One Beer Bread at a Time.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy Fall! No need to put away the flip flops

Fall is officially here and along with it, Chicagoland has temps over 90 degrees for another 3 or 4 days.  As anyone you run into will tell you, it's hotter now than it was in August.  August was quite lovely.  Now here we are trying to get our Fall on and you'll suffer a heat stroke if you break out the boots or savor a hot cider. 

The current weather situation has killed my mums and thrown a wrench in my meal planning plan for the week. Good thing I said I was going to meal plan in my last post because putting that down in writing has made me feel  accountable and thusly ice cream for supper Saturday through Wednesday ain't gonna happen here.

Today the man went to the grocery store and mostly followed my prepared list. Does he realize how lucky he is that I put the list in order of the store layout? Anyway he did a better than fair job of  purchasing what was on the list.  Right now the air is on and we are slow roasting a beef roast.  I am using a Tastefully Simple recipe from my One Pot 10 Meal Kit  this one is Savory Beef & Carrots .

I'll let you know how it turns out.  Tomorrow I'm going to try the Rustic Chicken Wild Rice Soup  .  Monday I'm going to keep it super simple because we have our annual eye doctor exam after I get done with work.  So chicken wings and turkey burgers w/baked French fries and salad.  Tuesday another Tastefully Simple ! Chicken Fajita Tacos Wednesday I have a Wine Wednesday Tastefully Simple party- so the fam is on their own.  For Wednesday, I am putting Bryce in charge, he likes to make pork chops.  Thursday chicken stir fry- i.e. chicken, rice and whatever vegetables are in the refrigerator.

There you have it, I just spend about 10 minutes and planned the week- with an assist from the 10-Meal Kit this week.

Next week it's going to be cooler, so I'm thinking butternut squash soup!

Pro Tip: For a slimming look, pose with a giant pumpkin!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Who knew

Who knew it would be 4 years between posts from me.  I didn't, well actually I didn't have a plan to come back to this blog.  Today I decided, let's do this thing.  I enjoy a place where I can talk about stuff and I like to look back on what the kids were up to in these posts.

Speaking of the kids, all of them are now officially teens! So I will try and respect privacy and still brag on them when possible.  In my opinion, teenagers don't particularly  have good self esteem or confidence.  Maybe it is just my 3; in any case,  I'm working on bolstering that when I have the opportunity.

Since I last wrote we moved back to Chicagoland. Turns out I need to be surrounded by people, I don't necessarily feel a need to talk to strangers, like the hubs does, but I do like lots of people around me making up a big colorful group of different lives being lived.  To whit, when I run a race I notice the people around me and savor the differences.  People can be really cool and they can suck at the same time.  I'm trying to focus on the cool part, focus on what I want to see more of,  and all that pop psychology rigmarole.

My plan for this blog moving forward is sharing some book reviews, recipes, money saving tips, great podcasts and what the family is up to in 2017 and beyond. My goal for this week is to sit down and do meal planning for the upcoming week. Wish me luck!

 I also plan to try all the pumpkin beers I can find this Fall Season - and that will start with whatever is on sale at Jewel this week. So holding myself accountable, look for 2 upcoming posts from me to you:

1. Pumpkin or Fall Ales (in case I run out of  pumpkin specific ales too quickly) review.
2. My Meal Planning Adventure

I can't leave this list at 2.  I need a third..

3. In which I discuss my new adventure, a personal project I've been putting off for over 2 decades.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013


It's almost time to brine! 

Its Tuesday, Do you know how to carve a turkey?

I don't , I can cook one, I can brine one, but I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to carving.

Thank goodness for youtube ! Hey if you have been doing that whole post everyday in Novemeber on Facebook something you are grateful for this year and you've run out of ideas.  Well I just gave you one for today.

You're welcome!

I also have a youtube from The Food Network of Alton Brown breaking down how to carve a turkey.

And what post of how to carve a turkey can be complete without a turkey recipe, well probably all of them, but I like to share recipes so here you go:

From my webpage

Garlic Butter Basted Turkey
Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef

1-2 Tbsp. Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
Seasoned Salt
8-12 lb. whole turkey

Combine first 2 ingredients; let stand 30 minutes. Sprinkle inside of turkey with Seasoned Salt. Rub prepared butter liberally over outside of turkey; place any leftover butter in the bottom of the turkey roasting pan. Roast turkey at 325° for about 20 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh reaches 180°. Baste turkey with seasoned butter every 30 minutes. Makes 10-12 servings.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Talking Turkey

So when it comes to Thanksgiving where do you stand?  Are you planning a feast?  Or planning major shopping?

Even though I enjoy Christmas, and I really enjoy watching all the Hallmark Channel movies, I like the gift-free gratitude-filled -ness that is Thanksgiving.

It's also fun to try new dishes.  Especially since I have lots of opportunities to create new dishes with our Tastefully Simple products and I have lots of hosts who love to share awesome recipes with me! I'm a lucky cooker as the kids used to say when they were little.

