Taking Care of Mother (How Kombucha Changed My Life)

image(Reposting all because of a spelling error ugh!) Thanks for grace….

I had heard rumbles about this health drink called Kombucha and may or may not have tried to gulp it down before re-locating. But when we drug our tired weary selves into a new town and in one of my sicker moments I decided to try it at the local coffee shop.

And I felt better.

And it changed my life.

So began the hunt to make my own because $4 for a little bottle just wasn’t going to make it into the budget when I was downing a bottle a day and hubby wasn’t buying how much I thought this helped me heal and feel better.

So I found a friend who had a mother (aka scoby…symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and I began a life changing journey that I am passionate about. I will say it was frustrating and I almost gave up because there  are very few specific recipes for the second ferment on the web and what I was really craving was the effervescence that is in this fine drink. And I was discovering through failed attempt after attempt that it’s an art to get there.

So in an effort to make it easy for you, here are my tips and very basic recipes. Feel free to post questions and I will do my best to answer.

First you need to find a mother or scoby. Each batch makes a new mother so if you have a friend making Kombucha they will most likely be happy to get one off their hands. Also health food stores sell them as do websites. I like cultures for health as they are reputable and reasonable. There are also lots of good tips about Kombucha and other fermented products that are good for your body with probiotics and prebiotics etc. on their site.

To make your first ferment find a gallon glass jar (or you can half the recipe for a half gallon).

In a pot pour 4 cups of filtered water and 1 cup of sugar. Stir bringing to a boil on the stove.

Add your tea bags. You can have fun with this using white, green or black unflavored teas. It cannot be herbal or flavored tea as it will kill your mother. I like to use 6 black tea bags and 2 green. Turn off water and let tea steep until room temp.

Next pour your cooled sweet tea into the glass jar and add your starter Kombucha liquid that came with your scoby. For 1 gallon you should have 2 cups of starter.

Next add your filtered water until it almost reaches the top and place your mother in the tea. Cover the top with a towel that will allow the Kombucha to breathe but will keep out fruit flies.

Place out of direct light on your counter or in a cupboard and let it sit undisturbed.

Begin tasting your Kombucha day 5 with a straw that you slip down the side of your jar capping it with your finger to draw it out and sample it. When it starts to have a bit of effervescence and it no longer tastes like tea you know your ready. I’ve found it can take anywhere from 1 week to 3 before it is ready depending on the temperature of your home, how much bacteria is in your batch etc.

Next is the fun part! You can either drink the raw plain unflavored Kombucha as is or second ferment for more bubbles and an infused flavor.  I always second ferment and the two flavors that we have got down to a science are mint and ginger.

Ginger Kombucha (for each 24.5 oz bottle. I found these lemonade bottles at Harris Teeter and I LOVE how tight their seal is.  It really makes a difference on having extra bubbles. You can always buy plain bottles online too in any size.)

1 TBL peeled finely grated fresh ginger (I’ve tried blending it, using chunks but this seemed to work the best)

1 TBL sugar

Raw Kombucha (first ferment)

Stuff your tablespoon of ginger into each bottle. Using a plastic funnel (metal is supposed to hurt the good bacteria in the kombucha) add your tablespoon of sugar.  Taking your mother(s) out of your raw kombucha using your funnel pour from your gallon glass jar until it almost reaches the top of your bottle. Seal and lightly shake to mix sugar and place on your counter for 4-5 days without opening for best bubbles.  At the end of those 4-5 days place your bottle(s) in the fridge.  I found each gallon jar can make 4 24.5 oz bottles per batch.  That will leave you enough raw kombucha at the bottom of your jar to start your next round.

Mint Kombucha (for each 24.5 oz bottle)

1 large stem of mint (or 2 small)

1 TBL sugar

Follow the exact directions above for the ginger flavor. (My kids love this one!)

RULES TO ALWAYS FOLLOW

  • Always listen to mother, she rolls au naturel (never use antibacterial soaps on anything that will come in contact with kombucha, don’t use flavored or herbal teas, don’t use metal in any part of the process except for the brewing of the tea…although some people say stainless steel is fine I have stayed away from it all.)
  • The more the merrier: until it starts to ferment too quickly keep all your mothers in your new batches and just throw the ones out that are looking pretty ratty tatty.
  • Clean freak: always wash your hands (but not with antibacterial soap) before working with your kombucha.  Your mother is sensitive to bad bacteria.
  • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty: get familiar with your scoby.  She doesn’t bite!  And she isn’t as gross as you may think.  It’s good to not be afraid to handle her with your hands as you put her in and out of the kombucha.
  • When you fail, try try again: if you let your first ferment kombucha go too long and it tastes too sour like vinegar.  DON’T TRY TO FIX IT.  Just dump out all but 2 cups of starter and begin again. There are lots of options for what people suggest to do with too sour kombucha on the web, but I have yet to go there.

