To know me and my dad is to know that we are utterly obsessed with coconut. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I planned a family BBQ and somehow got talked into making an entire coconut cream pie. The conversation went something along the lines of –
Me: “So we’ll have tri-tip, carrot salad, and I’ll make a pie. What else would be good with this? Some asparagus?”
My mom: “Maybe potatoes gratin.”
My dad: “I think coconut cream pie would go great with all of those things…” Continue reading “Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Caramel”
It’s a rare Sunday when I’m actually human enough to have a proper brunch before noon. Beyond the mandatory sleeping in portion of Sundays, I also have to lay in bed scrolling through my phone, drink a cup of coffee, and snuggle my dog on the floor for thirty minutes all before putting on my face and some real pants. Luckily, I think Sundays always feel like morning until it starts to get dark and the anxiety of the next work day looms over me. So, brunch usually happens anywhere between 12:30 and 3 in the afternoon which means I get to sleep in and skip all the Sunday-brunch crowds. Win-win!
On the off chance that I have my shit together before noon on a Sunday and don’t think I can handle the weekend brunch crowds, I make breakfast at home and eat while cuddled up on the couch watching Friends for the hundredth time. Usually, it’s just a bagel or cheesy eggs + lots lots lots of coffee. However, every once in a while I will have my shit so together that I even have ingredients at home for a fancy brunch! Those are few and far between, but they are sometimes totally real and make me feel like an actual grown up.
I think I would like to make it a new goal to get up at least one Sunday a month and have a fancy brunch. Maybe I’ll even get into doing yoga on Sundays?! Would that make me an overachiever? It sounds a little meta….
This past week(end), I had probably the worst cold of my life. I felt like one of those wavy inflatable tubemen, but instead of being filled with air, I was actually filled with mud and also I was at the bottom of a swamp. I practically drowned myself in cough medicine and Gatorade, and I ate whatever I wanted since I was feeling sorry for myself. After watching approximately 200 episodes of The Office, I finally peeled myself off the couch and managed to get out of the house long enough to get some good coffee. Also, I’m sending many blessings to past Sara, because when I opened my freezer, I had some of these mini galettes wrapped up! (Ugh, past Sara can be a real MVP sometimes). Since it was the first warm day we’ve had in ages, I swigged some Dayquil and enjoyed these galettes with plenty of fresh coffee at our local arboretum.
These galettes are super easy and a fun play on the French croque madame. When I was in France this past summer, I was utterly obsessed with croque madames and ham and cheese baguettes. Why is it that the French can make a ham and cheese sandwich so amazing and mine taste like they came out of a vending machine? Anyways, I decided to take these ingredients and combine them with another one of my favorite French treats – the galette. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m totally obsessed with galettes, so it was about time that I made a savory version.
Oh, and I put everything bagel spice on the crust, because I pretty much want everything bagel spice on everything in my whole life.
Croque Madame Galettes with Everything Crust
Makes 4 large servings or 8 small servings
2 – 9 in. pie crusts, store-bought or homemade
1/4 c. dijon mustard
8 oz. ham, thinly sliced
6 oz. swiss cheese, sliced or shredded
1/4 c. everything bagel spice*
Sliced chives, for topping
Preheat oven to 350* F. Divide pie dough into 4 equal parts, and roll them out until they are about 6 inches in diameter. Spread 1 Tbs. of dijon in the middle of each crust. Place 2 oz. of ham and 2 slices of swiss (or 3 Tbs. shredded) in the middle of each crust. Fold the crust edges over. It doesn’t have to be perfect since they are supposed to be rustic!
Mix 1 of the eggs with about 1 Tbs. of water. Brush each of the crusts with the egg wash, and sprinkle each galette with 1 Tbs. of everything bagel spice. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and break 1 egg over the top of each galette. Bake for about 10 more minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk is still fairly runny.
Sprinkle each galette with the chives and serve!
*To freeze, wrap each galette in tinfoil and store in an airtight container in the freezer. To reheat, throw the wrapped galette in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes.
