Hopp Diva's Blog


Easy Spent Grain Beer Bread July 2, 2012

This recipe is not only easy, you can be extremely creative with it.  Well, that is in the sense of flavor, anyway.  Very few ingredients which is nice and you will probably have them on hand in the pantry.  The other nice thing about this bread, anyone who is dairy intolerant can also enjoy the bread since there isn’t any milk or eggs in the recipe.  The hardest part of this recipe is the waiting!

For the liquid in the recipe I have used both water and beer but you need to be careful with the ratio that you choose.  Too much beer and your spent grain can produce a bitter after taste in the bread.  You also need to be sure that you don’t use any spent grain where you have just made a quite hoppy IPA.  If you do choose to use the grain from that brew, be sure to add some brown sugar or honey to sweeten up the dough.

The bread in this picture was made from the spent grain I had making my Raspberry Wheat beer.  I added some mini chocolate chips in one batch and some dried fruit with about 2 Tlb. of honey in the second batch.  Absolutely delish.   Enjoy!!!!  For comments/questions email ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

Easy Spent Grain Beer Bread

1/4 – 1/2 cup of spent grain warm or at room temp.  (not cold from frig)

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tlb. yeast

1 1/2 cup water/ or combination of water/beer

3 1 /2 cups flour

In your mixing bowl, place the spent grain and  1 cup liquid that you will be using.  Turn on the mixer with dough hook attached and leave on as you prepare your other ingredients to let water and grain incorporate.   Add yeast to the 1/2 cup of warm liquid to dissolve, pour into bowl with water and grain.  Add salt or any other spices you would like to use at this time.. Add flour in 1 cup at a time.  The dough may “appear” stiff or it could “appear” quite soft, this will depend on what you use for your liquid.  No worries, just follow the recipe.

After you have added all the flour, take mixing bowl and place a cotton towel over the top of the bowl and set some place to rise until the dough becomes double in size.   Once the dough is ready, sprinkle some flour on your work surface and place dough there.  If the dough feels quite soft/sticky, just roll the dough around in the flour so that it’s easy to handle.  You can divide the dough at this time and add any other ingredients you want ( raisins, chips, dried fruits, etc.).  Form the dough into an oblong loaf or a round loaf.  Place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed liberally with Pam Butter/Olive Oil and dusted with corn meal.  Cover your dough and let it rise while your oven comes up to temp.

Bread is baked at 425 for 35-40 minutes, depending on your oven.  Before you bake your bread, place a pan of water on the shelf below, this will give the bread a crunchy outside and tender inside.

With other spent grains I have made breads with garlic, rosemarry and even a spicy bread with hot pepper flakes!  Be creative, just be sure to add some honey/sugar if you use any spent grain from a hoppy brew.


Not A Man’s World Anymore! June 29, 2012

Gone are the days when women are found only drinking fru-fru cocktails with little umbrellas. For years women didn’t drink a great deal of beer, it was classified as “a man’s beverage of choice” but that thought process is gone by the wayside as women are not only becoming very diversified in beer types but they are also brewing beer.  Now women are ordering a Blonde Ale, Vanilla Stout, Belgian Tripel, Lambic or an IPA.

Female brewers are still something of a novelty but they do exist and the good ones, like Rachael Holland, are well respected by their fellow male brewers.  I met Rachael almost a year ago at a homebrew club Christmas party.  At first, my thought process was “ oh I wonder if she is a newby like me in the brew world”,  but that foolish notion went right out the window when a man came up to Rachael and wanted her opinion about a certain yeast combination he used in his beer!  Before I knew it, more men were coming up congratulating Rachael on a recent brew she made and wanting to discuss water chemistry or other brewing questions with her.  Rachael Holland definitely was not a “newby” like me, this was a woman I definitely wanted to get to know better and like normal for me, I needed to ask a ton of questions!

