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Friday, December 20, 2013

Kombucha started!

I finally started my Kombucha this week!  Scooby had grown to quite a monster, so I thought it was about time he was put to work.  My other "original" bottle is still growing the next scoby, but I don't think I'll need it!  Even my apple cider vinegar is growing a scoby (a really cool find, by the way!) - Katy says that's proof that it is REAL unfiltered vinegar.

It can take 7-14 days for the kombucha to ferment, and then another 5-10 days for 2nd fermentation with the flavoring.  It can take even longer in the winter, but I will keep you updated!

Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Making Kombucha

It's sad to say, but I am starting to confuse myself.  I had sent a picture of my Scoby (definition below) to a few people via text, but then for some reason I thought I had posted it here for my readers to see my little creation,  but I guess I didn't!

So if you don't know what Kombucha is, it is a probiotic-filled concoction that is super good for you, and especially good for your tummy.  It is technically a fermented tea, so the original flavor is quite vinegary.  The flavored bottles are yummy - still a bit sour, but you get used to it, and for a while I was actually craving it.  I couldn't get enough of it!  But it's like $4 a bottle.  You may get it for a little less, and in small towns, it sells for even more.  But it is soooo good for you, and you really will feel the difference when you are drinking it regularly.

I saw a "make your own kombucha" pin on Pinterest (did you know that I love, and am totally addicted to, Pinterest? Follow my "Health & Wellness board HERE) - so of course I had to try it!  And save some money too!  AND try different flavor combinations! Here is the link to the original instructions:

How to make Kombucha:

And if you read that, you know that you have to start from a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeast), also called a mother Scoby.  Since it is a fermented tea, you need to have something that takes the sugar you put in, and "eats" it, which ferments the drink and makes it sparkly (carbonated).  You can adopt one from a friend (I've been growing mine for a while, so I will probably have a baby to adopt out soon), buy one online (not as cheap as I expected), or grow one yourself.  Now, it does take several weeks, but only adds to the DIY experience.  You buy a $4 bottle of organic ORIGINAL flavored kombucha and ... well, see the links below for instructions.  But first, here is a picture of my home-grown Scoby, whom I have named SCOOBY!  :)

How to grow your own SCOBY:

And if you still need convincing about this awesome stuff, read about all of the health benefits!

Health Benefits of Kombucha

Kombucha Health Benefit #1: Boosts the Immune System

Got allergies? Are you run down frequently with colds? You can build up your immunity naturally by consuming more fermented foods and drinks.
Our immune system is in our gut. Most of us have grown up on antibiotics and other drugs that kill off our beneficial bacteria. The result? Kombucha’s fermentation process encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are good for your gut, and good for immunity.
Kombucha is also rich in antioxidants, which help to strengthen immunity.

Kombucha Health Benefit #2: Natural Detoxifier

Kombucha has probiotics and enzymes that promote detoxification. One of the main jobs of the good bacteria in your gut is to detoxify. By adding more beneficial bacteria to your gut, you’re getting the job done faster.
Kombucha promotes detoxification. Regular consumption of kombucha tea also supports liver function.

Kombucha Health Benefit #3: Rich in Vitamins and Enzymes

In addition to beneficial bacteria, kombucha contains B vitamins and enzymes.
B vitamins provide support for the body’s metabolic functions including overall energy, utilization of carbohydrates, heart health, and healthy hair, skin, and nails. Adequate intake of B vitamins can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, boost memory, and relieve PMS.
Most of us don’t get enough enzymes these days because we don’t eat enough raw food. The role of digestive enzymes is to break down the foods that we eat into smaller compounds so the nutrients can be more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Kombucha Health Benefit #4: Energy Boost

Everyone needs more energy these days, which is why so many of us are reaching for coffee, tea, sugar, caffeinated sodas, and “energy drinks”.
Kombucha is the original energy drink. This is not an artificial jolt of caffeine or sugar — but a natural energy booster. Because kombucha helps the body detoxify, there is less burden on your system, and as a result, you get more energy. As stated above, kombucha is also rich in B vitamins, which gives the body energy.

Kombucha Health Benefit #5: Increased Metabolism

Enzymes boost metabolism. In addition, all the beneficial bacterial and enzymes in the kombucha help your body work better and take the burden off of it’s functioning.

Kombucha Health Benefit #6: PMS Relief

Kombucha helps to relieve PMS. How? B vitamins help to break down and flush out excess estrogen from the body (a condition called estrogen dominance). This can help to reduce PMS symptoms.

Kombucha Health Benefit #7: Relief from Arthritis and Joint Pain

I was diagnosed with arthritis when I was in my 20s. I cured myself by going on an elimination diet (elimination of all possible allergens) and taking therapeutic grade probiotics. It took about 2 years, but I fully recovered.
Arthritis is an immune disorder. Scroll back up to Kombucha Health Benefit # 1 — kombucha is rich in probiotic bacteria which help to rebuild healthy gut flora, and strengthen immunity.
Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Retro Post: Summer Lovin

This is a retro post - I had every intention of going through all of my summer photos and talking about each one.  Instead, you can just "read" my picture story.

If anyone wants to follow my "Summer Lovin" of recipes on Pinterest, click HERE

Friday, December 13, 2013

Welcome, Winter!!


OK, I know you Northern Michigan folks are cursing me - what do you MEAN, Welcome?  Granted, this post does apply to all of you as well, but I want to extend a heart-felt apology for the record 86.5" of snow that has already fallen this year (I can't seem to find where I read that today - Im pretty sure somewhere on Facebook - because everything on the internet has to be correct).

So I was sitting at my desk yesterday looking at the really pretty snow falling outside the window, I was thinking, "I can't wait for Spring!"  Which is completely correct - I love gardening, and rain, and baby flowers sprouting, and birds.  BUT I have decided that I really need to embrace the NOW.  

