JUN the Champaign of Kombucha

Aged Bottled JUN
Aged Bottled JUN

JUN the Champaign of Kombucha

This wonderfully light, crisp, effervescent beverage has many health benefits, delicious and easy to make. I was recently on a long and strong course of chemotherapy and it did a lot of damage to my immune system and many other areas while it was eradicating any remaining trace cancer cells and I suspended my use of this powerfully beneficial beverage. Now that my treatment has ended I’ve resumed drinking JUN and feel much healthier and more energetic. I suppose it’s because it’s a simple drink made from simple ingredients that’s simply wonderful! Here’s how you can make your own.

Note: Unpasteurized JUN or Kombucha will continue to develop a new baby SCOBY so if you are squeamish about them floating in your brew just pour thru a nylon or high quality stainless steel tea strainer into your glass and put what it catches into your compost.

You can get a JUN SCOBY here or you can get a daughter from a fellow brewer. I use a 1 gallon glass jar as my fermenting vessel and a coffee filter to cover the top securing it with a rubber band or breathable cap.

 

JUN TEA

Ingredients:

3 ½ Quarts of non-chlorinated water

8 organic Green Tea Bags

¾ Cup Raw Honey (I use clover due to tree allergies)

1 JUN SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast)

2 Cups of previously brewed JUN that your SCOBY was stored in

(this is known as a SCOBY Hotel)

Jun Ingredients
Jun Ingredients

Directions:

In a large pan bring to a boil 3 ½ quarts of non-chlorinated water. Add 8 organic green tea bags and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and cool to 117 degrees. Remove tea bags and add ¾ cup of raw honey and stir until completely dissolved. Continue to cool until it’s room temperature then pour it into your fermenting vessel. Add 2 cups of previously fermented JUN from your SCOBY hotel and your SCOBY. Cover with the coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or breathable cap. Leave in a cool place out of direct sunlight for 6 – 8 days. It will grow a daughter SCOBY on top. (This can be used to brew your next batch of JUN). Remove the mother and daughter SCOBY and 2 cups of brewed JUN and put them back in your SCOBY hotel and refrigerate until your next brew date. You can strain and bottle at this point or add flavorings like fruit or ginger root if you prefer. If you add flavorings put them in with the JUN and cover with coffee filter for a couple of extra days then strain and bottle. If you store the bottles in the fridge right away it will not become effervescent. I leave my bottled brew on the counter for 2 – 3 days before I refrigerate so that it has some carbonation.

Brewing Tea
Brewing Tea
SCOBY Hotel
SCOBY Hotel

 

Fermenting the JUN
Fermenting the JUN

 

Flavoring the JUN with Ginger Root
Flavoring the JUN with Ginger Root
Aged Bottled JUN
Aged Bottled JUN

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

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GLUTEN FREE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES…. YUM!!! (Fussy Husband Approved)

GLUTEN FREE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES

Gluten free Buckwheat Pancakes
Gluten free Buckwheat Pancakes

These can also be made vegan with a couple of substitutions.

 

Ingredients:

Dry

1/2 cup organic buckwheat flour

1/4 cup organic oat flour

1/4 cup organic tapioca flour

2 tablespoons organic cornstarch or arrowroot

1 tablespoon organic ground golden flax seed meal

1 tablespoon baking powder (Aluminum free)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon organic cinnamon

 

Wet

1/2 cup buttermilk or kefir (or nondairy milk if you are a Vegan)

1/4 cup non-chlorinated water

1 organic egg (or equivalent egg substitute if you are a Vegan)

2 tablespoons organic pure maple syrup or agave nectar

2 tablespoons grape seed oil or whatever oil you prefer.

1 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

In a large mixing bowl, sift together all dry ingredients including baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix well. Let the batter rest while you preheat (medium heat) a griddle or skillet. When the griddle is hot, spray it with cooking spray or brush it with oil. Stir batter between cooking pancakes. Pour the batter by 1/3 cupful’s onto hot griddle/skillet. The pancake will start to form little bubbles as it cooks, but won’t rise as much as conventional pancakes. Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side for 2 – 3 minutes more. Brush more oil onto the griddle/skillet between cooking pancakes or they will stick to the pan.

 

Makes about 10 pancakes.

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

 

Holidays – It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

Holidays – It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

For most of us the holidays are  the most wonderful time of the year. Warm cheerful faces. Good will toward our fellow man. Family and Friends sharing a meal prepared with love. Children filled with giddy anticipation. These are the things we are thankful for.  But what to do with all those leftovers. Personally, I like to invite the less fortunate to share in our family warmth. Sharing good food and fellowship. There are so many ways to use all those leftovers but sadly the sweet potato seems to be left out of the creative process of making the old into something new and delightful. This started me thinking of ways to truly use up ALL of those leftovers, including the sweet potato.

