I'm not really quite sure why I am blogging this bit of information.  I suppose I feel a bit like typing and this is as good of a place as any to do so, right?

I feel like this year has absolutely flown by.  Any of you feel the same way?  I am just astounded that 2012 is right around the corner.  Its amazing how quickly time slips by once you become and adult.  I remember thinking "could these days possibly drag on any slower?" when I was younger (26 isn't that old...right??).  Now that I am "all grown up" and have a husband and two amazing children, I feel like there isn't enough time to get everything done that I want to accomplish.  I guess I will never learn that its not about me and what I want to accomplish, but what God wants to accomplish through me.  Different way of thinking.  Its hard sometimes to align my mind to His will (who am I kidding, its hard a lot of the time!)

Anyhow, sermon is over.

Adisynne is doing superbly in school (read: Kelver Academy).  She has tested out of preschool and is doing Kindergarten level work mixed in with some first grade.  She is well on her way to reading.  She does read quite a few words, but she isn't sitting down and reading pages and chapters out of C.S. Lewis, either.  She is really into art and the more creative approach to learning.  This is nice, since I sort of think the same way.  She and I generally have a lot of fun together durning our school time.  Of course, there are moments when I have to speak a little more sternly with her to regain her attention to finish a project.  But, at the same time, when I see her attention waning I tend to wrap things up and allow her to go do something else instead.  She is only 4 and we don't feel like at this age she needs to be in an overly structured/forced education situation.  We are going to be starting a new curriculum at the beginning of the year called "My Father's World".  We're all pretty excited about it.  Its a very hand-on/active learning type of curriculum.  We will be growing butterflies and watching ants build ant hills.  Learning about God and the characters of the Bible and having a blast while doing it.  I might be more excited than she is only because I know what the lesson plans are and I can't wait to get started!

Mason.. oh boy.  Well, he is a boy, that's for sure.  My sweet little man is changing into a dirt eating, silly noise making, rowdy boy.  I love it.  He is definitely gotten a taste of independence and he loves it.  Since learning how to climb all over things he has really changed a lot.  He's right in the middle of the chaos now instead of calmly watching it from my lap.  He loves to wrestle with Adisynne and he even tries to take down Zak, too!  Its very cute to watch them pillow fight with each other.  Mason really gives it his best shot to hoist that huge pillow over his head and take a shot at Daddy.  Most of the time its so heavy that he is just knocked down by its weight.  He's pretty stink in' adorable.  He is talking up a storm, too.  His vocabulary has just sky-rocketed these past few weeks.  I can't even count all the words he can say!

I am just in awe of my children.  I sometimes get caught just staring at them and dreaming about days that have past and wondering about the days to come.  I get sucked into their sweet eyes and just soak it all in.  These are my babies.  I am cherishing every single moment of their lives.  I know they are growing up right in front of us and that brings me so much joy, at the same time it saddens me.  I see the people they are changing into and the people they are leaving behind.  My baby girl isn't such a baby at all anymore.  She is a big girl.  She can do most things for herself now and is proud of that.  I miss the time when she still needed me for little things like helping her blow her nose or getting her pants pulled up the right way.  Mason still needs me a lot, but he is becoming more and more of a Daddy's Boy, too.  I am thrilled to see them together- yet, I miss it when I was the only one he wanted.    I guess this is just a part of growing up- for kids ... and parents, too.

Zak and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary at the end of October.  The funny thing is neither of us remembered it was coming up until about 2 days before!  We have been so busy and the days just slip by so fast that we had no clue October was nearly over!  Its hard to imagine being married for 5 years already. We've lived 100 lifetimes since then it seems.  Its been such a great 5 years and I thank God for Zak every single day.  He has brought so much happiness into my life and given me the best gift of all: my children. 

Texas is much better in Autumn and Winter than in the scorching heat of Summer (and Spring, too!).  Its so fantastic to go outside and be able to breathe without choking the dry, hot, sandy wind along with the oxygen.  Truly wonderful to enjoy being outside and doing things that normal people do.  We are thoroughly enjoying this time of the year.  I hope that this Winter is mild and we are able to be outside most of the time.

