Fermenting is getting “hip.” And so it should be, fermented food is magical.
Traditionally, fermented food was included at every meal – you just have to look at classic ethnic cuisines to see this – think sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yoghurt. It really does make sense – fermented food helps with digestion, and absorbing the nutrients of food readily into the body. Somewhere along the line, this practice fell out of being the “norm,” – but it is well on the way back to becoming mainstream, thanks to the growing popularity of store bought fermented foods.
So what are the health benefits? To avoid me clumsily regurgitating scientific jargon – just read this.
We all know that I am cheap, plus I love to experiment – home fermentation projects are constantly on the go in my house. Don’t be intimidated – it’s an easy process – and the scope to which you can extend your fermentation craze is limited only by your creativity. For some excellent ideas, check out this site.
Anyway, today’s post is all about kombucha – my first foray into “home brew” if you will…. I started brewing about 2 years ago, and it has been a constant (and almost obsessive) practise ever since. You will need a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) to brew your own – put your feelers out – there will be some sort of hippie (!) in your neighbourhood brewing, I’ll bet. The great thing will kombucha-brewing is that every brew creates a new SCOBY, so you end up getting overwhelmed with the things (most brwers will be happy to get rid of a few) Otherwise they are easily available to purchase online, or you can grow your own from a store bought drink.
Basic Kombucha Brew
- 6C boiled water
- 6 black or green tea bags (organic) – or a mix of both*
- 2/3C raw, organic sugar**
- 1 kombucha SCOBY
- 1/2C kombucha tea
- Wide neck glass jar/container – sterilised.
- Cheesecloth/muslin/clean tea towel and a rubber band
- Place water, sugar and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil – make sure the sugar has dissolved.
- Take off heat and wait until is has cooled completely (too hot and you will kill your SCOBY – think blood temperature)
- Remove tea bags, and gently pour mix into your prepared jar.
- Add the already-brewed kombucha tea and handling the SCOBY with clean hands, pop it on top (doesn’t matter if it sinks)
- Cover with cloth and secure with rubber band.
- Store in a warm, dark place – the time it takes to brew will depend on the temperature – in the midst of Summer, a brew can be as quick as 3 days, but up to 2 weeks in Winter. Using a straw (plastic/glass please) taste your brew every few days – it depends on your tastebuds too. I like my brew on the TANGY side rather than sweet, so I generally let it brew for longer, so that the bacteria eats away more of the sugar. It should be slightly fizzy too.
- Once satisfied with the taste, remove SCOBY and place in a “Scoby Hotel” (a clean jar – you can put multiple SCOBYs in the same jar) and cover with some of the kombucha tea – this keeps the SCOBY happy & alive. Place in the fridge, ready to use for the next brew.
- Store your kombucha in a glass bottle with a tight fitting lid (to keep in the fizz).
*Always use caffeinated tea – after you get used to the process, you can start to play around with adding herbal tea bags, but this is truly trial and error depending on the type of tea. My rule of thumb is 3 fruity tea bags to 3 caffeinated tea bags – even then I have had some failures.
** This is the type of “food” the SCOBY likes best – I have had moderate success with alternatives like rice syrup/honey, but raw organic sugar produces the fizziest and nicest tasting brews – and makes sure that your SCOBY remains healthy.
Other pointers: Exercise extreme hygiene practises – you don’t want to go adding in any nasties to your brew. Always handle the SCOBY with very clean hands and DO NOT touch the SCOBY with any metal utensil – use bamboo/ceramic/glass etc. Don’t be freaked out by the “bits” that tend to swim around in the brew – drink ‘em down, they are good for you (or don’t, whatever).
To fridge or not to fridge? For extra fizz, allow the sealed bottles to sit at room temperature for 24 hours until refrigerating.
Don’t stress about the amount of sugar used in the recipe – this is the FOOD for the bacteria – the longer you leave it to ferment, the less sugar there will be in the end product…. if you try and cut down the sugar, the end result will not be optimal.
Kombucha DOES have a very low alcohol content due to the fermentation process.
