Ultimate Beer Lover’s Oktoberfest Celebration Giveaway

The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour

Are you a beer lover like me? Then you’ll love The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour by John Schlimm. This new cookbook features the best in bar food along with recipes for “Beer cocktails”. John’s great-great-grandfather was Peter Straub of Straub Brewery, so you could say that a love of beer runs in the family! To get you in the “Spirits”, we have some tasty recipe excerpts from the book to share, along with a super fun Beer Lover’s Oktoberfest Prize Pack giveaway. Check it out below and make sure you pick up a copy of the book, available now on Amazon, B&N, BAM, IndieBound and !ndigo.

Recipe Excerpts

Flying Buffalo at the Tap Pizza

From The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour by John Schlimm

The sizzle of Frank’s RedHot-infused toppings balanced by the cool arugula, carrots, cucumber, and tomatoes on top of this baked crust will get your pizza night soaring. The perfect counterpoint to this hot and cool blend of ingredients is an American or English Pale Ale with its malty overtones and slightly bitter edge, a hoppy IPA, or a sweeter, medium-hops Oktoberfest.

Pair with:
American or English Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Oktoberfest


½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped yellow onion
8 ounces seitan, cut into ½-inch cubes, or tofu, pressed drained, and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups quartered cremini mushrooms
1 (12-inch) prebaked pizza crust
1 ½ cups arugula or spinach, julienned
2 carrots, shredded
½ cucumber, peeled and diced
2 tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices


Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F. Combine the ketchup, hot sauce, and liquid smoke in a small bowl, stirring well. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the seitan and mushrooms, and cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft. Remove from the heat. Combine the seitan mixture and ketchup mixture in a medium-size bowl, mixing gently to coat well.
Spread the seitan mixture over the crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crisp. Top with the arugula, carrots, cucumber, and tomatoes before serving.
Yields 1 pizza or 8 to 10 slices

Pressing and Draining Tofu

Before using tofu, it’s best to press and drain it to remove excess water. This will firm up the tofu even more.
Cut the tofu block into pieces, usually bite-size pieces or ¾-inch slices. Cover a dish or slanted cutting board (with a catch pan at the bottom) with an absorbent dish towel or paper towels. Place a single layer of tofu pieces on the surface. Cover the tofu layer with another dish towel or paper towls. Top that layer with a heavy object, such as another plate with canned vegetables on top of it, another cutting board, or a weighty skillet. Allow the tofu to drain for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
For any unused tofu, do not press and drain it. Place it in a sealed container, cover with water, and refrigerate. Replace the water every day. Tofu keeps fresh for at least 3 to 4 days.

Hippie Cayenne Sourdough Pretzels

From The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour by John Schlimm

Worcestershire sauce, garlic and onion powders, molasses, and Frank’s RedHot leave nothing to the imagination when it comes to these seasoned sourdough pretzels. Perfect for any occasion, from happy hour to a campfire, these fiery pretzels pair nicely with a lighter Pale Lager or Pilsner, or even a heavier Oktoberfest.

Pair with:
Oktoberfest, Pale Lager, Pilsner


1 cup (2 sticks) margarine (use recipe below or store-bought margarine)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (use recipe below or store-bought Worcestershire sauce)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard, such as Colman’s, or to taste
2 teaspoon mace
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
1 (1-ounce) packet dry vegetable soup mix
2 dashes Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce or Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
1 teaspoon molasses
8 droplets liquid smoke, or to taste (search Colgin.com for plant-based liquid smoke flavors)
20 ounces sourdough pretzels


Preheat 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the margarine in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, mace, lime juice, vegetable soup mix, hot sauce, molasses, and liquid smoke. Heat until just bubbly.
Using tongs, dip the pretzels in the mixture, one at a time, coating them completely, and place them on the baking sheet. Let the pretzels rest for 15 minutes, then bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Turn off the oven, and let the pretzels cool there thoroughly, for 90 minutes or so. Serve the pretzels or store them in an airtight container lined with paper towels for up to a week.
Yields about 4 cups

