Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Brew Review: Baxter Brewing Co. Stowaway IPA

Beer: Baxter Brewing Co. Stowaway IPA
Date: 8-15-14
Location: Millinocket, ME
Type: IPA
Alcohol: 6.9%
IBU: 69

Appearance: Copper orange, hazy, good head retention

Aroma: Strong hops with an abundant smell of malt which smells like a wonderful melody between bitterness and sweetness

Body & Texture: Bite on the tongue, extremely hoppy upfront, smooth finish

Aftertaste: Pretty dang bitter in the beginning but the overall aftertaste is a little too sweet.

"Bold, complex flavors with a solid malt backbone and assertive hop profile, along with cold conditioning give this beer its crisp, clean finish" - Baxter Brewing

Overall Impression:
I really liked the color of this beer, the head retention, and the aroma. Of course, I always enjoy canned beers because it makes it so convenient to bring the beer places while being active. Unfortunately, I wasn't a huge fan of this IPA. It tasted more characteristically like a double IPA to me. Even at 69 IBU it tastes much more bitter and it has a pretty sweet aftertaste that I usually associate with doubles. If I had to pick Baxter Brewing's Xtra Pale Ale Paloma or this Stowaway IPA I would choose the Paloma. I wouldn't buy this IPA for myself if it were available here in CA, but I am very thankful that Janine sent it to me since I love trying beers from all over. It's fun to compare IPA's from California to across the country.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Smokey Artichoke Hummus

I have quite the collection of hummus recipes on this blog of mine. It used to be because it was a healthy snack for David to bring to school. Now I'm back to making more hummus recipes for him to have a quick and healthy snack at work. Bless his heart for loving hummus and broccoli so much. I can honestly say that while I enjoy trying out new hummus recipes, David is the sole eater of these creations.

Cast of Characters

I feel like I should document my morning and the earthquake as it's something I'll probably want to remember. David and I were sleeping (obviously! Who is up at 3:20 a.m.?) and I woke up to the loudest rumbling sound. My heart was pounding out of my chest and I scooted right up next to David and grabbed his arm. He woke up completely freaked out and asked where he was! He said he was having a dream that he was at work and they were in the middle of an earthquake. Anyway, I guess I really freaked him out, but I'm sure he would have woke up on his own. I just jolted him awake. haha. We were laying in bed, hearts pounding, just waiting for it to be over. Ryder walked out of his room, into the living room, and back to his bed. He didn't even check on us. When it finally ended (not that it was really long, but it always feels longer) we laid in bed with our adrenalin pumping and could barely fall back asleep. As I was laying there in those seconds after it finished all I could hear was my neighbors wind chimes clanking back and forth, then it went silent, and I could hear the crickets again. I tried falling back asleep but I was sweating and scared and waiting for aftershocks. About 10 minutes later I heard a lone duck quacking. I felt bad for it. Luckily we felt no after shocks. 

When I woke up 4 hours later I saw I had a text from Debby. I felt so bad for her. I knew she was all alone in her house and must have been terrified, and here she was texting me to make sure we were okay. What a sweet friend! She has family in Napa that had lots of damage to their properties. Other than that, I've been stalking the news and social media today keeping an eye on the damage.

Earthquakes are scary. I've definitely been in my fair share of them, but this one was the biggest I can remember. I was only 2 in 1989 so I don't remember the big one. I guess for now (and hopefully forever!) this will be the biggest one I remember. The rumbling sound is what stays with me. Think sort of like thunder but it doesn't stop for what seems like forever. The house is swaying and you're just praying that it'll stop soon! Luckily, most earthquakes we've had are usually pretty small and are over so quickly. I don't think anyone ever gets used to them -- super eerie.

On a happier note, this hummus is easy, and delicious. I love the addition of artichoke hearts and it's even inspired me to create another artichoke bean dip that I'll most likely share next week. Geez, my blog is sure turning into an appetizer and snacks recipe blog lately.

Smokey Artichoke Hummus
Recipe from Heather Christo

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor; pulse the garlic until chopped. Add in chickpeas, artichoke hearts, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt and turn the processor on. Stream in up to 1/3 cup olive oil until it all comes together and is smooth. Remove from food processor and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

No-Bake Chocolate, Cranberry, Chia Oatmeal Bars

This week feels like it should already be Thursday, even though I set myself up for success over the weekend. David and I took care of a lotttttt of chores that had totally fallen by the wayside. It was so nice spending the weekend working on tasks that had been placed in the to-do basket located in the back of my mind. I won't go into all the details of what we did, but one thing in particular that really helps me face another work week is having healthy snack options available for when hunger strikes at work.

I've made a board on Pinterest to pin snack recipes that I want to try out at work. I get in the habit of eating the same type of snacks day in and day out, so in an effort to mix things up a bit, I'm going to be trying out new snack recipes. I've always been good about making sure David and I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but snacks haven't been something I've been so good about. I usually just buy fruits, nuts, and make David hummus and broccoli.

What I liked about this recipe was that it was no-bake. That's always nice in my opinion. Just throw all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and then stir in the wet ingredients.

Once it's all combined all you gotta do is put it in a loaf pan, freeze it, and then cut into bars. Super simple, right? This recipe is pretty awesome because it's opening up so many doors for me to try new flavor combos. I keep thinking about using coconut flakes, dried blueberries, and more! So many flavor combos to explore -- it makes me giddy.

Anyway, even with all my meal planning and convenient snacks available this week, I'm feeling a tad weighed down. Mostly due to the fact that I feel like there's been all these very adult-like things to take care of. Monday morning I had to drop our truck off at the auto body repair shop to meet with an adjuster to assess the damage from the large tree branch that broke off and landed on our truck. Luckily, the damage was pretty minimal and we even got money off our deductible for choosing to live with two very unnoticeable scratches that they mostly polished out.

Then we started thinking about how we should probably get a quote for our front bumper that has been black for the last couple years, because shortly after we purchased the truck all the silver paint peeled off. We've been living with it but knowing we'll be selling the truck in a couple years, we started thinking we should just get it repainted. Trying to discuss what to do and if we should spend quite a bit of dough on it through text while your husband is at his new job on a break isn't the easiest. We finally came to the conclusion to get it done.

This morning I went to get some routine blood work done and I was a little disappointed with how much the lab at Kaiser seemed like the DMV. Call me crazy, but I used to enjoy when they'd come out and call out your last name when they were ready for you. It makes me sad that we're all just reduced down to numbers now.

I'm not really trying to complain here, it's just been a busy week of personal tasks to care of on top of work, trying to keep healthy by making dinners, and exercising. Of course, the nights come so fast now with David not getting home until 7. I'm just very thankful I had the weekend to relax and prepare for such a busy week.

These no-bake oatmeal bars are really freaking delicious. The mini chocolate chips melt down a bit and make them taste so decadent. I may have cut my bars a tad uneven but I'm sort of looking forward to the smaller bars. They are sooooo filling! David thinks they're the best granola bars he's ever had, and I have to agree with him! Like I mentioned up above, you could totally play around with all different mix-ins. Have fun with them!

No-Bake Chocolate, Cranberry, Chia Oatmeal Bars
Adapted from The Gracious Pantry

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In a large bowl combine oats, cranberries, chocolate chops, chia seeds, and cinnamon.

2. In a small pot over low heat melt coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla together.

3. Mix wet and dry ingredients together until fully combined. Place in a well oiled or parchment lined loaf pan. Pack mixture in baking dish and freeze for at least 2 hours. Remove from freezer and cut  into bars. Keep bars in freezer until ready to eat.
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