To Beer Bread

Possible due to my gracious housemate Roxanne who gave me a bottle of beer (:

Extremely simple

12 oz. bottle of beer
3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter (optional)

Mix the first three together
Pour into a greased bread loaf pan and bake at 375 for 58 min
Pull from the oven and brush with the melted butter and put back in for another 2 min – let cool and remove from pan – Voila! Beer bread that all love!



To Spinach Dip

Spinach is what made Pop-Eye strong and yet for some odd reason it never seems to be the favorite vegetable. On the contrary I love spinach – especially spinach dip (even though it’s not the healthiest way to eat it) when it crossed my mind this afternoon to make some to go with the beer bread for brunch tomorrow I immediately texted my sister to get the recipe that she uses. Simple enough it is the Knorr Vegetable Mix recipe. Or as follows (I have made a few tweaks to the packet recipe):

3/4 cup mayo
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Packet Knorr Vegetable Mix
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 Green Onions Chopped (I used one huge one that I get from my fav. organic vegetable stand at the farmer’s market)
(optional use of water chestnuts – I didn’t use these since I forgot to buy them)

Mix all of the above together and put in a cute dish and let chill for a minimum of 2 hours (overnight is best)

Eat with beer bread 



To Butternut Squash Risotto

While studying abroad in Italy I learned how to make risotto – and not just any old risotto but coveted risotto. My flatmates as well as the girls staying in the flat next to us loved my risotto. My fellow study abroad-er Jessica would even come over with all the ingredients and then just ask that I make it. When we traveled we lived off of Risotto, English muffins with peanut butter and fruit bought in random grocery stores. Not the most well rounded diet, but it gave us the stamina we needed to make it through our crazy back-packing adventures. The other day I was thinking about how to use butternut squash in a new recipe and decided on risotto – not to mention that I hadn’t made risotto in a really long time – it is definitely more of a fall/winter dish than a summer dish. So Friday night after finishing my spinning class with another girl in my program I went to the grocery store to pick up Arborio Rice and headed home to embark on my new kitchen adventure. Risotto may take a while to cook, but it is definitely worth the long wait. Besides using butternut squash in my risotto for the first time, I also used white wine in it for the first time – it definitely gave it that extra boost of flavor!

6 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp. butter (divided 2 and 1)
1 small onion chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and finely diced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I used a Riesling since that’s all I had on hand)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt (if you prefer – I think there is plenty in the broth though)

Heat broth in saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a large saucepan: add the onion and butternut. Cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent – about 5 minutes.
Add rice to onion and squash. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine – stirring constantly until the wine is absorbed by the rice.  Add enough broth to cover the rice – cook on medium heat until the broth has been absorbed – continuing to slowly add broth – remember to stir every so often – this should be 15-20 min – you want the rice soft but firm to the bite.
During the last minutes of cooking add the remaining 1 tbsp. of butter and the parmesan. Your rice should be creamy – turn off heat and cover with a kitchen towel for a few minutes – my secret!
If you need more salt – you can add more at this point.

*Another tip – make sure you always stir in the same direction – trust me!

Enjoy with a glass of the wine that you used in the risotto – perfetto!



To Oatmeal Scotchies (Soldier Cookies)

So my choice of baking came down to a house vote tonight. It was a tie between Pumpkin Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Scotchies and the latter won out! Many in my co-op house didn’t know what they were, but these are an all time classic in the Cartwright household and for good reason. From 2002-2004 I lived in Doha, Qatar (a little peninsula of a country that jets into the Persian Gulf off of Saudi Arabia) and my dad was back and forth between Qatar and Kuwait for work and every time (or a majority of the time) my mums would send him back with a ton (like 100+) of these cookies. Why? Because they are just so dang delicious and they transported well. The oats and the butter and all of that deliciousness just sticks together like they were made for each other (but really they were). So my nickname for these cookies are the “Soldier Cookies” since the soldiers in Kuwait were always pleased when they saw that my dad hard arrived with “the goods”. As the saying goes “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is pretty darn right – so if you need a quick and easy recipe then check out this one. Or just go to the store and buy a package of Nestle Tollhouse Butterscotch morsels because that is where this recipe comes from – no hassle with having to dig and find a recipe as long as you have the “right ingredient” of butterscotch morsels you are good to go (:


1 ¼ Cups all purpose flour (I did all whole wheat this time and they tasted fantastic – plumper than usual)
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
½ Tsp. Salt
½ Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Cup (2 sticks) butter softened
¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup Brown Sugar (light)
2 Large Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Cups quick or old-fashioned oats
11 oz. Package of Butterscotch Morsels

Preheat oven to 375
Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl.
Gradually beat in the flour mixture.
Stir in the Oats and Butterscotch morsels.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 7-8 minutes for chewy cookies (more like 9 for the whole wheat version) and 9-10 for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks and cool completely.
Recipe says it makes 4 dozen cookies – but I made closer to 5 dozen and they were a good size cookie.
Enjoy – housemates definitely enjoyed and now off to take to a group meeting!


To Classic Cartwright Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you were on Family Feud and the poll was favorite cookies – hands down chocolate chip cookies would be the #1 answer. Now, choc. chip cookies are not my favorite (oatmeal raisin are), but I can always enjoy a good choc. chip cookie and that is exactly what these guys are – killer good. My sister use to make them all the time if she made cookies and the only reason I remember that is because they have the odd ingredient of pudding in them – don’t judge until you try. The recipe is in one of the military cook-books that my mom owns labeled as “Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies” but I always know these as the Cartwright Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie – how’s that for a mouthful?

Anywho – I made them this past Thursday night and my roommates got to try them after dinner for dessert – or nachspiese in German as it has come to be known in the co-op by a few of us. The roommates loved them so I knew I had done the recipe justice (it was my first time using this recipe). I quickly packed the rest of the batch away and put for safe keeping until Saturday when I took them to the football tailgate – where the tailgaters (my friends) totally approved of them.

Classic Success

2 ¼ C. Unsifted flour (I used 5/4 wheat and 1 cup white flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. margarine, softened (I used Full Circle Organic Butter)
¼ C. granulated sugar
¾ C. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 sm. pkg. instant pudding (vanilla)
2 eggs
1 pkg. chocolate chips (next time I am going to try dark chocolate chips – this time I used milk)
1 C. chopped nuts (optional – I skipped on the nuts – wanted to go for the true Choc. Chip Cookie)

Preheat oven to 375 F
Mix flour with baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
Combine margarine, sugars, vanilla and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs.
Gradually add flour mixture.
Stir in chips and nuts. (Batter will be stiff).
Drop by rounded teaspoonful (measuring) about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 7 dozen.

Enjoy (: