Wednesday, February 20, 2013
there are spiritual conventions in the rarely-used upstairs fireplace-turned-alter.
there is avoiding work by drawing and coloring quirky little scandinavian flowers.
and there is the revelation that taking some time to do art leads to better, peaceful, more creative work.
there are many tea times during the day. and sometimes espresso.
there is experimenting with vegan tuna salad.
because i really miss tuna salad.
this turned out eerily similar in taste and texture to the real thing. rinse and drain a can of chickpeas and pulverize in the food processor. sprinkle with kelp granules or sea kelp delight to add lots of healthy minerals and the taste of the ocean. then just add your regular tuna salad ingredients. i used vegan mayo, whole grain mustard, red onion, celery, sweet relish, capers and dill. it's fantastic.
there is silence.
there is alchemy: mixing essential oils to create an amazing fragrance. the recipe was gifted to me by a dear friend who appreciates that i like to smell like campfire, coffee, jasmine and oranges.
there is art.
so far, february is pretty awesome.
Friday, February 15, 2013
i am so grateful that my yoga teacher sarah demystified the kombucha home-brewing process for me and gifted me with my very first scoby. i've kept a continuous brew since november. i drink at least a cup of kombucha every day. my skin is clear, my tummy is calm and i've felt protected from the nasty colds and flus that seem to be devouring everyone else.
i've refined my process and want to share it with you here. once you get into the swing of it, you'll have a continuous supply of kombucha that costs a small percentage of bottled brews (although i still love a bottle now and then).
to start a batch you'll need:
- a one gallon glass jar
- a kombucha mushroom (scoby)
- one cup brewed kombucha
- eight tea bags (use organic black tea, not flavored tea)
- one cup sugar
- boiling water to brew your tea
- cotton, breathable fabric (not cheesecloth) and rubber bands
start with an empty clean glass jar. pour boiling water over your tea bags and let them steep for 10-12 minutes.
add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved.
let it cool to room temperature.
once it's cooled, add one cup previously-brewed kombucha and your scoby. pour in filtered water to fill the jar and stir gently, avoiding hitting the scoby with your spoon.
cover the jar with cotton fabric and secure tightly with rubber bands.
place jar in a clean quiet place. it will need peace to work its magic.
leave it for a week (you'll need to experiment with the time, brewing times differ with temperature). if you pass by, say hello and give it some love. it's a living thing.
after a week, you should see a scoby has formed on the top of your brew (above). remove the fabric and slip a straw beneath the scoby to have a taste. if it still tastes sweet, it needs more time. if it tastes too vinegar-y, it's gone too long. it should have a nice balance between sweet and tart...kind of like apple cider.
note: little brown floaty cultures should also be visible. these freaked my out at first because i thought they were mold. mold looks like mold (green or black) and smells like mold. healthy kombucha cultures look kind of stringy and floaty and mucas-y. it sounds gross, but it's all good. if you see or smell mold, throw out your brew.
when your kombucha is ready, bottle it in glass bottles or jars. it may or may not be effervescent.
save your scoby and at least one cup of kombucha for your next batch.
once bottled, your kombucha needs to enjoy a second fermentation.
place the bottles in a quiet dry place for a few days. the effervescence should grow.
you can also add flavors during this second fermentation. i've experimented with ginger, hibiscus and juniper berries. but i really prefer it unflavored.
after a few days of second fermentation. your kombucha is ready to be enjoyed. you may notice new little scobies formed and that's okay.
put your bottles in the fridge at this point.
enjoy at least one cup each day.
for some, it's an acquired taste.
you may experience detox symptoms when you start drinking it regularly. i experienced headaches, malaise and skin breakouts for about ten days. be sure to drink plenty of water to flush out all the gook your kombucha is removing.
(ok, now that i wrote all that, it does not seem "super simple" at all. i guess it just feels easier now that i've done it for a few months.)
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
i am a traveler-in-training.
i suffer from chronic and extreme wanderlust. i want to go everywhere and experience how people live and the beauty and truth that surrounds them. problem is, i am not a very
i am inspired by jeanine stewart's journals of her honeymoon in india. i want to do this, be like this. i want to just go and be and let it roll out how it rolls. i'm taking baby steps in my own little world...my (travelling) job gives me lots of practice and i'm figuring out little things i can do to increase comfort while reducing the need to control on the road.
here's my beginner's list:
1. say a proper goodbye (above) to your home, your loves, your pups, your base.
2. pack at a necessity:luxury ratio of about 4:1. big bag, lip balm, gingermints, money, ipad, camera: necessary. tiny b, journal/sketchbook and you are beautiful sticker stash for expressing gratitude: luxury. (although the more i travel, they are seeming necessary.)
3. when it comes to food, do your research beforehand. finally, a travel characteristic i can excel at. i am a vegetarian and i get a little tired special-ordering and/or physically removing the meat from meals (ew!). in the land of eating animals and bbq (i.e. virginia), this means i frequently eat at the nearest whole foods food bar. which is totally okay with me. more research almost always uncovers local gems, like when i discovered barbara kingsolver's totally off-the-beaten-path and fantastic restaurant. or artichoke moussaka.
4. stay nourished. fast food is anti-nourishing.
5. spend some time staring at the sky no matter where you are. i'm amazed at how the sky looks different in different places. and yet, we all share the same sky.
6. maintain your familiar bedtime routine. for me that means reading and tea.
7. every day: yoga (even 15 minutes, often upon getting out of weird hotel bed) and a walk.
8. be proactive about staying healthy. build up your immune system, drink lots of water, wash your hands. i drink kombucha every day and take extra vitamin c and b12.
9. learn to experience schedule interruptions and unplanned chaos as part of the story. take a breath and stay present in your unique journey. (this is when staring at sky helps.)
10. say a proper goodbye and gratitude to the place that held your life temporarily. say hello to home.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
this sunday morning there is snow and sunshine and coffee and sleeping dogs and a husband who went to a 7am yoga class (endless love and admiration) and this book: the family of woman. it's vintage, from the late seventies, photographs and words of and by women (a sister to "the family of man"). i crack it open when i need inspiration, clearing, grace, wisdom.
i had a beautiful week. i set bare feet in (very cold) sand and let the (very very cold) atlantic wash away the final dust of last year. i shared amazing chana masala and many stories with my dear friend/poet/artist donna wynn and we both noticed the way we can go a year and a half without seeing each other and then just pick up right where we left off. i love that.