the kombucha dairies

In the past several months I have developed a strong liking and inclination for kombucha. For those of you who don’t know what kombucha is, let me explain. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is cultured with a mushroom “SCOBY” and sugar. Okay, okay, I know that sounds effing nasty. Well…. I mean lots of fermented foods sound gross in theory, but then when someone produces some amazing sauerkraut, kim chi, cheese, or Worcestershire sauce it’s easy to forget the process and just enjoy the taste. Food preservation and discovery is fascinating and is what makes us as people so special and wonderful. I don’t know who first let their tea sit out for way too long and then had the nerve to drink it, but I’m glad they did. PLUS – there are quite a few health benefits from drinking Kombucha – it aids in digestion, helps detox the liver, and although no super scientific research has been done people just say it makes the body feel better. I can totally jive with all those claims, but the bottom line for me is that it’s tasty as hell.

Anyways, buying kombucha at the health food store can set you back $4 a bottle and believe me this stuff is the jam – so the cost suddenly becomes pretty obvious when you get a full blown kombucha addiction rolling. I started thinking about brewing my own especially because I have SO MUCH amazing tea from T-we Tea in San Francisco (btw the boys at T-we Tea are the most wonderful small business owners ever). So I started doing research about brewing my own kombucha….. There are many ‘how to’ and ‘101s’ online and after reading enough it was obvious the ‘fail-proof’ method for starting a successful SCOBY was to buy one. I used Kombucha Kamp as my SCOBY provider and used the kombucha mamma’s guidelines to brew my own. You can buy a ‘mother’ SCOBY for around $20 and that will yield countless gallon brews. PLUS each brew creates a new ‘baby’ SCOBY that you can transfer to a new gallon glass jar and thus yield another gallon! Straight up every brew MULTIPLIES! I bought 2 to start because – well go big or go home I guess.

Capture

For my tea, again I used Twe-Tea. I’m an addict of theirs so it was natural to use their product. I have brewed Flailing Princess (a darjeeling with coconut and rose petals), Ooh Laa Cocolong (a jade oolong with coconut ribbons), and Guurl Grey ( sri lankan ceylon with orange peel and jasmine). All three have produced very tasty kombucha. I have also added ginger juice to several of the kombuchas after I bottled them.

My first brew experience went something like this:

1. Day 1 :Brew tea / mix as directions said – add SCOBY. Cover with normal muslin and put in kitchen cupboard. Giggle and wait.
2. Day 5 : WHAT THE FUCK ARE THESE BUGS IN MY TEA?!
3. Day 5- Day 6 : Dump the maggot tea – Retained both mother SCOBYs and let ‘sit’ in small container to see if maggots had infested MOTHERS. coupled with panicked research and Kombucha horror stories.
4. Day 7 : “I spent $40 on these mother-f*cking SCOBYs and by jove I’m not gonna waste them – I don’t see any bugs/larvae – eff it! let’s do this again.’
5. Day 8 : Re-brew tea / mix as directed – add non-bug SCOBYs. Cover with super tight doubled up muslin, create ‘fruit fly trap’, put in kitchen cupboard.
6. Day 9-23 : Compulsively check kombucha brews for fruit-flies and any other abnormalities. Deep Breathes everyday as it actually was going well.
7. Day 24 : Time to taste test this….. please don’t taste like barf….. WOW DELICIOUS!
8. Day 25 : Bottle 2 gallons on Kombucha. Add ginger to 1/2 dozen jars. Start new Kombucha brews.
9. Day 25 – 40 : Enjoy my own Kombucha!

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I’ve successfully brewed and fermented two batches of two teas from my SCOBYs so far. I absolutely LOVE how my brew tastes too. I did finally get the nerve to have someone taste the tea and they said it was so great! Huzzah! Anyways – this experiment was totally worth it. Aside from the maggot hiccup on batch #1, I have the method down already. I’m thinking I’ll split my SCOBYs tonight and start 4 batches this time! Making stuff is so fun!

xxx
GFK

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Chihuly Denver Botanical Gardens

While in Denver, I had a chance to check out an exhibit that everyone has been talking about – the Chihuly glass art exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens. It was so amazing. *i had shorts on – even though it looks like I’m missing my pants.

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Ghostfaceknitter Etsy Shop COMING SOON!

I have been quite the crafting fool lately. I have had several custom orders from people through Instagram and now with that momentum I have decided to open an Etsy store as Ghostfaceknitter!

Huzzah! I’m guesstimating in the next two/three weeks I will go live with that store – and you all will be in the know when I do – have the confirmed timeline. Let’s take a look at some of the items I’ve been stock piling, custom making for you lovely lovely GFK supporters.

red velvet cake
“Mind you drink the cat is an asshole”
geisha cat toy.
geisha baby plush.

orange dreamsicle cake
toddler pocket Star Wars bib.

What do you think? I’m think about cowls, sunglasses cases, different skirts/shirts/dresses, and of course more cakes! 🙂

toodles
xxx
GFK

Lost in Oblivion

Well June has historically been a quiet blog month for me and this one is no real exception. I guess the summer is always strange for me. Don’t get me wrong this one is great so far. I’m loving riding my bike around the city (my arm is finally okay to ride – not okay for pushups/inversions), the warmer weather is so awesome, friends are wonderful, there’s LOADS of events, and just exploring. However, summer is always full of so much change for me. I never have a summer that doesn’t almost ‘redefine’ me. Two summers ago, my grandma died – the dude left me – then I decided to move to Chicago. Last summer, the dude left me again, I got sober and changed most of the things I felt/did/experienced. This summer is the first summer that I am genuinely happy with me, my life, and my goals.

Something I’m working on personally is living in the moment. I tend to be a very goal orientated person. I find that most of my past four years has been spent saying ‘when I graduate…’ ‘when I take the GMAT’ ‘when I get a job’ ‘when when when’…. Well, it’s a fine line to look forward to something, like a vacation or a special occasion, and to live in that moment – instead of this one. I find that my expectations become insatiable when I begin to focus on something in the future. I have to say it was quite the wake up call when I did not do well on the GMAT. To go from such a structured ideology of what my plan was going to be, to actual reality was my signal to slow down. There are so many opportunities and options out there. What is it that I really want? I’m working on that now, because my ‘master plan’ has changed greatly as of two weeks ago.

This moment is special. I am in the best shape I have ever been in, in my entire life – mentally, physically, spiritually. I am so full of excitement about my hobbies and my interests, sometimes I have to just tell myself to ‘simmer down buddy’. This moment is my life. I’m so proud of my life. I’m proud of who I am and I have to constantly remind myself that although I do have goals and that everything is a process, that the journey itself is something to relish in versus endure. I’m not sure why I’m writing something so personal here, I guess I just feel I should document this for myself. This blog is living journal for me and occasionally I’ll randomly read something from years back and just marvel at all the things that have happened. It’s important to remember that this moment is special.

Anyways, I finally understand what everyone was talking about when they said ‘summer in Chicago is so amazing.’ It really is and I’m so happy I gave myself the opportunity to enjoy it.

I’ve been listening to a lot of this song lately too. Oblivion by Mastodon. “Leaving you behind was my lonesome song”

And of course as always Pallbearer.

Centered Self May 2014

Happy Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was very nice aside from my normal GMAT angst. I’m sadly just not doing well in the practice exams anymore. I excel and make huge progress in the practice questions every night when I study for 2-3 hours, but not on the exams I take Saturday. I think, and I know it may sound like I’m ‘opting-out’, but that I may just stop taking the full length practice exams now that there is 1 month till my test. They do not help me confidence wise nor do they help me focus on my ‘weaknesses’ I seem to do poorly/strongly in a new subject each week – making it so nothing is consistent. I’m gonna try for this approach since my 8 weeks of weekly CAT exams have not seemed to help me. I realize that I am rushing, because once I ‘get it over with’ I can actually enjoy my weekend. Honestly, it’s going to come down to that day of the test. All I can do is keep practicing out of my OG book 2-3 hours a day and pray to God and to all the underdog stories of all time that I will pull a decent score out of my ass on May 31. But, worst case scenario I take a formal course with Manhattan in the late summer.

le sigh. Aside from that I had a really nice reflective weekend. I have to marvel at how much I have grown in the past 9+ months mentally and physically. I am able to do things and experience emotions I would have never thought I would work through and make work for me. Mentally, I concurred my anxiety and overcame the insecurities that plagued me for most of my adult life. I am able to accept my faults and to gain strength from my successes. I’ve kicked the negativity to the curb along with all the people that facilitate negative thoughts and actions for me. Living a life without being brought down by others is marvelous. I have never been so free in losing myself in what I love. I finally have found what true security and self-love means.

