July 7, 2014: Disappointing Weekend…and Home BREWING!

Blech, sunny, gorgeous Monday.  BLECH!!!!!!  I work in an interior office (read: “closet” or “attic”) and don’t get to see it anyway, my commute is (wonderfully) only 6 minutes so even when I ride my motorcycle to work it’s over before it even starts.  Monday, BLECH.

This weekend was……….er………..OK, I guess.  Early on Saturday morning my mom and I met up to go raspberry picking….only to get there and find that the raspberries were all picked out.  Disappointed. L  So we spent an hour and a half picking blueberries instead….which I have no real need or desire for but 5# only cost me $7.00 and an hour of work, so not really complaining.

HUGE blueberries that we picked on Saturday!

HUGE blueberries that we picked on Saturday!

Since we were done picking much earlier than we’d planned, we went over to hit up a fancy coffee shop that I found online and got all excited about.  Only to get there and find out that the entire area was under a boil water advisory so the shoppe wasn’t selling any food or drink.  We left.  Disappointed.  Next stop was to an out of the way meat farm to see about getting some bones for broth.  No bones in stock and she said when they butcher the wild game, they put all the bones outside for free and it’s first come, first served.  Which is great…..unless you happen to work 2 hours away during butchering time, which is Monday and Wednesday mornings.  And she said that normally the same guy comes and takes them all before anyone else can even arrive anyway. So….no game bones for me.  Again, disappointed.  Sensing a theme?

I arrived home around 11 (told you we started early!) and texted Ray that I would wait for lunch for him as he was out doing his own errands.  When he got home we went to a little café in our area where it turns out they sold freshly made Mexican food.  Anyone on a grain-free diet knows that Mexican is among the hardest (basically impossible) to “convert” to something acceptable.  So….not being overly hungry anyway, I got a Mexican Hot Chocolate…..which after one sip I knew was sweetened with Agave…which I am allergic to.  Aaaand…..disappointed again.

In much less disappointing news, I’d found a butcher earlier in the week that would order me in some properly raised pork bones and feet for broth.  Friday after work I popped over to the butcher (2 minutes from where I work, score!) and picked up my bones and trotters.  It amounted to 13# of product for about $1.40/pound which is an awesome price as far as I’m concerned!  Friday after dinner I assembled my broth ingredients into a 20L stock pot and set it to simmer for the next 30 hours.  Around Hour 19 I took off about half and jarred it and then replenished the water and simmered for another 10 hours before jarring that and calling it done.  I am SO happy with the end product and I still have enough bones and feet in the freezer to do another batch.  I’m also extremely happy that Ray has decided that he’s in on daily broth dosing for improved gut, joint and immune health.  He’s also mentioned that he’s stopped buying himself daily bran muffins because they “I don’t need them and they don’t make me feel very good”.  Very interesting and probably the first time he’s ever associated a food item with a feeling of wellbeing.

In other home cooking news, my kombucha brewing is going very well!  The first batch was bottled for second fermentation on Thursday morning and by Friday night when I went to burp the bottles, they were MORE than ready to go and basically “burped” everywhere.  Lessons learned: second fermentation requires barely 2 days, burp carefully and in the sink, use slightly less fruit and do not use screw lid bottles because the pressure build up makes the lids nearly impossible to remove.  Happily, even though I lost most of the carbonation due to incorrect burping, the end result of the first round of flavours was wonderful!  The strawberry ginger is a gorgeous color and still has a bit of fizz left to it….and if you eat the whole fruits that I threw in for flavouring, they are like teeny little electric tongue shockers….they still have ALL their carbonation, they’re delightful!  The watermelon mint was the runner up for flavor, the color is very mildly pinkish green (due to the fresh mint leaf) but much less fizzy…although the watermelon pieces are SO fizzy as to be nearly inedible.

Strawberry Ginger Kombucha following a successful second fermentation!

Strawberry Ginger Kombucha following a successful second fermentation!

I have Batch #2 going in first fermentation right now.  It’s a double bergamot black tea and because my scoby is now large enough to cover the surface area of my giant jar, it’s holding a good amount of carbonation in the first fermentation.  I made two flavours for 2ndF and am so excited to try them.  I did nectarine blueberry and tri-berry banana.  The bergamot black tea will be slightly stronger already than the first green tea that I used so I wanted some good strong fruit flavours.  Once this batch goes into secondary bottling I’ll be making Batch #3 but I’m going to double the liquid to build up my “starter” liquid and I may also try to find a better container to do it in…something with a spigot.

My SCOBY, brewing up a batch of Kombucha

My SCOBY, brewing up a batch of Kombucha

I tell you, between all the bone broth and the kombucha, we’re certainly not going to have a shortage of things to drink in our house!  Fortunately neither of these things are particularly work intensive…it’s mostly a matter of taking 10 minutes to assemble, letting it sit for either 30 hours or 6-7 days depending on which product we’re talking about, and then bottling it.  And, if I can find a large jar with a spigot and convert over to Continuous Brewing, the kombucha gets even easier, cleaner and quicker!  The trouble I’ll be running into soon is going to be with space to store it all!  Methinks everyone on my Christmas list is going to get some kombucha!  LOL!

This is a busy week coming up, tonight is Monday night which generally means we give it to the week as an offering and don’t get much done (although I think we might assemble Andrea’s jogging stroller for her as it’s been delivered to our house).  Tuesday evening we’re going to a family dinner for Andrea’s bday, Wednesday is Chef’s Night Off and KT bottling, Thursday is Costco and Friday is…well….Friday.

In a “personal time – independent woman” update, this is the second week of Chef’s Night Off and the second weekend of having some time to do our own thing has just passed.  I’m feeling…..like the balance isn’t quite there yet.  I guess since that individual time has been lacking a bit, when I get my time to myself I’ve been either napping or staring or reading a book. Not overly productive for someone who always has tonnes of stuff to do.  However……..I’m willing to ride it out for awhile because I think that as I get used to this renewed normal amount of personal time, I’ll settle in to a better balance of “doing stuff” and “being still”.

In a “I don’t have to hide, change, revise, correct, apologize for how, who or what I am in order to be loved and worth respecting” update, I’d say it’s going pretty well.  Again, I don’t feel that the balance is here yet, I’m still searching for the medium where I feel comfortable with changing or altering aspects of myself that bother me vs changing or minimizing or hiding the aspects of myself that society/social media/culture says I need to fix.  If ever you have an hour or so to click around, I highly recommend the site www.beautyredefined.net to give yourself a different perspective on societal views/cultural expectations of women today.  They have a tonne of info on photo-shopping, marketing ploys & social media campaigns that subliminally (and sometimes outright) underscore the idea that we (women) need to change, fix, cover up, enhance or otherwise rectify parts of our body and mind in order to be valuable and loveable.  It’s quite eye opening!

Have a great Monday!  And if you’re in my area and you want to experiment with home brewing kombucha, let me know, I can give you some scoby and starter tea and you’ll be on your way!

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