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Book Review: Kombucha Revolution by Stephen Lee

Kombucha Revolution by Stephen LeeSpecial thanks to Blogging for Books for providing this review copy.

Kombucha Revolution Book Description:

Kombucha—a fizzy, fermented tea-based beverage packed with probiotics, vitamins, and enzymes—has home brewers salivating. And who better to guide you through the brewing process than a tea guru with more than forty years of experience under his belt? Stephen Lee, cofounder of Tazo Tea and Stash Tea, turned his attention to fermented tea and founded Kombucha Wonder Drink in 2001. In Kombucha Revolution, Lee reveals the secrets to brewing the perfect batch of kombucha and caring for your very own SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). He also shares his favorite recipes—plus contributions from brewers, bartenders, and chefs like “Kombucha Mamma” Hannah Crum and Wildwood’s Dustin Clark—for infusing your brew with fruits, herbs, and spices, and incorporating it into juices, smoothies, sauces, snacks, sweets, and cocktails.

With recipes for Lavender–Green Tea Kombucha, Cranberry Bitters Cocktails, Kombucha Vinegar, Green Smoothies, Kombucha Lime Ceviche, and Kombucha Pear Sorbet, mixing this healthful brew into your everyday lifestyle has never been so revolutionary.

Stephen LeeAbout the Author:

STEPHEN LEE is a humble student of tea, its culture and its restorative effects. Stephen has co-founded and sold two of the country’s best-known tea brands, Tazo Tea and Stash Tea. Stephen has now enjoyed 40 years in the premium tea business.

After discovering kombucha on one of his tea importing trips to Russia, Stephen launched Kombucha Wonder Drink in 2001. He has mastered a superbly balanced kombucha tea he offers to others so they too may enjoy this energizing beverage with benefits. Kombucha Wonder Drink can now be found in natural foods stores, grocery stores, pubs, spas, hotels, college campuses, and coffee and tea houses across North America.

He also recently launched Tea Tibet, a not-for-profit tea company benefiting Tibet. All profits go to Tibetan educational projects and orphanages.

Steve spends time with seven grandchildren, walks and journals extensively around the world, and enjoys good food and beverages.

Book Details:

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (June 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607745984
ISBN-13: 978-1607745983
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 0.7 inches
Retail Price: $18.99
Electronic Editions also available

My Thoughts:

If you’re involved in the real food, traditional food, or homesteading movement, then you’ve probably at least heard about Kombucha even if you’ve never had it. I’ve been hearing about it for a couple of years now, but I didn’t really know what it was or how personalized you could make it. After reading this book, I’m now hunting for my own SCOBY to start our own Kombucha experiment.

Kombucha Revolution starts with an introduction into how the author got started on his own Kombucha journey and then dives into the world of Kombucha. He explains what Kombucha is including its history and health benefits and then talks about what all is needed to start making your own at home. The one part that I found lacking here was actual resources for sourcing your own SCOBY and other equipment.

Once you’re ready to start brewing your own Kombucha, Stephen gives step-by-step instructions on how to make his master plain Kombucha recipe. A big plus here are the pictures showing the process and what to expect from the brewing process. My daughter thought that the mother SCOBY looks a little yucky during the brewing process, so it’s nice to know what it should (or should not) look like – especially when you’re first starting out.

After the basic, plain recipe, Stephen dives into a variety of different recipes for flavored Kombucha, drinks utilizing the various flavors of Kombucha, alcoholic drinks utilizing Kombucha, dressings and dips using Kombucha, recipes using Kombucha, and finally, desert recipes using Kombucha.

While I would have liked to see more pictures with the recipes, the pictures that were featured with some of the recipes were beautiful. I can’t wait to try at least some of the recipes in this book once we get our own SCOBY.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Blogging for Books for this review. A positive review is not required nor guaranteed. All opinions are my own.

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Spiders and Packrats and Snakes! Oh My!

Packrat

When we arrived at our cabin, we knew that we’d have a little clean up to do after we got the horses settled in at their new location. Little did we know that we would have way more cleaning on our hands than we expected. As Daddy opened up the garage, a rather large Mohave Green Rattlesnake greeted him by the door. Wasn’t that nice? Needless to say, he had us stay out of the garage until the snake had been removed. (That snake was later disposed of by our pack of coyotes. lol!) In case you don’t know, Mohave Green Rattlesnakes are highly venomous and dangerous. Given that it takes some time to even get to a main road from our place, the idea of the animals or ourselves being bit wasn’t a pleasant thought.

