Science

Homemade Kefir and Smoothies and Blenders

IMG_5455Whilst we were in England, I had three lovely visits with a friend I've known since high school. She taught me about making your own kefir for all that probiotic goodness and I've tried it now that I'm home. I had heard interesting stories on the BBC about how our microbiome may affect our physical and mental health. Fascinating stuff. Why not add it to a healthy diet? (Which I'm working on to make better habits!)

I decided to keep it simple, cheap, and cheerful to start in case I hated it. So I bought dry kefir starter and put it into milk. (The options are coconut water, juice or milk. I am not a fan of coconut water, thank you very much. With amount of coconuts I've peeled, cracked, drank and eaten as a kid in the tropics, I'm pretty much DONE with that.)(#islandgirl)

The flavor it creates is like a tart yogurt flavor in a creamy milky texture. I like it a lot. It's super easy: You put 1 quart of milk into a pitcher and one packet of dry kefir starter. Place a paper towel or coffee filter over the top, keep it in place with a rubber band and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours until the seeds bloom. Basically you know it's ready when the milk turns to cream and it has a lovely yogurt smell. Then you refrigerate and drink or make into smoothies or whatever you like, keeping 1/4 cup to start a new batch.

One very important step: once it's ready, blend or whisk it to smooth out the chunky bits. Because there will be chunky bits and that was an almost instant turn off when I poured out my first glass to drink. I quickly poured it back and texted my friend: What do I do with the chunks!?!?! 

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And the smoothie was good. But once I learned you can't kill the kefir with blending, I just give it a quick whisk in a glass before drinking it if I have no time for smoothies.

And putting it in smoothies is super yummy just like adding milk or yogurt. I tend to toss in whatever fruit is getting a bit too squishy plus some frozen fruit to make it cold. I also like to add shredded carrot and sometimes spinach if it's about to be past its prime. (The other morning I forgot the frozen stuff and have to say a lukewarm smoothie is not super great...lesson learned!)

IMG_5452Here is a ridiculous picture of my blender with peach, kefir, carrots, apple and banana. Crystal clear! LOL. Currently I have a GIANT Ninja blender. I was purchased in haste last year, but does come in handy for larger batches of smoothies and such. 

Oooh, random thought: I have about 1/4 cup of passion fruit juice that I squeezed myself when I made passion fruit curd a few weeks ago. (Post on that later!) I will put that in a smoothie soon! MMmmmmm. 

I'm giving it a shot, maybe it improves my mood? (Not that I need much help in that arena.) Maybe it improves my colon health? (Won't really know that until I get my next colonoscopy.) Maybe it improves my smoothy flavor? (Never a bad thing.)

No matter the result, I'll report back.

 

 

 

P.S. Many of my links connect you with Amazon Affiliates products. I write about things I love and use. I don't get compensated to write about them. (I'll tell you if I do.) However, if you do decide to click through and end up buy something, I'll get a little bit from that. 


Totally Random Frey Family Quotes

(And not pregnancy related...)

I found this old notebook in a drawer this weekend. It's a small notebook I used to carry in my purse to jot down things on the fly. In 2005 Kurt and I were up in Seattle visiting his brother and two of his cousins had come for a visit as well. I had met Burt but not Richard. Both are science geniuses and charming in their oddness. Burt is a fluid dynamics expert (used to teach at MIT and now is one of the few experts in the country who design air flow systems for skyscrapers and is a brilliant cellist) and Richard was a chemist and mathemetician (he is also a world ranked chess player, even played against Bobby Fischer as a kid (but lost).) Anyway, listening to the two of them talk was wild as I am NOT a scientist of any kind. I had to write down a few gems but I didn't note who said what.

At one point they were talking about how in 2nd year physics they learned "This year physical observables will become eigenvalues of hermitian operators."

I think I burst out laughing at that point and grabbed my notebook to write this down.

I then learned that ""mathematicians laugh at physicists, Niels Bohr was a bastard and that Linus Pauling "was no dumb-ass." (Finally words I could understand!)

The whole visit was a lesson for me in "wow, I had a completely different college experience."

