Over the holidays I was introduced to a treat that I will definitely be making again!
We had a houseful over Christmas and our son-in-law’s mother was able to join us which was a real blessing. I enjoyed spending time with Martha and getting to know her better. It was fun to show her where we live here in Vermont. She is from the west coast!
Not only did I enjoy Martha’s company but she made some awesome cookies for us that were delicious! We even decided that they were good for breakfast as well!
The recipe is an easy one and I understand they freeze well, although we weren’t able to freeze any as they disappeared quite rapidly!
4 c. flour
1 lb. butter
1 pt. sour cream
1 ½ c. sugar
1 ½ c. ground walnuts
2 tsp. cinnamon
Cut butter into flour until fine. Blend in sour cream and chill overnight. (May mix dough with mixer.) Divide dough into 4 or 5 parts. Roll each into 9 inch circle. Sprinkle with mixture of sugar, nuts, and cinnamon. Cut into 12 to 16 wedges.
Roll from wide end. Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!
Linked to: NotYourOrdinaryRecipes , FoodieFriendsFriday, WeekendWonders, RattlebridgeFarm, SimplySweetHome, HomemaidSimple, SimpleLivingAndEating, AnnKroeker, 21stCenturyHousewife, PremeditatedLeftovers, JustWingingIt, WeekendPotluck, MyTurnForUs, CheeriosAndLattes, CrumbsAndChaos, TutusAndTeaParties, IAmAddictedToRecipes, ChurchSupper, CreativeHomeAcreHop, MySweetAndSavory, MakeaheadMealsForBusyMoms, DelightfullyDowling, FlourMeWithLove, NaptimeCreations, MamalDiane, BlessedWithGrace, MandysRecipeBox, InsideBruCrewLife, 33ShadesOfGreen, LoveBakesGoodCakes, ZentMrs&TheMr, TumbleweedContessa, EarningMyCape, DJsSugarShack, AtHomeTake2, SevenAlive, HousewivesOfRiverton, MizHelensCountryCottage, TheBrambleberryCottage, FutureExpat, LoveInTheKitchen, GooseberryPatch, AnyonitaNibbles, CallMePMC
A year ago I had never even heard of Kombucha! What is it? It is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast that is often drunk for medicinal purposes. Although it’s sometimes referred to as kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom — it’s a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and tea, and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds. Kombucha originated in Northeast China and later spread to Russia and from there it spread to Germany and Europe.
There are many health claims surrounding kombucha such as increased energy, weight loss, better skin, better digestion, detoxification of toxins and many more. Kombucha’s health claims cannot be truly verified, as is the case for many food items claiming increased health with consumption. Kombucha products are sold as “a dietary supplement” in the United States – not a drug, which would require the companies selling kombucha to formally verify to the FDA its safety and effectiveness against its health claims. Hmm, I certainly do not think kombucha is a “cure-all” as some sites and company’s claim. However it does taste good. I have purchased it from various health food stores in the past and decided to try brewing some at home.
I purchased a Kombucha Tea Starter from Cultures for Health. The culture has actually been dehydrated. I have been storing it in the refrigerator since it arrived in the mail.
Before beginning I gathered all the materials necessary to rehydrate my kombucha.
*One quart jar
*A plastic or wood-stirring utensil (never let metal come in contact with the culture!)
*A towel or paper coffee filter for covering the jar while brewing
*A rubber band
*One kombucha culture
*Organic loose tea or tea bags. (I am using black tea, which is traditionally used)
*Organic cane sugar
*Distilled white vinegar (acidity of 5%)
The first step was to combine 2 ½-3 cups of hot water and ¼ cup of sugar together in a jar. Mix until the sugar dissolves and then add 2 black tea bags. You can use either black or green tea. Allow the tea to seep and then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
Remove the tea bags and when the mixture is cool add ½ cup vinegar to the mixture. This is very important to maintain the correct pH of the mixture. Carefully remove your culture from the package and place it in your cool, sweetened tea and vinegar mixture.
Cover the jar with a towel, coffee filter or cheesecloth and a tight rubber band. Allow the jar to sit undisturbed in a warm (70-85 degree F) and out of direct sunlight for 30 days. During this time the culture will rehydrate. To determine whether my rehydration batch of Kombucha is successful, I need to look for a change in the appearance of the culture, a lower pH, a sharper, more vinegary taste than when it started, and possibly the formation of a new culture. If any of these have occurred, I can then use or discard the batch that I’ve used to rehydrate the culture and transfer the culture into a new cooled solution of sugary tea plus vinegar or some of the liquid from the first batch. This will then become my next batch of Kombucha.
So follow with me as I attempt to brew and enjoy my first batch of Kombucha. I’ve completed the rehydration step, now to be patient and see what happens in the next 30 days. Cultures For Health has some excellent videos on the whole process if you are interested in learning more. Click here to watch the vidoes.
