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Effervescent Embers: How to Make Kombucha

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I decided to add a new category to Miseducated based on the wonderfully fulfilling and helpful work one of my best friends and I do together on an almost daily basis. Not only do we get together on weekdays to work (we both have jobs that rely on laptops, coffee and a strong WIFI connection) and encourage each other but we also do extra life-enhancing things like discussing hardships to find the positive hidden within, practicing yoga (she is an excellently encouraging yoga instructor so stay tuned for information about her business as the website is in the works) and connecting with our animals while incense swirls in the air and the music hums.

Lately we’ve began cooking together as we shared a home for a time and especially because Emma makes kombucha. I wasn’t even scared to try the drink because I was staying with her for a week and I figured I’d give it a shot. In one of my worst times I honestly felt good health-wise, which is not usually the case for me. I had been having a stomach ache and had been unable to eat much until I began drinking the drink and my stomach worries went away. I had issues with digestion and other women’s woes as well that seemed to clear up shockingly quick after enjoying kombucha daily. It wasn’t until later when I saw what went into this delicious vinegar soda I began to get skeptical. Extensive amounts of reading others experiences and recipes showed me that this is an ancient health elixir that has been made nearly everywhere and is only fairly new to our culture. So yes, I began to craft my own and we will teach you to do the same. All it takes is a SCOBY, tea (start with black or green) and sugar. Real sugar, not the chemical kind.

As always this is my experience, you are free to have your own and either dispose the taste or the entire idea behind the drink and that’s totally fine! I do not claim any magical healing benefits nor do I expect everyone to enjoy the taste. However I think trying new things is many times a good idea unless you have strong truth-based reservations about them.

So kombucha tastes nothing like tea or juice or regular soda or sugar. I figured I’d first throw that out there. To describe it at all, depending on what you add to it, it tastes like a carbonated vinegar. The carbonation and flavor depend on the amount of fermentation it does and what sort of juice you add after you bottle it. We have chosen to add mango lemonade but next time I believe I’ll try something new. I’ve heard of people adding ginger and that entices me.

Why kombucha though? Other than my own experience? Kombucha contains probiotics and multiple species of yeast and bacteria along with the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by these microbes. The precise quantities vary between samples, but may contain: Acetic acid, Ethanol, Gluconic acid, Glucuronic acid, Glycerol, Lactic acid, Usnic acid and B-vitamins. It was also found that Kombucha contains about 1.51 mg/mL of vitamin C. The acidity of kombucha resists contamination by most airborne molds or bacterial spores. It was shown that Kombucha inhibits growth of harmful microorganisms such as E. coli, Sal. enteritidis, Sal. typhimurium, and Sh. Sonnei. As a result, kombucha is relatively easy to maintain as a culture outside of sterile conditions. – Wikipedia on Kombucha

EMBER’S KOMBUCHA

by

Ingredients

  • 3.5 quarts water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 12 bags green or black tea / 6 tbsp loose green or black tea
  • 2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha
  • 1 healthy SCOBY per fermentation jar
  • Optional: when time for bottling add 1 cup fruit juice to bottle

Equipment

  • saucepan
  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • jars or bottles: 8 16-oz mason jars or soda bottles (with lids)
  • funnel
  • strainer

emma and our kombucha

Instructions

1. Make a batch of sweet tea: Fill saucepan with approx 1-2 quarts of water and add the bags when boiling. Add sugar and allow tea to steep until water has cooled. Add ice if impatient.

2. Add tea to 1-gallon jar. If still warm add cold water and leave only around 15% of jar unfilled.

3. Gently add your SCOBY and 2 cups of previous batch (without juice) being careful not to use metal to touch the SCOBY — we used bamboo tongs. Cover the mouth of the jar with a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or tape if necessary (my jar was an oblong shape).

4. Ferment for 7 to 10 Days: Keep the jar in a cabinet by it’s lonesome. Store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and safe from being shaken or moved. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking it periodically to make sure the SCOBY is fermenting the tea and not succumbing to mold or ailments. (I like to check it and take a sniff to make sure it smells like vinegar and not anything rotten.)

You will notice the SCOBY may position itself anywhere around the bottle but usually a new SCOBY baby will form towards the top of the jar (in the liquid). You will also see brown strings settling on the bottom and around the SCOBY. These are signs of good fermentation. Feel free after 7 days to taste the kombucha with a teaspoon. If the tartness and sweetness are to your taste feel free to bottle, if not let it ferment up to 14 days (you can do a second ferment for 3 days in the bottles flavors added if you so decide).