Now you have your brew sorted, you can start to play around with flavours. Adding flavouring during the first brew will increase the likelihood of mould or contamination of your SCOBY…. so don’t go trying to get funky before this point. Store your kombucha in glass bottles with tight fitting lids – try adding 1/8C fresh juice to 750ml kombucha brew – orange/apple/lemon/cranberry – whatever takes your fancy – or try my Ginger Tonic which is my favourite “medicine” when I’m under the weather.
Fermented Ginger Tonic
- 4C boiled water
- Fresh ginger (around a 3 inch piece, roughly chopped)
- 1/2C raw organic sugar OR rice syrup OR honey
- Optional: 1/4C fresh lemon/orange or lime juice – just for a little citrus kick.
- 2C brewed kombucha tea
- Mix all ingredients EXCEPT kombucha tea together, making sure the sugar is dissolved.
- Let the mix infuse (I place it all in a sterilised jar) for at least a few hours.
- Strain out ginger pieces and combine with the kombucha tea.
- Pour into a glass bottle (I find the large V8 veggie juice bottles/ are great for this) and leave in a warm, dark place for about 2 days (again, depending on your climate/temperature) – again the process is to let the bacteria eat away the sugar – it will become nice and fizzy.
- Store in the fridge.
Something that I have taken from all my fermentation experiments: trust your NOSE - always give things the “sniff test,” and if it smells WRONG, then it is probably not fit for consumption – sour/tangy/vinegary are all OK – if the smell makes you gag, then don’t run the risk – chuck it and start again. You will hone your nose skills as you continue to experiment.
Kombucha – tried it? Love it? Do you brew?
I’ve been focusing on the sacral chakra lately. Some of you will probably be aware of the chakra system, others maybe not so much. If you aren’t too familar with the concept, I adore this post from one of my favourite bloggers (and fellow hippie/pig lover, Raechel).
The sacral chakra is a pretty important point of energy flow for my prenatal yoga ladies – obviously, they are busy creating new life within, and need a little work on balancing. Whether you have experienced it or not, let me tell you – pregnancy makes you feel more than a little loopy at times. Yes, we tend to blame hormones a lot, and I agree – hormones can cause a lot of crazy-lady syndrome, but I truly believe that it is the increased creative energy within a women’s sacral chakra during pregnancy that causes a lot of the emotionally “off-balance” feelings that one tends to get. You’re not just dealing with your own self – you are a vessel for the creation of a whole new life force within you – no wonder there are occasions of extreme overwhelm during pregnancy!
Anyway, what I love about focusing on the sacral chakra is it’s ultimate lesson – to let go. Pregnancy is a time of uncertainty, anxiety, overwhelm, excitement, nerves – extreme highs and extreme lows. “Is my baby OK?” ”Will it hurt?” “How will I cope?” Meditating on the sacral chakra and being open to the idea of letting go of unnecessary emotions is really important to regain a bit of balance. Fear of the unknown is wasted energy in my opinion, but such an easy fear to get sucked in by, do you agree?
From someone that suffers from anxiety (and who is NOT pregnant!) working on balancing the sacral chakra can be really beneficial – ever wonder why we feel fear and anxiety in the gut? I can’t stand that sick feeling in my stomach when I am upset or anxious. I tend to get worked up over things that haven’t even happened yet – fear of the unknown – so learning to let go is a really important lesson for me. I like to envision a warm, amber coloured light (the colour of the sacral chakra) starting from just under my belly button, slowly spreading through my entire body. Deep yogic-breathing (long exhalations in & out of the nose) while doing so really helps me work towards a feeling of calm.
Although I started focusing on the sacral chakra for the benefit of my yoga students, I think I needed to work on balancing myself. That’s the true beauty of the awareness that yoga inspires – being aware of ones’ body AND mind, and working on balancing the two – yoga teaches me SO much, even when my motivation is to teach others.
There are even different foods and spices that can fuel and help balance the chakras. Sweet mangoes, oranges, passion fruit, almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, cinnamon, vanilla & paprika are all foods of the sacral area. I got a bit inspired by all the chakra-meditating after a yoga session today, and made my kind of chakra-smoothie….appropriately for the topic at hand, I have an abundance of beautiful passion fruit at my disposal. “Chakra-Fuel,” or not, that is still undecided – but I sure felt happy after this smoothie, which is a a good result in my book.
