Honey I.P.A.

sweet ipa india pale ale

I’m not a big fan of most India Pale Ales (I.P.A.) since most are extremely bitter and to me most don’t have offer anything to balance it out.  My husband is a big fan of them so we’ve brewed a couple of batches. We mused around with a few recipes and one that we both enjoyed was from Brooklyn Brew Shop. They have an Everyday I.P.A. that is hoppy and smooth if you can believe that.

Honey I.P.A.

After the first batch was done and gone, we started on another one, but this time we modified it just a bit to make it more of our own. Here’s our take on an I.P.A. It’s for an all grain 1 gallon batch, but you can use a tool like BeerSmith to convert it to an extract recipe or for a bigger brew. sweet ipa india pale ale


  • 1lb 12oz American 2-Row malt
  • 6 oz Caramel 20 malt
  • 3 oz Victory malt
  • 2 oz Munich malt

I think if you want to go a bit sweeter to balance out the hops you can add some more Caramel malt in it.


  • Columbus
  • Cascade
For the yeast, you can use Wyeast America Ale II. Brooklyn Brew Shop also recommended Safale S-05, but our local brew shop didn’t have it in their inventory.

 Thoughts on Brewing I.P.A.s

For those of you who love to homebrew, do you enjoy making India Pale Ales? What are some of your favorite recipes?

Photo Credit: Moor Beer Company

Testing and Making Small Batches of Beers

brooklyn brew shop beer kit

So we’ve been brewing quite a bit since we got started. I just finished a batch of Smoked Wheat last week and this past Saturday we went ahead and bottle our first batch, a Maple Brown Ale. Maybe you’re interested in getting started with home brewing, but perhaps you don’t want to jump all in and put that much money down. There is another option that may work well for your budget.

Brooklyn Brew Shop Kits

Besides getting the equipment to make 5 gallon batches, I also got a small all grain equipment kit from Brooklyn Brewshop that allowed us to brew an all grain recipe quickly and easily.It’s $40 (free shipping with my amazon Prime account) and the kit includes most of what we needed for the brew, with the exception of 4 chestnuts, a funnel, strainer, honey, and a brewpot.

We had picked up a funnel and strainer at the store and already had the pot and the honey at home. (Alas chestnuts were nowhere to be found. )brooklyn brew shop beer kit

  • beer making mix (grain, hops, and yeast)
  • 1 gallon glass fermenter
  • chambered airlock
  • glass thermometer
  • racking cane,
  • tubing, tubing clamp
  • screw cap stopper
  • packet of sanitizer

The kit is usable so you can simply order another mix bag from them or you can go to your local brew supply shop and assemble your own ingredients. I think it’s an affordable to get started and it is easy to prepare. If you want to simply get the recipe kits from Brooklyn Brew Shop, it’s $15 and it comes with the grain, hops, and yeast that you need.

If you’re more handy with recipes, you can use all grain recipes that are available online and go to a local brewing shop to get your supplies. Either way, using the kit is a lot of fun, very easy to store, and very affordable. I’ve been using it both with my husband and by myself. One gallon brews are much lighter to move around than the buckets we use for the 5 gallon brews.

Thoughts on Small Batch Brewing

How many of you have used Brooklyn Brew Shop’s kit for brewing? What are your thoughts on it?

Getting Started with Homebrewing

We have recently added another kitchen activity to our cooking list – we brewing our own beer. after taking so many tours of breweries around the area, we thought it would be fun to try it out ourselves. We’ve busy this month with 3 brews fermenting right now. Getting started with brewing wasn’t expensive and we discovered there are some great local and online resources to help us.

Picking Up the Beer Brewing Supplies

The first thing we needed to get started with brewing was grabbing the supplies at an affordable price. We went to American Brew Masters, a local brew supply shop right here in Raleigh. They had some great deals that were lower than what we saw online and having people we could talk to in person to ask questions definitely made it a worthwhile trip. We decided to grab a deluxe brewing kit and added a second fermentor to it so we could both brew a batch.
homebrewing raleigh

  • 2  6.5 gallon heavy duty fermenters with drilled and gasketed lid.
  • Bottling spigot
  • 3 feet of bottling tubing
  • 2  Three piece fermentation (air) locks
  • #2 drilled stopper
  • Deluxe double lever bottle capper
  • Bottle cleaning brush
  • Automatic bottle filler
  • Triple scale hydrometer
  • 6.5 gallon heavy duty food grade bottling bucket
  • Auto siphon with 5 feet of 5/16 tubing
  • Lab Thermometer
  • Heat Resistant Spoon
  • Home Beermaking guidebook
  • Extract Recipe Kit

In addition to equipment that comes with this set up, we also got a second recipe kit so we both can make a batch that we love. We grabbed a Traditional Stout and a American Amber Ale. We already brewed the stout and we did smaller smaller batches of an Indian Pale Ale (IPA) and a Chesnut Brown Ale.