5. Remove the SCOBY and prepare another saucepan with the tea recipe listed above. Without using metal transfer the SCOBY to a clean plate and remove extra layers if it has gotten too thick.

6. Now that you have your jar filled with only the kombucha, get out the stranger and funnel so you can pour it into the bottles/jars you prepared. Feel free to add fruit, fruit juices, flavors such as ginger, etc. We’ll add a feature on more kombucha uses and flavors in the future!

7. After the kombucha is bottle, store it at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate and ferment further with the flavor you have added. Keep in mind that if you’re not familiar with the ingredients and time needed for carbonation the bottles could explore or pop open so keep checking and burping them everyday. After ready place them in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation and store for up to a month.

8. Use your tea, water and SCOBY to make another batch of kombucha as outlined above ready to continue the cycle.

* Too many extra SCOBYs? Put them in a jar filled with kombucha and feed them a cup of sugar every 2 weeks while waiting in the fridge. You can also donate them to a friend and teach them how to make kombucha OR you can start making multiple batches at once and experiment with flavors.

20 percent juice

Also view this recipe and how it relates to a yoga lifestyle at Emma’s ashtanga, fire and growth blog The Buddhi Blog and check out if your scoby has gone bad and other similar questions at Holistic Squid.

DIY: Neons vs Pastels » Craftspiration

Because I can never decide which one is better so all of my pastel-coated paintings always have a little hot pink strewn through-out and same for my collages. Why choose one when you can have both? Have a hot pink Easter.

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Easy Neon Hanging Planters Tutorial by Brit + Co

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Candy Necklace Inspiration by Love the Day

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Chocolate Surprise Egg DIY for Easter

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Dip Dye Placemats by Design Love Fest

and lastly a breathtakingly beautiful home office and craft studio to inspire you to design your work space to fit your inspiration ala I Love Crafty:

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new office 31-1

How to Start a Video Blog or Vlog

I reworked this article from a couple of past articles because I decided to give “vlogging” another try!

There have been quite few awesome recommendations for the DO IT OURSELVES feature on Miseducated (suggest to us what you’d like us to both make and share the process of making) and so I decided I would try something I was asked about years ago.. mostly because I’m a bit shy/critical of myself and it’s VERY hard for me to force myself to make a video blog. I’ve done a couple through the years but I’ve deleted or never published most of them.

What I’ve been trying to do is to be as relaxed as I am when I’m writing.. as though I’m just hanging out with my friends and you’re coming along on the sugar trolly.


This first try is my new vlog introduction. It’s not perfect, it’s not even that great but I did check off my long list of basics such as finding a setting (key!), making the intro using an image and the custom theme (I got tired of the animation — maybe later) and having an idea of what I might say (but not scripted and slow!). I tried to put forth the basic tips I’ve collected throughout the internet years when creating this quick and dirty video show introduction. Stay tuned for both my notes and steps to try it yourself!

Notes

1. Theme Visual & Theme Song (or voiceover)
2. Introduction
3. Video Blog
4. End / Bloopers / Goodbye / Theme Close (with a cute animation??)
5. Credits (if needed)

Theme

What do you need to do this? Do you have any friends that compose original music? Can you use music that is free for public use? The possibilities are endless.

Video Editing

Again you can use and get creative with videos of public domain or grab your webcam and record some. You can settle for Quicktime Pro for quick and easy editing such as cutting, copying and pasting clips. If you’re interested in more advanced video editing software you should try Final Cut Pro~ for quick and easy editing I used iMovie.

Content

Of course this depends on what kind of video blog you’re making — if you’re interviewing a guest or featuring an event then obviously you would prepare questions and feature them as much as, if not more than, yourself.

AND if Miseducated has taught you anything it’s to pay attention to your mise-en-scene. Actually pay attention to what’s in the frame. If you’re filming in front of a pile of dirty laundry it probably wont have the same effect as in your local soda-shop or your cute office.

So if you want to start, read the following steps and join me in this fun medium of communication.

STEPS: Try it Yourself!

1. Watch a lot of video blogs.

Check out your friend’s blogs, their friend’s blogs, you favorite model’s blog and more. Surf around Flickr and Youtube and see how other’s carry out their video blogs. Pay attention to the content, length and format. Note what you like and don’t like about them.