Summer Chakra Smoothie
(Vegan, gluten/wheat/dairy/refined sugar free)
- 4 passion fruit
- Handfull of ice cubes
- 2T almond butter
- 1/2 a whole vanilla pod (or 2t pure vanilla extract) – I don’t bother scraping out the seeds, as the pod itself has a TON of flavour.
- 2C coconut milk (or almond if you prefer)
- 3 large (pitted) medjool dates
- Whizz all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
- Serves 2.
I’ve also started a new Face Book page for my yoga…. check out Fern Yoga & Holistic Birth Services if that kind of thing floats your boat.
I’m always playing around with the way I eat and WHAT I eat. It interests me – that’s not a crime is it? Viper thinks I’m completely nuts – ‘Lou, you’re going off on another one of your weird eating tangents.’ I suppose coming from the man that gets sick less than once in a blue moon, has no food sensitivities, and can pretty much eat burgers and chocolate constantly without putting on weight – maybe what I test out on myself could seem slightly towards the extreme?
I’m definitely more concerned about health and well being than Viper – and perhaps my over active mind is to blame for my tests and experiments on myself…. it’s all in the search for vibrant good health though.
Anyway, like I mentioned in my last post I’ve been experimenting with a new way of eating – mainly carbohydrates (from fruit and veggies), a smaller amount of protein (from leafy greens) and a small amount of healthy fat (tahini, nuts, avocado). In “trendy” terms, this would be classed as High Carb, Raw Vegan (or Low Fat Raw Vegan) Now this may seem like a huge contradiction to my Anti-Candida Crusade where I banned ALL fruit. After doing a lot of reading, there is an argument to contest the idea that sugar is the culprit for causing candida – and FAT is the true nasty. Who knows for sure, but I am willing to test this out (mainly because it involves eating ridiculous amounts of fruit – heaven). Raechel has just done a little recap on her own experiment into this way of eating.
I’m 10 days in to this new fruity regime, and honestly I feel really good. The caffeine-withdrawal headache has gone, and I feel like my energy is better during the day (no huge slumps). If I start to feel tired, or unmotivated, I eat some fruit = instant energy. Viper (again) thought I was nuts when I came home with a box of bananas, bags of mango, bunches and bunches of silver beet and trays of dates. You have to eat a LOT of produce to get enough calories each day – and actually, I think I am eating more calories than I ever had before – and it’s delicious. My digestion has improved considerably, and my skin seems softer for some reason.
You might think that it’s some crack-pot new fad diet, but it’s actually quite the opposite. My motivation is not to lose weight – I actually think I’ve put on a few kilos since starting this, but I feel really good – and that’s the idea right? Feeling healthy and full of energy is always the clincher for me – and I really believe that the way we eat dictates this. I think the reason that I am really liking this way of eating is that it is simple. No crazy ingredients, no dropping heaps of cash on fancy super foods, very minimal preparation – maybe I’m just lazy but I’m really enjoying not cooking (although I am still cooking for Viper & Misty, but at least my meals are easy). Plus, it’s working out a lot cheaper to eat this way – less than $10 a day for all the fruit and veggies I can handle.
Anyway, I’m not sure how long I will maintain this, but for now, I am loving it (plus it’s way too hot here to be eating cooked food) – I will keep you updated (I plan to get some blood work done to track my progress - of course I am still supplementing with B12 and iron). For now, though – here’s my answer to coffee at the moment: (inspired by Raechel’s idea for a warm cocoa)
Creamy Date Dandelion “Latte”
(Vegan, High Raw, gluten/wheat/soy/nut/refined sugar free)
- 1C brewed dandelion “coffee” (roast dandelion root) – not strictly “raw” but it’s delicious and great for the liver.
- 1 medium ripe banana
- 2 medjool dates
- 1/8t cinnamon
- Blend all ingredients together until very smooth.
- Serve warm, or chuck in a few ice cubes for an iced refresher.
Are you willing to try any form of craziness for your health?