DIY Margarine

16 ounces coconut oil
1 ½ cups canola or sunflower oil
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Attach a candy thermometer to the side of a sturdy, medium-size saucepan. Prepare an ice water bath in a vessel large enough to hold the saucepan.
Add the coconut oil, canola oil, coconut milk, mustard, turmeric, and salt to the saucepan, stirring well. Bring the mixture to 125°F over medium heat, then transfer the pan to the ice water bath, and continue to stir until the mixture firms up. Transfer the mixture to a container with a screw-on lid. Cover and refrigerate the mixture. The margarine will keep for about 2 weeks.
Yields about 4 cups

DIY Worcestershire Sauce

Traditional Worcestershire sauce is made using anchovies, and therefore not used by those following a plant-based lifestyle. One go-to source for plant-based Worcestershire sauce is the Annie’s Naturals brand of organic Worcestershire sauce (Annies.com).
Also, here is an easy homemade version:

2 cups cider vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook and reduce the mixture by half, about 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, and let cool completely before using. The sauce will keep in a tightly covered container, refrigerated, for 2 to 3 months.
Yields about 1 cup

Sauerkraut & Portobello Burgers

From The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour by John Schlimm

Pair with:


¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups of Sauerkraut
Caraway seeds, to taste
8portobello mushrooms, black gills under the caps scraped away
4 potato bread rolls/buns or regular hamburger buns


Rub 4 large Portobello mushroom caps with canola oil. Grill the mushroom caps over medium-high heat, turning once, until tender and browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Heat 2 or more cups sauerkraut (sprinkled with caraway seeds, if you wish) in a small saucepan or in the microwave oven until fairly hot. Spoon the sauerkraut onto the inside surface of the mushrooms. Tuck one mushroom into each of four toasted buns, and serve at once.
Yields 4 burgers

Enter to Win:

One winner will receive “Ultimate Beer Lover’s Oktoberfest Prize Pack” including the following items:

1 signed copy of The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour by John Schlimm

2 Humane Society of the US T-shirts (1 male M, 1 female M)

Lucky Brand Jeans Gift card for 1 free pair of jeans

6 Straub Brewery Pilsner Glasses

Coleman soft cooler with hard liner (red)

Weber Barbecue Apron, black

1 OXO Steel Bottle Opener

Set of 2 wooden snack bowls

Set of 4 wooden coasters

Please note that this is a group giveaway being run by Sourcebooks, not MomStart. We are merely sharing the fun chance to win with you! Get your entries in and check out the official rules in the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Italian Sausage Meatloaf Recipe

Italian Sausage Meatloaf Recipe

Johnsonville is a MomStart partner.

Those who have heard about my meatloaf recipe usually comment on my somewhat unique – and tasty! – method. In Britain, one of the things that make the local sausage so good is the fact that the meat is mixed with “Bread-y” ingredients; in America, meat is decidedly meatier, and while that is also delicious, I always really miss the taste of “Home”. Because of this, I like to add oatmeal and breadcrumbs when I prepare meatloaf and meatballs, and it always makes it extra yummy!

I also like to mix up the meats that I use, often incorporating ground turkey or chicken – whatever is on sale or convenient, pretty much. So when Louise gave me a coupon for Johnsonville Ground Italian Sausage, I immediately thought this would be a good one to try in meatloaf. I tried preparing it for the first time today, and this time I jotted down my “Secret” recipe on a notepad instead of just eyeballing it. Oh my gosh, you guys, this was so good! I honestly think this might be the best meatloaf I’ve ever prepared – it was so juicy and flavorful. Here’s how I did it:

Beeb’s Italian Sausage Meatloaf Recipe


16oz package of Johnsonville Ground Italian Sausage, Mild
1/2 C uncooked quick oats
1/2 C plain bread crumbs
1/2 small white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 TBSP of Best of The Egg
Outer Spice Original Seasoning (To taste)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (For coating pan)


Line a 9.5 x 5″ loaf pan with foil. Add a thin coating of olive oil and set aside.

Add meat, oats, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, and liquid egg substitute to a large bowl. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then put on latex gloves and mix all of the ingredients in the bowl thoroughly with your hands. Once the ingredients are fully mixed, press and shape into the pan. Cook for 20 minutes or until done.

Tip: If you leave enough foil on the sides of the pan, you can pull the whole meatloaf out easily in one piece for serving.

I served my meatloaf with white rice for lunch this afternoon – delicious! I also find that meatloaf freezes really well, so it’s a great thing to prepare ahead of time. In the past, I’ve kept a few meatloaves in the freezer, then thawed them out and sliced them up to serve on sandwiches for dinner on really busy nights.

