Candida Diet Taco Salad


Taco Salad for the Candida Free Kitchen

2/3 Cup Quinoa

1 Cup homemade Bone Broth

1 lb ground turkey/chicken/beef/venison etc

2-4 Tbsp homemade Taco Seasoning

Romaine or iceberg Lettuce


Diced Onions

Green Chilies

Grape or Cherry Tomatoes

Sliced avocado

homemade Salsa Verde or ‘green sauce” as Rob likes to call it.

  • Bring bone broth to a boil, add quinoa and simmer until tender
  • Brown ground meat
  • Add cooked quinoa, and homemade taco seasoning. Adding more broth if mixture is too dry
  • Allow mixture to cool slightly
  • Toss mixture with all remaining ingredients to make salad.
  • Top with homemade yogurt if desired.

We love this meal. Something about the still slightly warm meat mixture and the crunchy cold lettuce. Yum! Plus it is “Phase One” safe, if you are following a Candida free way of life, or just plain trying to eat more vegetables!

Decaf Kombucha

Rob and I quit caffeine about 3 months ago (for these 50 reasons). So I put my Kombucha Scoby to sleep until I could figure out a way to make decaffeinated Kombucha. There is much controversy about how much caffeine is left in the finished batch of tea, and I wasn’t about to take a chance on getting hooked on the stuff again. Some people say that all of the caffeine is consumed by the bacteria in the Kombucha. Some people say 50%…I have even heard that none of the caffeine is consumed by the bacteria, and that Kombucha is full of caffeine. According to Energy Fiend an 8 oz glass of Kombucha contains approximately 24 mg of caffeine. What to believe? Honestly, I couldn’t find any hard research that convinced me either way, so I decided to make my own decaf tea and test it out myself.

First of all, I use regular old Lipton black tea bags and plain white table sugar to make Kombucha. Doesn’t sound like a very healthy beverage right? I have called the Lipton company twice, and the assured me that they have never sprayed their fields, or used any preservatives in their tea. Tea is naturally very resistant to pests and disease so there is no need.  You can use organic tea if you like, or green tea. According to the experts you cannot use herbal or flavored teas. Herbal tea contains no caffeine, which the Scoby needs. Flavored teas contain oils and additives that harm the Scoby.

As far as the sugar is concerned, the bacteria DO eat that. There is very little sugar left in the finished batch of Kombucha, and this I have tested out plenty of times. If you don’t have white sugar around (I buy it specifically for making Kombucha) you can use sucanat, rapadura, or evaporated cane juice. Do not use honey, as it contains its own colony of bacteria and  yeasts that compete with the Kombucha.

To remove caffeine from a regular black tea bag:

  • Place 5-6 tea bags in an empty bowl or coffee mug
  • Boil 1 gallon of water for Kombucha
  • Ladle out 1 cup of water and pour it over the tea bags
  • Steep for 30-45 seconds
  • Remove the tea bags, and place them in the large 1 gallon pot of hot water
  • Steep until dark. Adding 1 cup sugar
  • Make Kombucha as you normally would.

Up to 80 percent of the caffeine is released in the first infusion of water so only minimal amounts will remain when you add water the second time. This method eliminates very little of the tea’s flavor and aroma. I decided to go with this method, because I believe that the Kombucha Scoby needs a small amount of caffeine to grow and thrive properly. I am hoping that it eats up the remaining 20% of caffeine!

I have been making it this way for 3 weeks now. When the first batch was done, I waited until 30 minutes before bedtime and drank 16 ounces of Kombucha. I am normally very sensitive to caffeine, even when I was drinking large amounts of coffee, I always had to cut myself off by 3pm or I’d be awake all night. I noticed no sleep disturbances after drinking the Kombucha. I know that is not very scientific, but at this point anecdotal evidence is all I’ve got 🙂

So if the 24 mg in an 8 oz glass statistic from above is correct than an 8 oz glass of naturally decaffeinated Kombucha should contain around 4.8 milligrams of caffeine.

Has anyone else made it this way? Have you been able to find any solid research on the caffeine needs of a Kombucha Scoby? Why isn’t anyone studying this stuff?

Cherry Kombucha Soda

P.S Sometimes we like flavored Kombucha Soda in the summer. I wait until the Kombucha is all done fermenting for 7 days. I line up several glass bottles (I had people from work save me their old glass, juice bottles) and I add 2 ounces of juice to each bottle. Fill each bottle with Kombucha and screw the lids on tight. Wait 24 hours and then put them all in the fridge. Very bubbly and delicious! Try grape, pomegranate, cherry or pineapple juice. This would be an excellent way to shake a soda pop addiction!

