Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kombucha

 
This Fall I started drinking Kombucha thanks to my neighbor Heather.  When I went through my summer health plummet the one thing the doctors told me that made any sense was that I needed more probiotics in my system.  My doctor advised me to get some in pill form.  Heather, being awesome, brought over some Kombucha and Kefir for me to try as they are both full of probiotics and good for your digestive system.  Being stubborn and slightly disgusted by drinking something with a booger like gel thing in it, aka SCOBY, I didn't drink it right away.  I had maybe a shot worth the first week, then another.... then I gave some to my Asher boy and he insisted we have our special drink daily.  Before I knew it my body was craving this stuff and it started to taste good to me too. 
 
One day shortly after liking the Kombucha, Heather invited me over to show me how it was made.  I have been making it here at home since.  And we, most of us, love it!  Since posting some pictures online friends have asked how to make it, so I am going to share Heather's recipe here.  It is so simple friends and with time I have learned to appreciate how beneficial it really is.
 
What you will need:
     ~one large pot
     ~water
     ~sugar
     ~Black Tea and Green Tea, we use Caffeinated Newman's Own Royal Tea that can be found at most grocery stores or online at Amazon.
     ~2 cups Kombucha from a previous batch, or a store bought bottle of Kombucha (unpasteurized and non-flavored).
     ~1 SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), this can be from a friend that brews Komucha, you can grow one from a store bought bottle, or you can order via Amazon.
     ~6, 16oz swing-top jars.  I got mine off craigslist after looking up brewing bottles.  They can also be found on Amazon.
     ~one funnel
     ~ one strainer

 
 
Step One: Boil your water.  You want to make sure all the chlorine is boiled out from your water so we recommend boiling for 10 minutes.

 
Step 2: Add 1 1/2 cups sugar.  It doesn't matter if it is organic or not, whatever you prefer.  The sugar is going to be eaten by the SCOBY, eerie right?, and there will be little sugar left after fermentation.

 
Step 3: Add 7 bags of tea.  We suggest starting with 4 bags Black tea and 3 bags of Green tea.  You NEED at least 2 bags Black tea but you can experiment around and find out what you like once you get going.  I actually prefer it with a little more green tea then black, but start with the above amounts.

 
Step 4: Make a cold water bath to cool off your tea.  To do this plug up your sink and fill it with cold water, then place your pot in it, this will help it cool down faster.  When you have a gallon of boiling water it takes awhile to cool it off and you don't want to be waiting all day.  You might need to change out the cool water 2 - 3 times before your tea is cool.
 
Step 5: With clean hands or a clean spoon fish out your tea bags.  The most important part is that whatever you put in your tea NEEDS to be CLEAN, you don't want any bad bacteria in your tea.

 
Step 6: Place your 2 cups of starter Kombucha and your SCOBY into a glass jar.  Then pour your tea into the jar.
 
 
Almost done!
 
 
Step 7: Place a clean tea towel, cheese cloth, or paper towel on top of the jar securely.  Tuck the jar away out of direct sunlight and forget about it for 7-10 days.
 
 
Step 8: AFTER 7-10 days your SCOBY will have doubled and your tea fermented! YAY!  Now you get to drink the good stuff.  You can either drink it unflavored as is, or continue on with different flavorings.

 
If you decide to flavor your kombucha, the easiest way to do this is with juice!
 
 
For my last batch of kombucha I used Orange, Banana, Strawberry juice.  I let my kids pick out the flavor and since they all wanted something different we combined them and found this.  Not sure how it tastes yet but that is half the fun in experimenting with kombucha.

 
I added 1/4 to 1/2 cup juice in each bottle.  You can experiment around with this to see what you like.
 
 
This is where I strain my kombucha.  I don't like things floating around in my drinks.  Plus it is easier to pour into the bottles from my measuring cup, so straining it doesn't add a step as I am just pouring it from my big jar to little cup anyhow.
 
 
Then filled the rest of the bottle with kombucha.  Only fill Up to the NECK of the bottle.  Since there is flavoring there is sugar and thus it will make it carbonated, so it needs a little room for fizz. 

