Garden: 2017

Garden 2017 planting day | Kale and Ale

Tonight we planted our garden. Every year it’s an exciting day: The possibilities are endless and there are no failed plants at this point. Everything is cute and small, and the yield and hopes are great.

We like to try some standbys and some new things. This year we are trying broccoli for the first time, wish us luck. (Disclosure: The last minute thing we try usually doesn’t do great.) Now in our third year, Aaron and I tried to plan for how big things get, how much sun they get and how much space they need. Each year we learn a little more and take that into consideration.

RELATED: Tips for first-time gardeners

This year, we went to the University of Minnesota Master Gardener sale, where they sell what they have grown, which often means unique or heirloom varieties of food. The garden has:

  • Sugarsnax carrots
  • Rosemary (in a pot)
  • Apple mint (in a pot)
  • Packman broccoli
  • Basil
  • Peppers:
    • Marconi
    • Serrano
    • Carmen
    • Chocolate beauty
  • Tomato:
    • Martino’s roma
    • Lemon boy
    • Tumbling Tom (in a hanging pot)
  • Chives (already had)

For reference, read my post of what I planted in 2016.

What will you be growing this year? What is your favorite thing about gardening?

Drinking Ghost Face Killah, the world’s hottest beer

I’m a fan of spicy foods and beer. So in January when I heard the world’s spiciest beer, Twisted Pine’s Ghost Face Killah, was being released in Florida, I knew I had to try it. And I alerted every other spice- and beer-loving person I knew.

After weekly stops to my beer store, I finally found it (or, fellow searchers Sharon alerted me it was in stock) so I picked it up right away. I knew there would be limited bottles and other beer thrill-seekers were again anticipating its arrival, so I snatched a few off the shelves, happy to finally have it in my hands.

When I got home I put one in the back of my fridge where it’s extra cold, as Bill was ready to drink it right away. A few hours later we pulled it out and popped it open. (Disclosure: Bill and I split a bottle if it was too hot.)

The beer has six pepper: the Anaheim, Fresno, jalapeno, serrano, habanero and Bhut Jolokia (the Ghost Pepper). Right away I caught a strong whiff of smokiness. I poured it into two glasses and noticed how light the beer is, surprised to learn it’s a wheat beer (which probably really balances the strong peppers). I took a drink, nervous it would burn going down, but I was surprised it was really flavorful and not too hot. I even swirled the first sip around to get all the flavor. This isn’t to say I didn’t feel a nice burn in my mouth (but, surprisingly, not on my lips). I ate a few crackers while drinking the (half of a) beer. I was pleasantly surprised the beer had so much flavor and didn’t just rely on the heat and weirdness factor to get people to drink it. We liked it so much, we grabbed a few more bottles in case they don’t last long!

Milder beers to start you off

If you want to dip your toes into the chili beer pool before trying Ghost Face Killah, the same company makes a milder beer, Billy’s Chillies, but I would suggest the Cave Creek Chili Beer.

Other chili beers I want to try

I noticed a few other chili beers that caught my eye. Not trying to be the strongest, many have chocolate and even cinnamon in them, which I could see really playing off one another and providing great flavors. Some I’m going to be on the lookout for include Cocoa Mole by New Belgium Brewing and Dogfish Head’s Theobroma.

Would you drink this beer? If you have tried it, what did you think?

Sweet pepper relish

I’ve been slacking on making condiments, but one I love and wanted to make at home is pepper relish. Living in South Florida, I have access to peppers of many colors and levels of sweetness or heat.

I used bell peppers, but once they get with the sugar and spices, this becomes a sweet relish that is a different take on pickle relish. This recipe is adapted from a few different recipes found online (something I often do to make it my own and customize it to my liking).

Pepper relish


  • 3 cups mixed peppers, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon celery seed


  1. Combine all ingredients in a pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Once cool, put it in an airtight container.
  3. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a few days to develop flavor. Goes great on burgers and sandwiches.

Stop jalepeno burn on hands

I wouldn’t normally just blog a link, but when I came across an awesome useful tip, I had to share.

As a lover of spicy homemade foods, I have cut my fair share of hot peppers. But no matter how careful I am, my hands always burn afterward. For hours. No matter what. But The Kitchn told a secret to making the sting go away: Olive oil! Rub a little on, then use soap and water and the blogger said the sting goes away in an hour or two, not the six to eight (or more) hours that is sometimes the case.

Another tip I learned the hard way is, if you are dealing with jalapenos at night and wear contacts, you might just want to take them out before cutting the pepper. Or putting on gloves before handling the pepper could work, too, but that seems too simple. 🙂

Do you have any tricks while dealing with spicy foods?