 

What I Want My Kids To Know About Marriage


He leans close on cold tile as she retches until nothing is left and then gracefully leads her as she stumbles to bed him half asleep pure moonlight keeping watch. Back and forth they traipse all night him soothing fevered brow with cool towels and making runs down twisted stairs at ungodly hours for seltzer water, then sprite, then ice as the possibilities of keeping anything down become futile. And before dawn comes he drags himself out of warm covers to clothe and feed and pack three snacks and three lunches and marches them all off to the bus without one complaint, one grumble.

And she is humbled low that love could look like this.

Groundhog day repeats longer than either think they have strength to make one more step but they plod along to the Doc her feeling more like a dead lump of flesh than anything else, while IV’s pump life-giving saline into her wilting frame. But he’s sitting patient reading by dim light slanting through cracked blinds. image Because this is marriage. image This is where rubber meets road. And no amount of rings or romantic dinners or rambles in the park can prepare one for the seasons of suffering. But it’s in the willingness to suffer together, each other fading to bring out the color of the other that you find the heart of marriage. The heart of God.

They gather their brood after the storm is passed under a sun slipping an egg yolk through purpled skies to debrief, to grieve, to give thanks. And where two or more are gathered in His name there He is.  And He was there as little fingers laid hands on her fractured frail body, him leading the way to the Throne Room.  And He was there as roles reversed.  And He was there and He was and He is enough.

And if there is anything these youngins need to know about love is that true love never looks back. True love pours out their life for the other sacrificing all. True love hangs on when the cake and candles and glitter fade.

And that is a love worth laying your life down for. It’s a love worth finding. And it’s a love worth keeping until the last page of the story is written.  

Happy Birthing Day Momma!

No one tells you when your belly swells thick with life, that before the sun slips out of sight and skin sears torn by a ruddy wrinkled babe all covered in vernix, you are being delivered.

That at your child’s birth it’s you who is being born.

And you will never be the same.

And this process of birthing will never cease.

Because no one says how much her tears will be yours and in her flailing to figure out what this whole thing is being a child, you’ll crawl bloody kneed to the Father in desperation of how to be her mother.

And there are no directions come in this bundle all sugar and spice, but that is exactly what keeps you humbled low. And in that uncomfortable place of humility a quiet confidence is born in Abba Father holding the whole world in His hands, stooping low to listen, to comfort, to make you know the one He formed bit by bit, limb by limb in the holy quiet of your womb.

And no one says that in this dance of parenthood you’ll step on toes and trip each other up, but that’s not the end. The band plays on because of forever mercy that gives you both second chances. A do-over. 

It will be messy but oh so beautiful as the ugly duckling becomes a swan.

And it’s all sheer grace!

All this birthing and being delivered from self and control and petty pride. Then in the still darkness you wake knowing you would lay your life down for this one born of you.

All this come from the day of her birth.

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All Is Grace

There’s times when you know you’ve grown.

Like the time you were strong enough to say no to that extra slice of cake (I’m still working on it) or yes to truth telling when a lump in the throat is sure to hold you back. But you know you’ve really grown when you stare your deepest darkest fear square in the face and the monster that was hairy and green with fiery eyes and horns growing clean out of its head is simply a girl…your girl…retching in the parking lot of a gas station. And you find yourself not shaking a bit or breathing hard to stay present, but stooping to push soiled hair from a tear stained face whispering it’s going to be ok only this time meaning it instead of wishing it. And in this out of body moment you grasp for the first time that ALL the crazy good and bad sum up the adventure of life.

And we only get to live it once.

I’m usually the one picking the red m&m’s out of the bunch instead of swallowing them all down together.

I turn to glance out the window and there they are. All lined up on the sill, healing in these bottles. It hits home, it really is all grace. We’re all sick as dogs and I’m giddy with joy.

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Amazing the freedom when fear’s set free. And I can’t believe it’s taken me a lifetime for it to sink in and take root.

Drink.It.In!

Embrace each moment for what it is. This ugly turned beautiful with pure lavish grace all joy for the taking.

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Mom’s Apple Pie

Leaves tipped golden. Harvest wafting through the air. Hayrides, pumpkins, cups steamed full.

“Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs” ‘I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”  Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery

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And then there’s apple pie! Nothing like it in the world and this kitchen like my mother’s and her mother’s and her mother before cocooned in the smell of apples and cinnamon.

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APPLE CRUMB PIE

1 deep dish frozen pie crust

6-7 peeled and sliced apples (fairly thin slices) I like to use granny smith or a mix of different apples

1 TBL cinnamon

¾ cup sugar (brown or white works)

Mix together in bowl and place in pie shell. I like my apples to come up in a mound a few inches above the crust as they will shrink when baking

CRUMB TOPPING:

6 TBL butter cold and diced up

¾ cup flour

½ cup sugar

Crumble all ingredients in a bowl with your hand or in a food processor. The end consistency should be crumbly. Sprinkle on top of pie.

Place on a pizza stone and put in a 375 oven for 40-45 min. or until the juices begin to seep out of pie. It is NOT done until this happens even if the top is browning. You may need to turn the oven down if it is getting too brown before the juice runs.