I recently sat down with Rachael to talk about female brewers in Sparta at Michigan Beer Cellars where she has been a professional brewer for the past two years (Rachael started off working for free at the brewery so the owner, Dan, could see she really knew about beer brewing).  Rachael told me she has been homebrewing beer since 2007 and “cut her teeth” on a book by John Palmer, How To Brew. As I learned more about Rachael, it didn’t surprise me when she told me she started right out brewing with all grain and not a Mr. Beer type of system.  Yes, Rachael is that woman, you know the type go big or go home!   Although she does not compete much anymore in homebrew competitions, Rachael’s boss Dan won Best in Show at the 2011 World Expo of Homebrew Competition with her recipe for Dunkelweizen.

We talked about women brewers and how tough it might be for a woman to break into the world of brewing.  Rachael is totally aware that she has been fortunate in this arena; most men really respect her as a brewer. She has proved that she not only can talk about brewing but she is really good at it.  There are not a lot of female brewers but Rachael told me about another woman, Manda Geiger, who is working at a brewery called The Hideout (Rachael’s boss Dan’s son).

Manda started out at Hideout Brewery as a bar tender (she still does work part time) but always had an interest in craft beers.  She had not done any homebrewing but found herself intrigued with the brewing process at the brewery.  That is when Wob, the head brewer at Hideout, took her under his wing and began teaching Manda the process of brewing.  Now she does pilot brews, which is brewing a 25-30 gallon batch of beer.  This step allows the brewery to try out a recipe and tweak it before it’s passed to Wob who will make the recipe in the larger system.  The experience of pilot brewing has been great for Manda as she learns more about the whole brewing process and she loves it!  Wob has been a patient teacher and even asks for her opinion on some of the specialty recipes they have been working on, like the recipe for peanut butter cayenne beer.  Manda hopes in time she will be doing pilot brews at least 5 days a week but for now she is only brewing for two and the rest of her time is tending bar at the brewery (a girl has to pay her bills).  Manda has found that stepping into the brew world has not been easy but she said due to her independent, competitive nature (with men) in time Manda feels she will gain the respect from men after they try a batch of her beer and really like it!

I asked both women if their taste in beer has changed since they have gotten into the brewing business.  Manda said at first she was more into wheat beers but now she considers herself a “hophead” (this type of beer is made with selected hops and the beer can have 3 different types so the beer has a very strong flavor).  Rachael likes a huge variety of beer types and enjoys specialty beers like Sours.

I discovered that Rachael is a foodie like myself and cooking is the other passion in her life.  Lately she has been working on ideas of how to blend different herbs to develop herbal beers.  After learning this I knew I had to tell her about my homemade beer marshmallows!  It was awesome to see Rachael’s eyes light up and I could see her trying to picture what beers the brewery had so she could make some too.  I told her about some of the other recipes I had made with our homebrew and Rachael was taking mental notes as fast as I was writing my notes for the interview!  Manda shared with me some ideas about making breads and granola out of the spent grain.  I can’t wait to share some of the recipes with you that I’m working on the grain.

So, what do you do if you are a woman who has been homebrewing for a long time and you think you are ready to venture out into the world of owning your own brewery?  You contact the next woman I recently came across who is part of a group called the Brewers Professional Alliance (BPA) and her name is Lynda Nance.  Lynda works for H&S Companies in their brewery division where she actually was the first member of the alliance and helped create the steering committee.  Lynda’s specialty is the internal part of the brewery business and makes sure you know what your SWOT is (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

Lynda told me she was introduced to craft beer about 25 years ago and was hooked.  Although she doesn’t homebrew herself, believe me when I say, by the end of our conversation this woman knows her stuff!  Currently the BPA has about 8 breweries they work with around the state (Mount Pleasant, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Saugatuck, etc) but are hopeful in three to five years they will have breweries in the surrounding states and eventually be nationwide.  Lynda writes for the newsletter the BPA puts out and believe me there is a ton of information on the ins and outs of brewing, the industry, laws, taxes and a great deal more.

I love the motto of BPA that Lynda told me about, “if we are drinking we are working”. I guess that says it all.   I have really wanted to start a brewery and I think I have found my head brewer in Rachael, my fellow pilot brewer with Manda and Lynda with BPA to consult us with the internal issues, yup we are set!