Ginger Beer: A Probiotic Summer Drink

I try to get as many beneficial bacteria in my diet as possible. Right now in my kitchen I have a healthy, bubbly sourdough starter, a jar of sauerkraut fermenting away on the counter, a jug of kombucha on top of the fridge, a gallon of fermented lemonade inside the fridge that’s almost gone, a ginger beer bug on my night stand, and homemade yogurt sitting on the dryer.

I try to keep the ferments at least 15 feet away from each other (which is a challenge in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment) so they don’t cross ferment. You don’t really want bacteria from another strain landing on your kombucha or yogurt, because over long periods of time it will change your scoby/culture into something else entirely. It can weaken your cultures, mutate the strains of bacteria and even kill your “bug”.

I am having a lot of fun with fermented beverages right now. We are really enjoying the lacto-fermented lemonade, and it goes really fast. As the weather warms up, it is the perfect time to start experimenting. Ginger Beer is another really easy beverage to make yourself. It is tangy and sweet and bubbly and would be an excellent soda pop replacement for anyone trying to break that addiction.

Ginger Beer Bug

Small glass jar

1 1/2 cups purified water

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp ground ginger powder

Mix ginger, sugar and water. Cover jar with a coffee filter or towel and leave on the counter at room temperature. Every day feed the bug 2 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of ground ginger. Around day 7 you should see bubbles when you stir the bug. That means it’s ready. Don’t panic if this takes longer, I have had it take almost 3 weeks in the winter.

While it’s fermenting away, work on finding a good container for your ginger beer. Most people use empty 2 liter soda bottles, because it is easy to tell if your beer is ready with plastic (by squeezing). I have used plastic bottles and 2 small beer jugs that we got from a local micro-brewery. (a great source for cheap fermenting supplies BTW) You can also reuse 1 gallon milk or water containers. What I really should do is buy a fermentation lock for these glass jugs. They are like $2, I don’t know what I’m waiting for….

Ginger Beer

3/4 cup sugar

4 lemons

1 gallon purified water

your finished Ginger Bug

  • If you’re  using several smaller containers, just mix this in a 1 gallon pitcher and pour into the smaller containers by funnel.
  • Let the sediment settle to the bottom of your ginger bug. Pour the liquid off of the top, into the pitcher.
  • Add the juice of 4 lemons, sugar and water. Stir to mix it all up. (leave the sediment in the original jar, you’re going to need to keep this alive for future batches)
  • Pour the beverage into the gallon jug, pop bottles etc…leave 1 inch of head space. Cap tightly.
  • Leave to ferment for at least 7 days. The longer it sits the more sugar the bacteria consume.  Now comes the fun part (and this is why plastic is easier)

Every day squeeze your plastic bottle or jug. When it gets really tight and full of air and there is no more ‘give” it’s ready and should be placed in the refrigerator immediately. If you are using glass, you look for bubbles and can test for carbonation by opening the jug. You’ll see an explosion of bubbles in the jar when you remove the cap, just like when you open a soda pop. It’s ready.

You can also (and I have) not carbonate it at all. I have mixed this in a 1 gallon juice pitcher and covered it loosely with the lid and just let it sit there for 7-14 days. It tasted exactly the same and was delicious, just not carbonated like soda. I honestly don’t particularly like carbonation, I never was a big fan of soda. So I usually bottle half of it tightly and the other half I leave uncovered so the fermentation gasses can escape.

How to Keep Your Ginger Bug Alive

After you’re finished making your ginger beer, you are left with your original “bug”. Which is a glass jar with about 1/2 inch of ginger sediment in it.

Add 1 1/2 cups purified water to the jar

Mix in 2 tsp sugar

Mix in 2 tsp ground ginger powder

Every day (or when you remember) feed the bug with ginger and sugar and stir. After you are finished drinking up your ginger beer, your bug will be ready to make more. It is a very easy “scoby” to maintain and almost impossible to kill once it gets really bubbly. Every time  you make a batch of ginger beer, remember to reserve that sediment in the bottom of the jar, and you can make ginger beer forever.

Has anyone tried making this with fresh grated ginger? I tried it twice, and both times it was a flop. I don’t know what I was doing wrong.

Lacto Fermented Lemonade

This is Rob’s favorite beverage. He likes it really tart, and so do I. If you haven’t discovered lacto-fermentation yet, this would be a great starter recipe. It adds a healthy dose of probiotics to your diet and is very high in Vitamin C. It also contains Folate, Potassium and Magnesium as well as other trace minerals. If you’re trying to sneak healthy bacteria into someone’s diet without their knowledge, this recipe tastes just like regular lemonade. They won’t even know it’s healthy 🙂

I make homemade yogurt, so I always have an abundance of whey in the house. To make your own yogurt read how to do it in a crock pot here or how to do it at room temperature with no heat required here. The whey will naturally rise to the top of yogurt, or you can strain the yogurt through a tea towel or cheesecloth.

