Make Your Own Kombucha!

Kombucha is made by fermenting tea and sugar together. It is a “living” health drink and has been consumed for centuries. It is believed to have originated in Asia and consumed for over two thousand years in Eastern Europe. The Kombucha culture or “Scoby” is a symbiotic culture of bacteria (good) and yeast that feeds off the sugar and tea causing fermentation. Every time you brew Kombucha a new layer forms on the scoby. You can leave it on or remove and give to a friend, or store in case something goes wrong with your scoby.

Kombucha has many health properties and is rich in probiotics and antioxidants. You can purchase Kombucha at any health food store and now in almost any grocery store. Restaurants are also serving this tangy pop alternative. Making your own Kombucha is very easy once you get the hang of it. You can purchase a “Scoby” at various health food stores or you can make your own (which is easy and less expensive)

What you will need to start

  • Small bottle of Original Kombucha (not flavoured). I used GT’s original
  • 2-3 Tea bags (Black, Oolong, Green, or White tea only)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar ( You must use sugar for the fermentation process)
  • 2 Cups Boiling Water
  1. Wash a large mason jar or glass jug thoroughly. Add sugar and tea bags.
  2. Add boiling water to sugar and tea bags. Set aside to steep for a few minutes. Stir with a clean plastic or wooden spatula.
  3. Remove tea bags and cool tea until room temperature.
  4. Add the bottle of purchased Kombucha to the brewed tea mixture, cover with a breathable cloth (I generally use a new J-Cloth and secure it with an elastic). Do not close with a lid as it requires oxygen.
  5. Place your Kombucha mixture in a well ventilated dark area (I put mine in an empty cupboard).
  6. Leave mixture untouched for 7-10 days.

After 7-10 days you will see a thin rubbery looking layer on the top of the tea, this is your Scoby! If there is mold on the scoby please discard and repeat the process but ensure everything you use is sterilized and clean.

Making your first batch of Kombucha!

Now that you have your Scoby you can start making Kombucha. It is almost the same process.

  • Wash and sterilize a large glass jar or container that can hold 8 cups of brewed tea. I use a large glass drink dispenser.
  • Add 8 cups boiling water, 8 tea bags and I cup sugar.
  • Cool to room temperature.
  • Add Scoby and 1 cup of the previous kombucha mixture that the scoby was in to the cooled tea.
  • Cover top with sterile breathable cloth (cheese cloth or J-Cloth).
  • Set aside in a dark room temperature area for 5-7 days.
  • Check mixture after 5-7 days, a new scoby should have formed and the tea will be lighter in colour. Taste should be slightly sour but not over powering (if left too long it will take on a very vinegar like taste and smell)

Even though you are excited and ready to try your Kombucha there is ONE more step! In order to get some of that fizziness into Kombucha and/or to flavour it there is a 2nd Ferment to be done. If you would like to flavour your kombucha with fruit or flavoured tea you can add it to a glass flip top bottle before adding the kombucha. Make sure you leave about 1/2 cup of Kombucha in the container with your scoby. I pour the mixture into a measuring cup, then using a funnel pour into the flip bottles. Fill the bottles leaving some space for air. Close them up and leave on the counter for 1-2 days. (You will see bubbles forming as the fermentation process continues.) After 1-2 days taste your Kombucha it should have a slight fizz. You can now store in the fridge and enjoy! It will keep for a few weeks. Now you can start your next batch!

Each time you make a batch always leave some of the original brew with your scoby. I always brew a new tea in a separate container and wait until it is room temperature and then add it to the existing scoby mixture, this way I do not have to handle the scoby too much or disrupt it. Never add the boiling mixture directly into the culture as it will kill the scoby.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Fall Inspired Pumpkin Chia Pudding.

A nutritious quick breakfast or snack. Easy to make with delicious pumpkin spice flavour. Chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3, fibre, antioxidants, iron, calcium and protein. Mixed with unsweetened pumpkin puree which is high in Vitamin A and low in calories.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 Banana (optional)
  • 1 cup Almond Milk or other Plant Based Milk
  • 1 tsp Natural Vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp Maple Syrup/ Brown Sugar
  • 2-3 tsp Pumpkin Spice Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • In a food processor or blender combine pumpkin puree, sweetener, banana, spices and blend.
  • Add plant based milk and chia seeds, blend again until well mixed.
  • Spoon into serving bowls or cups.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  • Serve as is, or top with granola, nuts or pumpkin seeds and Enjoy!

Ratatouille

Easy to make, full of garden fresh veggies.

Wondering what to make with all those fresh veggies from the garden or farmer’s market? Ratatouille is easy to make, full of nutrients and can be frozen to use over those cold winter nights.

