10/28/14

Make Kombucha with Herbal Tea

Do you kombucha? Some might wash my mouth out with soap for that kind of language. It sounds like a Russian cuss word. Maybe it is! It is touted as the elixir of life! Great for the gut, and a fun replacement for soda. I have put off jumping on this bandwagon for a long time as I follow a religious code of health that forbids tea. Some may argue that the tea is long gone by the time you have the finished product, but we can justify anything we want. I for one, was uncomfortable with the black, white, or green tea called for here. So, imagine my delight when I found some information in the wonderful blogosphere out there that you can make kombucha just fine with herbal raspberry leaf tea. Most herbals will not work because they still contain their awesome essential oils and the oils disrupt the process. I have been experimenting ever since.

The end result for us is a sour soda that most of my family really loves. We get one gallon a week and it lasts a few days, unless I hide it behind the quarts and quarts of goat's milk, then I might get a sip. I have found that my favorite way to drink it is with a splash of organic grape juice and some chia seeds. You can buy that in stores, by the way, but it costs close to $3 a jar and I guarantee is not made of herbal tea. But it is delicious. My home made version is as well and closer to $3 a gallon.

The key, we have found, to making herbal kombucha is that you need to keep a mushroom growing in a black tea because after a few batches, a new mother will not grow in the herbal concoction. This is a little extra work, but not overwhelming.

Directions for Black Tea kombucha:

When you get a starter from someone, say thank you so much, make sure you also get 2 cups of kombucha to start it in. Then grow a new starter in black tea kombucha.
In a big pot, add:
10 cups of filtered water
8 black tea bags (organic preferred, but we have found not necessary)
1 cup of organic sugar for the bugger to feed off of. (You must use white sugar and must be organic)


Bring water to a boil, add the sugar and the tea. Let seep 8-10 min, but I usually forget and just take the tea bags out of the water once it has cooled. It is not very picky about this.
Once the tea is at room temp, add it to the starter and the 2 cups of komubcha. Put a coffee filter and rubber band over it. Always use glass!


Wait a week to ten days and see the new baby grow on top of the old one. The baby is for your herbal kombucha. Transfer it to a new jar with 2 cups of the black tea kombucha.



Directions for Raspberry Leaf Tea Kombucha:


10 cups filtered water
1 cup organic white sugar
8 organic raspberry leaf tea bags
Heat the water to a boil, add the sugar and the tea. Allow it to seep for 8-10 min, then throw the tea bags away.
Once the tea is cooled to room temperature, add it to the new starter and the 2 cups of black tea kombucha. You need this to make it go. You will not have to add black tea again.
Cover with a coffee filter and a rubber band. Allow it to "ferment' for 7-10 days. It is done when it is fizzy and sour tasting.
Using a cheese cloth or flour sack, strain the kombucha into a new glass jars. It will be fizzier if you have tight fitting lids.

Tips:
Always organic sugar
Never let the kombucha touch metal.
Use a wooden spoon or clean  hands to handle the mushroom
Always bring the tea to room temperature before adding to the mushroom or it will kill it.
You can grow a new mushroom in the herbal tea, but only one or two, they get smaller and smaller.  You need to keep a black tea going (even if it is just a half batch) at all times to grow the new mushroom.


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10/4/14

Gluten Free Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

I have a son who will wake up every day this school year at 5:30 so he can do early morning seminary (religious studies class) and then be to school by 7 am for marching band. So, when is he going to fit breakfast in? Pumpkin muffins, smoothies, breakfast cookies and these awesome breakfast bars come to the rescue! They are equally awesome with almond flour or whole wheat depending on what your tummy or budget can tolerate. I have added some extra ingredients for added nutrition, but many of these are optional.

Makeover your "Nutrigrain" bars with these Breakfast Bars:



1 1/2 cups organic oats
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup rapadura (or brown sugar)
1 1/2 sticks melted butter

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the butter. Mix to combine and press half the mix in the bottom of am 8x8 bar pan...unless you lost yours, like me, then a round cake pan works great.



Filling:
1 cup blueberries (love it with raspberries too)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 scoop purple or red fruits/veggies from Blendfresh (optional)
1 scoop fiber powder from Blendfresh (optional...but the chia is an awesome natural thickener)
4 T real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Heat the blueberries until the juices come out. Then mash with a fruit masher. Add the applesauce, syrup and vanilla. Then add the Blendfresh options if you have those. A little arrowroot powder or cornstarch will also thicken it nicely.