I think I'm done now.  I haven't a clue as to why I needed to type all of this.  To sum it up:  I am happy with Life.  Life is wonderful.  I have been blessed beyond measure.

Thank you, Jesus, for all that you have done in my life.


A sweet alternative for Thanksgiving

Today I've got some pretty amazing recipes for you all to try out this year.  As most of you know I continue to wage a war against sugar (all forms regardless of their organic status except for honey and natural sugars in fruit/veggies/whole foods).  It is banned from our home.  As its status as an immuno-suppressant  I do everything in my power to eliminate it completely from our diets.  (Sugar: read cane sugar, brown sugar, organic cane sugar, etc.  If its not honey or already in a whole natural food like fruits and veggies.)  Its really hard to keep up this way of life especially around this time of year when everyone and everything is just thrusting sugar and sugary products in our faces at every turn.  Sugar is in virtually every processed food and drink, just one of the MANY reasons to avoid at all cost every type of processed food.  Sugar does absolutely nothing good for your body.  However, the natural sugars in real food give your body useable energy.  Processed sugar exploits your body and runs you ragged leaving your susceptible to viruses, bacteria, and other potential diseases.  Just stay away from sugar- its just bad.  That's all there is to it.

So what do we do at this time of year when pies, cakes, cookies, icings, candy are abounding?  Here is one of the many simple alternatives that don't skimp on sweetness or flavor!  

Sugar (Immune System Suppressor) Food           Alternative (Immune System Boosting) Food
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream                          Butternut Pie with Honey Whipped Cream
Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows            Buttercup Casserole with Fluffy Honey Marshmallows Cookie Platter                                                        Fresh Fruit Platter with Vanilla Honey Yogurt Dip
Candy                                                                    Honey Candy Suckers
Green Bean Casserole (the canned version)             Best Ever Green Bean Casserole (no, seriously) 
White Dinner Rolls                                                 Super Soft (and delicious) Wheat Rolls
Canned Cranberry Sauce                                       Homemade Cranberry Sauce
                                                                                                         (puree the sauce and add gelatin and let it set up in a mold
                                                                                                       if you like that consistency better than the chunky kind)
Pre-made white flour pie crust                               Delicious Wheat Pie Crust

These are easy ways to increase nutrition without depriving your traditional meals during this holiday season.  Below are recipes for the ones that don't have links.
Butternut Pie
This pie is so delicious.  I made this last year instead of pumpkin pie and it was devoured in seconds flat.  Its amazingly easy to make and so, so, so good!
Cut one butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and remove the stem.  Place squash cut side down on a baking pan and bake at 375°F for about 1 hour, until soft.  Allow to cool, then scoop pulp into a food processor and puree. 

In a large bowl combine the following ingredients in order:
1 cup butternut squash puree
1 cup heavy cream
1/2-3/4 cup honey (raw is preferred, but not necessary)
(At this point test the sweetness of the butternut.  Add more honey to your taste.)
3 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
1/2 teaspoon salt (finely ground sea salt is best)

Preheat oven to 425.  Place pie crust in pan and crimp edges.  Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300 and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes or until the filling is slightly puffed and the crust is golden brown.  Let cool for at least one hour (or chill over night, it does even better after its been chilled) and serve with homemade honey whipped cream (or just plain!).
Recipe altered from original from farmersdaugherct.wordpress.com.

Buttercup Casserole with Homemade Marshmallows
This is a Mackenzie Kelver original recipe.  I invented it today for lunch and it was a huge hit.  We'll be having it on Thanksgiving in place of the traditional sweet potato casserole. (I didn't make the marshmallows today.  Those will just be a special treat on T-day.)

