Weekend Giveaway: High Plains Bison

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Sarah, who said:

“I have always wanted to try bison… this sounds wonderful.”

Sarah, you have been notified via email. A big thank you to all who entered our giveaway.
Today’s weekend giveaway is from High Plains Bison, a purveyor of premium American bison products. Yep, that’s right! A Simple Bites reader is going to win some brown paper packages tied up with with string – and full of high flavor and low-fat bison steaks, sausage and Filet Mignon.

I’ve eaten a wide variety of red meats in my 32 years -moose, elk, venison, emu-and bison ranks up there with quality cuts of beef. Bison boasts a bigger, richer flavor than your usual meats, and it is much healthier by far.

How so?

  • Bison is naturally lean and lower in saturated fat than beef, chicken, pork, or even salmon.
  • Low in cholesterol, low in sodium, a great source of iron and contains a healthy dose of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • The dense proportion of protein, fat, mineral and fatty acids to caloric value make bison one of the more nutrient-dense meats available today.

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Three Quick 3-Ingredient Appetizers (vlog)

Often the best bites at a party are the simplest ones. Ones in which each ingredient can be easily identified at a glance, (an important quality, unless you eat everything and don’t mind an occasional surprise) the canapé isn’t overly complicated and is easy to eat.

Tidy, bite-sized, and fresh are other qualities of a perfect little appetizer. I’m also partial to cheese, and nuts, apparently, as this post demonstrates. OK, I’ll admit it, I love nibbling my way through the holidays! Canapés are a must at events whether the occasion is an open house, a church reception or a rocking Christmas party.

Making appetizers isn’t work, as far as I’m concerned, but perhaps that is because I avoid the really finicky ones. Yes, it can be  repetitious to reproduce the same little item over and over, but it’s rewarding to see them all lined up.

And I’ll tell you a trick…I’ll often have all the ingredients prepped and a platter on standby for when the first guests walk in the door. As soon as they are settled, have a drink in hand, and offer “Can I do anything for you?”, well, I just steer them towards the ready-t0-be assembled canapés and put them to work!

Guests love to feel included, and since the party always happens in the kitchen, why not capitalize on that and speed up the work? Helping hands are another reason to keep your starters simple. Anyone can prepare the appetizers in this post, and with just three ingredients each, the shopping and prep are easy too!

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A Classic Homemade Eggnog Recipe

Written by Elizabeth Nyland of Guilty Kitchen.

Fresh farm eggs: there’s nothing quite like them. What they offer more than anything else though, is food safety. Knowing where your eggs come from, what the chickens eat and how they live offers you great insight into their health status. Plus, the quality of farm fresh eggs just can’t be beat, and are a dream to work with, as my homemade mayonnaise demonstrates so well.

Eating raw eggs can be dangerous as they can become contaminated with salmonella and you would never know it. Mostly this is dangerous for immune compromised people, such as young children and the elderly or ill, but they can be dangerous for anyone.

Having fresher-than-fresh eggs that come from your own backyard chickens can reduce the risk of contamination as you are the one who has handled them from nest to kitchen, but it does not eliminate the possibility of contamination, it merely reduces the risk.

Not everyone has the opportunity to keep chickens, but it is easy to buy farm fresh eggs from roadside stands. An even better method would be to talk to the farmer and find out just how fresh those eggs are. Read more on ways to procure local fresh foods here.

All photos by Elizabeth Nyland

When making recipes that call for raw eggs, such as the eggnog recipe below, be sure to use the freshest eggs possible. Wash the shells before cracking to ensure nothing gets into the egg once they are removed from the shell.

Holiday Eggnog

Having eggnog during the holidays has become a tradition dating back to when I was in high school. The first time I tried, I made four quarts and the only ones drinking it were my father and me. Good thing we liked it so much. Ever since then I’ve tried to make it every year when we have people over.

This recipe is more than simple to make and keeps well as there is alcohol present (caution: don’t save it for more than a couple of days without alcohol).

Try this recipe out and make eggnog an annual tradition in your house! We find it pairs beautifully with Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, but you can be the judge of that!

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Simple Shortbread: One Recipe, Four Cookies

Christmas cookies are everywhere you look these days. This month, magazines have devoted entire issues to them, bloggers and bakers just wrapped a #cookieweek theme on Twitter and cookbooks such as the brand new Gourmet Cookie Book are inundating us with endless options for sweet, buttery goodness.

Every year there is some new trend, some riff on a classic or old favorite, but it is rare that I am swayed. Sure, I try a few new cookie recipes every holiday season, but one variety that I am eternally devoted to are shortbread.

No matter how busy I am during the weeks leading up to the holidays, I always make time for classic homemade shortbread. This simple combination of only four ingredients – flour, sugar, butter and salt – claims to be the best cookie out there and I tend to agree.

If you are bored with the classic recipe, the good news for you is that there are many variations that you can make on the standard, as this type of cookie lends itself very genially to manipulation.

Here are directions for making four different varieties of cookies using the same dough. All are simple to make and don’t require the extra step of rolling dough and cutting shapes (although that is a fine option and the dough works well for that method too).

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Weekend Links

And Simple Bites contributor Cheri shares her recently renovated kitchen before and after shots with us. Love it!

What’s cooking in your kitchen today?