Ginger Turmeric Kombucha

My journey into making Kombucha (a fermented tea drink which is healthy for the gut) began several months ago, a very good friend gave me the instructions and my first SCOBY which you need to make this wonderful drink.  The SCOBY is living ‘healthy’ bacteria that resembles a flat jelly fish, or the weird creatures from one of the original Star Trek series…. You know the one, admit it.  Anyway, SCOBY is actually an acronym: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.  It is what does the job in making your Kombucha.  Ginger and Turmeric are wonderful natural roots that are great for the stomach and inflammation plus they taste YUMMY!

You will need several items just to get started:

  1. Two 1 gallon Glass jars, you can get them at glass jars at amazon
  2. A minimum of 6 swing top bottles, again at Amazon here swing top bottles
  3. Your SCOBY, if you don’t have a friend who has a live one living in her SCOBY hotel, guess what, you can get that from Amazon Too.  SCOBY
  4. 2 cups of sugar
  5. 3 tea bags of green or black tea.
  6. 1 gallon of FILTERED PURE WATER.  Do not, I repeat, to not use tap water, the chlorine and fluoride will kill you SCOBY.
  7. Starter and again if you don’t have a friend who is already brewing, yup, you guessed it go to Amazon.  Kombucha Starter

DIRECTIONS

  1. Brew your sweet tea (sugar, water and tea) and let cool until it is room temperature.  This is important, room temperature.
  2. Once the tea cools (NOT COLD), pour into the large glass jar
  3. Wash your hands with vinegar, yes, you read that correctly this helps you not infect your SCOBY with your germs.
  4. Float the SCOBY on the surface.  It may sink but that is okay.
  5. Gently add in 1-2 cups of the unflavored starter that is at room temperature.
  6. Cover with a breathable cloth but something fruit flies can not get through.  I use a micro mesh cheese cloth and double it.
  7. Tighten with a rubber band.
  8. Sit in a quiet place away from sunlight and cold as cold will slow the growth of the bacteria.  War is okay but not too warm.
  9. Let ferment for 7-10 days (14 has been perfect for us).  This step is very flexible.  The shorter the first ferment the sweeter the brew, the longer the ferment the more sour as the yeast feeds off the sugar from the sweet tea.
  10. Once Ready, wash your hands with vinegar and remove your SCOBY and put in the second jar with some of the tea from the first jar (I put a cup in the first time, now more because if have a bunch in my hotel).
  11. You may need to separate your SCOBYs because they will meld together as you continue to use them.  Each new batch will grow a baby SCOBY to the Mother SCOBY.
  12. Fill your flip top bottles to the bottom of the neck, NOT to the top of the bottle.
  13. For the Ginger Turmeric, I add one teaspoon of diced fresh Ginger and 1 teaspoon of diced fresh turmeric root (both peeled).
  14. Save 2 cups of this batch of the fermented tea (starter) for use for your next batch.  Keep it going by starting at the first step all over again.
    1. I also date these and have now started a rotation of 2 batches soon to be 3 rotation so we have kombucha ready when desired.
  15. Cap each bottle with the top.  And store in a cool dark place. for about 5-7 days.
  16. Once you are ready to enjoy your brew, CAREFULLY open the bottle.
  17. This is why you only fill to the base of the neck, it will FIZZ, alot.  I have found its best to open slowly in a high top bowl.  The sweeter the tea and the higher the sugar content (ginger has a lot) the more it will fizz as a result of the second brew (flavor brew).
  18. Keep in the refrigerator once opened and enjoy!

FLAVORS:

My husband and I love the Ginger Turmeric and really have no want at this time to change it up.  Plus, these roots are great for the gut and inflammation.  However, you can play with flavors, some I’ve seen are Orange Ginger; Strawberry Lemon; Blueberry Lemon; Raspberry; Elderberry and so many others.  Just remember, the more the sugar, the more active the Fizz.

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Now, about your SCOBY Hotel:

I keep my old SCOBYs in a ‘SCOBY Hotel’ which is basically a glass jar with stacks of SCOBYs.  Treat these like the fermenting kombucha by covering them with a breathable cloth and add sweet tea once in a while for food.  They love their sweet teas!  Feed them about once a month or so.  You will also see growth spurts in your SCOBYs at that time.  I rotate them between batches.  There are all kinds of uses for SCOBYs if you get too many teach a friend how to make Kombucha and donate a SCOBY.  They are great to add to a compost bin because of the healthy bacteria.  Mother Earth News just had a recipe in making SCOBY treats (think healthy gummies).

Enjoy your brewing.

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

 

Finding Time

More than often I get questions and comments from friends and colleagues such as: “How do you find time to do everything you do?” or my favorite “Do you ever sleep?”

