HEALTH WITH JESSICA

Brewin’ Kombucha

So I remember when kombucha was just starting to become a trend in the mainstream health and wellness world. I was SO not interested. It looked disgusting and its description sounded disgusting. Nope. Not for me.

However, I am like that kid at the dinner table that, if you introduce to a veggie that they despise enough times, they’ll eventually try it. Kombucha is suddenly all over the place (heck, lots of tap rooms offer this stuff in their own growlers!) and as it has made its mark, I somehow got sucked into the idea that I wanted to give it a fair try. Low and behold…I love it! 

Not only am I seriously a fan of the taste (really enjoying all the different types and flavors available EVERYWHERE) but I am super impressed with its benefits! That just makes it taste even better to me somehow. 

Here are just a few of the touted benes:

Improved Digestion

Weight Loss

Increased Energy

Cleansing and Detoxification

Immune Support

Reduced Joint Pain

Cancer Prevention

All I can say is that I love that I am ingesting a probiotic and that it offers a more natural energy source (I am not a stranger to energy drinks so this is awesome). I just feel GOOD drinking it. 

This stuff is not cheap, however. I’d say $3 a bottle is a good average for 12-16oz. Nope…not cheap. But amazing. So, what’s a girl to do?? Make my own of course! 

I won’t lie, I tried this once before and it didn’t work. I didn’t get enough of the right info and I didn’t talk to anyone in depth about how they personally made it. I got this fly verbal tutorial from the lady I bought my original scoby from and I tried to marry that info with stuff I found online and it just. didn’t. work. I felt way confused and it ended up growing mold. Oops. That happens.

Since then I got some great advice from a friend who has been making it since long before it was ever popular. She also sent me a link to some directions that she trusted. I appreciate that because I need stuff written down and in front of me!! 

So…Kombucha: take 2

I did some Christmas shopping on Groupon and stumbled across a Groupon for a Kombucha kit! Hello! Had to get it. Merry Christmas to me. It was only $15 and I got a scoby, 3 dark bottles for my finished product, 2 different types of tea and some evaporated cane sugar. Not bad! My hubby had bought me a really cute jar for my original batch. So, I was set!


What to do:

Find some scoby. What the heck is scoby?? It’s essentially the starter. Just like sourdough bread. It has all the awesome cultures you need. It looks gross, but that little guy is what holds all the good stuff you need for it to be so stinking great for you. 

Here’s the place I got mine from through Groupon: Kombucha Brooklyn brewing supplies

They have great products and great costumer service. However, they are in NY, and there are lots of local places to get your supplies from. In fact, if you don’t know someone who makes their own who can give you your own scoby, people sell it on Craigslist and Amazon. 

Once I got my stuff, I heeded the advice of my friend and followed the directions she sent me the link to: Oregon Kombucha

One major thing I had overlooked was temperature. I didn’t make sure that mine was staying at the optimum temp. I also let it brew too long. 

What you need to start:

A large jar or glass/ceramic container: gallon size 

Black or green tea

Sugar 

Scoby

A plan to keep your Kombucha at the right temp

When you follow the directions you will learn that Kombucha brews best between 75-90 degrees. Yup. Missed that part the first time around. 

Our solution, since we don’t have a nice safe spot in our place that is a consistent temp, was to put it in a cooler. We have a large glass measuring cup full of hot water that we change out 2-3 times a day to keep it toasty in there. Found that idea online and it seems to be working! 


So there you have it. I am not going to go into detail with the directions, as I gave the link to the ones I used and they are great!

Would love to hear about your adventures with Kombucha making!! We’re on Day 3 of this batch so I will be sure to update! We will start checking on Day 7 to see how it’s doing…just a taste test. You let it go longer if you want a stronger, more tart taste. That is what we want!

Stay tuned!

xoxo, Jess 

Coconut/Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins


It’s that PUMPKIN time of year!! I LOVE it! I’ve been trying and tweaking lots of PALEO recipes since I’ve embarked upon my own PALEO journey. This is one I will for sure use again! I’ll tell you what…when my son loves it and it’s healthy…it’s a keeper!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2.5 cups pumpkin purée
  • 6 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • slivered almonds, sunflower seeds. coconut flakes as an option for topping

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with muffin liners.

