Author: Margo

Elementor #1728

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How to Make Your Own Kefir- and Why You Should

How to Make Your Own Kefir- and Why You Should

Kefir (pronounced “Kee-fur” ) is a cultured milk similar to yogurt. The cultures that produce kefir are completely different than yogurt cultures, and have a unique, ultra-healthy probiotic content.

You may have received a kefir start from me- or perhaps you are curious and would like to begin making your own kefir and do not know where to start. Read through these directions, and if you would like a kefir start, please use the contact form and I will  arrange for you to get one (in the US only, sorry)

There are two ways that you may have received a kefir starter from me- in a glass jar that has several cups of  kefir already cultured, or in a plastic baggie with just a little milk.   If you have received a jar, it has already started the culturing process. Skip to *, below.  If you received a baggie with the culture and a small amount of milk,  use the following directions.

Getting started:

  • Clean, well rinsed glass jar

  • Kefir grains (do not rinse the grains!)

  • Milk (any grade: nonfat, low fat, full-fat)

Add the kefir grains to ½ cup of milk in a glass container, and leave it uncovered (or loosely covered) at room temperature (note: refrigerating the culture will stop the process). Stir a couple of times through the next 24 hours. At this point you will notice some of the milk around the grains has thickened.   Add additional milk (up to 2 cups at this point), stir to mix the starter into the new milk, and let it culture, stirring once or twice a day, for an additional 24 hours.  caption id=”attachment_1364″ align=”alignnone” width=”205″]Pour the milk into the jar holding the kefir grains Adding milk to the kefir grains[/caption]

Depending on the temperatures of the room, during this initial ‘waking’ period, the milk will start to thicken after 12-24 hours, sometimes taking as much as 48 hours in a cooler environment. After this time, the milk should appear to be of yogurt consistency and is ready to be consumed as a beverage, used in recipes, turned into ‘cottage cheese’, or “ kept aside for several days to undergo a slower secondary fermentation  which further thickens and sours the milk” (Wikipedia), and adds to the nutrient base.  Use a plastic fork to scoop out the culture, and add the culture and ½ cup of the kefir to a quart size jar, and fill it with milk).

*After this initial period of bringing your culture ‘to life’, the culturing is pretty much a ‘no-brainer’: pour out the kefir that you want to use, then replace it with fresh milk. Stir, cover the jar with a cloth, and leave the jar on the counter.

If you need a break from culturing, put the grains and a tablespoon or two of kefir in a clean jar, add 2 cups milk, and put it into the refrigerator for up to several weeks. Stir it occasionally if you remember. It will stay alive for a long time this way. I have left a starter in the ‘fridge for over a month and had no trouble putting it back into use within 24 hours.  There are times when I will put a fully-cultured jar of kefir in the ‘fridge because I do not have time to use it or deal with it. After 5 or 6 days, I take it out and find that the culture has grown considerably- it is a good way to grow the culture if you wish to share it.

.

Do NOTS:

*Do not store in a non-acid proof container (such as metal), and don’t use reactive-metal utensils.  Store and grow your kefir in glass containers. Plastic can be used during traveling.

  • Do not use metal utensils  in the kefir

  • * Do not use any dish that has a soap residue. Rinse any container thoroughly before using, as soap will kill the bacteria.

  • *Don’t suffocate the culture- it needs air. Keep any lid on loosely, or just cover with a cloth to keep bugs and dust out.

  • Do not rinse the grains. This stops the culturing process for several days, and is unnecessary. 

  •  Using your Kefir:

You can drink it plain,  add a little stevia or other sweetener to it, or make a smoothie with it. It can also be used to make ice cream, or as a probiotic ingredient in salad dressings and other recipes. See my Pinterest board for more ideas.

Making kefir cheese, aka ‘cottage’ cheese:

Put the culture in the milk, leave it anywhere from 12 hours to 2 or 3 days (depending on how hot the house is, and how sour you want the kefir cheese to be). Once it is thickened, remove the culture and a cup of kefir,  and put it in another jar. Add milk and set it aside to continue  culturing .    Put the jar of prepared kefir (without cultures- this step will kill the culture!) in a pot of water, bringing it to a boil. As soon as the water boils, (but without boiling the kefir!) and the curds separate from the whey, I turn off the stove and let the pot of water with the jar of curds-and-whey sit until they are cool- several hours or overnight. Then pour the curds-and-whey into a strainer and drain for an hour or two until it is as dry as you want it. If you would prefer it more of a ‘Greek yogurt’ consistency, do not let it drain for long.