What’s your favorite way to prepare meatloaf? Have you ever tried using ground sausage before?

Chocolate Raspberry Martini Recipe + #VoliGetaway Photo Contest!

Chocolate Raspberry Martini

Product samples provided.

If you’re a chocoholic like me, you might enjoy this cocktail I came up with this weekend! This Chocolate Raspberry “Martini” is perfect for those who enjoy drinks that taste like candy:

Chocolate Raspberry Martini Recipe


2oz Martini Gold Chocolate Martini Mixer

1.5 oz Voli Raspberry Cocoa Fusion Vodka


For glass rim:

Dash of coffee

Small amount of cocoa powder and white sugar


Mix a small spoonful of cocoa and sugar in a bowl. Add a splash of coffee to a second bowl, then dip your glass into the coffee to coat evenly. Edge the rim of the glass over the cocoa & sugar mixture to create a thin coating. Add ice to glass and set aside.

In a shaker, add Voli and martini mixer. Stir together and pour over the ice. Enjoy!

Voli Vodka

I received a variety a sampler pack of Voli Vodka flavors to taste, which is what inspired my cocktail. Here’s my tasting notes on the other flavors I tried:

  • Espresso Vanilla Fusion: The only thing I love more than chocolate is coffee, so I was all over this! It’s smooth enough to serve on the rocks, but I added a dash of coffee and cream to make a sort of imitation White Russian.
  • Lemon Flavored Vodka: A nice citrus blend.
  • Orange Vanilla Fusion: The taste of this reminds me of orange and vanilla pudding shots I made last year. Mmm!
  • Mango Coconut Fusion: I have jotted down in my tasting notes that this is “Yummy – tastes like LA.” Fair enough!
  • Original Light: This is a good, basic vodka – pretty smooth when sipped straight, not too much burn. Good cocktail base.

Voli Getaway Photo Contest


Now through September 30th, you can enter to win a cruise for two on the Norwegian Getaway plus goodies from Voli Vodka! To enter, snap a pic of how you “Shake it up with Voli Vodka while Cruising like a Norwegian” and include @VoliSpirits, @NorwegianCruiseLine and #VoliGetaway in your post. For official rules, click here.

Taco Cupcakes in Bacon Lining Recipe #HormelFamily

This is a partnered post with Hormel Family.

For the love of bacon, what could be better than a taco cupcakes with a bacon lining. Not much I think. Check out how Hormel combines their bacon with taco mix, salsa and guacamole.


taco cupcakes


Taco Cupcakes in Bacon Lining Recipe

½ pound HORMEL® BLACK LABEL® Cob Smoked bacon
½ pound ground beef
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
¼ cup water
½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup whole kernel corn
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded lettuce
½ cup WHOLLY SALSA® dip
¼ cup WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® classic dip
¼ cup sour cream, if desired

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Grease outside of 6 (6-ounce) custard cups. Invert cups onto baking sheet. Cut each bacon slice in half. Arrange 4 half-slices of bacon side-by-side on work surface. Weave 4 bacon half-slices of bacon in opposite direction. Carefully lift bacon lattice and place over custard cups. Press to shape over the cups. Repeat with remaining bacon and custard cups. Bake 30 minutes or until bacon is cooked and browned. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes to cool.
2. In skillet, cook ground beef 5 to 10 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Add taco seasoning and water. Simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in black beans and corn. 
3. Remove bacon cups from custard cups. Fill bacon cups with taco mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce, salsa, guacamole and sour cream, if desired. Serves 6.

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Pizza Recipe

Here is another recipe I wanted to share with all of you from Hormel. This recipes is sure to be a crowd pleaser because it’s covered in bacon!

Bacon caramalized pizza

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Pizza Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced new red potatoes
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 (12-inch) prebaked thin-crust pizza shell
  • 3/4 cup sour cream and chive potato topper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 12 slices HORMEL® Fully Cooked Bacon, crumbled


  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. In large skillet, cook potatoes, onions, garlic, fresh and dried rosemary, salt and pepper in oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until potatoes are browned and tender.
  3. On baking sheet, place pizza shell. Spread potato topper over shell. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Top with potato mixture, bacon and remaining 1 cup cheese.
  4. Bake pizza 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into appetizer squares to serve.

