Deer that Swim Rivers + Stuffed Backstrap

Chive & Onion Stuffed Venison Back strap

Serves 2

  • 1 Venison back strap
  • 4 oz. Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
  • 2 slices thick bacon
  • Deer seasoning- I use Hi Mountain Seasonings
  • Meat mallet or hammer wrapped in foil

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. On a cutting board, butterfly and tenderize meat with a mallet (or hammer wrapped in aluminum foil works too) so it flattens thin. Place in baking dish.


2. Season with Deer SeasoningHi Mountain Seasonings is based out of Riverton, Wyoming, our nearest neighboring town, and has some great products for jerky & sausage making.


3. Spread 1/2 the container (4 oz.) of cream cheese down center line of steak.


4. Roll steak up & tightly wrap one piece of bacon around each end of steak to secure. 20151015_175629

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes–check at 30 minutes. It took mine 35 minutes to get to medium rare. 20151015_185052

Last year after harvesting a bull elk I decided that the next season I would focus on deer hunting. This turned out to be a good decision, seeing as how little did I know, I would be unable to hike or ride a horse by the time hunting season came around this year due to a bad herniated disc.

Keeping in mind areas that required little walking, Joe and I set out in the truck in search of a whitetail one evening after work, to a spot where he had seen one earlier in the week. After a short five minute walk, which at this point I could handle because it was right after my third steroid injection, we came up to the top of the small hill where we planned to sit out of sight and watch the area below. Except, when we got to the top of the hill, standing below 130 yards away on the other side of the Wind River was a heavy mule deer buck.

So much for sitting and waiting. Joe & I crawled over the rocky ground about 20 yards through sage brush and cactus, me holding my gun in one hand and my coat sleeve over the other. I got to a rock where I could lay down and get a good rest, with the deer still unaware of our presence above him. I took my time and squeezed off a shot before he moved any further behind a willow bush. He took a few steps forward, and I still had a shot, which I took just in case.

I couldn’t have been happier at how it all turned out. However, really the fun part had just begun. Now we had to get this guy across the river, which is knee/thigh high on a man, swift, and about 25 yards across. The outfitter that Joe guides for lives nearby and brought his 4-wheeler, however the willows were so dense in the marshy area along the riverbed there was no getting to the river with it. Now, with daylight waning, Joe donned chest waders and made his way across the water with rope and his knives while I waited. After gutting the deer, he proceeded to cut it in half and swim each half across the river in the dark using rope tied off to a thick stick which he hung on to. It was  both comical and a little nerve-wracking to watch! Seeing the amount of force generated by the current pushing the dead weight of the animal downstream was intense. Success!

20151007_193709_LLSA few days later I cooked up the back strap, and the combination of tender venison and chive and onion cream cheese held in place by bacon was quite tasty.


Grilled Dove Kabobs & Grouse Nuggets


blog dove

While our horses have, and continue, to play a big role in helping us harvest wild game, we now have added a dog to the equation as well! Maggie is the newest animal addition to our family, a chocolate lab that we got back in June.


She has some personality to her and is a loving, lay-on-top-of-you, smart, willing, full of energy, dog! She is contributing to helping us make meals from the mountains through her retrieving of game birds, which she is just learning how to do.                                                                      If you noticed that her left eye is red, that is scar tissue from when she was bitten in the eye by her litter-mate at six weeks old. Her vision does not seem to be negatively affected, but the scar tissue will more than likely be permanent.

Labor Day Weekend Joe & I took Maggie down to Bass Lake for her first hunting adventure.

Ready for Doves

At five months old, she has been practicing retrieving a dummy both on land and in water and has no fear of gunfire. Both her parents were hunting dogs; the sire waterfowl and her momma upland bird and shed antlers. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it went really well. The first dove Joe got was right after we arrived. Maggie immediately picked up the expelled shotgun shell after the shot, but was uncertain about the bird since it was still wiggling…

Hmm, still wiggling, I will bark at it!
Still not so sure about the whole bird thing…
First retrieve!

Joe got a total of five doves before the day got quite hot, and then we headed home.

Catching a nap on the ride home

I would like to get some practice in before I attempt bird hunting, as my shotgun experience is quite limited and has really only been for bear defense in camp.

