Archive | January, 2011

Getting Creative with Kombucha – Metta Murdaya

25 Jan

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to not only eat healthier, but to drink healthier. No, this isn’t something that means adding fresh fruits to the martini or drinking more bloody marys, justifying its health benefits to lycopene-laden tomato juice. I suppose one could, but I’m talking about kicking out the soda and upping my intake of homemade Kombucha. For those of you not familiar with this health tonic that’s been known to do everything from curb the munchies, improve your digestion and immune system, give you more energy, and even help with migranes, check out this article. Or for a more scientific breakdown of Kombucha, see this. I’ve offered some untraditional ways to gourmet-ify this tangy treat, and I have a few more to add.

For beginners: Mix with any of the following (or mix it up!) You can add this to Kombucha from the store or from a homeade batch. Just make sure you don’t mix the mixers below in the brewing container with the scoby! Mix with Kombucha in a separate container.

To sweeten the drink and make it fruity, add one or a blend of the following:
– Apple, Cranberry, White Grape juice

To keep the flavor but add a twist, add to the Kombucha:
– Coconut Water (yes, believe it!) to make it milder and a little more round, plus it has great electrolytes!
– Sliced Ginger: To give it a heaty, spicy, exotic touch. Cinnamon – never tried personally, but I hear it’s good.

For a little more gourmet flavor, mix 1/2 to 2/3 container (or glass) of Kombucha with:
– Chamomile Tea sweetened with Elderflower Syrup. (Ikea has a nice, cheap one that’s tasty): Makes it ‘pretty’ tasting. Sounds odd, but the light floral notes and sweetness will make you smile, really!
РChai tea & sugar:  Makes it spicy and aromatic, but still oh so delicious!
-Lemonade + Tea: Kind of like a super-healthy Arnold Palmer with a fizzy tang. Refreshing, indeed!

Where to get Kombucha? If you’re not a home brewer, get some at Whole Foods, most health food stores, and many a supermarket in the natural drinks section. The pros of making it at home is the cost is 6 tea bags and a cup of sugar for a gallon of brew, whereas at the store, a 12oz bottle can cost upwards of $4.99. But most people just don’t drink that much Kombucha in a week, the store-bought are great for convenience and variety. 2 brands I like:

Synergy – One of the best known brands. Pulls no punches, this Kombucha is pretty flavorful and tangy. Maybe too tangy for home-brewers, like it’s ‘overdone,’ but you’ll feel the effects. I when I get the muchies, a swig of this powerful stuff will curb that craving. Lots of good flavors too.
Kombucha Wonder Drink – blended with green tea, this is a milder tasting Kombucha. It’s smoother/easier to drink, might be a good¬† Kombucha for those who want a more palate-friendly version.

There are many other brands out there, Carpe Diem, Honest Kombucha (from Honest Tea,) Katalyst, etc… I say experiment and compare! I’m still experimenting with my own batch; right now, I’m playing with maple syrup to add to the mix somehow… Of course, I still love Kombucha straight, and drink some everyday, but this is great when you have a large batch and want to have some variety – especially great for guests! Talk about a conversation beverage…

Anyone have any suggestions too? Let’s get creative!

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New Year Resolutions – Jill Sung

3 Jan

This year, I started off the new year with friends, and we decided to share a few of our New Year resolutions. We actually made a game of it by writing up a few personal resolutions, throwing them in a pot, and went around the circle with each person picking out 2 resolutions that they hadn’t thought of or made themselves. Of course the pot resolutions were in addition to our own, but relatively easy to do with regards to money, ability, and interest, and you had the option to “go fishing” for more, if you were dissatisfied with your luck of the draw.

I’m sure my friends would agree, but this was a fun new year’s game! Not only did it keep each person ACCOUNTABLE because the resolution was public, but it introduced people to some NEW IDEAS they had not previously thought of!

Some examples:

  • DO STUFF!
  • I will bake a pie once a month – for friends or loved ones.
  • Change the battery in my smoke detector. (always necessary, rarely done)
  • Run/Walk a half-marathon. (The smoker in our group got this, but she was resolute to follow it!)
  • Visit 1 new location this year.
  • Eat more vegetables by joining a CSA (community supported agriculture – great option for fresh, often organic produce, at a fair cost, and help the small farmers)
  • Visit a museum once a month, with a friend. (a great list of museums – by state or type)
  • Volunteer for something you believe in, at least once every 2 months. (Giving back is so important – even if it’s just randomly when you’re free – try serve.gov)
  • Buy small gifts for friends….if this isn’t self-serving?!?! actually, friends really appreciated this one!
  • Look for a new job or learn to enjoy this job better. (the receiver of this was working on it January 1! talk about getting a head start)

Hope this helped to cheer up your entry into 2011! And if you haven’t gotten a chance yet to write your resolutions, feel free to borrow, or give me some extra tips. What were your resolutions??