December 31, 2013

Remember That Time I Made That Thing?
( Yearly Wrap-Up 2013 )

We're at the very tail end of the year, and because I'm completely susceptible to peer pressure, behold!  A list of this year's most popular recipes, complete with gleaming photographs.  It's been a challenging year, and I'm grateful to every person who visits Being a Bear and helps to remind me why I write.  Your favorite recipes of the year were: 

10.   Butterscotch Pudding

9.   Shrimp in Coconut Milk

8.   Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers

7.   Monte Cristo Pockets

6.   Detroit-Style Coney Dogs

5.   Paczki

4.   Pasties

3.   Rice Pudding

2.   Black Forest Fudge

1.   Chicken-Fried Steak

And because it's author's prerogative, here are my favorite 3 that didn't make the list but totally deserved to:

Apple-Maple Turkey Burgers with Maple Dijon Sauce       

No-Bake Coconut Date Cracker Bars with Browned-Butter Glaze

Rosemary and Browned Butter Applesauce

Here's wishing you health, happiness, and endless supplies of browned butter in 2014.  

The Bearfrau

December 25, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry Little Meltdown
( + Gingerbread with Spiced Orange Caramel Sauce )

Let's talk for a minute about what the holidays are like for an introvert.

Remember the bleak hellscape from the Terminator movies?  The burned-out post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland carpeted with ash and human bones?  The one where, just as you think you're starting to understand the horror of this dark new world, a metal foot crushes down on the human skull you were just looking at, and you look up into the cold red gaze of a killer robot?

Yeah.  It's kind of like that.

But with eggnog.

December 24, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Red-Hot Chocolate Slices )

Are you exhausted yet?  Are you cranky?  Are you staring at two visually identical gift cards and wondering which is the $25 you received from your third cousin yesterday, and which is the $100 you're supposed to give to your brother?

December 16, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies )

On Thursday I gave you a cookie for the children in your life (big and small).  Today's a cookie for the adults.  

It's the kind of cookie you could serve to Great Aunt Myrtle alongside tea.  

December 11, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Peppermint Brownies )

I don't usually post about giveaways or contests or events, but today we're going to change things up a bit.  

And we're going to talk about cookies.  Because it's December, and that's a given.

December 10, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + No-Bake Coconut-Date Cracker Bars with Browned Butter Glaze )

Over the weekend I stumbled upon a singularly snarky message board that specialized in bashing food bloggers.  With names of blogs.  In great detail.

December 9, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Pecan Sandies with Praline Filling )

No one's ever going to mistake me for a Southern girl.  I like my cornbread sweet, and my alligators safely behind glass at the zoo.

But man, I love their food.

December 8, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Almond Cherry Bars )

There really aren't any words to fully describe the level of my appreciation for the cherry-almond flavor combination.  

A thesaurusful of superlatives wouldn't do it justice.

December 6, 2013

November 26, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles )

Just to throw a little holiday sacrilege into the mix this week:

I'm not a fan of snickerdoodles.

November 15, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
( + Mulled Cider )

Yesterday I showed you a showstopping cake, and today we're upping the ante.  Here's a recipe that has the same stop-you-in-your-tracks effect, with basically zero effort whatsoever.

Consider it an early Thanksgiving gift.

November 14, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
(+ Caramel-Apple Cake)

Are you ready for Real Truth time?

I've been hanging on to this recipe (and pictures, as you can probably tell) for over a year.

In October of last year, crisp Fall afternoon air coming through the screen door and a DVR'd episode of Masterpiece on the television, I was carefully constructing this cake when the phone rang.

They were calling to offer me the job.

November 12, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
( + Celery and Apple Salad Dijon )

As we learned yesterday, we are not legally obligated to bake every apple we see down to a delicious cinnamon-laced mush. 

Not that that wouldn't be fabulous.

But sometimes it's nice to try something new.