Monday being Labor Day holiday, we had off from work and ventured out again to look at an upcoming job that Joe has, and decided afterward to take a drive and look for a grouse. We drove along through the forest slowly, keeping our eyes on the lookout along the edge of the road. Sure enough, in the same EXACT spot we had spotted a grouse last year, there he was again. Last year he got away! This time, the first shot rang out and the grouse flew a into the dense timber. We followed and fortunately found it where Joe was able to shoot again and harvest the bird. This was Maggie’s first upland bird hunting experience and while she did not really understand how to flush a bird, but she did retrieve it once it was down!

Once we got home, Joe cleaned the grouse and got out the breast fillets.


I placed the meat in cool water in the fridge for about 15 minutes and then dredged the meat in flour mixed with season salt. Then I fried the grouse fillets in a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil while barbecuing the dove meat as kabobs with onion slices and wrapped in bacon.


Dove Kabobs- Marinaded in Italian dressing


Grilled Dove Kabobs & Grouse Nuggets

Serves 2

  • 4-5 doves, with meat marinated in Italian dressing
  • 1 grouse
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 slices thick bacon
  • 1/2 c. AP flour
  • season salt
  • pepper
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 2 wooden kabob sticks, soaked in water
  • Grill


  1. Field dress birds. Marinade dove meat in Italian dressing in Ziplock bag for 24 hours. Store grouse in glass pan covered or ziplock bag.
  2. When ready to eat: turn on grill & get it heating up to medium heat
  3. Skewer dove meat alternately along with chunk of onion.
  4. Wrap piece of uncooked bacon around kabob and intertwine. Poke end of kabob though end of bacon to keep in place.
  5. Place skewers on grill and monitor every few minutes, turning as needed and adjusting heat if necessary. The meat should cook medium low and slow so as not to burn the bacon.
  6. Pour vegetable oil into skillet and heat until it begins sizzling.
  7. Pour flour along with salt and pepper into shallow bowl. Dip grouse breasts into flour to coat thoroughly.
  8. Place grouse meat into hot oil. Turn after 3 minutes and cook an additional 3 minutes. Meat is done when it turns golden brown.
  9. Serve along with veggies for a great meal.

20150907_1blog dove 182800

Classic Slow Cooker Elk Stew

elk stew

elk stew

I used this recipe by BUCHKO from All Recipes as the basis from which to make this Classic Elk Stew last Sunday for a perfect wholesome weekend meal after my afternoon x-c ski. The elk meat is extremely tender and required no marinade at all! This recipe will give you leftovers for the week, too, which is very welcome on those nights when you get home from work and just want to EAT. This does take 8 hours on LOW in the slow cooker from start to finish, so it’s a good idea to thaw your roast two days before you plan to make this so you can start it cooking by late morning.

This is what I used:

  • 2 lb Elk Round Roast
  • 3 whole carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 2 potatoes (red or russet or both)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into big pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced into pieces
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1.5 cups beef broth (I used Better Than Bouillon beef base)
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. season salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  1. Cut elk meat into 1-inch chunks and place into slow cooker.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup flour over top to cover the meat.
  3. Rinse and peel carrots and slice into rounds.
  4. Wash potatoes and cut into chunks with skins on.
  5. Rinse celery stalk and cut into pieces.
  6. Cut 1/2 yellow onion into big pieces.
  7. Place vegetables in slow cooker.
  8. Combine beef broth with minced garlic clove, Worcestershire, and seasonings. Pour over top of meat and vegetables.
  9. Top it off with a bay leaf and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  10. Remove bay leaf before serving.

I served this stew with garlic bread and it was a great combo. This stew will also make your house smell fantastic!



Mongolian Elk Stir Fry & Long Creek Elk Hunt

If you are looking for a way to spice up your same old elk steak routine like I was, this recipe is certainly worth a try, it was delicious and made me feel like I was eating at a restaurant from my own home. I used this recipe from the Real Hunters Wives site as the basis for preparing the meat in my slow cooker, and served it atop a bed of rice pilaf and stir fried veggies for a nutritious, flavorful dish!

mongolian elk

Mongolian Elk Stir Fry

Servings: 3

  • 3/4 lb elk steak (round steak worked great)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen sugar stir fry vegetables
  • 1 box rice, prepared per package– I used Mushroom Rice Pilaf (Far East brand)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Slice venison into bite-sized chunks.
  2. Place cornstarch in Ziploc bag, then put meat chunks inside and shake until coated.
  3. Combine onion, soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, ginger and red pepper flakes in slow cooker.
  4. Place meat in slow cooker so it is covered by broth mixture.
  5. Cook on LOW for 4 hours.
  6. Prepare rice, and while rice is cooking, saute stir fry vegetables in 1 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes over medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve meat over a bed of rice and vegetables.

