Kefir and me!

Authentic Food is my Medicine !Kefir is a fermented milk using “Kefir Grains” (looks a little like cauliflower flowerettes) with cow or goat’s milk, originating from the area around the Caucasus Mountains.  These grains are a living organism full with lactic acid bacteria and yeast.  The grains feed on the sugars in the milk, creating this bacteria that helps digest the lactose. Over time the grains grow, especially in summertime when temperatures are higher than the rest of the year.  I have notice by making Kefir milk/yogurt every day I have increased my daily calcium intake. Personally, I think this simple routine of making Kefir has increased my drive to improve my overall health.   For years, I had aching pains in my left hip and sometimes at the end of my spine. Many  years ago, I was diagnosed with Osteopenia, (part of my autoimmune disease) and have been taken 2 calcium tablets a day since then to relieve the pain. If I miss taking them for more than one day I could feel a dull pain coming back again. Now as I look back , I feel my body was crying out for  authentic food, but  I just kept ignoring  what my own body was telling me, always too busy to put my health first.  So, if there is anyone out there in a similar or worse situation, please , listen to what your body is telling you, your health is your wealth (this was one of my father’s quotes). Doctors prescribe medication where many have a limited knowledge on beneficial food nutrients.  If you can read this blog, then you have the key  to achieve optimal health and take control of your health. So why not start today,  take a baby step by introducing something healthy into your diet.  🙂

In the last couple of years I was  getting a slight pain in my right hip and my left knee was locking when I went walking.  This pain was the catalyst that inspired me to take control of my own health. I felt if I didn’t grasp this moment now I’d be in a terrible way in a few years, it’s never too late to change. So this slow process begins, through reading books, articles on foods, their nutrient values and watching interesting YouTube videos. It can increase your knowledge in  understanding how important authentic food is to the body.  As I was doing that I came across many articles about fermented foods and the impact they can have on the body.  So this little Kefir grain by way of the internet, has introduced me to fermented foods and between making Kefir milk, Kefir yogurt , eating soft cheeses and taking 2 calcichew  d3 tablets every day, my bones feel much stronger than ever before. May my family, friends and myself be always blessed and surrounded by veritable organic foods , especially these little grains and authentic milk.  Now to simple steps and photos in making this special elixir , well for me anyway.

Kefir:

Buy your Kefir grains on the internet (kefir.ie) or perhaps you may be lucky enough to receive a present of them from a kind person or a friend.:)

Step one:

Place grain/grains into a clean glass jar and pour in your milk of choice .  If you have just one or two grains just put around a quarter cup of milk and as they grow add more milk.  I usually gauge it to one tablespoon of grains to one cup of milk.. ( When it increases in size, I put what I don’t want into refrigerator, placing it in a glass jar with  milk and  the lid on. You can also feed it to your plants in the yard , garden or a plant pot, especially in the warmer weather,  it’s great for roses and even the bird’s love it:)

photo.JPG, Kefir grains 1.JPG       photo.JPG kefir%2Fmilk2.JPG

Step two: (first fermentation)

Cover the jar with a tea towel and place it in a dark area, like your cupboard. Leave it there overnight.

photo.JPG kefir 7.JPG

Step three:

Next day , strain milk into your jug with a plastic sieve. Now, you have your Kefir milk.

photo.JPG kefir strain 4.JPG

Step four: ( second fermentation)

Pour strained milk into another glass jar with lid on and let it stand for another eight hours or longer on your counter. I leave it overnight  on the counter and in the morning I have a slightly thicker milk.. (Kefir yogurt)

photo.JPG kefir 5 (1).JPG

Step five :

Repeat all the above steps by placing the grains again into a clean glass jar with your choice of milk. Cover with a clean tea cloth and then place it into your cupboard. Simple or what!

Finally, every morning I make a smoothie with the Kefir yogurt ,adding a banana or apple or berries and  honey or maple syrup into a blender , as it has a tart taste and I find it hard to drink without the fruit etc.

Notes : – Use a clean glass jar to store the grains. – While taking out the grains from the plastic strainer always use a wooden spoon. – Never let heat touch your grains as it will destroy them.

photo.JPG Kefif 4b (1).JPG

Why not give it a try !

Authentic Food is my Medicine !

Oh I do wish I was beside the seaside, especially in Lahinch, Co Clare, as I have just returned from there, having a great time with family and our little sweetheart pet, Solas.  This is a magnificent area, strolling along those wonderful sandy beaches where the water is soooo clean, and the smell of the Atlantic is sooo profoundly naturally healthy !  It’s renowned for surfing, when the waves are good you just see these black heads bobbing up and down on the horizon, at first I thought they were dolphins, perhaps I should go to Specsavers !

