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January 2010

Beer of the Month Club Review

Click here to get $10 off a 6-month Beer of the Month Club subscription - Coupon Code: Discount1

I purchased a Beer of the Month Club subscription as a Christmas gift for my husband. I ordered his beer subscription through Clubs of America, which is an affiliate program promoted through The Cheap Gourmet Blog.

This is the second Beer of the Month Club subscription I have ordered. The first beer subscription expired July 2009 and my husband has been going through "micro-brew withdrawal" for the past five months. He loved receiving his 12-pack of specialty beers each month and reading the informative newsletter that arrives with each order.

I am not a big fan of beer and couldn't tell you if it is good or not, so I asked my husband to provide a review of the brew he received. The following Beer of the Month Club microbrew review covers the four beer varieties he received in January.

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Michigan Brewing Company

Celis Grand Cru – Grand Cru, refers to a type of specialty ale brewed in the Belgian-style, often served on special occasions or at festivals.  This is a style of beer that has very strong characteristics, and connoisseurs of the brew making art will appreciate the bold flavor.

Michigan Brewing's Celis Grand Cru is brewed with the vintage traditional recipe of fine malt and hops, Saaz (a Czech Republic aroma hop), and spices with citrus. Celis Grand Cru pours nicely producing an appropriate head with complex flavor that is true to tradition. This is excellent ale to serve with beef, wild game, or anything with accommodating bold flavors.

High Seas IPA – India Pale Ale refers to a type of ale that is very pale in color due to the malting process and because it could be transported for long periods of time, hence the name "India Pale Ale."  East Indian traders would transport this type of ale by ship to India, but it was also widely brewed and transported on ships traveling across the globe. 

Michigan Brewing's High Seas IPA is nice blend of complex malts and hops that pours nicely and follows with a light head.  Although I would refer to India pale ale as more of a light, yet complex and bitter ale, it truly has a flavor that discerning aficionados can appreciate.  This is an excellent beer to serve with poultry, fish, or hanging out just eating wings and watching the game.

Click here to get $10 off a 6-month Beer of the Month Club subscription - Coupon Code: Discount1

Snake River Brewing Company

Snake River Pale Ale – A modern-style pale ale using domestic malts and hops best describes this common-man brew.  Today, this type of pale ale is very prevalent in the U.S. in terms of mass-production, but many micro-brewed pale ales use a more vintage recipe. 

Snake River Brewing's Pale Ale has a real Pacific-Northwest micro-brew vibe, with a smooth citrus flavor that finishes with a classic bitter tone.  This finely-tuned pale ale pours nicely with a light head, and beautifully clean color.  Common-man would fit the smooth flavor with this beer, as anyone would appreciate it.  This excellent ale compliments salads, fruit, poultry, fish, or anything with a light flavor.

Snake River Zonker Stout – Stout refers to a type of specialty ale that is extremely bold and complex.  It is also referred to as Porter because it was popular with the street and river porters of London. 

This is a style of beer that is not for the faint of heart and commands respect. Stouts typically use roasted barley, as well as chocolate and caramel malts, that produce an intense flavor with a dark black color. 

Snake River Zonker Stout pours nice and smooth, with a thick head and color.  The flavor is astonishing, yet it has a very complex flavor and finish only a true connoisseur would appreciate.  This is an old-world or foreign-type of brew and excellent to serve with smoked meats, wild game, pungent cheeses, chocolates, or anything with a strong and complex flavor.

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If you are looking for a great gift, we highly recommend Clubs of America Beer of the Month subscription. Additional monthly clubs include: Wine Club, Flower Club, Fruit Club, Cigar Club, Coffee Club, Chocolate Club and Pizza Club.

Click here to get $10 off a 6-month Beer of the Month Club subscription - Discount Code: Discount1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Copyright © The Cheap Gourmet and Kathy Browning 2010. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright and intellectual property rights. Reproducing or electronically submitting this article without written permission from the author is prohibited by law. Govern yourself accordingly. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


Disclaimer: The Cheap Gourmet earns a one-time customer referral fee for Beer of the Month Club sales generated through our marketing efforts.  Supporting our carefully selected vendors allows us to continue offering recipes to our visitors at no charge.


Truvia Natural Sweetener Fudgy Brownies

As mentioned earlier, Truvia Natural Sweetener is the January sponsor of The Cheap Gourmet blog. I have had the joy of experimenting with Truvia and am very impressed with the product. Last night, I made a batch of Truvia Natural Sweetener Fudgy Brownies, which are delicious and decadent!

