The Cheesecake Addiction

My Life in Food

Beer + Bread 4ever

Hello, dear friends!

Long has it been since I’ve written about the goings on in our kitchen, but upon perusing the interweb I found a recipe this afternoon that immediately made me jump for joy, run to the kitchen, bake, and blog.

Ladies and gentleman, I give to you what is sure to be a Morrell-Dunn-Rankin Family Favorite: Beer Bread.

Yes, yes, you heard right. Your favorite carbs can come together in one gloriously quick hour. AND you only need 5 ingredients!

3 1/2 cups self rising flour, 12oz beer (any kind), 3 TBL sugar, 1 beaten egg, and 3 TBL melted butter.

3 1/2 cups self rising flour, 12oz beer (any kind), 3 TBS sugar, 1 beaten egg, and 3 TBS melted butter.

But, kids, if you’re like me and are without self rising flour, simply ADD: 1 TBS baking powder and 1 tsp of salt. Voila.

Add sugar to flour.

Add sugar to flour.

And then the beer (I used an old Christmas Ale) and the egg.

And then the beer (I used an old Christmas Ale) and the egg.

Mix well, and pop into a loaf pan (or a round cake pan if you are also like me in that you turned your rusty loaf pan into a flour pot this past summer).

Bake a 350 for 50 minutes…

When your hoppy bread comes out of the toasty oven, brush the melted butter on top, and pop back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

When your hoppy bread comes out of the toasty oven, brush the melted butter on top, and pop back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

…um…this is the melted butter. Later, for dinner, I added chopped garlic to this and brushed it over NAAN bread.

…um…this is the melted butter. Later, for dinner, I added chopped garlic to this and brushed it over NAAN bread.

When your bread has cooled, lovingly cut yourself a slice.

Mmmmyummy

Mmmmyummy

And if you’re goal in life is to emulate me entirely, you’re going to have to spread nutella on most of your bread-goods (or your Thin Mint cookies).

IMG_1862Nutella on beer bread? Absolutely!

And that’s all she wrote on beer bread. Life goes on as usual over here. CDR and I continue on our health kick (Nutella aside) and I’m happy to report we’ve been doing very well. I believe the current household weight loss count is at slightly over 11 pounds! Woohoo!

Another Nutella highlight from this past month: Banana Nutella Swirl muffins.

 

Don't act like you're not impressed!

Don’t act like you’re not impressed!

And that’s all for now, and I do promise to write soon!

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple Lasagna

Hey Everyone,

I’m sitting here killing off the last of this delicious lasagna we made Sunday night.

YUM!

YUM!

It was super easy and low-maitenance, and came out to about 440 calories per serving…and they were pretty big servings!

I used a square baking pan, no boil noodles, and jarred sauce! YEP. THAT EASY. Ok, ok, well I used a couple more things.

First, I chopped up half of an onion and 3 cloves of garlic and divided that in half between two pans. In  one pan, I sautéed the onion, garlic, and about 1/4 tsp of red pepper flake and then added a jar of tomato basil marinara.

In another pan, I simply sautéed the onion and garlic, and then added that to a 15 oz carton of ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil.

Then, wilt a bag of spinach in the same pan used to sauté the onion, grab a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese and now you’re good to go.

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Add some sauce to the bottom of the pan, layer some no-boil noodles, and then cover again with sauce.

Then add a layer of ricotta, and then the spinach. Add a couple tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella.
Then add a layer of ricotta, and then the spinach. Add a couple tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella.

 

Continue to layer! I saved the spinach for the bottom and top layers and just did sauce and cheese in between.

Continue to layer! I saved the spinach for the bottom and top layers and just did sauce and cheese in between.

To the top layer of noodles, add sauce, mozzarella, and if you dare, some grated parmesan!
To the top layer of noodles, add sauce, mozzarella, and if you dare, some grated parmesan!

 

 

 

Bake at 350 for 45 min to an hour, let sit a few minutes and enjoy!

SO FRICKIN GOOD and SO good for your soul! And yourself. This batch serves six, easily, and reheats nicely. So dig in.

 

 

Weekly Cocktail: Mulled Wine

And we’re off into another week of snow, cold, and all around grossness.