Plus, I am so lucky to have a strong support group, that only wants to support me and see me succeed. Likewise, I have found immense happiness in inspiring others and trying to infuse a positive support system from myself to anyone I talk to. That doesn’t mean I still don’t have emo or bad days, but I sure as hell snap out of them more quickly and find myself engaging in more meaningful ways of coping with ‘the blues.’ I do have a hard time with expectations, but honestly my core group of friends and family always exceed any expectations that I would have. I’m truly blessed to have people that genuinely care for me and want to see me succeed and be happy. On the physical side of things, I have never been more strong and motivated. I can run like the wind! Well an 8-10 mile an hour breeze, but still that’s GREAT! I also have achieved my handstand goals and now can do unassisted handstands for 30seconds – 1 minute. I’m working on movement poses, but with a curious unnamed kitten – being upside down and trying to switch pose positions is quite difficult. I have to say I really enjoy knowing that I am strong from the inside – humble confidence radiates out of me these days.

I also made this ADORABLE geisha girl from Benartex Panel Prints. I got mine here and it actually took about 2-3 days to receive her! I had a blast putting her together at my friend’s house (duel sewing machines!) and then hand stitching at home (which I still need A LOT of work on).

Last weekend I decided to plant some kitchen herbs and I was so excited to see that 3/4 have already germinated! I’ll have Basil (pictured), Oregano (still waiting on it to germinate), Cilantro, and Rosemary in a few weeks! I also bought an organic Mint plant from Wal-Mart on Saturday and made virgin-zero calorie-full fun juleps/mockjitos with some lemon-lime soda water and stevia. 🙂

I also will admit my favorite treat are those super cheap ice cream cups from Wal-Mart. They have a birthday cake one that is so so tasty. I have friends that help me eat it. *note I was done eating it – I am not that gross to share food with the cats.

I attempted to ‘sun-proof’ and thus heat-proof my living room this weekend also. I used some of those emergency thermal blankets, as I read a HOW TO HERE. Boris was the foreman for this job and inspected my work. I don’t know if this is gonna last/work. The crinkly noise is kind of annoying. TBD. If this <$5 experiment does not work I may splurge and get these real thermal black out drapes. Or I’ll buy those car window black-out foam things and suspend them… God things are getting weird at my house.

This might explain what’s up.

xxx
GFK

Snap. Crackle. Pop. My Visit to the Chiropractor!

my office.

Well I’ve had my job for exactly 1 year today. I can’t believe SO MUCH has happened since then – wouldn’t change a moment of it. EXCEPT maybe for all the slouching and even more horrific posture habits I’ve developed. It’s true, sitting at a desk all day and then coming home to crouch over knitting/sewing/crochet/GMAT studying has finally resulted in me feeling HORRIBLE about my posture. In the last month I just felt like I needed to stretch my back constantly and I was increasingly worried I was heading for some sort of back/neck injury. I’m really into preventative action so after talking to a few friends I decided I would go to the chiropractor. My only other experience with a chiro was dealing with some insanely painful/emergency stiff necks when I was a young kid so I didn’t really have a basis for what to expect. I decided to ask some of the more particular athletes at my office for Dr. recommendations and boy did I luck out!

first day 2013!

I found a chiro who is a tri-athlete and genuinely cares about his patients. His name is Dr. Roy Settergren and he is located at Midwest Sport & Spine if any of you Chicago readers are curious. He listened to my ‘ailments’ and wasn’t aggressive in his practice. Basically, he had me lie down on the table and started working out the insanely tight muscles in my front shoulders. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to sit up straight, but my shoulders could not be moved from a concave position. Seriously, it was so bad when I would lie down flat on my back I could not make my shoulders touch the ground/surface. Then he worked out my ‘glued’ shoulder blades and boy when those started cracking/popping it was wonderful. Nothing ever hurt and he really didn’t do any ‘adjusting’ aside from working out my tight muscles. When I sat up afterwards it was like I had had my chest opened up so greatly. I seriously feel like I’m a new person! But, I know that I have to keep it up. Obviously, I would love to go in as often as I can, but that’s not realistic. I have to practice making my posture better in all my daily activities. So every 45 minutes I stop and stretch at my desk or while I’m studying/crafting. I’m also being mindful of my shoulders rounding forward. I certainly don’t want to have a humpback or look like Quasimodo at any point in my life.

stretching it out with my foam pool noodle and baby Boris.

Anyways if you’ve been looking for some helpful stretches at home/work:

Here is some from Dr. Settergren.

Here are some for workplace stretching at your desk

Here’s some more low key ones – so people don’t think you’re insane/one of them yoga freaks (jk I love yoga freaks)

I might have the hobbies and interests of an 80 year old, but I don’t need the spine curvature of one.

XXX
GFK