Saturday, January 24, 2015

Brewery Review / Restaurant Review - St. Nicholas Brewing Co. DuQuoin, IL

The sunny weather made our visit to St. Nicholas Brewing Co. really lovely today. The brewery is located about a 20 minute drive from Carbondale, in Du Quoin, IL. It is just off the main strip, and is located around the corner from Doc Z's Fitness, which I thought was a perfect fit. 

St. Nicholas Brewing Co. is all brick, inside and out! They opened in August of 2014s, and the building was built in the 1880s, as a hotel. They did a great job renovating the space, opening it up to let lots of light in, creating a very inviting atmosphere, and keeping lots of original and unique details of the old hotel. This place is definitely worth checking out if you are in the area.
I liked the Blonde Ale. Super light and not too hoppy. We also tried the Cadence Porter and it's apparently coming home in a growler next time. Only $8 growler refills! 
 We actually all wound up getting burgers! Mine, pictured below, was their Basic Burger on a Pretzel Bun, with a side of Mac N Cheese. YUM! The burger was a teeny bit greasy/drippy, but other than that it tasted really good. The other 2 burgers weren't though. My Mac N Cheese was definitely creamy and had a kind of lighter taste. The potato chip crumble topping was unique and good.
We also got the St. Nick Sweet & Spicy Burger (with parmesan, jalapeƱo, pineapple, and pickle with sweet BBQ sauce), and the Mac & Cheese Burger (topped with Mac!).
Here are the Cadence Porters.
 And, the Blonde Ale. 
 The Brewing Viewing Area
 And, the old brick lined every wall of this airy space. 
 The entrance was very tall, and had this red barn wood at top. Brewing area was on the right.
 So, make sure to check out St. Nicholas Brewing Co. at 12 S. Oak Street in Du Quoin, IL. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Peanut Butter - Coconut Oil - Oat Cookies

I found a fun app a while back and love it! Steller is really a great way to share any kind of story. I find it especially good for sharing recipes! It is a way to share a multiple page photo story, and you can add attractive text to images AND videos! It's really fun and I urge you to check it out. 

Here is my Steller Story about making Coconut Oil Peanut Butter Cookies! There are more photos to see, so check out the rest (and the recipe!!!) on Steller!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Smoothie Time! Mixed Berry and Banana Smoothie

I have been wanting to jump into making smoothies for a long time now, and here is my first attempt! I learned a little bit and this tasted really, really good. Slightly Earthy, but in time I am sure these will only get better. I am trying to incorporate as many fresh ingredients into my days as possible. 
INGREDIENTS for about 2 smoothies:
1 Cup Ice - (blend this in the blender before adding fruits and spinach)
1/3 pint blueberries
1/3 C. raspberries
2 bananas - cut into pieces
A small hand full of spinach, chopped or ripped into small pieces
1/4 - 1/2 Cup Pineapple Juice (or any juice you have on hand)
Crush ice in blender. Add fruits and spinach, and blend for about 30 seconds, or until completely combined. If you want a thinner smoothie, just add more juice. 
This smoothie was very tasty. You get a nice taste of each of the ingredients, without tasting the spinach too much :) I am sure you could use frozen fruit as well. 
I hope you enjoy these, they kept me more full than expected!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's For Dinner? Onion Ring Chicken Fingers + Caesar Salad

Let's start with the Caesar Salad! Check out my favorite ingredients, below.
Organic Romaine Lettuce, Marzetti Supreme Caesar Dressing, Hormel Bacon PiecesNewYorkBrand Texas Toast Cheese & Garlic Croutons and Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese. This has been my go-to recipe for a few years now, and it's so good! Mix all ingredients, adding dressing last. Top with a little bit more cheese. 

Use the dressing sparingly at first, stir salad with a large spoon, and then see if you need more. The dressing is pretty strong, so you don't need much!

Next, is one of my favorite new recipes! Onion Ring Chicken Fingers. These are good beside the salad, or cut up inside of the salad. 
6-8 Organic Chicken Tenders
1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard (I mixed two types together)
1 1/2 Cups Regular Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup French's Fried Onion Pieces (That's why I call them Onion Ring Chicken Fingers)
And to season breadcrumbs, I added a bit of garlic powder, salt, and pepper. 


1.) Preheat oven to 450F. Spray metal rack with non-stick spray (I use the rack from my toaster oven). Set the rack onto a foil-lined baking sheet.

2.) In one shallow baking dish or Pyrex, add mustard. In a second dish, mix bread crumbs,  seasonings, and French's onions. 

3.) Prep the chicken. Dip each side of the chicken into mustard. You want just a light coating of mustard, or the breading will end up squishy instead of crisp, so use a fork to remove any excess. 

5.) Next, coat each side of the chicken tenders in the breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to metal rack. Try to leave a little bit of room between each piece.

4.) Bake 12-15 minutes, flip and then bake another 5 minutes or until done and crispy, with no pink inside of the chicken. 

Serve with ketchup or BBQ sauce. These are so good!