Combine all dry ingredients (aside from topping) in medium sized bowl. 

In large bowl combine all wet ingredients.  Gradually add dry ingredients to the bowl with wet ingredients and mix well until all ingredients are combined. 

Spoon muffin batter into individual muffin cups…each cup should be 3/4 full. I like to use a cookie dough scoop for this! Less messy and easier to evenly distribute batter. If desired: sprinkle your TOPPING of choice on top of batter.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until set. 

I set aside several muffins and, once they’ve cooled completely, I put the rest in the freezer for later in the week! They are delicious by themselves, with your coffee in the morning or with a little almond butter! 

Mmmm…Enjoy!!

PALEO Bacon & Onion Breakfast Casserole


I am the first to admit I really don’t love spending tons of time in the kitchen. I am always on the hunt for easy recipes that don’t take tons of time and that will stretch for more than one meal. If you are an egg casserole or quiche fan…ya gotta try this one!!

INGREDIENTS

Crust:

  • 2 mashed sweet potatoes 
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking soda 

Egg Mixture:

  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 dozen slices bacon, crumbled
  • 2 sliced tomatoes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cook and mash sweet potatoes, then combine remaining crust ingredients. Mix well. Press into greased 13×9 casserole dish (I greased mine with coconut oil). 

Mix together beaten eggs, chopped onion, seasoning & bacon. Pour mixture on top of prepared crust. Then spread sliced tomatoes on top of egg mixture. 

Bake @ 400F for 25 minutes or until golden brown and eggs are set.

I just made ours and it is half gone. However, it would be great to cut into single portion sizes and freeze for a fast, filling, healthy breakfast option on busy mornings!!

Dark Chocolate PALEO Truffles

I LOVE sweets. Like really love. However, following a PALEO template for the past 2 weeks, I really haven’t craved sugar. And…I feel amazing!! Tonight I decided to try a PALEO dessert. It looked delicious! I admit, I tried a PALEO apple crisp the other night and it was FAIL!! Ick. 

I was surprised at how creamy and tasty these were. In fact, I used 86% dark chocolate…my son HATES dark chocolate and this stuff was super dark! But…he had two truffles and would’ve had more but we polished them off to fast! 


INGREDIENTS 

4 dates

1 Tbsp Almond Butter

2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips (85%-100%) 

Coconut sugar 

DIRECTIONS

Soak dates 10 min in hot water then drain.

Purée dates in food processor then add almond butter and melted chocolate and blend just until mixed. 

Take a heaping spoonful of mixture and roll onto ball. Roll in coconut sugar. 

If these last, you can keep them in a sealed container in the freezer. They didn’t last long enough for us!! 

Makes about 6 truffles

Crock Pot Chili — PALEO

My hubby and I are really loving this whole Paleo thing.  I am feeling amazing…more energy, lean, just plain healthy.  The more I research Paleo, the better I like it.  Particularly for things that I see so many people struggle with like hormone issues, issues stemming from inflammation and energy issues.

This recipe was a hit!  I was a little skeptical because
A) I HATE carrots!
and B) there are NO beans!
But, the flavor was so DELISH!  And who doesn’t like a super easy meal you can throw in the crock pot?!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 pounds grass-fed beef
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 4 large carrots, shredded (you could chop small if you prefer)
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
  • 4oz diced green chilies (I used fire roasted…sensing a theme here? 🙂
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I used A-1…yum!!!)
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of cumin
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DIRECTIONS
  1. Cook beef on stove top and then add to crock pot…keep the fat too!!
  2. Add prepared green bell pepper, onion, carrots, tomatoes and green chilies.
  3. Stir all the ingredients well, then add the remaining spices and seasonings.
  4. Mix well, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours.
  5. Goes nicely with a grain free chip, small amount of good quality cheese (depends on if you do dairy with your paleo plan), sour cream, jalapenos…
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Servings: about 6
Freezes well!!
*recipe adapted from www.lowcarbyum.com/
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