food

My Kombucha is Square

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As some of you, Instagrammers, have noticed, I started brewing my own kombucha! Wait what? We all thought I hated that stuff!

Back in the day, when I still lived in Russia, I had some American friends over, who had never seen kombucha before! So when they saw it their eyes grew bigger, and bigger, and I think it’s worth mentioning that I didn’t know the English for Kombucha (it was over 10 years ago! give me a break ;) ) and in Russia we call it Tea Mushroom (чайный гриб). I also have memories of it being nick named the Happiness Mushroom! I guess it’s supposed to bring happiness and good luck to your household! Hey, okay with me ;)

A few years ago when I still nannied for a family in New York City, we were doing kombucha as well, but I hated it. I guess the childhood memories made a deep deep impact! I do remember killing one scoby, but the second one lived :) And I even remember sharing it with someone on freecycle!

What is scoby? SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Other good examples are Ginger beer plant, kefir, mother of vinegar, sourdough – you can read more about it on Wikipedia!

I don’t know what made me try Kombucha a few weeks ago when I was out and about with a friend, I don’t know what made me like it, what made me ask for it on freecycle, what made me drive to Apple Valley after work to get a scoby, but I did all that, and now I have a square kombucha living in my kitchen, if you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that it’s something that should be in a science classroom!

Now everyone brews their kombucha differently, but here is what I do, and I learned that from Jade – the person who shared her scoby with me:

Bring three quarts of filtered water to a boil, and then add a cup of organic sugar and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Then take the pot off the burner and steep four bags of organic tea (2 black & 2 green) for 10 minutes. Then pour the mixture into a gallon size jar and let it cool to 98 degrees (body temp).  Once it reaches that temp add the starter (the liquid that the scoby is in), give a little stir, then add the scoby. Cover it with a white flour sacking cloth, and let it sit for 7-14 days. Metal should never touch the kombucha, so no metal utensils or anything!

I mix green and black tea when I brew my kombucha, it’s no specific brand, just something I pick up at the grocery store, or Marshall’s/TJMaxx – they have great tea variety (sometimes!), I also use regular white sugar, and then it all lives in a square glass jar I bought at Target for $5.99, that’s why it’s actually square! 

Of course we’ve all heard stories about some woman in Iowa, who supposingly died from it, but yet again some people say it helps cure cancer. I know one thing – everyone’s result is going to be different, so give it a shot, and see for yourselves!

Now let’s talk about what I like to put in my kombucha! Let me make it clear though, all the additives go in the glass, not the scoby jar!

Lemon juice has so far been my top choice!

I did try adding spinach/cucumber juice to it, and it tasted okay, but I wasn’t a fan! 

I do like to add cranberry to it though! That is super yummy!

Let me know if you like kombucha, tried it, hate it, whatever your opinion is – please DO tell! 

Happy Monday everyone! 

Xo,

Z

PS. If you are in the Twin Cities area and would like a scoby, let me know!

 

Rice Turkey Soup

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Yes, everyone, I am only now dealing with my Thanksgiving leftovers. I don’t remember if I told you, but one of the moms at the school where I work, decided to give me a turkey the night before Thanksgiving. I am not going to lie – it was an awesome surprise! So I baked it on friday after Thanksgiving (it needed to thaw and all that jazz), and we’ve been trying to destroy it ever since, but it hasn’t been working out very well. Even though Sam takes turkey sandwiches for lunch to work, there is only so much turkey one can eat. So last Sunday I decided it was time to make turkey soup, plus clean out my fridge from all the vegetables.

Here is what I did, and here is how I mainly cook soups. I take the biggest pot I have, fill it about 2/3 way up with water, throw in a chicken bullion cube, and let it come to a boil. Meanwhile I chop up the veggies. This time I used:

1 Green pepper

1 Zucchini

3 carrots

1/2 onion

I was so lazy I didn’t even sauté carrots and onions, though I usually do that!

Then I threw in 1 cup of rice and as much cooked turkey as I wanted (we still have a whole other container!)

Once the water was boiling, I threw all of the above into the pot for about 20-25 minutes, just make sure rice is thoroughly cooked! And don’t forget to turn the burner on low! Don’t forget bay leaves, I love mine from Penzey’s spice, and of course, salt and pepper, and maybe a little garlic!

 

Russian Blini (Crepes) Recipe

 

Being Russian doesn’t mean that you are oh-so-good at cooking Russian food! I’ve mastered a lot of it. Making soups and stews is a piece of cake! I could make salads (or as one of my friend’s referred to them “cold casseroles”) every day. But Russkie Blini have always been a challenge for me. Every time I’d try to make them, they’d turn out as pancakes! And if you know the difference between a pancake and a crepe, well – that’s a big fail! The worst was when they’d turn out as something in between crecake? or maybe panpe? But last Sunday I feel like I’ve conquered it, and all I needed to do was to follow my aunt’s recipe, which is tried and true. It’s also no family secret, that’s why I am sharing it with you!

Here is what you’ll need:

2 cups of flour

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups of milk (you can cheat here and divide the given amount in half and substitute milk with water)

1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl (you can cheat and use a mixer, I won’t tell anybody!)
Then add 1-2 tbsp oil into batter.
And you are ready to FRY!!!
Sam likes his crepes with syrup, but I am more creative – I love them with Nutella and bananas, or strawberries, or blueberries…
Have an awesome Thanksgiving everyone and Black Friday, if you do that, of course!
I’ll be back on Friday with a new post for you!
Cheers,
Z
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