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Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Beer {Bison Honey Basil} and a Recipe {Organic Chocolate Stout Baked Mac & Cheese} that I am Dying to Try

Yes, yes, I know, I said I wasn't drinking beer... but my husband brought home a newsletter called Bison Brew News, and in this fantastic publication there is not only a really rad sounding recipe (I'll get to that, keep your panties on) but there is a blurb about their Limited Seasonal Series featuring Honey Basil Ale.  Say what?  Two of the best flavors of summer in one bottle?  Yes please!  It is an ultra limited edition beer, so I'm not sure where I'll find it, but it will be my mission to find a bottle over the next week.  Wish me luck!

And if that doesn't tickle your taste buds, try this on for size: their next Limited Seasonal is a Belgian Trippel brewed with naval orange marmalade.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Mine sure is.

Even better, Bison is an Organic brewery.  Veddy-nice!

Ok, on to the recipe...

This sounds like something straight from a high end restaurant.  I seriously can't wait to try it!  I honestly don't see myself making it until Fall, but I wanted to share in case anyone feels the need for comfort food in the middle of Summer.  I for one have been mowing down on watermelon, cherries and summer squash.  I love Summer!  Cheers!

Organic Chocolate Stout Baked Mac & Cheese

1 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Bison Organic Chocolate Stout
2 cups half & half
1/2 pound brie
16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese
1.5 cups crumbled gorgonzola cheese
2.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1.5 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 16-ounce box elbox macaroni
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil pasta in salted water until al dente, strain and put aside.  In a medium, heavy bottom pot {Dutch Oven sounds perfect!}, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour to form a light roux.  Slowly whisk in the beer and half & half.  Add the brie and cream cheese to the sauce, stirring until the cheeses are melted and incorporated.  Stir in the gorgonzola, cheddar and 1 cup parmesan cheese.  Stir in the pasta, taste and adjust the flavor as desired with salt and pepper 9some of the cheese will be salty and the mixture may need only a little salt, if any).  Pour the mixture into  a 13x9 inch baking dish.  Top the mixture by sprinkling the remaining parmesan cheese and panko crumbs.  Place the dish in the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the toppings are crisp and golden, about 1 hour.  Pair with a bottle (or two) of the Organic Chocolate Stout.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recipe of the Day {Frozen Butterbeer!}

Yes, I'll admit it... I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan.  I have read all of the books, I own all of the movies that are out on DVD/Blu-Ray, and I seriously can't wait for Deathly Hallows Part 2 to come out on July 15th.  If I didn't have a baby at home, I'd go to the midnight showing on opening night.  Actually, I might just ask Daddy to stay home so I CAN go to the midnight show.  I'm 31 and I'm obsessed like a 12 year old.  Nice.

In preparation for this momentous occasion, my cousin Corri, who is similarly obsessed, found this recipe for our pre-film party on the Cook Like a Champion Blog.  Now I just need a recipe for Treacle Tarts and Pumpkin Pasties... 

Frozen Butterbeer
For the butterbeer:
1 1/2 cups cream soda
6 tablespoons butterscotch schnapps
2 cups ice

For the foamy topping:
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butterscotch schnapps

Combine cream soda, schnapps and ice in a blender. Blend until slushy. Pour into a glass or mug. In a small bowl, combine heavy cream and schnapps. Using an electric mixer, whisk together until almost whipped. You want the cream mixture to be slightly loose, not as firm as whipped cream. Top the butterbeer with the foamy topping and serve immediately.
Serves 2


Monday, June 20, 2011

Baby Smiles

It truly is amazing how much a baby's smile can fix anything.

Have a crap day at the office?  BABY SMILE TO THE RESCUE!  Is traffic on the way home have you teetering on the verge of road rage?  BABY SMILE TO THE RESCUE!  Is the long line in the supermarket making you want to throw grapes at the checker to make him hurry up?  BABY SMILE TO THE RESCUE!

Seriously, it is amazing how much Lily's smile helps my tension melt away.  And Jim's too.  He becomes putty when she smiles at him.  There are times that he gets home from a business trip totally worn out from uncomfortable hotel beds and long plane flights, and the minute he sees her smile, his energy is restored.  I wish we could bottle and sell her smile.  We'd be billionaires in a week.

She smiles when you say her name (she loves her name!).  She loves her dog and smiles like crazy when he is playing fetch with daddy.  But my all time favorite smile is first thing in the morning, when she opens her pretty blue eyes, sees me and hears me say, "good morning, Lily!"  She just lights up like a Christmas tree.  It sets every day in a positive direction.  Who needs caffeine?  (ok, ok, I still need my caffeine!)

I'm so grateful for my family.  They truly make the world go round!

Here are some Lily-Smiles to improve YOUR day!



Recipe of the Day {Rainbow Cake in a Jar}

I came across this thanks to my cousin Corri and her addiction to StumbleUpon. *smile!*

Link to the original recipe: CLICK HERE.  This site has some other amazing looking cakes in a jar - I love them because they are not only single serving, but they are so decorative!