I love this kefir cheese served with a little sugar, sour cream and some soaked raisins! Also served plain with a dollop of fruit jam over it. And of course in sirniki  !

I have had the same culture for 9 years, taking it with me whenever I travel. When I do not want to make cheese out of it, or I am traveling, I just drink the cultured milk plain, or add fruit to it and make a smoothie. It is very healthy, and I have never gotten sick when I traveled which I attribute to the good bacteria in the culture.

The culture grows quickly, so you are encouraged to share a piece of it with others.  It is traditional to give kefir away- never sell it (although I do charge postage when I am mailing it).

  Milk kefir is a different culture than water kefir grains.

It will only grow in mammal milk (cow, goat, sheep, etc.)

Kefir (pronounced /kəˈfɪər/ kə-feer is believed to have its origins in the Caucasus Mountains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed. Marco Polo mentioned kefir when recounting his travels. (Wikipedia)

Why make kefir? Because it is healthy for you!

lactic acid bacteria, yeasts, Fermentation Products: carbon dioxide, ethanol (alcohol), Nutrients: protein from milk, polysaccharide, Vitamins or pro-vitamins: vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, folic acid, nicotinic acid, Minerals: calcium, iron, iodine

Fermentation reduces the lactose in the milk, and many lactose-intolerant individuals can tolerate kefir. Test this carefully if you are lactose intolerant  “Researcher Steven Hertzler stated: “Both kefir and yogurt improve lactose digestion simply because some of the bacterial cells give up their lives in the intestinal tract, release their enzymes and digest the lactose. It’s a one-shot deal. However, kefir has additional microorganisms that may be able to colonize the intestines and benefit health further by protecting the intestine against disease-causing bacteria.

The kefiran in kefir has been shown in one study to suppress an increase in blood pressure and reduce serum cholesterol levels in rats. Kefir contains compounds that have antimutagenic and antioxidant properties in vitro, although it is not established that these compounds have any physiological properties when kefir is consumed. “ (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir)

Do you have a question, or would you like  to share your experience with kefir? Please leave a comment below!

 
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Master Tonic- The Powerful Natural Anti-viral Remedy

Master Tonic- The Powerful Natural Anti-viral Remedy

Master Tonic Is the one natural remedy that should be in every home.

Master Tonic, also known as ‘Fire Cider’ for it’s fiery taste,  is Anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic. These medicinal herbs are powerful alternatives to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals that have been used for generations.  With the right combination of  natural, fresh ingredients, you can fight off the sicknesses that you are exposed to throughout the year. Easy to make, it takes 3-6 weeks to steep so start your Master Tonic today.  Prepare now for those times when you are out in public and someone next to you coughs uncovered,  sneezes in your direction (did you know that germs can travel up to 200 feet in a sneeze?!) or you are in a room with someone obviously sick. This is effective as a preventative immune boosting tonic, as well as the first thing you should reach for when you feel something ‘coming on’.

The Master Tonic recipe is flexible and does not rely on exact amounts of each element. Keep the amounts of the roots approximately equal to each other. Adjust amounts according to the size of the container. It is important that you have at least 2 inches of head-space on top of the chopped ingredients to be sure you can completely cover them with the vinegar, and have room to shake the ingredients thoroughly each day.

Ingredients for a two quart jar:

  • 6 in. Fresh ginger root

  • 6 in. Fresh horseradish root

  • 1/2 cup Fresh turmeric root

  • 1 large onion

  • 1/2 cup Fresh garlic

  • 4 pieces Cinnamon bark

  • 1/4 cup black peppercorn

  • 1-2 Chili peppers

  • 1 quart Natural apple cider vinegar, raw, with the mother

Directions:

  1. Coarsely chop all roots, including onion and garlic

  2. Cut the chili pepper in half and discard seeds.

  3. Using a food processor, chop the above until about the size of a slit pea. You do not want mush, but the ingredients must be finely chopped.

  4. Add the chopped roots to a clean jar. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover completely with apple cider vinegar.

  5. cover securely with a lid, and shake the jar thoroughly.