November 11, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
( + Apple Crisp with Sweet Ginger and Macadamia Nuts )

Yes, we're back for a second week of apple recipes.

Initially, I only meant to bring you five.  I made a list of all the apple recipes I've been hoarding, and tried them all so I could offer you the best of the best.

November 8, 2013

November 7, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
( + Apple-Cheddar Latkes )

In the year or so that I've been writing this blog, I've completely conquered my fear of frying.

November 6, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
( + Brown Butter Creamy Apple Pie )

You didn't think I'd leave you without a pie recipe in the middle of Apple Week, did you?

November 4, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
( + Rosemary and Browned Butter Applesauce )

I'll be the first to admit that this all got out of hand.

I showed you a bunch of ice cream recipes in July, and then I was supposed to show you blackberry recipes in August and apple recipes in September. Because that's when the apples suddenly show up everywhere.  Logical, no?

October 30, 2013

The Bearfrau's Guide to Stabby Killers
( + Pumpkin-Spice Steel-Cut Oatmeal )

Well, not a guide to stabby killers.  This isn't a death-row walking tour.  It's more of a guide to surviving stabby killers - my valuable contribution to the Halloween season.

This whole story starts with a turtle.  It's hand-sized, brass, with a stained-glass shell and a teeny little lamp inside it.  So when your husband has gone out of town on business again and you're alone in the apartment in the dark and you're thirsty but won't get out of bed because that dark reflection in the dresser mirror might be your own, but it also might be Bloody Mary, and now that you've thought the words "Bloody Mary" it's definitely Bloody Mary, and you're pretty sure she's going to jump out of the mirror and scratch your eyes out, you can turn on the turtle and have a gently colorful glow on your nightstand and see that it's really just your own reflection and maybe actually get some sleep.

I'd like to emphasize that it's stained glass.  Which means it's Art.  Definitely not a nightlight.  Art.

August 2, 2013

Bear Essentials: Ice Cream
( + Chocolate-Cinnamon Gelato with Toffee Bits )

The first sentence I wrote for this post was "Chocolate and Cinnamon want to be boyfriends, and I am all too happy to oblige."  

I didn't have a political motive for making them boyfriends.  The sentence just sounded cleaner than it would have if I'd used "boyfriend and girlfriend."  But as I looked at it I realized that it might sound opinionated, and that homophobic readers could be offended.  Then I spent some time thinking how nice it is when you find an unexpected benefit to something you were already doing.

I'm petty that way.

At this point, I had drifted reasonably far from the original point I'd been trying to make, which is that cinnamon and chocolate pair wonderfully together.

Logically-ordered storytelling is not my specialty.

August 1, 2013

Bear Essentials: Ice Cream
( + Meyer Lemon Cardamom Ice Cream )

For a long time, I thought Meyer Lemons were a thing that Martha Stewart had mostly made up.  You know, like making handmade doilies out of banana peels or raising special breeds of chickens because you have time in the morning to savor your eggs long enough to notice the tiny difference in taste between one breed's and another.  Something potentially real, but so rare or fussy or prohibitively expensive that only my gal Martha would use them to make a freaking pound cake.  I knew that I was about as likely to see them in my own grocery store as I was to see those pale blue hen's eggs.  And I was right.

July 31, 2013

Bear Essentials: Ice Cream
( + Lucky Charms Ice Cream )

If you give a bear this recipe...
She'll need to make it STAT.
She'll dig an ancient box of Lucky Charms out of the pantry,
And hunched over two bowls like some obsessive-compulsive gargoyle, 
She'll separate the marshmallows from the cereal.
And then she'll make this ice cream.
And eat.
And eat.
And eat.

July 30, 2013

Bear Essentials: Ice Cream
( + Raspberry Gelato )

Remember how I told you yesterday that I like loud flavors?

And you know how ice cream has a tendency to...soften the flavor of whatever's in it?  Sort of...dairify it?