Split a buttercup squash in half.  Remove seeds and place cut side down on a cookie sheet.  Bake @ 350 for about 30 minutes or until soft.  Remove pulp and place in a bowl.  Next combine the following ingredients in the bowl:
2 ripe bananas, smashed
2 tablespoons butter, organic preferred
1/2 -1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated preferred
1/8 teaspoon salt, finely ground sea salt preferred

Stir all these ingredients together and place in a 8 by 8 baking dish.  Top with your homemade marshmallows and bake until marshmallows are golden brown and gooey!  Serve immediately and remember to share. :)

Super Soft and Delicious Wheat Dinner Rolls
This recipe is based off of this one.  Don't do that one, use mine instead. :)

3/4 cup warm water
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry active yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons softened butter
3 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour (KA doesn't bromate or bleach their flour which is why I use and recommend it.)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1.5 teaspoons salt

Activate the yeast by mixing it with the warm water and honey.  Let it puff up for about 5-10 minutes.  In the meantime, in your stand mixer (using a dough hook) or bread maker combine the rest of the ingredients.  Once the yeast has puffed add it to the mixer/maker.  Let it knead or mix for you for 10 minutes.  Remove from mixer or maker and place in an oiled bowl, cover and place in a warm spot to rise for one hour (until doubled).  Once it has risen, take it out of bowl and punch it down.  Roll it out into small ball sizes (about 2 inches in diameter) and place them into a well oiled 8 by 8 pan.  Cover and let rise for another hour (until doubled).  Once doubled, bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.  To make them even better.  Before baking brush on some (or a ton of) butter.

These are amazing.  Seriously delicious.  You should definitely try them! :)

I will post photos to go along with these recipes eventually.  These recipes are easy to make and are much healthier as well.  Give 'em a try this year and see if you can persuade some of your family members to begin eating more nutritiously, too!


Another note about vaccines

I posted last night about The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears.  I finished it just now and really and truly enjoyed reading it.  I appreciate his approach to parents about vaccines and I like how real and honest he is about the data out there on vaccines in general.  Very helpful to have this information accessible to all parents.  Again, I fully believe and recommend that every parent read this book.  It is one of the best resources for information I have ever come across- HOWEVER- in response to his alternative vaccine schedule, I do not agree with it.  In my opinion that is still far too many vaccines for a small body to be able to healthfully handle.  Chapter 18 page 224 outlines the four vaccines he does recommend babies receive, and I like that he did that.  He presented the four bad boys of diseases and gave a solid presentation on why these four were the most important for parents who choose to vaccinate or selectively vaccinate.  I do also appreciate how much of a breastfeeding advocate he is and also that he is a large promoter or natural living and healthy eating.  Those three combined provide such a protective covering over our babies and its important to keep spreading the word and being encouraging to our friends and family who are beginning to raise children.  

So go get this book and read, read, read.  Its (in my opinion) absolutely crucial for all parents to educate themselves on vaccines in general (whether for or against them).

As always- I want to let all of you (those I know and those I don't) that I am and always will be available for questions, support, and encouragement in terms of breastfeeding, natural living, and healthy eating.  Feel free to contact me via email or facebook.  I am not a "pro" at any of these subjects, but I am putting them into practice and have acquired some tips and tricks along the way. I can also steer you in the right direction when it comes to helpful books, lactation consultants, and local support systems to personally help you in your own community.  I hope that every mom-to-be considering breastfeeding will continue to seek out education and support and learn as much as you can about it.  Not only is breastfeeding majorly important but also the food the mother eats which makes the breast milk is of absolute importance.  Breastfeeding is fabulous- but to make the best milk for your baby you also need to be eating very healthy foods.  Big Macs, Pizza Rolls, and Wonder Bread will in fact produce breast milk... it just won't be that great and your baby will probably not be very nourished or protected from illness.  Okay, enough about the boobies.  This is a book review not another post about breastfeeding.  Although, I guarantee I will be writing about breastfeeding again and again and..... yeah, you get the picture.  :)

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I am not kidding about this.  If you are a parent or are going to be one someday PLEASE, PLEASE- I beg of you, go to your library and borrow Dr. Sear's The Vaccine Book.  It is non-hysterical, straight forward, and medically based.  He does not tell you to get or avoid vaccines, its not an opinion book.  Its just 13 years of research, data collecting and experience from his medical practice combined into one concise book.  Seriously- go get it now.  Read it and start making some wise decisions for your babies.  Its never too late to educate yourself and to begin do to things differently.  Education is the greatest thing you can do for yourself as a parent. 