Pour the filling on the bottom layer of the crust. Then top with the remaining crumble. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min until browned.


Allow to cool completely before cutting. Store individually wrapped for on the go bars or serve up hot with ice cream...well maybe not for breakfast...unless no one is looking.

The Blendfresh products are optional, but add so much nutrition including fiber and phyto-nutrients from 12 different fruits and  All of it is GMO free and gluten free. To learn more about it, you can check out Blendfresh here.

Did I mention that since my son is 15 I also get to get up early every day this school year to drive him? I knew this day would be coming...but oh, Heaven help me!

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10/2/14

Essential Oils for Different Skin Types

Some of the best things we can put on our skin to leave it beautiful, vibrant and clear are found right in the kitchen! Time to get a little food on your face! Just remember to wash it off before you head out for the day!


But first, everything is better with essential oils and they are wonderful for the skin! You can choose the oil that is best for you based upon the type of skin you have.


For oily skin:
  • frankincense
  • bergamot
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • orange
  • rosemary
  • melaleuca
For dry skin:
  • cedarwood
  • clary sage
  • geranium
  • lavender
  • myrrh
  • sandalwood
For acne:
  • lavender
  • melaleuca
  • rosewood
  • black cumin seed
Learn more about each of these awesome oils. Sign up for my e-class today!
And of course whatever your mood, choose and oil that speaks to you. Now for the fun part:

Inexpensive oil wash:

Oil dissolves oil! I love washing my face with olive oil and essential oils. A teaspoon or so will do you. Then add a drop of two of the right oil for your skin needs. Is it dry? Add geranium and myrrh. Oily? Add lemon or frankincense. Lavender is awesome for the skin as it addresses oily, dry and acne prone skin. I To wash, get a hot washcloth and set on face to open up pores. Then rub oil on skin. Rub gently in circles to remove makeup and grease. Use hot cloth
to remove all the oil. No moisturizer needed.
(Image courtesy of m_bartosh at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Sticky Icky Honey Wash:

Raw honey is awesome stuff! It is Anti-bacterial, helps with allergies, and clears acne! It is slightly drying and deeply moisturizing. Rinse you face well with warm water. Add a little honey to your wet, warm palm and rub it on your face. Have you tried this? Do you like it?  I find it sticky and uncomfortable and nerve wracking as I worry about it getting in my hair. I prefer the oil cleansing method, but to each his own!
 (Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


Exfoliate:

1 cup ground oats
1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond flour)
5 drops essential oils (choose the best oil for your skin type)

Put all in a container with lid an shake it up. To use, take a T of mix and add a few drops of water and a drop of essential oils to make a paste. Rub on skin to get rid of dead skin cells and rejuvenate. Or add some water and orange oil and have a little breakfast!
(Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

My favorite moisturizer: 

1/4 cup coconut oil
5 drops wild orange oil

Use 1/4 tsp to moisturize and uplift. This also makes a great lip gloss that make you extra kissable. Seriously, try and keep the hubby (or wife) off of you!

*Warning: For those with photosensitivity, do no use and then go out in the sunlight. Although I forgot and walked all over DC and had no issues whatsoever.
(Image courtesy of Phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


Face Mask:


Tighten your skin with egg whites! Separate the yolks and put them aside for this awesome chocolate milk, then whip up the whites until frothy, then add 2 drops of essential oils for your skin type or mood. Cover you face with the protein rich goodness and allow to harden for 15 min. This will tone and tighten you face. Finally, rinse with warm water and feel younger.

**Note, this face mask is quite controversial. I giggle reading the comments from people who love it and those who distain animal proteins. So, try it if you like. Don't if you are nervous. I drink my eggs raw too...I am just an adrenaline seeker...what can I say? (Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Cellulite reducer:




One 12 oz bottle of Coconut oil
1 15 ml bottle of grapefruit oil

Put both in a spray bottle. Spritz liberally on body after shower, focusing on problem areas. Rub it in. On a side note, grapefruit oil is an appetite reducer and stops sugar cravings in their tracks, so go ahead, be liberal with this oil!
(Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)





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