  6. Place the jar in a dark, cool location and shake at least once per day for 3-6 weeks

  7. Strain the tonic from the solids and refrigerate until needed.

How to take the tonic:

This is a strong tasting tonic. The easiest way to take the tonic is to put a tablespoon in a cup, and have a 1/4 cup of orange juice at hand to ‘chase’ it down with. Alternatives are adding it to juice or water, or add molasses or honey as a sweetener. My particular favorite is to add it half-and-half with elderberry syrup. Not only is the taste better, but you get the added benefits from the elderberry- a powerful medicinal herb in itself.

Have you tried Master Tonic? What has been your experience? Please leave a comment below to encourage me to continue writing 🙂 

 

 

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Judging- a Necessary Habit to Keep Under Control

Judging- a Necessary Habit to Keep Under Control

I had been feeling exhausted and unhealthy for nearly a year and it was getting worse so I finally went in for a check up.  I was told by the PA (my doctor was too busy to get in to see) that, based on her blood test, I had pre-diabetes. She said that I was at a severe risk of developing diabetes, so I had better get on a special low carb diet immediately and that would cure all my ailments within weeks (it didn’t) .

I did not believe her conclusions. Neither did any of the other medical practitioners that I consulted after her diagnosis. I did, however, decide to follow her diet directions while I continued figuring out for myself what was actually wrong. 

I lost weight. But that’s not the story.

I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater: whole grains, fruits and veggies, no soda or alcohol,  and few processed foods.  What I found, however is that is is hard to get enough calories without carbs- and everything but protein has carbs. Ouch. All my healthy fruits and whole grains were taking me way out of the carb ballpark. It took me several months of recording every bite to My Fitness Pal to figure out how to choose the right foods,  and up my protein to account for lack of calories from carbs. In the meantime I dropped 10 lbs. It got kind of fun to watch the scale going down an ounce or two every day, so I decided to continue on the ‘diet’ until I got down to the weight I was 30 years ago when I was the healthiest. It became a lot more difficult as time went on.

And that’s when this story about human nature began.

Losing the weight was a big accomplishment. I  learned to portion and weigh every thing I ate, keep track of every single bite that went in my mouth, eat protein, and drink more water than I have ever wanted to drink. For 6 months I didn’t have ‘cheat days’. I didn’t go over my carb limits. I didn’t eat my favorite foods. It. Was. Not. Easy! 

We are social creatures. We like to share accomplishments, even the accidental ones. When we share struggles and accomplishments, those around us  cheer us on and give us the encouragement and motivation to continue when we are stressed or weak. At least that is what should happen.  What I experienced was quite different. If I mentioned that I was on a diet, or losing weight, the reaction was a form of “You don’t need to lose weight, here- have a brownie”.  I learned to only tell a couple of trusted friends- and even to them I had to justify myself with exaggerations about diabetes scares so they would give me a bit of the support I craved.

I was already at what most would call an acceptable weight.  I didn’t then, or now,  LOOK unhealthy, but there are underlying health issues at stake.   Please understand that MY efforts are NOT being undertaken as a reflection of you or your needs- it’s just about me and my own needs. Do I need to review my complete health history with you before you will quit dissing* my health choices and offering me double-chocolate mint brownies? 

Lessons learned

I now ask myself if I ‘offer brownies’ in some way or another myself.  What I learned from this experience is that we rarely know the whole story. Judging others based only on what I see and believe is harmful and can be painful for the judged. We do have to make judgements every day- it’s part of life and is what keeps us safe. Let’s just decide to make them using righteous principles, and remember that the person that we may be judging is more important than problems to be solved. 

When someone shares something that is important to them, they are putting trust in us. We must respond with love, rather than judgement. 

*Definition of dis  

disseddissing; transitive verb

1. slang to treat with disrespect or contempt insult  
2. slang to find fault with criticize 

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Посмотри вверх!

Посмотри вверх!

Скорее! Ответь, не задумываясь, какое сейчас небо?

А облака? Я спросила это у 10 человек, и только один ответил, что смотрел сегодня на небо. Небо успокаивает душу, но лишь немногие это понимают. Ну же, посмотри вверх!

В далеком 1985 году мне попалась статья Джека Бордена, в которой он изложил своё желание научить людей смотреть в небо и видеть его красоту. Я никогда не смотрела вверх намеренно, не задумывалась о небе, о том, какое оно, какие там облака, пока не прочитала эту статью. Не могу сказать, что же именно тогда тронуло меня в этой статье, но вот уже 30 лет, где бы я ни была, я всегда влюблена в небо.