I love how I come across other awesome things as I browse...  Lily is most definitely going to have a Unicorns and Rainbows birthday party when she turns 1 in November.

Rainbow Cake in a Jar
  • 1 box white cake mix made according to package instructions
  • Neon food coloring in pink, yellow, green, turquoise, and purple
  • 3 one-pint canning jars
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • Rainbow sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry the inside of each canning jar. Spray the inside of each jar thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Scoop about 1/2 cups of cake batter into five small bowls. It doesn’t have to be perfect, don’t panic if you get a little more of less of one color than another.  Tint each bowl of cake batter with the food coloring until very vibrant.
Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the purple batter into the bottom of each jar.  Spoon equal amounts of turquoise batter, then green, yellow, and pink.  Place the jars in a shallow baking dish, add about 1/4″ in water in the baking dish. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Remove jars and allow to cool completely before scooping a small portion from the top of your cake and adding a hefty dollop of vanilla buttercream to the top. Sprinkle & serve, or cover with a lid and store in the fridge or pop into the mail & surprise someone you love!

When I make this in November, I'll let you all know how it turns out!  I can't wait to plan Lily's 1st Birthday Party!


Tequila Tasting Notes {El Tesoro de Don Felipe} by guest blogger Pako

Guest Blogger Pako is back to share this tidbit on tequila for your pallet's pleasure.

"This truly is an outstanding beverage... ...Soft as silk, with hints of vanilla, chamomile and rosy cheeks... and finishes with a touch of molasses, allspice and 78 degrees of testosterone." 



Beer Hiatus... Sadface!

It looks like Lily has a yeast sensitivity.  So no more beer tasting for me until she's done breastfeeding.  Super sadface!  I will work on guest blogger Pako hooking me up with some tasting notes for the time being, and I'll get the hubby to submit some tasting notes as well.  I'll work on posting a lot more recipes and parenting thoughts.  Maybe I'll start talking about gardening... or maybe I'll finally get to work on some of my craft projects so I can share those with you.  But sadly, for now, my beer posts will be limited to what I can glean from the menfolk.  Oh, the things we do for our children... :)

Cheers, have one for me while I'm on hiatus!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Beer Tasting Notes {Shipyard Double Old Thumper ESB Ale} by GUEST BLOGGER Pako!

My good friend Pako had this to share on this fine Friday afternoon:

Shipyard Double Old Thumper ESB Ale

"Old Thumper ####ed the #### out of me at 11.4%.  It starts with molasses and heaven... but finished with testosterone, licorice and a beating in the head with a wiffle ball bat." 

Thanks for the colorful review, Pako.  I'll take this as a compliment and positive review for Old Thumper.  Hopefully you will be kind enough to share more guest reviews, my friend.  Next time, quit flirting with the bartender and take a picture of your nectar so I don't have to borrow images from the internet abyss, will you please darling?  Kisses!

Pako's interpretation of Old Thumper's affect on his psyche this afternoon...

Cheers all!


Beer Tasting Notes {New Belgium Lips of Faith: Grand Cru and Super Cru}

Last night Jim and I joined our friends at Alley Katz in Sacramento for some happy hour love.  We were lucky enough to be treated to an exclusive sampling of two new Lips of Faith brews from New Belgium - we shared 1/2 of each bottle between 5 of us, so it was a very light sampling, but enough to get a good taste of each.  Good company, interesting beer... what more can a girl ask for on a Thursday night? :)

New Belgium Lips of Faith Super Cru
Super Cru is a 10% ABV sour Belgian Style strong ale that pours a lovely reddish orange.  I wish the flavor had been as pretty as its color.  It has a pretty overwhelming sour pear and cherry flavor mixed with the unmistakable earthiness of the Saison yeast, sweet maltiness and a soft alcohol warmth.  The first sip was a little off-putting with the sourness; it has the rotten sour cherryish characteristics of a very tart Flemish sour or Lambic, not the clean light citrusy Belgian sour flavor that I adore.  After a few more sips, it grew on me some, but then toward the end I didn't like it so much anymore and actually gave up the rest of my sample.  They should have marketed this as a Flemish sour.  Not something I'd drink on the regular (at all), but it was interesting to try.  Glad I didn't pay for it.

New Belgium Lips of Faith Grand Cru Abbey Ale
Grand Cru is a 9.5% ABV Abbey ale that pours a light cola-brown color.  The nose holds some sweet malty sugar and fresh bread.  It is very malty, slightly smokey and has a lightly sour banana-clove Belgian yeast flavor hiding at the edges.  It's a very chewy beer, like a nice fresh yeasty brown bread.  I'd drink this again.


Check out Alley Katz on twitter:
I'm so happy to have a beer bar in Midtown!  Love it!

And a quick shout out to the AGG... pffft, you know who you are!  Tushy!  Kisses!