The recipe for Truvia Natural Sweetener Brownies is available at Truvia's website, along with recipes for more yummy baked goods, sauces, spreads, pudding and hot cocoa mix. Truvia brownies were very easy to make and required about 15 minutes of prep time. 

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Beautiful baked brownies at only 130 calories! Life doesn't get better than this!

The Cheap Gourmet and Truvia Natural Sweetener will be giving away FIVE (5) boxes of this healthy sugar alternative on February 1st. The only requirement for obtaining an entry to win a box of Truvia is to leave a comment on the blog or subscribe to "Get the Scoop" mailing list. Subscribers receive monthly recipes, menu planners, grocery coupons, gourmet food sales, and cooking contest information. 

Please support our sponsor by visiting their website and purchasing their products. If you love brownies, I can guarantee you will love Truvia Brownies. If chocolate isn't your thing, perhaps you would enjoy shortbread cookies, sweet potato pie, pear and sour cherry crisp or raspberry oatmeal bars.

Thank you and Good Luck!


Homemade Potato Soup Recipe

Homemade potato soup is one of my favorite soups because it conjures up childhood memories. Over the years, our family potato soup recipe has changed to make it healthier, but the original recipe is still my favorite. It includes an entire stick of butter - YUM!

What I love about homemade potato soup is the endless possibilities. It can be made with all types of potatoes - Idaho, Yukon Gold, Russet, Yellow, White or Red. Whole milk can be replaced with Soy, Rice or Almond milk. The broth can be made with canned Cream of Mushroom Soup or Cheddar Cheese Soup. A variety of spices and shredded cheeses can be added. Real butter can be exchanged for soy butter, rice oil butter or margarine. A variety of onions can be used, as well as shallots or leeks. In other words, potato soup begs for experimentation!

Below is the basic Homemade Potato Soup recipe that originated with my grandmother. When my mother was in hospice she craved this soup and I made it for her on a weekly basis. She was very happy that I had mastered the family recipe and asked me to pass it along to others so they could enjoy it too! I hope our family potato soup becomes a favorite for your family.

HOMEMADE POTATO SOUP RECIPE

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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 large Russet Potatoes; diced into bite-size pieces.
1 medium White Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 quart whole Milk
1 stick Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place potatoes, onions and garlic in a large pot and cover with water. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, if desired.
2. Cook over medium-high heat until potatoes are fork tender; about 10 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes in colander and return to pan.
4. Add milk and butter.
5. Heat ingredients over medium-low heat until butter is melted; about 5 minutes.
6. Transfer to serving bowls. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

This recipe is further enhanced by adding an ounce of shredded Cheddar Cheese and bacon bits.


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Disclaimer: The Cheap Gourmet is an approved affiliate for MexGrocer and receives commissions for sales generating from this website. Thank you for supporting our carefully selected merchants!


January is National Soup Month!

Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods, so I was thrilled to discover January is National Soup Month. I received a newsletter from Women's Bean Project inviting me to take advantage of their soup sale and wanted to share the deals with you.

Women's Bean Project is a wonderful organization with headquarters in Denver, Colorado. I was introduced to the company in 2005 while living in the Rocky Mountains. Women's Bean Project provides on-the-job training to women faced with chronic unemployment and poverty.

Founded by Jossy Eyre in 1989, Women's Bean Project began with $500 in beans and two women living in a homeless shelter. Today, their products are available in King Soopers grocery stores and via the Women's Project website.

The product line includes a selection of bean soups, chili, salsa mixes, spice rubs, coffee beans, baking mixes and gift baskets; all of which are very affordable!

In honor of National Soup Month, Women's Bean Project is selling all soups for a mere $5.00. I have purchased Marian's Black Bean Soup, Toni's Ten Bean Soup, 6 Bean Soup with Organic Beans and Spices, and Firehouse #10 Hot Chili. I also ordered two boxes of Cornbread Mix to accompany the chili. Yum!

I encourage you to support Women's Bean Project by ordering soups, baking mixes, spices, gift baskets, jelly beans or my all-time favorite - chocolate covered espresso beans. Click here to browse Women's Bean Project Products.

