Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Homemade Kefir D'Uva Champagne

I came upon a really neat website about kefir-making a while back, and I had to share this wonderful recipe for making a home-brewed "champagne" that is suitable to drink with any gourmet dinner!  As stated in the original website, this is an alcoholic beverage and should never be served to children... but, if you and your husband are having a romantic dinner or hosting a dinner party, this drink is sure to please you and your adult guests :)

You will need either spare milk or water kefir grains.  Since my water kefir seems to double after every batch, that's what I have been using!  Neither kind of kefir grain will multiply in a fruit juice kefir, but they will retain the ability to ferment.  The grains will also take on the color of the grape juice and become a lovely shade of purple!  If you only have access to quality white grape juice, this can be substituted successfully.

In addition to the kefir grains, you will need:
a glass mason jar- any size
quality grape juice (preferably fresh-squeezed or organic)

Fill your mason jar about 1/2 way with grape juice, then top it off with water.  Add kefir grains (about 1/4 cup per pint of liquid).  You can see how dark the mixture is in the picture above... and how much it has lightened up after 48 hours in the picture below.

When your "champagne" has finished brewing, strain out the kefir grains and bottle the remaining drink in air-tight glass bottles.  You can stick this directly in the fridge, as it will be plenty bubbly right out of the jar!  As soon as it's chilled, take a sip- delicious!- and I recommend sips, not gulps. :)
Enjoy this probiotic-rich adult beverage with your sweetie and know that you are doing your tummy good!

You can continue using your lovely purple kefir grains for subsequent batches of home-brewed champagne.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Earlier this spring (around here, spring comes early), my kids discovered a volunteer pumpkin plant that was sprouting in the back field.  I decided that since it sprouted on its own, we would let it be... I tend to have a black thumb when it comes to gardening, so that was a wise decision on my part!  Lo and behold, last week we picked a very nice-sized pie pumpkin. :)

I have made pumpkin pie from scratch before, and it was delicious, but this time I opted for something a bit different:  pumpkin bread!  The recipe I adapted is from an old cookbook, written by the Junior League of Lafayette, Louisiana.  


1 3/4 c sifted flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 c coconut oil
2 eggs
1/3 c water
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 c cooked, mashed pumpkin *
1 c organic sugar
1/4 c honey
1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Mix everything until smooth.  Bake in large buttered bread pan (I used a Pampered Chef stoneware bread pan, and it was perfect.) 1 hour at 350 degrees F. 

This bread also freezes well!

The flavor and texture reminded me of my mothers zucchini bread.  Since the pumpkin is so mild in flavor, the spices really come through, and it was so very moist!  As you can see in the picture, the pumpkin made the bread a lovely shade of yellow. :)  Enjoy!

* To cook a pumpkin, just cut it in half and remove the seeds. Place the sides skin-side-up on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 1 hour on 325 degrees F.  Scoop out the meat and discard the skin.