Be sure to check my blog all month long for some taste tempting recipes (like a chocolate espresso stout float) that you and your friends/family will surly enjoy!!


Hello Fellow Female Brewers! June 28, 2012

Filed under: Diva's Brew-ha,Low Fat Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 12:14 pm

For many years I was not a “beer girl”, then after college when I was super poor I found I really liked Rolling Rock, which at that time was a pretty cheap beer.  Then as I moved around my taste changed and beer was not a favorite at all.  Speed ahead a few years, marriage happened, children happened, children left home for college, moved away, bla,bla,bla.  Enter one Mr. Beer Kit for Christmas, whalaaaa – homebrew.  Actually the kit was given to my husband but after some time we started making the different batches together.  We graduated him to a much larger system and kept the Mr. Beer for me so I could do  “pilot brews” (new phrase I discovered when I interviewed female brewers).  Right now I have a Himmel Beer in my 2.5 gallon carboy and I’m so excited to taste the end result.

If you brew or are wishing you could start a brewery (like me), I have a pdf I want to post here from the Brewers Professional Alliance.  This group has it all for you from thinking stage until you pour your upteenth glass of beer in your brewery.  Check them out!



Some Great Jam Recipes! July 25, 2011

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 4:06 pm

Before Summer slipped away from me I wanted to try canning some jam.  I have noticed for a couple of years now, at the farmers markets that I have been going to, that many people are back into canning.  After finding out the basics of what I needed (and my mom stopped laughing as well as giving me the “I told you so” look), I took out some recipes that my good friend Dawn gave me.  The recipes do have liquor in them but remember it isn’t much and it looses all the alcohol content once the jam is cooked.  The liquor only makes the fruit “pop” with flavor.  I”m going to give you all three recipes that I have.  Most of the fruit is in season right now and what better time to give canning a try?    Enjoy:)   Comment’s/questions  1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

Pear With Frangelico Jam

4 cups chopped Bartlett or Anjou pear pulp

2 T.b lemon juice

1 1/2 packages powdered pectin or 2/3 cup from bulk

5 cups sugar

1/3 cup Frangelico

Pear pulp – Wash pears, core and slice them up.  Place them into a food process unpeeled.  Chop them for a few seconds.  The additional roughness of the chopped skin in the jam provides a nice texture.

Put the pear pulp and the fresh lemon juice into a large nonreactive pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pectin and return to a boil.  Slowly addd the sugar, stirring constantly.  When the mixture begins to boil, add the Frangelico.  Bring the jam to a boil again and boil for about 1 minute or until the jam sheets off the spoon.  Pour into how sterilized jars.  cover with new, clean, hot caps.  Process in a boiling water bath for about 10 minutes.  Remove jars from bath, listen for the “ping” sound so you know the jar has sealed.  Let the jars cool completely. Store in a cool, dark place until you enjoy them or give them away.

Makes about 7 8oz jars of jam


Blueberry Jam

4 cups chopped blueberries

3 Tlb. of fresh lemon juice or lime juice

1/2 cup water (or key lime liqueur)

1 1/2 packages powdered pectin

5 cups sugar

Combine the chopped blueberries, lemon/lime juice and water/liquor in a large nonreactive pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pectin and return to a boil.  Add the sugar slowly, stirring constanntly to prevent scorching.  Bring to a boil again and boil for 1 minute or until jam sheets off the spoon.  When ready, pour into how, sterilized jars.  Cover with new, clean, hot caps and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove from water bath and place on rack to cool and listen to the “ping”.  When jars have cooled and everyone has pinged, store in a cool, dark place.

Makes 7 8oz jars.


Strawberry Jam With Triple Sec Liqueur

4 cups chopped, fresh unsweetened strawberries

2 Tlb fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 packages powdered pectin

5 cups sugar

1/3 cup Triple Sec Liqueur

Place strawberries and lemon juice in a large nonreactive pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pectin and return to a boil.  Add the sugar slowly, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil again and boil for 1 minute or until jam sheets off the spoon.  When ready, add the triple sec and bring to a boil once more.  Pour into hot sterilized jars.  Cover with new, clean ,hot caps and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove from the water bath and place on rack to cool.  Listen for the “ping”.  Once jars have cooled, store in a cool, dark place.


