Category: Recipes- Рецепты

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.

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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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Loving your ACV

Loving your ACV

Braggs ACVYou are going to look forward to your daily ACV from this day on!

 Be sure the Apple Cider Vinegar you use is raw and has the ‘mother’. Did I lose you already? Have you already thought “Nasty! No way am I going to drink that stuff!”? Don’t give up, you know it’s good for you. I have the answer, and you are guaranteed to love it!

 There are many pages and sites that will give you a thousand-and-one uses for ACV.  I take it to stop the night time cramps that have bothered me for several years. It’s effective and only takes two days of not taking my ACV for the cramps to return.

The trick to loving ACV is to turn the taste to your advantage. This takes two ingredients: fruit juice and a sweetener. My favorite juices are orange, elderberry, and apple. Be creative and try every juice you enjoy! I prefer liquid stevia as a sweetener. It is natural, inexpensive, easy to use, no calories, and has a few health benefits of its own. Don’t use more than a few drops, though, or you will have an unpleasant aftertaste. You can also use sugar, honey, or other natural sweeteners.20160222_191753

Here are a couple of recipes to start you on your path to loving your ACV:

  1. Guiltless Soda  To 8 oz of sparkling water (I use seltzer water as it does not contain quinine or sodium), add 1/4 cup of orange juice, 1 Tablespoon of ACV and 4 drops of liquid stevia.  Stir and enjoy. This is also excellent with other juices. My grandchildren call this ‘Grandma’s special soda’.
  2.  ‘Better’ Juice: To one quart of water, add 2 tablespoons of any flavor juice concentrate, 2 tablespoons of ACV, and 12 drops liquid stevia.
  3. Apple juice with a fraction of the calories: In a quart jar, add 1/2 cup apple cider, 2 tablespoons ACV, and 12 drops liquid stevia. This tastes as good as a quart of apple juice, with 13% of the calories!
  4. Cold remedy: In 8 oz of water or seltzer water, add 1-2 tablespoons elderberry syrup, 1 tablespoon ACV, and 4 drops liquid stevia. Not only does this taste amazing, in my experience it reduces the length of colds to just a day or so. I drink it 3-4 times a day when I first feel a cold coming on, or when I have been exposed. Information on Elderberry uses from Perdue University can be found here.

Now, take it from there, and let me know the ways YOU take ACV in a tasty way. Please leave a comment!

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Rosemary Cookies and the Importance of Family

Rosemary Cookies and the Importance of Family

 Once a month my little grandson comes to spend a couple of days with Grandma and Grandpa. Dante and I always do a project or two while he is here, something we can enjoy doing together.

It is our way of building a family bond that will last through eternity.

Families can be forever, and I want Dante to know how important he is in my life today, and throughout all eternity. I do that by spending time with him.

Today Dante would like to share with you his recipe for ‘Dante’s Rosemary Cookies.

He is fascinated by the idea of people in other countries reading about his cooking project! Made from a honey cookie recipe with rosemary, whole wheat flour, and applesauce, they are a very tasty and healthy snack. I developed this nutritious cookie especially for him when he was just a year old- along with his special ‘Super Dante Juice’….which will be a post for another time 🙂

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Step 1(Dante likes to break every job into ‘steps’): Cut the rosemary into tiny pieces. 

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Step 2: Grind the wheat to make flour. Fresh-ground flour tastes so much better and retains more vitamins than what we buy in the store. White flour also works in this recipe, but  has very little nutrition.

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Step 3: Get honey from the store room and be sure to smile for Grandma’s camera!

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Step 4: Measure all the ingredients into the bowl and mix it up.

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Step 5: Scoop out the dough and place it on parchment paper. Bake it in the oven. It takes a l…o…n…g time (10 minutes is a long time to a 5 year old!) to bake, so don’t forget step 6:

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…Enjoy a spoonful of cookie dough! 

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And of course, what is better to go with fresh-baked cookies than a glass of milk and a board game?!

Spending time with family is one of the most important things we do.

It often means putting other important things off until later, but the ties that we develop with our families can last for eternity.

“The family is the basic unit of society. Countries can be no healthier than its families. No government can long endure without strong families.” ~ Spencer W. Kimball

Is there anything more important than spending time, and building strong bonds, with your family? We have so many important activities that pull us in every direction, and especially away from our families. Despite the importance of everything we have to do each day, the answer to that question is still  a resounding “No!”

