Saturday, April 30, 2011

A New Experiment

With the lactose intolerant granddaughter and the asthmatic grandson and his mucous issues, I looked at different combinations of nut milk and rice milk to help them get their calcium and good fats. Monday I had grandson. I mixed up coconut milk, coconut water, a little milk kefir and some vanilla for his bottle. Poor guy has been suffering from lung problems and an inflamed airway. He doesn't want to chew and swallow anything. He drank it right down and I made a refill and his mom took it home with her.

I had put the kefir grains to rest for a few days since I have been overrun and not having time to work with the kefir we have accumulated. Rest means just placing the kefir grains in milk in the fridge. I took them out yesterday and strained the was kefir after 2 days. There we go! I can culture in the fridge, it just takes a little more time. I do imagine some of the flori don't have a chance to build up in good numbers so it doesn't pack the punch it normally would. I added a cup of milk to the grains (almost a cup) and let it sit for 24 hrs. They seemed to be "awake" so strained that this morning and put the coconut milk mix in the jar to see what it will do.

Although granddaughter hasn't had any major episodes lately with little bits of dairy here and there and she drinks the berry smoothies from the milk kefir and does okay, I still think the coconut milk with all that wonderful medium chain fatty acid and laurine will be so good for her. Grandson needs a boost to the immune system and rebuilding so the coconut milk kefir is probably going to be a big blessing and help!

Right now I have two trays of broccoli sprouts almost ready. They are great little things and the grandkids love them a lot! They like scrambled eggs with sprouts, spinach and a little reconstituted sun dried tomatoes. Lemon pepper is their favorite seasoning! Crazy huh? Those sprouts have so much nutritional punch and such a spicy flavor that eating them is a mouthful of happiness!

Life continues growing in my kitchen!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Biscuit Sticks"

Last night at 8:30 or so I remembered I needed to make bread sticks for the office lunch feast. I mixed up some cheesy, garlicky and herby yeast breadstick dough in the bread machine and set it to start mixing and rising at 4 a.m. That is my concession to working full time and having a daily hour and half commute. I do what I do and try to attain 50% SOLE when I work full time.

My curiosity and guilt took over, I decided to make some lower gluten, high fiber, kefir biscuit sticks. One of my co workers doesn't care much for "fancy bread" so these rustic little things did the trick for him. I mixed 3/4 c. brown rice flour, 1/4 c. coconut flour, and 1 & 1/4 c. Wheat Montana white flour. Yeah, yeah, I used white flour, another concession for my fellow employees. Into that I poured a cup of milk kefir and covered the bowl with plastic wrap to "rest" overnight.

This morning I dumped the breadstick dough out of the machine, shaped the breadsticks and put them in the oven.

I dumped the biscuit dough out onto a well floured board and kneaded in 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. baking soda and a 1/2 t. of baking powder and 1/3 c. olive oil. I spread the dough out into a quasi rectangle and cut it into a dozen sticks, letting them rest under a towel until the breadsticks were done. I cranked the heat to 450 deg and baked them for 14 minutes. They were great! Tender on the inside, crusty on the outside and just perfect for soaking up olive oil and herbs, spaghetti sauce, lasagna juices and other such goodies we had today! The man who doesn't like fancy doesn't know that these little biscuit sticks had some healthy and maybe some would consider "fancy" ingredients. He just knew they were tasty, earthy and he ate six!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

At the "Now What?" Stage

I have had such a huge success culturing and fermenting and sprouting that now I am over run with both tibi and milk grains, my sprouts are not being tended as they should and time is short again. I periodically have to work at the main office 35 miles away, and this is one of those periods. No more strains, rinses or preparation for such at lunch, crunch time in the morning and the garden work starting in the evening. It may seem insurmountable right now, but I will get through this.

Last week and this week I put the milk kefir, grains and all, into the fridge and let it wait for a day before straining and starting another jar. That helped.

The tibi grains are the most prolific! I am saving them for my friend's chickens, since I have figured out that 40 oz. is the most I can think of consuming a day. I have started making only a quart of tibi a day. Last week I used the coconut milk tibi for cream soda. The root beer wasn't fizzy but the cream soda was, so pouring half of each into a glass, cream soda first and root beer last really made it seem like a root beer float. The other morning I was getting coffee after my shower and kept hearing this fizzling sound. Being deaf in one ear I thought it was coming from the coffee pot, but no. As I turned around one of the cream coconut soda bottles popped the top off like a mini volcano. Everything went in the fridge that moment! That may be why the root beer was flat, since it didn't get to sit out for the full 24 hours, more like 12.

Last night I added vanilla extract and some more sucanat to the 24 hr. strained tibi and bottled 20 oz. and then added some of the flat root beer to the remainder to bring that up to 20 oz. They were both pretty fizzy at noon so I put them in the fridge to avoid another explosion. I decided to replenish to 38 oz. this batch and keep the 24 hr. first ferment. The 48 hr. just made it so very very sour.

One batch that went for 72 hrs now is fermenting into vinegar with pomegranate juice in it. That should be wonderful!

Milk kefir is doing great! It is consistently thick and tasty now. Even sitting in the fridge a day or two doesn't seem to bother the grains much. I really need to get going on making a big batch of smoothies for my grandson and his dad. The asthma and Crohn's will both be relieved hopefully!

Granddaughter and her dad are both benefiting from the milk kefir. I still can't convince anyone else in the house to try the tibi. This root beer batch I am making the husband taste. I dare him to say it smells like the inside of a shoe. The blend of vanilla and root beer should take that out. It seemed to with what I drank.

Today I got the Burpee sprouter trays and started broccoli sprouts again. I also started the salad blend that came with the set. Not a bad buy for $10 and I can try it and decide if I want to buy the SproutMaster that so many people love!

There is life in my kitchen!