Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Special Venison Homecoming

It's quite a challenge to understand what military families go through each time our loved one embarks on a deployment and returns. So much time has gone by and with that comes change, Children have grown, animals pass, and seasons shift. Like so many of my closest friends, this is my life. Today marked the end of my tenth deployment (technically my husband's deployment, but it's ours too!)  I breathe a sigh of relief when I watch him approach me for the first a long time. It feels wonderful, especially as the huge weight of worry lifts off of my chest and my heart.  

My attitude is to keep positive and stay busy (super busy). For me, it's my way of coping and getting through each day. Life is beyond precious and I firmly believe it should not be wasted--whether with my husband by my side or on my own two feet. I have traveled many times and embarked on exciting adventures all on my own, and for that I am thankful. This community that I live amongst has taught me to be the independent person I know I can be.  We have suffered many losses over the years since 9/11, and a wonderful friend asked the other day, "can't we turn back the clocks?" and "what would our lives be like if 9/11 never happened?"  Ahhh, the "what ifs.."  All I know is that today I breathe, I walk, I speak, and I love and for that I am thankful to God. It's a choice I make to live and one I remind myself of each day. I hope you choose to live, too! If you would like to learn more about the Naval Special Warfare Foundation and all that they do to support the active duty members, spouses, and families please check out this link: 

Enough of that..let's be honest...I am happy he's home so he can start on my "honey do list."  ;o) For those who know me well will laugh, because most things I enjoy doing myself. Although, it sure is nice to have a helping hand and have my best friend back to talk with each night. And all the other fun stuff that comes with being blessed with a significant other. So before he begins on my list I need to feed him. For his first night home I made Venison Meatloaf, Braised Cabbage, and Sourdough bread (the latter purchased). Tip: you never want a heavy meal on a romantic night! ;o)

Hope you try this out--especially if you are blessed to have venison on hand!  Yum--thank you again to my nephews, brother-n-law, and folks for my stash! 

Venison Meatloaf

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
8 garlic cloves, smashed
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup catsup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or chili powder
1 Tbsp tabasco (I used the chipotle version b/c I had it!)
2 slices bread
1/4 cup milk (to soak bread)
1 egg
2 Tbsp Thyme leaves, crushed in your hands to get the oils
S&P to season 
1 lb ground venison
1/2 lb venison sausage
3 slices center cut bacon strips (for the top)

  • In a skillet, saute onion, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes for 4 minutes. Add in catsup, worcestershire, parsley, cayenne, and pepper sauce. With a blending wand (you can do this in a food processor or blender, too), blend until smooth. Add in bay leaves and cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off, and remove from heat to cool. 
Meanwhile, soak the bread in milk.  Spray a bread pan with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350*F. 
  • Mix together meats and season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Add in egg, milk/bread mixture, and mix with hands. Add in 1 cup of tomato mixture and mix together.
  • Place meat loaf in bread pan. Top with 1/4-1/2 cup tomato mixture and lay bacon strips on top. 
  • Bake at 350*F for 1 hour (internal temperature of 155*F-165*F). Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to return to the loaf--this is a moist meat loaf!
  • Adapted from a recipe by Sean Rabeaux

Serve with braised cabbage and enjoy! (See hyperlink for recipe)
Oh, and for those thinking that I made this tonight all the way through are wrong--I actually made this a couple weeks ago and saved some of the tomato sauce and froze it for tonight. So, tonight's dinner came together with ease!  PS--these freeze wonderfully, too!!  


Michelle said...

SO glad he's home!

Edible Nutrition said...

Me too! It's nice to be whole again! ;o)

Nicole, RD said...

I got teary reading that. I know the flops my stomach does when my cousins are deployed for a year at a time. I can't imagine a husband. I admire military families...they are SO strong! Dinner looks great, too! Welcome home to your hubby...enjoy him!

Sandra Anderson said...

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