Monday, February 27, 2012

Kombucha Home Brew

Kombucha Home Brew

Needed before starting:
A Lead free crock or glass container (capacity 1.5 gallons or 6 quarts - plus 3 C and room for a scobby).
A Scobby
3 cups of starter (which is kombucha).
Filtered water
Organic cane sugar
Organic black tea
You will want large quantities of the last three items to maintain the continual brew of Kombucha!
Note: Nourishing Traditions cook book states "White sugar, rather than honey or Rapadura, and black tea, rather than flavored teas, give the highest amounts of glucuronic acid. Non-organic tea is high in flouride so always use organic tea.

Start by bringing 4 quarts of filtered water to a boil. 
Add 2 Cups organic cane sugar. Stir for several minutes. This lowers the temperature of the boiling water for the best effect when tea bags are added, as well disolves the sugar.
Add 8 organic black tea bags. Place lid on pot and steep for an hour or more (I have completely forgotten about mine and steeped for 4 hours).  

After removing the tea bags, replace lid. Let cool to room temperature. The friend I got my scobby from lets hers sit all night to bring to room temp. I have found I need to do the same. When completely cool make sure your spiggot is in the off position =).

 Then add tea to crock. Listen to the voice of experience, it's no fun to have tea on the floor, not to mention the waste.

Now pour in 1 to 3 Cups of starter. I have found using a larger amount of starter decreases brewing time. I use 3 Cups. 

Place scobby on top.

The dark looking areas on the scobby are thin areas where the tea color is showing through.  (The scobby should not have black spots on it. If it does it could be contaminated. I have not had to deal with this, thankfully, but from what I have read you should throw it away and get another if that happens.)

Place a cloth over the top and WAIT.  My last batch took 8 days. I had shared a scobby and kept the baby which was on the thin side. The two batches before that took 7 days each. So WAIT.  Wait and taste.
You want the batch to have lost all taste of the sweet tea. It will have a zip to it, a vinegarish flavor and be effervesent. I found refrigerating a small amount before determining the taste helps me make a better decision. When the taste is right bottle and refrigerate.  I write the date on my bottles. 

"A word of caution: Some individuals may have an allergic reaction to kombucha. If you have allergies, start with a small taste to observe any adverse effects."
 pg. 596, Nourishing Tradition Cookbook ~Sally Fallon

Friday, February 24, 2012

Snow Day

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baruch Catches a Bird

 Baruch caught a bird this morning out in the alley behind our house. It sure is a pretty bird.  The kids have identified it as a male house finch.

It has already been released. And flew immediately to the top of our roof.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sun Catcher Hearts

Here are the wax paper hearts.  The hearts were inspired by Martha Stewarts site.  I used this template to cut out the hearts, with lots of help from Mary and Abi!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Beth's Birthday Cheesecake (aka Chocolate Marble Cheesecake)

For the past several years I have made this cheesecake for my birthday. It is so yum yum good, that Baruch requested it for his birthday this year.

3 packages (8 ounces each) neuftechel cheese
3/4 C sucanat (or rapadura or unrefined sugar)
1 t vanilla
3 eggs
1 square unsweetened Chocolate, melted
1 Mrs. Smith's pie crust thawed and baked

Preheat oven to 450°

Beat neuftechel cheese, sugar and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Blend melted chocolate into 1 cup batter. Spoon plain and chocolate batters alternately over crust; cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect.

Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; continue baking 30 minutes. Cool and serve plain or with fruit. Refrigerate leftovers, but don't expect any =)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Centerpiece Creations

A couple days ago I was talking to someone about the shower I am planning.  She mentioned having a centerpiece, which had never even crossed my mind.  I was just thinking about the food on the table (well, that and a hundred other things, games, gifts, cleaning, upcoming teacher visit, laundry, piano lessons, what's my family going to eat in 10 minutes, you know, the norm).  Anyway, I began to mull over in my mind how I could make a lovely centerpiece without spending another dime. . .

The girls, Baruch and I had so much fun making wax paper hearts.  They look so cheerful hung in the front windows.  I decided those hearts would be perfect for a centerpiece too. I happened to have three bottles clean and ready (They were supposed to be used to bottle my kombucha but this was way more fun). I used a gold metallic marker to write Faith, Hope and Love on the bottles. Then I headed out to my beloved snowberry bush and got a few branches, plugged the hot glue gun in and found a scrap of ribbon. Cut the ribbon in 6 various pieces and started gluing ribbon to branches and hearts. I used some different ribbon, leftover from the shower invites to wrap around the top of the bottles. I do think they look right perty all next to each other.

The Love bottle has the two hearts together.
In just three short weeks the two will become one!!

I'll try to get some pictures of the hearts in the windows later today. They are so fun because they are constantly dancing.  When the afternoon sun shines in they look spectacular.  I am thrilled with such simple things =)

Monday, February 06, 2012

New Living Room Window Treatment

I got the idea for these Roman Shades from this site:
I used a hot glue gun and a sheet Abigail purchased at St. Vincent's for $2.38! The Venetian blinds were on the window when we bought the house so, although I spent way more on the valence fabric the shades were practically free - wahoo! I am really happy with how they turned out.

This is what I looked at over and over again to loop the valance up. 
The picture is down a ways on this blog, from a Country Living Magazine I think.

I did hot glue here and there to keep this from slipping on the rod. I haven't done this yet, but if i have enough of the yellow I used for the other window I might cover the rod that shows with that.  It is on the to do list.
I didn't quite have enough fabric to do the loopy think on the second living room window.  Here's what I came up with :) I took two rectangles of fabric. One my main color, the second for the lining. Then I sewed them right sides together, leaving a small opening to flip. I trimmed, flipped and sewed the opening closed. Hot glued the top corners and middle to the curtain rod, and tied a piece of fabric in the center.  Fast, easy and I like the look :)

I started a pinterest account so I can add to my ideas bank and go back to visit sites later.  Here's my pinterest link:

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Pictures from Family Time

Drew taught one of the kids classes on Wednesday night last week. He put so much effort into preparing that he decided to give us his lesson for family time last Thursday. He taught Daniel 12.

Here are some of the pictures I took while he was teaching.

Friday, February 03, 2012

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