Hearty Stew March 11, 2011

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog,Main Dishes & Sandwiches — Hopp Diva @ 12:59 pm

I have two recipes for you for this month’s Women’s Lifestyle Magazine.  The first is a wonderful Hearty Stew that has some ingredients you will be amazed at and the other is a Pulled Pork.  Yes, you read that correct, pulled pork.  Normally pulled pork is quite high in fat but I have found a way to make it with a different cut of meat and it is wonderful!

Both recipes call for a Brown Ale.  Although I did make it with beer you can use only low fat chicken stock.  Before you become too leery about the beer remember all the alcohol is cooked out of the recipe long before you eat it.  One of the recipes takes 2 hours to make and the other is in a slow cooker for over 8 hours.  The flavor the ale provides to the dish is a richness that truly is worth the venture.   Enjoy:)  Send comments/questions to 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

Low Fat Pulled Pork

Hearty Low Fat Stew

Low Fat Version Of Pulled Pork

3 # of Pork Tenderloin

2 Tlb. Cumin

6-8oz Dark Malt Porter Beer ( or you can use a Bordeaux)

1 cup Ketchup

3 Tlb Cider Vinegar

4 Cloves Minced Garlic

2 Pinches of Red Pepper

1 Tlb. Molasses

2 Tlb. Honey

1-2 tsp. Liquid smoke

Take out pork so that it’s room temperature.   Combine all the sauce mix in bottom of slow cooker.  Stir so all the ingredients so they are combined well.  If you choose not to use beer or the Bordeaux, just substitute no fat chicken broth for the liquid.

On high heat, brown the roast in a pan that has been sprayed with Pam.  Make sure you keep an eye to not cook it, you are just browning all the sides.

Place the browned tenderloin into the slow cooker.  The “sauce” should cover the tenderloin.  Turn the slow cooker on low for 6 hours.

After 6-7 hours remove the pork loin and place on a pan that has sides (13×9 works great).  Using a fork, pull the pork into pieces.

If you have a grease separator you can strain the liquid from the crockpot.  I use some of this liquid to mix into the pork once I have finished “pulling” it because of all the great flavors or you can mix some of the liquid into the bbq sauce of your choice.  Ciabatta rolls are quite low in fat and work great for pulled pork sandwiches!

Hearty Low Fat Stew

1# of Pork Tenderloin (cut into bite size pieces)

2 Tlb. Flour

1 Small Onion (roughly chopped)

1-2 Parsnip (peeled & roughly chopped)

1-2 Carrot (peeled & roughly chopped)

2 med. Yukon Gold Potatoes or Red Potatoes (roughly chopped with skins on) NOTE: You can use whole small potatoes too

1 Tlb. Rosemary

1 cup No Fat Chicken Stock

1-½ cups Brown Ale Beer

Salt & Pepper

2 Tlb. Blue Bonnett Lite

4-6 oz. Portabella Mushrooms

Put flour and a bit of salt & pepper in a bowl.  Add pork pieces just a few at a time to dust the pieces in flour.  Melt the oleo in a pot and brown the pork pieces.  After all the pieces have been browned add the left over flour to the pan.  Add the rosemary, onions, beer and stock stirring to dissolve the flour.  Bring to a boil and quickly reduce the heat to a low simmer for 1 ½ hours.  In the last ½ hour add all the vegetables (parsnip, carrot, potatoes, mushrooms) and cook.

NOTE: I make homemade bread to go along with or you can use a rustic low fat bread from local Plumbs Market bakery.  This is a great way to soak up the gravy from the stew!


Beer Fondue! February 1, 2011

Filed under: Appetizers & Drinks,Low Fat Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 3:47 pm

Most of us remember growing up and enjoying Fondue with our families/friends.  There was cheese fondue, oil fondue and you fried whatever you could or chocolate fondue and we dipped everything from fruit to the kitchen sink!  I mean anything tastes better with chocolate right?   I even have fondue plates!