I can’t handle it when people make comments. You know, those unnecessary, annoying little jabs for no reason. I’m talking in “real world” terms here – not as in blog comments. I was pushing Misty (and a huge shopping trolley full of fruit & veg) back to the car. As we were in the middle of crossing the road, Misty decided to pick up the receipt and throw it out of the trolley (and the wind grabbed it). Knowing I needed to secure Misty (and the trolley) on the foot path before chasing the stupid receipt, I continued to finish crossing the (busy-ish) road. A lady passing me looked down her nose at Misty and snarkily said, “That’s littering, you know.”
Seriously? Can’t you see I’m struggling to control large trolley, energetic toddler and am trying to cross the road?
I’ll have you know, that once Misty was safely on the other side of the road, I retrieved the runaway receipt, and all was well. I didn’t need a complete stranger telling my son what is what in the world. I don’t know, maybe I’m overly sensitive, but I can’t stand it when people put in their “two cents,” unwarranted. If you were a friend, or family member? OK, sure that’s fine – you know me, and I don’t mind hearing your opinion. Strangers? Yeah not so much.
I suppose I’ve been pretty lucky in the whole “blogging-world” that my ramblings have attracted a lovely, supportive audience. I have only had one negative-ish comment which implied I was “annoying.” Yeah, I’ll take that – I probably do sound annoying to a lot of people – Viper tells me I am all the time. What I’m getting at are those old sayings, treat others how you would like to be treated yourself – AND – if you can’t say something nice (or constructively critical) then don’t say it.
You can count on me thinking a lot of comments/comebacks/remarks – but I never say them…. maybe because I am a wuss and hate confrontation – or maybe because I know they do not really need to surface – they won’t bring any positivity to the situation at hand.
Anyway, Misty is still loving his smoothies – actually Misty always loves anything in liquid form from a bottle. I try and sneak in as many nutritional goodies as I can…. and you may think I’m a little crazy (feel free to comment, on my mental state – I won’t be offended) but I have been adding beans to his day time liquid-snacks. Chickpeas go down a treat, believe or not.
Misty’s Sneaky Bean & Banana Smoothie
(Gluten/wheat/soy/corn/refined sugar free.) Vegan if you use an alternative to honey. Nut free if you use coconut/rice/soy milk.
Makes 2-3 large serves
- 1 large (ripe) banana
- 1/3C chickpeas (cooked, rinsed, drained)
- 2-3 cups almond milk, depending on how thick you want it (any other milk is fine to use)
- 1T tahini
- 2T raw honey
- Small pinch sea salt
- 1t pure vanilla extract
- Blend all ingredients together until very smooth. Start with 2C milk…. adding more for a thinner consistency.
Optional ….. a few teaspoons of carob powder is delicious as well.
Misty decided that his smoothie needed a “hat.”
I can’t wait until somebody tries to give me parenting advice while Misty is chucking a tantrum at the local shopping mall – oh yes, that will be a grand day indeed (insert intense sarcasm here).
Thoughts? Are you one to speak your mind whatever that may mean? Or are you a “naughty thinker” like me? Ever had a really annoying comment from a complete stranger?
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve started posting more recipes involving fruit and (unrefined) sugar. I am so excited to be able to eat fruit again after quite a few months on a strict Anti-Candida regime. I thought I would recap my experience, and leave you with a few tips on how I got rid of the yeastie beast. I must admit, it IS a struggle to maintain such a diet being vegan – I had to supplement with protein powder to meet my nutritional needs, and I probably ate way too many beans/legumes according to ACD “purists” but obviously, my plan worked for ME, which is the main thing.
As always, take what I say with a grain of salt – I am in no way a medical professional, and this worked for ME – it may not work for YOU. Every body is different.
My Army of Anti-Candida-Soldiers:
- Vitamin C – I mentioned the benefits in this post. Vitamin is excellent for stress, and if you are suffering from a Candida overgrowth, your body is under stress. The prospect on having to go on a major cleanse-programme can be stressful in itself, so give yourself the best start possible, and start getting some decent quantities of this vitamin in your system. I was taking more than 10o0mg per day, but please consult your healthcare professional before embarking on any new supplement regime.
- Probiotics – goes without saying, really. You need MORE good bacteria to counteract the overgrowth of nasties in your digestive system. Do your research as some brands are more potent than others – you need to invest in the good stuff here, it makes the world of difference.