*I have a jar of everything bagel spice in my cabinet, but if you’re not one of those people, you can mix together 1 Tbs. poppy seeds, 1 Tbs. sesame seeds, 1 Tbs. dried garlic, and 1 Tbs. dried onion together. Sometimes, I use a mix of black and white sesame seeds for fun!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Heart in a Cage by The Strokes
I have a confession: I’m not a huge “pizza person”. And because of this, I get constant shit from every human on the planet, because apparently I am part of a small majority that doesn’t lose their mind over pizza. I, of course, love a good pizza when I am in the mood for it, but the rest of the time, I’ll happily choose tacos or Thai food instead. However, I do have a fave pizza place in Reno that makes me jalapeno + cheese pizza without judgement, and as a rule, this particular pizza must be eaten with a draft beer, absurd amounts of ranch, and the leftover crust must be dipped in honey.
(On a side note, do people in other parts of the world dip their crust in honey, or is that just a Reno thing???)
And while pizza is not my absolute favorite food, I do feel passionate about dough + cheese, and I’ve been loving experimenting with pizza flavors at home lately. On some Fridays, I will come home, pull out all the leftover ingredients from the week, chop up tons of fresh mozz, and pop a bottle of wine while the perfect combination of crust puffing and cheese bubbling occurs in my oven. I almost always go out for dinner on Fridays, but if for some reason I’m really in the mood to cook after work, it’s almost always some version of pizza. There’s something so calming about coming home, chopping up some veggies, and making a quick, delicious dinner.
And, if I really need pizza without the effort, I always have my trusty jalapeno-special ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Yesterday, we had probably our craziest snow of the season (yes, in late February, ugh come ooooon Reno). I was at my parents’ house after shopping with my mom, and this blizzard just started out of nowhere. It looked like a snow globe and made me need Christmas all over again. However, since I can’t redo Christmas, I went for the next best comforting winter activity which is obviously cooking and watching British TV. So, while the snow flurries drifted down outside my window, I threw together this recipe and cozied up on the couch watching Lovesick. These ingredients are a perfect mix of flavors – the kale gets so crispy and garlicky in the oven, sausage adds a little sweetness, there’s lemon for tartness, and of course, I added a simple bechamel and mozzarella for a creamy component. At the end, I like to add pine nuts to give it an earthy flavor (and also because I’m obsessed with pine nuts, they’re so good 😛). I like to sprinkle a ton of red pepper flakes on top of my pizza, but of course, you can leave those off if you don’t like spice! Lastly, the sauce is fairly creamy, especially when combined with the cheese. If you prefer a lighter, almost flatbread-style pizza, I would just brush the crust with olive oil and put the toppings on sans white sauce. In fact, it sounds rather amazing, and I think that will be my approach next time!
White Pizza with Sausage + Garlicky Kale + Lemon
Ingredients for the white sauce
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring until no clumps remain. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Slowly whisk in milk, bringing it to a boil and cooking for a couple of minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
Ingredients for the pizza
1 lb. pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
White sauce (recipe above)
2 links of sweet sausage, casings removed
2 c. kale, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced and quartered
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 Tbs. pine nuts
Preheat oven to 425* F. Roll out pizza dough to 1/8 inch thickness and place on a baking sheet. Brush with 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until it is no longer pink. Meanwhile, toss the kale, remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl – set aside. Drain the sausage, and discard the fat. Set sausage aside.
Spread the white sauce over the pizza dough. Sprinkle sausage and mozzarella over the sauce. Spread the kale and lemon slices over the pizza. Season with red pepper flakes.
Place the pizza in the oven for 16-20 minutes. When finished, the crust should be golden brown, and the cheese should be bubbly.
When the pizza is cooked through, sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Serve with additional pepper flakes and parmesan, if desired.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day* – Big Sis by SALES
In high school, I went to a baking and pastry high school and to make a little extra money, I would sell homemade cupcakes. Some of my bigger projects were for weddings and bridal showers, and I also did smaller events like 9 year old’s birthday parties. I actually won third place next to a bunch of professional pastry chefs at a couple of competitions, which was my crowning achievement at the time. I was famously known for my marshmallow buttercream that people used to call “crack frosting”. Obviously I lived that rockstar life back in the glory days of my youth.
Honestly though, going to my high school taught me invaluable lessons about food and the melding of flavors. It helped me land my first job in the industry that eventually led me to my coffee-career and love for food blogging. In a way, it was kind of like a weird, food version of Glee, but I got to do cool things like meet Vic Vegas and work in a bunch of kitchens in the casinos on the Strip. I think going to my high school gave me the confidence to actually start this food blog like, almost 6 years ago?! And luckily, I’ve come a long way since my first post, because *wow* I did not know how blogs worked 😬 I still have memories of having a mental breakdown, because I couldn’t figure out how to make an “About Me” page. I’m still not quite sure why I couldn’t just have a Tumblr page like every other 16 year old in the early 2010s.
