Feb 28, 2012

Water Kefir

Say wha????? I know, it's ok. When I talk about this yummy flavored soda pop type of drink, I get the look. No, it's not a foreign language, and no it's not a new kind of drink meant for earth loving hippies that sit in a circle chanting. Water kefir is an amazing probiotic drink full of the good healthy bacteria that our bodies need.

I have always been into healthy eating, and trying new things, especially after having my first child. It all started with breastfeeding (which I have spent four years of my life doing, woot woot!!) and just grew from there. I buy very little processed foods, and make most everything from scratch.

Now, let me just mention though that just because something is homemade, it is NOT OKAY to eat a ginormous piece of apple pie and several scoops of homemade ice cream...not that I did that...just want to throw that out there for those that *could* be tempted you know...

I am grateful that I LOVE to cook, and love to try new recipes. I have recently become a member of the Holistic Moms Network here in St.Cloud that I have learned a lot from. Between HMN and being a LLL leader for our area, you hear copious amounts of cool things to try. One of them is water kefir. You can learn more about it here. The end result is a fizzy almost soda-like type of drink. You can flavor it, this time I did a raspberry lemonade. The girls even like it, and you don't have to drink much to gain the benefits. It is definitely a trial and error type of process. The second batch I made fermented too long and tasted like a very strong type of wine. Kids weren't impressed.

It all starts with these groovy little things called kefir grains. There are two types of grains, water or milk. I buy my milk kefir from our coop, and have no desire to make it on my own. I got my grains from a mom who attends my Holistic Moms meetings. You can also buy them online too.
The process is quite easy, you use a combination of water, sugar and dried fruit, along with the grains which you sit in a cool dark place to ferment, usually 12-24 hours. After this first ferment you can flavor it, and then let it ferment again.

Now, one thing I beg of you, if you are going try this, is to make sure you buy organic dried fruit without sulfites. I had a major skin reaction and realized it was from the dried cranberries I had used. You can read the step by step process here.

I really feel like this is benefiting all of us, especially Alayna who has been dealing with a wonky gut lately.

Feb 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

Well, now that everyone has come down from their sugar highs (or comas), I thought I would show you what we (ok, more of an *I*) made for Valentine's Day. Alayna is in Kindergarten this year (all day everyday...WOOT WOOT....oops, did I say that?) and her teacher asked that no treats be brought in, as there are a few kids with allergies. I needed to come up with an alternative, and was pretty excited and what we (I) did. For the girls we made heart wands, which were actually pretty easy. I used my Cricut to cut out the hearts, and then had the girls decorate them.

For the boys I was bummed because I was all set to make these superhero capes to put on tootsie roll suckers. How cute are those?? But now I had to find something different to use instead of the suckers. Bum-dinger. I decided to go with plain ole pencils. Definitely not as cute as hers, but it worked!

And of course it looked ohhhh so super easy to make, but ended up taking me a couple hours of cutting, re-cutting and hot gluing (and maybe a swear word or two) to get these pups done. Alayna loved them, and that's all that matters. 'Cuz we know dang good and well that the pencils will never get used and the kids will say, "oh, neat" and throw them aside. *sigh* it's the memories, though, right?

These were just for Alayna's class, I have that whole over achiever disease when it comes to my kids and Kindergarten. As if I need to try and impress 24 five and six year olds. For the other two we went all cheap, Rachel got them conversation heart boxes, and Emma used 4 year old High School Musical cards I already had. Ya, didn't need to impress the older kids, ya know....

Feb 7, 2012

Banana Oatmeal "Granola" Bars

I found these on Mel's Kitchen Cafe and decided to make them for snack this afternoon. The kids loved them, and I love how healthy they are. I did use half white whole wheat flour and half rice flour. I baked them for 15 minutes so they were more of a chewy bar, and not really like a crunchy granola bar. Rachel wasn't too keen on the sunbutter in it, but she still ate them:)

Vegetable Soup

Thanks to Pinterest, my family is eating very well (not that we weren't before) thanks to all the amazing recipes to try! So many recipes, and so little time...

I know that my picture taking skills make you want to run out and try this recipe asap, but let me tell you, although it might not look that good, this is the BEST veggie soup I have tried! I found it on the blog Butterfly Food, her recipes are delicious, and although her pics don't quite compare to mine, she *is* is a pretty good photographer. (insert giggle here)

I did add a few things here, I added homemade chicken stock along with the water (I just eye balled it), quinoa (because it's so healthy for you, and it doesn't have much of a taste for the kids to whine about), and sweet potatoes. I left out the pasta, as we have some gluten-ey type of
intolerances in this house (along with breads, pastas, raw fruits/veggies, dairy...*sigh*...). Brad and the girls really loved, so it will be a keeper for us!