What To Do When You Meet Your Meat

It’s rutting season and this guy means business

My job is to sell meat. And not just any meat but meat from animals that are locally raised, humanely treated and able to roam freely over acres of land. These animals are cared for by people who actually do care for them, which I was able to see first-hand on a recent trip to our elk farm.

A few lucky co-workers and I got to travel with our boss on a tour with a team of employees from the well-known, acclaimed restaurant the Herbfarm. We watched as the yearlings were fed and then saw the rest of the herd. The bulls were in full rut and we could hear them buggling from across the field. Only one still sported his antlers (George, pictured above) as the farmers usually remove them after velvet so the bulls don’t hurt each other as they vie for the attention of the females.

We saw a room in the barn covered in antlers, each one tagged so the farmers know which animal and what year they are from. It made for a pretty impressive display.

A room full of racks

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Easy Breezy Valentines (AKA a simple way to kiss ass at work)

I come from a family that loves to give gifts. I realized this, with excitement, at a young age and have reveled in it ever since. My grandparents used to buy me a gift on my brother’s birthday (seriously!) and vice versa. We also got presents — not just candy — for Halloween, Valentines Day, Easter and, honestly, just for arriving at their house at the start of summer vacation.

I vividly remember getting out of car, suitcase in hand, and running into “my” bedroom to see what book was on my pillow, wrapped in my grandma’s trademark tissue paper. I guess the best word to describe me at this age would be spoiled. But hey, it was a book. It’s not like I got my own car or anything.

I also come from a family with plenty of affection for sweets so it’s no surprise that I love a well-stocked candy dish. One magically wonderful thing about my grandparents’ house is that every time I show up, there is a candy dish on my nightstand. As a kid, it used to contain M&Ms or Starbursts, with the occasional Swedish Fish thrown in for good measure. Since college, knowing my taste for tart candies, my dish has been filled with Sour Patch Kids and the like. There is really no better treat than candy at arms reach.

The reason I bring this up is because I also like to give random gifts and candy is generally a crowd-pleaser.

Since Valentines Day is a ridiculous holiday anyways, it’s a fun one to surprise people on. Last year I decided to try out this cute thing I had pulled out of a Martha Stewart Living magazine just a few weeks prior. It was not only an adorable idea but also affordable. And since I wanted to make one for each girl in my office, cheap was kind of a necessity.

I bought the cookie cutters, paper dish and goodie bags at JoAnns and put the gifts together the night before. They were so cute I felt the need to share the idea just in case you’re looking for a simple but tasty way to let someone in your office know you are thinking of them — especially when it’s in a positive way for once.

Candy Hearts

Finished and ready to gift!

The best part is you can tailor this for any holiday using different cookie cutters and candy colors. The possibilities are endless. Just remember — you get to eat all the leftovers, so don’t pick out any crappy candy flavors!

Working towards that promotion

One of the best gifts I received recently were these awesome “Message in a Cookie” cookie cutters. I saw them on Pinterest a while ago and have been lusting after them ever since. I was very excited when my grandma bought them for me for Christmas and I have been dying to try them out. However, my holiday-induced sugar coma prevented me from immediately making more cookies. I still had to eat all the leftover ones from the Christmas cookie platters! But now that it’s well after New Years, I’ve finally got my baking motivation back and there was even some left-over gingerbread cookie dough begging to get used up.

The first thing to discuss is the cutters themselves. There are three shapes in the box — a heart, a square and a star. They come with three sets of the alphabet (plus a few extras of the more popular letters) as well as a few already made phrases — stuff like “Thank You” and “Happy Birthday.” I’m sure I’ll get to use those soon, but first I was on a mission to express my post-holiday angst.

My job revolves around restaurants, which means holidays where people go out to eat are a big deal. So from Thanksgiving until after New Years, my office and the adjoining warehouse is a mad house. Tensions run high, tones get snappish and the cheer of the season can be hard to find. Finally it reaches the breaking point and we get to enjoy a brief lull in January, before Valentines Day approaches.

I decided to embrace that feeling of joy by offering my co-workers some sugary goodness. Good thing for me that everyone in my office has an excellent (and perverse) sense of humor so these well-intended cookies got a great response.

The cutters were easy to use after a few practice cookies and I think they’ll be seeing a lot of use in the future. Though I promise to use much different phrases when baking for my grandma!