On one of our days there, we visited Doolin, which is about 15 kilometers from Lahinch.  It’s a very picturesque hamlet known for many a good traditional musical night,  you can also take a ferry to the aran islands from this little hamlet’s inlet.  Well, let me move on with my story, we parked our car in a public car park across from the ferry.  I remained in the car , as my hubby brought Solly down to the sea. Why you may ask yourself, miss an opportunity like that  ?  Well, I had an  Irish breakfast and  my body felt so heavy and energyless after it. This breakfast includes sausages, rashers, tomatoes, white/black pudding and not forgetting the fried egg.  However,  to the rescue I took out my bottle of Kombucha  (fermented tea drink) and had a glass of it.  Just sipping it slowly I began to feel much better.  My energy and my old self was coming back again on this wonderful planet. I just couldn’t believe the impact it had on me,  As I’m only making this elixir since March.

So, now  I was well enough to  join the others as we crossed over granite slabs with many crevices between them, navigating my way around the Burren “jigsaw”,  taking in the beauty of the wild fauna.  I was amazed at my recovery level, this never happened to me before.  When I usually go away on holidays, away from my daily routine, I struggle to feel good as I indulge in the local cuisine especially the desserts.  However, this time I took my Kefir grains/ milk/ yogurt with me as we stayed on our little green Ireland. So, I have come to the conclusion that without these fermented drinks I wouldn’t have enjoy my holidays as much as I did. I started to take Kefir milk and yogurt around Feb 16, so it’s not very long. I’m convinced it’s helping me fight viruses for the first time in a very long time, positive times ahead 🙂

There are many blogs about this wonderful elixir on wordpress and other social media outlets. However, for people who don’t know about these magical grains, well for me anyway, my  next blog  I’ll talk  about why I’d need this amazing drink and I’ll show you a few simple steps and images to make your own Kefir milk.  Eat  well!

Free Gaff!

Chickens leave the nest!

emptynest 3.jpg

 

 

  • Chicks return quite often these days, thank God,  even stay with you until they have a deposit for their own nest.

 

  • They are never too far away, not like in the olden days, when they left they were gone. Today you can click on your computer to speak and see them or with a simple whatsapp text  you’ll feel they are just down the road.

 

  • Letting them go is a must, it’s sad but with time you will enjoy your new life and never look back.  It’s a time for individual growing, new challenges ahead and fulfilling dreams and goals.

 

  • Rebuilding relationships with hubby/partner, for single parents find love, why not !  Love has no ageism !  You’re free from the extra expense, perhaps now you’ll have a few pennies left in your pocket to indulge yourself.

 

  • Catch up on latest trends in music, films, however, no reality shows!

 

  • Be creative, invent something really relevant for the good of mankind.  Leave a mark of your journey on this planet, to your loved one’s, or your community, inspiring other to follow and carry the torch.  Well there’s a challenge !

Empty Nest Syndrome heading for me !

empty-nest-1408953

Just had a magnificent time with my family last week, it was very special because my adult children came home, my daughter Buzz from London, and Casper, my son from New Zealand.  Buzz comes home regularly, however, Casper hasn’t been home for a year and half.  They are both extremely happy where they live, London offers so much diversity, it’s exciting and no match for our little old town, Dublin.  New Zealand is quite the opposite, so laid back attitude and much safer to stroll down the streets of Wellington late at night without feeling intimidated, which you might feel in certain parts of Dublin, well according to my son.

Now my daughter is gone back and my son is gone away for a few days but he’ll be back for another little while. I reflect on how these visits will become less as they become more settled in their lives and how my husband and myself will have to etch out a new path on our journey.  At the moment, we are carers for my daughter’s dog Solas, who has cancer in her liver.  She is doing well at the moment, we take one day at a time and enjoy her energy and her love for life.  She has so much strength, you’d think there was nothing wrong with her, she knows only to live for today.

When I was young I was ambitious with many  plans,  but looking back now they were mostly about success, job and money.  I could not have imagined how my life would pan out. All plans go out the door with everyday living especially with your soul mate by your side. It has been amazing living in the moment with him and my children. Yes,we have all made mistakes along the way but my two beautiful children were not one of them.  Through making mistakes we all learn and without them my life would have been very boring and “safe”.  So, perhaps I’ll take on the next chapter in my life on a day to day basis, enjoying the ups and downs. And  creating a healthier lifestyle for my husband, myself and Solas! Now,my nest doesn’t feel so empty after all.

Sunflowers for optimal health!

download.jpg

 

I don’t know about you, but I have all these so called great ideas in my head regarding my next adventure with food.  On a number of occasions I have purchased products to make something and I usually end up throwing out the item because it’s well out of date, I’m sure it happens to others, it’s annoying/ wasteful to say the least!  

Well, after having our evening meal my husband and I like to have a cuppa and a biscuit, sounds real boring, it’s not when you have a nice fire roaring, rain bucketing down outside  and looking at a good movie , relaxing with the person you most admire in your life.  At this time, I have a cup of sage tea as it controls my hot flushes. I don’t know of anyone else that takes it but it does the trick for me.  My husband has a sweet tooth and I’m the opposite, I love my solid “real” foods but sometimes I concur  with his love of these tantalizing biscuits, chocolates sausages and chips etc.  However, I pay the price for my weaknesses, they profoundly affect my  sleep pattern. The next day, I invariably wake up with a headache and my whole system seem out of sync. It takes me one or two days to feel myself again.

