Yes. You read the title correctly. I have found a way to serve beer as a side dish! Kinda. I am known at work for my creative and daring use of leftovers. I try to always bring my lunch because I am budget-minded (cheap!) and really love cooking and reinventing what I make. This takes leftovers to a whole new level.

My husband started home brewing his own beer after I bought him a kit for Christmas 2009. Since then we have had many fun brewing adventures in our kitchen and in visiting microbreweries across the country on our travels. This was his first time brewing with a partial mash. This basically means that he placed a large bag of grain in a straining bag and heated over a pot of water to extract sugars instead of using malt extract. This description is from my very untrained point of view of “helping” while watching the Oscars.

What I do know is we had a lot of cooked oats and barley left over (a little over 3 lbs) that were a shame to waste. The technical name for this is spent grains.

There are several recipes for spent grain breads, cookies, and even dog treats! After tasting I thought it would be a shame to only use them in baking. Instead I have highlighted these grains in a side dish as a pilaf with mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery. The final result was great. The nutty flavor of the grains combined well with the savory flavor of mushrooms to create an umami taste similar to soy sauce!

I froze the rest of the spent grains to use in baking later so look for more to come!Keep experimenting in your kitchen and you never know what you will come up with!

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I love love. And showing my love for those I love…friends, family, and (of course) my hubby. One way I show my love is through food. Especially heart shaped food! The February 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living showcased many Valentine’s recipes in cute heart shapes.

I always make my hubby something special for Valentine’s Day involving hearts from cookies to french toast to eggs. This year I saw the heart shaped ravioli and couldn’t resist! The use of wonton wrappers makes the process easier and provides a very delicate shell for the fresh crabmeat that is highlighted by the lemon and butter.

Make this or your favorite recipe for those in your life that you love- and make it heart shaped -no matter the time of year!

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What could be better than pasta and potatoes? Pasta with a potato filling! Pierogi are actually a central and eastern European recipe and can be filled with a variety of fillings including potatoes, sauerkraut, meat, or even fruit. Martha Stewart featured these in her magazine years ago and I tore out the recipe to file in my recipe binder for future use. I apologize that I did not tear out a page with the month and year so I do not know exactly which magazine these were featured.

The hubby and I enjoyed these with a side salad for a nice dinner. The caramelized onions added great flavor and we had enough left over to freeze and reheat for another meal during a busy week.

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Happy World Nutella Day! This day celebrates one of the best ingredients available- Nutella- and encourages bloggers across the world to use Nutella and then blog about their recipe.

I was a little premature a few days ago when I used Nutella in my homemade poptarts. But I am always up for trying new recipes- especially when they contain Nutella- and especially when I get to clean the spoon!

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Homemade Poptarts

I saw these on Smitten Kitchen’s blog last spring and bookmarked the recipe for the perfect day. Today was that day. The hubby and I worked from home after getting 17 inches of snow and a lot of wind causing a 4 foot drift in front of our house! After a few hours of shoveling out the driveway these warm and gooey poptarts were the perfect treat. Plus- shoveling burns a lot of calories? Right?

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In case you didn’t know there is a blizzard in Illinois. I am not exaggerating. We are under a blizzard warning and the wind blowing the snow around is pretty crazy right now. Here is a photo just from the beginning of the storm when I got home from work this afternoon.

Luckily my office is closed tomorrow and I have a stocked kitchen with some time to cook!

What is better on a cold, snowy day than a warm, juicy burger? This burger leaves little guilt with ground turkey and tons of veggies. When paired with pretzel rolls and mustard it is just over the top! Enjoy this burger while staying in and dreaming of spring.

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Buckwheat Crepes


Buckwheat Crepes from Cafe Fanny in Berkeley

Did you have one of “those” meals that you will always remember? With the food you can taste in your dreams and crave for months? This recipe is one of those. Over Thanksgiving my hubby and I enjoyed a very relaxing trip to San Fran and Wine Country. While there I was overwhelmed by all the great food¬† choices and decided to venture to Berkeley for breakfast at Cafe Fanny which was previously owned by Alice Waters. I would have loved to eat at Chez Panisse but figured this was a close second on my list.

It was a good choice. I had read a lot of great things about their granola which was even featured on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate…In a Bowl”. That morning we were torn between the granola and the buckwheat crepes so we got one of each to sample. The granola was great, as was the bowl sized cafe au lait, but the crepes were out of this world.

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