The following recipe is good for Mini loaves of sweet potato pineapple bread for gift giving or breakfast muffins.

Great For Gifts
Great For Gifts

Sweet Potato Pineapple Muffins

Ingredients:

In large bowl combine

1 cup unfed sourdough starter

1 organic egg (beaten)

1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

½ teaspoon organic ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon organic ginger

¼ teaspoon organic ground cloves

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup grape seed or canola oil

¼ cup kefir or buttermilk

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup stevia

1 cup mashed sweet potato

½ cup crushed pineapple

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup organic unbleached flour

1/3 cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour

Mix well. Fill greased muffin tins or mini loaf pans. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar (optional). These are sure to bring smiles! Enjoy!

A tasty way to start your day!
A tasty way to start your day!

Breakfast Anyone?

Occasionally, folks will see me cook and be amazed that I seem to throw together ingredients together randomly and make something scrumptious. My secret? Making recipes with as few ingredients as possible and developing base recipes that can be adapted with 1 or 2 minor changes or additions. For instance, remembering my sourdough bread recipe is simple, it has flour, water, salt and sugar. It’s kind of hard to forget any of those ingredients. I’ve been experimenting with sourdough and trying to combine it with my love of breakfast muffins and healthier alternatives. If this statement sounds like I’m not willing to compromise on taste, health or ease of preparation, that’s because I’m not. By using “good” ingredients the end result is a rich and robust flavor. That said, I do use “sugar” in my recipes. Is sugar bad for you? My personal opinion is “yes” sugar standing on it’s own merit is probably a bad choice but adding fiber to slow the uptake helps make it not as bad. Using a sweetener that has vitamins like honey is better because honey had nutrients. I use sugar in my recipes but cut the amount and substitute part of the sugar with Stevia to reduce the calories.

This recipe is a base sourdough muffin recipe with different adaptions. Run with it and explore the possibilities. Let me know what combination you try!!! As I come up with different variation of this basic muffin recipe I will add notes to the bottom of this post.

 

Sourdough Berry Muffins

 

https://dgyelle.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/figure-1-sourdough-breakfaast-muffins

 

Ingredients:

1 organic egg

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other neutral flavored oil

1/4  cup buttermilk or kefir or sour cream

1 cup unfed sourdough starter

 

2/3 cup unbleached flour

1/3 cup whole wheat flour or bran flour if you are using raisins as fruit

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup Stevia (natural zero calorie sweetner)

 

1 cup blueberries or blackberries or raspberries or raisins (or chopped peeled macintosh apples and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

 

Preheat oven to 425F.

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl.

Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet ones and mix.

Fold in fruit.

Prepare your muffin cups by greasing and flouring them.

Quickly spoon batter into your muffin cups.

 

Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes. Cool. Enjoy. Makes 12 muffins.

*Note:  I tried a new twist on these today.  I substituted 2 large mashed bananas and 3/4 Cup chopped walnuts for the berries and added 1/3 cup additional flour to make up for the extra moisture.  Presto …  Banana Nut Muffins.  It yielded a bit more than a dozen muffins but I just put the extra batter in a greased and floured mini loaf pan and made a cute little miniature banana bread.

additional note: I modified this recipe again to make corn muffins by ommitting the fruit 1/4 cup sugar and vanillia and nuts and substituting the 1/3 Cup of Whole Wheat flour with 2/3 Cup Yellow cornmeal. Instead of greasing and flouring the muffin pans I only greased them. What a great side to go with a hot bowl of chili on a brisk Autumn Day! Enjoy!

additional note: Well, we’ve had our first hard frost and the winter apples are now ready. I peeled, diced, cooked and cooled about a cup of Winesap apples into a lumpy applesauce. I used this in place of the fruit and added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and a teaspoon of organic cinnamon. Once I filled the muffin tins I sprinkled the tops with a finely chopped walnut, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture and then baked them. I must say these are the best breakfast muffins EVER!

 

HELP My Sourdough and Kefir are Taking Over!!!

One thing about getting back to basics and getting your “ferment” on, is how so few ingredients can grow and grow and grow. I look around and there is sauerkraut and ginger bug fermenting on the counter, probiotic sodas fermenting in a shelf, sourdough fermenting on the baker’s rack, kefir fermenting……and on and on. They are all being carefully nurtured and cared for so that they can care for us. But they all do grow and multiply. Stalling them in the fridge is a temporary solution and does provide a bit of a break but there is only so much bread, waffles, pancakes, smoothies and yogurt 2 people can eat. So I set out to find new ways (at least new to me) to use some of these wonderful ferments. Today I’ll be documenting my first attempt at making a sourdough chocolate cake with a vanilla kefir frosting.