- Nettle Tea – high in iron and a general blood toner, nettle is always a constant in my drinks regime – candida or no candida. I reckon it’s particularly important if you struggle with low iron/energy. A great pick me up for body AND mind.
- Pau D’arco herbal tea. This inner bark of an Amazonian tree is a powerful Candida-killer…. I was (trying) to drink up to a litre a day of the stuff. Chilled with some fresh ginger is really nice.
- Garlic – a very powerful anti-Candida option… you could take garlic tablets, but I prefer the real deal. Let’s just say I eat a LOT of garlic, and yes, I repel vampires (and probably most people due to my pungent aroma, oh well).
- Dandelion root “coffee” – most Anti-Candida material will advise to cut down, if not OUT, caffeine. I cut my intake back to 1 cup a day. I mean, I had my mental health to think about, and some (most) days that single cup of coffee is enough to get me out of bed and motivated for the day. So no, I wasn’t going to cut out the naughty bean completely. For those times I wanted the experience of a coffee I had a dandelion root “coffee – sometimes it’s all in your head.
- Cultured foods – coconut milk kefir and tempeh to be exact. The jury is still out on whether kombucha hinders or helps the process, so I avoided it to be on the safe side. I DID eat a lot of sauerkraut, but I have since discovered that cabbage doesn’t agree with me – it just added to my stomach discomfort. Apple cider vinegar is the only type of vinegar allowed – make sure you get a naturally fermented one that includes the “mother” – use in salad dressings, or drink in some warm water with a touch of stevia.
- Stevia. I love sweets – I would not have survived this cleanse without stevia. It’s a lifesaver, seriously. All steiva is not created equally, there are the good, and the down right disgusting. The brand I use is not available in Australia, but I get it through iherb.com (really reasonable shipping) – it’s delicious stuff, with no weird bitter after taste. Here are a few of my favourite stevia-sweet-treat recipes:
- Coconut Oil. I’m addicted to this stuff. If this regime has taught me anything, it’s that coconut oil is amazing stuff. From oil pulling (don’t knock it to you try it) to baking to general moisturising goodness, this stuff does it all.
- Eat your greens – this may seem a bit trivial, but leafy greens can really help in this battle. The fibre helps fill you up, as does amping up your healthy fat and protein intake. By limiting sugar and starchy carbohydrates, you are essentially starving the yeast of it’s main food source. Fats and protein at every meal help satisfy and diminish those sweet cravings – think avocado, tahini, hemp seeds, tempeh, tofu, small amounts of beans/legumes, coconut oil, nut butters.
- Yoga/de-stressing activity. Stress doesn’t help anyone or anything. If you are stressed out, your body will not be able to concentrate on healing it’s issues within. Find an activity (I suggest yoga, but I know it’s not everyone’s favourite) that really lets you relax – meditating, a long walk at the beach, dancing, a hot bath – whatever it is, make sure you include this in your regime. I went with yoga, and I found that by just including a mere 20 minutes into my day (I call these yoga “snacks”) it really helped both energise my body, and calm my mind. Physical healing relies on mental calm in my opinion.
Try to keep in mind – with Candida, it usually gets worse before it gets better. You will probably go through a “die-off” period if you are cleansing correctly. It’s hideous (flu-like symptoms/rash) but should only last a few days. Keep positive and think of it as an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and come up with NEW favourite dishes. If you focus on all the stuff you CAN”T have, it’s adding negative thoughts to the process, which nobody benefits from.
Thoughts? Have you experienced candida? Any tips you could add to my list?
