Friday Links

Cheers to 2015!

A photo posted by Valerie | Kale and Ale (@kaleandale) on


It feels like I just took this picture on New Year’s Eve, but 2015 is drawing to a close. But don’t be sad, in an almost-Festivus miracle, Friday links are back and it’s a year-end-slash-holiday edition. That makes me want to celebrate with a cute antipasti platter to look like a wreath. How simple and adorable is that?!?! I think I might be doing it next week.

#Regram from @tonalitydesigns. This antipasti platter is perfect for holiday parties! Share how you’re celebrating by using #BHGCelebrate.

A photo posted by BetterHomesandGardensEditors (@betterhomesandgardens) on

I would love to head out of the new year sipping the cranberry ginger Moscow mule from Beard and Bonnet. With the flavors of cranberry, vanilla, citrus and ginger it seems like the perfect winter balance drink. I think I’ll be trying this soon and get back to you! 

True. Ps Official Fan Video for Can You Blame Me out today… Link in bio.

A photo posted by MATT AND KIM (@mattandkim) on

I love the above picture the band Matt and Kim posted this week. Why? Because TRUTH! That’s pretty much the definition of hangry. Familiar with the word? If you don’t know it you need to read “The Top New Food Words of 2015” from The New York Times. If you do know this word, you definitely need to read the article and see what terms you might not know (I hadn’t even heard of some of these terms).

Don’t forget to read about my year in review of food.

What great food things have you eaten, read about or seen recently?


A real vegetarian’s view on fake meat


A real vegetarian's view on fake meat | Kale And Ale

Flickr photo by Ginny

Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike seem split into two camps on fake or mock meat products: They are a godsend or vilified if one doesn’t eat meat.

When I became a vegetarian, I often relied on fake meat. As a high schooler always on the go, it was a simple, quick and filling option. And it made the transition to a meat-free lifestyle easier because I was making and eating fake versions of things I was familiar with.

Once in college and on my own, I took the time to learn how to cook more food. I educated myself on eating a balanced diet that doesn’t include meat. I explored new foods and how to make meals that include protein without having meat at the center of the plate. I met other vegetarians and tried new types of foods that were more readily available in my college town.

The very first recipe I made when I became a vegetarian at 15 is still one of the easiest and most favorite recipe in my go-to arsenal, the chickpea patty. What inspired me to make more patties (and my own food in general) was getting tired of looking at ingredients on prepared foods and not knowing or being able to pronounce what the heck I was reading.

I’ve never been one of those people looking down on others or shaming them for wanting a veggie burger, or chicken wings or the like. I crave a veggie brat at cookouts in the summer. (Check out this awesome, flavorful recipe for homemade brats.) Breaded buffalo tofu is part of a tasty meal with a beer. But I don’t eat these things because I crave or miss meat. I desire them because they are really flavorful and/or bring back good food memories and shared experiences—a brat around a picnic table with family or breaded tofu watching a game with friends.

I’m more than fine not eating the mock loaf shaped like an animal. I haven’t missed meat since one week after I stopped eating it. But I will have a flat, chewy food containing protein that i made myself on my plate this Thanksgiving (most likely Isa Chandra’s chickpea cutlets), and I’ll make sure its covered in (vegetarian) gravy. Not because I’m missing the turkey on my plate that everyone else is eating, but because I want to be part of the shared experience.

What’s your view on fake meats and why? Please note if you’re vegetarian/vegan or a meat eater.

Vegetarian main foods to make for Thanksgiving

If you aren’t eating meat, it doesn’t meat you can’t have a filling main dish. Here are some suggestions featured on Kale and Ale. Other ideas can be found on my Pinterest board.

Baked Portobello Parmesan

Cauliflower steaks

Chickpea cutlets

Mushroom roll

CSA Week 2 (and July Fourth)

Week two of my CSA was good, but I didn’t get a picture of the food. I get my share on Wednesdays, and Thursday I went home for the holiday weekend, so I took my food with me, still in the state it was delivered to me. But that means I did get to share it with my mom, who looooves asparagus, so we both win!

Roasted radishes and asparagus |

Roasted radishes and asparagus with eggs

I recently heard about roasted radishes, so just quickly roasted the radishes and asparagus and had with some eggs for a varied meal. This method seemed to make the radishes less peppery, and gave them a little different flavor. Have you had them that way before? What other ways do you like to eat radishes?

I’m excited for this next week, as I’m expected to get chives and potatoes. Oh, my! Also, we are getting more peas. What do I do with all these things?!?

Post-race bomb pop -

Post-race bomb pop!

I love the Fourth of July so much; it’s great weather and a happy time with important people. After starting my day with an 8k and homemade patriotic tank top, I relaxed. Later, I went to a minor league game, where the mascot was in his most patriotic outfit as well. Hope you had a wonderful, relaxing Fourth!

DIY flag tank top

DIY flag tank top |

The finished product

A few weeks ago, I mentioned in this blog post that I want to make a flag tank for my Fourth of July 8k race. This weekend, I made said flag tank, and share it with you. I haven’t washed this and am not sure how it will hold up, but my goal is to wear it July Fourth. Anything beyond that is gravy.

DIY flag tank top supplies |

Getting the supplies together

Working on the tank |

Full concentration to cut messy stars.

I wanted this shirt to have a somewhat random and messy look, so if I did mess up it wouldn’t be a huge deal or stick out too much. I put on the shirt and measured where I wanted the blue star field to end and the red and white stripes to start, and used painter’s tape to divide the fields. I then cut  out stars of various sizes and taped them on. Be sure to put something between the shirt, so the paint doesn’t bleed through to the back.

Using a sponge and fabric paint, I painted around the stars once, then made a second layer on areas I wanted to touch up, letting it dry fully between rounds. I then put red paint on the long side of the sponge and made two layers of vertical lines. The end result is what I had in mind, and I have a hair tie with ribbons to give some flair up top.

As far as the running and training for the 8k, it’s not going that well, but I am getting stronger. This race certainly won’t set any personal records, but it has gotten me back into running every two or three days, so that is great.

What festive plans do you have for July Fourth?

Fourth of July food

I’ve always loved July Fourth. The weather is nice, spending all day outside celebrating with family and friends, good food and drink (if done right, starting the day at a pancake breakfast fund-raiser) and cap off the day with fireworks, all celebrating America.

This year I’m pretty excited because I will be running a race and then hitting up a pancake breakfast. Great way to start the day.

One of my favorite things while eating is the enjoy all the creative red, white and blue themed foods. And there is no better place now than Pinterest to get your fix of creative foods for the Fourth. Here are some of my favorites I’ve spotted on Pinterest (with links to the original source). Also, if you are making these vegetarian, double-check that your yogurt and marshmallows are, indeed, vegetarian. What are you looking forward to making/eating on the Fourth?

How cute would it be to wake someone up with these great flag  toasts? It’s just toast, cream cheese, jam, bananas and berries. A simple and fun way to start the day. (If you aren’t going to a pancake breakfast. Can you tell where my brain is?)

Fourth of July toast1

This fruit flag is my favorite dish of the bunch on so many levels: It is very easy to eat with the skewers, it is fruit and it is in the shape of a flag. Pretty much meets all my requirements of a festive holiday dish.2759200374_565dd24023

These yogurt pops look refreshing, and I always say I’m going to use my popsicle molds more. A festive, healthy, cooling snack, no doubt.Fourth of July popsicles

The most impressive dish is a Martha Stewart dish. No surprise! But how great does this red, white and blue berry trifle look, and those sparklers. Oh, stop!Fourth of July cake

For something a little less Martha but no less fun or delicious I’m sure, there is the red, white and blue layered puffed rice treats!Fourth of July Rice Krispy treats

And to wash it all down? This patriotic punch that gets bonus points for the apple star. Or for an adult version, I could see making a white sangria along these lines.patriotic punch