Category Archives: Drinks

Home Brewed Kombucha!

Recently, I have developed an obsession with Kombucha. So, the hubby and I did some research and decided to start home brewing it. Yes, we can do this! I never realized how easy it would be, and how much better the result than most of the store bought brands I have tried. The best part is you can personalize it to your own taste.

Right about now, some of you maybe thinking kombu-what?!?!? Kombucha is basically fermented tea. It is tangy and sweet all at the same time. It is also chock full of probiotics and nutrients.

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We decided to start with a half gallon kit from Kombucha Brooklyn, and our first batch was started with all the ingredients therein. We decided to switch from the standard Black Tea to organic Dragonwell Green Tea and organic cane sugar for the first fermentation of our second batch, shown here.

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Once the tea is brewed and sweetened, it is time to add the additional water and the SCOBY. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. In other words, the good bacteria and yeast needed in the process of fermenting Kombucha. We obtained ours from Northeast Homebrew Supply, however, more SCOBYs are produced during the process for future use or sharing.

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Once the SCOBY is happily floating in the nute, also known as the sweetened tea, it is time to cover it with some organic cotton. This prevents anything from getting in to the Kombucha and allows it to breathe. Now, for the primary fermentation. For the sourness level I prefer this step took seven days.

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From the half gallon, we were only able to fill three sixteen ounces bottles. Not nearly enough to support my new habit! Since we are new to this, we decide to flavor during our secondary fermentation using dried fruit. We used strawberry ginger, blueberry and raspberry. The secondary fermentation takes about two days for light carbonation which is my preference.

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After our first few batches we realized brewing a half gallon at a time was not going to work for us. We decided to purchase these beautiful one gallon crocks. Now we can brew two gallons at a time!

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One happy SCOBY waiting to get to work in it’s new home.

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It’s new home? Our first one gallon batch! We are using organic Wu Yi Oolong Tea for this gallon.

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For the second one gallon batch we are again using organic Dragonwell Green Tea. This SCOBY is smaller since this is it’s first batch.

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Now we wait! In seven to ten days we will be bottling two gallons of Kombucha for our drinking pleasure.

The basic ingredients for one gallon are:

Twelve grams of loose tea
One cup of organic cane sugar to feed the SCOBY
Fourteen cups of water (four to heat and brew the tea, ten cold to add once brewed and sweetened)
One cup of nute from your last batch
SCOBY

If you want to check out Kombucha Brooklyn, this is their website:

http://www.kombuchabrooklyn.com

I purchased their book Kombucha! I read it from front to back in one day and learned so much! Here is the link:

http://www.kombuchabrooklyn.com/supplies/books/kombucha-the-amazing-probiotic-tea-that-cleanses-heals-energizes-and-detoxifies.html#.U0qhWye9KK0

Also, a shout out to our local Homebrew store, Northeast Homebrew Supply! Check them out on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.

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Every Day Breakfast Smoothie

Looking through some of my old posts yesterday, I realized that many of the breakfasts I have posted are our Sunday Breakfasts. No, I do not eat like this every day! So, today I decided to share my go to breakfast smoothie recipe. One serving of vegetables and three servings of fruit hide within this smoothie. What makes this the perfect every day breakfast? The fact that it is quick, easy, nutritious and delicious!

Breakfast Smoothie 1

The ingredients are kale, banana, kiwi, strawberry, nutritional yeast and plain coconut water. Seasonally, the ingredients may vary some but this is my basic recipe. This smoothie packs a nutritional punch!

Breakfast Smoothie 2

Roughly chop three nice size kale leaves. Kale is high in antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Breakfast Smoothie 3

Slice one banana. In addition to providing a smooth textures, bananas are also high in fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, copper, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

Breakfast Smoothie 4

Cut the tops off of six strawberries and cut them in half. Strawberries add antioxidants, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, potassium, manganese, fluorine, copper, iron and iodine.

Breakfast Smoothie 5

Remove the skin and cut up one kiwi. Kiwi is a fairly new addition to my morning smoothie, providing high amounts of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

Breakfast Smoothie 6

Layer the kale, fruit and one tablespoon of nutritional yeast into a blender. I use my single serving blender to make taking it with me one step easier. Nutritional yeast adds protein, B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium and zinc. It has a mild nutty flavor to it, which works well in smoothies.

Breakfast Smoothie 7

Add in four ounces of coconut water. Coconut water provides simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels within the body. It also contains enzymes which aid in digestion, Vitamin C, B Vitamins and potassium.