What you will need

  • Large garden zucchini or 3 small zucchinis (approx 3 cups) diced
  • 1 large eggplant (2 cups) diced
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes chopped
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green) chopped
  • dried oregano, parsley, paprika (1 -2 tsp)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • sea salt (1-2 tsp)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (2 tbsp)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  1. Prepare all veggies by chopping,dicing to your preferred size. (I like a larger chunk of veggie)
  2. Heat olive oil, add onion and garlic, saute on medium heat.
  3. Add peppers, zucchini, then eggplant and tomatoes. Continue to saute until all veggies are soft.
  4. Add parsley, oregano , paprika and salt, mix well and continue to saute for another minute until spices are well blended.
  5. Add vegetable broth and tomato paste, stir gently and continue to simmer on med heat for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer on low for another 5 minutes. Add more vegetable broth if needed to cover veggies.
  7. Serve with rice, quinoa, or a nice slice of french bread!

Cashew Kale Pesto

Fresh And Versatile Cashew Kale Pesto

With the garden full of fresh herbs and veggies here is a delicious twist on pesto! Vegan,full of fibre, calcium,vitamin K, magnesium, B12, anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This pesto is great on pizza,pasta, potatoes or just plain out of the jar!

  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews soaked in water overnight
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 1 Cup Fresh Baby Kale
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Grated
  • 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • Pepper To Season
  • Small Amount Of Water If Required
  • In food processor blend cashews, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, nutritional yeast and garlic until coarse but well mixed.
  • Add Basil, baby kale, remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and continue to process until well blended but still slightly coarse. Add small amount of water if required to blend into a desired consistency. I like my pesto smooth but not runny.
  • Store in an airtight container or glass jar and can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen up to 6 months
Cashew Kale Pesto added onto to pizza with tomatoes,red onion and pear. My teenagers devoured it in minutes!

Zucchini Brownies

Vegan Zucchini Brownies..delicious!

Who does not like a gooey chocolatey brownie? Add a little zucchini, lower the sugar and you have a somewhat nutritious treat without all the guilt!

Ingredients for Vegan Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups grated zucchini
  2. 2 cups flour of your choosing (almond, whole wheat, all purpose)
  3. 1 cup organic coconut sugar
  4. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  5. 2 tsp baking soda
  6. 1 tsp salt (I used grey salt)
  7. 1 1/4 cups vegan chocolate chips/chunks
  8. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  9. 1/2 cup oil (Coconut, extra virgin olive oil)
  10. Container of organic chocolate frosting (or create your own *please see recipe)
  11. Lightly greased baking dish.

Instructions

  1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees, lightly grease a baking dish ( I used 8″ square glass)
  2. Grate Zucchini using a food processor or grater.
  3. Add coconut sugar, vanilla, oil and cocoa powder to zucchini mixture and combine until well blended.
  4. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt together.
  5. Slowly add dry mixture to the zucchini mixture, mix until well combined but do not over mix.
  6. Add chocolate chips to mixture and stir just until chocolate chips are combined into the batter.
  7. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake at 375 for 26-30 minutes.
  8. Remove to cool.
  9. * Optional add frosting to brownies and serve!

Quick Chocolate Frosting Recipe

I did use a pre- packaged container of frosting as it was on sale which is a rarity for organic vegan items! However vegan frosting is easy to make!

  1. 1 cup organic powdered sugar *regular powdered sugar uses bone char for decolorizing filter.
  2. 1/2 cup vegan margarine.
  3. 1/4 cup cocoa powder.
  4. 1 tsp pure vanilla.

Combine mixture in food processor.

Cauliflower Green Curry

Cauliflower Green Curry with Baked Tofu,Bok Choy and Black Bean Noodles
  • INGREDIENTS
  • 1 head cauliflower broken into small pieces
  • 2 -3 bok choy sliced into large pieces
  • 2 large carrots diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper sliced into thin strips
  • 1 package Organic Firm Tofu cubed
  • Black Bean Pasta (or Rice noodles, Basmati Rice) serving amount desired for 4
  • 1 can Coconut Milk (light or full fat depending on your preference)
  • 1 cup organic vegetable broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • Garlic sprouts or green onion.
  • 3 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sesame seeds (I chose black sesame seeds)
  • 1 -2 shoots lemongrass
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Garlic powder

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Slice and chop veggies and set aside.
  • Slice tofu into cubes, toss with 2 tsp sesame seed oil, soy sauce and garlic sprouts or green onion, salt, garlic powder and pepper.
  • Place cauliflower florets on baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven to roast for 20-30 minutes occasionally turning over. Set aside when roasted.
  • Place tofu on another baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping over after 10 minutes. Set aside
  • Heat a medium sized pot adding 1 tsp olive oil, add peppers, slice of lemongrass and carrots. Sautee until vegetables are tender.
  • Add vegetable broth, green curry paste and roasted cauliflower.
  • Add coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and discard lemon grass shoots from curry.
  • In a pan heat up 1 tsp sesame oil and sautee bok choy until tender, remove from heat.
  • Last step is to cook your pasta or rice.

In a bowl add noodles, a few large scoops of cauliflower curry, bok choy and tofu. Garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds and lime. Children can build their own bowls choosing the amount of each item to add in!

ENJOY!