Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hunt Day Recipes: Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls and Garbage Energy Bites

Today marked day one of shotgun deer season here in Iowa.  Our previous life in Illinois did not include any hunting (unless you count the night Andy stuck his BB gun out of our bedroom window to ping a rogue raccoon that had climbed up on the roof).  Once we moved to Iowa, we quickly learned (much to Andy's delight) that it is pretty much the norm where we are at.  Our first experience with shotgun season was a year ago- a few months after we had moved here.  Andy was excited to head out on his first 'hunt', though he hadn't gotten his license yet so he was just going as a spectator.  I remember the day clearly- shotgun blasts ringing across the fields all day long which had me convinced the zombie apocalypse had finally happened while deer frantically ran through our property with a frenzied look in their eye looking for a safe haven.  Deer hunting always makes me think of "My Cousin Vinny" when Mona Lisa Vito (played by Marisa Tomei) is outraged at Vinny Gambini's (Joe Pesci) nonchalance about going hunting.  "Imagine you're a deer. You're prancing along, you get thirsty, you spot a little brook, you put your little deer lips down to the cool clear water... BAM! A fuckin bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces! Now I ask ya. Would you give a fuck what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearing?"

Now, I am a pretty typical, meat-eating American and I am very aware of where the meat that I eat comes from.  I don't love the idea of hunting, but I also realize it is a necessity in many areas and won't get all outraged at Andy's interest in hunting.  Despite this, though, I have put my foot down on Andy bringing home a carcass.  I literally have no interest in eating deer so our deal is, if he catches one (my terminology for shooting because it sounds less gruesome) he will donate it.  There is a local food bank that will take the deer and give it to needy families in the area.  A win-win in my book.

So, Andy has been preparing for his big hunting adventure all week.  He was like a boy at Christmas, laying out his clothes, sewing hand-warmers, checking with his hunting buddies that they had their plan down.  It was pretty amusing how confident he was that he would catch something.  Looking at the weather forecast for today, the high was going to be a mere 11 degrees.  I was actually a bit gleeful at the cold weather as I think it evens the ground a bit for the deer but I also was concerned about Andy keeping warm and staying well fed.  So I devised a menu for hunt day to supplement the food that would be a the base house (pancakes, eggs, chili, lots of white bread, etc):  Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls and Garbage Energy Bits.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

For the Dough-
1 cup sourdough starter (we were just given some from a neighbor and it is like having a tamagotchi pet again- you have to remember to feed it and care for it but so far it is worth the trouble)
3/4 cup milk 
2 T butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 t salt
1/4 c granulated sugar
3 1/4 c bread flour
1 t instant active dry yeast

For the Filling-
1 T butter, melted
2 T granulated sugar
2 T brown sugar
1 T cinnamon

For the Frosting-
2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 T milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For the dough, warm the sourdough starter and milk until just simmering.  Remove from heat and whisk in the egg.  In the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment, mix the salt, sugar, flour and yeast. 
Yes, that IS E's foot on the counter.  My trusty helper is sitting on the counter pressing the pulse button when needed.

 Pour in sourdough starter mixture and butter and pulse until just combined.  It will be really sticky and moist.  Dump onto a floured towel and sprinkle some flour on top.  

With floured hands, kneed quickly into a smooth ball.  

Cover with a towel and let rest for 15-20 minutes.  After the dough has rested, roll into a 15x24 rectangle. 

 Brush 1 T melted butter on top.  Mix the rest of the filling ingredients and sprinkle evenly on top.  

Starting with the long side, roll up the dough, pinching the seam to shut.  Cut the rolls into even 1 1/2" sections. 

 Place rolls in a greased 9x13 pan, leaving space in between each roll.  

Cover and put in a warm place for at least an hour until they puff up to touching.  
My secret weapon is putting a heat pad under any bread I am trying to rise

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool (or if you are like me, spread frosting on hot rolls which will cause it to fall off but allow you to eat piping hot cinnamon rolls-yum!!)

For the frosting, whip cream cheese until fluffy.  Beat in milk and powdered sugar until smooth.  Spread over rolls and serve immediately.

Notice the 2 rolls I took out before Andy took them on the hunt for breakfast for myself and the kiddos at home.  YUM.

Garbage Energy Bites
Adapted from

When I knew Andy would be out in the cold, I had imagine him needing a snack to really stick to his bones.  In my mind, I imagined making him the craft kids make as a bird feeder- seeds stuck by peanut butter on a toilet paper roll.  While Andy found this amusing, he did not find it appetizing.  So, I went back to the drawing board and found a great recipe for Trail Mix Energy Bites at  The site has a ton of variations but I decided to use the peanut butter based one.  I call mine garbage bites because I basically took whatever nuts we had on hand and threw them in.

1 cup puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 T chia seeds

Stir all the ingredients until coated well.  

Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours.  Press into a greased baking dish and cut into granola bar size pieces or roll into balls.  Keep in fridge to maintain shape (though they don't have to stay in the fridge for freshness).

My snack plan seemed to work because Andy came home tonight (empty handed) with a full tummy and generally pretty warm and comfortable!  Success!

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