Gelato is the magical answer to that problem.

July 29, 2013

Bear Essentials: Ice Cream
( + Pistachio Ice Cream )

I've been perfectly up-front with you about my obsession with ice cream.
It's a sweet, sweet sickness.

So what better topic to share with you in this sweltering month of July?  This week, I'll be sharing 5 exceedingly excellent recipes for frozen treats.

June 28, 2013

Bear Essentials: Rhubarb
( + Peanut Butter and Rhubarb Jam )

So...I made jam, and it was embarrassingly easy.  In fact, as long as you remember to keep your face and other body parts from hovering over the sputtering pot of molten fruit, it's almost the easiest thing you can possibly do.  Just mix fruit with sugar, and place over heat.  Bam.

June 27, 2013

Bear Essentials: Rhubarb
( + Lemon-Rhubarb Chicken )

Sometimes, when I'm working on a blog post, I'll start a mindless task and let my mind wander where it will, taking the recipe in question as a starting point.  More often than not, this leads me to a place where words rain down on the page without much effort.  Jogging used to be great for this, but since I've started working I've had to cut that out.  Now I do my meditation during my daily commute.

June 26, 2013

Bear Essentials: Rhubarb
( + Rhubarb Muffins with Almond Streusel )

The first time I had a rhubarb muffin was in Charleston, South Carolina.  It was a beautiful spring morning, and Mr. Bear was recovering from a very rough night.

June 25, 2013

Bear Essentials: Rhubarb
( + Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Rhubarb Chutney )

I want to tell you about this amazing pork tenderloin, but all I can think about is the word chutney.  Chutney.  Chuuuut-ney.  I'm repelled by it in a weird way that's kind of an obsession.  Chutneychutneychutneychutney.  It's like the sound a rollercoaster makes as it reaches the top of the first hill.  It's like the sound chickens make.

It's like the sound of chickens riding a rollercoaster.

Just live with that thought for a minute.

June 24, 2013

Bear Essentials: Rhubarb
( + Rhubarb Sorbet )

Sometimes I like to play a game where I give weird food to Mr. Bear just to see what his reaction will be.  I don't think this makes me an entirely horrible person, because he usually gets to eat dessert at the end of the game.  I'm pretty sure that if you get dessert, you can't claim it's torture.

The trick is choosing the right food, because I'm going to have to eat it too.  Squid eyeballs are out.  So is brain.  But rhubarb...rhubarb is perfect.  I bring home what (for all intents and purposes) appears to be red celery.  Then I make sorbet out of it.  And then I shove a spoonful toward my dubious husband.

"It looks like strawberry," he grimaces.  "But I know it's going to taste like celery.  You're feeding me celery ice cream."    

And the most beautiful thing about Mr. Bear is that he eats it anyway. That's love, folks.  

P.S. - It doesn't taste like celery.  It tastes like awesome.  Mr. Bear will vouch for that.

June 5, 2013

Bear Essentials:
Mitten Noms - Michigan Classics

(+ Paczki )

Is there anything prettier than the inside of a powdered jelly doughnut?  
And is there anything more impossible to clean up after?  
Not reallies.

It's worth it.

June 3, 2013

Bear Essentials:
Mitten Noms - Michigan Classics

( + Bumpy Cake )

"Bumpy Cake" is the theory of "frosting is the point of cake" made manifest.  It's the brainchild of the Detroit-based Sanders Candy Company, a devil's food cake topped with inch-thick logs of buttercream and then doused with an icing that is somewhere between a chocolate saucepan icing and caramel ice cream topping.  It is decadent, it is genius, and it is magic.

June 1, 2013

Bear Essentials:
Mitten Noms - Michigan Classics

( + Pasties )

If you're from Michigan, you saw this title and envisioned a meat- and potato-filled pie.  If you're from anywhere else, you might be expecting stripper glitter and tassels.

It's PAAH-sties, folks.  Not PAY-sties.