Its great to learn!  'Cause knowledge is power!  
(Remember from SchoolHouse Rock?)

Or you can buy it here:  The Vaccine Book
Or read his website here: Ask Dr. Sears website


My Etsy shop and book review

Hello Strangers!  
I just checked to see when my last blog post was and it says I haven't posted since AUGUST 18TH!!!  WOW!  I'm sort of embarrassed about that.  Why have a blog if I'm not going to use it?  Meh.  Well, I've been swamped with life.  Mason is at the age where I am just really trying to keep him alive for five minute stretches of time.  He's constantly shoving things in his mouth or trying to leap off of high places.  Not to mention trying to fall head first into toilets or other water containing vessels in our home (thanks to older children who leave bathroom doors open constantly).  Seventeen months old is just that age where maintaining life is all a momma can hope to accomplish on any given day.  

We have also began our school year here at the Kelver Academy and things are going very well.  Adisynne is learning so much!  I am so proud of her.  She is 4 years old and already doing Kindergarten lessons.  She is just so eager to learn, learn, learn!  I have to tell her when school time is over because she just wants to keep going and going all day long.  

I have been quite busy with other business as well.  I am watching more kids now so my days is filled with boogers, poop, and messes (and lots of fun, too).  

To top it all off I have been persuaded to open an Etsy shop to sell some of my handmade things.  I thought it would be a good idea to "advertise" on here since this page is seen by all of you lovely individuals who I know would love nothing more than to buy something from me....right??? :D  

Well, if you are one of those individuals who is looking to buy baby and momma related items please stop by my shop and take a look-see every now and again.  I just opened it up last night so I am still loading photos and listing items every night.  Chances are in the next week its going to look a little different every night.


For the "blog" portion of this post I will talk about an amazing book I've read recently titled "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Karp.  This book is fantastic for any parent and especially new parents or parents of fussy babies.  I thought I was a baby "whiz" two months ago and didn't really need to learn anything else about how to carry or soothe them.  I'm pretty good, really. ;)  But man-oh-man was I wrong!  I turned each page with this wide-eyed and open-mouth expression on my face as I learn new things.  Dr. Karp talks about the "5 S's" of soothing a baby.  These are not necessarily new ideas, but his presentation of them, the reasons why they work, and the exact way to do each of them is fantastic.  It was not only a good read but when I went to put them into practice on my best friend's new sweet (adorable, amazing, precious, lovely, beautiful .... I love her a little bit) baby girl, THEY REALLY WORKED!  It was like magic.  Swaddle + side hold= instantly happy baby girl.  My friend, her husband and I were all awestruck as we watched it transform their sad newborn into a peaceful on-the-verge-of-sleep baby.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who is pregnant, anyone who has a new baby, anyone who is ever going to be a parent, anyone who is ever going to be around a baby!!  If you think you have nothing more to learn about babies, I'd beg you to go borrow this book from the library and be prepared to be amazed at how much you will learn.  Being able to sooth your baby is the best feeling in the world and how frustrating is it when you've literally exhausted all you know to do and nothing is working.  I'd give this book a try before you go out and try another option.  I know some people have success with gripe water, and lots of people don't.  But every baby will benefit from this book and what Dr. Karp teaches, whether they are a fussy baby or not.


Honey Candy

Here's a really great way to be able to give you kids (or yourself) a sweet treat that isn't made from crap.  Adisynne had been asking me over and over for gum and candy (even though she has never had any of either) and I was getting sort of sad about saying no to her.  Not because I know how much she'd like it, but because I remember getting really excited when my mom or dad would say yes in the check out line at the store.  It wasn't often, but when it happened it was really nice.  I won't ever say yes to her in the grocery store, but I can say "yes, when we get home" because of this recipe.  Which is still a special treat and something that she can look forward to.  Since she is just about to turn 4 years old, I realize that a lot of the things we do now are going to become memories for her that she will hold on to for the rest of her life. I want to make sure that she is making good memories and these special treats are definitely a crucial part of that.