Below are some of my favorite homemade soup recipes. I'll be posting more soup recipes throughout the month, so take a moment to subscribe to The Cheap Gourmet newsletter by entering your email address in the "Get the Scoop" subscription box.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Beef Soup

White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan Cheese

Turkey with Rice Soup

Low-Carb Asiago Minestrone Soup

Before you leave, take a moment to leave a comment or subscribe to Get the Scoop newsletter to be automatically entered into the January Giveaway

Disclaimer: The Cheap Gourmet is not affiliated with Women's Bean Project and receives no compensation for reviews or product sales.


29 Gifts: How Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker

Today, I'd like to share something a little different with you. Linda Miller of LindaMillerOnline.com is an attraction marketing coach who has been a mentor of mine for many years. Her advice and resources have definitely made a positive impact on my life.

Linda Miller shared a link to a YouTube video interview with Meredith Vieira of the Today Show and Cami Walker, author of "29 Gifts: How Giving Can Change Your Life." I strongly believe giving enhances our lives and therefore would like to continue Linda's giving by continuing the cycle. I hope you enjoy the video!

While you're here, leave a comment or subscribe to The Cheap Gourmet's monthly newsletter, "Get the Scoop" to be entered in our January giveaway.


Happy New Year from The Cheap Gourmet

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and are looking forward to the New Year. We have many new projects in the works at The Cheap Gourmet and invite you to subscribe to our brand new newsletter to receive instant notification as events unfold. Subscribers receive monthly recipes and menu planners, contest and giveaway announcements, and an occasional sales flyer. Subscribers are automatically entered into giveaways presented on this blog.

In celebration of the New Year, The Cheap Gourmet has received a makeover. I hope you like the new look. The goal is to make it easy for visitors to  find what they are looking for. Feel free to leave a comment and offer suggestions on ways to improve the blog. Are there certain types of recipes you would like to see? Do you have ideas for future contests? Are you a business owner or product manufacturer who would like to offer product giveaways? I am open to all ideas, so tell me your thoughts!

DECEMBER WINNER

The winner of our December giveaway is Cassidy Wilber. Congratulations Cassidy! Enjoy your one year subscription to Real Simple magazine. And, a big THANK YOU to Real Simple for offering this wonderful gift to The Cheap Gourmet readers! I encourage everyone to visit the Real Simple website and take advantage of magazine subscription offers and reward programs.

JANUARY GIVEAWAY

I am super excited about January's giveaway. Not only is this the PERFECT way to start the New Year, we will be awarding this gift to FIVE lucky readers. Are you curious???

Alright, I'll let you in on the secret. This month we are giving away Truvia Natural Sweetener. If you are like me, you are trying to eliminate a few extra pounds gained over the holidays. I have a wedding to attend in April and my goal is to shed 20 pounds. I have many miles to walk and calories to count in order to reach my goal.

I received a box of Truvia to try. I'll be perfectly honest. I LOVE the stuff. I'll confess, I am a sugar baby. I must have 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar with my morning coffee. I was a little hesitant to try Truvia and assumed it would taste like artificial sweetener. Not even close! Truvia has the look, feel and taste of sugar without the calories. I'll be talking more about Truvia throughout the month, but for now here are a few Truvia Facts you might enjoy...

  • Truvia(tm) was recently featured on The Martha Stewart Show as one of "Martha's Finds."
  • Truvia(tm) is leading the category of new stevia-based sweeteners with 60% marketshare.
  • Truvia(tm) rebiana is now in several products to which consumers may not be aware: Vitaminwater10®, Sprite® Green(tm), Odwalla® juices, Nature's Splash®, True® Lemon Naturally Sweet and Hansen's® Natural Lo-Cal Juices.
  • Truvia.com features several delicious and healthy recipes.

I will be featuring Truvia recipes throughout January and encourage you to try some as well.

How to Enter The Cheap Gourmet January Giveaway

Everyone who leaves a comment or subscribes to The Cheap Gourmet newsletter will automatically be entered in the giveaway. Five winners will be selected at random on January 31st. Winners will be notified via email and given three (3) days to respond with their mailing address. Truvia will send the product directly to each winner.

Good Luck and THANK YOU for visiting The Cheap Gourmet blog!


Disclosure: The Cheap Gourmet received a complimentary issue of Real Simple magazine and a complimentary box of Truvia Natural Sweetener. These items were presented so I could sample the items and ensure they are a good fit for our readers.