Hopp Diva's Blog


A Must Have March 22, 2019

Some of you know that I have had to do some extreme downsizing in the past year and I have had to get rid of lots of “stuff”.  This includes lots of kitchen items that I love and use occasionally but because of space restrictions I had to let go of a few things (ok, a lot of things).  One item that I kept was my baked donut pan.  I had about 3 but decided to keep just the one pan.  I use this pan a great deal especially when my Littles are staying with me.  The youngest Little is dairy intolerant so getting donuts at the store is not usually an option.  So by using my baked donut pan the Littles as well as the adults can enjoy fresh donuts!

My first suggestion to you is to not purchase the baked donut mixes.  They are quite costly and most of the ingredients in my recipe you will have in your pantry/cupboard.  The fun part about using my recipe is that you can use what ever flavor of beer  you have on hand and not just restricted to a banana beer which some recipes call for.  I have also made gluten-free donuts using my recipe by substituting gluten-free flour for the all-purpose and using gluten-free beer.  The spices you had can change the flavor how you want it to be.  You can even make chocolate donuts by using cocoa powder in place of some of your flour.  The creations are endless!

There are lots of donut pans out there but I like the one in the picture the best because it’s deep.

Enjoy!!!! And drop me a line to let me know what types of donuts you have created.

Hopp Diva

Recipe for donuts can be found on the website under breakfast as well as desserts.


New Brewery Find March 18, 2019

I can’t believe that we are already into the middle of March.  Again I ask, where does the time go?  For me this month has been  all-consuming about rice crispy treats.   I have been trying  to develop a recipe for beer marshmallow rice crispy treats and for the most part it has been an epic fail!  So when Forrest asked if I wanted to go with him to return some equipment I jumped on the invitation.   I figured I had two choices if I said no, one was to continue to bail water from our flooding issues or go back to the store yet again to purchase more crispy cereal and the ladies at the check out are starting to take notice.

We had to go into GR and didn’t get a very early start so while I waited in the truck for the returns to be handled I checked for breweries in the area.  I found one that just sounded unique and clever, it is called Kitzingen Brewery, http://www.kitzingen-brewery.com/.  The description stated the brewery featured German style beer and food.  Since we had taken a trip and had walked on the edge of Germany I thought this might be a good pick for us.  Forrest was able to try some German beer but most of it was Kolsh  so I thought this might give him an opportunity to try some different styles ( we did learn on the trip that different areas of Germany produced their own style of beer and it there was a distinctive difference).

Kitzingen Brewery is located in a small strip mall.  The moment we walked in we were at first thinking we walked into the wrong place.  It didn’t have the “brewery” feel.  It was more like a local pub where there were lots of regulars who had stopped in for a pint.  Our server was new but  quite helpful with the beer selections.  As you can see in the picture the flight came in little mason jars with handles – a first for us.  The story behind the brewery is a good read so check out the web site that I gave you a link to.  A veteran who had been in Germany is who started the brewery.

When it came to ordering food our server again was quite knowledgeable and gave us a good recommendation.  I am not a big fan of sauerkraut so I had my German brat without and Forrest had his with the sauerkraut .  The homemade brats were fantastic and our server told us they were made locally.  The beer was pretty good overall.  Forrest didn’t have a real favorite but he did try a triple IPA and thought it was pretty solid.

Kitinzen Brewery was a place I would go back to  and try some of their bigger/bolder beers.  Plus they were so nice I wanted to bring them some marshmallows!






February Beer Finds February 27, 2019

I think the older I get the harder it is for me to wrap my mind around how quickly the months pass!  I try to reflect back to see what I have accomplished in the few weeks the months offer me.  Although February has flown by for me (as has most months) I did discover a few very interesting beers to cook with.

