Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to make your own kombucha

Two organic apples, one organic beet, one organic swiss chard leaf and some walnut butter.

This was my snack at work. It's just cantaloup, chia seeds and coconut milk. 

This was my lunch. It is a sandwich packed with almond butter, cashew butter and strawberries. So tasty!

For dinner, I had a sandwich with fresh red pepper hummus, avocado and nutritional yeast along with some boiled brussels sprouts. 

Now, on to the kombucha. This was fun to make! I will try to give you all the instructions and just let me know if you have any questions. 

Rahjah always wants to be in all the pictures :)

This is a picture of the SCOBY growing.

This is the best picture I have of the SCOBY right now. It is suppose to be kept in the dark for another three weeks, so I didn't want to bother it too much. 

SCOBY instructions:

1. Buy a bottle of Original Synergy Kombucha. Make sure it is original, no juice added. Also you will need a large glass jar (I had an old milk jar), caffeinated green tea (black is also ok), organic cane sugar, cheesecloth (or something of the like), and a rubber band.
2. In glass jar, pour two cups of boiling water, two teabags of your choice of tea and one Tbsp sugar. Let it steep for at least 10 minutes. 
3. Remove tea bags. Allow your mixture to cool COMPLETELY to room temperature and then add bottle of kombucha. (I like to let my bottle of kombucha reach around room temperature first.)
4. Cover your glass jar with cheesecloth and rubber band. Now, place your bowl somewhere warm and dry. Let this sit for two weeks! After the two weeks has passed, if you do not plan on brewing kombucha with your SCOBY right away, then store your SCOBY in the fridge.

How to brew kombucha with your own live SCOBY:

1. In stainless steel pot, boil half a gallon of water.
2. Remove from heat and add about 3/4 cup of organic cane sugar. Stir it in with a METAL spoon. Unfortunately, substituting anything for sugar does not work well with kombucha. So no agave, honey, stevia, splenda, etc. 
3. Add your choice of caffeinated tea. You can use any kind including flavored for this step. I use loose snap dragon green tea, but you can really use anything as long as it's caffeinated. If you use loose tea, make sure to have some type of mesh infuser so that there are no tea leaves inside your kombucha.
4. Now, steep your tea for at least 4 hours. You want it to get really strong. 
5. After the 4 hours, pour your sweet tea into a glass jar large enough.

*Do not use metal beyond this point. It reacts poorly with the SCOBY.*
*Also, if you plan on touching the SCOBY at all, make sure that your hands are VERY clean.*

6. Pour your starter SCOBY into the jar with your sweet tea. You are going to want most of the liquid from the SCOBY jar to be drained out before plopping the SCOBY in the the sweet tea. 
7. Place the cheesecloth over the top of your jar and make it tight with the rubber band. Now, tuck your kombucha away in a warm dark spot. NO DRAFTS OR SUNLIGHT.
8. You can brew it between 3 weeks to a month. It all depends on how strong a flavor you want. Also, keep in mind that if you live in a warmer climate, it will brew faster so cut the brewing time in half. 

After a few weeks:

9. First off, you need to remove the SCOBY. Every time you brew, the "mother" (which is the original SCOBY) grows a "baby". These two are actually identical in every way, so you will not be able to tell them apart. They will be stacked together looking like two pancakes. You can leave them together and just have a double thick SCOBY or carefully separate them. If you take them apart, you can brew a new batch with both the mother and the baby. Reminder: each time you brew, the mother makes a baby. Which is awesome if you love kombucha like me, because you will have a continuous flow of kombucha. 

10. You will need to hold your SCOBY somewhere while you are brewing a new batch of tea. Make sure that the jar that your live SCOBY is in is glass and the lid is either plastic or glass. NO METAL. Carefully fish out your SCOBY with CLEAN hands, and place it into a clean jar and pour enough of the new brew to completely cover it. This is going to be your starter for your next batch. You can store this in the refrigerator. 

11. Your kombucha can be stored in the fridge for 6 weeks. The SCOBY can can be stored in the fridge indefinitely. 

12. ENJOY!!!

Important notes:

  • Sometimes your SCOBY will become contaminated. If your SCOBY looks like it has mold, smells funny or tastes funny, throw it away! Contamination happens. So throw it away if you think it is contaminated. 
  • Only use vinegar to clean you equipment. Do NOT use bleach. 
  • Do NOT add juice before fermentation! If you want juice added to your kombucha, wait until after fermentation. 
  • Start off drinking a little at a time. Home brewed kombucha is WAY stronger than store bought. It has lots of B vitmamins too!