This elk steak was from my 2014 bull elk, for which I am both gracious and grateful…..

2014 Long Creek Elk Hunt

This fall Wyoming experienced a cold August and a warm September and October, marked with weeks of sunny, 60 degree weather. This impacted the typical elk migration timeline and allowed elk to remain in the high country. In mid-October Joe and I headed out on a Sunday afternoon with Yolanda and Slim to scout an area for elk that Joe had in mind, given the unusual weather.


We rode for a little over an hour through an old cut block and old burn area until we reached an open pocket meadow on the East Fork of Long Creek. After tying up the horses, we sat and glassed, and decided we would stay until the sun dropped below the tree line to the west and then ride back. After a little while, we spotted some elk far across the valley, six or seven, that were on private land. We also spotted two buck antelope munching away several hundred yards away. It was a wild and beautiful spot and I was already pretty happy just to have been able to ride to this spot.

As the sun began to lower in the sky, I looked back across the meadow and saw that two cows and a calf had suddenly appeared out of the timber and were grazing away. Ironically Joe had stepped away to find a tree just ten seconds before, so when he returned back a few moments later, I was resting my Kimber 25-06 on a head-high tree limb and was sighted in on the cows, in case a bull stepped out. Joe ranged the elk and they were a good 500 yards away. We watched them a few more minutes as more cows and calves stepped out, eight or nine total now, and were thinking; are they really alone, no bull?! Then, all of the sudden Joe caught just a glimpse of a bull as he headed back into the trees; he had come out of the timber already in front of the cows closer to us, but due to the gently rolling terrain we had been unable to see him from where we were. So now we were on the move to get closer; all but one cow were headed back into the timber and she busted us, but we had no choice but to move. So we “squat-ran” a ways and then got down and crawled up to a stump within 350 yards. And then the last cow headed up into the trees and they disappeared. Disappointed yet excited at having come so close, we sat there and waited about five minutes to see if they would come back out, but were doubtful, since we knew that one cow had seen us. This is usually how our elk hunting has been the past five years; close, but the elk usually win!

As we stood up to walk back to the horses, Joe glanced to the north and much to our surprise, the bull and just one other cow had stepped back out from the timber and were standing along the treeline eating. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This NEVER happens! Now, we “squat-ran” again to the right, trying to close the distance as much as possible without giving ourselves away, but we now had a bit more advantage due to the lay of the land and fact there was virtually no wind. We crawled the last little bit over to a rock at the top of a small rise and I laid down flat and rested my rifle on the rock. I do best when I have a few seconds to get real comfy and solid, and thankfully I had that time. Just that morning I had printed off the ballistics chart for my new Huskemaw scope and taped it to the stock; Joe had tested the loads he built for my gun at the Range and we were able to enter the data and know exactly how many clicks to make to adjust for distance. At 370 yards, I was able to find the bull immediately in my scope. I zeroed in with laser-like focus as the bull stood broadside, and my shot rang out into the calm evening air. I was confident I hit him, as was Joe, but knowing how tough elk are, I chambered another round and shot again, as he was now standing facing the other direction. I shot a third time. Then I was out of bullets; the rest were in my saddle bags. The elk had gone into the timber now, and in the back of both our minds was the thought we might have to track this animal through dark timber at dusk in some of the most dense bear country; where bears are known to run toward gun fire and a (totally unarmed) man was killed and eaten by a grizzly not ten miles away this summer.