An empty school is the best place to play. You don’t have to wait your turn. You can do all sorts of weird moves on the equipment if you want. Or just have a rest. It doesn’t matter; you can just do what you wanna. It’s school holidays here at the moment. Empty play grounds ahoy. We even went back to my old High School (which was really weird, but Aunty Sez is a teacher there) and Misty did some wicked cool stunts involving his little bike and the plentiful ramps that adorn the grounds. Serious play requires serious refreshment. I love and miss dates intensely. I pine for Medjool dates that are oozing from being stuffed with inappropriate amounts of creamy almond nutter. Oh how I pine. I like to live vicariously through my child, and so, DIY Caramel Milk for Misty has been added to the repertoire of Misty Milks. This is kind of a cheat’s version: you don’t have to make your own nut milk first – a decent scoop of nut butter + water = creamy, dreamy non dairy milk. Just remember – soak your dates…. makes life a lot simpler (and easy to blend… if one was to put life in a blender?) DIY Caramel “Milk” (Vegan, gluten/wheat/grain/refined sugar/soy/corn free) Makes 2 large toddler serves
- 6 medjool dates, soaked for a few hours in 1C filtered water
- 1 + 1/2T cashew butter**
- 1t lucuma powder (or maca/mesquite would also work well) -entirely optional.
- Tiny pinch sea salt – 1/16t
- 1/4t pure vanilla extract
- 1/2C water
**I think cashew butter lends itself to the caramel flavour best – BUT almond butter works a treat, as does tahini if you have nut sensitivities.
- Blend all ingredients (including date soaking water) in a high speed blender, or food processor.
- Store extra in the fridge… it will separate if left to stand for more than a few hours – just shake well and it all comes back together.
Misty sculled back the whole batch in about 30 seconds flat.
Milk on the run.
Well, this is exciting. I’ve been wanting to eat out at the Lotus Heart Cafe‘s new location for quite some time. The old cafe was pretty much right in the guts of the destruction left by the February Quakes… so I was delighted to find a new place to enjoy the delicious morsels offered by Sri Chinmoy’s dedicated followers.
Way back when I was a “vegetarian” (mainly for purposes of being “cool” as one tends to do at 15 years of age) I used to enjoy their “sausage” rolls made with home made oat flour pastry. Delicious. I also remember attending a few of the (free) meditation workshops that the students of Sri still run today. Pretty cool really.
Now I can bring my little one to the new house of Sri and his students. Life is just full of a lot of tiny circles, inter-twining and melding together, huh? Misty was impressed there was a toy box – books, crayons, a digger, and a good old Barrel of Monkeys that a few of the little-lunch-attendees passed amongst each other. Bonus entertainment, plus the fact me and my lunch date (none other than Aunty Sez) could actually sit down for 2 seconds and try and eat something, rather than chasing Misty around the place.
Very very poor photography, I know. Anyway, I went with the vegan/raw nori wrap that contained house-made SPICY kimchi, activated sunflower/pumpkin seeds, vegan mayonnaise (which I asked for them to hold, as I hate all things mayo) and various salad ingredients. Plus a little side salad with a delicious herby dressing, and soy dipping sauce. The only fault of this dish would be the serving size… a little small for my appetite, but then again, it takes a truckload to satisfy me.
Aunty Sez had a “dirty old burger + fries” – which translated in Lotus Heart language as a veggie pattie, vegan mayo, a (delicious, apparently) salad trimmings, gherkins, cheese on a turkish bun.
Fries are fried in most languages…. Misty liked the fries and pieces of cucumber from my plate. What he REALLY loved though, was Aunty Sez’s superfood smoothie:
This was called a “Cookies and Cream” and I reallyreallyreally wanted some, but as it contained dates, I resisted as to not feed the yeasty beast (aka Candida). I was so very strong. Misty sculled about half of this back, which I would regard as a pretty big hit by (almost) 2 year old standards. This smoothie was made of: almond milk, dates, lucuma, cacao nibs, cashews, maca and vanilla extract.
I must say, the health food store that is a part of the Lotus Heart Cafe is quite simply, outstanding. They have everything you could think of – kombucha, sauerkraut, stevia, maca, lucuma, cacao, kefir starter kits, a huge selection of amazing herbal teas, nutritional supplements – basically all of my favourite things in one place. Best range I have ever seen anywhere in Christchurch.
Even though I’m not the hugest fan of the flavour (plain) I am getting a bit of coconut water in…. I have embarked on a 14 day mission to go to “Hot Yoga” every day. I haven’t been a huge fan of hot yoga in the past; where I live, any time you do yoga it’s “Hot.” Anyway, I decided to try a little stint at a local studi0 (Power, Vinyasa and Yin) just to mix things up a bit. I consider it my “study.” That and perusing local vegan eateries. Oh it’s a tough life.