This season I am going to try to bundle up warmer, with more layers, and enjoy the season.  Maybe grumble a little less, and smile a little bit more.

I know, Mom, shoveling the driveway and the car sucks, but look at it this way - you said you haven't been getting enough exercise!

Please everyone remember this:  Cold air and strenuous activity can very dangerous.  Bend at the knees, go slow, and cover your mouth with a scarf so you are breathing warmer air.

Bring on the skiing, snowman-making, sledding, snow angels, midnight snowflake-watching, Shushing, scarf-wearing, hat-knitting, cold-hiking, snowboarding, ice skating, outdoor hockey-playing, and other red-nosed activities!

Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things I love!

Bravo ...
Sometimes all we hear is criticism and what we don't like, so from time to time I like to tell my readers about many of the products I am impressed with ...

Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter 
Ingredients:  Peanuts (and less than 1% salt)

Smuckers Natural Strawberry Jam
Ingredients:  Strawberries, Sugar, Fruit Pectin, Citrus Acid

b.o.c (by Born) Shoes
These are the best, padded, most comfortable, cutest shoes ever.  Made well.  I have other wedges, but these are by far the most worn because they are so damn comfie!

Dole Banana Dippers
Just found these at Target, and they are AMAZING!  Bananas frozen and the perfect peak of ripe (slightly tart) and wrapped in dark chocolate.  Kind of the perfect dessert for me.  They come wrapped 4 in a pack - and they are like 100 calories total.  Go get these pronto.
Ingredients:  Banana, Vitamin C (To Promote Color Retention), Dark Chocolate (Chocolate Liquor, Sugar, Cocoa Butter,Soy Lecithin {Emulsifier}, Vanilla Extract).

Wholly Guacamole Minis
Wow!  How do they do it?  Im a huge fan of MY homemade guac, but it only lasts a day or two.  The oxidation starts quickly and turns brown and yucky.  So I was skeptical that these would stay fresh, but they DO!  Go out and buy these 6-packs!  There is more in each little cup than you think.
Ingredients:  Hass Avocados, Jalapeno Puree (white vinegar, jalapeno peppers, salt) Dehydrated Onion, Salt, Granulated Garlic\

CHOBANI  FLIP Yogurt - Tropical Escape
Pineapple Coconut with Hazelnuts, toasted coconut, and granola.  I just love chobani anyway, and the flips are great - some added nutrition and crunch (a dry pocket of goodies to flip in before eating).  There is no corn syrup in these yogurts!  This one has cane syrup, evaporated cane juice, honey, and molasses for sweetener.  This particular flavor is AMAZING!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Here We Go Again ...

Meditation Challenge

I've always known the importance of meditation (stress relief, lowers blood pressure, mental clarity, energy, can help a hundred ailments), but for some reason I have had such a hard time getting into a regular practice.  Well here is my challenge (are you up for it?)

Oprah & Deepak Chopra (alternative medicine guru) have been putting out these guided meditation series.  I have signed up for a few of them, and tend to do a day or two here and there.  I get the email each morning and say, "I don't have time." or "I'll do it later today."  This time I am sticking to it.  It is 21 days, and each meditation is 20-25 minutes.  Granted, that's with introductions from Oprah & Deepak, so the actual meditation is shorter.  Sometimes I think Oprah just likes to hear herself talk.  Oops.  This is a no-judgement zone.  Sorry, Oprah!

So here's the challenge for me and for you:  Complete the 21 days.  Every day.  And here's your bonus.  Today is Day 5!  It's ok to jump in - its not like they are cumulative teachings.  I have already done days 1-4, and this is the most consistent I have ever been.  And I'm on a mission to complete it.  Here is the link:

So who's in?  We can keep each other motivated and on track.  



peace. love. serene.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Why I love Halloween

Halloween is this Thursday and I am so excited!

I think I am going to make a small "alter" dedicated to those who have passed.  If you didn't know, it is the day that the veil between the planes is the weakest, and those who are dead may enter our plane and walk among the living.

Why do I love this month?  

The crunch of leaves under my feet
The smell of fresh pumpkin when carving
Wearing sweaters and boots, but maybe not the jackets yet
The magic in the air
The smell of pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven
Apples in everything

Some Halloween fun I've had this year:

- Attempting making caramel apples, and failing, several times.  Ok, maybe not so fun.  But homemade caramel is soooo much better than the stupid Kraft caramels.  I finally got a good recipe, and then can't get it to set up before sliding off the apple.  I think I need to call someone at the Food Network.

- Fun nail art.  Not the easiest to do, but worth the effort!

- Carving my pumpkins

Some great Halloween facts:

- The word Halloween comes from All Hallows Eve, which was from the Catholic Chuch (All Hallows Day or All Saints Day on Nov 1) to replace Samhain "Summer's End", which was the pagan new year.  Many of the Catholic holidays have corresponding times with pagan holidays to make the conversion to the Catholic church easier and more desirable.

- Jack o Lanterns were originally turnips, rutabagas, or potatoes carried as lanterns

- We wear costumes so that the evil spirits get confused and think we are one of them.

- In Alabama, it's illegal to dress up as a priest

- Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926

- During the celebration of Samhain, Druids would light fires to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard, winter.  Druid priests would throw cattle bones on the fire, therefore it became known as a "bone fire" which is now "bonfire"

- A full moon on Halloween is extremely rare, but we will see one on Oct. 31, 2020.

3rd Halloween Event: Theatre Bizarre

What an amazing event.  The amazing Masonic Temple in Detroit is transformed into 7 stories of incredible stages of fire juggling, fire breathing, burlesque, freak shows, comedians, peep show, ghost train, music, and the most breathtaking costumes you have ever seen.  No words - just pictures.