Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! There is regular hot coffee in the French press (very strong,) ice tea and ice coffee. What would you like?

It’s 8am this Sunday morning in Dalarna, Sweden and about 50F, it will get a little warmer later today. It’s been a very comfortable week with highs in the upper 70’s. Let’s sit down on the porch for a few minutes. There is rain in the air today, and we are suppose to get thunderstorms this afternoon. How are you doing?

I’ve already been working three weeks after my staycation. I’m definitely in work mode now! The fall semester is busy, with new children and lots of fun plans for special days, on top of the exciting curriculum that we work with every week. I’ve been starting to take walks in the forest on my break at work, to clear my head and stay grounded. Not every day, but some days. It feels good. 

This Friday my daughter had Doctors appointments, and I went with her of course. She’s been avoiding some activities that she usually loves, and I’ve been worried about that. A couple weeks ago she told me that it’s because her feet hurt so much (pointing towards her ankles.) Naturally we needed to look into that. The Doctor could see why the joints in her ankles had troubled her, we took tests, and got some medicine to help with the inflammation. The medicine she got already taken her pain away, which is a great relief. I can already see more of her usual self. Today she wants to pick blueberries, a couple days ago she would not have suggested that herself, as she tried to avoid walking as much as she could. We are going to go out in a minute, for a little bit, I’m not letting her overdo it, but it is good for her to walk a little.

When we were at the hospital we both got really hungry in the middle of the day, the hospital food didn’t seem too tempting, and we walked outside. We saw a sign that said cafe, and followed the arrows to the wonderful place in the photo above, a beautiful oasis hidden among big pines, right next to the hospital, only minutes from the main shopping street. The food weren’t that exciting there either, but it was incredibly beautiful, and the ice-cream was delicious according to my daughter.

We’ve been eating a lot from our garden this week; celery, zucchini, bell-pepper, and we had tons of oregano on the pizza we made last night. I cleaned up a little in the garden this weekend, taking some plants that have served their purpose away, and there was some yellow leaves that needed to go. Fall is on its way. I’m checking the night temperatures every evening, making sure that we aren’t in for our first freeze. I’m letting the majority of the bell-peppers stay on the plant as long as possible. They are big now, and I could pick most of them, but I would like to let them stay as long as possible. I’ve never had bell-peppers this big before, and I am very happy about them being this big here, in Sweden, without a greenhouse, or any kind off shelter. I’m learning a lot this year, gardening here for the first time. It is true that I was born in Sweden, only 1,5 hour from where I live now, but I moved further north when I was 4 years old, and I have zero gardening experience from this area. I try to see what the locals are growing, and add some things that I believe are possible to grow here. The area Dalarna,  is known for its fertile soil, but somewhat unpredictable weather. It’s common for Swedes from other parts of Sweden to have a second residence here in this region, where they have a garden, enjoy the many lakes, and deep forests. The locals in general are outdoorsy people, and many have gardens. Some of the most common crops grown here are; potatoes, onions, carrot, Swiss chard, lettuce, beets, radishes, apples, strawberries, rhubarb, red currants, black currants, and raspberries. Some people grow zucchini, and I do see some greenhouses with tomatoes. 

How is your week? Please tell me in a comment!

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – A Warm Week & Sagittarius Viking’s Kombucha (Recipe)

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! There is regular hot coffee in the French press (very strong,) ice tea and ice coffee. What would you like?

This Saturday morning I’m having regular black coffee. It’s 50F and a little foggy outside. The days have been very warm all week, closer to 90F, and the nights had a low in the upper 40’s. Nature is exploding! My daughter had some challenges with pollen allergies this week, worst on Friday. After getting ready for the day yesterday, we decided halfway to her school that we should turn back  and stay at home. She have medicine, but we haven’t used it since April or May. I gave her some when we got home and she soon felt better, just a little extra tired. I might have to give her some allergi medicine for another week or so, I can’t imagine having to use it for much longer with the cold season approaching. IMG_5226The fig trees I purchased earlier this season are thriving in this warm weather!IMG_5227These trees are obviously very young, but this tree is already starting to develop figs if you look closely!IMG_5228This makes me insanely happy, since I love figs, and if this young tree could grow figs with all of July being cold there is definitely some hope for future harvests.