Lacto Fermented Lemonade

1 dozen organic lemons

1/2 cup sugar (you can use any sweetener except honey)

1 gallon purified water

1/4-1/2 cup whey

Juice lemons. Rob and I found a handy electric citrus juicer at a yard sale for $1 and boy has that thing come in handy. We were squeezing them by hand before, and I don’t highly recommend that. For some reason lemon juice always torpedos directly toward your eye 🙂

Mix lemon juice, water, sugar and whey. Stir to dissolve sugar.

Cover pitcher with cloth or paper towel and hold in place with a rubber band. Leave at room temperature for 48 hours. After 48 hours approximately 1.6% of the sugar will remain, the rest will have been metabolized by the bacteria,  making this a 98.4% sugar/carb free beverage.

Refrigerate and drink up. You may like more sugar in yours, but we love it tart and only very slightly sweet. Experiment for the right combination for your taste buds.

I have let my Kombucha Scoby go to sleep, and we are drinking this instead. I am trying to figure out how much, if any, caffeine remains in the finished batch of Kombucha. Does anyone have any insight on this question? I finally broke my caffeine addiction and I don’t want to drink Kombucha until I’m certain that it caffeine-free. If you know the answer to this question, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Homemade Yogurt at room temperature

my favorite breakfast

I have always loved yogurt. I already posted how to make yogurt in the crock pot. For those of you who found that method time consuming or who don’t have a crock pot you will be excited to learn that Cultures for Health has several yogurt cultures that grow just fine at room temperature.

I have purchased many products from Cultures for Health, and I am always so excited when they come in the mail. My most recent purchase was a Viili Yogurt culture from Finland.

Viili cultures at 68-78 degrees, right on your counter-top. It has a mild taste, and is moderately thick. The beautiful part is you only have to purchase the culture one time. After you make yogurt, reserve a small amount and use it to start the next batch. You can make yogurt indefinitely with just one purchase.

I love anything that helps me save money! Because of its taste and consistency it is also a good substitute for sour cream in any recipe. It makes a delicious frozen yogurt (I like it with dark chocolate or carob chips). I also strain some of the yogurt through cheesecloth until it is very thick. Then you can flavor it with any herb or spice that you like. It makes the best cream cheese cracker spread I’ve ever eaten. Now you never have to buy yogurt, ice cream, sour cream or cream cheese again. Isn’t that cool!

Viili Yogurt Instructions

Place culture in milk at a ratio of 1 Tbsp per cup of milk

Leave in warm room for 12-18 hours

Remove 1/4 cup of yogurt to use for the next batch and eat the rest!

The flavor is really good, mildly sweet. Perfect over blueberries. No additional sweetener is required.

Full of many probiotics including Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris.

Questions? Just leave a comment and I’ll try to help. This post featured Make it Yourself Monday and Mix it Up Mondays

My favorite soaked Oatmeal

There are a gazillion soaked oatmeal recipes out there. I am a big fan of oatmeal, and this is a great, quick breakfast for those of us who have banned the dreaded box of cereal from the house 🙂

My Favorite Soaked Oatmeal

Advance preparation: you are soaking the oatmeal for 24 hours, so start this meal 1 day before you actually want to eat it. You can make a large batch if you like, as it reheats very well.

2 cups rolled oats or steel-cut oats

3 cups pure water

1/4 cup whey (or buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt)

Mix in a stainless steel or glass saucepan and leave out on the kitchen counter for 24 hours. The grains will soak and develop a wonderful flavor. The soaking also reduces the number of phytates in the grain. Phytates are an anti-nutrient. Meaning they carry vitamins and mineral out of the body.

Place saucepan on burner and turn on medium heat. To the pot add:

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup raw maple syrup

dash of salt

Cook 10 minutes. I don’t know what it is about this particular combination, but I can’t get enough of it. It is creamy, but crunchy. Sweet, with a vague hint of sour. I love the tartness of the cranberry mixed with maple. Who knew a person could get so excited about oatmeal 😉

Overnight Sourdough Bread

I have made this bread many times and it is almost impossible to screw up. No kneading is required and it uses only 4 ingredients, you can’t go wrong there.

Overnight No Knead Sourdough Bread

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 cup pure water (no chlorine)

1/4 cup your homemade sourdough starter

1 round cast iron dutch oven with a lid. Like this:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl or food processor. Cover with plastic wrap overnight. 12-18 hours. Dough should be very wet and sticky.

The next day prepare  your dutch oven. Generously coat with butter, then sprinkle bottom and sides with cornmeal (or other coarse grain). Form dough into a ball and place in pan. Cover and let rise 1-2 hours, or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Bake with lid for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 450 degrees and remove lid from pan

Bake without lid for additional 15 minutes

This bread is mildly sour, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The most beautiful part is the almost zero hands on time. This is the perfect additional to a bowl of soup!