Morning Nightcap by Arcadia Ales, http://arcadiaales.com/, has been a fun beer to not only make marshmallows but also the beer cake that I make so often (you can find the recipe under the dessert tab on my web site ).   The Chocolate Cheesecake Milk Shake Stout by Rochester Mills Brewery, http://www.beercos.com/our-story/production-brewery/, was the beer I used to make part of the Vanilla Porter cupcake with Chocolate Cheesecake Milk Stout filling topped with the salted caramel Vanilla Porter butter cream frosting.  The cupcakes were time consuming but ohhhhhh boy were they delish!!!!  You can find that recipe under the dessert tab also.   A truly unique beer, Milk Shake IPA also from Rochester Mills,  was a big favorite of my husband Forrest.  I used the Milk Shake IPA to make marshmallows and they were a huge hit with everyone who tried them.  The beer offered a wonderful little bite on the back side of the marshmallow taste.  I didn’t have to dry hop the marshmallows very much to achieve the taste I wanted.  Another great beer I found for making cupcakes, marshmallows and even soaking pears in was from Brewery Vivant, https://www.breweryvivant.com/   A Bourbon Barrel Aged Quadruple Ale called Wizard Burial Ground   was so much fun to play with.  I soaked some pears in the beer for a few weeks and then made a delicious almond tart where I topped it with my soaked pears.  Talk about tantalizing your taste buds!!

Forrest and I have been to Brewery Vivant   in Grand Rapids Michigan a few times.  They are known for their sour beers, which Forrest is not a fan of but they do have other beers that are pretty solid.  One of my favorite things to get at Brewery Vivant is their  Duck Confit Nachos.  Holy Batman are they awesome!

I have to say that Forrest didn’t suffer too badly from all of my finds this month.  There are a couple of other beers that were ok for drinking but I didn’t feel they were worthy of creating anything with them.

I will post the Almond Tart Recipe that I made with the soaked pears soon but if you now have a bug you want to make them right after you read the blog post you can find the recipe on this web site    https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/almond-tarts-recipe   

The only things I changed with the recipe is to not put the raspberries on top or the icing.  I felt the pears were a great touch and  I did not want to take away from that flavor combined with almond flavor. Too much sweet from the icing pulls the flavor combination away.

I have high hopes for March.  Lots of recipes as well as beers to sample.

Thanks for reading!




A Quick Escape To Arizona February 16, 2019

Filed under: Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 1:01 pm
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First it was The Polar Vortex and then it was The Ice Age that we survived so I thought it was time to do a quick long weekend escape!  Probably not high on Forrest’s bucket list but I felt it really deemed a necessity after the extreme weather and his very long 60 plus hour work weeks. So  I found a couple of plane tickets to Arizona (where our son and daughter in law recently moved to), gave him the dates, packed our bags and drug him to the air port.

To keep Forrest from being bored we had a list of projects we told our son we would help him with.  Also on the list was finding a brewery, which are popping up like crazy around Phoenix and the rest of Arizona.  A place my son really wanted to check out was a brewery called Arizona Wilderness Brewing which is located in Gilbert Arizona.

Gilbert is about an hour from where we were staying.  So one day after our son was able to get out of work we decided to head out to The Wilderness Brewery for a late lunch.  The place was really quaint and they took the wilderness theme to heart.  The beer flights were brought out on logs.  There was a huge outdoor gas fireplace where people could sit outside all year around and enjoy a beer.  The decor was also rustic.  Forrest and my son each got a flight of 5 different styles of beer so they could try lots between the two of them.  I could list some of the beers but unless you are able to get there in the next week or so the flavors will probably change.  Both Forrest and my son felt all the beers they tried were “pretty solid”.  Forrest is a big hop fan so his taste buds were satisfied, the stouts and porters were also quite tasty (remember I only taste I don’t drink).  My son really likes sour beers so he too was happy.

Now onto the food!  I had pork belly sliders on homemade pretzel buns.  The belly was made to perfection and the buns really tasted like pretzels not bread.  There was just enough flavor with spices to round everything out.  Arizona Wilderness served a beer cheese on the side that actually tasted like something other than a plastic cheese dip, it was divine!  We were even dipping fries in it.  I believe they called it a wort cheese dip.  My son and daughter in law had burgers that looked and tasted really good.  Forrest had fries topped with pulled pork and the wort cheese dip.  Not exactly my cup of tea for a meal (too much going on and I don’t like to mess with my fries especially when they are truffle fries) but he loved it and said the pulled pork was done perfectly and he too loved the wort cheese dip.