The kits at American Brew Masters start at $80 and move up according to upgrades and additions. With everything that we got, the total came out to $230. Besides getting the basics and getting the extra bucket, we also wanted to get some equipment now rather than wait and upgrade. We plan on using this quite a bit.

Is this cheap? No, but with every batch that we make the cost per use will decrease as we only need to get ingredients for our batches. We’re sanitizing and reusing old beer bottles for our brews.

Are You a Home Brewer?

As the brews are bottled and tasted, I’ll share my reviews right here. We’d love to get your tips and stories if you have home-brewed in the past or are brewing now.

Vegetable and Sausage Skillet Supper

one pan meal sausage and vegetable skillet

One of my favorite ways to scrounge up a meal on a busy night is to prepare a skillet dinner. It’s easy prep, easy cooking, and with one pan, it’s easy cleaning. If you’re looking at a delicious skillet dinner, here’s a great one that I found online.

Skillet Supper Ingredients

one pan meal sausage and vegetable skillet
Variation of Sausage and Vegetables Skillet

Even though this recipe calls for kielbasa, it can easily become a vegetarian meal. Simply remove the meat from the ingredient list. Personally I’d swap out zucchini for carrots. As for the hot sauce, we like to use Raw Heat. It has a lot of heat and flavor and you don’t need much.

  • 8 oz low‐fat kielbasa, cut into ½ inch thick slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 2 c. cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup water
  • hot sauce, to taste
Actually you can mix and match the vegetables and meat as you prefer, making this recipe versatile as you can simply grab what you have in the fridge and pantry.


What makes this an easy meal is that how you only need one pan to get dinner ready.

  • Cook kielbasa in a large nonstick skillet over high heat, turning from time to time, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer to a plate.
  • Add oil to the pan.
  • Add onions, zucchini, bell pepper, jalapenos, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt; cook, stirring, until the onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in rice, beans and water; cook, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the reserved kielbasa and season with hot sauce.
  • Serve hot.

Thoughts on Skillet Dinners

I’d love to hear from you about your meal ideas. What are some of your favorite meals to make when you’re pressed for time?

Photo Credit:  HatM

Oakwood Cafe: Affordable and Delicious Argentinian Food

oakwood cafe raleigh nc review

For the last few months a friend had mentioned an Argentine cafe to try out the next time I was downtown. For some reason, I kept forgetting to go there because I was usually meeting and eating at some of my favorite spots since eating out is less common nowadays as we’re cooking more meals at home and inviting friends over.

Great Food and Great Deals at Oakwood Cafe oakwood cafe raleigh nc review

Finally I had some free time this past weekend with another friend and we decided to try this place out – Oakwood Cafe. When we visited Saturday we arrived arrived a just a few minutes before their dinner opening and there were already some people waiting to get in. Within 20 minutes of opening they were about half filled, feeling hopeful that this meant that people loved the cafe, I went ahead ordered appetizer to dessert.

We started off with a plate their Yuca and a beef empanada. The Yuca was fantastic, just the right amount of garlic. The empanada was a good size and filled with perfectly season beef. Along with the bread at the table, we were already getting filled, but there was more to come.

My friend and I both went with the Churrasco steak (though she was wiser and went with the baby portion, I had a feeling that I needed to take some home to my husband). We had two sides to add with our meals, but alas my beloved tostones were out that night. I quickly fell in love with their plantains and black beans and all was forgiven.

I finished off my meal with some flan while my friend went with another glass of their house red. I have to say we were quite happy with the meal and even happier with the grand total of our bill. For the price of Olive Garden, we got a substantially better meal.

Oakwood Cafe’s Serving Hours

If you want to visit Oakwood Cafe, here are the hours for their service:

Monday – Wednesday

  • Lunch: 11:00am – 3:00pm

Thursday and Friday

  • Lunch:11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Dinner:6:00pm-10:00pm


  • Brunch: 8:30am-12:30pm
  • Dinner:6:00pm-10:00p


  • Brunch: 8:30am-12:30pm

Here is their address if you need to get directions from Google Maps or your GPS:

300 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

If you want to call ahead, you can reach them at (919) 828-5994.

Thoughts on Oakwood Cafe

I’d love to hear from those who have tried the cafe out. What are some of your favorite dishes? What is the best time to come in with a group (8 or so)?