Honey Candy:
1 bottle or jar of fairly decent honey.  It doesn't have to be the really expensive raw kind.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (NOT imitation vanilla)
1 pot
1 whisk or spoon
glass baking dish
wax paper lined cookie sheet

All you'll need to do is dump or pour all of the honey into the pot.  Turn on the heat and start heating it up.  You want to bring the honey up to a boil over lowish heat.  Don't stir too much because the honey will boil over if you stir too frequently and that wouldn't be fun.  Keep the honey boiling for a while.  When you stir it and pull the whisk or spoon away the honey should come off in ropes, this is called the hard ball stage.  The temperature for this stage will be 250-265 degrees and 92% concentration, although that is somewhat excess information for our purposes.  Keep it gently boiling/simmering until you reach this ropey state.  Once you have arrived at that point turn off the heat, add in the vanilla, stir and then pour into a glass baking dish.  Now its just a waiting game.  Let the honey begin to cool.  As it firms up you can use tooth picks or do as I did and use disposable chop sticks and twirl the honey onto the stick.  You can now place your honey candy lollipops onto the wax paper lined cookie sheet and let the cool the rest of the way till they are nice and hard.

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No More Paper Towels

For several months now we have been abstaining from using excess paper products.  Not exactly because its good for the environment, although, that is a nice perk- but because, DANG they're so expensive!! And I don't know about you, but when I would have a roll of paper towel out on the counter I found a gagillion reasons each day to use it.  And I couldn't ever just use one sheet.  No, no.  Every clean up required about two or three more sheets than I really, honestly, could've used.  So, we were blazing through the paper towel, and when those ran out unexpectedly, I would blaze through the paper napkins.  It was a vicious circle of money being wasted and pumping more paper and waste into the landfills.

It was a little weird to get used to just using cloth for all of Life's messes, but quickly I observed how much more efficient it is at cleaning up those spills than paper towel was.  Where as I would generally over-use my paper towels, I now only have one wash cloth in my hand at a time.  I find that it can clean my entire kitchen versus using multiple paper towels.  I can rinse out my wash cloth and keep on going.  If I plan it right, I am able to wash my dishes and scrub down the kitchen all using the same cloth!  Now that not only saves me money on buying paper towels and napkins, but it also cuts down on the amount of water and electricity it takes to wash a bunch of extra loads of laundry.  Double-win!

We are always looking for new ways to cut down the costs @ HEB (our grocery store).  HEB is fantastic and most of their prices are fair, however, we do only buy healthy, whole foods, so our bill is higher than most and X-ing out anything superfluous really makes a huge impact on our budget.  All the "extras" really add up quickly and take us from a manageable amount of money spent to "Oh-no-she-didn't"-land real fast.

I know it will be weird at first.  (Everything I tell you about is, right?) But, after a few days I think you'll love it just as much as we do.

Happy Savings!  (I think I really 'dig' this new sign off.)

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Homemade Wool Dryer Balls

 Reasons to use wool dryer balls:

1.  They cut down on the drying time by 30%.  Energy savings!  Each time you turn on your dryer it costs about $.50.

2.  They soften clothes.  This means you save money on dryer sheets AND even better you aren't buying chemical laden, nasty dryer sheets.  This is the biggest reason, in my opinion to use dryer balls.  The chemicals on the dryer sheets are absolutely horrible for you.  They are toxic and cause a lot of the skin irritations and skin allergies that children (and adults) are experiencing today.

3.  They last for years. Again, you will be saving money by not having to purchase boxes of dryer sheets.  I know some of the name brand dryer sheets with the fantastic scents (these are neuro toxins and you really, really shouldn't buy things that are scented).

4.  They look cool.

Wool dryer balls are very easy to make.  All you need to do is to go to a fabric store or any place that sells skeins of yarn (some Wal-Marts, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabrics, etc.) and buy one large skein of 100% wool.  You will need an old pair of pantyhose, scissors, and about an hour out of your day (or night) to make some yarn balls.

