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Friday, May 28, 2010

Kefir Ice Pops, Or Why My Kids Get Popsicles for Breakfast

Since Spring is here and Summer is just around the corner... my kids want popsicles constantly.  I can't stomach giving them sugar, dye and artificial flavor disguised as a treat.  Instead, we make our own ice pops nearly every day.

I purchased 3 molds (each makes 8 smallish lollies) for about $2/each.  If you don't have molds, then simply use small paper cups (3 or 5 oz) and cut straws or wood sticks.

When I give the kids their kefir smoothies at breakfast (instead of as an after school snack) we usually have a bit left over since their bellies are already pretty full of GF oats and almonds.  I pour the extra into the ice molds, add the sticks and freeze.  It's a simple matter to blend up another small batch of smoothie to fill the mold (or several molds) if needed. 

Our favorite ice pop flavors are:
  • Kefir smoothie w/ banana, spinach, and mixed berries or strawberries (Berry-Licious)
  • Kefir smoothie w/ banana, spinach, cocoa powder & honey (Chunky Monkey)
I'm so thrilled with these healthy treats that my kids get to enjoy them at any time of the day... popsicle for breakfast, sure thing!  I always balance breakfast with protein and a complex carb, so eggs usually go with the ice lollies.  Yum! 

*For those who like a lower GI sweetener, use Palm (Coconut) Sugar which has a GI of 35 or a bit of stevia.  The riper the bananas, the less sweetener needed.  You can also soak dates in water overnight and use them in the smoothies instead of sweetener. 

**Quick prep trick... we make containers of smoothie prep to keep in the freezer.  This ensures a tasty, icey smoothie and makes prep a lot easier in the mornings.  By allowing the bananas to get nice and ripe on the counter, then peeling and freezing, they don't go bad and are the prefect icey sweetness for the smoothies.  

***My kids love our kefir smoothies so much that my 4th grade daughter, Kaylee just did a "How To" speech on making kefir smoothies.  She took the ingredients to school and everyone in her class got a smaple.  She said, "Everyone loved them, Mom!".

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Kefir Science Fair Project

Here's 8 year old McKenzie with her Kefir Science Fair project.  She handed out samples of berry-banana-spinach smoothie, kefir sour cream, and kefir "ranch" style dip.

The report board shows our non-homogenized milk and a couple jug styles (glass and plastic) that we can buy it in locally.  We also had a package of dry kefir grains and business cards from Cultures for Health.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blueberry Kefir "Soda"

I've been making water kefir for a few weeks now.  Our first attempts didn't result in any flavors the kids (or I) enjoyed.  I've finally found a winner...

Blueberry Kefir Soda, isn't it pretty?

Yes, it does smell fermented, similar to a berry beer.  It's very tasty and super nutritious.

So, how can you make it?

Step 1:Order some water kefir grains and grolsch style bottles.
Step 2: Follow instructions for rehydrating your grains, if necessary
Step 3: To being the water kefir process, dissolve 1/4 cup evaporated cane (or SuCaNat) sugar in 1 cup HOT water.  Pour into a clean, quart size glass jar.
Step 4: Fill jar (leaving a bit of space at top) with cool water. (Do NOT use city tap water or water that has been carbon filtered. If you have city water, boil and allow to cool first to remove chlorine.)
Step 5: Once the water has reached room temperature, add your kefir grains.
Step 6: Cover jar with a coffee filter or towel and secure with a rubber band.
Step 7: Set your jar in a cool, dark cabinet for 24-48 hours (room temp varies, the warmer the room, the less time to ferment).
Step 8: Strain your kefir grains out and prepare your next batch.
Step 9: Pour your finished kefir water into grolsch style bottles.
Step 10: Add organic 100% blueberry juice.  I use 2/3 kefir water, 1/3 blueberry juice
Step 11: Close your bottles and allow to sit on the counter for 2-3 days until bubbly.
Step 12: Once bubbly, store in the fridge and enjoy as desired!

*Update:  I allowed the blueberry soda to bubble on the counter for 2 days prior to placing in the fridge, however it keeps getting more and more bubbly in the fridge.  The kids are loving it... we are getting a good 1/2 inch head on each cup we pour!  Bubbly-licious! 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Kefir Science Fair Exhibit

My 8 year old has Celiac. She has had severe bowel issues despite removing the gluten from her diet (Ahem... she is 8 and sneaks food... Mommy isn't dumb). 

Once we began introducing daily kefir (in the form of a smoothie), she has improved dramatically.  This seems pretty simple to us:

Bowel issues from Celiac damage + daily, nourishing, whole milk kefir full of happy bacteria = healthy, habit bowels.

We've decided she will learn all about kefir and its wonders.  Then she will make a fabulous display and will serve kefir in a variety of forms (samples of smoothies, herb "sour" cream dip, fruit "cream cheese" spread). 

I can't wait to see the finished project.  The science fair exhibit is on May 14th, so look for a post shortly after!