I know. I know. The snow is beautiful and today it isn’t THAT cold out.

But COME THE F*** ON! Again? Seriously? I would KILL for a garage spot and truck with 4 wheel drive right now.

Mother Nature, we beg of you, “Let the sunshine in, dammit!” Just for the love of you, PLEASE let us creep above 25 degrees.

I’m sitting here, not really sure which of the many meals I made this week to tell you about. I do know that I’m sitting here with a winter weight on my chest, tension seizing my body, and I’m trying not to cry over something as trivial as snow.

I promised myself to work on my blog at least three times a week this year so that it can start to grow and perhaps someday be my source of income, but in this winter I find myself paralyzed, over and underwhelmed, and unmotivated. (SIDE BAR: Does anyone out there in the WordPress community want to help me figure out that whole monetizing thing?)

Excuse the pity party just this once–please and thank you. And now I bring you the only thing suitable for this weather: MULLED WINE.

Start with a nice, but cheap red--preferably a merlot. My go-to: Purple Moon.

Start with a nice, but cheap red–preferably a merlot. My go-to: Purple Moon.

Measure out 2 cups

Measure out 2 cups

And 4 oz of brandy

And 2 oz of brandy

In a small saucepan, put 2 cinnamon sticks and 2 TBS of granulated sugar.

In a small saucepan, put 2 cinnamon sticks and 2 TBS of granulated sugar.

Add peppercorns and whole cloves.

Add peppercorns and whole cloves.

And some orange peel and blade mace (blade mace gives you a nutmeg flavor).

And some orange peel and blade mace (blade mace gives you a nutmeg flavor).

Pour in wine and brandy. Bring to a simmer, and then turn off the heat and steep for ten minutes.

Pour in wine and brandy. Bring to a simmer, and then turn off the heat and steep for ten minutes.

Using a coffee filter, strain the wine.

Using a coffee filter, strain the wine.

See?

See?

Tada! Serves 2 !

Tada! Serves 2 !

Stay warm, kids.

BBQ in Chiberia

Well hello there, friends!

It is like Celebrity Fit Club over here at Chez Morrell/Dunn-Rankin. CDR and I are trying to get ourselves in shape and so have been working out daily and watching what we eat. The majority of my extended family are on a similar path, so for cousin Mikey’s birthday, I made some low-calorie cupcakes.

TWO INGREDIENT CUPCAKES.

Yup. You read right.

All you need is a box of cake mix and 15oz can of pureed pumpkin. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED, FOR SERIOUS.

Spice Cake mix with Pumpkin.

Spice Cake mix with Pumpkin.

Put 'em together.

Put ’em together.

Mix and bake.

For a glaze for these yummy pumpkin spice cupcakes, mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with the juice of 1 lemon.

Just about 120 calories in these bad boys.

Just about 120 calories in these bad boys.

Now, if you live in Chicago, or the mid-west for that matter, you know how flippin’ cold it has been. We awoke to a cozy -11 degrees this morning, and CDR suggested we do something BBQ themed to warm our bones. I was totally down, and we made sure to do an intense to work out before dinner.

We picked up a sirloin tip roast and did something mighty fine to it.

We rubbed it down with a Carolina style BBQ rub.

We rubbed it down with a Carolina style BBQ rub.

Drop it in the pan, which has about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in it. Pop it in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes, then cover it, and let it cook at 225 for 3 hours.

Drop it in the pan, which has about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in it. Pop it in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes, then cover it, and let it cook at 225 for 3 hours.

We also made roasted potatoes, and a broccoli slaw with a lemon-dijon vinaigrette. See:

Buttery potato goodness.

Buttery potato goodness.

Broccoli slaw with pecans and scallions.

Broccoli slaw with pecans and scallions.

And when the timer goes off…

Remove this baby from the oven. Let it rest, while you add tomato paste, garlic, brown sugar and molasses to that juice to make a yummy sauce.

Remove this baby from the oven. Let it rest, while you add tomato paste, garlic, brown sugar and molasses to that juice to make a yummy sauce.