After the snake had been removed from the garage, we headed into the cabin only to find that the packrats had decided to house sit for us while we were gone. I spent the next couple of days doing laundry while Munchkin and Daddy did some deep cleaning. **sigh** Crazy packrats!

Tarantula

A few days later, Munchkin looked out the front door and saw a big snake right in front of the door. Thankfully, this one turned out to be a gopher snake which is rather helpful for our packrat “guests”.

A day or so later, I was driving up towards our house when this guy – the tarantula – was crossing the road. Apparently Daddy had almost run over one earlier in the week as well.

Rattlesnake

As we were getting the horses ready to head back home, we had to move some wood and another rattler made an appearance. Thankfully, he gave a loud rattle before the warning strike came. This trip is the first time that we’ve seen a rattlesnake, and we saw two on this trip. Yikes! We’ve decided that the next few trips will find us really trying to get rid of the brush and debris piles that are scattered about the property. We’ve already cleared around the cabin, so our next area will be by the horses for their safety (and ours).

It was a rather eventful trip when it came to creepy crawlies, and I didn’t even talk about all the bugs. Munchkin is now asking for a mosquito net for her bed. lol!

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Book Review: The Flood of Noah – Legends & Lore of Survival by Bodie Hodge & Laura Welch

The Food of Noah Legends and Lore of SurvivalSpecial thanks to Master Books for providing a review copy of this book.

The Food of Noah Book Description:

Hundreds of legends — possibly as many as 600 — seem to point to many of the details familiar to those who have read the Biblical account of Noah and the ark. Why are there so many similarities in these legends among so many diverse cultures? Why are there differences? What can we learn of pre-Flood history from ancient and archaeological records? From the astonishing historical flood account of a remote people group in China to the flood legend of Transylvania gypsies to many other examples from almost every continent, discover a fascinating journey of truth! These legends are what we would expect to find as remnants of a historical event on the scale we have never seen before or since!

The Flood of Noah Moms of Master Books Review

About the Authors:

Mr. Bodie Hodge attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and received a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering. His specialty was a subset of mechanical engineering based in advanced materials processing, particularly starting powders. Currently, Bodie is a speaker, writer, and researcher for Answers in Genesis–USA. He is the author of The Fall of Satan and co-author of Dragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs.

Laura Welch has worked in the Christian book publishing industry for almost 10 years, currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of New Leaf Publishing Group. Her education and experience in publishing, journalism, technical writing and research are the platforms from which she develops innovative book content. With a love for words, writing and history, Welch brings remarkable projects to completion. Welch’s recent work includes co-editing the award-winning Dragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs and the new Big Book of History.

Book Details:

Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Master Books a division of New Leaf Publishing Group; Act edition (June 20, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0890518017
ISBN-13: 978-0890518014
Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 10.7 x 0.7 inches
Retail Price: $18.99

The Flood of Noah Collage

My Thoughts:

When this book arrived, we had family visiting at our house, and it immediately was passed around from generation to generation (four generations in all). We had everyone from my Grandma to my nieces looking at this book. The general consensus was this book was pretty cool. It has a lot of interactive features that capture the attention of both young and old. While the colorful graphics grab the attention of the younger set, the information contained within makes all ages want to dig in to learn more about Noah’s Flood and the legends in various cultures.

The Flood of Noah is a sturdy, big book with many interactive features including charts, mini-books, fold-open flaps, sliders, wheel charts, and more. The interior pages a made from a durable cardstock that will hold up to lots of use.

I’ve always been fascinated by the legends of Noah’s flood in various cultures, so this book is quite interesting to me. Not only does it talk about the different accounts and their similarities to the Biblical account, but it also talks about the names of Noah and his wife in the different cultures. It digs into whether building the ark and filling it with the animals was even possible. It concludes with a discussion about why their are differences and similarities in the ancient accounts and gives the salvation message.

This book would be perfect in not only the home setting but also a Sunday School setting.

The Flood of Noah Facebook Party

There is a Book and a Treat Facebook party coming up tonight, July 22 at 7 pm Central Time, where you could win cool prizes — and discuss the series too.

Moms of Master Books Disclosure Statement

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Rain + Desert = Flash Flooding

Flash Flood

Remember the pictures of D helping the girls with climbing at the rock wall? Well, while we were finishing up, we heard the rain begin to fall. Now, it had been a long time since we had any rain in our neck of the desert, so we were actually thrilled that it has started to rain. Little did we know that the rain would turn into a downpour which would turn into some major flooding in the area.