I haven’t been making cupcakes “professionally” for a while, but of course, I still love to bake, especially now that I’ve gotten more adventurous with my flavor profile. So when a few weeks ago (well, before Christmas) Molly Yeh posted a recipe for marzipan buttercream, I diiiiiied. Marzipan buttercream is everything I dream about. Plus anytime I make anything with almonds, I immediately have the instinct to shove oranges in there somehow. And (!) since I’m not still in high school, I added orange liqueur, because boozy cupcakes = the best cupcakes.
This recipe is adapted for high altitude, because as I’ve mentioned in the past, for some reason I have to use high-altitude recipes for cakes and nothing else ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’ve been celebrating extra hard, because I *finally* figured out how to adapt my fave cupcake recipe to high-altitude almost five years after moving to Reno!! If you need me, I will be celebrating with extra orange liqueur.
Orange Liqueur Cupcakes + Marzipan Buttercream
Makes about 16 cupcakes
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder*
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
1 c. sugar*
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. orange liqueur (I used Triple Sec)
1 tsp. orange zest
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. flavorless oil
3/4 c. whole milk**
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Preheat oven to 375* F***.
Beat the butter and sugar together until thoroughly mixed. It will likely remain grainy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing completely. Add the vanilla extract, orange liqueur, and orange zest. Stir in the buttermilk and oil.
Mix in half of the flour mixture and half of the whole milk. Repeat with the remaining flour mix and milk, stirring just until combined.
Using a scoop, fill cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake, checking for doneness at 15-18 minutes. Cupcakes are done when an inserted toothpick has a few crumbs stuck to it.
Let cool and frost with Molly Yeh’s marzipan buttercream (1/2 recipe). Top with sprinkles!!
*use 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder for sea-level
**use 2/3 c. whole milk for sea-level
***bake at 350* F for sea-level
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Misty Morning by Travis Bretzer
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!! Today, my Canadian friend, Stephen, comes into town to experience
real American Thanksgiving, so to celebrate, here’s a classic Canadian recipe! If you read about my Canada trip, you know that I spent one late, post-beer night at Smoke’s Poutinerie, which I’ve been told is the classic around those parts. I ate “traditional” poutine, some drunk college kids told me I look like Bjork, and then we piled into an uber and I woke up with a gravy hangover the next day.
Tomorrow, I also plan on waking up with a gravy hangover although I’m hoping this gravy is topped over a mountain of mashed potatoes and cornbread stuffing. Yesterday I went to the liquor store after work, which was absolute utter madness, but I got some fancy gin, and I’m ready to party. I will be spending my weekend surrounded by 40+ people who share my DNA, and I have dubbed myself the official gin + tonic maker for the weekend.
When I asked in my Toronto post if it would be sacrilege to use tater tots instead of french fries in poutine, Stephen came back with a resounding “YES”. However, because I have no manners, and because deep frying foods in my own house is something I avoid like spiders and vacuuming, tater tots were the obvious choice. Plus, tater tots ♥
While we’re on the matter, would if be totally inappropriate for me to top mashed potatoes with gravy and cheese curds? Do you think Stephen would just totally leave the country and never come back??? Would mashed potatoes + gravy + cheese curds be delicious with gin + tonics? Or is that the gravy-hangover remedy?? If you have answers for these questions, pls let me know ASAP. There isn’t much time before I pick up the Canadian from the airport and the festivities begin.
Tater Tot Poutine
1 lb. tater tots (I eyeballed 1/2 of a 2 lb. bag)
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. beef broth
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. cheese curds
Parsley, for garnish
Heat oven to 450* F. Place the tater tots on a greased baking sheet making sure the tater tots don’t touch. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. You want them to be super crispy but not burned.
Meanwhile, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Whisk in beef broth, salt, pepper, onion powder, and thyme. Stir until thickened. Keep warm.
Drizzle gravy over tater tots. Top with cheese curds, and broil it in the oven until the curds are slightly melted. Top with parsley, if desired.
