Sustainable Living {review and giveaway}

SchneiderPeeps - Sustainable Living reviewI did not grow up in a family that hunted, gathered or even had a garden.  In fact, I was an adult before I had ever tasted wild game.  My dad loved to fish and shrimp and since we grew up on the beach, I never thought twice about eating fish or sea food.  But venison, dove, wild turkey or hog, that was a different story.  And the whole sustainable living thing…well, that was for hippies.

Fast forward to where I am today, we try really hard to live a sustainable lifestyle. To us, sustainablity is not just about being good stewards of the Earth, it’s also about being good stewards of our bodies and our finances.  We’re far from perfect in this journey but we try. We don’t have much mentoring for sustainable living with our friends or family so I’m always on the look out for people who can help us on this journey.

Last month I came across a homeschooling post from Stacy Harris of Game and Garden that resonated with me.  Our children are of a similar age range and we’ve had similar homeschooling experiences.  As I browsed Stacy’s site I saw she had a Gourmet Venison dvd.  Since the totality of my venison cooking is canning it for meat and gravy or stew, hoping Carl has the opportunity to make sausage,or making jerky, I knew I wanted to watch the dvd.  I contacted Stacy and asked if I could get a review copy.  She was so sweet and offered to send me the dvd plus her books Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living and Happy Healthy Family Tracking the Outdoors In.  She also offered to send me a second set to use as a giveaway.  And, of course, I accepted her generousity.  



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For all three products I really appreciated the beautiful photos and video.  Carl calls books like these “Mom’s picture books”.  But there is so much more than pretty pictures.  I loved the family element in each product. Stacy incorporates her family and family stories in each book and throughout the dvd.  I feel like I know her and her family after reading the books and watching the dvd.  I also appreciate that all the recipes are doable – even for me with my limited culinary expertise ;-). Even though the title of the dvd is Gourmet Venison the most “gourmet” ingredient is a brief mention of polenta which I can find in my local grocery store. The gourmet is in the process and presentation.
 Recipes and Tips  for Sustianable Living is a great overall book for sustianable living.  While it’s not an encyclopedia of sustainable living there is enough information to help you feel comfortable starting – which is one of the goals of the book. The first section of this book is The Garden which includes heirloom gardening, vertical and container gardening, herbs and preserving The second section is Beyond the Garden which is a small section on foraging wild fruits, herbs and greens, beekeeping and poultry and eggs.  I really appreciated Stacy’s advice on how to prepare an older chicken as that is on our horizon.  The last section is Woods and Water which covers venision, wild turkey, duck, quail, small game and fish and sea food.  This last section was especially inspiring to me since this is the area I struggle most in. I counted about 90 recipes in this book and I believe everyone has a photo. All the recipes are one page recipes, so you can see that they are not complicated recipes – just what this mama needs.

Tracking the Outdoors In is all about cooking with wild fruits, greens, herbs and game. The sections include Starter, Soups and Salads, Dinners, Vegetables and Sides, and desserts.  Each section starts with a little story or tips from Stacy about cooking with with foraged food.  I counted 75 recipes, each with a beautiful photo.  Just like with Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living, Tracking the Outdoors In has recipes that are very simple yet elegant.  My favorite quote from this book is “Stressed spelled backwards is Desserts”.  I think that nicely sums up the feeling I got from reading both of these books, cooking should not be stressful but fun, especially when the whole family is included.

Gourmet Venison is a dvd of 15 recipes mostly from Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living. If you are a very visual person like I am, this is a great addition to your library.  I enjoyed watching Stacy make these 15 recipes and the tips she had.  For instance, I had no idea that when browning meat you should hear a sizzle or else you’re just sweating it an the flavor will be different.  And yet, when I think about it, I can recall times when I’ve added water (because I didn’t thaw the meat all the way) and it really just isn’t as good as when I do it properly.  If you’ve ever been intimidated by butterflying and tying a venison loin (or pork or beef) you will totally feel like you can do it after watching Stacy.  Benjamin was watching the dvd with me, I recommend not letting your 12 year old boy watch it with you.  Why? You will be demoted from coolest mom on the planet. When it was over Benjamin said, “I really like her.  She’s super cool. ;She makes A LOT of meat.” ;-).
There isn’t anything I didn’t like about these books and dvd; the quality of the actual products, of the photography and writing is wonderful and the information is spot on and encouraging. 

