Friday, September 27, 2013

Home Grown Kombucha!

Ahhh, Kombucha!

If you have never tried Kombucha, well you should!  This stuff is awesome. If you are a farmers market shopper you may have tried a sample from an overzealous vendor or gotten some misleading information that caused you to think "okay...".  You see in the world of fermentation there are a lot of misleading/confusing things that happen due to the different levels of information people have.

Mushroom, Mother, Starter.... theses are all terms that people use for the SCOBY.  Well what is a SCOBY you ask.  Symbiotic Colony Of  Bacteria & Yeast. Now that makes more sense! This is the little magic jellyfish like blob that turns your tea into kombucha.

Here is how you do it:
-acquire a SCOBY (you can contact me to purchase one) or look around online. They usually run around $10
 loose leaf tea
Get some lovely tea and organic sugar

-large glass jar (gallon is best, but 1/2 gallon will work)

-clean towel or coffee filer and rubber band

Now it's time to get started.

*Boil some fresh water and brew your tea. I use just 3 cups of water in this process....the tea will brew no matter what, just use enough tea for a gallon.
*let the tea steep for the proper amount of time, be sure to google this as you don't want too many tannins

released and your tea to get bitter. (it is usually anywhere from 1-3 minutes)
*take 1 cup of organic sugar and dissolve it in  your super strong tea. (the only sugar that has NOT worked is date sugar)
*fill your jar 3/4 of the way with COLD water.
*once sugar is dissolved add the tea into the cold water.
*wait until this mixture is room temp or colder and add the  'starter tea' and SCOBY
*cover with a towel or coffee filter.

at day 5 start tasting the tea......if it is still super sweet it is not ready, every day it will become more tangy, so be sure to stop brewing when it is at a tang you like.
This is what the SCOBY looks like at day 3... still fermenting

Time to pull your SCOBY.  You can leave the new little baby attached or separate them and start a SCOBY hotel.  Google that to find out how.  You will take 1 cup of tea and put it with each SCOBY.  That becomes your 'starter tea' that you use with your next batch.

Now it is time to flavor it. My favorite is lemon ginger. But the possibilities are endless, so think about what you like and go from there.  I use 2 fresh lemons, squeeze the juice in. Slice up about 1 inch of ginger and cover with a lid.  Let ferment again for at least 24 hours.  If it is airtight it will also start to get fizzy. Strain out your fruit or herbs and then refrigerate OR add to pop top bottle and leave on the counter for another 24 hours to really get fizzy.

This is how it looks as it brews
Why drink Kombucha?  It is FULL of probiotics and detoxifying properties. Throughout history there are claims of it being a cure all, some of my client friends who have purchased SCOBYS have said when they start feeling ill they drink their kombucha and within a couple of hours... all better.

Regardless, kombucha is a great fermented food to add to your home, it tastes great and makes you feel good. Give it a try... super easy!  and way less expensive than the $4+ you pay in the store!

A couple of side notes:
- the SCOBY eats most of the sugar, so it does not have much sugar left int he actual drink

- the SCOBY eats a lot of the caffeine
- if you want to decaf it, use 1 cup of hot water on your tea, let it steep for 1 minute, pull the tea and toss the water then brew accordingly. Most of the caffeine is released in the first 30-60 seconds of brewing.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How to teach your baby about death

So I have not posted anything for a few weeks. Guessing you can probably tell by the title why.

August 17th we lost one of our good friends, we have known our friend Craig since we were 15 and 19 respectively. And how cool is that to know the same person once we got together. Over the years Craig has been a great friend to our family and has provided our son with 2 of his favorite things.  One was a helicopter that Craig brought him for his frist birthday and the second, so much sand that we had to make a sandbox.

Anyhow skip to August 22nd, this is the day we found out as his family had discovered what had happened the evening before. Not only are you dealing with your emotions, you are dealing with your spouses emotions, you are full of questions as to why someone who is 47 is no longer here...then it hits you. What am I going to tell this little 2 year old in the back seat.

All of a sudden as we pulled up to the house I realized I needed to say something as my emotions were all starting to surface and I knew things were not going to be easy once we saw daddy. So this is how it started: "when we go into the house we want to give dad a big hug because he is going to be sad". 'why is he sad mom?' " I am going to tell you that while I get you out of the car" -hoping that the few seconds it took me to close the door and walk around to the other side would bring me an Epiphany- "You know our friend Craig" 'yes' "he died. Do you remember what that means?"  'tell me mom' "It means we won't get to see his body anymore and he is going to become a fossil" That is when daddy showed up as he wanted that hug.

As I stepped away from the car I heard: 'You sad dad? you sad about Craig because he is going to be a fossil?'

And just like that the understanding of death began.

Over the next couple of weeks he watched as we lived through our emotions. He would ask us questions and we would answer them. We talked about angels, we talked about bodies and spirits. We talked about pretty big life stuff that so many people as adults don't always deal with well and he processed everything in amazing fashion.

Craig doing a wheelie in his blue & black riding gear with his bike getting dirty from the sand with the sun & a sunset. Great 2 year old decisions for a pic.
He was the only child at the funeral. He gave Craig's sister the picture he drew for Craig and told her about what he had drawn and why. As far as I know this was the only thing put in the coffin with Craig and I'm sure it made him so happy that this is what Kash is thinking of when he thinks about him. He was a great little boy and even though it was an incredibly hot day he did a fantastic job. He told his dad what a good job he had done after he was done speaking and as things were wrapping up something amazing/unbelievable/ heart warming...I'm not quite sure what the word is to describe it, happened.

I had walked him to the end of the cemetery to go look at all the horses at the horse farm next door. As people and cars started pulling away he turned and looked back toward the grave site. Keep in mind we never went over specifics as to what happens when someone dies. As he was looking at the site he said to me 'mom I want to go watch them put Craig in the ground' And so we went. We did stop at a tree on the way and sat in the shade for a few minutes while the rest of the people left, we got up as one of the family cars drove off and we saw the grounds keepers start making their way down the hill.

When we got back over there the remaining family members said they were leaving as they did not want to witness what was going to happen next. Andy agreed until I told him what Kash had said. So we waited for the family to drive off, gave the men a nod, watched them put our friend in the ground and walked over to say goodbye.

Last Friday there was a party to celebrate the life of our friend. Kash called it 'Craig's party'. The next day he talked about how Craig's party was 'nice and fun and it made Craig happy but Craig wasn't there'. Tonight I walked in the house after cleaning up dinner outside and he was saying 'we're sad because Craig is a fossil now and we no see him anymore'.

There are other amazing things that have happened over that last few weeks but I won't go into all of it. One of the things we always try as parents is to do the right thing, help our children and guide them. Never did I imagine at 2 I would be explaining death.... but one more thing I have to be thankful to our friend Craig, you helped me teach our son about death, bodies, spirits, how they all work together and brought him an amazing understanding. 

We will miss you, miss all of the adventures that were to come, but know that you are always welcome for a visit!

Kash riding one of  Craig's  'motorcycles'