Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beer Bread

I love chicken chili. Especially when the temps dip below freezing with wind chills way below zero. And here in Minnesota with long, cold winters I've had many chances to make different versions of chili! Over the past year or so I have perfected my perfect chili recipe with chicken, great Northern beans, fresh red pepper, chicken stock, garlic and lots of spice. What I've struggled with is what to serve with the chili.

Typically I've seen cornbread served with chili, but I've never been much of a fan of cornbread. Actually, I shouldn't really say that. I only remember trying it a few times as a child so I guess I was just not a fan of that version I tried in my childhood. Lately I've been trying new things that I said I hated as a child, and to my surprise have liked quite a few of them.
(Sorry Mom for being such a picky eater!) Like pineapple. I always thought I hated it, but after trying a fresh pineapple slice I actually quite liked it. Maybe some day I'll be adventurous and try cornbread again to see what I think of it now.

To go with my chili, I've made cheddar biscuits, garlic breadsticks and cheesy bread, but nothing seemed just right. Then I saw a recipe for beer bread. That seemed perfect to me. I think beer goes very well with chili and the slightly sweet taste of the bread would help balance my sometimes overzealous spice in the chili.

The best part is that beer bread is super simple to make - just five ingredients. Who knew with all of those pre-made mixes you see everywhere? I assumed it would be lots of ingredients and time consuming. Sometimes those packaged mixes can be very deceiving! I found my recipe here on My Baking Addiction (love that site!) and will never try a packaged mix!

The next time you're whipping up your favorite batch of chili or just need a good side of bread, try this recipe out. It's wonderful!


Beer Bread
Original recipe posted by Jamie at the My Baking Addiction blog

Ingredients

3 cups self rising flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 oz beer
2 tablespoons butter, melted


How To

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (I use a 9x5 loaf pan, but 8x4 will work as well).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and beer. Stir to completely combine. The mixture will be very sticky.

Take the dough and spread it evenly in the buttered loaf pan.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes.
After the 50 minutes, remove from oven and pour the 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the top. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes and carefully remove from pan.

Best served warm.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seven Things I've Learned Today

1. Embrace 50 degree days in February to their full potential. Run outside in a t-shirt. Wear a sundress and flip flops. Drive with the sunroof wide open. Because just a few days later Mother Nature will surely dump over a foot of snow on you. And also turn bitterly cold again. You will then forget that spring is just around the corner and go back into hibernation.

2. Even though these faces are incredibly cute and mos
t of the time I just want to cuddle their furry bodies, they can be very annoying when Mother Nature is dumping over a foot of snow on you and no one can escape the house. Taking them for a walk is not an option so they are constantly under my feet. But I still love them (although today I constantly have to remind myself of that).
3. I think becoming a one car family might be a ridiculous idea to save money. I realize that only having one car will most likely not affect my husband who will drive it every day. No wonder he agreed to it so quickly. However, I will be the only one affected by it. I will never be able to escape without a car. I can not run to the grocery store if I need eggs or milk. Or run up to Pier 1 because I feel the need for a new candle or pillow. If you only
have one car in your family, how do you survive??

4. I miss having dinner with my husband. We recently joined a gym (which is a GREAT thing, don't get me wrong). However, he chooses to work out after work. He works until 7 p.m., then goes to workout and doesn't get home until 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. So once again we never eat dinner together.


5. Buying a new car was fun. But I've only been able to drive it for 20 minutes so I have no clue how it drives or all of it's features (see reasons 1 and 3 why I'm not driving it). It sure is pretty though!!

6. I want an iPhone. But only for it's camera capabilities. My Blackberry takes horrible pictures that I'm embarrassed to put anywhere. However, for the sake of proving that, all of these pictures were taken with my phone with only slight editing in iPhoto.

7. If all else fails to make me happy, give me some chocolate! This weekend I made strawberry cake bites. They taste kind of like a chocolate covered strawberry. Happiness might be achieved today if I just keep eating those!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Puppy Chow Cookies

Did you know some people have never heard of puppy chow for people before? Every time I post something on my Facebook page about puppy chow someone comments about how gross it is that I'm eating my dog's food. So, just to clarify, these cookies do not in way, shape or form, contain my dog's food. Nor do I ever put my dog's food in anything that I make for people to consume. You can now relax and learn how to make these amazing cookies!

I stumbled upon this recipe back in December when I was planning my holiday baking. I wish I could still find the link to them so I can give credit to the person with this awesome idea, but I only just printed out the recipe without the link. So, whoever you are who posted this recipe on the Tasty Kitchen site, thank you very much!

Puppy chow used to be (okay, it still is!) one of my favorite snacks. It's super easy to make. Typically you just melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and some butter together and pour it over Chex cereal. You stir it gently to completely cover the cereal, then dump powered sugar on top of the chocolate/ peanut butter gooey mess of cereal you just made. You then spread it out on wax paper to dry, and enjoy. Super easy, and very kid and party friendly. And if you put it in cookie form ... magic happens!

This recipe starts with your basic peanut butter cookie recipe. You can use your favorite homemade peanut butter cookie or even one of those store bought mixes. I made mine from scratch using a new recipe and I loved them from the beginning; this will now become my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe!

Then, you melt a bag of chocolate chips and a stick of butter. (No, this is not healthy. One of the reasons why I'm joining a gym!) Take a cooled cookie and dip it in the melted chocolate, then in a bowl of powdered sugar. I chose just to dip the tops of my cookies because the cookie itself tasted so good and I thought it would get lost with all the chocolate and powdered sugar. I believe the original recipe said to dunk the whole cookie, but I'll leave that up to you to decide!

Let the chocolate set on the cookies, then enjoy. That's all there is to it. A little bit more work than normal puppy chow, but so, so worth it. I could eat these cookies all day long! Not that I recommend it unless you're running on a treadmill at the same time!