Кто-то спросил меня на прошлой неделе, как я справляюсь со стрессом.

Ответ ко мне пришёл не сразу. Я задумалась, и поняла, что мой стресс проходит от того, что для меня уже стало самым обычным делом – я смотрю на небо. Когда я смотрю на небо, я чувствую безграничность того, что находится надо мной, осознание этого прогоняет стресс и направляет мои мысли в положительное русло. Если бы когда-нибудь у меня выдался день, когда мне бы ничего не нужно было делать, я бы лежала на спине и смотрела на небо (в перерывах между сном) и фотографировала облака.

Многие из этих фотографий были сняты на мой телефон. Только представьте, какими бы они получились, если бы я снимала на фотоаппарат и добавила фильтры!

Американцы уходят в отпуск чтобы «стать частью природы», почувствовать безграничность космоса, и, как пишет Джен Борден (“Sky Man”): «ощутить ликование» и «приобщиться к природе». Для тех, кто не может брать отпуск: нам необязательно менять местоположение, достаточно изменить наш взор.

В книге Look at the Sky! (“Взгляни на Небо!”) Эрик Слоан написал: «Я верю, что небо было создано исключительно для созерцания; наблюдая за небом человек может получить высшее удовольствие». 

«Не волнуйтесь, воздушные замки, которые вы построили, находятся именно там, где должны. Вам нужно лишь заложить для них фундамент», – Генри Дэвид Торо

«Тот, кто созерцает красоту Земли, открывает в себе запас сил, который никогда не иссякнет», –Рейчел Карсон, «Ощущение чуда».

«В глазах ребенка мир свеж, прекрасен и полон чудес, он удивляет и восхищает. К нашему сожалению, этот ясный взгляд, это истинное ощущение прекрасного гаснет и теряется, едва мы достигаем совершеннолетия. Если бы я водила знакомство с доброй феей, которая присутствует при крещении, я попросила бы ее давать в подарок всем детям в этом мире ощущение чуда, чтобы оно не иссякало всю жизнь, и как лекарство спасало от скуки и разочарований» – Рейчел Карсон, «Ощущение чуда».

Где бы вы не находились, небо всегда над вами.

Чтобы изучить небо, не нужно тщательно разрабатывать полевых вылазок или иметь дорогостоящее оборудование. Достаточно взглянуть на небо трижды за день и обратить внимание на увиденное. Сделайте пару фотографий неба, сделайте одну из них заставкой на экране вашего телефона или компьютера и меняйте их почаще. Постарайтесь смотреть на луну каждую ночь, и вы заметите, как меняются ее фазы: как она растет или уменьшается. Наблюдая за полётом птиц, можно заметить белый след самолета. Ваша фантазия с легкостью превратит облака с их причудливыми формами в дракона или бегущего ребёнка. Замрите перед чудом, которое сокрыто в небе!

За красоту Земли

За красоту Земли

За красоту неба

За любовь, что с нашего рождения

Окутывает нас всецело

Господь всех, к Тебе мы

возносим

Нашу песнь о благодарном восхвалении.

 За красоту каждого часа

Дня и ночи

Холма, долины, дерева, цветов

Солнца, луны, света и звёзд,

Господь всех, к Тебе мы возносим

Нашу песнь о благодарном восхвалении.

За радость человеческой любви,

Брата, сестру, родителей, ребёнка

Друзей на земле и на небесах

За великодушные и благородные мысли

Господь всех, к Тебе мы возносим

Нашу песнь о благодарном восхвалении.

И это не всё.

Иногда небо дарит испытания… и надежду: http://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/after-the-storm 

Эти ссылки мне прислал Джек Борден.

До прочтения этого сочинения, я никогда не слышал, чтобы кто-нибудь высказывался о природе настолько близко к моим личным ощущениям. И хорошо, что я читал его в одиночестве, я не мог сдержаться и воскликнул несколько раз: «Да, именно так!». Это сочинение можно и нужно отнести к рекомендованным материалам для чтения учителям и родителям всего мира. Томас Коул, «Сочинение об американской природе» из журнала «The American Monthly Magazine 1» (Январь 1836 г.) http://www.tc.umn.edu/~danp/rhet8520/winter99/cole.html

«Душа природы: история неба в искусстве». Автор произведения – профессор Стэнли Дэвид Гедзельман (кафедра науки о земле и атмосфере, Сити-колледж, Нью-Йорк).