2. Create the actual content.

Write down what you plan to talk about, keep it short and to the point so you can freely elaborate on video. Make sure you don’t look like you’re actually reading the notes to yourself; make it spontaneous but don’t get too lengthy. I think the best videos are short and sweet.

3. Practice makes perfect.

Practice in front of the camera. Take long videos, short videos, videos of you talking with your best friend, whatever video ideas you have practice them. Pay attention to how you present yourself in front of the camera and take notes. Re-record re-record re-record.

4. Post your video.

After following all the above steps you may or may not be ready to post your video. Post it anyway. We all have to start somewhere and that only leaves room for improvement.

Don’t worry about getting it right your first video. It will probably be too long, you’ll look like a huge dork, and the guys building a hotel next door will probably take the exact moment you’re recording to use their jackhammer. Whatever.” – Kontrary

Have you given it a try? Are you considering it now? Do you think we should further investigate this form of blogging?

How to Make Citrus Peel Potpourri

potpourri

Need an easy and sweet little gift for friends? Want to add some deliciously spicy scents to your environment, closets or dresser drawers? Why not make potpourri? It’s easy, comforting and smells wonderful! This year at our Holiday party I made a big bowl of potpourri in one of Mistereducated’s handmade, sparkly bowls. It was a combination of citrus peels from the fruit salad we made, dried orchids from the flowers he raises, roses from bouquets he’s given me, spices, herbs we grew and tended together, etc. It was filled with lots of love and the spirit of our happy home. I placed the bowl in the center of the table and on the edge I placed silky white sachets filled with the potpourri for guests to take upon leaving.

1. Peel orange, lemon or grapefruit trying to keep large pieces of peel.
2. Cut into peel-shaped slivers or your own shapes with sharp scissors.
3. Lay out on a tray with no peels touching each other and let dry for a few days.
4. When dry, add peels into glass jar with cloves, cinnamon sticks cut into smaller sections, nutmeg, small pinecones and dried flowers such as pink rose petals.
5. Add 3 drops cinnamon essencial oil and 3 drops orange essential oil.
6. Lid and shake jar. Keep closed for several months making sure to shake or stir each month.
7. Voila! Open and place potpourri around house in bowls, baskets or in sachets.

Citrus Stovetop Potpourri

1. Grab a pot.
2. Add fresh orange peels from 2 oranges (no need to dry).
3. Add spices of your choice: cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.
4. Put enough water to soak and submerge ingredients.
5. Simmer on stove over low heat to achieve scents, turn stove off when done.
6. Can last a few days if you want to re-simmer tomorrow.

slice

Want to use SLICES of oranges to make potpourri?

1. Slice the orange into thin, even slices.
2. To dry in your oven, set the temperature to 100 degrees F and put in oven for approximately 4 hours. The dried slices should be brittle when removed.
* Make sure to rotate and shift the drying trays every half hour and turn the food occasionally to ensure even drying.

Positive Energy Project: How to Sage Your Home

“Every life transition has its “zero hour,” that moment when everything that came before it is different from everything that comes after.” ~ Holly Rossi

Sage Cleansing Ritual

1. Make or purchase a dried sage smudge stick (many dried sprigs of sage tied together into a small bundle) and also obtain an abalone shell to hold it over while it burns so you do not drop ash or embers as you go around your home.

2. Open every door and window in your home, including the closets, drawers, cabinets and pantries.

3. Light the stick and softly blow out the flame to allow the embers to smoke (like incense).

4. Walk around the room waving the smoking sage stick into every corner, along walls, around windows, in cabinets and closets and along ceiling lines. You may need to relight several times to keep it smoking. As you do, imagine the smoke absorbing all negativity, toxicity, left-over energies from others who occupied your home once before and anything else you want to dispel. Watch the smoke dissipate and float out the windows while imagining the negative energies flowing out of your space to make room for positive energy. Say a prayer of cleansing as you do this.

“I cleanse this space of all impurities, negative energies, bad vibrations and anything else that does not suit or support the people that live here now. Infuse this home with the love of my higher power and of the universe.”

5. After you’ve blessed every room, give yourself a sage shower by cupping your hands over the smoke and brushing it over your face and body. Visualize any residual negativity floating out of your body, out of your home and into oblivion.

6. Extinguish the stick in water and store it for the next use or – if your stick is almost gone – bury it in your yard for added protection from negative energy.

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