Now, start making balls.  Pull the wool yarn very tight as you are winding it around and around.  Keep winding until the wool ball is about 1.5-2" in diameter.  Tie it off very securely.  I did this different ways, but the most effective way was to begin making the dryer ball and leaving a tail out.  When I was done winding I just tied my winding piece of wool to the tail and made a few knots to keep it very securely tied.

This is the beginning of a ball.  See the tail?  At the end of winding you will tie this to the piece you are winding around the ball.  Oh, and this book is pretty much life changing.  Its by R. A. Torrey. Its about 1/4" thick, a very short & sweet read.
Here is where you will need the pantyhose.  Place the dryer ball into the pantyhose and tie it off at both ends.  This creates the friction needed to felt the wool which ensures that it won't unravel.  After you have done this place your dryer balls into the washing machine to wash with a normal load of laundry.  Dry all of it together and when the load is done take the balls out and remove the pantyhose from them.

They are now ready to use!  Keep your wool dryer balls in the dryer and they will effectively dry and soften hundreds upon hundreds of loads of laundry!

Happy Laundering!

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Kombucha is amazing. It is fermented tea. During the fermentation process all of the sugars are turned into probiotics, enzymes, b-vitamins, lactic acid, glucuronic acids, etc. Basically, its INCREDIBLY healthy (and tasty). 

Indiana folks:  My Momma is coming down here on the 24-31st and she can bring back a SCOBY for you so you can make you own, too. Talk to her or myself about making arrangement for me to send you a SCOBY.

Mine.  Find it @ Target.
I do have a fantastic recipe. Its perfect every time. You'll want to get a 1 or 2 (I use a 2) gallon GLASS ONLY jar/container. It must be glass b/c the acids and sheer nature of Kombucha will react very badly with any type of metal or plastic. So, only use glass for brewing and bottling. And buy some organic green or black tea, but not the flavored kind. I've heard that Whole Foods sells some. Buy some organic cane sugar and use filtered (I prefer reverse osmosis) water. Its important to use all of these specific ingredients b/c you are brewing. You don't want to brew yucky things, so ensuring that the water is completely free of contaminants, and that the ingredients are organic really is the best way to do Kombucha. Also, buy a bottle of plain/original GT's Enlightened Kombucha or any other brand you have access to. This is your starter.

To make Kombucha you will boil 4 cups of water (reverse osmosis or filtered). Once boiling add in 1 2/3 cups of organic cane sugar. Stir until dissolved then place 5 bags of organic black or green tea. Let steep for at least 2 hours. (Turn off the heat.) Then, pour your sweet, sweet tea into your brewing container (glass only), add in the rest of the water (another 12 cups), now you will gently place the SCOBY (that I can send home with my mom and you guys can figure out pick up) on top of the tea. It might sink, might not. Its not a big deal. Now, pour the starter kombucha on top. Cover this container with a kitchen towel and place a rubber band around the top so nothing ooky (bugs/dust) finds its way in there. Put the whole thing into a cabinet or other dark out of the way place that is going to remain somewhat warmish/not cold. I have an empty cabinet that mine goes in and its just fine in there. Check on your Kombucha every day. Make sure that nothing weird is going on in there. I don't want to scare you, but when you look at these images, it will give you an idea of what you are and AREN'T looking for.

Good.  Very healthy Kombucha with a very established SCOBY that is reproducing nicely.

I know this looks weird and horrible.  But this is what you want to see.  Different colors are okay.  If you do happen to see anything on TOP of the SCOBY, fuzzy anything, anything that is green or another color, bad,  Dump it all out.  Something went wrong with your brew.  You'll have to start from scratch.  THIS is why you want all of your ingredients to be pure, organic, and make sure you take the most care in keeping everything clean.  Utensils, hands, etc.  Wash, wash, wash. 