If you are in Gilbert Arizona I would definitely recommend this brewery.  There are lots more things we want to try on the menu as well as try more of the beer. I have attached a link for the web site so you can check it out and learn more about how the brewery was started as well as read about the brewers.  They were not there the day we were so I didn’t get to talk with them.  I also had brought some of my beer marshmallows with me (the weather was cool enough for me to bring them to Arizona) and wanted to share some with the guys.  Our server was excellent.  Although the place was really hopping he took the time to answer any questions we had about the beers and was very knowledgeable which is always a huge plus.

Forrest and my son even got a 4 pack to go and a 40 of a sour .  One of things we found interesting is the cost of filling a growler, even your own was more expensive than  to purchase a 4 pack of beer. that was a first for us.  But as a side note this brewery did give very generous pours for their flights.




Until next time!


Survival of The Polar Vortex February 8, 2019

Filed under: Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 4:33 pm

In the Mitten we have heard the terms The Big Storm of 1978, Snowrmageddon and now the Polar Vortex (but they forgot to name the ice storm we have had for the last 3 days so I will call it “Ice Apocalypse” …..you are welcome weather people).  The Mitten was basically shut down for almost a week from the Polar Vortex which definitely was a first for Forrest and me.  Global warming?  I have no clue but in other huge snow storms in which the weather people always said this is ” the worst storm ever”  we all seemed to get out and about.

Anyway, being stuck in the house for almost 2 weeks without a lot of other human contact besides Forrest I was bored beyond believe.  The first week of the Polar Vortex I made the Hearty Stew, which is on the website, and a pot pie.  Going into the kitchen create new recipes is always an option but that also meant I had to have the ingredients for what ever I wanted to create.  Beer is basically  a staple in our house so that was not an issue, but other ingredients were.

What I ended up doing was taking 2 recipes that I had not tried yet and creating one  recipe where I had everything I needed and WOW were they delish!  I made Vanilla Porter cupcakes with Chocolate Cheesecake Stout filling topped with caramel Vanilla Porter butter cream frosting.  The name is a mouthful right?

I was so excited  about the cupcakes and the need for human contact that I invited a couple of my neighbor taste testers to come over and well the rest is history as are the cupcakes!  Sorry no pics but hopefully you can envision them in your mind as you read the title of them 🙂  I am not sure if I will try the original recipe but I know that I want to make more of the ones  I came up with because I found an area I want to tweak.

Check out the dessert tab on my site for the recipe.

Thanks for hanging out


Ahhhh so many beers to try………….


What or Where is Siciliano’s? January 27, 2019

Filed under: Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 3:58 pm
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Over 10 years ago when my husband Forrest started brewing lots of people  told us we “just had to go” to Siciliano’s to get our supplies because they have everything!  OooooooK…………………

Well Forrest and I called, got directions and headed out one Saturday afternoon.  Now, we live in a very small community (4000 people , 25000 in the  whole county) so my little dutch husband was a bit leery about me telling him we were driving about 60 miles to go get some grain and hops.  I got Forrest in the car, made sure he had his recipes and we headed out.  Yes, there was some grumbling but that is to be expected with him 🙂

Once we parked the car and you approach the door it looks like any other little market as you can see by the pic below BUT once inside – holy crow!!!!  Your first look is the rows and rows of different beers (which they sell by the bottle/can) and then to the right rows of wines.  Behind the sales counters are oodles and oodles of different liquors from all over the world.  I am sure we looked like quite a site as we stood just steps inside the door with our eyes wide with anticipation and our mouths open.  Within a few short seconds we were greeted by one of the staff and were asked if we needed help finding anything.  Forrest explained he had come to get some grain and supplies for brewing a batch of beer.  We were taken over to yet another area where all the brewing supplies were located.  It was AMAZING!!!  Siciliano’s had any  grain, yeast, hop or piece of  brewing equipment that a person could  ever imagine they would  need. Forrest explained he was just a beginner and was using a Mister Beer Kit (which only made about 2 gallons) to hone his beer making skills.  Forrest didn’t want to start out making 5 gallon batches of beer and doing all grain when he was not sure how much he would enjoy the process or the beer.  What solidified our love of this market is how they treated Forrest at that point.  Not one staff member in the place looked down on him or treated him any differently because he was using a “Mister Beer” instead they told him it was a good way to start out by making pilot batches to see what style of beer he likes.  It also was a way  to make many different types of  beer and if you were not crazy about a certain beer or you messed up,  you were not left with 5 gallons of a brew you couldn’t drink. And believe me Forrest did that more than once, like the batch of Wet Dog Beer he made.  It smelled so bad you thought you were drinking a wet dog!

