Kitchen hacks continued…I got a garlic press for my birthday, Friday kudos, wine for your weekend

Occasionally this blog produces interesting things. I’m far from a social media influencer. In fact, I seem to be stuck at that magic Instagram number where people are following me to get the follow back, and then if/when I do, unfollowing me. And while that’s frustrating, I’m also not pouring a lot of time and energy into getting over that hump. So be it for now.

That being said, I really do appreciate my readership and followers, and sometimes this blog produces really interesting things in just the little corner of the world that it is. One time I got free granola squares from a company that did not ask me to blog about them, but I gave them a shout out anyway because they were delicious. And I did not include an affiliate marketing link, because I didn’t have one. Maybe you bought the granola bars and maybe you didn’t. I made the same profit either way! 😉

The gINKgo project has been an interesting thing that the blog has perpetuated, and I really hope it keeps going because it’s a pretty cool, feel good thing. I have yet to be caught putting a note into place, and I know that most of the notes have been found, and it’s kind of weirdly self satisfying to be an anonymous do-gooder. If you have not tried it, I’d recommend it. Even just one. You don’t have to even put a ginkgo leaf on it. In fact, I was just sent a whole stack of handmade cards, for free, because I know awesome people, and they’ll be the next round of gINKgo project notes! So put it on a post-it note for all I care. Just think about spreading some love!

garlic pressThe most recent thing the blog produced, however, was the gift my sister gave me for my birthday, which I’m crediting 100% to this blog because I know she read last Friday’s post, and the light bulb went on. She sent me a garlic press, and not just a garlic press, but a whole combination tool pack that includes: the press, the silicone tube peeler, a tiny grater, and a very small brush that I imagine is for spreading crushed garlic over things and/or basting tiny turkeys. I was conflicted about this gift. One, my sister’s card read, “Something to make your next year a little easier, and I assumed that meant wine, which it unfortunately did not. Two, it felt a little passive aggressive. I mean, I did say just last week:

“I almost want to know how amazing using a garlic press would be as well, but I’m pretty sure it only takes 30 seconds more to mince it by hand, and like I said, it’s kind of rustic.”

And then, there it was, staring me in the face, daring me NOT to use it. And there I was making stir fry at 7:30pm and trying to save some time. And even though my “roughing it” principles were at stake, I went against everything I suggested about my rustic mincing last week, and pressed my garlic. And because at that point I was all in, I used the mini grater to handle my ginger root. It was pretty effective and eye rollingly easy…after I shot the first clove of garlic across the kitchen trying to press it.

I stand by my statement that I would not have spent the money myself to acquire said tools. However, if you registered for one of these for a shower, or it was gifted to you for, say, your 31st birthday, then probably embrace it. Yes, it was a little easier. But honestly, the time I saved pressing the garlic I gave back cleaning three different tools. If there’s a kitchen hack for that besides setting your faucet to sprayer mode and blasting out the little holes, please let me know!

Friday kudos to…

I had to hold play auditions this week, which is never my favorite part of being a theater director. And despite the fact that I had to cut the number of kids that auditioned in half to cast the show, everyone who auditioned did an excellent job putting themselves out there, which is not an easy thing to do!

Kimberly B, my hair stylist, always works magic!

The Diamond Hills-Jarvis Football team who won after 77 consecutive losses should be your feel good story of the weekend.

Wine for your weekend

It is my birthday weekend, and I’ve got a specific bottle on hand for my turning 31 festivities. Four Daughters Winery is a southeastern Minnesota staple, and the restaurant was recently rated #2 on USA Today’s list of winery restaurants. It’s definitely worth a day trip if you’re local in the area, and they’ll ship their wines just about anywhere in the country and even some surrounding territories, so they’re worth a look online if you’re out of town. My pick for this weekend’s birthday bash, the 4 Daughters Pinot Noir. I first discovered this wine at ‘Thursdays on First,’ the weekly summer street festival in Rochester, and it was love at first sip. They actually served it chilled the first time I ordered it, which is unusual for a red, but also a hot wine trend this summer, so you might try a glass either way or pick your preference whether you’re looking for a more traditional red experience with a nice dinner, or a more refreshing patio wine for the waning weekends of summer.

A lush, fruity aroma greets you on the nose, and the first sip reveals a robust bouquet of berry. This wine is slightly confusing because it’s categorized some places as sparkling, but it’s far from bubbly. Sparkling is also not a word I generally associate with Pinot Noir, and if anything this wine “tingles” on your palette. It’s sweet with rich notes of tart cherry, and a full bodied, juicy finish. It’s highly drinkable, and a very approachable introduction to red wine for those who don’t consider themselves “red wine people.” It’s a no brainer birthday pick, and great choice for whatever your weekend adventures bring.



Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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