И наконец, публикация в блоге о том, как начать свой бизнес. Какое же это отношение имеет к небу? Только последний абзац: «75 процентов людей утверждают, что негативные мысли уходят, если посмотреть на небо». Будущим предпринимателям, борющимся с негативным мышлением, Фаннин дает урок: «Выше нос».

Вы смотрели сегодня на небо? Что вы там видели? Помогло вам то, что вы увидели, справиться со стрессом? Пришлите мне фото неба!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
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5 Ways To Identify a Disciple of Christ

5 Ways To Identify a Disciple of Christ

To be a disciple of the Savior… what does that mean? The word disciple and the word discipline both come from the same Latin root – discipulus, which means pupil. To be a disciple means to be obedient  to the Savior,. It means to have  self-discipline in what we choose to do and who we choose to become.  How do we know when someone is a disciple of the Savior? Below are 5 characteristics from the scriptures  that help us to understand.

  1. A disciple will be learning.

    Matthew 5:1-2 Jesus  “went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him  And he opened his mouth, and taught them..” We don’t have the luxury of climbing that mountain and listening to Christ in person, but we have the next best thing: the words and testimony of those that have written the gospel of Christ  over the millennia.   A disciple of Christ will be actively searching His teachings. He will not be making excuses that there is no time to read scriptures in his busy day. A disciple spends time daily reading and pondering the words of Christ. Those scriptures have one purpose: for us to read and gain a testimony of Christ. It is through reading the words of Christ and listening for His voice that we become a true disciple.

  2. A disciple will be seeking conversion by ‘doing’.

    He will be trying to be more than he is now through obedience to the laws of God. Jesus told Simon Peter, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). This is Peter He is talking to! Peter the rock, the one who did miracles in His name, who was a teacher and apostle- and yet Jesus tells him he is not yet converted. A testimony of Christ means ‘knowing’ who He really is. Conversion is what happens when testimony becomes so much a part of one that he is a ‘doer’ of the word, not just one who knows the words of Christ. Being a disciple means not only seeking the gospel and learning what Christ would have him do, but seeking to convert himself to become like Christ by doing those things.  A true disciple will be serving others, loving his neighbor as himself, and making preeminent his duty toward God over personal or worldly demands.

  3. A disciple will have charity

    The apostle Paul taught us that “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”  Charity is the pure Love of Christ. To have charity is not an act, it is state of being. Charity is not only giving one’s old coat to the poor, but giving of oneself unselfishly for the good of another child of God. Charity is not only donating money to a good
    cause, but giving kindness without reward to those who are in need. You will see a true disciple of Christ love others as Jesus loves you. The disciple of the Savior will be doing the right things for the right reason- for the Love of Christ.

  4. A disciple will be a missionary

    A disciple may not have a badge that says he is a missionary, but he will be teaching by word and by example in many ways. A disciple is “The light of the world.”  He will “…Let <his> light so shine before men, that they may see <his> good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 . A disciple of Christ will take opportunities to share the love of Christ with all who will listen. They will demonstrate that love in the choices they make, the attitudes they take, and the feeling of love and optimism that they exude. They will teach faith, baptism, and the need for the gift of the Holy Ghost. The true disciple of the Savior will be someone a good person wants to be around- they have a quality that lifts others despite the circumstances.

  1. A disciple will be actively developing strong family relationships

    The conversion that a disciple seeks requires us to be a loving, charitable husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister. The most important things we will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. To identify a disciple of Jesus Christ, look at the way he or she treats family. Leading with kindness, disciplining when needed and then showing afterwards an increase of love to the one that was disciplined, speaking with love and consideration to every member of the family, and teaching each member of the family to have faith and trust in God. These are the ways that a true disciple of Christ treats his or her family.

How do we become disciples ourselves?

By being obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.  We must learn from the words of Christ by reading the scriptures and listening carefully to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We should be an example of a true Christian by doing His will, and by being a missionary that takes time to teach others. We must have charity and take the time to serve others. We must keep the Sabbath day holy, and help in His church. As we seek to become true disciples of Jesus Christ, we should seek the good part- and then do the things we know are right.

.

Two questions to ask yourself: 1. what is the difference between being a ‘Christian’ and being a disciple of Christ?  2. What do I need to do today to become a disciple of Christ?

Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. 

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