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Flavoring Milk Kefir (& Secondary Fermentation)

Last year we started making and drinking milk kefir. If you’re not familiar with what milk kefir is, Kefir is a creamy probiotic drink that is kind of like a cross between yogurt and buttermilk, but it has up to 10 times more beneficial probiotics than yogurt! ‘

Kefir is full of vitamins, essential amino acids, minerals and easy to digest protein. According to Dom’s Kefir, even those who are lactose intolerant are able to drink kefir, because the yeast and bacteria in the kefir consume the lactose during the fermentation process. You can use cow’s milk, goat’s milk or even coconut milk for a dairy free option. I posted about the basics of making kefir last year.

Today I wanted to share a few fun ways for flavoring milk kefir and doing a secondary fermentation. A few ideas I got from Cultures for Health would be:

Cinnamon and Vanilla (I used about 1/4teaspoon vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon per 3/4 cup kefir) Pumpkin Pie Spices (1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, pinch of allspice, pinch of nutmeg and pinch of ginger) Fresh Fruit (Toss in a few cherries, blueberries, or strawberries and puree. I used my immersion blender.) Cocoa or Carob Powder Citrus Fruit Peels (to be removed after fermentation!!)

Add the desired flavorings to the freshly made milk kefir (from which the grains have been removed), cover with a lid and allow to ferment for 8-12 hours before consuming or moving to the fridge. And, good taste isn’t the only reason to do a secondary fermentation. B vitamins are increased and calcium and magnesium are more available to the body following a secondary fermentation.

You can simply add the flavorings and consume immediately if you’d like. You might also be interested in 8 ways to use extra kefir grains. If you’ve never made kefir before and need a source for kefir grains, I highly recommend Cultures for Health. I have personally worked with them and they have absolutely amazing customer service. When I was trying to get my water kefir grains going they were very helpful with their live internet chat support and I would not hesitate to buy a culture from them.

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Tropical Fruit Smoothie

The days are starting to get hot here in Texas with temps up in the 90′s on a regular basis so it’s time to get back in smoothie making mode. This smoothie combines mango, banana and has added coconut oil and yogurt to give it extra nourishment and staying power. Sometimes when you drink a smoothie that is made with just fruit and ice it gives you a sugar rush, promptly followed by a crash and a feeling of hunger shortly thereafter. The healthy fats from coconut oil and yogurt help reduce the spike in bloodsugar and provide a more satisfying smoothie with longer staying power. This would also be excellent with coconut milk subbed in instead of yogurt for a dairy free option.

When choosing a mango don’t go by color. A ripe mango has a bit of give when it is lightly squeezed and may have a slightly fruity flavor at the stem end. Store unripened (hard) mangoes on the counter and once they have ripened they can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also peel and cube the mango and store the frozen bits for several months. If you’re not familiar with how to cut a mango, check out this video.

Print Tropical Fruit Smoothie

2 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup diced mango 1 sliced banana (preferably frozen) 1/2 cup yogurt or coconut milk 2 tablespoons coconut oil honey to taste

Instructions

Combine all ingredients, adding coconut oil last and blend on high until smooth or add to a cup and use an immersion blender to blend.Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin2.2http://thischickcooks.net/2013/06/15/tropical-fruit-smoothie/

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25+ Strawberry Recipes for Strawberry Lovers and Non-Strawberry Lovers

Strawberries are so delicious! Not only are they one of the tastiest delicacies when fresh, they also pack a great nutritional punch. According to WHFoods:

“Many foods commonly consumed in the U.S. are valuable sources of antioxidants. But researchers have recently ranked the 50 best antioxidant sources among commonly eaten foods and found strawberries to be quite exceptional.”

Strawberries are an awesome source for antioxidants, but they are also an excellent source of calcium and flavonoids and a good source or folate, potassium and dietary fiber. 8 strawberries provide more vitamin C than an orange! (source)

Here is a collection of recipes for strawberry lovers and some recipes to sneak some in for those who aren’t a fan.

Strawberry Basil Ice Cream from Baked Bree Strawberry and Arugula Salad with Grilled Halloumi from The Healthy Foody Black Bean and Feta Tacos with Strawberry Mango Salsa from Eats Well with Others Strawberry Kombucha from Cultures for Health Chicken and Strawberry Salad from Cooking Light Blueberry, Strawberry, Jicama Salsa from Two Peas and their Pod via Eat your Books

 

 

Strawberry Sauce from My Food Book (serve atop Grandma’s Whole Wheat Pancakes)

 

Strawberry Almond Butter Soup from Oh She Glows (I’d use regular milk and honey to sweeten as agave is highly processed)

 

Strawberry Ice Cream from My Whole Foods Life (dairy free)

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries from The Nourishing Gourmet

 

Strawberry Lemon Iced Tea from Curry and Comfort Strawberry Basil Lemonade from Kitchen Meets Girl 10 Minute Strawberry Jam from Splash of Something

 

Quick Strawberry Spring Salad from Cheerios and Lattes (would be awesome with sweet onion poppyseed dressing or 5 minute candied nuts)

Grain/Gluten Free Strawberry Almond Flapjacks from Just Eat Real Food

The Best Dessert Ever from GNOWFGLINS

 

Follow This 1 Tip for a Ton of Organic Strawberries in the Garden from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

 

Strawberry Lemon Zest Mousse from Apron Strings

Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote with Honey Custard from Nourished Kitchen

 

Strawberry Water Kefir from Our Nourishing Roots

Strawberry Fool from The Nourishing Gourmet

 

Strawberry Refrigerator Oats from This Chick Cooks (me) Organic Strawberry Fruit Leather from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

 

Yogurt Covered Strawberries from This Chick Cooks

And more…

Berry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie Homemade Strawberry Shakes from Kelly the Kitchen Kop

If you’re looking for more creative ideas for using strawberries you should check out The Flavor Bible. It is one of my favorite books ever. It gives suggestions for pairing foods. Simply look up an food and it gives you a long list of other ingredients that will compliment it!

 

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Cherry Vanilla Smoothie

Its been forever since I’ve had a smoothie… The chilly days of winter don’t always seem very welcoming for a cool beverage. But, now the days of spring are starting to intermingle with warmer days that feel a bit more like summer. Cherries aren’t in season yet, but I’m always a fan of making do with what you’ve got on hand and thought that a smoothie was just the thing for these cherries left from our birthday sundaes. It’s a cherry smoothie with vanilla and a bit of fresh mint from the garden.

You could almost call this a super smoothie as cherries are said to help reduce inflammation in the body, help you sleep, and even slow down the aging process through it’s flavonoids that act as antioxidants to help eliminate the byproducts of stress from your body. Plus, I blended in some coconut oil for all its numerous benefits.

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