*note: I make two gallons at a time, one gallon makes about 6 16oz bottles.
 
It is important to remember that you will need to save 2 cups of this mix for your next brew.  Don't forget to put that aside before you pour it all out!
 
You will also have TWO SCOBY's, one will be for your next brew and the other you can either give-away to a friend, start another batch, or discard. 

 
Step 9: store your bottles in a dark area for 24-48 hours.  Then place it in the refrigerator, this will stop the fermentation process. 
 
 
 There seem like there are a lot of steps, but I assure you if I can make this you can.  It is easy, fun, and tasty!  Start brewing and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stitch Fix round 5

 My latest stitch fix came and I feel obliged to share it with everyone.  To be honest I forgot it was even scheduled to arrive.  The first item up was this Camilla Floral & Paisley Print Blouse by Renee C.  I liked it a lot, but it was too small for me, so I obviously could not keep it.
 
 
Next up was this Taber Foldover Sweater by Market and Spruce.  It was so wrong on me..... it made me look like a grandma.  I didn't like it at all.
 
 
Then there was this Adair V-Neck Thermal by Laila Jayde.  This was another item that was too small.  And I also don't like V-neck shirts all that much.  There were also these Freida Corduroy pants by Mavi.  I LOVED these pants however they were $98.00 and pants should not be that expensive.  Also I got pants in my last fix and they were similar to this color.

 
That left this Yorba Abstract Floral Print Kimono by Papermoon.  Which ended up being my keep item.  I am not sure I am in love with it.... but I didn't want to lose my styling fee.  I think I will be able to wear it a lot in the spring. 
 
 
If you have never heard about it Stitch Fix let me give you the run down.  Stitch Fix is a personal styling company.  You fill out a styling profile, your size, your shape, etc.  It is really easy and the more detailed the better your fixes.  Then you schedule when you want your Fix.  You can sign up for a specific date or you can choose to get a Fix every couple weeks, monthly, or every other month.  They will then send you five items (clothing and accessories) and whatever you don't like you return in a prepaid mailing bag.  You have three business days to decide what you want to keep.  The cost is $20 per fix, however this money goes towards any item you keep (with no extra shipping costs).  Also if you love all five items you get a 25% discount to keep them all! 

 
So how are your fixes going?  Are they getting better?  Worse?  Have you tried Stitch Fix?  Do you want to?  If you sign up and try it out let me know.  I would love to see your first fix!

My third fix was not blogged about due to computer issues.

 
*I was not paid by Stitch Fix for this post, all opinions are my own.  However Stitch fix has a sweet rewards program and I did use my affiliate links throughout this blog.

Monday, October 6, 2014

this one

 
Moments with Asher are priceless.  This morning he was distorting my face and belly laughing.  I am loving the extra time I get with him as the older kids are at school and Levi is resting.  These little moments are what want to remember.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

chili

 
It seems that Fall came in roaring this year.  Our weather turned cool way to quickly this week.  I love Fall, but in all honesty I am still recovering from last winter.  The thought of winter has me screaming, "noooooooooo!".  But that is a different post. 
 
With Fall comes pretty leaves, crisp air, and hot soup.  Stews are pretty spectacular because you can't really mess them up.  I don't think I have ever tasted a stew and said, "not again".  They are just easy and you can use whatever you have. 
 
Tonight we are going over to a friends and I volunteered to make chili.  We decided this while my husband was gone with the van (my only mode of transportation when I have at least one child with me).  Want to know the amazing thing about chili?  You guessed it, you get to use what you have and you can't really mess it up!
 
Tonight our chili is a concoction of sorts.  Venison meat, carrots, one pepper, one jar of homemade tomato soup, onions from our garden, a handful of beans that were in our cupboard for who knows how long.  All these little portions are coming together to make our dinner.  Small portions that on their own wouldn't even make much of a snack (not that you would eat our tiny onions as a snack anyways).  Combined these small amounts of goodness will add up to be great. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

sweet baby