I love cocktails. They make me feel fancy.
Since having Misty and not having access to Grandparents/babysitters very often, I do still pine for a night out. Nothing beats some sort of deliciously fruity cocktail in a frosty glass, good company, laughing and people-watching. Viper and I managed to have a date last weekend (for my birthday) and it amazing what a few relaxing hours without child can do for you.
Anyway, no babysitters here this weekend, so I decided to make my own fun.
Not quite as classy as a fancy cocktail bar set-up; I had to get creative with my drink making equipment. Funny: when we were moving I got angry at the amount of cocktail shakers we had accumulated over the years… so I donated them all to Vinnie’s (thrift store) as we ‘never use them and they are cluttering up the cupboards.’ Oh well. Plastic yoghurt making pot plus a tea strainer did the job.
We still have heaps of fresh passion fruit all over our back lawn… and I’m a little bit obsessed with drinking kombucha. Add a touch of vodka to the mix, and I’m a happy gal. I usually don’t eat passion fruit, as the pips creep me out… I made passion fruit “nectar” by straining the pulp and squeezing it through cheesecloth. Mega flavour minus the crunchy bits.
Kombucha Passion Cocktail:
- 1 shot vodka (30ml measure)
- 2 shots of ruby red grapefruit juice (I used freshly squeezed, but bottled stuff would do the job too)
- 2 shots kombucha (I used home-brewed green tea based kombucha)
- 1t passion fruit nectar
- A few sprigs of mint, plus more for garnish
- Ice for shaking
- Chuck a handful of ice cubes into your cocktail shaker (or crappy container with lid)
- Pour over ingredients, plus a few fresh mint leaves and shakes well.
- Strain into a super fancy cocktail glass, and enjoy.
Dangerously good. Misty doesn’t understand what a hangover is either… screeching child and bashing toys the next morning = my poor head.
Something else I don’t understand when it comes to the Mama/Toddler scene… how do other Mamas manage to look so together and presentable (plus, their child is squeaky clean and booger free?) I think I’ve been wearing the same shirt and pair of shorts for far too many days in a row to be in any way acceptable to the public. I used to pluck my eyebrows twice a day…. at the moment I’m relying on poor bathroom lighting as a way of ignoring the horrendous monstrosities starting to resemble fuzzy caterpillars on my face. Make up? Bah… once a week when I go to work is pretty much the extent of my beautification regime at the moment. Misty only tolerates me being in the bathroom if we are both brushing our teeth (read: Misty sucking kiddie toothpaste off the toothbrush, and then trying to put his brush in the toilet).
It’s kind of fun just enjoying getting mucky again. Mud, chalk, food, boogers, sand… boys will be boys. Toddlers don’t mind if you have unkempt eyebrows and a pasty complexion, bless.
I make home made almond milk every couple of days. I really love rice milk though… I’m not sure why; it IS watery compared to your creamy soy and almond milks, but I really dig the stuff.
I don’t have a Vita Mix or high speed blender, so my few attempts at making rice milk from whole rice in the food processor have failed. Messily. Some days I really can’t be bothered covering my kitchen with sporadic blobs of rice goo that I will forget about and then they will harden and go crusty and I will surely swear at them when trying to clean which is not a fine example to be setting for an impressionable toddler.
Sometimes all the straining and leftover pulpy gooey glop is all a bit much.
Enter rice milk without the straining part. Hooray.
DIY Brown Rice Milk:
(Vegan, gluten/wheat/soy/corn/refined sugar free)
- 1C brown rice flour
- 2T coconut oil (liquid) I’m sure sunflower/canola would work here too.
- 1C water
- 2t sea salt
- Whisk together these ingredients, ensuring no lumps.
Using a relatively large saucepan, bring 3C water to the boil.
- Bit by bit (about a tablespoon at a time or thereabouts) add your flour/oil mix to the boiling water.
- You can reduce the heat slighly once you have all of your flour mix incorporated – keep whisking! Basically you are cooking out the flour at this point, so do not let it stick and burn.
- Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
- Now you have your flour gloop, you are ready to make your milk, hurrah.
- 1/3C flour gloop plus 1+ 1/4C fresh water… blend in a high speed blender (a Vita Mix would be perfect) or do as I did and use a food processor.