Recently my host Annette, who is an awesome cook, made the yummiest dressing. 
If you are looking for a way to wow this Thanksgiving I must recommend it.

Here is the recipe from our website:

Creamy Wild Rice Stuffing
Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef

Creamy Wild Rice Soup Mix
5 cups hot water
2 tsp. Garlic Garlic™
2 - 3 Tbsp. Onion Onion™
6 - 8 slices diced bacon
4 stalks diced celery
14 oz. unseasoned breadcubes
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine first 4 ingredients; simmer, covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauté bacon in large skillet until browned; add celery. Cook until celery is tender. Toss bread cubes in large bowl with bacon mixture and cranberries. Add prepared soup, season to taste with salt and pepper; mix well. Place dressing in greased 9 x 13 baking dish; cover with foil. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 10-12 servings.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cavemen and Cookie Creation

Over at Hayesville Elementary School the 4th grade recently completed a unit on prehistoric life. I think Miss Anna's report is charming. She thinks her picture is not good enough to share.  Where do you stand?

Ah yes, so the picture is sideway.  I resaved and re-uploaded it, like 5 times and it will not change it's orientation. 

Anna would say that is karma for posting it in the first place.

"A Day in The Life of a Nomad"
by Anna Hamel, age 9

First I would wake up, then I ate some berries and nuts. Next I went into the woods and got some birch wood.

Then I saw a Mastodon and I called everybody and we raced to get it and then I shot it with my bow and it wasn't even close to being injured.

Then the Mastodons ran away and we had to move so we packed up and moved. Then when we move it was like heaven how much animals there was so then we settled in and we could not wait to eat dinner and so then my dad and my brothers killed a giant deer.

After they brought it back we skinned it we ate it and then my mom made our bed and then we went to bed.

I think a Mastodon would taste like chicken, really good!


Yesterday I got a little creative with my cookie making.  I wanted to do something a little different with our Citrus Sugar Cookies.

I added some Clementine Zest, I don't have a zester, so I used a cheese grater.  I had some walnuts on hand, which I never do, and so I got out my Pampered Chef rotary grater and ground up walnuts.  I rolled the cookie dough in the walnuts instead of the sugar packet included in the box. 

Next up I think I am going to try to take our Classy Chocolate Pound Cake and make it into something with more chocolate and chopped up candy canes. *Sigh* holiday dessert making, it's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Do you make cookies?

I do, but only for the holidays. And hey, guess what? 

Holidays are here. Yippee!  I have a short attention span for making cookies, so I need fast recipes.  Too bad I don't get bored with eating the cookies...That's a topic for another day.

Here at Tastefully Simple we have Citrus Sugar Cookies this year, just add and egg and butter.
Speaking of eggs, I have to share, if you like to eat cookie dough, use egg substitute and you don't have to worry about the salmonella!

Bonus on the cookies is that $1 goes toward Share Our Strength to help end childhood hunger  in America.  Recently there have been reductions in the SNAP benefits, so now more than ever ever $1 helps.

For my open house I dipped the Citrus Sugar Cookies in White Chocolate.  Here you can see them a bit.

 Mine pale in comparison to the awesomeness to be found on our Tastefully Simple blog! How yummy do these look?
If you hope over to you can see the recipe, it doesn't look too hard, I think I'll give it a try. How about you?  Do you enjoy cookie making?  cookie sharing? or cookie eating?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Well someone, probably a senior citizen, was disappointed.

Blogger shows me on a special admin screen the search phrases that have brought people to my blog. 

Recently someone somewhere searched 'sexy photo victoria hamel' and they got my blog.  Poor person. I imagine it was a gentleman in his 60s who was crushing on the actress Veronica Hamel of Hill Street Blues Fame and instead he got my blog of rambling and recipes. 

So in the interest of helping a fellow out, here a a tasteful, yet sexy pic of Veronica Hamel.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Set the DVR!

Looking for a family movie night idea?  On the Hallmark Channel this Friday night the movie Pete's Christmas .  Pete in the movie is the same actor who plays Greg Hefley in the Diary of a Wimpy Kids movies. 

So set the DVR and get out the popcorn for a family movie night, and bonus, it's one that no one in the house can say, "I already saw this."

Here is a yummy snack you can make to enjoy while watching the movie!
S'mores Snacks
Submitted by Kara Bohack (NY)

Twisty Grahams™
2/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. water
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp. marshmallow crème
6 Tbsp. water

Combine sugar and water in a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 45 to 60 seconds or until boiling; stir until sugar is dissolved. CAUTION: IT WILL BE VERY HOT. Immediately add chocolate chips; stir until melted. Blend in marshmallow crème. If a thinner glaze is desired, add hot water, a teaspoonful at a time. Lay Twisty Grahams™™™ out in a single layer on waxed paper lined tray. Drizzle glaze over Twisty Grahams™™™. Let cool completely. Store in sealed container. Makes 8 servings.