Here I go…wish me luck!

Figure 3 - Sourdough Chocolate Cake Serving

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

In a large bowl mix:

2 organic eggs

I Cup sugar

½ stick butter (softened)

2 Tablespoons grape seed oil

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

½ Cup sourdough starter

Sift into a medium bowl:

1 Cup unbleached organic flour

1/3 Cup organic cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

Combine sifted ingredients with wet ingredients and mix well.  Pour into an 8 x 8 inch greased and floured cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Figure 1 - Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Vanilla Kefir Frosting

In a medium bowl combine:

½ stick of butter (softened)

1 ½ Cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

2 Tablespoons Kefir

Mix on high speed until light and fluffy.

Figure 2 - Sourdough Chocolate Cake Frosted

I have to say this is SIMPLY delicious!

An Apple A Day …

Recently my Sister-in-law Mary, who is a fabulous cook, shared a recipe with me for an apple cake. Since harvest season is here and there is an abundance of produce (Apples being among them)I thought I’d use some of those Apples that were on the verge of becoming a casualty of the compost pile.  The recipe she sent made a 9 x 13 inch cake pan which is far too large for the 2 of us here so I’ve modified the recipe to be a single 8 x 8 cake. I’ve also changed up the ingredients from traditional to organic and substituted some of the ingredients for healthier versions.  This cake also works well substituting pears for apples.

 

Jewish Apple Cake.

First let me say that I don’t think any of my substitutions made this cake less acceptable to the Jewish community keeping in mind their religious dietary restrictions.

 

Ingredients:

Cake:

½ Cup Natural raw sugar granules

¼ Cup Stevia (Natural Zero calorie sweetener)

2 organic eggs

½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon organic cinnamon

½ teaspoon organic vanilla

½ Cup of organic grape seed oil (or any neutral flavored oil)

¾ Cup organic unbleached white flour

¼ Cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour

½ Cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) raisins also work well.

2 large apples (peeled and chopped)

Figure 1 - Making Apple CakeFigure 2 - Apple Cake Mixed

Topping:

¼ Cup finely chopped walnuts (oatmeal also works here)

¼ Cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon organic cinnamon

Figure 3 - Apple Cake Spread in PanFigure 4 - Apple Cake Topped

Instructions:

Grease and flour an 8 x 8 inch glass cake pan.

In a large bowl mix sugar, stevia, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in oil and mix well. Add both kinds of flour and mix well. Fold in apples and nuts. Batter will be very stiff. Scrape cake batter into greased and floured cake pan and spread evenly.

 

Make topping: In medium bowl mix brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake batter.

Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. Cake is done when inserted tooth pick comes out clean.

Let cake cool.

Serve plain or top with powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.

Figure 5 - Apple Cake CooledFigure 6 - Apple Cake Served with Ice Cream

YUM!

Mmmmm…Smell That Bread

Figure 1 Sourdough Baguettes -recipe

Sourdough Baguettes

After some experimentation to see how Sourdough reacts to certain conditions and techniques I’ve discovered that it seems to enjoy very little attention.  Again “less is more”. The hardest part of this process for me is to let Mother Nature do her job without my interference. I’m not good with idle hands.

Here is the process I used to make my sourdough baguettes and based on the reception from my taste testers I have committed it in writing on a recipe card.  Done Deal!

In a glass mixing bowl add:

1/2 Cup unfed sourdough starter

A generous 1/2 Cup of tepid non-chlorinated water

A scant Cup of unbleached flour

Mix well and let stand at room temperature for about 12 – 14 hours. (Really…just leave it alone)

Add:

A generous 1/2 Cup of tepid non-chlorinated water

A scant Cup of unbleached flour

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1 Teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt

Mix well and add:

1 more Cup of unbleached flour.

Mix well and pour out onto a surface that has an additional 1 1/4 Cup of flour on it and gently knead until all the flour has been picked up.

Place in a greased and covered bowl and let rise until doubled 4-6 hours. (Again…Really…just leave it alone).

When doubled or even tripled in bulk gently pour out onto a floured surface (I use a shaker filled with flour for this). Dust the top with flour and gently cut the dough in half (Don’t punch it down like with regular yeast type bread, you want the holes for texture). Gently shape the dough into Baguettes and transfer them onto a greased baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel and let raise 2 – 4 hrs. (this is relative to temperature and humidity in your kitchen, just be patient and peek in on it every once in a while).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Score the Loaves diagonally with a very sharp knife. This helps them expand in the oven without cracking

Slightly mist the loaves with a food grade spray bottle filled with water.

Bake in a  425 degree preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

Store in a paper bag (plastic will change the crust from crusty to rubbery).