To enter the giveway just use the form below

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  1. Teri G says

    I have never cooked wild game or foraged food before. I guess I have always been a little intimidated by it. I would love a little guidance to push me in that direction. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

    • says

      Diane, I promise you these are the best tasting foods you will ever put in your mouth. It’s all in the preparation and the ingredients you put with one another. If you don’t win the books, I have a special going on for Christmas and they are marked down by half. Good luck with the Giveaway. You will love eating fresh from all that you or your family harvest. I would love to hear what you tackle first.

  2. Nicole Derosier says

    My biggest problem with cooking wild game is that the hunter has not collected it right. I am not naming any names, but even I have made some mistakes. My biggest problem foraging for wild edibles is that I cannot remember what they look like without the book right in front of me and I just do not have enough training.

  3. clickercricket says

    without a working car, it is difficult to find a bus route to a place wild enough to go foraging…although if i had a tiny field guide of foraged foods of the wild city in my hip pocket, i’m sure i would find enough to make a meal.

    • says

      If you prepare the game right – from the field to the table – you will not have a gamey meat. Because the animals forage on fresh nuts where available, grass, herbs, etc., it will not taste like beef that is finished off with corn. It tastes different, but should not be gamey. In my experience, oftentimes, the flavor of venison can exceed that of beef. Don’t get me wrong, I love beef, but venison is at least it’s equal. Venison has much less fat and has to be treated differently than venison. Because game is so active, they have a lot of muscle fiber and tendons. This actually helps with the flavor if you cook it low and slow because the fibers break down resulting in amazing, tender, healthy, succulent meat. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

  4. one of God's says

    Wouldn’t call it a struggle, but a challenge. So much easier now in the age of easily accessible info from the web. Just finding out how to use an unfamiliar item, recipes, etc.

  5. erin durkee says

    I would say my biggest struggle would be new fun recipes. I love game meat regardless. But I tend to stay with what I know taste goods. I could use a little adventure.

  6. Walter Goddard says

    Prep/cleaning space in my small apartment and things that require the use of both hands… I am an amputee; all four fingers on my right hand were surgically removed with only the thumb and palm remaining…

  7. Veronica Nickols says

    We are just getting started on our sustainable journey so these would be a great starting point along with all of our research! Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  8. Holly says

    When my husband has a deer processed, we have it ground into hamburger meat and mixed with beef, which is great; but I’d love to have more of a variety of cuts from the deer meat and then some great recipes for what to do with them.

  9. says

    I love Stacy’s blog posts and would love to have her books. We have been eating game for years and all of our boys hunt. They get so much pleasure out of sharing the harvest with their family. Cooking venison can be tricky because of the lower fat content. But it sure is worth it in the end!

  10. Teresa says

    My husband just killed his first deer and I’m so excited to learn how to cook venison. So I could really use the help. I don’t want our meat to taste gamey……so I could use all the help I can get!!! Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

  11. Tammy says

    I love cooking wild game, though I have not gotten the knack for smoking meats yet as I’d like. I have a dehydrator, but I have not yet tried my hand at making jerky, either.

    As for foraged foods, I don’t know enough about plants to know which ones I really want to forage. I want to start with ones that I know I know like thistles and dandelions that grow well here. We don’t have any plantain, violets, chicory, and such growing wild here. We did just discover that we have a native persimmon tree in our yard that we need to feed so the persimmons will grow heartier for next year.

    I’ve added your page and that of Game and Garden to my favorites so I can check in with you both often.

    This sounds like a fabulous collection of books for any homesteader to have!


  12. says

    I had no idea she’d done all that – those are awesome titles and I’m really interested in checking them out. And becoming an affiliate! Totally entering this giveaway!

  13. Deanna says

    I’ve never had the opportunity to cook with wild game – need to get hubby out the door to go hunting…my biggest fear with foraging is that so many things that aren’t good for us look so similar to things that are edible and good for us…I lack the ability to tell the difference. I need a book that has side by side pics, I guess…

  14. Debra D. Todd says

    Would love to win these books & dvd. I used to cook venison all the time when I was married but would love some new recipes & advice on foraging.

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