Fast forward about 10 years.  Forrest is still brewing beer ( in fact he has one fermenting right now and helped a fellow brewer do his first batch of all grain this weekend ) and enjoys it.  Before we started getting all sorts of brew magazines and books Forrest has gone into the Siciliano’s  with a name or beer style  he wants to clone and a staff member looked  up a recipe that worked perfectly for him.  To this day Forrest or I will go in and ask advice on tweaking a recipe or asking advice on why a beer just not have the mouth feel/ taste he was looking for.

It doesn’t  matter if you are a novice or a brew master Siciliano’s has what you want right along with any support you might need from the staff. Almost every one of Siciliano’s staff has brewed or has been involved in the brew trade for years.  These people could write books!  Not sure what you want?  One  staff  or another is very knowledgeable about  every beer, wine, cider or liquor in the store.

So you are saying to yourself I don’t want to brew beer I just like to drink it, well no problem.  Siciliano’s has hundreds and hundreds of different beers from stout to big time hops to sours to gluten-free.  Are you into ciders?  Siciliano;s has a huge variety of those also.

The staff at Siciliano’s is like family in many ways to us.  Although we are not there on a weekly basis or even monthly, they know us by name.  I try to bring in some of the items I make from beer or spent grain to get their feedback.  Sometimes they even give me suggestions on a beer to try when making a certain item or beer to substitute if they don’t have what I want.

Before I sign off I want to tell you about a couple more things regarding Siciliano’s.  Each week they put out The Buzz where you hear about the latest beers, breweries and other stuff.  They also talk about a big home-brew competition they have.  It’s a great event, lots of fun and a way to mingle with other home brewers.  We have met home brewers there who have gone on to not only win the competition but started their own brewery!

Here is the link for The Buzz  http://sicilianosmkt.blogspot.com    

If you are in the West Michigan area check this fantastic market out.   https://www.yelp.com/biz/sicilianos-convenience-market-grand-rapids

Until next time………………………………..YOLO




How My Journey Began January 24, 2019

Filed under: Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 2:31 pm

A few years ago I took my love for creating foods/recipes down a different path.  I loved this idea so much that I changed my original logo from my web site and took off like a wild woman on a mission.

My husband has been brewing beer for a few years now and loves to create recipes…..for beer.  I wanted to be supportive with his home brew interest but the truth is I like to “taste test” beer but I do not like to drink it! Soooo, this is how my Hopps Diva came about.  My husband would make the beer and I would come up with ways to develop or adapt recipes for the beer.

At first the ideas were just with the “spent grain” but you can only use so much of that at a time and spent grain bread made from the “mash” gets to be very boring.  I moved on to incorporating the beer into recipes that I had developed  or used on a regular basis .  Close your eyes and picture this, Creamy Coffee Stout Cupcakes, Dark Porter Cake, Beer Bacon Muffins, Raspberry Wheat Beer Donuts, Beer Sorbet, homemade beer marshmallows dipped in chocolate or Hearty Pork Stew with a Brown Ale.  Any of that tantalize your taste buds if so you can find most of the recipes right here on my blog page.

Well all of that was fun but not enough, I wanted more.  The ideas were there but I was stumped about one process, getting the spent grain down fine enough to really be a good flour.  I worked on this process for over a year and I knew what had to happen only I also knew different equipment was going to be needed.  Long story short, I met a guy who has the equipment and after a lot of teaching on both of our parts we made my dream happen; spent grain flour as fine as any flour you could find at the market.  Bad news, “the guy” only wants to do this process on a hundreds of pound scale because of the cost of production.  Don’t get me wrong, in my mind as a business person I totally get it but in my heart – well not so much.  Even the absolutely delish spent grain flour beer banana bread didn’t nudge him.

As you can guess by now my journey is not over but just had a hiccup in the road. My adventures continue as I “taste test” microbrew beer, develop more recipes and continue the search for a new way to make the spent grain flour that I want to use as well as teach others how to incorporate it into their own recipes………………………………………………….until next time and hopefully we see each other in a brewery


Hopp Diva



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