Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Flavored Kombucha

I have made Kombucha every 7-10 days now and I LOVE it.  It is not only very good for me, but I like the taste of it.  The last two batches I experimented with flavors.  After about 7 days of fermenting I strain and bottle it and then add flavor to the bottled tea.  I have tried adding ginger root and it was very nice, but this week I added fresh strawberries and it is awesome!  It mellows the flavor a little and makes it sweeter and gives it a great pink color that my girls love to look at, but neither of them will drink it.  They have running jokes about the Scobies that are going to come alive and eat the dog or run off with the girl’s favorite toys.  I like my Scoby juice as it is known in my house and the Strawberry flavor is great.


I added two fresh strawberries to each bottle and after 2 days here is what it looked like.


PostHeaderIcon Lemonade

During the week the kids drink milk and water, but occasionally we made fresh lemonade.  Today I doubled our usual recipe and made one regular lemonade and one with club soda.  Here is the Lemonade recipe, I prefer honey as a sweetener so it has honey and no sugar.
Lemonade Recipe
3 lemons
1/2 cup honey
1 cup very hot water
3 cups cold water
Ice cubes
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Cut lemons in half and squeeze the juice out of them.  Pour the juice and honey into a pitcher or bowl and add the hot water.  Stir until the honey is dissolved.  Add the cold water (or club soda) and ice cubes and stir.  Pour lemonade into glasses and garnish with mint leaves.
Enjoy, it is really tasty!

PostHeaderIcon Lemon Balm and Mint Tea

I drink a lot of hot tea. Mostly Rooibos (red tea) and Ceylon and I drink both with milk and honey on most days.  I can drink up to 4 cups a day in the summer and in the winter this number goes way up.

This afternoon I felt like a cup of tea, but was looking for something different. I have Lemon Balm growing in a flower garden, but I mainly grow it for the fragrance and never really gave it much thought as to what I was going to do with it. It is growing like a weed and I do not like the idea of cutting it back without using the leaves so I made a cup of tea from it today along with chocolate mint that I have growing in a pot. I loved it and will definitely be making more tomorrow. The lemon, mint and hint of chocolate was so good together, I was happy that I tried this one. Here is what I did.

Lemon Balm and Mint Tea

10 lemon balm leaves
1 spring of mint

I have the most adorable little cup strainer that fits right into a cup for the tea to steep in, but do you think that I could find it today? So I pulled out my coffee plunger and made my tea in there. It worked really well though.  I let the leaves steep for 3-5 minutes, poured the tea into a cup and let it cool a little more before I drank it.


In my search for recipes using Lemon Balm I came across one for Lemon balm cheese cake.  I may need to try that one day.

PostHeaderIcon Kombucha

When I was pregnant with Alexia about 3 years ago I started eating mostly organic fruit, and veggies, grass fed beef and raw dairy products.  I loved it, but man it took a toll on my pocket book (purse for those of you who do not live in the South).  One thing that I came across in my quest for a healthier lifestyle was Kombucha.  Wikipedia describes it as “a sweetened tea that has been fermented using a macroscopic solid mass of microorganisms called a “kombucha colony”.  Basically you take a Kombucha colony or SCOBY an acronym for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast” and you lay it in green or black tea, feed it sugar and it belches out fermented gasses.  Yummy right?

I used to buy GT’s brand at our local Earthfare for a while, but then decided to make my own.  I did not have a SCOBY to start with so I had to cultivate one from store bought tea.  I  remember making about 2 batches of tea, with my homegrown SCOBY albeit a very small one and after that I either got too paranoid to drink it or the tea just did not taste great any more, possible both?!  Hey, remember it has been 3 years since I did it, so forgive my lack of memory and besides I was pregnant at the time so mommy brain may have something to do with it.

The upshot is, my Kombucha brewing days were cut short and I never did try again until NOW!!  Whohoo, I posted on my local mommy forum for a recipe and along with a recipe someone volunteered to give me one of their SCOBY babies.  Did I mention that these things multiply every time you make a brew?  So this lady was nice enough to give me one from her SCOBY nursery and I now have a batch doing very well in my pantry.
On Tuesday I started the batch and will post some pictures as it progresses through the brewing process.  We are on day 4 now and the brew still tastes very sweet so it still has some belching, sorry I mean fermenting to do.
Here is the recipe that I followed.

Kombucha Recipe:
Bring 3 quarts of purified water to a rolling boil.
Add 1 cup of sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.
Steep 4-5 bags of green or black tea bags in the water for10 minutes.
Remove the tea bags and remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
You can put the pot in an ice bath if you want to speed things up.
Pour the cooled tea into a gallon size glass jar, add your SCOBY and 1 cup of fermented Kombucha from a previous batch.
Place a fine weaved cloth over the opening and secure with a rubber band.  Do not use cheese cloth since fruit flies love Kombucha and can fit through the cheese cloth holes.
Place the Kombucha tea in a dark, ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
Allow to mature between 6-15 days.  You will know that it is done by tasting it.
Stick a straw into the Kombucha tea and place your finger at the top, this will secure a few drops inside the straw.  Taste it and if it is still very sweet, let it sit for a few more days.  Start watching very carefully by around day 10 when it will start smelling like a strong vinegar.  Taste and if you no longer have a strong sugar taste and it is slightly sour your brew is done.
If the vinegar tastes becomes too strong you have left it to long.
When it tastes right, remove the two cultures, separate the young culture from the older one.
Store them in a covered glass container in the fridge for up to 6 months or make a new batch of tea with it.
Pour the fermented tea through a strainer lined with a coffee filter and store in a glass container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Do not use metal or plastic to store the Kombucha.