So quite recently while looking in the food cupboard I spotted a bag of sunflower seeds, yes, why not, I’ll try to make sunflower butter from them so I can have it on crackers with my cuppa instead of these tantalizing biscuits.  These seeds are full of micro-nutrients  such as Vitamin E, copper, B Vitamins like thiamine, phosphorus, selenium and also provide you with fatty acid in the form of Linoleic acid, which I’m apparently lacking as I have under-active thyroid.,  I have been taking Eltroxin for this condition on a daily basis for a number of years and I was told I’ll be on it for life! But maybe not, as the micro-nutrient selenium supports the thyroid, who really knows?, there is always hope!

 

Now to the recipe!!!!

 

Step one :

 

Put 200g of sunflower seeds into a grinder, (all of this packet) and grind for five to ten minutes depending on the speed of your machine.

photo (13).JPG

From Lidl

 

 

Step two:

Two to three tablespoons of pure olive oil as I want a smooth texture.  Next time making it  I’ll blend the seeds longer, perhaps then I won’t need so much oil.

photo (15).JPG

Next time, less!

 

Step three:

Add two teaspoons of honey, it adds to the taste.

photo (17).JPG

Today’s choice

 

Step four:

Add half a teaspoon of cacao powder to improve colour, ( optional).

 

photo (14).JPG

Love chocolate !

Step five:

Add a teaspoon of sea salt, according to taste.

 

photo (20).JPG

Sea salt, d best.

 

 

Et Voila ! Put it into a plastic/glass container, leave to cool down, then cover it and finally into the refrigerator.

 

 

photo (19).JPG

Appearance!

 

 

Finally, success!, as I have it with crackers instead of indulging in those tantalising biscuits. It’s a great way to get these kind of seeds into your diet as it can be difficult to include them in your daily routine. Just nearly finished it and I’ll be making more of it soon..  Later on I’ll let you know if I change anything in this recipe.  Not too happy with the colour maybe someone out there might be able to help me out with its appearance.

 

 The proof is in the eating !

photo (18).JPG

Delicious !!!!

 

Would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solas, the light of life !

 

Today felt like the first real summer’s day this year, there was a real air of excitement  from everyone on Dollymount Strand as my husband and I walked along with the water ebbing in and out between our feet. Our dog Solly was running frantically in the water, hard to get her attention as she kept her nose close to the water, don’t really know what she’s trying to catch ! However, one thing I know is this little black adorable Cocker Spaniel has  cancer and has been on chemotherapy tablets called Masivet for the last three years.  To see her run on the beach today, so full of life, it is hard to believe that she has a mast cell tumor on her left side of her small body, and about two weeks ago we got the dreaded news that the cancer had gone into her liver.  She is still on steroids, just on four a day now, so for the moment no more getting up in the middle of the night to let her out to wee because of all the medication she was taking, making her thirsty and hungry.

photo (4).JPG

You might be wondering why I have this on my blog but I’m hoping someone out there might be able to suggest a home remedy for Solly.  I give her a teaspoon of kefir with her dry food in the morning and it has stopped her ears from getting red and itchy.  Later in the day I give her chicken with ground turmeric.

The leader of our pack is our daughter Buzz, who is away In London working but comes home nearly every six weeks.  She’s  great for Solly, every time bring her a small soft toy to play with and sometimes by the time Buzz is going away again she has chewed it into pieces.  So, as one of her carers I’d love to know if there was  something else I could do for our special little sweetheart. Our son Casper is also away working In New Zealand but is doing work in Europe from the middle of May and hopes to spend some time with us all later on in his stay.  Another reason to help Solly stay well until then and perhaps longer!

Kombucha photos as promised!

Step 1.

Either purchase a “SCOBY” online or create it yourself (buying a glass bottle from your supermarket to store it in). That’s what I did to create  one.

image

Step 2.

After leaving your fermenting tea liquid for 7 days or more, depending on your taste, pour into jug/jugs. Always remember to keep a cup or two of your liquid for the “SCOBY”, so as to keep it feeding and alive, and you can repeat the process later.

photo.JPG
Step 3.

Now it is ready for the second stage. Here you can add about a half a cup of fruit juice, apple, pear or strawberries etc. I’m only a beginner at making this, but so far my preference is strawberry juice. Then pour the fermented tea into a glass bottle, filling it nearly to the brim.  Give it a few minutes to settle and then secure the top on.

photo (1).JPG

Step 4.

Now leave it on your counter for four days. You might have to leave it longer, it all depends on your taste.  Perhaps I have left something important out, if so, please let me know as I’m just a novice at this and also blogging!

photo (2).JPG

 

Step 5.

Enjoy the process and then relax in the evening with a glass of Kombucha.

Why not give it a go!

 

photo (3).JPG