The SAGE - A Thanksgiving Adult Beverage with Sage

Adult Beverage.

Hopefully in a few more days you will be together with your family crowded at a table and stuffing your faces with food that you don’t normally eat throughout the year.  I just love this time of the year.

Turkey is the protein of choice for Thanksgiving and usually everyone is scrounging around to purchase sage because we all know, it is always bought as you get closer to turkey day.  Now, I am going to admit that I don’t use this herb nearly as much as it should be.  It has a great earthy flavor and pungent, almost astringent smell to it. 

Well, I actually bought some sage the other day to make sage brown butter to go with my pumpkin ravioli from Trader Joes.  That meal turned out great, but I had some left over.  So, what else do you do with leftover herbs?  Make an adult beverage of course.

This was a brain child of mine based on what was in the fridge.  Honestly, you could probably use a different fruit juice or even bourbon instead of vodka. Or, even no alcohol at all. Whatever floats your taste buds?  The apple cider totally fits the season and the ginger just adds a wonderful fresh kick.

The SAGE (Sage Apple GingEr.)

¾ cup water
¾ cup  sugar
fresh sage leaves
large chunks

of ginger; peeled and chopped
vodka, any brand you prefer
apple cider

In a small saucepan, add the water and sugar.  Bring it to a boil until the sugar dissolves.  Add the ginger and about 6-7 sage leaves.  Let it boil for a few minutes and take off the heat to let it steep and cool for about 20 minutes. 

In a shaker with ice, add an ounce of the ginger, sage simple syrup.  Add three ounces of your vodka of choice and two ounces of the apple cider.  Shake.  Taste. Adjust to your liking.  Strain into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with sage and/or ginger. 


<3 mk


Modern Bird Feeder on Deck Post DIY


Modern bird feeder
When we first moved in, various types of beautiful birds frequently visited our deck.  They would show up, look pretty and play around for a few minutes and then go back to doing bird things.  The previous owners must not have spent much time on the deck since the birds seemed very comfortable there. Either that or they were bird whisperers.  Things sure changed when we arrived.  Over time, the birds spent less and less time out there.

The logical solution was to bribe the birds to return naturally using food as the currency.  With the vinyl railing and grey composite decking material, a traditional bird feeder seemed out of place.  We ended up finding this modern bird feeder on amazon which would fit perfect with the deck railing.  As you’ll see shortly, it will fit even more perfectly than we had hoped!

It can hang, but we're not mounting it like that

If you turn the contemporary bird feeder upside down, you’ll see that it has nearly the exact same shape as typical vinyl fence post caps.  Effectively, the bird feeder has the perfect female bottom for the male fence post cap!  Too funny.

Here’s all you need to do to attach the feeder to a fence post cap.

1. Drill a hole in the fence post cap big enough to string the feeder hanging wire through.  It will fall into the post cavity out of sight.
2. Apply a bead of silicone or another adhesive to the fence post cap and set the feeder up side down, but not outside quite yet.

3. Wait a few days until it fully dries and rids itself of the vinegar smell
4. Fill it with bird seed and carefully press it down on the vinyl post

Birds did not like this original location
This method addresses many of the complaints of this bird feeder.  Many reviews claim that bigger birds have trouble staying on the small ledge if hung as designed because it will sway back and forth.  With this method, there are no issues of birds not being able to hang on.  The results speak for themselves!

The birds now love this location and greet us every morning to eat at their "bird cafe" modern bird feeder.

Modern bird feeder with a cardinal and two tufted titmouse feasting
<3 mk


Roasted Asparagus with Egg and Goat Cheese


Roasted asparagus with egg and goat cheese
Yum, my mouth is watering thinking about this dish.  It is a perfect meal for the middle of the week when you only have about 15 minutes to prepare.

The asparagus requires little effort when roasting it in the oven.  Pan fry the eggs to medium or over easy.  Then, sprinkle some creamy goat cheese crumbles on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Is your mouth watering yet? 

If runny eggs gross you out, you don’t have to leave the yolk soft, but there is nothing better than cutting into the egg and having the yolk drip all over the asparagus and goat cheese.

Roasted Asparagus with Egg and Goat Cheese

1 lb. fresh asparagus
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 oz of goat cheese
balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Break the tough end of the asparagus off.  They will snap off at the perfect spot.  Layer the asparagus on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil.  Toss to coat and then drizzle with salt and pepper.  Cook about 25 minutes if the asparagus is thick.  Asparagus are super easy to cook properly - just wait until the smell leaves the oven.  Or, you can use a fork to check for your desired level of crispness. You want them tender, but still crisp.

On a flat griddle or pan at high add a small amount of butter.  When the butter melts and bubbles, crack the egg(s) and slowly add to the pan.  Turn the heat down.  Take some of the melted butter and spoon it over the whites closest to the yolk to make sure the whites cook.  After a few minutes,  the yolk will be a perfect medium. Season with salt and pepper. 

On a plate, put a few of the asparagus (5 give or take, depending on their thickness).  Place the pan fried egg(s) on top and sprinkle with the goat cheese that you crumble. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar on top. 

Roasted asparagus with egg and goat cheese
Seriously quick, easy, and includes major food groups; veggies, protein, and dairy.  Enjoy.

<3 mk


Warm Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad


Warm Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

I am little late getting on the kale train.  I have eaten it many times before and really have liked it, but Jeff wasn't a big fan so I never really got into cooking with it.  I don’t know what happened, but one day after shopping at our local farmers market, I bought a bunch of fresh organic kale and decided that I was going to make kale chips. Well, after making the kale chips, Jeff decided he loves the stuff and I find myself buying it as a food purchase regularly.

This recipe was inspired by my old next-door neighbor’s recipe for a warm kale and brussel sprout salad.  She had made it for us before and I adored it.  Pretty much you can add anything you want to a salad like this.  Look in your fridge or pantry and start cooking.  I had some butcher cut bacon in the fridge so I decided to use that as a crispy topping and the fat to cook my Brussels sprouts.

Warm Kale Salad

Adapted from Epicurious

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove chopped
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large bunches of kale (1.5 lbs); center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
12 ounces brussel sprouts trimmed, shredded
2 strips of butcher block bacon, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, chopped garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

In a separate small skillet heat almonds on medium high. Stir frequently until golden brown and you can smell the nuts.  Take the toasted almonds the off heat, sprinkle lightly with salt and put aside to cool.

In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon to render the fat until bacon is crispy.  Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the crispy bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Using the rendered fat in the large skillet, turn the temperature to medium high and add the brussel sprouts.   Saute the mixture with the bacon fat until slightly brown.  After a few minutes, add the kale on top and toss with tongs until the kale is slightly wilted.  Turn off heat.

Kale warming up
Whisk the olive oil into the lemon-juice dijon mixture.  Pour dressing on top of the cooked brussel sprouts and wilted kale.  Sprinkle half the cheese on the kale and brussels sprouts and toss with tongs.

Plate the warm salad and top with some more cheese, toasted almonds, and bacon bits.

The recipe from Epicurious doesn't call for the kale to be warmed on the stovetop, but I love it just a little wilted.  That was the way it was served to me originally and that’s the way Jeff and I both prefer.

I used my mandolin to slice the brussel sprouts.  It makes the slices equal in size and cook evenly.  If someone you know is picky, then this is the way to go because you don't even realize there are Brussels sprouts in the salad.

Warm Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

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