Get your plate ready…

IMG_1607And then garnish with a healthy helping (about 4 oz) of delicious BBQ roast.

Do your thang, Chiberia, and I'll do mine.

Do your thang, Chiberia, and I’ll do mine.

And that’s dinner.

Stay tuned for the Weekly Cocktail tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Staycation Tacos

It is that time of year again; the time of the year where I (and many of you, I’m sure) slowly sink into the throws of seasonal affective disorder. It is that time of year where I spend an hour on Facebook, looking at those photos from my trip to Tahiti seven years ago, and long to wait out the winter in the tropics. To snorkel in the crystal clear 80 degree water, eat fish out of coconuts, and watch fire dancers…ah, the life.

Usually, it is around this time that I bounce over to Bath and Body Works and pick up my favorite tropical scented body lotions, candles, and bath salts and give myself a little Island staycation. Well, I haven’t had a chance to fully create the happy, island vibes, but I did manage to get in touch with those warm, Hispanic roots of mine.

Heading south of the border last night, we made veggie tacos for our dinner guest, Geoff.

I thought it would be nice to make a mango salsa-fresh and tropical with a little kick.

Chop up some mango–about 1 cup, diced, with half of a jalapeño, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1 diced roma tomato, a few tablespoons of cilantro, and the juice of 1/2 lime. Also, salt and pepper to taste.

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Mix and serve with chips OR as a taco topping! Mmmyum!

Mix and serve with chips OR as a taco topping! Mmmyum!

The rest of the meal was pretty simple. I sautéed three bell peppers and one red onion, thinly sliced. I made white rice and tossed that with cilantro and lime. I mixed up black beans with some black refried beans (and again, lime and cilantro), and sliced up some avocado. We built our plates…

A corn tortilla, topped with beans, peppers, onions, mango salsa, and avocado!

A corn tortilla, topped with beans, peppers, onions, mango salsa, and avocado!

…and had some delightful conversation and we shared many laughs.

Phew. That certainly helped pull me out of my funk. I’ve awakened refreshed, reenergized, and ready to begin again.

Slow Cooker Chili + Cornbread Lovin’

Well.

The Polar Vortex is hitting this foodie pretty hard and today has been one big “Don’t Cry” challenge. I’m mildly coping, which of course means I went ahead and bought that dark chocolate, soy Turtle Mocha with whip cream from Caribou Coffee. It ain’t no Mocha Coconut Frap (or mock-cocos), but hey. There’s a frickin POLAR VORTEX.

Snow, why you gotta be so pretty but SO COLD.

Ok, ok. I digress. Ya’ll need to hear about this slow cooker chili.

Dontcha just wanna warm up with a bowl of this?

Dontcha just wanna warm up with a bowl of this?

In a crock pot, put:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 chopped onion

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 can kidney beans

1 can white beans (any kind, really)

1 can fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies.

Salt, pepper, paprika, granulated garlic, cayenne, and chipotle pepper all to taste (get creative!)

Set the crockpot on high, and let this all simmer together for an hour.

After an hour, turn the crockpot to low, and add in about 3 cups of stock. We used homemade beef stock, and you can use that or chicken stock. OR, go vegetarian, and use water or vegetable stock. OOOHH, or mushroom stock. How yummy would that be?!?!?!

Let cook for several hours.

In the meantime, you’re going to want to make some cornbread (obviously) to go with it. I just used the Trader Joe’s cornbread mix and added the egg, milk, and oil according to the package directions. BUT, I also added, two chopped scallions, 1/2 chopped jalapeño, and 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (SHARP, please!).

Mix and Bake!

Mix and Bake!

Fill muffin tins, and cook about 18 minutes. Oooh, yeah.

When it’s time for dinner, load up your bowl of chili.IMG_1533

And grab a corn muffin.

Sweet and Spicy perfection!

Sweet and Spicy perfection!

And stuff your face.

Note: The chili, especially if you use water or veggie stock is high in protein and low in fat (but add avocado on top for the GOOD fats)–a great option for a New Year’s Resolution recipe.

Weekly Cocktail: Sazerac

Ah, my friends. Let me introduce you to the glory that is The Sazerac.

A beautiful, smooth cocktail with New Orleans roots.