Serve immediately. Extra gravy optional, beer required.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Cosmic Sass by Good Morning
Updated September 2019: How to make a ginger old fashioned with bourbon, ginger bitters, and of course, a classic twist.
Hello, my name is Sara Lynn, and I am a
young NYC man living in the year 1958 a 20-something woman who loves old fashioned cocktails. But you can call me Don Draper.
Today, I will be sharing my favorite old fashioned recipe, because it’s my birthday! And I will be celebrating with Bourbon, Angostura bitters, and orange peel all night long if I have my way. However, I’ll try to sneak a lemon drop or Manhattan in, so I can feel like Carrie Bradshaw. I may have an identity crisis at the end of the night, but so be it. Tonight is for celebration and cake and drinks with my friends!
Last summer while I was in London, the beers and ciders became kind of mundane after my 200th IPA. One night, a group of (other) Nevada students and I went to a bar down the road from our dorm where I asked the bartender if they could mix cocktails. Ignoring the slightly dubious look in the recent high-school-grad-of-a-bartender’s eyes, I asked for an old fashioned, which he then responded with, “What’s in it?”. It was then that I learned that English pubs are strictly for wine, beer, and cider. Message received.
So, I had an old fashioned while I flew home to the states.
From Tigger mug to crystal tumblers: the evolution of the ginger old fashioned.
My first old fashioned was made with Bulleit bourbon and served out of a Tigger coffee mug around Christmas time while it snowed outside. That’s a true story. I’ve come a long way since then, but I can’t say that scenario won’t reoccur. I am in college after all, and sometimes Disney coffee mugs are the only vehicle for alcoholic beverages. However, I still do not own whiskey glasses, so discount water glasses bought at Home Goods will have to do for now. (2019 Update: I have graduated from college, and therefore, graduated from water glasses. We now own four whole crystal tumblers whoop whoop!)
How to make the perfect ginger old fashioned!
Another 2019 update: I have me a mans. And he knows how to make a damn good old fashioned. So, one weekend while he made me a ginger old fashioned, I took some photos, and now we have a great step-by-step tutorial! Thanks, Marc!
For the ginger old fashioned, you will need bourbon or rye (I like Bulleit), simple syrup or sugar cubes, ginger bitters, and a lemon and/or orange.
Start with a couple of glasses. Obviously, crystal tumblers are fancy AF, but a small water glass or even a Tigger mug will do! Place a large ice cube in each glass. I got my mold at Target, but you can use regular ice cubes if you’d like.
Pour two ounces of bourbon over the ice.
Pour one-quarter ounce, a.k.a. one teaspoon, of simple syrup over the whiskey. I prefer to pour the simple syrup in after the whiskey (as opposed to before), to keep the simple syrup from settling at the bottom of the glass.
Add two to three dashes of ginger bitters.
If you have a swizzle spoon, now is the time to bust it out! Or, just use a regular spoon/iced tea spoon. Stir the drink until it’s properly chilled and a bit diluted, about 30 seconds.
Take a strip of lemon peel or orange peel, and twist it over the ginger old fashioned. If you use both, it’s called “rabbit ears”. Cute! Drop the peel in the glass for garnish.
That’s it y’all! Ginger old fashioned complete.
Ginger Old Fashioned
Ginger Old Fashioned
- 2 oz bourbon whiskey (or rye, if desired)
- .25 oz simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube*)
- 2 dashes ginger bitters
- Orange and/or lemon peel, for garnish
- Place a large ice cube, or a couple regular ice cubes, in a whiskey glass (or small water glass or Tigger mug).
- Pour the bourbon over the ice cube. Add the simple syrup and ginger bitters. Stir for 30 seconds, until cold and properly diluted. Note: I add the simple syrup after the bourbon, so the simple syrup doesn’t settle at the bottom of the glass.
- Twist the orange and/or lemon peel over the old fashioned. Tuck it into the side of the ice cube. Enjoy!
- *If you’re using sugar cubes: Use the handle of a wooden spoon to muddle the sugar cube with the ginger bitters. Add the ice and bourbon. Stir until cold and properly diluted, about 30 seconds. Finish with a twist. Enjoy!