If you need additional help, check out the tutorial videos at Cultures for Health, my very favorite company for help with any and all fermenting questions 🙂

Making Kombucha

Making Kombucha Tea

5 black tea bags

1 gallon purified water

your homemade Kombucha Scoby

1 cup sugar

2 gallon sized glass jars

Boil water and steep tea for 30 minutes. Stir in sugar. Let tea cool for 30 minutes. Pour tea into a clean glass jar. Now since you already made your own mushroom, you should have a large glass jar of tea with a strange-looking organism floating in it 🙂 sitting on your kitchen counter. Remove mushroom from this jar, and place into the new jar of tea, along with a 1 cup of the earlier, already fermented batch of tea. It will float on the top and happily eat the sugar in this fresh tea. Leave out to culture for 7 days. Now drink.

Told you this was going to be easy!

SCOBY: Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast

I stop at this step, because I love the Kombucha just like this. Many people prefer it carbonated or flavored however. In order to carbonate, pour the kombucha into individual bottles with tight lids (glass or plastic is best) and leave on the counter overnight. In the morning move bottles to the fridge. Careful when opening, they get fizzy really fast.

To add flavor mix the Kombucha with juice to flavor it. 1/2 to 1 cup of 100% juice per gallon is plenty. I have tried many flavors and cherry juice is my favorite. We usually only make Kombucha Soda in the summer time.

Scoby floating

Your mushroom will get thicker and thicker with each batch. In a few batches you will be able to separate them into 2 separate mushrooms. You should keep the new “baby” because it contains less yeast, and more bacteria, which is what you want for optimal health. As the Scoby’s get thicker and older, they are composed mostly of yeast, so having a culture that regenerates itself is totally cool!

There is a lot of debate about how much sugar is left in a finished batch of Kombucha after the yeasts and bacteria metabolize it for 7 days. The real answer is that it varies from batch to batch and from household to household. The sugar gets used and converted by the bacteria and yeast during the brewing process. So the final Kombucha tea has a lot less sugar than what you put into it. Many people with diabetes report having no problems drinking it; while others may need to make some adjustments to compensate. My advice would be to drink some after 7 days, if it spikes your blood sugar, try a longer ferment. Just keep tasting and testing your blood until you reach the proper length of time for your body. Keep in mind that after 7 days Kombucha contains .5 to 1% alcohol, which will increase the longer it brews, making it more sour. I have heard of many people who quit their nightly beer habit by replacing it with Kombucha.

Have fun experimenting! And don’t forget to name your Scoby! Questions? Please ask, I am happy to help!

Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter

I have read many complicated recipes and methods for creating a sourdough starter over the years. In my mind I keep going back to the question I ask myself often. “What would they do a hundred years ago?” Well I’m going to tell you!

Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter

1 cup organic rye flour

1 cup purified water

Mix together and place in an open container. I use a 1 quart canning jar, but anything will do as long as it is plastic, glass or ceramic. Wild Yeasts do not like metals much.

Leave this jar sitting in a nice warm place. I put mine on top of the fridge, but I’ve heard of people keeping them on the water heater, in the oven with the light on, and on top of the DVD player. As long as you are in the 70 degree range you will be fine.

Now every day you are going to take the jar and add:

1/2 cup organic rye flour

1/2 cup purified water

As the jar sits there wild yeasts from the air land in the jar and start to grow in that nice warm environment, eating away at the gluten in the flour. At the end of 5-7 days you will start to see bubbles forming and it will start to smell yeasty. Now you are ready to bake!

By the time it is properly fermented you are going to have a large amount of starter to work with. If you are just starting your sourdough adventure, that is a good thing. You and your starter will be doing a lot of experimenting together so its good to have extra. Also, don’t forget to name your starter. It is a living organism, and loves being part of the family.

Starter Maintenance

I personally bake only on the weekends, usually starting on Friday night. So I leave my starter (his name is Rufus) napping in the fridge all week, on Thursday I take him out of the fridge and feed him some flour and water and instead of a lid I cover him with a coffee filter. He gets very excited when he sits on top of the fridge and gets all bubbly and full of life. By the time I’m ready to make up a batch of dough on Friday night he is ready to go! After I’m finished baking I feed him once more, and put a tight lid on him and put him back in the fridge to sleep.

Your starter should be fed once a week, whether you are baking or not. Here is your simple routine:

1. remove from fridge

2. feed water and flour

3. leave out  4-8 hours

4. cap tightly put in fridge.

 It sounds a little daunting and difficult, I know. But trust me, this couldn’t be easier. Now you have a fresh, healthy starter to use in any kind of baking. I use mine in any recipe that calls for yeast, baking, powder, or baking soda. I will post all the sourdough recipes that I use in the future.

Please, if you have any questions leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help.

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