PS guys, today is the last day to get your 10% off on Dark Chocolate & Tulips jewelry! Please take advantage of it! The code is a couple posts down :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cat Home Needed!

Hey fellow animal lovers, meet Pig! This is Pig as a baby. He was found under a car in a parking lot at 2 weeks old. I bottle fed him up to 7 weeks old and then he went to a foster home.
 This is what he has grown into: a big handsome boy! He is gorgeous, in my opinion. The reason I am posting him is because he needs a home. I know it's a long shot, but his current foster home has offered to help towards the cost of shipping him, if someone adopts him in the US outside of Hawaii. 

He is so cuddly and playful! He is also neutered of course. He gets along fine with other dogs and cats that like to play. If you are interested or know someone who is, please refer them to my blog! This boy really needs a loving forever home! Please get the word out! Thanks friends!

Winner of necklace from Dark Chocolate & Tulips!

The winner of the custom made necklace from Dark Chocolate & Tulips is number 8.......Cody Anne! Yay!!! Just so that you all know, Cody Anne is one of the people that adopted a cat from my organization in Hawaii SCARShelter :) Congrats girl! 

Now, for the rest of you, my sis in law is going to be offering 10% off to any of my followers for the next two weeks starting tomorrow Presidents Day. So the 10% off is good from Feb 21-Feb 28. Please take advantage of this, she has some awesome designs! Here is her Etsy site: Dark Chocolate & Tulips. I have two necklaces from her site and I wear them all the time! Here are some examples of her work:

Look around and see what you are interested in! The gift code to receive 10% off is coffeesunshine. Please check her stuff out!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quick Valentines Day Post

This is just going to be a quick Valentines post. These are the lovely flowers my husband brought me at work.

...and the gigantic bear he got me (that I may have been hinting about wanting for about 7 years now). I love you babe! Should I be embarrassed for wanting a giant stuffed bear when I am 24 years old?

My husband brought me to a new Thai place called Thai Spice. It was pretty good! This is the fried tofu.

  Yummy Basil Tofu Fried Rice
 Green Curry Tofu with sticky rice. I liked that both main dishes came with these interesting salad on the side. It has a crispy wonton type of thing underneath. Loved it!
Probably one of my favorite desserts, mango coconut sticky rice.
Lastly, you still have a few more days to enter the giveaway below for this necklace that you can have custom made with your choice of names or words! Last day to enter is the 19th, contest ends on the 20th. Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentines Giveaway from Dark Chocolate & Tulips

Happy almost Valentines Day everyone! My awesome sister in law over at Dark Chocolate & Tulips (also check out her blog BUBnCHUNK's Health Bar) offered to do this awesome giveaway of this beautiful necklace you see above. The necklace is called My Important Two, made of sterling silver, and it is a $25 value! You can personalize this necklace to say what ever you want, so long as it fits on the necklace. How cool is that? This is a short bio from her Etsy page:
I was born and raised in Hawaii but have been blessed to travel the world as a hula dancer. So with that being said, I truly am appreciative of my home, where I have been born and raised and the beauty of it! I'm a mom of two wild and lovable boys and just had a beautiful blue eyed brunette born December 5, 2010!

I have always loved hand stamped jewelry. I am attracted to not only one style, that is why you will find an eclectic mix of girly, whimsical and modern pieces in my shop. I am a Christian and love using Bible verses and inspirational quotes to grace my work and I hope one of these inspire you! Sterling silver and copper are fun to work with, but I am loving the versatility of aluminum! 

Please look around, enjoy and inspire someone or be inspired today! 

Here are a few example of the personalized, hand stamped jewelry she makes:

To enter this contest to win My Important Two, you must do only two things:

 *Become a follower on my blog &
*Post a comment that you would like to win! 
*For an extra entry, post this contest link on your Facebook and send me the link to your Facebook so that I can see that you have posted it on there as well. 
*Lastly, sorry international friends but this contest in for US only. 

