For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved being in the kitchen-not just to eat, but to actually cook! When I was a toddler, I could spend hours sitting on the floor with the pots and pans cabinet doors open, playing happily with a wooden spoon and stirring up my own creations. As I got older, I would help my mom out on Sundays as she cooked our big Italian family meal. It wasn’t too long before she handed the reins over to me to do the whole Sunday shebang myself. Over time, I perfected my Sunday sauce (I like to use both pancetta & anchovies), meatballs and pasta dishes. As I developed my culinary skills, I was soon cooking all of our holiday meals, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Flag Day…you get the idea. I guess I turned out to be a decent cook! After I got married, I enjoyed treating the hubs to a romantic meal…and after our two kidlets came along, cooking became even more challenging! I still love to find new and exciting recipes and discover new foods to try as well as incorporate into tried-and-true recipes.
What I love about cooking is that it is not an exact science. For me, it’s about taste, adding a dash of something here, a dab of this there. I think that attitude helped my cooking ability-but unfortunately; it’s also made me a truly HORRIBLE baker. I’ve found baking is so precise: too much baking powder, not enough sugar, or not enough water and you’ve made a disaster. Whether it is made from scratch or from a box, if I’m baking it, it’s nearly guaranteed to be a total food fail! Pound cakes that could be used as doorstops, pre-made cookie dough in my hands made cookies that were either burnt or raw…usually on the same cookie sheet! Breads and baked desserts in our house are almost always from someone else’s kitchen! Needless to say, I was more than a little skeptical when I got a box of Bountiful Beer Bread Mix from my friend and fellow mommy Joan Flores, who recently became an independent consultant for Tastefully Simple. Joan told me that there was no way that I could mess this up, that making and baking it would be so simple, even a two year old could make it. With my track record of baking I was sure it would be another epic fail, so I took Joan’s advice to heart and I had my 2-year-old daughter make the beer bread for us!
Okay, so I had to help out just a little a bit with making the bread. We all know that 2-year-olds are resourceful, but where could she get a 12 oz bottle of beer without having to show some REALLY good fake ID? How would she know how to turn the oven on to 375 degrees, or set the timer to 50 minutes??? So I helped, but in all the ways that wouldn’t really impact the “making” or mixing of ingredients of this bread.
As you’ll see from the photos, my little girl is a baking whiz. Now when they say the Tastefully Simple recipes are simple, they aren’t joking. Open package, pour in 12 oz of beer, place in greased bread pan, pour a little melted butter on top (totally optional, but come on, it’s butter on bread, who would pass that up) and pop it in the oven. There was no kneading or rising time, and it literally took about 5 minutes from opening the box to the oven.
My daughter’s favorite part was adding the beer and seeing the batter all foam up. We wound up using a dark lager, one of the Irish kind, so it kinda looked like a sandcastle was erupting. Her eyes lit up and she let out a little chuckle. For a first timer, her mixing and spatula skills were excellent and she poured the butter — mmmm, butter! – on like a culinary pro.
After 50 minutes of baking, my daughter & I checked on the bread – it was a lovely golden brown and gave off a nice, homemade aroma. The real test would be at dinnertime – when I served it up to the family alongside the turkey noodle soup I made (see, good cook here – I used Turkey Day leftovers to make a totally different delish- dish). I am happy to report that the bread was a HUGE success. It was so tasty and as of this morning there was only one slice left, which I scarfed up walking out the door to work with my hubs (sorry, honey!). The box suggests all the yummy things you can add to the mix like fresh herbs or Parmesan cheese, or maybe use the finished bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches or cut up into cubes and dip into spinach artichoke dip. I think it might be time heat up the oven again.
I’m buying a few more boxes of the Bountiful Beer Bread, along with the Absolutely Almond Pound Cake & Ugly Chocolate Cake mixes. Some are for me and some are perfect as stocking stuffer gifts for some of my family & friends.
Starting today and running thru Wednesday, December 7, my mommy-preneur friend Joan Flores of Tastefully Simple is running a Holiday Giveaway especially for The Harried Mom Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Ordering by Dec 7th guarantees that you will have your tasty items delivered in advance of the holidays for proper gift distribution! Why not help out a fellow mom who is making a go of her own business!
When it’s time for you to checkout, make sure to attach your order to Host – me, Debra Fazio-Rutt AKA The Harried Mom (there, now I’m fully revealed, so much for mystique!). Every time orders, now we’re talking all combined sales reach $200, one random order-er from The Harried Mom from will receive a free gift! FYI – if you order the Classy Chocolate Pound Cake Mix Tastefully Simple donates $1 to the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign – so that’s an added bonus! HAPPY SHOPPING.
For full disclosure here, this is not a sponsored post from Tastefully Simple. I am not being paid in any way here and the only compensation I received was one box of the yummy Bountiful Beer Bread Mix from Joan that my family made and ate at dinner this past Sunday night!
What’s the best meal you cook? What can you whip up on a second’s notice or without a recipe?