Category Archives: Smoothie

HOW TO MAKE DAIRY FREE KEFIR

A few weeks ago on Intstagram I shared that I have been making my own almond milk kefir and a few people asked me to write a post about how I make it.

I am a fan of eating probiotics because they do wonders for you gut.  A few months ago I tried adding dairy based lactose-free kefir in to my diet and to be honest it constipated me in the worst way.  Because of that I began to research dairy-free kefir alternatives and came across The Cultured Food Life blog which is a wealth of information.

I was and still am shocked at how easy it is to make kefir if you follow a few key steps and avoid using anything metal.  When I first started making kefir my results were hit and miss and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized that I was either stirring the mixture with one of my metal chopsticks or using mason jars with metal lids…I later learned that using metal is a no no because the kefir culture reacts poorly to it.

In order to avoid metal lids I ordered THESE jars from The Jar Store (such good prices) and haven’t had a problem since, though I will say that pouring the kefir out of these jars can be a little messy (live and learn).

Almond Milk Kefir How to Recipe Numbered

METHOD

 (IMAGE 1) Pour 4 cups non-dairy milk (I use almond milk) into your glass vessel along with 1 packet of freeze dried Kefir starter (like THIS one) and 1 tsp of sugar.  Since we are not using dairy based milk that contains sugars, you need to add some, but don’t worry about any extra carbs because the culture will eat the sugar.  Stir using a wooden or plastic spoon.

 (IMAGE 2) Place the lid on the vessel and allow it to sit on the counter for 12-24 hours until it looks like image 2.  How long it takes for the kefir to mature will depend on how warm it is, etc.  Once the kefir is done place it in the fridge.

 (IMAGE 3) This is what the kefir looks like after it has been in the fridge for a day (it thoroughly disgusts my kids!).

 (IMAGE 4) Stir-up the kefir and you are good to go.  I use it mostly in smoothies, but have also used it in my homemade protein bars.

 

It is really simple to make more kefir.  When you have about 1/2c of kefir remaining, add 1 tsp of sugar, 4 cups of non-dairy milk, and leave it out on the counter again.  It will take a few hours more for the kefir to cure since it started out cold from having been in the refrigerator.  I can make kefir this way 5-6 more times before starting the process all over again with a new packet of freeze dried starter.

I have used several brands of yogurt/kefir starter and they all have worked well.

I am interested in trying to make kefir with real kefir grains because once you have those you can use them indefinitely.

Happy culturing!

 

 

image above of different types of non-dairy kefir is from Cultured Food Life.

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Filed under Breakfast, Drinks, Gluten Free, Nuts, Recipes, Smoothie, Smoothie / Shake, Vegan

SO MUCH TO LOVE CONTEST – VEGAN GF POT PIE & ORANGE JULIUS RECIPE

Another Monday, another week of the So Delicious So Much to Love recipe contest.  This week the contest focuses on lunch and dinner entrees and my Rosemary Veggie Pot Pie has been thrown into the mix.  I’d appreciate you vote.  Remember to vote every day if possible (don’t worry…I will remind you via my pesky Facebook reminders).

A wonderful bonus of voting is that you will be entered to win lots of great prizes just for voting.

Click HERE to vote (NOTE – you need to “like” So Delicious before you can vote).

VEGAN ORANGE JULIUS RECIPE

To download my Vegan Orange Julius recipe entry in last week’s contest, click HERE.

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Filed under Contests, Dessert, Recipes, Smoothie, Vegan, Vegetarian

FALL PERSIMMON PIE SMOOTHIE

Happy almost Thanksgiving!  I LOVE this holiday and how it encourages us to get together with our loved ones.

I am spending Thanksgiving with 27 loved ones and can’t wait! I thought I would share my children’s Thanksgiving placemats with you.  It is a tradition where I live that kindergartners make placemats for their Thanksgiving feast at school and then they bring them home as a keepsake.  I love these.  It is so funny to see what the kids write and to watch their parent’s reaction to what they are thankful for.  Last year I read my son’s Thanksgiving poem that highlighted all he was thankful for and all I could think after reading it was that I was thankful for that fact that his family was listed before Biz Markie (who knew he even knew who Biz Markie was???).  Really???  Out of the mouths of babes…

Tomorrow is a wonderful day of cooking which also means a wonderful day of eating.  I encourage you to start the day off right with a nice Fall smoothie.