The contest ends on February 20th, 2011. This should give everyone plenty of time to enter the contest. 

Also, Dark Chocolate & Tulips will be offering 10% off on any purchases on her Etsy page after this contest is over. I will give you more information on that once the time comes. I am telling you ahead of time so that you can be checking out her jewelry and seeing what designs you would be interested in possibly purchasing! Good luck!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Places I ate recently, indian food and oats

I had "oats in a jar" for the first time. Finally! They are good but nothing special. I think I prefer muesli. It is a good idea to use up the remainder of your nut butters though. I had organic oats, peanut butter, maple syrup, chia seeds, maca powder, and almond milk in mine.

 I had some coffee, which I have been trying to stay away from lately. Turkish coffee to be exact. I love Turkish coffee. It is very strong and as thick as coffee can be as you can tell from the picture. It is made in an ibrik. I add raw sugar and cardamom to mine as well.  
I was feeling Indian food lately, so I made some samosas. Here are the ingredients I used:


Vegan phyllo dough
2 russet potatoes (cooked, peeled and cut into cubes)
1 bag of organic peas and carrots
1/2 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 knob fresh ginger (minced)
2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander 
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne

Saute all ingredients in a pan until onions are translucent. Lastly, add:

4 Tbsp cilantro (chopped)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Roll ingredients into phyllo dough. Follow directions and roll into triangles or whatever shape you want. Triangles are easiest. Bake until golden brown.
My husband and I checked out a new place called Kona Grill for happy hour. Our bill for four appetizers and one margarita came out to only $20, so not too bad I thought. Above is a picture of vegetable sushi and my husband's sushi with fish I believe. It was good, nice and fresh.

These were avocado egg rolls with cilantro dipping sauce. They had a TON of avocado in them, which I loved. They were super good. One fun fact that I learned a while ago was that most egg rolls do not contain any egg. Weird huh? Good for us vegans though!

These are the vegetarian lettuce wraps at PF Changs. They were very tasty!

 These were from PF Changs as well. Vegetarian dim sum. I loved these, but they only give you three in your appetizer and I could have eaten 20!
Last recipe of the day is for lava flows. I made these on super bowl Sunday. 

Hawaiian Lava Flows

*This recipe is per glass*

5-6 fresh or frozen strawberries
1 shot rum (I used Bacardi Silver)

Blend and pour in glass.

Next, blend:
1 banana
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup coconut milk 
1 to 2 shots of Malibu original (depending on how strong you want)

Pour this into glass with strawberry mixture. Drink! I do not think that lava flows are known here in Omaha, because I mentioned it at work and no one knew what I was talking about. 

(I don't use creme de coco because it has bad preservatives. Just mix a couple Tbsp of raw sugar in your plain coconut milk and it's just as good & way better for you.)

...and Rahjah is meerkatting it up, looking at Panther over the ledge from the kitchen table. Good night all and I will have information on an awesome giveaway soon!

Monday, February 7, 2011

CSN Stores Winner

Winner of the CSN contest is number 7......FOOD FEUD!!! I used true random number generator. Send me your email address if you didn't already :)

Stay tuned for next awesome giveaway!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thank you Viv at Vivacious Vegan for this fun award!

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Make a post & link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won!

These are going to be totally random, but here it goes!

1. I am a hippy, minus the free love and drugs :) Everyone who knows me always calls me one. Sometimes in a derogatory way, but what do I care?
2. I cry a lot. I am very emotional. 
3. Racism bothers me more than almost anything on this earth.
4. I am very shy. I get really stressed out being around lots of people I don't know and thinking that I might have to talk to them.
5. I want a pet cow so bad!
6. I am originally from Guam.
7. My mom gave birth to me at home all natural. 

I would like to give this award to:

Sorry I couldn't give it to all of you! I wanted to do it right and give it to people I who's blogs I recently started following :) 

PS- Tonight is your last chance to enter to win the CSN giveaway!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CSN Giveaway

Guess what everyone? Another CSN Giveaway!!! The lovely Cailtin with CSN Stores contacted me last week. She asked if I would be interested in either giving away a gift certificate or reviewing a product, and since I love you all so much I chose the gift certificate for one lucky winner!!!
CSN Stores is a great online store that sells everything from an Eames Lounge Chair to NFL fan products to home decor! Anything that you need for your home or garden, chances are that they have it. I was also just browsing around on their webpage and they have great deals right in time for Valentines Day as well!
Now for the fun stuff. CSN is giving me a $40 gift certificate to give away to one lucky winner! All you need to do to enter is to become a follower of my blog and comment on this post letting me know you want this gift certificate. For a second chance to win, post about this contest on your Facebook and send me the link :) Also, if you do not have a blog, make sure I have a way of contacting you if you are the winner. 
Contest ends on February 7th, 2011. Good luck!