- I used 3T agave syrup plus 1/4t salt with my mix of flour gloop + water – I don’t have much of a sweet tooth though, so feel free to increase the sweetener.
You can use honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, barley malt, golden syrup – whatever you like.
And yeah, it makes LOT of the white stuff.
Feel free to cook up the flour gloop, and store it in a sealed container in the fridge, making milk up as you need it. Otherwise you may run into a bottle/jar shortage situation as I did.
Freshly made brown rice milk – nothing better to enjoy it with than a cookie, right? Another batch of dehydrated experimentation – RAW “Carrot Cake” Cookies made with leftover almond pulp. Yes, for some strange reason I decided to make almond AND rice milk. Now I have about 10 tonnes of milk in my fridge.
Oh well, at least Misty is crazy for the stuff.
Mama and Misty are both foodie weirdos – RAW cookies enjoyed crumbled with spirilina banana soft serve with a glass (baby bottle) rice milk on the side. I actually think I’m beginning to love my dehydrator… it is an annoying design, but works well for cookies. Hurrah.
Misty has a bit of a problem. A milk problem. It’s been going on since day one… he literally sucked me dry of breast milk and wanted MORE. I was left shrivelled, weak, exhausted and pale while he hunted out alternative sources of the creamy stuff. He’s still nuts for it now, at the ripe old age of a year and a half.
He’s a funny kid, he won’t drink milk from anything but a baby bottle. I’ve tried with all the fancy whizz-bang drink bottles that are around for kiddos these days, but he won’t have a bar of them – it’s a baby bottle or nothing.
Anyway, he tends to go through stages of wanting nothing but liquid (teething, tiredness etc etc – TODDLERS). I’ve posted about “Misty Milk” before, but I think it’s an excellent way to sneak in a bit of nutrition – it also saves me from investing in a Jersey Cow or to commit my entire life to being chained to the food processor making home made nut milks. Seriously, this dude is loco for milk.
Over ripe bananas are gold. Baking, smoothies, banana soft serve – you name it, these ugly-yet-oh-so-sweetie-num-num bad boys are a Mama’s best friend for enticing fussy babes. Best yet, they are usually super cheap – 49c/kg this morning at the grocer thank you very much.
Below is the basic recipe I use for a Misty milk… there are so many variations possible though – I have been known to sneak in cooked beans, quinoa, oats, pureed pumpkin/spinach – you name it and Misty will drink it (as long as it’s in a baby bottle). Yes, it looks disgusting, and YES I get weird looks from other Mothers. Oh well.
- 1 very ripe banana
- 2T sunflower butter (or tahini/almond butter/smooth peanut butter)
- 1/8t-1/4t spirilina powder… start with a tiny amount if you are not used to it – Misty really loves it!
- 2-3C water, depending on how thick you want it.
- Sweetener (honey/agave/date paste) OPTIONAL… I don’t usually sweeten it for Misty.
- Blend all ingredients until there are no chunks… start off with 2C water and see how you like the thickness.
- 1 very ripe banana
- 1T smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1T cacao powder (or cocoa)
- 2t honey
- 2-3C water
- 1 very ripe banana
- 2T smooth almond butter (or any nut/seed butter)
- 1/4C frozen berries
- 2t raw maca powder (or lucuma)
- 1T date paste
- 2-3C water
You may be wondering why I don’t use actual milk in these recipes. Blending up nut/seed butter with water is the cheater’s version of a super quick “nut milk” – it does add the richness and creamy factor that using milk would contribute. Plus, Misty will drink plain almond/rice milk on top of these “milks” daily… which would equal far too much milk for the little man. By all means use milk (cow, almond, rice, coconut) if you want a more filling smoothie.
Anyway, we lead by example when it comes to feeding our kids – my theory is if you only give them wholesome, unprocessed food then you’re giving them the best start possible. When Misty is a gangly, awkward teenager, I’m sure he is going to eat his fair share of Mcdonalds and processed crap (as did I) but while I have him under my wing I’m going to try and educate him the best way I know how. The boy wants milk – I will give him “milk” but MY kind of milk… superfoods included.