As a bday present to me, please make this ginger old fashioned tonight. Or, order one at your favorite bar 😉
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Dreaming by Seapony
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The more I blog about food, the more I realize the virtue in simplicity. When I first started blogging about food, I tried to be “out there” and “different” with my recipes, which sometimes worked in my favor and sometimes didn’t. Over the years, I have come to realize that food is better when the natural flavors are vividly present. Food photography is far more attractive when there’s not 20 props in the shot. Seeing food in a more natural state is so much more appealing than when it’s edited to oblivion and covered with cutesy clip-art images.
That is not to say that I don’t like to try crazy recipes or eat foods with more complex flavors. The best part about food is that it is so versatile and that options are limitless. However, food is also better when it complements each other, not just when a bunch of delicious foods are thrown together. I like pizza and ice cream, but does that mean I want pizza ice cream? (The answer is no if you haven’t guessed already).
The whole point of ramble is that food is amazing and can definitely be an outlet for creativity; but that doesn’t mean that it has to be insanely complex. Sometimes, I just want a regular brownie. Not a cheesecake brownie. Not an orange-and-thyme-infused brownie (not a real thing, but it could be). Just a brownie.
When you are in the mood for Just a Brownie, this is the go-to recipe. Please don’t go to the store and buy a boxed mix, because odds are, you already have brownie ingredients in your home, and these are so much better. They also only take 15 minutes to put together (I timed it). After the batter is made, all you have to do is wash the 3 dishes the recipe requires and watch an episode of Seinfeld, and the brownies are already done!
Your mission this weekend, should you choose to accept it, is to make these brownies. Brownies are the perfect Sunday project without a huge time commitment (did I already mention that they only take 15 minutes to mix together), and they come out tasting pretty much like fudge mixed with cake. I’d highly recommend serving them with ice cream, but that’s just one girl’s opinion on the matter…
Also, I threw some walnuts and hazelnuts on top of mine, because I’m a professional, but you definitely don’t have to.
*Song of the Day: Something Good This Way Comes by Jakob Dylan
About once a year, I get a strong yearning for summer. The long days off, laying on the beach at Lake Tahoe, wearing light sun dresses and messy up-dos to keep the hair off my face, the smell of beer & cheeseburgers on the grill, Slurpees, riding bikes, bonfires when it starts to cool down at sunset, going on holiday, fireworks. The time normally comes around late January/early February. The holidays are over, so the snow isn’t lit up by Christmas lights, and comfort food feels too rich and loses its appeal. Winter break has passed, and I’m back in school for “spring” semester, which is really just a tease, since it’s still 40* or below outside, and I’m tired of wearing the same sweaters and coats I’ve been wearing for months. I stare longingly at my bikinis and dream of taking a roadtrip and going on hikes.
After a few days of missing summer, I normally resort back to my usual cold-dreary-weather-obsessed self, snuggle in my blanket with some hot tea, and watch a movie while the rain patters outside. I indulge myself on the weekends with pot pie or roasted chicken, enjoy the cold Reno mornings surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and sip Guatemalas or Perus at the coffee shop. Once summer comes around, I’m already dreaming of the brisk cold that sneaks in mid-September.
A couple of weekends ago, I went to Tahoe with a *special human* to see the snow on the lake, which I had never done before. I took some pictures, and we climbed on rocks at Sand Harbor to watch the sun dip completely under the horizon, which was incredible, albeit slightly dangerous. Kings Beach was filled with cute kids in puffy snow onesies and dogs prancing after tennis balls on the beach. My faith in winter was restored, and bagels were consumed over coffee the next morning.
Which leads me to the bagels. Lately, with stormy clouds blanketing Reno on my days off, I’ve taken to trying out more difficult recipes that I’ve never attempted before. Oftentimes, I find that the recipes are not as hard as I initially thought, and they taste much better and cleaner than their store bought alternatives. Such was the case with these homemade bagels. Seemingly intimidating, but actually so easy, and they take no more than two hours to make.
I’ve been staying off of the internet lately, mostly due to a recent computer update from a certain tech company, let’s call them Schmicroshoft (no names please), that refuses to connect my computer with my wifi, essentially leaving it unusable, and leaving me to try solution after solution to no avail (but also because people keep talking about politics on social media). Long run-on-sentence short, I spent 2 hours on the phone with said company, and my computer still isn’t fixed, which is why I haven’t gotten the opportunity to share this recipe until now. But I promise, it’s probably one of the most successful recipes I’ve made, and it’s versatile enough to add whatever ingredients you want. Use an egg wash, and sprinkle the homemade bagels with seeds, garlic, onion, cheese. Mix in blueberries or chocolate chips. Take one straight out of the oven, toast in under the broiler for a few minutes, and smother it with a thick slab of butter or cream cheese.