Yesterday being an exception, the other days have been busy as usual. It’s been a great work week, mostly happy kids and parents. I said mostly happy since it is hard for some children to leave their parents in the morning after a long summer break, that is only natural, during the day everyone in the group have been having a great time. Several parents commented on how good it feels for them and how happy their children are to be in our group, that they’ve shared at home what a great week they’ve had. That is wonderful to hear of course! We’ve been focusing on encouraging new friendships, making everyone feel comfortable in the new group, and discussing our ‘feel good rules’ (basically how to act in every situation at school to make everyone feel good, and keep the children safe.) We like saying ‘yes’ to the children, and instead of saying ‘NO’ when they do something inappropriate we suggest something else, or ask questions about what they think a likely scenario would be if they continue doing what they are doing. We talk a lot about this in the beginning to give everyone a good start, later on the children usually are good at telling each other about our ‘feel good rules’. There have been a lot less challenges with the new group than I had prepared for 🙂 We’ve been able to take the whole group out to new playgrounds every day. Next week we start with more organised activities in language/math/natural science/PE/art. I feel that everyone on my team is ready for the new semester, and we have a plan of how to work. I am excited about work! I really like my work.IMG_5230I have not spent that much time working in the garden, but I sure have enjoyed spending time there every day observing the progress and enjoying the harvest. I took the photos in today’s post Thursday and Friday, it is Saturday today and everything is already bigger than in the photos. I’ve been wondering if I am going to get any cucumbers this year. I grew a variety I haven’t tried before, and it’s been a steady, but slow growth. I noticed this week that there is cucumbers on the way 🙂 Hoping for more warm weather. In a couple weeks I could have freezing temperatures at night, or not. I hope for some more warmer weather. The tomatoes are still green, and I am getting more and more every day. The lima beans and bell-peppers are growing like crazy. The zucchini continues to produce, so does the sugar daddy peas. IMG_5231Zucchinis and compost surprise plants.

The three surprise plants from the compost are growing. One of the surprise plant is producing zucchini, so that one is not much of a surprise anymore. IMG_5232Already producing Zucchini plant that started to grow in my compost, that I later planted in this pot.IMG_5234Surprise plant from the compost, pumpkin? 

The other two I am not sure what they are, all three plants look different. One is like a vine, and I am thinking that might be pumpkin. The third I have no clue what it is. The leaves are much too big to be cucumbers. IMG_5233Third surprise plant that started in my compost. I have no clue what this is. Do you know what kind of plant this is? 

How are you doing on your coffee? Can I get you a refill? I’m going to grab a refill 🙂 Maybe you remember that I told you last weekend about a neighbours kind offer to let me pick red currants at their place? I did pick a lot of red currants there last Sunday. They had an enormous red currants bush. It didn’t matter how much I picked, I couldn’t pick all the berries (something they said I could do.) IMG_5225Red Currants 

I have so much red currants in my freezer. I feel rich loaded with all these antioxidants for the winter. Two weeks ago I told you that I started some kombucha, this week it was time to add some flavour and pour the fermented tea into glass bottles. Guess what flavour I added?IMG_5241Kombucha ferment with Scoby (the spongy thing you see on top,) also called Mother. Scoby is an acronym: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into sparkling kombucha. When you first start making Kombucha you can purchase it online, or get it from someone already making kombucha. The Scoby grows every time you make a new brew and you can divide it and give the new Scoby away, or sell it, or make a bigger brew.IMG_5246Red currant kombucha in the making!IMG_5253When I got most of the juice out of the berries I bake bread with the leftovers. I do that with  a lot of different fruit/vegetable scraps. It makes the bread very soft and juicy.IMG_5254This is the beautiful colour of the red currant kombucha. It is not yet ready to drink. At this stage there is two ways you can go. You could add extra sugar and let the bottle sit in room temperature, this will make for a more adult alcoholic beverage. I choose to have a sparkling, cold drink that I mature in the fridge, without adding extra sugar. In 2-3 days it will be ready to enjoy. The kombucha will last a long time in the fridge. It doesn’t go bad easily, but it could get pretty carbonated, it is a good idea to open the cap a little every now and then. If stored a long time some of the health benefits of drinking a fermented drink full of goodness get lost, it still tastes good. (If it doesn’t taste good don’t drink it!) When handling good bacterias, like in a fermented drink, it is important to keep them good – be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, and use only very clean glass jars/bottles. I used black tea as a base for this red currant kombucha. For the next ferment I choose one of my favourite green teas. I’ve been told that you can use any tea as long as it has caffeine in it.IMG_5255I’m using this green tea for my next kombucha brew that I just started.