Flash Flood

We ran over to the exchange to pick up a couple of souvenirs for the girls as this was their last day with us. That was when the deluge started. It was pouring outside, and the roads were quickly flooding. We were in our truck so we weren’t worried about getting home, but not everyone on the road was as fortunate. The rest of our family was heading up our way, but they, thankfully, didn’t have any issues either.

Flash Flood

Some of the cars were getting stuck on the flooded roads. Because we have so much sand, the water just washes the sand right into the road, so often, you’re not only dealing with flooded roads but also very sandy roads. In fact, the roads get so crazy after these storms that they bring out snow plows to move all the sand off the roads. ;)

Flash Flooding

It was an adventure getting home. While the rain and flooded roads did mess up a few of our plans for our final day together, we still enjoyed our day. It’s not often that you get to experience a rain storm in the desert, so in a way, it just finished off their trip here. We really feel blessed that we were able to spend some wonderful quality time with our family. We created some wonderful memories that aren’t soon to be forgotten.

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Book Review: Put ‘em up! Preserving Answer Book by Sherri Brooks Vinton

Put 'em Up! Preserving Answer Book by Sherri Brooks VintonSpecial thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Book Description:

Preserve your favorite foods with the aplomb of a seasoned expert. Whether you want to freeze five quarts of just-picked berries or have questions about safely canning your tomato-meat sauce, Sherri Brooks Vinton offers reassuring advice to help you put up home-preserved foods that are safe to eat and delicious. A perfect companion to all your preserving recipes, this friendly guide answers your questions and addresses your concerns about refrigerating, freezing, canning, drying, fermenting, and infusing.

Sherri Brooks VintonAbout the Author:

Sherri Brooks Vinton is the author of Put ‘em Up!, Put ‘em Up! Fruit, and The Real Food Revival. Her writing, talks, and hands-on workshops teach how to find, cook, and preserve local, seasonal, farm-friendly food. Her website can be found at www.sherribrooksvinton.com. She lives in Connecticut.

Book Details:

Spiral-bound: 256 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; Spi edition (March 25, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612120105
ISBN-13: 978-1612120102
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
Retail Price: $16.95
Digital Editions also available

My Thoughts:

Summer is the perfect time for putting up the abundance of produce that is available at farmer’s markets, through your local CSA, from your garden, or even from your grocery store. Costs are usually lower this time of year, so it’s a great time to take advantage of those lower prices to put away food for the rest of the year. Food that is ripe and in-season tastes better and has more nutrients available when it’s picked at its peak.

While I utilize some methods of putting up food, I’m still in the process of learning about other methods. I know how easy it is to put off trying different methods because they seem intimidating. In Put ‘em Up! Preserving Answer Book, Sherri Brooks Vinton steps into the world of canning, freezing, drying, fermenting, and making infusions by answering common questions and explaining the ins and outs of these different methods.

For the true beginners and those who need a refresher course, Vinton first covers the basics of food preservation, talks about where to find quality food and how to properly store it, and discusses prep work for the foods. The next section dives into the preserving process which covers general information about canning, water-bath canning (boiling-water method), pressure canning, refrigeration, freezing, drying, fermentation, and finally, infusions. The final section gets into the actual application of the skills talked about in the rest of the book. The topics include answers about sweet and savory spreads, pickles, vegetables, whole fruits, and tomatoes and tomato products.

Put ‘em Up! Preserving Answer Book is not a recipe book, but it does include several recipes including:

  • Bread and Butter Chips (pickles)
  • Pickled Okra
  • Green Beans in Water
  • Simple Brine
  • Pub Pickles
  • Dried Cherries
  • Classic Fermented Sauerkraut
  • Strawberry Vinegar
  • Quick Blueberry Jam
  • Pan-Roasted Chicken with Raspberry Reduction
  • Peel-and-Pip Pectin
  • Pickling Spice
  • Blueberry Gastrique
  • Pears in Honey Syrup
  • Avalanche Sauce

For more recipes, you can check out Vinton’s other books: Put ‘em Up! and Put ‘em Up! Fruit. (Note: I have not personally used either of these books, so I can not vouch for them.) This book is wonderful for someone who is first getting started with food preservation or for someone who needs a refresher course. Its question/answer format is easy to follow. I like the enclosed spiral format is it means the book actually stays open for easier reading and use. It’s a nice resource to have on hand when you want to be able to quickly look up a question about a particular preserving method.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher for this review. A positive review is not required nor guaranteed. All opinions are my own.

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