Joe headed back to get the horses and bring them over, and I waited and watched the spot where I last saw the bull, by a six-foot tall dead tree stump. Joe was back in a few moments, so I re-loaded my gun and walked out ahead as he followed with the ponies. I got over to the stump while Joe tied up and looked down for blood, and much to my horror, saw none. I then glanced over into the timber toward the direction the bull had gone, and out out of the pine trees saw two elk horns sticking up; he was only about 20 yards away laying down in the trees. I turned my scope way down and held my rifle up to my shoulder and shot him in the nose-area just below the eyes. Still alive. Joe now came up behind me and had me aim at a tiny patch of neck visible through the branches, so I shot him there as well. He now rolled onto his side, and as we approached, realized he was still indeed alive, head rolling up and down. A quick final shot with the .41 to the back of the head ended the suffering. They are tough.

I was instantly overcome with excitement and gratitude at having harvested the bull in such unsuspecting circumstances in such a wild and perfect spot, and grateful we would not be put in the situation of having to search the woods for the bull in the dark, or worse, not find him.

mo elk 2014

The next step was to quickly field dress him; Joe grabbed his knives off Slim, we had our rifles within arms reach, and we moved the horses as close as we could to have extra eyes keeping watch while I held legs up and open while sitting on the chest cavity and Joe gutted the elk. We discovered two of my first three shots hit the mark; the first shot was through the lungs, the second missed, and the third hit low, in the guts. By now it was dark, so donning our headlights, we worked up a good sweat as we drug the head and each half of the elk through the woods to the treeline using lead lines. Slim saved us a lot of work, as once the elk was at the edge of the treeline, Joe got on him and Slim dragged the elk halves several more yards out into the open so that when we returned the next day with pack horses they would be visible, should any bears be on them. Having done what we could for the night, Slim and Yolanda took us back out in the dark under the stars with a light snow falling. We got back to the trailer right before 9 pm, and in six hours, our “scouting trip” had turned into a successful and very memorable elk hunt.

Copy of Taz with 2014 bull

The following day, I had to work, so Joe and a friend rode back in with all four of our horses and retrieved the elk. No bears had visited during the night, and the ponies packed out the quarters for us. Taz, 30 years old, packed out the front quarters and head, the tough old bird. We do not use him very much anymore, and I was thrilled he did okay on this trip. Joe went on to harvest a calf on his cow/calf tag in December, and I have already told him that next year it is his turn to go after the bull!

Easter Egg Donuts

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????I followed this recipe by Elizabeth on the Sugarhero website  to make these adorable and tasty donuts for my weekly catering job. I followed the recipe exactly, except I did not fill these with any filling and only made the vanilla glaze, and not the chocolate. These would be perfect for Sunday brunch or a special Easter week breakfast. Enjoy!


Orange Elk Rice & Veggie Bowl

In an attempt to use up a small piece of leftover elk steak and a small piece of leftover prime rib from my birthday dinner last week, I came up with this stir-fry rice bowl recipe and was pleased with the results! The orange sauce recipe is something I made up after looking at a bunch of stir fry recipes online. I had a fabulous veggie and rice bowl at Lotus Cafe in Jackson two weeks ago when I was in town having lunch with a friend after an appointment, and have been making my own varieties of it ever since. Hope you enjoy it.

Orange Elk Rice & Veggie Bowl

Serves 2

  • 6 oz. Cooked elk or venison steaks, cut into thin strips
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt + Pepper
  • 2 cups Brown Rice, cooked- (I use Uncle Ben’s instant bags)

Orange Sauce:

  • 3 T. Orange Juice
  • 3 T. water
  • 1/2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 T. brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp.
  • garlic salt



  1. Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Chop vegetables and begin to cook, starting with the broccoli first, then onion, then squash and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.???????????????????????????????
  2. Meanwhile slice meat into thin strips and set aside. Stir vegetables periodically over the next 7-10 minutes until cooked. ???????????????????????????????
  3. While you are waiting on the veggies, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl using a fork or whisk, and then divide the sauce in two. You will use one now for the meat, and one later for the rice. ???????????????????????????????psst…Don’t forget the brown sugar, which is not pictured here!
  4. Scoop meat strips into sauce and dump mixture into veggies. Cook another 2 minutes on medium-low heat. DSC01656
  5. During that time, pop the rice bag in the microwave for 90 seconds and cook. DSC01653
  6. Heat the remaining sauce in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it up before pouring it over the rice.
  7. Place 1/3 cup rice in a bowl and top with meat and veggie stir-fry, and then spoon remaining sauce over top to taste.


