with a couple blog parties listed on my sidebar, so make sure to click through ... especially to visit Miz Helen!  I always find yummy recipes at her party!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Strawberry Ready!

It will not be long before Southern Illinois strawberries will be ready for picking! I can't wait! I also couldn't wait to get more of my red out on the kitchen buffet! So here goes!  This cute tea set is Temptations and you know how Miss Phoebe loves her tea parties!  I'm ready!

Here's a shot of the whole counter ... lots of Temptations and the towels are from the new Pioneer Woman collection! I love the big cups to this set of dishes ... they hold 12 ounces and they are perfect for 'swirling' coffee or hot tea on the back deck in the early Springtime mornings!

Look at the cute details on the dishes ... strawberries, flowers, lady bugs! What's not to love?

I'll be sharing this post with some of the parties listed in my sidebar, so click through to see the other participants!  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Outlander is Back!

I'm a big fan of the Outlander series of books by Diana Gabaldon and a bigger fan of the television series. You probably know that the second season premiered this past Saturday night! Last summer, I read the entire series of books ... and all of the novellas, too!

It doesn't take much for me to come up with a tablescape or special theme for meals. I'm sharing my Outlander theme with you today! While I was so enthralled by Outlander last summer, I also ran across some freebie graphics from Professionalfangirls.com, so I want to give them credit, since I used a couple of things from their site.  The blue tartan background in these first couple pictures is my own family's Douglas tartan. The red and green plaid is the Fraser tartan.  If you are not an Outlander follower, this post probably won't mean much to you!

I'm not going to share too much information about the things that are coming later in the story ... but my tablescape represents much of what is in the books/shows to come!  Enjoy!

The table was very casual and the long strand of ribbon is actually the modern Fraser dress tartan. The leaves represent the title of one of the books ... Drums at Autumn ...  I often showcase themes in composed centerpieces and in this case, I built it on the end of the table, so we would have plenty of space for platters of food.  The wooden tote in the back is filled with additional pieces of the dinnerware that I used ... the whisky keg represents Jamie's Frazer whisky that comes when they settle in America ... the small baskets represent the many baskets Claire used to gather her medicinal herbs and garden vegetables.

The wooden tray is handmade and hand engraved.  The wooden candlestick was a Christmas present this past year ... and both remind me of 18th century rustic items.

Tucked into the centerpiece is another item that my daughter gave me for Christmas.  This is an authentic Scottish wooden porridge spirtle (or spurtle) ... used to stir the very thick staple on Jamie and Claire's table!

A note about my little whisky keg. It came from a cooper's shop in the Smokey Mountains ... possibly very near the location of Fraser's Ridge!

The dinnerware in the place setting is something I've had for years. The scenes in the center of the pieces remind me of the farm village in the mountains where Jamie and Claire eventually settle!  Yes, they go from Scotland to France and then to America at the time of the Revolution!

Take a look at the farm scenes on this Memory Lane ironstone. It was made in the 1950s.  I placed it on mats that are Paris streetscapes. There would be no way that Paris looked like this in 1745 ... but they are cute and fun. Everybody gets a place card at my table ... sometimes! This card is embellished with a round of heather!  There is plenty of red in this tablescape ... because we are going to see Claire in a magnificent red dress at a very formal event in King Louie's Court! Just wait and see!

Here's the easy menu for our little event! 

I'll be sharing this fun with a few parties listed on my timeline ... so make sure you browse around and visit those sites!  Beware of the standing stones!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter Decorations in Red!

I've always admired the beautiful red Easter Eggs that are part of Greek traditions. The red represents the blood of Christ and while that may be a theme that is complicated for a youngster ... learning about Easter traditions from all around the world is not. This year I decided it was appropriate to start teaching Phoebe about some of those traditions. So we started that process by decorating for Easter in RED! 

I was a little limited on time this year, so instead of putting my Cricut to work, I designed my banner using some cute graphics of Easter Eggs. Red checked ribbon ... and red and white polka dog ribbon connected all the elements of the decorating!

The stuffed bunnies on the fireplace mantel are actually MeMutt's ... but only because he stole them from a coffee table vignette a couple years ago! I got up one morning and found them on the floor right beside the bed. He had snatched them and brought them to his favorite sleeping spot. I have to hide them from him and he doesn't know that they are currently on the mantel or he would find a way to get them down! Most of my decor has a real 'country' feel to it ... that is just who I am!

I've left a Christmas tree up in the corner of the dining room.  I know lots of folks do that, but I haven't done it in a few years!  I think we'll enjoy decorating it for each holiday!  For Easter, I added ribbons and small baskets.

Miss Galvanized Pig greeted folks at the front door!  I'll be sharing this post with a few of the parties listed in my sidebar ... so make sure you browse those sites! If you'd like to see other Easter 2016 posts, just click through ...

Easter Red Tablescape!

I presented Easter 2016 with an "Around the World" theme, so Miss Phoebe could learn about traditions from other countries.  I love the bright red eggs that are a part of Greek traditions ... so I chose to use red as the focus for Easter. In keeping with my red decorations, which you can find here ... I created a red tablescape. The big focus was the linen ... and the red Waterford crystal stemware. Is crystal 'country'?  Yes ... when you use it with red checked flatware from Aldi's! Eclectic is always my favorite approach! 

I love the big bold pattern of the table runner, napkins and place mats ... which I used to top the checked tablecloth! I usually use my Wilton Armatale pieces ... no matter what the tablescape looks like!  Silver bunnies go with everything!

I love big family style meals and since we were going to put all the yummy food on the table, I created my 'centerpiece' on the end of the table! It is just a cluster of some of my favorite things ... lots of red checked ribbon!

While researching the Greek Easter traditions, I learned that folks in Greece decorate candles to burn during Easter Week ... so I decorated our candles.

Take a look at my treat jars! My daughter and I love the Pioneer Woman's products, and these jars are from her set. They are intended to be glasses with a lid and a straw ... but I filled them with Easter grass, all kinds of eggs ... foil wrapped chocolate carrots ... and everybody's favorite Reese's Eggs!

You'll notice that the printed dinner menu matches the fireplace banner!  I added checked ribbon bows to the menus ... If you want to see the foods from our dinner ... click right here!

If you haven't seen the other decorations ... click right here!