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I used to blog. Then I had a kid and then, even worse, I made one of my hobbies into my day job. I watched many NaBloPoMos, Blogher's challenge to post every day in November, pass without signing up. This year, in an effort to force myself to create fresh written content for Breathing Space ... [Read more]

Two Care2 stories hit close to home this week. The first was a report that drinking water with levels of arsenic considered accpetable by EPA might cause prenatal growth and development problems and reduce the nutrient availability of breastmilk. Having worked on the campaign to get the arsenic limit lowered to its current level while ... [Read more]

While I've got several blog drafts in the works and ideas for more, I don't seem to find as much time to post here as I'd like. When the puddles seem a little dry for jumping here, you can often find me elsewhere online: Jen Mueller Yoga is my professional yoga teacher page. This is ... [Read more]

The poem below was emailed to me this week.  If you are a parent who's read the "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" book series by Laura Numeroff, this may strike a cord. If You Give A Mom A Muffin  by Beth Brubaker If you give a mom a muffin, She’ll want a cup ... [Read more]

Found myself writing about chemicals out of place. Recently on Care2: Recent reports reveal that hydraulic fracturing, a form of natural gas drilling that involves injecting toxin-laden water deep underground, may have been responsible for earthquakes in England and Oklahoma and the Environmental Protection agency announced that it will investigate the drilling method’s impact on ... [Read more]

When I embarked on making Kefir at home, I expected it to be an extension of our long-established habit of making our own yogurt. However, incorporating this fermented food into my diet took a little trial and error. In honor of Farmer's Daughter's Green Moms Carnival this month on preserving food, I'll describe lessons I learned making kefir, so that you might find your ideal routine more quickly than I did.

kefir ready for new milkWhile kefir and yogurt both ferment milk, the process and our resulting routine are very different:

  • Unlike yogurt, making kefir with live cultures does not involve heating and cooling the milk.
  • Kefir ferments at room temperature (or lower, as I discovered) and does not require being kept warm over night.
  • Kefir continues to culture until it is consumed, even if the grains are removed, so must be eaten quickly. (The same is true of yogurt, but the process is much slower.)

There are many websites with instructions for making kefir, and some of them make the process seem very complicated and involved. It doesn't have to be. My kefir routine involves just a tiny bit of planning and adds only a few minutes to my smoothie routine every couple of days.

Standard Homemade Kefir Instructions

  1. Put your grains into a clean glass jar.
  2. Add milk.
  3. Cover jar with a clean towel, not a lid (it carbonates), and store at room temperature.
  4. 24 hours later, or when the kefir reaches the desired sourness, strain kefir grains.
  5. Drink kefir.
  6. Go back to step 1.

That system didn't work for me in the warm climate of Washington, DC, mostly because I found I was making a quart of kefir every 12 hours. Even when I reduced the amount of grains in the jar, I simply couldn't keep up. I had to figure out a way to slow production, and since I had been storing extra grains in the refrigerator, where they still fermented the milk in which they were stored, I decided to try putting the whole process in there.

Don't Make Connections Between Extreme Weather Events (VIDEO) . . . because that might might lead you to conclude that global warming is already happening, warns Bill McKibben in a Washington Post oped. In the wake of the devastating tornado's in Joplin, MO, and a record year for tornados, floods, and wildfires worldwide, author and ... [Read more]

It's not just here. I've barely been posting to twitter and only sporatically posting at Care2.  I've simply found myself busier than expected in 2011: managing the day to day, but also figuring, planning, and dreaming. Your best bet for keeping up with me lately is Facebook. I even have a page for yoga, check ... [Read more]

If you missed any of my recent Care2 posts, you can catch up here.  Follow me on twitter @studiojmm and I'll let you know when a new causes blog is posted. Probable Cancer-causing Chemical Found in Drinking Water of 31 of 35 U.S. Cities Tested Hexavalent chromium, the chemical made famous by the 2000 movie ... [Read more]

That's what I was blogging on at Care2 this past week. Data Shows 20 Percent Growth in Factory Farming In Past 5 Years A new interactive web tool from Food & Water Watch provides a dramatic illustration of the increasingly consolidated animal agriculture industry in the United States. The advocacy group mapped USDA livestock census ... [Read more]

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