With Christmas just over two weeks away, my mind is filled with ideas for edible gifts. One of my favorite edible gifts for guys, whether for Christmas, Father’s Day, or a birthday, is homemade beef jerky. While traditional beef jerky would be made with a dehydrator, you can get similar results with your oven. I love making my own beef jerky because I know exactly what quality of beef I’m using (we buy a local cow each year for under $4 a pound), and what ingredients are going into it, which means I control the amount of sugar and sodium.
Homemade beef jerky can also be a great gift for pregnant or breastfeeding moms. During my second trimester, the one your supposed to feel the best in, I had ZERO energy, and was constantly craving steaks and burgers. Turns out I was anemic! Thankfully, my midwife told me about Floradix, a plant based iron supplement that is easily absorbed and doesn’t have all the nasty side effects of the iron pills that are typically prescribed. I bought the biggest bottle I could find, and although it was $40, it lasts me three months and has dramatically changed my quality of life. Eric says it feels like he has his wife back, and Corban loves that I actually play WITH him instead of laying on couch watching him play.
I had to take iron while nursing Corban as well, which really helped me out of postpartum depression. A lot of my pregnant and breastfeeding friends have been telling me that they too have been craving beef, so I know I’m not the only ravenously carnivorous pregnant women out there!
I really love the flavors of this Korean kalbi beef marinade for my homemade jerky. It’s adapted from my traditional Korean kalbi beef ribs recipe. I use garlic and onion powder rather than fresh garlic and onion because I don’t want to be left with little dried bits of garlic and onion on my jerky.
We dry our beef jerky in the oven, because it only takes up to half a day, and we don’t have to worry about keeping the dehydrator out of the reach of dogs, cats, and small children. Notice the different shades of meat on the rack in the photo above? That’s because I made a variety of flavors. You can get my recipes for Homemade Beef Jerky, Homemade Teriyaki Jerky, and Spicy Homemade Beef Jerky at SheKnows.
If you would rather use a dehydrator (the more traditional method for making beef jerky), we own the Nesco FD-37A American Harvest Food Dehydrator, and I LOVE it! We use it to dry fruit from our trees every summer and fall.
Now for a quick update on what we’ve been up to the past month and a half.
Corban has discovered that he loves arts and crafts. He asks to color every day! In late October, we had a get together with his cousin to paint pumpkins. It was a huge success, because toddler pumpkin painting turned out to be more fun and a lot less work than carving pumpkins.
I used painter tape to create Corban’s initials on his pumpkin. Once the pumpkin was dry, we just peeled the tape away.
Corban dressed as his favorite character for Halloween, Elmo! He calls this his elmo shirt, and loves to wear it as a vest on cold days. We went to a party at a friend’s home, and he loved going around the block trick-or-treating with his friends. Rather than having him eat candy, we had him put his candy into his friends’ baskets, which he thought was a great game!
In not fun news, we discovered that our bathtub had been leaking water into the floor and walls for several weeks, and we needed to gut about half the bathroom and replace everything. Thankfully, friends from church ending up helping Eric demolish the bathroom, and then re-install new floor, walls and tub for just the cost of materials. Since it’s our only bathroom, we stayed with Eric’s parents for three weeks! It ended up costing quite a bit less than if we had hired professionals we didn’t know, but still wiped out our emergency fund. But that’s what it’s there for right?
At 29 weeks pregnant, my mother-in-law, sister, and sister-in-law threw me a baby shower, and my sister helped me get this cute photo of my baby belly. Looking at the photo, it’s completely believable that I could have a little one the size of a butternut squash in there!
This was with Corban at the same size just two years ago!
Our lovely midwife Terah got this picture from my latest midwife appointment. Notice how Corban and Eric and bundled up and in snow boots? That’s because it had been snowing all morning. I on the other hand was in snow boots and a sundress. I am constantly overheating!
Even with baby’s arrival only a couple months (or less!) away, Eric and I are really working to put some focus into Eating Richly Even When You’re Broke, and so appreciate all of you sticking with us during the ups and downs of pregnancy. Here’s the Korean kalbi jerky recipe. Enjoy!
- Use a sharp knife to trim all the fat off the steaks, and then slice them against the grain into strips less than 1/4 inch thick.
- Mix together the marinade ingredients, and submerge the meat into the marinade in a zip-top plastic bag with the air squeezed out.
- Marinate the meat in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours.
- Spread the beef strips on a rack placed in a foil-lined baking pan or rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake the meat in the oven on the lowest setting, anywhere from warm to 200 degrees F. Bake for 4 to 8 hours, until the meat is quite dried out but still has a slight chewiness. The beef will dry out more as it cools.
- Store the jerky in an open jar on the counter for a few days, or in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
Approximate cost/serving: By buying our beef as a whole cow, we get the meat for about $3.00/lb. This recipe comes out to about $6.50 for us, so 65 cents for three pieces of jerky (which is QUITE filling!).
Gluten Free: You can easily make this gluten free by using gluten free tamari. Make sure the onion and garlic powders don't have any gluten added, sometimes it's in there to prevent caking.
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.