Guest Blog from Jill Skeem, author of Comfort Food Gets A Vegan Makeover

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I was watching the evening news tonight and saw a report on a product that will be available this spring. It is called the Hapifork. This computerized fork vibrates when one eats too quickly (taking additional bites prior to 20 seconds). While I agree that eating slowly helps with the digestion of your food and chewing your food longer definitely improves the nutritional benefit you will receive from your food, but a vibrating fork! All you have to do is put your fork down in between bites!! This will slow you down, so you don’t overeat. It takes 20 minutes for your body to register that it is full. If you eat faster than that, you will overeat and then after 20 minutes, it will hit you…you are full…and now want to burst. By putting your fork down in between bites and chewing your food really well, you will end up eating less but feeling satisfied. This works no matter WHAT you are eating.

Jill’s book signing and tasting for Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover is tomorrow at Rudy’s from 11-1. If you can’t make it, Rudy’s in Twin Falls, Idaho is selling her book. Go to www.jillskeem.com for more information about purchasing.

Kefir-Homemade

If you love yogurt, you’ll love Kefir.

What’s Kefir?

Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your “inner ecosystem.” More nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, it supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins.

  • Kefir is simple and inexpensive to make at home.
  • Kefir is used to restore the inner eco-system after antibiotic therapy.
  • Kefir can be made into a delicious smoothie that kids love.
  • Kefir is excellent nourishment for pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and those with compromised immunity.

What if I’m lactose intolerant, and don’t do dairy? Or don’t digest milk products well? Is kefir right for me?
The beneficial yeast and friendly bacteria in the kefir culture consume most of the lactose (or milk sugar). Eat kefir on an empty stomach first thing in the morning before (or for) breakfast and you’ll be delighted to find it can be easily digested — as numerous people who have been lactose intolerant for years have discovered.

I’ve been making my own yogurt for years. Love it but hated trying to fit it into my schedule. Kefir is like yogurt and much easier to make for people with hectic schedules.I even make Kefir into a cheese, which is much like cheve or cream cheese.

All you need to start with are Kefir grains which are readily available online and milk (cow,goat,pasteurized,raw, reconstituted,skim or full fat). It’s all made on your kitchen counter and ready the next day.

Shown is my completed Kefir in the covered canning jar. The whole milk , my strainer and pitcher for my finished Kefir.

Here’s my Kefir poured into the strainer to strain out the Kefir and the Kefir Grains.

Once strained , you can see the Kefir grains. They resemble small cauliflower. You keep the grains and rinse with fresh milk to make your continued batches. As you make Kefir, the grains grow and produce more grains. The extra grains can then be shared with others so that they can make Kefir as well.

In a clean canning jar, I added about a quart of milk and added back to the fresh milk the rinsed Kefir grains that I just got from my last batch of Kefir.

Shown here is my newly started batch of Kefir in the canning jar. I cover it using the jar ring and a coffee filter . The coffee filter protects the Kefir from something falling it it and also allows the Kefir to breathe. It is then set back on the counter and allowed to ferment for 8-24 hours. The length of time is dependent on how thick you want your Kefier to be. While on the counter a few swirls of the jar throughout the day also encourages happy Kefir grains, but not mandatory.

In the bowl is my batch of finished Kefir getting ready to be placed in my pitcher and then stored in the refrigerator.

Shown here is my pitcher of Kefir which I love making smoothies out of, the new batch of Kefir in the large canning jar and the small canning jar is some Kefir cheese which I have made. The Kefir cheese is very easy to make. It’s made by straining the Kefir through cheesecloth and coffee filters to drain away the excess whey. You place the Kefir in a strainer lined with coffee filters and cheese cloth and pour the Kefir into the strainer which has been placed inside a larger bowl and refrigerate at least 24-48 hours until you have cheese.

This is how I enjoy my Kefir cheese. Toasted whole grain bread and Kefir spread over the top. There are many uses for the cheese. Anything you would use cream cheese in Kefir cheese can be used.