Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Texans want more beer!

I should rephrase that... Texans want more GOOD beer! And most brewpub owners in Texas want to give it to us!

San Antonio's Representative Mike Villarreal authored HB 660 with the help of Freetail's Brewing Co.'s Scott Metzger and Blue Star Brewing Co.'s Joey Villarreal to expand where a brewpub's beers can be sold.

I know, every TX Lege session, there's always the same bills trying to get pushed through, e.g. legalizing casinos and allowing breweries to sell beer on-site (which they should be allowed to do). But, this HB#660 might be gaining momentum due to social media. More people are aware of it due to Facebook and Twitter.

After seeing my Friends on Facebook "like" the HB#660, I read more about it and decided to do a story for our 10 p.m. news. I'm not the reporter on the story, but I did push for the story and got all the players to talk to us. :-)

KENS 5 Story:

For more information on HB#660:
1. Scott Metzger's Blog: http://brewednotbattered.wordpress.com/
2. Like it on Facebook
3. Follow it on Twitter
4. Keep track of the process: TX Lege

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas Cookie Monster!

A few weeks ago, my sister called me a crazy woman for spending a whole weekend in the kitchen with the oven on full blast to make my Christmas goodie bags for work - if the shoe fits?

If you were on my NICE list at work, you got to sample some of these items:

1. Double chocolate chip cookies: The recipe is my base but I use half Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate and regular semi-sweet chocolate. I also do half melted butter and half softened butter.

2. Sugar Cookies: I use a recipe that I got from Micah's mom (recipe below)
-topped with Sugar Cookie Icing

{glazed cookies}

{Micah's mom gave me these itty bitty cookie cutters!}

3. Oatmeal Craisin Cookies: I use craisins instead of raisins to make the cookie a little bit more tart.

4. Snickerdoodles

5. Spiced Candied Pecans: I use this as a base recipe and then I add cayenne to the wet mixture as well as a sprinkle of cinnamon/sugar/cayenne when they're almost done. People LOVE this stuff.

6. Peppermint Bark (recipe below)

After baking, cooling, and cleaning like a banshee, I finally turned off the oven on Sunday evening. WHEW! I don't think I changed out of my sweatpants the whole weekend!

To package the gift bags, I put the candies into separate zip baggies and the cookies in a cellophane bag. All of the items go into a Christmas paper bag, folded up and stapled close, with a name sticker! voila!

{Santa Calily is ready to deliver @ KENS 5}

I must admit, my KitchenAid ProHD mixer made my marathon baking weekend A LOT easier than it has been in the past. How did I survive before this monster?

{isn't she a beaut?}

I know these gift bags aren't expensive, but for me, it's just a small gesture to make someone's day a little bit brighter.


-7 candy canes broken up in the blender and then sifted, which gives you candy cane powder.
-I melt 160z. bittersweet chocolate + 1tbsp. vegetable oil in a bowl over some simmering water. -When it's melted, I add a 1/4 tsp. of peppermint extract.
-Pour the chocolate on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil, spread into a rectangle and to the desired thickness.
-I sprinkle candy cane dust onto the chocolate and throw it into my beer fridge to cool.
-Proceed to melt the same amount of white chocolate and oil. When it's melted, add a couple of spoonfuls of the candy cane dust and mix (be careful not to the turn the white chocolate pink)
-Pour the white chocolate on top of the bottom layer (you might want to take the bittersweet layer out of the fridge to let it come up to room temp before adding the white chocolate, I find that if the bottom layer is too cold, the two layers won't stick together when the whole thing is cooled).
-Spread the white chocolate out to cover the bottom layer. Sprinkle the candy cane pieces on top and the rest of the candy cane dust. Make sure you press the candy gently into the white chocolate.
-Allow to cool and then feel free to break into bite-sized pieces.
Disclaimer: Peppermint bark is CRACK (not that I know what that would be like)!

  • 1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 C butter - softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 1/2 C AP flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
Cream sugar and butter. Add egg and flavorings and mix thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients and mix in.
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out on lightly floured surface - about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out and bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake! Take them out right as the edges start to turn golden.