Desserts & Kittys

Today is my third "Snow Day" since I've been here. Regular school was canceled but the early childhood center part of school still stays open so that people who work can still drop off their kids there. So I worked a shorter day, which was nice. I just worked 8:30-1:30. I am crossing my fingers for another snow day tomorrow because if there is then I am off! I work every other snow day. The weather man is saying it might be -30 tomorrow with wind chill, so I would think that school would cancel. 

For breakfast I had my regular green smoothie. This one had two leaves of organic kale (save stems for vegetable stock), one organic banana, two menjool dates, two Tbsp chia seeds, ginger and cinnamon with enough water to process. This is enough to make two small smoothies or one large one for yourself. I always make one for my husband as well, because he doesn't eat most of the food I make, but he will drink this :)

My favorite tea cup, well, one of my favorite. It has a strainer that you can take in an out. I try to drink tea daily, but I drink so many smoothies and I also try to drink water so I sometimes forget. Its better that way for me though, because before I would ONLY drink tea and coffee all day. I've been drinking a lot of moroccan mint green tea.
This was dinner last night. I had a spinach tortilla from TJ's with long red peppers, a little Daiya and homemade hummus (garbanzo beans, tahini, coconut oil, garlic & cumin) with a Bubbies pickle. I also made a smoothie for my husband and I which contained the following: organic coconut milk (no sugar), TJ's frozen mango, TJ's frozen pineapple, half an organic banana, frozen blueberries, chia seeds, organic golden flax seeds, dates and half an avocado. This was the sweetest smoothie I've had in a while, but it was so so good!
It is winter, as you all know, and winter is not a season I am accustom to or familiar with. My skin does not like winter, I found out. I've never had a problem with dry skin, but here my skin is super dry. It gets so dry that it hurts. So last night I finally took the time to make an easy bath soak to help with dry skin.

The tied cheese cloth is filled with ground organic oats and turmeric. I used a mortar to grind up my oats, but you can easily use your blender. (I chose not to because I had just washed mine.) Oats help to sooth skin irritation while turmeric softens your skin and leaves it glowing! In India, they apply turmeric to their entire bodies before a wedding to leave their skin glowing. The third thing you need is some type of milk or cream. I ended up using some of my husbands cow milk because I was out of my own milk. You can use any type of creamy milk though like coconut, hemp or hazelnut. Just be sure that you don't have skin allergies to any of the nut milks you use or you or NOT going to be happy with your bath results :) Just pour milk into hot bath along with your cheesecloth. While in the bath try to squeeze out as much juice from the cheesecloth as you can. I did notice my skin had a certain glow afterward.
Now, on to more unhealthy things. These are pretty much the easiest, tastiest and most unhealthy dessert ever! All you need is a box of brownies and Oreos. I used Dr Oetkers Organic Brownie mix from Jenny's hippy pack to me. You can use either Oreos or Newman O's. I just so happened to have Oreos, so Oreos it is! All you need to do is mix your brownie mix like normal and then fill up your cupcake cup about half way. Then add the Oreo. Lastly, fill up the rest of the cupcake cup. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Not the best picture because I was so excited to eat it. Mmmmmmmm

My husband got a donut maker for Christmas, so of course I had to try to make some vegan donuts. I used THIS recipe but just changed it a little. For the frosting I just melted down vegan chocolate chips with a little coconut milk. Pretty good for my first shot!
This is pretty much a nightly routine for Nano and Panther. They sleep all day and then are very active at night time. Which just so happens to be the normal time that us humans are trying to sleep. Panther likes to chase and bother Nano. Nano doesn't like exercise or moving of any kind.

Rahjah is laying on my husband's stomach while we watch TV with Sonic. He craves attention so much. He acts like he never gets any. Spoiled animals. 
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