Chocolate Almond Oat Bars

choc almond oat bars pic with label

When I head out for a day away from home, whether its a day outside or an extra long work day, I like to make sure I have a healthy snack on hand for when I get home and am hungry. These bars are one of my best recipe creations in a long while. I have been making a lot of no-bake-type oatmeal cookies and almond butter-banana oatmeal lately, but I am excited to change up my oatmeal routine a bit. I was strongly inspired to make some sort of homemade bar that would taste like the CLIF chocolate almond bars that I love. I only buy CLIF bars occasionally as a treat because one, they are expensive, and two, I feel often feel guilty spending so much on one granola/protein bar of any type when I know I have the stuff at home and could make an entire batch on my own. So, this morning I played around with my no-bake oatmeal recipe and wound up with these delicious “CLIF-like” bars full of crunchy almond butter, subtle honey, cocoa powder, and oats. At 185 calories a piece, they make a great protein-packed and delicious portable snack.

Chocolate Almond Oat Bars

Yield- 6 bars

  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey + 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



1. Combine almond milk, margarine, sugar, and 1 Tbsp. of honey in sauce pan and boil hard, then turn heat down and continue a low boil for another minute.

2. Meanwhile, measure oats into a mixing bowl, along with cocoa powder and almond butter. Pour milk mixture into oats and stir gently. Add in vanilla extract and another tsp. of honey, and stir until combined.

3. Spray a 7 x 10 inch (or similar size) pan with cooking spray and press oats firmly into pan using the back of a spoon.



4. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer until bars set. Cut into six bars. My bars held together well and ended up very close to the size of a normal CLIF bar, just thinner.


After cutting, I placed the bars in a sealed container and will keep them in the freezer to hold their shape, just pulling out an individual bar as needed.






Pepperoni Stuffed Parmesan Elk Meatballs

Last night I got home rather late and debated whether I wanted to put the effort and time into making a “real” dinner for myself, as right now I am still cooking for one each night due to Joe’s work schedule during the winter season, but, I had a quick snack (almond butter and carrots are a new current fave!) and got to work, still managing to put dinner on the table at 7 pm on the dot. Inspired by this recipe from the Nevada Foodies,, I picked up some pepperoni on my way home from work and got stuffin’! This recipe would easily serve 4, especially with a salad on the side to go with. For us, we will have some tasty leftovers.


 Pepperoni Stuffed Parmesan Elk Meatballs Yield- 21 meatballs, 1 inch diameter

  • 3/4 lbs ground elk burger
  • 3/4 lbs ground venison breakfast sausage
  • 1 tablespoon dry pesto
  • 1/2 cup wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 1/4 cup+ 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, divided into (3) 2-Tbsp. portions
  • ~1/8 lb thick sliced pepperoni (approx. (5) 2-inch diameter slices)
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic salt
  • 2 cups dry rotini pasta
  • 1 tsp. butter (optional)


If making your own breadcrumbs, process in food processor until you have about 1/2 cup. I keep a few frozen bread heels and bread slices that were going stale in the freezer in a ziplock bag and them process them in chunks as needed for breadcrumbs.


In a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or your clean hands, combine ground burger and ground breakfast sausage with egg white, breadcrumbs, and Worcestershire.


  Sprinkle in pesto and 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese and mix into meat.

DSC01605 Cut pepperoni into bite-size pieces.


Stuff each meatball with a piece of pepperoni.


 Spray a baking dish (8×8 inch) with cooking spray & form meatballs. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, boil water and cook pasta.


Drain water and sprinkle pasta with garlic salt and the last 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese and stir. Add in a tsp. of butter, if desired.


Set aside and keep warm.

 Pull meatballs from oven and sprinkle with another 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese.


 Serve meatballs on top of pasta immediately.


Jade, while eagerly helping me cook dinner in the kitchen, became very distracted by a barking dog on t.v. and ran over to check it out!


Yup, there it is!


Although the smell of the meatballs eventually brought her back to reality. Anyone else have a dog that checks out the t.v. dogs like this? I will say that while Jade will occasionally cock her head to the side at the t.v. when dogs bark or coyotes yip on the hunting channel,  this is the first time she has ever run to the t.v., and she is 11 years old!