Don’t forget the coffee.
*Bagels require high gluten flour, or they do not come out nearly as well. I easily found bread gluten at my local bulk grocery, but if you cannot find bread gluten, you could also use high-gluten flour.
*If you top your bagels with seeds, onions, garlic, or cheese, you will need to brush them first with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little water). If you want blueberries or chocolate chips, you can mix them straight into the dough!
*Song of the Day: It’s Real by Real Estate*
I know that you probably have lots of questions right now. SCOBYs aren’t the prettiest things, so you’re probs confused and wondering if you’re supposed to eat that thing (please, God, no), or if it’s some kind of facial mask or what. I promise, all questions will be addressed, but just hang with me. SCOBYs are not easy to photograph, and it’s extra hard to make them look appetizing enough to be featured on a food blog.
A SCOBY is an acronym for ‘symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast’, and it’s used to make kombucha. Now what’s kombucha? It’s a naturally carbonated, sweet-and-sour drink made by fermenting tea. Like wine and coffee, kombucha takes a few times to get used to. It contains a little bit of alcohol naturally, but it’s perfectly safe for kids to drink! Mixed with fruits and juices, it’s very versatile and tons of flavor combos can be made. If you’re a big soda-fan looking to cut the sugar-y chemical-laden drink out of your life, kombucha is for you. Why? It has tons of health benefits!
Kombucha helps with gut and digestion health, detox, immune health, etc. However, I personally like kombucha, because it helps with stomach problems. My stomach is sensitive to all kinds of foods, and on certain days it can make me quite nauseous. Friends with similar stomach problems recommended kombucha, and I really love how it makes me feel! I don’t necessarily drink it every day, but every couple of days does the trick and really limits my ‘sick days’.
The only downside to kombucha is that the cost can add up if you’re consuming it in large amounts. My solution was to learn how to make it, starting with the SCOBY!
The SCOBY is necessary, because it helps ferment the tea, which also adds health benefits. You can buy SCOBYs online, but I’m incredibly impatient and don’t like waiting for things in the mail. My next option was to learn how to make one. (Bonus: buying the stuff to make a SCOBY is cheaper than buying a SCOBY online). Once you make one SCOBY, a new SCOBY will be made with every kombucha batch. You can start a farm of SCOBYs, or you can gift the new SCOBY to a kombucha-loving friend.
*Disclaimer: Some people recommend not making a SCOBY, but rather buying one, the main reason being that SCOBYs do not always grow if they’re homemade (has not been a problem for me at all). However, I see no real risks in growing a SCOBY, and mine turned out successful! Choose whatever option you’re comfortable with.
Let’s get started!
First, you’ll start by making a sweet tea. The best tea to use is regular black tea, because it helps the SCOBY grow. Once you have your new SCOBY, you can try other teas for the next batch, but try to use black tea at first! Kombucha works best with caffeinated, non-herbal teas. Herbal teas can damage the SCOBY, so be cautious. Alternatively, you can use 1 1/2 Tbs. loose-leaf, but make sure to strain the leaves out before making your SCOBY.
Next, you’ll mix together your (cooled) sweet tea with a cup of your organic, raw kombucha. You’ll want unflavored kombucha so that your SCOBY grows.
Then, you’ll put the mixture in a large jar. You’ll want to wrap the mouth of the jar with paper towels or coffee filters to keep out bugs. Then secure the paper towels with a rubber band, and pop on the lid!
Place your SCOBY in a dark room with an average temperature (not too cold, not too hot). Leave it there for about 4 weeks. You’ll start to notice a little film forming over the top. It’ll get thicker and thicker, it may change colors, get bubbles, etc. Don’t worry. As long as it doesn’t grow grey or green mold, it should be fine.
Once it’s all grown up, you can use it to make your own kombucha! The remaining liquid is drink-able, but it will be very strong. You can use some of the liquid to make your first batch of kombucha, but you’ll probably want to just discard the rest.
Start looking for new kombucha recipes in the near future! I’ve been coming up with all kinds of flavors (:
*Song of the Day: Youth Knows No Pain by Lykke Li*