Above is day 1

Day 2, a thin layer of gelatin like structure is starting to grow.  The original SCOBY is at the bottom of the glass container.
Day 4 The original SCOBY has floated to the top and has attached itself to the baby SCOBY.

Day 10

Day 10 – it is done!

Mature and young SCOBY removed from the fermented tea.


My Kombucha is now done and ready to drink.  I had some tonight and gave James a few ounces as well.  He liked the taste, but struggled to get past the fact that this is a colony of bacteria and yeast that live inside a beverage.  That’s OK, more for me to enjoy!

Below is a link to health benefits attributed to Kombucha as well as the risks.

PostHeaderIcon Pineapple salsa and Breakfast smoothie – GAPP 6 & 7

It is time for GAPP recipes  6 and 7, these were easy, summery and all round hits!  I was making salmon for dinner and thought a nice pineapple salsa would go well with it.  I still have loads of tomatoes and need to use them up before they become over ripe so I will probably be trying all kinds of salsa recipes over the next few days.  This one I came up with as GAPP 6.

Pineapple Salsa
1 cup pineapple chopped
1 cup tomatoes seeded and chopped
1/4 cup red onion chopped
1/2 cup sweet peppers chopped
1-2 teaspoons honey
Juice of 1/2-1 lime (to taste)
1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
Salt to taste

Mix everything together and chill for at least 2 hours.

It was great on Salmon, the next day I tossed it on a few cups of shredded lettuce and had it for lunch.  Since it already has the juice of the lime and pineapple I did not feel the need for any further dressing and it made a great salad.  The kids picked the onion out and ate the rest.


We have smoothies often for breakfast or at least part one of breakfast.  My kids seem to think breakfast is an ongoing meal that starts at 6:00 when they wake up, and ends at 10:00, when I have had enough of feeding them and start starving them until lunch time.  Most mornings I just toss in anything that I have, but always add a handful or two of fresh spinach.  This is such a good way to get our Vitamin A, C, fiber and iron. I also like to start with a banana, for its high Vitamin C, fiber and the potassium that is great for those with high blood pressure.  I call them our green smoothies since they have spinach in them, but I normally end up putting blue berries or strawberries in them and it turns brown.  For this recipe I kept it simple and the color was awesome and this one was probably one of the best smoothies that I have made.

Green smoothie:
1 cup pineapple chopped
1 banana
Handful of fresh spinach leaves
Juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup whey left over from making yogurt (or replace with any juice or increase the yogurt)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt

Put everything in a smoothie maker or blender and blend until smooth.


Both these recipes were great.  They will go into my “recipes to keep pile”.

PostHeaderIcon Pineapple beer – GAPP 2

When made well this is so tasty, it is right up there with home brewed ginger beer and Kombucha.  You can read about Kombucha here, I have a batch fermenting in my pantry at the moment and will blog about it closer to the time of maturity.

Growing up my mom and grandmother made pineapple and ginger beer and it was yummy .  In Zululand they call it Mfula Mfula, translated river river.  In South Africa it is Pynappel bier and in Mexico it is called Tepache.  Basically it is pineapple, sugar, spices and some recipes call for yeast.  The Zulus help the fermentation by adding bread.  The Mexican recipes call for adding beer and some western recipes add ordinary bread yeast to the mixture.  The way my family made it was with pineapple peel, sugar, water and maybe a bit of ginger for added flavor, but not always.  So that is the way I will do it for GAPP.

I have no exact measurements for our recipe, here is what my mom gave me on the phone this morning.  Translated for you into English of course!

The peel and core of one Pineapple
Enough water to cover the peel and core in a large pot
Sugar to taste, I put in about 1/2 cup

Put the washed pineapple peel and the core chopped into a large pot.  Add boiled water, just enough to cover the pineapple bits.  Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.  Cover and leave the pot for 12-18 hours at room temperature.  Once your mixture has rested, strain it by lining a strainer with a clean tea towel, cheese cloth or muslin and bottle the mixture.  I am using old juice bottles with screw tops for mine.  I would not suggest a plastic bottle since I have had disastrous results with exploding plastic bottles.  Allow your beer to ferment for another 2-3 days and chill really well before drinking it.

Because I have not added any additional yeast, I am going to let this mixture stand for an extra day.  This was bottled on July 3rd so on July 7th it would have been 4 days.  That also happens to be my Birthday so a nice little birthday present to myself, that is if it works of course!


The picture above is day 2 in the bottle stage and you will note that the beer has a white foam on the top.  This is very good, now I am starting to get excited!

Update July 7th:
Today is day 4 of the bottling stage and early this morning I opened one bottle and heard a nice shoooo… sound and there were loads of little bubbles. I strained the drink and poured it back into the bottle to refrigerate it. After lunch I could no longer wait, I had to try a glass. The kids were both having an afternoon nap and I sat down to read my forums and try the beer. It smells fermented, it is a strange combination of yeast, smelly sock and something else I cannot quit place, but not bad. While trying to decide how to describe the taste I had to have another glass. Then, another and now it is down right wonderful.! Sweet, but not overly sweet, I am glad I only put in 1/2 cup of sugar. There is an after taste of raisins.  The smell was odd in the beginning, but honestly it does not bother me now.  Watch out the stuff really has a kick, it goes down like a soda, but it is not a soft drink! Yummy, excuse me as I fetch another glass.

Update July 9th:
I have just opened the second bottle of beer and there was no sock odor.  It smelt as one would imagine a fermented drink should.  The taste was also much sweeter and smoother.  It was very pleasant.


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