“Never before have there been so many insidious influences threatening the family as today, around the world. Many of these evil influences come right into the home—through television, movies,radio, magazines, newspapers, <and social media>.”  Spencer W Kimball

The most important work...family quote

 Dante’s Rosemary Cookies

 Recipe Type: Healthy Desserts
Cuisine: American
Author: Margo
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • ¼ c real butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp dried or fresh rosemary, chopped small
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Mix butter and sugar together until creamy. Add egg and mix well. Add the applesauce, honey and lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Mix dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet, or on parchment paper for easy clean-up. Bake at 325 F (165 degrees C) 10-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a rack before storing.

 What have you done to increase love in your Family today?

The moments that matter most….

We would do well to slow down a little, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most.

 

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Harvest Day in the Corn Patch

Harvest Day in the Corn Patch

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We have been helping our neighbor with his corn patch for the past couple of years, and this year the corn looked tremendous- tall and healthy despite the strange weather we have had this year. There was a lot of cool, rainy weather followed by above-average temperatures, then more cool… Idaho is famous for having unpredictable weather, but this summer has been the whopper of unpredictability.

Thursday was harvest day, and we were unhappily surprised by the results- despite the months of planting, watering, weeding and caring for the corn patch, we harvested a third of what we had expected. Sometimes things happen that are not what we expect. How we react when the unexpected happens is a measure of our personality. Can we see the ‘silver lining’* despite our disappointments?

I am happy to say that, though disappointed in the harvest, we enjoyed our harvest party- and enjoyed the fact that it only took two hours instead of the five or six that it took last year (there is one silver lining!). I also have no doubt that God will provide for us- we will have enough to eat without a freezer full of corn. This means we will have room in the freezer for other tasty foods (silver lining #2)!IMG_8997

 

The whole family gets involved in the corn harvest- Grandma and I  shuck the corn before the rest of the family show up.IMG_9004

 

Once the rest of the family arrives, a son boils the corn for just a minute to stop the ripening process.IMG_9005

The corn is then put in front of a fan to cool it quickly.

Even the young grandchildren are able to help. Here, Dante is counting the empty corn cobs to keep track of how many dozen we have grown.IMG_9007

Grandma had an accident a few years ago and is unable to do much, but the family is careful to include her so she feels useful. Her job is to write the year on the freezer bags. One of the grandchildren then helps her put a quart of corn in each bag

At the end of the evening, each member of the family takes home corn for the freezer. We appreciate the bounty of the earth, the space for a garden, the ability to grow a garden, and the water to keep it green. Yes, we were a bit disappointed in the amount, but there is so much to be grateful for!IMG_9030

Even the horses are happy today- the corn husks are a tasty treat!

The only unhappy creatures are the wild turkeys- their free corn supply has ended for the year. 🙂

Now that the corn is finished, it is time to harvest the apples again- make apple cider, apple cider vinegar, apple pies, dehydrated apples… and then the tomatoes, potatoes, beans and squash. What a blessing to have a garden and to be able to appreciate all we grow, throughout the coming winter. No matter how the price of food goes up because of strange weather patterns around the world, my family will eat healthy and well. I am truly thankful!

 

 

Corn Fritters
 
Author: Margo
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 patties
A tasty addition to breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • ⅓ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup milk (I use non fat)
  • 2 cups cooked corn kernels
  • Vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Instructions:
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Add milk and chopped parsley, and mix together with a wooden spoon until thick and thoroughly mixed through.
  4. Add the cooked corn (boiled or grilled) and mix well with the flour mixture.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan.
  6. Using a ⅓ cup measuring cup, scoop corn mixture out and place into the skillet, gently
  7. pressing the mound down so it’s flattened.
  8. Cook for 5 minutes on one side, or until it’s browned, turn it over and cook another 5 minutes, or until it’s browned.
  9. Serve immediately with sour cream

Corrn patties blog post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A silver lining is a metaphor for optimism in the common English-language idiom “Every cloud has a silver lining.” ex: “The silver lining to not harvesting much corn is that we will have room in the freezer for more ice cream!”

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