Brewing Booch

Now that Alex and I brew Kombucha, I feel like we have entered a new level in our development as hippy DIY foodies. I think I have a slightly weird complex about it. When I list the things I like doing – practicing yoga, tending to my succulents, baking my bread, going to craft breweries, and now brewing booch – I kind of want to roll my eyes at myself. But what can I say…? This stuff brings me joy!

Alex and I are brewing kombucha together. It’s perfect because he is patient and scientific, whereas I am quick to make decisions and do things on the fly for the sake of experimentation and efficiency.

I first thought that kombucha was a new craze,but I actually read that it has been around forever and has experienced a number of surges in popularity. Right now you can buy it in almost every grocery store and it seems like there are new brands on the shelf every week but it is not a new trend – booch has stood the test of time! Its probiotic properties, low sugar content and delightful tang & fizz have make it a delicious and healthy beverage. It also contains caffeine so it kind of serves as a better-for-you alternative to soda!

Scobys are weird. There’s no way around that. They are yeasty bacteria slimy things (scientifically known as: Symbiotic Cultures of Bacteria and Yeast) that somehow eat the sugar in the tea you feed it and ferment the beverage – giving it the vinegary & effervescent properties that booch is known for. It’s amazing and disgusting all at once. Lucky for us, our brew jar is opaque so we didn’t really see the whole process. Now that I’ve gotten accustomed to our scoby I kind of actually wish I could see the entire thing going down, but it definitely helped soften our introduction to kombucha brewing.

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We purchased our scoby online and it arrived quickly, complete with full instructions on how to begin brewing. I highly recommend this. It was wonderful to have a comprehensive guide to get us started. Now that we’ve done it once, we’re excited to start experimenting with recipes, but the simple instructions were perfect for getting us started.

Filtered water + black tea + white sugar + white vinegar + scoby + 7-10 days = BOOCH!

After that initial period of fermentation in your brew jar, you bottle it with any flavoring you want to add and then you seal the bottles and leave them at room temp for 2 days to get bubbly, then pop it in the fridge!

Our first batch yielded 2 bottles full of this delicious drink – and we flavored it with slivers of fresh ginger. For our second brew, we doubled the recipe to yield more (image above) and are excited to experiment with juiced ginger, lemon, and other flavors to find our favorite combos.

I’ll keep y’all posted on how our experiment continues. But for now, I can tell you that making booch has given me the same satisfaction I get from all our DIY kitchen projects…no longer do I have to spend $3 or $4 whenever I want a bottle of booch. I feel liberated knowing that I can make it at home, and you can too. So get brewing!

Next on our list? Sourdough starter…can’t wait!

 

 

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Monster Kale Smoothie

Just me, myself and my ginormous green smoothie…

I went to the gym for the first time since being sick today. My legs have been itching for a workout, but my lungs needed some more time to heal so I just biked for 20 minutes and then did stretches on the mat. It felt SO good to be kind to my body and make it sweat a little.

Anyways, after getting home from the gym I decided to make a green smoothie because we have a LOT of kale right now. I’m not always a super fan of kale (GASP! A health-conscious, foodie person NOT in love with kale?!?!?!). That’s right. It gives me stomach aches and doesn’t always taste great – you can quote me on that if you want. Anyways, I’m particular about how I like to use kale.

BUT, I do love it in smoothies… IF you get the right mixture!

Monster Kale Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 4-6 BIG kale leaves (mine was flat but you can use curly too, either way cut out the stiff ribbing so its mostly leaf, not stalk!)
  • 2 handfuls frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (vegan? leave this out – add less liquid!)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • Optional: 2 tbsp coconut milk (I had leftovers from making coconut rice this week!)
  • Water as needed to blend!

Directions

  1. Throw all your good stuff into the blender.
  2. Blend it up REAL good.
  3. Enjoy!

I didn’t actually intend for this smoothie to be the size of my head, but it yielded a lot and I was hungry so I took it all and sipped on it at work all morning. I might not even need lunch! Hence the name…MONSTER kale smoothie.

What I love about this smoothie is that the greek yogurt, avocado and kale really balance out the fruity sweetness so it doesn’t taste like dessert – it’s a little sweet and a lot of goodness!