There is a thousand ways to make Kombucha. This drink have been around for thousands of years. This is what you need to make it the way I do:

Sagittarius Viking’s Kombucha

Scoby + 1cup Kombucha (from an old brew, or from the store, or you can substitute this with the same amount of apple cider vinegar if kombucha is hard to find.)

4 cups of clean drinking water

2 tea bags of black, or green tea, with caffeine (of course you can use loose tea as well.)

1/4 cup organic sugar

+ your choice of flavouring (berry/fruit/spice/herb your imagination is the only limit.)

Big glass jar (1 gallon is a good size, you can use slightly smaller, or bigger as well.)

A clean piece of fabrik+ a rubber band to cover the mouth of your glass jar.

Glass bottles for your finished product.

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Start by heating the water up to a boil, add the tea bags. (I’m making a double brew here.) Let the tea bags stay in the water for at least 15 min, I usually let them sit for 30 min. The Scoby needs the nitrogen that is achieved in this process.

Take the tea bags out, and let it cool down to body temperature.

Add the sugar.

Pour the tea into a big glass jar (not a bottle this time.)

Add the old kombucha (or apple cider vinegar) and the Scoby to the jar.

Cover the jar with the fabric and put the rubber band tightly around the mouth of the jar. This will protect from insects and dust, while letting the ferment breath. Your jar wants to stand in a warm, dark place for about two weeks. I have mine in a dark corner of the kitchen. (Avoid direct sunlight.) 74-75F is the ultimate temperature, but slightly less, or slightly more will do. If it is cold it takes longer, if it is warm it goes faster. Too warm, or too cold for too long kills the Scoby. After about two weeks you take the fabric of and with very clean hands lift the Scoby out. Clean the Scoby under running clean, cold or lukewarm water. Your Scoby have grown, and you can divide it into two pieces, if you want. Keep your Scoby(s) in a clean glass container covered with the kombucha you just made until you want to make another brew (or two.) Keep this container in room temperature.

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The left one is the new Scoby I got in my last brew, the right one is my old Scoby. It is easy to see the new growth, and where to divide the Scobys, if that is something you want to do. You can also just keep it as one big Scoby and make a double brew in a huge jar next time.

After you’ve taken your Scoby out of the jar you add the flavour of your choice to your kombucha. If you add fruit juice I think one part juice, and five parts kombucha is tasty. Of course you’ll find what works for you. If I add juice I just add it to the big jar, before pouring it into bottles. If I add small pieces of fruit/herbs/spices I add that directly into individual bottles, and pour the kombucha on top. Now is where I usually place my bottles in the fridge for 2-3 days before enjoying them. Like I mentioned previously, some add extra sugar here, and keep the bottles in room temperature for a more adult beverage. Kombucha is a carbonated drink and it is a good idea to open the caps every once in a while if you store them for a long time. Some bottles can be very carbonated, while others are not, it is normal that it vary from bottle to bottle.

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This is my next brew, with green tea. The jars don’t have to be this big, I just happen to get a good deal on these high quality jars earlier this summer, and like to use them. I would love to hear if you try making your own kombucha using my recipe.

Another neighbour (and friend/landlord/extra grandma to my daughter) gave me some beets from their garden yesterday. I’m going to make a pasta/pesto dish with them today. I try my best to match the kindness around me by sharing meals, homemade bread, and the bounty from my garden.

How is your week? My daughter challenged me to do something I have not done since I was about 10 years old and spent a rainy summer with my grandma! My daughter got a kit with cross-stitching materials for her birthday, she started to stitch immediately, she’d never done it before. I think she’s hooked now! She is already coming up with her own designs. She challenged me to do my own cross-stitching design, and make it. I drew a flower that I am working on. I’m thinking that I am going to make a beautiful bookmark and gift it to her when its finished. It might be a while before it’s finished.. It’s funny how long these Weekend Coffee Shares become when I haven’t had time to make another post since last weekend. Thank you for your time! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? Please tell me in a comment! This weekend I will have time to get back to everyone within a timely manner.

Love,

Maria