My morning and evening devotions have found their way to focus on this subject here lately. As a result, I’ve felt the urge to write about it.

Finding time, makes it sound like time is this object that is fleeting and always out of our reach, but in fact, its right there, in our hands at all times.  Time isn’t fleeting, its the choices that we make to cause it to fly away or be used productively.  Time, as well as money, are two things that in reality we have a choice on how to use them.  We can use them wisely, or we can waste them.  A wise person, saves and uses wisely a fool wastes them on fleeting things.

There is also a very big difference in resting and being lazy.  Resting is a refueling, lazy is a waste of resources.  Resting comes as a result of hard work and productivity and finding calm.  Being lazy, is relying on others and outside sources to provide for us.  Do you remember the old story of the Ant and the Grasshopper?  The grasshopper mocked the ant for working so hard in the hot summer months, he insisted on singing, playing and being “lazy”.  The Ant worked diligently to fill its home with food so it could survive the harsh winter to come.  The story has a harsh lesson in the end.  The Grasshopper starved, the ant survived.

Here are some of the ways that allow me to focus on what is truly important, I hope they will help you on your journey.

  1. Wake up early and be consistent throughout the week. rooster
  2.  Morning is very important; how you start it will be the direction of your day.  Because of this, I will slowly wake up.  Laying in bed until my brain isn’t fuzzy anymore and then start moving to get ready.
  3. Make your bed.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Making your bed each morning gives you a sense of accomplishment from the very beginning.
  4. Daily Devotions and prayer.  I start my day with a simple devotion time and prayer to ask for guidance and wisdom in the upcoming day.  I also give thanks for having another day and for my husband.
  5. Keep your clothes simple.  Plan the night before what you will be wearing the next day and know what you have to wear.  In short, don’t have a department store in your closet or most of it in the laundry basket.
  6. For those of us who must work outside of the home as well as at home, remember this always.  We work to live, not live to work.  Your worth is not measured by your job and career.  I make sure that my job (as a programmer in the Tech World) has specific hours.  I work 40 to 50 (if uncontrolled deadlines are needed) a week.  When I am at work, I am at work.  I also allow myself a lunch break, which normally I write or take a walk during good weather.  Breaks are very important for keeping the mind clear.  I also spend the first 10 minutes of every morning, organizing my day with the tasks for that day and moving them along as need be, utilizing an Agile methodology.
  7. For both home and work I have outlined in a journal of what my goals are for the day, nothing lofty, just what needs to be done.  Keep It Short & Simple.
  8. I keep track of what I spend or earn.  This helps me with my budgeting and keeps at the front of my mind to not waste funds.
  9. At home, I keep a strict rule that home is for home and family.  This includes preparing the pantry for winter from our garden and supplementing with items from local farmers.  This is how I am able to can fruits and vegetables in season and bake homemade breads and rolls.
  10. I do not stay “tied” to my phone or computer.  I have found that keeping a written bullet journal handy to keep track of my to-do-lists, ‘shopping’ lists, moods, favorite scriptures and other things is better than being “plugged in”.  This way I’m not distracted to waste time on other “apps”.  I also have found that “helpful” apps are really not helpful at all, in fact they waste time more than anything as you grow to having an obligation to them.
  11. Shopping:  Okay this is a touchy subject.  I know that that the grocery apps are becoming a huge thing now days.  But convenience creates its own demons.  Plan your grocery needs, take the time to go and get only, what is on your list.  You will save money and be more prepared.   Keep a rule that if you don’t have an item in between runs, you will agree to go without, period.  If it is a necessity, say yogurt, make sure you have it on your list to pick up on the grocery run.  Keep your runs to once every other week, maybe longer if you can.  The time and money saved continues to grow. Also, non grocery shopping apps suck you into spending more money and time then what you really need, they speak to your impulse voice.  Its amazing how much you can spend in this way.  UNPLUG.
  12. TV is not a priority.  In fact, for us, it’s rarely on with the exception of some news and maybe an old TV show now and then, even then if my husband and I are enjoying the television, I’m knitting, crocheting or sewing while watching.  We have also cut the cable cord.  This saves us over $100 a month, another frugal tip.  Getting rid of TV will save you a ton of time and a ton of stress.
  13. Understanding your needs versus your wants.  Being plugged into the world tends to make it very confusing on exactly what a want and a need really is.  Especially when the new car, vacation, food, clothing, personal ads are constantly talking to you, even if you say you don’t pay attention to them, they become that little voice saying you need this, you need this to be popular, to be better, to be wanted.  Turn them off.  You don’t NEED any of it.  By not cluttering your life and not spending more and more money on things (wants) the stress will start to melt away.
  14. We eat at home with basic ingredients.  I have heard the argument that it takes too much time to fix good meals at home.  Hogwash!  The time and money you spend driving, waiting, eating and driving home, not to mention the health effects on your body, you could have had a much better meal and not spend half the money and the time.  If you have a tight work schedule, then meal-prep on the weekends.  Plan ahead for the week with a schedule.  This will also help you save money.  Oh, and make your morning coffee at home don’t hit the drive-through.  The money you spend on a good coffee maker and a travel mug, is pennies compared to the monthly cost of that daily/multiple coffee shop run.
  15. Enjoy the moment.  Instead of worrying about what you need to do tomorrow.  Schedule your week so you can sit back and enjoy the moment with the ones you love.  Now, when I say schedule your week, this DOES NOT MEAN DOWN TO THE SECOND!  Keep your load light, make room to enjoy life as life comes to you.  Do NOT over schedule.  Especially, if you have children.  Do not schedule an event every night.  Set limits for you and for them.  Take in a board game, enjoy conversation, a walk, and do chores together.
  16. This one goes with not over scheduling your time.  If you can’t give it at home, then don’t give it away somewhere else.  What does this mean?  If you are too busy to cook for your family, don’t volunteer to bake for the bake-sale.  If you don’t have enough money to buy your kid’s school supplies, don’t go out with friends to dinner and or a bar.
  17. Pack your lunch and prepare your breakfast the night before.  This way there is no rush and no temptation to hit the fast food place on the way to where you are going.
  18. Tidy up before bed.  Make sure the dishes are done, items are put away.  When you take care of things as they arise, the job is not near as daunting.
  19. Now here is the big one:  REST.  Yes, REST.  Take some time to unwind, read a calming book or an evening devotion.  UNPLUG, do not pick up that phone or tablet before bed, it stimulates the brain.
  20. Go to bed “early”.  We try to be in bed between 9 and 9:30 pm each night, this means we easily obtain 7-8 hours of good sleep before we start all over again.  A good night’s sleep is important for your body to refuel and repair.  It’s directly tied into your mood, weight, stress levels and energy.  Get some good rest.