Breakfast Smoothie 8

Start blending.

Breakfast Smoothie 9

When you can no longer see the individual ingredients, your smoothie is ready.

Breakfast Smoothie 10

I know, I know, it is green! Don’t let the color fool you. This smoothie is not only filling and nutritious, it is also delicious. The kale and nutritional yeast balance out the sweetness of the fruit nicely. All that is left is to put the lid on, head out the door and enjoy during my morning commute. When I drink all sixteen ounces of this it keeps me full until lunch time. No need to reach for that mid-morning snack!


Boilo

If you grew up in the Pennsylvania coal region, chances are you know what Boilo is. You have probably made your first batch by now. If like me, you did not grow up in the coal region, you probably have no idea what Boilo is. You are about to find out. Boilo is a traditional drink made in the fall and winter to warm you up. Cold? Have some Boilo. Cough? Have some Boilo. Sore throat? Have some Boilo. Or? have some Boilo for no reason at all.

Boilo starts with about ten oranges.

To finish out the citrus, six or eight lemons and two grapefruit. Traditionally, it is just the oranges and lemons. Last year we added the grapefruit and really liked it so we decided to add them this year too.

Wash all the citrus well and cut in half. This is where the work begins.

Check out this cool old-fashioned juicer we found at the farmers’ market! This is the time of year it gets the most use.

Juice all of the citrus. Make sure that you really get out every last drop!

The citrus and all of the juice go into a twelve quart stock pot over medium-low heat.

More ingredients. Honey, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, whole cloves, and carraway seeds.

The last of the ingredients is raisins. You can use regular or golden raisins. We have used both with the same delicious results.

Add four cinnamon sticks, three teaspoons of whole cloves, five or six star anise pods, a generous sprinkle of carraway seeds, and very generously grate in some whole nutmeg.

Toss in a couple handfuls of the raisins and thirty-two ounces of honey.

Simmer for several hours until the citrus is fairly well broken down. My husband, who is the expert, said anywhere from two to fours hours. When done, strain and mash the fruit well to get out every last drop of juice.

Now,  add in Jameson to taste. Our batch, which amounted to about a half-gallon, has somewhere between four and five cups added in. We like a little kick!  When my husband and I first met, he made the Boilo old school style with Four Queens. Since I am a Jameson snob, we switched it up. Try either, try both, whatever works for you! You can also skip the alcohol if you chose and have virgin Boilo.

Enjoy warm in your favorite mug! Go easy, it is strong. Remember to share as well! We bottle it in pint size mason jars and give it out as Christmas gifts.


Homemade Bubble Tea!!

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE BUBBLE TEA!!! This was my first attempt at making my favorite beverage at home. The first time I tried Bubble Tea, the owner of the tea shop told us it was really a pain to make. He was so wrong!!

First, to make the tea. For this batch I used Stash Black Chai. Started two quarts of water boiling, added ten tea bags and steeped for ten minutes or so. Found my favorite glass pitcher, strained the tea into it and placed in the fridge to cool while working on the rest.

Next, the simple syrup. Two cups of water, one cup of brown sugar, one cup of regular sugar, four cinnamon sticks and six cloves went in a pot. Boiled it over medium heat for ten minutes or so, stirring to make sure the sugar all melted. At this point, the house smells FABULOUS!! When it finished cooking, I strained it into the appropriate size Mason jar and it joined the tea in the fridge. Best part, this syrup keeps for two weeks in the fridge! I made extra to have on hand.

Next, for the tapioca pearls. THIS was the scary part, since I have never worked with them before. In my four-quart pot I added six cups of water and a seven ounce package of the tapioca pearls. Cooked according to the package instructions, at a boil for fifteen minutes, then off the heat for another sixteen minutes or so. Took out the fine mesh strainer, and I admit, held my breath. Strained the pearls and rinsed them under cold water. Once strained they went in a dish with about a cup of the simple syrup. Once cooked, the tapioca pearls only keep for about six hours, so you have to use them the same day. This was NO PROBLEM in our house!

Finally, we could drink the tea!! Into a glass goes a third cup of the tapioca pearls (AKA the bubbles), a third cup of very vanilla soy milk, and filled the glass to the rim with the tea. With a wide barrel straw, we all enjoyed! Was amazed to learn that not only was bubble tea NOT a pain to make, but it was really quite easy. The portions, type of tapioca pearls, and type of tea can be adjusted depending on the mood. For my first attempt, I was more than satisfied with this batch!!


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