Looks even worse!  This is PERFECTLY fine.  Its what you want to see.  You want to see that the SCOBY is growing.  This means it is working!  All those sugars are being eaten and transformed into good things. :)  I sound like a crazy person, I know.  I'm not alone though.
Once you have been brewing your first batch of Kombucha for 7 days it should be done. It should be slightly sweet, slightly sour, it might be a little fizzy, maybe not the first batch. Once it tastes good to you decant it into smaller glass containers. You can flavor it now with any pure fruit juice or fruit you like. A favorite of mine is blended blueberries with a teensy amount of fresh grated ginger. Add about 2 tbsp to the bottom of the glass bottle you will pour the Kombucha into. Once you have bottled it place the bottles back into the cabinet and do a second ferment for about 3+ days until it gets nice and fizzy. You'll want to go to the cabinet and "burp" the bottles (twist the top/lid to let the pressure out and then re-tighten the top). Make sure not to bottle 2 cups of the kombucha. This will be the starter for your next batch. Then just repeat the process and you will have a continuous supply of delicious, healthy, amazing Kombucha!

This is a perfect brew.  Notice the color and the bubbles.  Yum, yum! :)  You will only have fizzy Kombucha if you do a 2nd ferment.  Second ferments are NOT required, only if you enjoy the effervescence.  Before the 2nd ferment you may add flavor, but never before.  You want your brewing Kombucha to always be plain.  Some of the brewing Kombucha may begin to get fizzy after you've brewed a few batches, not to the extent of the 2nd ferment.

 Happy Brewing, y'all! :)


stainless steel pots and pans

In the early summer I bought a brand new set of pots and pans.  I had been wanting a new set for YEARS.  I knew about the grossness of Teflon and/or the other non-stick coatings.  They like to come off and get into the food we eat.  Not good, folks. Not good at all.  Those are some pretty toxic chemicals and they're slathering themselves all over the food we eat.  Trying to completely immerse our family in the traditional way of eating and preparing food also lead me to my purchase.  I did some research and found the best set for the best price.  I found the CuisinArt Multi-Clad stainless steel 14-piece set.  Its beautiful.  Its shiny.  Its a pain in the a** to get food off of.  

Pardon my French, but, all of you out with stainless steel sets are giggling and nodding your head in agreement with me.  Going from non-stick to stainless steel is not a gentle transition.  I was pretty frustrated at first.  I dreaded cooking!  Developing tennis-elbow from scrubbing dishes is just not right, right??  (Just kidding about the tennis elbow, kinda funny though, huh?)

I had some thoughts floating around in my crazy head about how to get this stuck-on-gunk off of my pans with at least a little more ease.  I thought about possibly using baking soda and vinegar to sort of bubble the stuff off, and then thought maybe vinegar might damage more than help.  I was sort of stumped for a bit.  Then, my hubby came home one night after doing some research of his own and said he had read about this chemical cleaner that a lot of SS users buy to help scrub their pots and pans.  I looked at him with the look that said, "Are you serious?".  He knew it wasn't going to fly in our house.  So, I took to the internet to see what I could find.  Lo and behold: baking soda!

Here is what happened:  
I went to the kitchen to find a completely "ruined" frying pan.  Someone had tried to make a sandwich or something.  It was black, chunky, and I think there was some sign of cheese as well.  I had been soaking this pan in the hottest, soapiest water imaginable for SEVERAL DAYS and all that would come up were small pieces of crust still stuck to the bottom.  I dumped out the soap water, grabbed the box of baking soda, dumped about 1/4 cup in the bottom of the pan and with my damp/wet wash cloth I began to just wipe.  Not scrub.  Wipe.  It was M-A-G-I-C-A-L.  I honestly couldn't (and still can't) believe how amazingly well this works.  It totally obliterated the crud that had taken residence on my beautiful, shiny pan.  In less than a minute it was clean and with little effort, too!

This method of cleaning does wonders for the discoloration that is typically found on the bottom/sides of stainless steel pots and pans as well.  Although, the outside is generally more difficult to get off than the inside stains. 

Every time I find a new use for baking soda I just fall deeper and deeper in love with it.  There is nothing it can do and nothing it can't clean.  I'm still a believer!

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