I know this really sounds like a lot, but it all falls into place easily.  I’ll be writing more about bullet journals in the future, but keeping these are a wonderful way to stay organized.  It also helps me to remember what I did several days back.

Enjoy, and until next time.

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

The Secret to Happiness

There is one simple step that I have found that leads to happiness.  Acknowledge that happiness does not rely on a person, place, thing or even a circumstance.  It depends on your choice.  Yup, its that simple.  It all depends on how you look at everything, how you react to situations and people.

It seems more and more the ‘world’ pushes that happiness can only be gained by being tied to things, people, position and money.  Prestige and placement in life are preached to our children so heavily at a young age that it’s no wonder we are seeing so much depression and and stress in our youngins.  The constant flood of being plugged in is always screaming at us what the world says we have to be, have to do, have to go.  It’s time to turn it off.  School is important but college is not a necessity.  There is nothing wrong with having a career based on skill and talents, working with your hands or with the land.  Technology has its uses, but more often than not, it seems to have more misuses.

Here are some basic rules for embracing the now, for finding happiness.

  • Live well beneath your means.
  • Don’t give away what you can’t give at home.
  • Return everything you borrow.
  • Serve with your talents and your heart, not out of obligation or guilt.
  • Stop blaming other people for your bad choices.
  • Pray Daily (sometimes every second if need be).
  • Have daily walks and talk with God.
  • Admit it when you make a mistake.
  • Give unworn clothes to charity.
  • Give outsized clothes to charity.
  • Do something nice for a total stranger (and don’t post it on social media).
  • Listen more; talk less.
  • Find a reason to be outside.
  • Strive for excellence, but not perfection.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t make excuses.
  • Organize your day in the morning.
  • Don’t argue or insist on being right or having the last word.
  • Be kind to unkind people.
  • Let someone ahead of you in line.
  • Take time to be alone with God.
  • Always incorporate good manners.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Be humble.
  • Realize and accept that life is not fair, but it is all in God’s plan.
  • Enjoy your time for rest and sleep.
  • Know when to keep your mouth shut.
  • Practice not criticizing others.
  • Turn the TV/Computer/phone off.
  • Learn from the past.
  • Live every day to its fullest.
  • Always give a kind word.
  • Make due with what you have.
  • Focus on the good, not the bad.

