Five days of fermenting on the counter has lead to a rather vinegary batch. I must admit that I've left it out too long for my (and my wife's) taste.
I strained out the kefir grains and started batch number two. This time using cane sugar over maple syrup, and keeping the molasses.
Sorry about forgetting to take a picture of this batch, but batch two really doesn't look any different when compared to the picture I took back on Mar 7; other than realizing I only used half the water the first time... so the jars are more full.
Two days in and I can already see that my first batch is more active (more bubbly) than the starter batch I was given. In fact, it almost looks like they've grown too.
I know I used a different sugar, but I predict that adding molasses was the big difference; they just love the added minerals!
Of course both these things also have changed the taste significantly. I think the molasses is a keeper, but maple syrup reminds me too much of pancakes. Going to leave this batch on the counter to continue fermenting and see how the flavour changes over time before I decide for sure though.
The Mrs & I attended our first FSS (Foundation for Shaman Studies) workshop this weekend; sponsored by Divine Clarity. My attraction was to learning about (and doing) journeying, which I understood to be a form of meditation. It also gave me the perfect opportunity to use the drum I had just made last weekend! (scroll down two posts)
During the Basic experiential workshop, participants are introduced to core shamanism, the universal, near-universal, and common methods of the shaman to enter nonordinary reality for problem solving and healing. Particular emphasis is on the classic shamanic journey, one of the most remarkable visionary methods used by humankind to explore the hidden universe otherwise known mainly through myth and dream. Participants are initiated into shamanic journeying, aided by drumming and other techniques for experiencing the shamanic state of consciousness and for awakening dormant spiritual abilities, including connections with Nature.
I truly found it to be a fantastic workshop. My most incredible (and convincing) experience was using journeying to find out more information about the issue I've been having with my knee than doctors (using x-rays) and chiropractors have been able to tell me so far. In less than 10 minutes of journeying, I found a test (simply rolling the skin) to perform on my knee that proved the issue was in the skin (likely a nerve). It's not joint (arthritis) or ligament pain; simply a sensitive spot on/under the skin that really lets me know it's there when I happen to bump or apply pressure in just the right spot. If there was ever a reason to doubt journeying in any way, this experience just obliterated it!
Over the last few days, we've been slowly drinking the starter kefir batch I'd acquired, as it continued to ferment on our counter. The kefir seemed to get thicker and more sharp as the days went by... so we were certainly exposed to a wide range of flavours as it fermented.
Having consumed the last of the water, I followed the guidance and recipe found on growyouthful.com to put together our first brew of water kefir. For our first batch, I decided to use 100% maple syrup as our sugar. That and the molasses explains the dark rich colour.
Had a great time at Darcy's Drum Making Workshop at Divine Clarity today! I opted to use an elk skin on my drum, and asked for an 18 inch frame (over the typical 12/14/16 options). The drum turned out great, and the experience of making one was so incredibly fun that I think i'll be taking the workshop again to make another. All I need to do now is weave some softer leather/fabric through the back strings so that it is easier on my hands while holding it.
We've been making sauerkraut for quite some time now, but I can honestly say that we don't eat it as often as we could. Usually due to bad timing/planning... where we eat through our jars before thinking of starting the next batch; and we like to let it ferment for up to eight weeks. So, too many gaps have been creeping in, which usually leads to a bit of procrastination.
Our solution was to start a new ferment that doesn't need weeks to mature, and our answer was water kefir.
I contacted Jody, a local Winnipeger, through Kijiji and picked up my initial batch of water kefir grains! She had just prepared the brew this morning, so it will need to ferment over the next couple days before I can try it out.
What out "leaky gut", there's a new probiotic sheriff in town!
Following Michelle's (Nom Nom Paleo) recipe for "hand whisked" Paleo Mayo has had some mixed successes, with the issue being that I'm just not dexterous enough to maintain the whisking. In the past, I'd also tried and failed using our Vitamix to make other homemade mayo recipes.
The solution? Introduce the mayo to our Kitchenaid to do all the whisking!
Getting a lovely thick Mayo also made a huge difference to the Paleo Ranch dressing recipe we had also tried. We had found it too thin before, and the mayo thickness was obviously the key.
An incredible video that challenges our thoughts...
If you enjoyed watching this video and want to know more, Betty Anne has an article with the full video!
Today, we activated our decision to increase our organ meat consumption... the plan being that we would add an equal proportion of ground beef to heart, liver, and tongue that we would grind ourselves (all grass fed of course from McDonald Farm), store it, and make whatever we wanted from it as time went by. Unfortunately, we didn't really prepare the storage part to coincide with what ended up being at least twenty pounds of ground beef and organs. Our intention was to pickup some butcher/freezer paper... but that hadn't happened yet.
So what do do with 20 pounds of ground meat? I had forgotten that we had gone to d. a. Niel's three weeks ago to check out their sale on cast for any skillets larger than our trusty 10 inch. We found that their sale prices were much better than Amazon, and we purchased a 19 inch skillet as our future ""anything big we put in the over pan" (like a turkey), and put our name down on a 13.25 inch skillet as our new stove top "beast".
I wiped down our new 19 inch skillet, seasoned the meat, and cooked it in the oven as a huge meatloaf... Delicious!
While I still believe that Practical Paleo and The Paleo Solution are essential core reading, over time one comes to realize that if you've been eating according to the "Food Guides"... you likely have an autoimmune condition that would benefit from following this protocol for a period of time before following the general Paleo protocol.
My wife was the first to read through these books, and you can see her reasons and what she learned in one of our autoimmune posts.