Spider Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe #HormelFamily

This is a partnered post with Hormel Family. I receive samples in exchange for sharing their information. It’s almost October so I know you’ll start thinking about Halloween recipes. Here is a creepy Crawly recipes that you’re sure to Spiderslove.

Spider Peanut Butter Cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup SKIPPY® Creamy Natural Peanut Butter Spread
  • 3/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Makes 66 cookies.
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.
  3. In large bowl, beat together peanut butter and margarine with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in granulated and brown sugars, then eggs and vanilla until blended. Beat in flour mixture just until blended.
  4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased baking sheets, arrange cookies 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly golden. If decorating like spiders, remove to cool on baking sheets 2 to 3 minutes. Decorate to look like spiders, if desired.
  5. If decorating like spiders, gently press mini peanut butter cup into top of each cookie while still warm. When chocolate starts to melt, attach thin pretzel "legs" by placing end of pretzel into melted chocolate. Cool completely then attach mini coated candy pieces for "eyes" and mini sugar pearls for "pupils" with peanut butter.

Midnight Sour Cocktail Recipe

Ketel One Midnight Sour

Here’s a “Midnight Sour” you can drink during the midnight hour: This cocktail from Ketel One Vodka blends a nice vanilla bean simple syrup with fig and mole bitters.

Midnight Sour Cocktail

Recipe by Ketel One Vodka


1 ½ oz. Ketel One Oranje®

¾ oz. vanilla bean simple syrup

¾ oz. fresh lemon juice

3 drops fig bitters

3 drops mole bitters


Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with a float of red wine port.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup Ingredients:

1 quart water
1 quart sugar
10 vanilla beans


Bring water and sugar to a boil, add vanilla beans and split open, remove from heat, cool, remove vanilla pods.

Rosemary’s Baby Cocktail Recipe

Ketel One Rosemary's Baby
Here’s a spooktacular cocktail for your Halloween shindig: The cleverly-named Rosemary’s Baby by Ketel One Vodka, which blends citrus with a sprig of rosemary:

Rosemary’s Baby

Recipe by Ketel One Vodka


1 ½ oz. Ketel One Citroen®

½ oz. Meyer lemon simple syrup

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

1 rosemary sprig

Club soda


Muddle rosemary and lemon simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel and rosemary sprig.

Fumbles & Foliage Cocktail Recipe

Ketel One Fumbles & Foliage

Kick up the leaves this Fall with this “Fumbles & Foliage” cocktail from Ketel One Vodka:

Fumbles & Foliage Recipe

Recipe by Ketel One Vodka


1 ¼ oz. Ketel One® Vodka

1 oz. Pimms #1

¼ oz. allspice dram liqueur

1 oz. fresh orange juice

½ oz. fresh lemon juice

¾ oz. ginger simple syrup (See below)


Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange slice and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Ginger Simple Syrup Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
3-4 large chunks peeled/sliced ginger


Bring sugar and water to a boil, remove from heat, cool, add ginger, blend, strain.

25 Pumpkin Recipes Worth Trying

Today is the first day of Fall and to me Pumpkin is the essence of Fall. I love Pumpkin. Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers. In the United States and Canada, pumpkin is a popular Halloween and Thanksgiving staple. Pumpkin purée is sometimes prepared and frozen for later use and it’s super easy to do.

Pumpkin Recipes

  1. Easy, Quick Pumpkin Muffins
  2. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe
  3. Pancake Muffin Recipe Using Pumpkin
  4. Whole Wheat Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Scones
  5. Pumpkin Spice Buttermilk Donuts
  6. Pumpkin Dip
  7. Pumpkin Pie
  8. Whole Wheat Penne with Pumpkin, Sausage, and Chard
  9. Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Recipe
  10. Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting
  11. Skinny Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
  12. Pumpkin Cheese Ball Recipe
  13. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
  14. Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup
  15. Pumpkin Fluff
  16. Pumpkin Muffins with Crumble Topping
  17. Soft Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Recipe
  18. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
  19. Quick and Easy Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
  20. Pumpkin Cheese-Cake Balls
  21. Pumpkin Chili Recipe
  22. Pumpkin Pie Muddy Buddies Recipe
  23. Pumpkin Pie Squares
  24. Pumpkin Magic Bars Recipe
  25. Heirloom Pumpkin Bread