So now that we are older, wiser and you have chosen to eat more low fat, you might think you can’t have fun with fondue any longer.  Wrong!  I have made over a recipe that is great fun and you can use it this weekend for Super Bowl!  You can purchase everything right at your local Plumbs Market and be sure to pick up some low fat rustic breads or Ciabatta bread or use Snack Factory Pretzels( the Buffalo flavored will be great)  and dip away 🙂  This great low fat fondue will be a nice addition to any Super Bowl spread.  Remember to dig out your fondue forks and watch your friends faces lite up!     Enjoy 🙂   Please send comments/questions to 1lowfatdiva@gmail.com

Beer Fondue

1 cup Low Fat Refried Beans

2 cups grated No Fat Cheddar Cheese

2 Tlb. Blue Bonnett Lite

2 Tlb. minced scallions

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

1 Poblano Chili chopped (optional)

3/4 Brown Ale, Mexican Beer, etc (not a beer with alot of hops) room temp

Combine everything but the beer in a sauce pan.  Heat on med/low for about 15 min or until all cheese is melted (you can also add a little No fat Cream Cheese if you choose).  Slowly add the beer and mix in.  Add to a fondue pot and turn on low.  The fondue should be ready in about 10-15 min.  Cut up bite size pieces of Ciabatta bread or a low fat Rustic bread for dipping.  Buffalo flavored Snack Factory Pretzels are also very good with this dip.  Use you imagination for other dipping options that are low in fat 🙂


Carrot Harvest Bread With Stout September 23, 2010

Filed under: Bread & Muffins,Low Fat Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 12:03 pm

I know that I said I would post this yesterday and I’m sorry, time really got away from me.  Both breads I had my “official testers” try seemed to go over well.  Did they jump up and down………….no – actually they only do that for bacon or sausage!  So when I bring in healthy items for them to try, now you know why I say they are some of my toughest critics 🙂  They did say they liked the bread and would eat it (liked it better before they knew it was healthy) again if given the chance.  So that was pretty nice to hear.  Now I guess I will have to wait to hear your reviews 🙂

The bread is great even if you do not want to add Stout beer to it.  My husband brews beer and we are in a brew club so I wanted to come up with some fun items for the rest of the club to try if they wanted to and I wanted it to be low in fat so I could not just talk lower in fat but show that I practice it too!  I do like to hear your feedback regarding the recipes so send me a quick line or two and give me your thoughts or comments  1lowfatdiva@gmail.com Enjoy 🙂

I used part of a recipe from Cooking Light. It’s a magazine that I found dealing with low fat cooking, however their idea of low fat and mine are quite different.  So if I find a recipe that I like and think I can still lower the fat – I do!

Carrot Harvest Bread With Stout

1 cup flour plus 2 Tlb

3/4 cup of sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup grated peeled Granny Smith apple

1/2 cup grated zucchini

1/2 cup grated carrot

1/4 cup nonfat buttermilk

2 egg beaters

2 Tlb. low fat margarine melted and cooled slightly

3 Tlb. Stout Beer

Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients in a large bow, stirring with a whisk.  Stir in apple, zucchini and carrot.  In a separate bowl, combine nonfat buttermilk and eggs.  Add melted oleo and 3 Tlb of Stout beer, stirring with a whisk.  Carefully add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Stir only until mixture is combined.

Spoon your batter into either a sprayed 8×4 loaf pan or you can use small loaf pans (about 3) that have been sprayed with butter flavored spray.  Bake at 350 for 40 min in large pan about 15-20 in small pans.  Remember every oven is different so time will vary.  Always check with toothpick 5 min. or so before time is up so you don’t over bake!

The only fat in the recipe should be from your melted oleo which would be 10 grams for either the loaf or divided among the smaller loaves.

Carrot Harvest Bread With Stout

NOTE:  If you omit the Stout beer, leave out the extra 2 Tlb of flour


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