In another time and place, I believe it was Paris in 2006, we were visiting with our friends Pranab and Kate, also two very highly educated people (both PhDs - he in physics, she in....oh man I forget! Sorry Kate!). Pranab is slightly more down to earth than the above cousins, but still said something I had to write down: "I had a key to the [nuclear] reactor!" Dude, that's cool.

Later we must have been talking about food (hey, we were in Paris, it's often a big topic) and Kurt said, "It suddenly occurred to me that I misplaced a large wedge of cheese." Context? Who knows -- so much more fun out of context.

I wanted to write these things down only because we still talk about the brainiac cousins and their conversations that fly over our heads (okay, mostly MY head). Good times!


Random Tidbits To Finish The Week

Goldstar Tonight is the Battlestar Galactica premiere of the last ten shows. We are joining friends to all watch together and that will be fun. Apparently there is a series called "Caprica" in the making which tells an earlier story of, uh, Caprica an the cylons, etc. Why make a whole new show and cancel the original when clearly the show is very popular? Confusing.

 
Goldstar I bought a book on Umbria yesterday from my 2nd favorite travel bookstore, The Traveler's Bookcase. (Well, technically it's #1 because my favorite bookstore, California Map and Travel went out of business.) We've not been back to Italy since January 2003 on our honeymoon. Six years is way too long to be away from Italy, IMAO. I was watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and he went to Venice. Oh Venice. Just watching those images made me really long for Italy, wether it's Venice or Rome or Lucca or Siena or whatever. I just need to go back. So as a soothing balm, I bought a small book on Umbria to whet my appetite and to dream a bit about our next trip. 


Goldstar I donated platelets yesterday, got $15 worth of coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf as a thank you, which was very nice. I watched the first half of "A Fish Called Wanda" which I hadn't seen in ages. Oh the pants on Jamie Lee Curtis! No low rise jeans in sight for miles/decades. Plus a few lines I had forgotten about like Kevin Kline yelling at John Cleese "You're the vulgarian you f**k!!" Nearly spit out my grape juice. Sarah had come along to donate as well, but alas her hemoglobin was not quite high enough. She's now wolfing down Total to bulk up her blood. It's a drag when you get turned away for that. (It's happened to me a couple of times now.) After all the birthday gifts and wishes, it was nice to give back a bit.

Goldstar I've taken the bus a few times this week. I had an acupuncture appointment on Tuesday in Westwood and it was easier/cheaper to take the bus (either the #8 or #12 Big Blue Bus) than to find and pay for parking. Plus after acupuncture, it's nice to keep that warm buzz going by not driving. Yesterday I took the bus home after platelets as Sarah didn't stay. Also a good way to relax after giving of your bodily fluids. (which my body will replace by today -- amazing.)

Goldstar 2009 is shaping up to be a bit different than my intellectual/monkey/uber capricorn brain thought it would be. I really find I need to catch up with myself, regroup, restructure myself, my life, my health. My health is generally good, but it can be much better. There are pounds to be shed, tight muscles to relax and stretch, greener foods to eat. There are photographs to take and new projects to start as well as projects to finish. I'm looking forward to it all but find I can't force myself to do it all faster! Now! Hurry! There are times when I feel like Luke on Dagobah, ready to live up to his Jedi potential but still a sulky kid needing a patient guiding hand. I am working with my inner Yoda this year and I will be the Jedi I always knew I would be. 








Misc. Mondays -- Neat O!

I started reading Neatorama on a regular basis (and linked them over there on the right.) It is neat! Kind of like a less serious Boing Boing.  

One thing I read about on the site is called "The Periodic Table of Videos" created by the University of Nottingham. Click into the site to see the trailer. Looks like a blast for science nerds and trivia junkies like myself.

And then baby tigers.  Just because they are super cute.  

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Super cute future man-eating predator!
(Again from the Hamm zoo, Reuters photo on Yahoo.)

Here's another one -- Antares the Siberian Tiger at the Berlin zoo.  He was born in June.
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(AP photo via Yahoo.)