TIP – When I go shopping at my local Mother’s Market I treat myself to a fresh-squeezed juice.  I always bring the container home, wash it, and save it in the cabinet so I have a great container to use when I am running out of the house and want to bring a smoothie with me on the run.  Recycling is the best!!!I made this smoothie the other morning as I was running out the door to go to the hairdresser and ended-up happily sipping it throughout my appointment.  I loved it so much I made it for breakfast the next day too.  Stock-up on persimmons at the Farmer’s Market…they are wickedly good right now.

 
FALL PERSIMMON “PIE” SMOOTHIE
 
INGREDIENTS
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk)
1-2 Tbs salba, chia, or flax seed
1 very ripe Hachiya persimmon (That is what I used)
OR
2 nice ripe Fuyu persimmons
1 frozen banana
1 cup ice
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
 

Place all of the ingredients in your high -speed blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until nice and creamy. Enjoy!!!

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Filed under Drinks, Gluten Free, Holiday, Recipes, Smoothie, Vegan, Vegetarian

ANOTHER USE FOR RIPE BANANAS

When our bananas get very ripe I usually make banana bread.  While I absolutely love banana bread (click here for my vegan and gluten-free recipe), it has been way to hot to make it lately…who wants to turn the oven on when it is in the nineties and humid???

The hot weather has also been making our bananas ripen much faster than usual.  It all works out though because we have been making a TON of smoothies lately to help cool us off.  One of my favorite ways to make a smoothie creamy and help  sweeten it naturally is to add frozen bananas to the blender.  When I notice the bananas getting too brown and soft to eat on their own, I peel them and put them in a bag in the freezer.  I ALWAYS have frozen bananas in the freezer for my smoothies.

One last tip…break the frozen banana into 3-4 pieces right before you put it in the blender (it will be too difficult for the blender to break-up the banana if it isn’t broken down a bit beforehand).

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Filed under Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Smoothie, Vegan, Vegetarian

NEW SMOOTHIE TRICK – Add Fiber!

Every once in a while I stumble upon something that ends up really working for me.  Recently I have been reducing the amount of fat in my diet (in an attempt to get more swimsuit ready) and I have been missing the thickness that avocado gives to my smoothies.  I have found a suitable replacement texture-wise and that is to add clear fiber to my smoothies.

Fiber is always a good thing when it comes to health as it provides for:

 Better weight management
Healthier blood sugar levels
Enhanced energy
Increased regularity
Lower cholesterol
And a general feeling of well being

While the fiber does not provide the creaminess that the avocado does, it helps thicken my green smoothies and the fiber helps keep me full.

I was sent the Organic Clear Fiber by Renew Life to test a while ago and that is what I have been using lately.  Other popular brands of clear fiber that are widely available are Metamucil and Benefiber.  After doing some research I am very impressed with the Organic Clear Fiber by Renew Life because it is truly gluten-free and organic.  Benefiber claims to be gluten-free, however on the label it states “Gluten-free (less than 20 ppm gluten).”  Many people with gluten allergies can’t tolerate ANY gluten, so this is something to watch for.

Lately my green smoothie consists of:

1 cup So Delicious coconut milk

1/2 cucumber or 1 zucchini

1-2 cups spinach or romaine

2 scoops vegan protein powder (Plant Fusion, Sun Warrior, or Vega…I often mix them)

3 packets Sweetleaf Stevia (My favorite brand because it does not turn bitter)

3 tsp Organic Clear Fiber

1 tsp each spirulina and chlorella

1/2 frozen banana

2-3 handfuls of ice

~

Place everything in the blender (with the exception of the banana and ice).  I usually layer my smoothies in the container like this…liquid, some of the veggies, all the powders, the rest of the veggies.  Blend until COMPLETELY smooth.  Now add the banana (break into chunks first) and blend to incorporate, then add the ice and blend until smooth.

You will be surprised by how filling this is.  Oftentimes I can’t finish it in one sitting and end up saving some in the fridge for my afternoon snack.

To learn more about Renew Life click HERE.

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Filed under Drinks, Gluten Free, Product Reviews, Quick, Recipes, Smoothie, Vegan, Vegetarian