Endless Beers: Top 10 “Winter Rarities”

What’s a “Winter Rarity?” Well, you know those “seasonals” you like so much? Yes, they are great…but odds are they will be around next year as well. How about the ones that won’t be around? THOSE are winter rarities. The special treats that breweries bless us with once a year—only during that year. Next year, they’ll have at it with a tweak. I won’t waste my breath, but here’s one simple tip. These rarities are meant to be enjoyed, but not all at once. Save at least six and compare with the next year…and the next…and the next. Within six years, you’ll have six beers to compare against each other. Anyway…here it is.

10. Bell’s Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout (2013)


ABV: 11.5%

Bell’s brewery decided to combine the Exhibition Stout with the Double Cream Stout. The result is a delicious beverage filled with malty flavors of chocolate, coffee, and even some fruity flavors. As you can imagine, this is not for the faint-hearted. OH—did you noticed the whole “aged in Bourbon Barrels” thing? Yup. Find one…if you’re lucky.


9. Weyerbacher’s Althea (2013)


ABV: 7.7%

With visions of the occasional sugar plum still dancing in your head, you’ll enjoy this brew. This is a dubbel style beer with notes of fruits coming through. Weyerbacher brewed this beer to raise Breast Cancer Awareness and donated one dollar per bottle to the cause.


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Slow Cookers Gone Wild! Top 10 Super Bowl Slow Cooker Dishes

The Super Bowl is almost upon us. People will gather around TVs, big and small, to complete the holiday feasting in one last hurrah. Snacks will be enjoyed on the couch while watching commercials and loyal fans will get up for refills when the game comes back for a few quick minutes before more commercials.

But I digress. What really matters during this year’s superbowl is the food. Of course, there are wings, chips, dips, and other salty snacks. But what else can we add to the spread this year? How about some chili to go on the hot dogs? Or pulled pork? Maybe some hearty soup. Get out your slow cooker and impress your guests with something more than 3D Doritos (don’t pretend that you don’t remember). Enough of the jibber jabber—here are ten ways to use that slow cooker to its full potential!

10. Mini Chicken Sausage Pineapple Appetizers


Regular cocktail weenies are for…well…weenies. While in the midst of winter, something a bit tropical may turn your mood around. If it were me, I would sandwhich a weenie between two pineapples. Or weenie, pineapple, weenie? I guess it depends on which way you swing? Weenie or chicken sausage – I think both would work.

RECIPE: Misty Yoon

9. 21st Amendment Brew Free! Chili


My friend got me an awesome encyclopedia of craft beer recipes. Chili is great and beer is great. Soo…why not combine great beer and chili? 21st Amendment brings us a delicious twist on chili in John Holl’s The American Craft Beer Cookbook.

Recipe:  John Holl

8. Coke Ribs


Ribs do not have to be laborious day-long projects of putting them in foil after lathering them in bbq sauce several times, then moving them from the oven to the grill. You get the point. You can take that approach, OR you can through them into a slow cooker with a sauce made with cola. They’ll fall apart, while giving you a unique sweetness unlike your standard bbq sauce.

Recipe: Cardamom Addict

7. S’mores Dip


Unfortunately, too often I find that my sweet tooth is not satisfied at a Super Bowl party. Well, now you can put the slow cooker to good use for us healthy folk that enjoy chocolate…and anything else with sugar in it.

Recipe: Little Indiana

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Top 10 Foods Only a Baby Could Love

Around here, we love top 10 lists.  I particularly enjoyed Jessica’s Top Ten Things I Ate in College That I’ll Never Eat Again.  It brought back some fond memories and the taste of stomach acid.  I might also add the Ramen sandwich and instant apple cider made with dorm room sink water.  But it’s been ten years since I entered that freshman dorm, and life as a parent has taken me to some new culinary lows.  So, here we go…the top 10 foods only a baby (or maybe a toddler) could love:

10. Single-Grain Cereal












As a child, my mom tried to sell me on the virtues of a strange paste called Cocoa Wheats, sometimes singing the jingle as she stirred the gluey concoction on the stove.   Even at the tender age of 8, I knew that stuff was nasty.  And yet, we are told to give it to babies as their first food because it’s “highly digestible”  and has a “smooth texture.” I think we’ve only succeeded this long because they can’t talk back.  Just a warning, parents, they get over it pretty quickly and you’ll be stuck with a box of the stuff for months or years to come.

9.  Pureed Vegetables












All the texture of rice cereal, plus the power to stain any and all surfaces they touch — liquified veggies are truly abhorrent.  Since we waited until Elijah was six months old to give him solid foods, the mushy green paste period was mercifully short.  We never tried the jarred meat, so I can only imagine the horror.  And the smell.

I have been to a few restaurants lately where super-smooth vegetable mush was passed off as “sauce.”  Nope.  I’m on to you.  Gerber has a stake in this somewhere.

8. Food Off the Floor

Now, before you go and call me a snob, know that I am not talking about the 5-second rule, or even the 30-second rule.  I am talking about days-old, dried up, stuck-to-the-floor old food.  My son was never big on putting foreign objects into his mouth, but if it is, or once was, food — look out.  On the upside, I will say that my sweeping standards are dramatically higher as a result.

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America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches — Veganized

Our recent article on America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches has caused quite a stir in the blogosphere, but no one was more riled up  than a group of spunky vegan bloggers. Their de facto leader, Namely Marly, explains:

We read this article with great curiosity but it didn’t take long until the curiosity faded and was replaced with something else. OK. We were grossed out. Particularly at one sandwich that referred to an ingredient called suckling pig. We hoped this was a reference to something other than the obvious, but it appears it is exactly as it sounds. Only one of the 10 sandwiches appeared to be vegetarian. We felt like a cross between Stan Laurel and Rodney Dangerfield, scratching our heads with a half whimper and half scowl thinking, “Why don’t we vegans get any respect?”

So they decided to demand their own respect, teaming together to create tasty and healthy versions of each cholesterol-laden entry on the list of America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches. Hence, America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches — Veganized. Here are all ten of ’em. Follow the links for recipes.

10. The Vegan Spuckie

We called this olive-carrot-mortadella goodness from Cutty’s in Boston “the one sandwich that most successfully merges the old-school method of overdoing it on Italian meats with the new world of artisan, veggie-centric goodness.” Drop the meat part and it’s still drool-worthy. Trina Jaconi Biery of Your Vegan Mom made her own meat-free mortadella, featured here on a ciabatta roll topped with vegan mozzarella and a sweet carrot-olive salad.

Recipe: The Vegan Spuckie

(Photo: Trina Jaconi Biery)

9. Vegan Bulgogi Steak Sandwich

When Allyson Kramer of Manifest Vegan learned there was a Bulgogi Steak Sandwich (from Koja in Philly) on the list, she jumped at the chance to veganize it. As a child she used to eat bulgogi steak sometimes twice a week. Now a vegan, she’s been hankering to try a veggie-friendly version. Served on a hoagie roll (Allyson even provided a recipe for gluten-free hoagie if that’s to your liking), marinated tofu is topped with caramelized peppers and onions, chili garlic sauce, and melted vegan mozz.

Recipe: Tofu Bulgogi Steak Sandwich

(Photo: Allyson Kramer)

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