Sunday, March 4, 2012

Apple "Pie" Oatmeal Topping

Making this was a triumph in frugal (for me) cooking!  Stranded at the end of a pay period with $29 for two weeks of living, I had to give up my lofty preferences and just use and eat what I had on hand, with no room for error or extravagance.

Last week I made pre-assembled oatmeal packets (like the kind you buy in the store except you make them!).  Somewhere along the line I also found a recipe for Apple "Pie" Oatmeal from Love Big Bake Often.

How could you not make this?

I will definitely make this again.  I think it is also the basis for a very easy dessert - saute apples with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar...serve with good vanilla ice cream.  A lazy apple pie?

Beer Bread

The moment I heard that "beer bread" was an actual thing, I went straight to Food Blog Search - a specialized google tool which searches a large number of reputable food blogs.

When I want good recipes, I always search there first.  Then I use regular google just to gain a more thorough examination of the core recipe.

I usually locate no fewer than 3 recipes to compare - the more ingredients and instructions that are true to all of them, the more likely it is it will work.

Here are the proportions I decided to use, and at the bottom of this post are the seven most inspiring recipes I drooled over during the research phase.

Shockingly Easy Beer Bread

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 generous tsp kosher salt
3ish Tbsp sugar
12 oz beer

Oven 375, buttered 8" loaf pan, bake 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven.


I've heard that cheap beer works best.  I used a micro-brew the first time, and despite the fact that I ate half the loaf in one sitting, I didn't think it was great.  The 2nd time I made it, I used a Pabst and the bread was awesome.  I also added 1 Tbsp dill and 1 Tbsp onion powder.  YUM!

This bread does last a few days sealed in a container on your counter, but honestly the only time to eat this bread is RIGHT AWAY.

The crust of mine has traditionally turned out hard, so I brush it with butter and let it sit in the pan for a few minutes.

Throw in any shit you want - cheeses, herbs, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, dried fruit, whatever else!

Here are all the recipes I used to inform my template:

Rosemary and Feta Beer Bead from Cookie + Kate 

Beyond Easy Beer Bread from Farmgirl Fare

Basic Beer Bread from My Baking Addiction

Beer Bread that Conquers Fear of Bread Making by Honest Fare

Beer Bread by Ezra Pound Cake

Beer Bread Four Ways by Bake at 350

Honey Beer Bread by Gimme Some Oven

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Crock Pot...Air Freshener

There is a long and strange story about how I came to own a crockpot, heavy with guilt and moral dilemmas.  I tried, several times, to give it back to it's rightful owner, Eugene being the kind of town where you run into everyone you've met or wronged at least once every 2-3 years.  During my last attempt to return the crockpot, I ran into the lady at the Whiteaker block party.  "I still have it, let me return it! I have a car! I remember where you live! What's your phone number - here I'll call you on my cell phone so you'll have my number. Call me ANY night when you are home from work or on the weekends I don't do much, I'll bring it right over!"

The call never came, and 2 or 3 years have passed.  Finally, last Sunday, I said "fuck it" - it's mine now. 

So after SEVEN years of owning a crockpot, I used it!

To kill odors in my home...

Although I have bookmarked recipes for crock pot brownies and polenta and lasagna and soups, I filled mine with baking soda, water, cinnamon, cloves, "guilt apples"* and lemon juice and left it on all day, moving it to different rooms of the house.  The house did indeed smell better, but I don't know if I believe that the baking soda disappeared the odors. 

At any rate, it's totally worth it to make your house smell like an apple pie.

*Guilt apples are apples you buy but don't eat and they get mushy so you don't want to eat them.

Here are the two "recipes" I used: 

and this exceedingly obnoxious blog: