Friday Links

Hope everyone had a great week. It’s supposed to be 50 and sunny in the Twin Cities this weekend, so how can’t it be wonderful?

Did you get President’s Day off? I had never heard of that beyond banks and the post office until I moved to Minnesota, but I got it off, so I’m not complaining. What would you do with an extra day off?

I spent the afternoon brewing my second batch of beer, a clone to Deschutes Fresh Squeezed. We are adding even more hops to the already hoppy beer, so this could be interesting. It’s fermenting like crazy.

Fresh squished homebrew | Kale and Ale

Beyond that, here are some links I’m into:

It’s from October but I’m just now seeing 50 best hikes in the world. It’s really motivating me to plan another trip. I’ve hiked Angle’s Landing and have a few more on my wish list, what about you?

RELATED: Last year I hiked Zion and Grand Canyon.

This month’s Bon Appetit is all about food culture, including ways dining has changed since 2000.

2016 James Beard Award semifinalists have been announced. Have you been to any of these restaurants or will you based on the awards? I seriously want to visit San Francisco just to walk around, eat and drink, and things like this only make it more so.

What have you been reading/eating/enjoying this week?

2015 In Review: Drink

2015 year in review: Drink | Kale and AleThis is the third in a series featuring highlights from 2015. Today I take a look at drinks and recipes I’ve enjoyed this year. Monday we discussed food and Wednesday talked about the active things I did this year so check it out. Share your highlights of each topic in the comments!

Since I moved into a house late 2014, I haven’t been going out as much, but I was able to try some new places and drinks. I made a point of going to Fulton Brewing and trying the HefeWheaties and going to the 36-tap takeover of Surly Beer at New Bohemia Bier and Wurst Haus, both worth it.


Since I have a house and more room, Aaron and I brewed a hoppy ale that both hopheads and malt fans enjoy. We hope to brew our next beer soon.

Maple Island 2 Headed Goose beer |

The beer I was most looking forward to at the Minnesota State Fair, a Maple Island 2 Headed Goose.

As I mentioned in the food highlights post, I had many good beers at my first Minnesota State Fair.

And don’t forget to bring my craft beer event bingo cards to your next tap takeover or craft beer festival, simply print them off as you’re making your pretzel necklaces.

What are your drink-related highlights of 2015?

2015 In Review: Food

2015yearinreviewfoodThis is the first in a series this week featuring highlights from 2015. Today I take a look at food and recipes I’ve enjoyed this year. Wednesday we look at some of the active things I did this year, including my amazing summer trip that I never got around to blogging about. We look at drinks Friday, so come back all week, and share your highlights of each topic in the comments!

The first half of this year it was quiet on the blog, and I’m moving away from so many recipes on the blog, instead focusing on a healthy, balanced lifestyle blog. With the addition of buying a house late 2014, my eating out budget and time has decreased. But I still love to eat and make every meal special and count. Below are some of my food highlights from the year.


When in Seattle in March, the person working the desk suggested a new restaurant nearby known for its craft cocktails and innovative good. With a focus on unique drinks and the catchy, appropriate name Damn the Weather, I was in love. Later this year it was named a top 50 new restaurant in America by Bon Appetite magazine.

Closer to home, I had heard only great things about the chef-driven tasting menu at Travail. I went for my birthday and loved every minute of it. It was like performance art, dinner and a show. I thought being a vegetarian meant I would miss out on some things, but that wasn’t the case, so it was great. Read about my experience.lSns8u


I’m moving away from so many recipes on the blog, but when I eat I’m focusing on eating meals with fewer animal products and less gluten. Two of my favorite recipes I’ve made this year include a tofu scramble that doesn’t make me miss eggs at all and pizza using zucchini slices as the crust for a less-guilt alternative.

Tofu scramble breakfast |

Tofu scramble with hash browns, apple slices and can’t forget the coffee.


This year I made a point to go to the Minnesota State Fair, and food and drink was the main attraction. I tried all the specialty beers I had hoped to sample, but of course my first stop was for cheese curds.

All in all, it’s been a tasty, successful 2015, and I’m a happy girl. What are your food-related highlights of 2015?

First Time Brewing Beer

Valerie Bitter Birthday | KaleAndAle

Enjoying the first brew, it was a tasty success!

If you like Kale and Ale on Facebook, I have posted pictures of my first homebrew adventure. I won’t post much now because I hope you have been following along, but if not, here are a few thoughts!

I attended a class a few years ago about brewing my own beer. They kept saying you can both mess it up and not mess it up, and the risk seemed too great to lay down all the money to get equipment. In steps a boyfriend with equipment, a science mind and experience! OK, I’m in.

We went to Northern Brewer and picked out an extract kit, which gave detailed directions, and even if you have questions, Northern Brewer is there to help, as they asked if we had any questions, had the right yeast, etc., before leaving. We opted for a bitter pale ale based on the temperature where it would be stored and our tastes in beer.

Sterilize beer | KaleAndAle

Had to realize when things had been sterilized. Don’t be that guy who ruins the beer, Val!

The hardest part of brew day was that it took some time and that everything had to be sterilized and it was so hard to remind myself what had been sterilized and to not touch it after the fact. But it was great adding hops smelling them and knowing how when they are added in the boil process will affect the outcome. At the end of brew day I was really giddy. Each step along the way was quick and another step closer to beer. Every day I would run to the carboy and look at the progress as it was moving along.

First ferment | KaleAndAle

First fermenter is active.

Second ferment | KaleAndAle

Moving to the second fermenter and dry hopped the beer.

Opening the first bottle and hearing the carbonation escape was a relief, and I loved tasting the hard work that we made.

Bitter Birthday bottle | KaleAndAle

Capping it old school.

Since then, we have talked about what style we might make next, creating our own recipe based off what we know about beer, what we have read and our preferences. As a recipe developer, this is very exciting for me and sounds like the perfect winter activity.

Do you brew beer? If so, how did you get into it and what memorable experiences do you have?

First Homebrew: Follow Along

First brew |

Made it through brewing day of my first batch of beer eva! And now the hard part: We wait.

Yesterday I brewed beer for the first time! Detail: I assisted my boyfriend who has brewed a handful of times as he ran the show.

I’ve wanted to brew for many years, and since he has the equipment and knowledge, we decided to give it a go. We brewed a pale ale that will be dry hopped, so it might not be ready for four to six weeks.

I’ll share a post of the experience at the end, but meantime I’ll be posting progress on the Kale and Ale Facebook page, so please follow along there and “like” Kale and Ale on Facebook so you don’t miss any of the action! Visit the page to see how much the beer is going through fermentation after only 24 hours.

We had such a good time on brew day and my excitement is bubbling like the beer, that we are already looking at what style to make once the current carboy (glass vessel) is not being used.

I feel like this is science I can get into. I’m really excited to share the journey and end result with you all. Cheers!

Have you brewed beer before? I would love to hear your stories and experiences, please leave them in the comments below.