Immunity Shot & Smoothie

 

I’m sick. Very very sick! I kind of ran myself into the ground last weekend with a road trip to a family gathering up the coast, then back to LA early Sunday morning for a frisbee tournament (we won our division btw!) in the wind & cold (relatively speaking), and then to a friend’s outdoor movie screening with wet hair afterwards. Anyways, I woke up on Monday and immediately knew that my sore throat was not allergies and that I had indeed caught something. I tried to power through and went to work on Tuesday (stuuuupiiiddddd me), and by Wednesday had worsened considerably! I’ve been cooped up in bed ever since. Luckily, my parents live nearby and were kind enough to not only bring me food when I was too sick to make anything but also dropped off Snickers (the cutest, cuddliest 15 year old mini-dachshund ever) to keep me company and sleep with me all day long.

Silver lining to being sick? Snickers and I got hooked on The Great British Baking Show…have you seen it? If not, you have got to watch it. It’s amazing and so cute! British contestants have various bake offs each episode in the hope of being crowned Star Baker and not being sent home. Each episode is themed: breads, pastries, pies & tarts, cakes, biscuits, etc. For some reason, the accents and the cheeriness makes it so much cuter and kinder than American cooking shows. Also…its quite inspiring because some of their baked goods are incredibly creative. We’ll see if I end up trying anything I’ve seen on there.

Anyways, there’s a lot of stuff going around out there so take care of yourself! Whether you’re sick and need to blast your cold away or if you want to boost your immune system and prevent illness – here are two immunity boosting beverages I highly recommend! 

Lemon-Ginger Zing Shot

If you go to a smoothie bar or juice shop, they sell immunity shots. Have you seen those? When you look at the ingredients, they’re typically lemon, ginger and cayenne. These invigorating and tasty shots will give you and your immune system a healthy kick, but why buy it when you can make it? 🙂 Try it out at home and get similar results:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
    • anti-bacterial + immune boost
  • Juice of 1 to 2 in. chunk of fresh ginger*
    • anti-inflammatory + helps fight infections
  • healthy sprinkle of cayenne
    • helps break up mucus + relieve cold symptoms
  • optional: sprinkle of turmeric
    • anti-inflammatory!

*Note: If you have a juicer, I highly recommend you put fresh ginger juice into this. The zing of the juice feels great when you’re sick – I love it! However, I realize that most people don’t have juicers at home, so no worries. Just earlier this week, I had run out of fresh ginger and I used 1/4 tsp ginger powder. Mix it up well and it’ll still do the job!

Option: If you’d rather sip on a warm beverage, you can dilute this mixture with hot water and drink it like tea. It doesn’t give you quite the same kick as taking it all at once, but it’ll be soothing with a hint of spice to ease congestion. Mix well so the good stuff doesn’t sink to the bottom!

Berries & Greens Smoothie

I love smoothies. I’m not sure why but I absolutely love mixing up a smoothie, throwing it in a to-go cup and taking it with me wherever I’m headed. It feels so nice to be sipping on something refreshing and sweet while on my way to work or running my errands. I guess it feels similar to the fun of buying a smoothie from a bar while out and about, without the money and waste (disposable cup!) of purchasing it!

You know what I have realized about the benefit of making smoothies at home? Smoothie & Juice bars are severely limited in what fruits/veggies they can mix together because the color has to be appetizing. AKA spinach and carrot can never be mixed because they make a disgusting color. At home, this is not a limitation because if you know what you’re putting into the smoothie, it doesn’t really matter if the resulting color is kind of nasty.

Anyways, I mixed up anything & everything that my body was craving into this smoothie and it really hit the spot. It’s delicious & filling, and packed with vitamins and antioxidants.  Disclaimer: the combo of blueberries+strawberries+spinach makes it an unappetizing color so be warned if you’re severely turned off by that kind of thing.

  • 1/2 Banana (potassium!)
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (fiber and vitamin C)
  • 3-4 frozen strawberries (vitamin C!)
  • 2 healthy handfuls of spinach (so healthy its insane)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (healthy fats and makes it filling)
  • 1/4 cup  coconut water (hydration!)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (makes it creamier)
  • Optional: 1 tsp. flax powder (fiber!)

As you blend, add more coconut water/almond milk if its too thick. I ended up adding a couple ice cubes when blending to chill it even more for my poor throat!

So drink up, enjoy, and stay healthy! Also, take a page out of Snickers’ book and be sure to get a lot of sleep and rest. This week definitely taught me that there’s no other remedy as effective as giving your body rest when it comes to recovering from an illness. ❤

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