Happiness is how you view your life.  I like to tell people that every day is a good day as long as I wake up and my feet hit the floor and my face doesn’t.  I figure that leaves the rest of the day wide open for great things to happen.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Winter is Coming… Preparing your Pantry

The purpose of home canning and meal prepping is to prepare for times when fruits and vegetables and meats are not as abundant naturally.  When an item is in season, it is more abundant and less expensive, this is the time to prepare for winter, especially when you live in the northern and Midwest areas.  Winter can be harsh.  We believe in canning what is in season, naturally, to help with budget costs, health benefits and being more ‘God sufficient’ than man sufficient.  The other side point to preparing and budgeting your food storage is to better understand what a REAL portion of food is.  America has gotten really bad at ‘super sizing’ and over convenience everything.  We’ve gotten into the mindset of “getting our money’s worth” instead of planning and looking at what our body needs.  The sugar and preservative addictions are just as bad as the “bad addictions”.  Look at the rise of obesity, health issues, enabling etc.  If we are stressed, we head strait for the candy jar, if a child is crying we hand them a sweet treat.  I could go on and on about this subject, because I myself suffer from stress eating and weight issues.  I come from a long line of Southern Cooks.  I love my butter, gravy and I melt with Shrimp and Grits.  Which is all fine, IN MODERATION.

But, back to preparing your pantry.  Each year it is essential to take stock of what your family will need for the upcoming year until the next season arrives with more goodies.  Also knowing crop rotation years help too.  One year may be a great corn year, the next nothing.

Now the big thing I want you to really take notice of is the PORTION of each item.  If we ate this way, I’m willing to bet, the weight loss programs out there would loose a lot of money and we would have more in our savings!

The Canner’s Pantry Planner:
Food Times/Week Serving Jars/Person Jars/Family(4)
Meats, Poultry, Fish 4x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 36 Pints 144 Pints
Soups 2x week, 36 weeks 1 cup 18 quarts 72 quarts
Jams, Jellies, Preserves 6x week, 52 weeks 2 tablespoons 40 1/2 pints 160 1/2 pints
Relishes 3x week, 52 weeks 1 tablespoon 5 pints 20 pints
Greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash 4x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 18 quarts 72 quarts
Pickled vegetables 2x week, 52 weeks 2 1/2 tablespoons 13 pints 52 pints
Juices and Tomatoes 7x week, 36 weeks 1 cup 63 quarts 252 quarts
All Other Fruits and Vegetables 14x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 76 quarts 304 quarts
Pickled Fruits, Pickled Eggs 2x week, 52 weeks 2 1/2 tablespoons/ 1 egg 13 quarts 52 quarts

Did you slightly freak out over the portions? Puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Here is the thing I have discovered, when you utilize the mentality of using what you have on hand, you waste less, you eat less, and you have that pride of providing. It’s amazing how the world’s perspectives dissolve when you start living like this.

There are other items to consider as well, the meat covers what you should have in your freezer as well as canning, but there are dry goods to consider:  Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda/powder, yeast, dried beans, rice, powders.  Then your wet goods such as honey, syrups, molasses.  Also your perishables, eggs & milk.  There is also cellar storage to consider, potatoes, sweet potatoes, hard squash, apples.  But all in all the portions stay the same.  Now my favorite:  Cheeses.  I love real cheese, love it!  But a portion is only 2 ounces.  That’s the size of 2 dice.

I credit the knowledge of this from my Grandma Inez and my go to book “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery.

So learn to enjoy and appreciate what you have and you will find that your body and your savings will thank you!

Enjoy and let me know of your thoughts.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

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Homemade Hummus

I see people buying hummus that is already packaged and it surprises me. The packaged hummus is loaded with fats, oils & sodium.

Hummus is so easy to make at home. Here it can be made to be a nutritious source of protein with little fat and you control the sodium.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Fresh basil, cilantro or my favorite African Blue Sage
  • You will also need a food processor. I use my Ninja

  1. Place chickpeas in your processor
  2. Add in herbs, lime juice, cumin & garlic. 
  3. Make sure you stir the tahini well because the paste will settle to the bottom and becomes thick. When you measure it out make sure you have a nice mixture of the paste & oil. 
  4. Add your tahini.
  5. Add your water. 
  6. Process for about 4 minutes until creamy.
  7. You may want to add some more water and a pinch of salt and process a little bit more.
  8. When it reaches the texture you like, place in a sealable bowl to store in the fridge.

You can add all kinds of things to change and fancy up this basic hummus. I love to add roasted jalapeños or smoked paprika. I’ve also added homemade pesto with tomatoes. You can add pine nuts & cinnamon. The list is endless.

Experiment that’s what is really fun about cooking!

Per serving (2 tablespoons)

  • 60 calories
  • 3g protein
  • 9g carbohydrates – 2 sugars
  • 2g fat
  • 0 cholesterol
  • 2g fiber

Share with me your idea’s & pictures.

Have a glorious day!