If you’re like me you’ve ordered your seeds and are now looking forward to starting those seeds. What to do in the meantime? Winter is a perfect time to work on getting your gardening tools and pots ready for the next gardening season. If you take good care of your tools they will last longer and perform better for you. When spring finally arrives you will want to start the season with tools that are in good working order.
Often fall comes, I work one last time in the garden and put my tools away thinking I’ll be back out again before winter. Instead the tools stay in my gardening bucket until spring when I pull them out dirty and rusty. Now is the time to take a look at your garden tools and give them the attention they need.
First remove any dirt from your tools. Remove any sap that has accumulated. If the tools have been used with fertilizers it is important to clean them as the chemicals in fertilizer can corrode any metal parts. Some people make a bucket of oiled sand to clean off your tools before storage. To make oiled sand, pour 3/4 quart motor oil or mineral oil into a 5-gallon bucket of sand (the sand should be damp but not moist). Push blades of tools into sand. This helps clean and condition the metal. You can actually store your tools in the oiled sand or wipe and hang to store.
Once the dirt is removed tackle the rust. Remove any rust with a wire brush and wipe over with an oily rag; use a general purpose oil, such as WD40. Blades on your clippers, forks, spades and other tools will soon rust if they are not given this quick, effective treatment regularly. After you have sharpened your tools finish off by wiping over the blades with an oily rag before storing.
Some tools become blunt with use and their cutting edges will need to be sharpened. Blunt edges may be sharpened with a fine metal file but if they are badly damaged they should be replaced.
Bare wooden handles benefit from boiled linseed oil. Rub the oil on a rag and allow the wood to absorb the first coat before applying more oil. This prevents drying out and splintering. If the handle is dirty try to remove any dirt with a stiff brush.
Pots used for planting should also be cleaned with a pot scrubbing brush. Then soak them in a 10% solution of bleach for ten minutes. This simple sanitizing solution kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, and insects in pots. Leave them to dry out completely before stacking or using to plant.
Finally, take care of that old wheelbarrow. Clean the tire, handles and the tray with water and soap. Tighten any nuts or screws that might have loosened over the summer. Read the tire pressure requirement on the side of the tire and fill it with air. Use a bicycle tire pump instead of an air compressor. A really powerful compressor can burst a wheelbarrow tire sending tire shreds flying. Most wheelbarrows have sealed wheel bearings so greasing or oiling the wheel isn’t necessary. Store the wheelbarrow inside if you can or if you have to store it outside, turn it upside down to prevent water from standing in the tray.
Once your garden tools have been cleaned and oiled put them away in an organized fashion so you can find them in the spring. By taking care of your tools now you will be in good shape for the growing season. Imagine how nice it would be to head out to your garage or tool shed and have a clean set of tools waiting for you, the hose carefully coiled and the wheelbarrow ready for use. Now is the time to take action and as you are working you can dream of your beautiful garden.
Linked to: MsGreenthumbJean , SidewalkShoes, ASouthernDayDreamer, NaturalMothersNetwork, MindBodyandSole, TheHomeAcreHop, DelightfulzOrder, TootsieTime, FarmGirlBlogFest, TheChickenChick, CraftyGardenMama, BackyardFarmingConnection
Perhaps you’ve read Prudent Living Magazine or visited the Prudent Living Online Market. Maybe you’ve even read the Prudent Living company blog. Have you ever wondered what my relationship is with Prudent Living? After all our logos are quite similar!
Prudent Living, Inc. is a company located in Windsor, VT. Here is a quote from their website, “Prudent Living offers services, strategies, products and a community that encourage a prudent way of life. Started in 2009 by Biebel Builders, quality home and commercial builders in Windsor, Vermont since 1976, Prudent Living provides customers with energy-efficient architectural design; green strategies for homebuilding and renovation; energy audits; and renewable alternatives such as solar, wind and geothermal. More than just builders of houses, Prudent Living helps people build an intentional life –whether it’s by carefully managing natural resources, spending wisely, protecting health or by safeguarding the health of the planet. The Prudent Living community relies on the dynamic web site, informative blogs and free quarterly Prudent Living e-Magazine for practical suggestions for daily life.” They help people like you make thoughtful, intelligent choices about living in a way that preserves resources –yours and the planet.
Prudent Living, Inc. also has an online market of prudent products. The items sold in the store have been hand picked to help you in your quest to live a more prudent life.
When we first moved to Vermont many years ago we hired Bieble Builders to build our home. It was a passive solar designed house built to take advantage of the free solar energy to help heat our home. We have always had a garden and I work hard to preserve what we grow to enjoy the harvest throughout the year. In other words we have been living the prudent life for years.
It was a natural progression to start a blog about my experiences. I not only write articles for the Prudent Living Magazine (a free online magazine that comes out four times a year) but I also write this blog On the Home Front, where I talk about my experience of prudent living on the home front.
It’s an exciting company to be involved in. Be sure to check out their website, read their magazine and visit the online store. Prudent Living offers you the resources to move toward a more prudent way of life.