The Recipe:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/2 tsp or so of superfine sugar (pulse granulated sugar in a grinder if you don’t have superfine on hand)
  • 3-4 dashes of Peychaud’s Cocktail Bitters
  • 1-2 dashes Fee Brother’s Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters
  • splash of absinthe
  • Twist of lemon (or in this case, grapefruit…we were out!)2014-01-17 19.34.20

TIP: Chill your glass in the freezer for at least half an hour before using.

TIP: Use another glass to build your cocktail.

Add a splash of absinthe to your glass and turn your glass so the absinthe coats it. Discard the remaining absinthe, or if you are like us, and poor, just put it back in the bottle.

Splash of absinthe.

Splash of absinthe.

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Absinthe Glass Twirl

In the other glass, add the sugar and bitters and muddle together to form a paste.

Sugar, Bitters

Sugar, Bitters

Sugar, Bitters into paste

Sugar, Bitters into paste

Add the two ounces of whiskey, and muddle until the sugar completely dissolves.

2 oz of whiskey into the glass!

2 oz of whiskey into the glass!

Muddle!

Muddle!

Pour the cocktail into your absinthe coated, chilled glass.

Pour!

Pour!

Add your twist of citrus.

Peel...

Peel…

Rub the zest along the rim of the glass!

Rub the zest along the rim of the glass!

 

And sip.

Heaven.

Heaven.

And imagine yourself chillaxin in the French Quarter.

Groovy.

Weekly Cocktail: French 75

This little cocktail packs a sneaky punch, mixing gin and champagne. A perfect little holiday fizzy to keep your friends happy on NYE, or Christmas day, as it did CDR and myself.

A French 75 elegantly garnished with lemon thyme.
A French 75 elegantly garnished with lemon thyme.
Here's your booze: Gin and Champagne
Here’s your booze: Gin and Champagne
For one cocktail: 2 tsp of superfine sugar, mixed with an ounce of gin, and half an ounce of lemon juice, and ice of course.
For one cocktail: 2 tsp of superfine sugar, mixed with an ounce of gin, and half an ounce of lemon juice, and ice of course.
Pour into your champagne flute (or your wine glass if you don't have champagne flutes)
Pour into your champagne flute (or your wine glass if you don’t have champagne flutes)
Top each cocktail off with 4 ounces of champagne.
Top each cocktail off with 4 ounces of champagne.
And garnish with thyme.
And garnish with thyme.
And sip. Happy Holidays!
And sip. Happy Holidays!

Weekly Cocktail: Moscow Mule

The delightful little cocktail is like a hard ginger-lemonade. It was easy, simple, and delicious.

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • Ginger beer to top off
  • Ice, obviously.

Enjoy! And tune in next week for another cocktail!

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Mahi-Mahi Salad

Hey, hey, hey!

The answer is yes, blogosphere. Yes, I am single-handedly making my way through that batch of cookies. Because guess what? There wasn’t enough chocolate in the world this week. But somehow, I’m getting through.

Note to Mom: I did NOT eat cookies yesterday, when I was puking up my lungs. I promise. I only ate toast.

But I’m mildly better today, and so I continue to finish off that batch.

So on Monday, the day BEFORE all consuming nausea set in–we made an awesome round 2 lunch with our left over Mahi-Mahi. Our dinner the night before was simple: roasted fish and veggies, with delicious couscous (“the food so nice, they named it twice!”)

For lunch, though–I flaked up our fish and did it tuna-salad style. I stirred in some mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Simple and lovely.

Chop up some red peppers...

Chop up some red peppers…

And some thinly sliced red onions...

And some thinly sliced red onions…

Spread some hummus on toasted bread.

Spread some hummus on toasted bread.

IMG_1505

Top with tuna and accouterment! (Don't forget to put some yummy mayo on the other side of the bread!!)

Top with tuna and accouterment! (Don’t forget to put some yummy mayo on the other side of the bread!!)

DEVOUR.

DEVOUR!

 

Yes, enjoy it because it healthy for you, packed with protein, and light. 🙂

Back tomorrow with our Weekly Cocktail–The Sazerac!

 

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