1000's of roots

Designing and tending regenerative systems of life for the next generation and beyond.


My Favorite Way To Make Water Kefir Soda (“Raspberry Soda”)

Water kefir soda has become a favorite drink in our home, but it took a while to learn how to make it how we all like it.  I almost gave up on it for a time until I discovered that water kefir could be used to boost sourdough starters.  My first wild sourdough starter took almost a month before it was active enough to use, so I was thrilled to see how quickly water kefir boosted sourdough starters became active (2-3 days!).  I love working with sourdough and am so excited to be able to make this healthy, probiotic rich, fruity, fizzy drink out of my new sourdough booster.  So, here is how I now satisfiy my cravings for fruity carbonation:

Raspberry Soda“:

Ingredients: (for making 1/2 gallon)

– about 2 T. water kefir grains (hydrated, not dry)

– 1/2 gallon room temperature water (filtered if needed to get rid of chlorine, etc.)

– 1/2 cup organic sugar*

– 1 slice fresh organic lemon or 1 t. organic lemon juice (optional)

– about 1/4 cup organic raisins (optional, but very helpful)

– about 2 dozen fresh or frozen raspberries

– some form of mineral supplement (ie. an egg shell, mineral drops, or molasses)

* You can also use rapadura or sucanat, which adds more minerals to the water, but our family didn’t care for the taste when I used sucanat.  Note that you can decrease the mineral drop amount to 1/16 t. or 6 drops if using a mineral rich sweetener.

Simple Process:

First Fermentation

– Fill a half gallon jar about two inches full with hot water and add sugar.  Swirl or stir to disolve sugar.

– Add enough cold water to take water level to about 2 inches from the top of the jar.

– Add water kefir grains, lemon slice (or juice), raisins, and mineral supplement choice. I’ve never tried using molasses, so I’m not sure how much to use. If using an egg shell, make sure to rinse it well first.  If using mineral drops, which I definately recommend, use about 1/8 t. or 12 drops.  My grains are actually growing like they are supposed to since I started using the mineral drops.  Water kefir grains love minerals!

Cover jar with a cloth or napkin and a rubberband and let sit on counter for 24-48 hours, until the raisins all rise to the top (this is the first fermentation).  The raisins are a huge help to me, because I always seem to forget how long my jar has been sitting.  I love having the visual to tell me when it’s time to move on to the second fermentation and our boys love to see the raisins floating around in the jar.

Second Fermentation

– When raisins have risen to the top of the jar, carefully scoop the lemon slice and raisins out with a slotted spoon.  I put them in a bowl and then dump them into our compost bin.  If some of the raisins dart to the bottom of the jar when you go to scoop them out, be sure to taste the water kefir to make sure it has at least a hint of carbonation at this point.  If it is still quite sweet without any carbonation, I would leave it to sit a few hours more.

– Once you have a little fizz going on and you have removed the lemon slice and raisins, carefully pour the water kefir into a clean half gallon jar or two quart jars (or whatever other jar combination you have) without letting any grains out of first fermentation jar.  I like to pour it through a fine tea filter to catch any “sludge” that likes to float around with water kefir and to make sure no grains get into the new jar(s).  I also like to leave about an inch of water kefir with the grains so that I can easily store them in the fridge until I’m ready to start a new batch (they store this way for about a week).

– Or, you can start a new batch right away, in which case I would carefully get as much water kefir out as possible, being careful not the let the grains fall out (they usually stay to the side of the jar in a group when pouring very slowly).  Then, I like to gently rinse them a couple of times with cold water while still in the jar, slowly pouring out the rinse water each time, being careful that no grains fall out.  Prepare a fresh jar of sugar water, lemon, raisins, and mineral supplement as before and simply dump the rinsed water kefir grains (with a little water to help push them out) into your fresh jar.

Now for the fun part!  Add to your water kefir about 12 fresh or frozen raspberries per quart.  This doesn’t have to be exact, just try to get a good layer of raspberries on the top of the jar(s).  Seal the jars with airtight lids and leave to sit on the counter for up to 24 hours.

– After your water kefir has been infused with the raspberry juices, scoop the raspberries out with a slotted spoon, just as you did with the lemon and raisins.  You can now drink it right away or keep it sealed tight on the counter and drink it as you want it.  We prefer to drink it within a day or two because it is sweeter and has no alcohol taste.  If it sits out of cold storage for more than a couple of days it may get a hint of an alcohol taste, but I am very sensitive to that taste (quite dislike it), so many may not even notice it.  You can also store your raspberry soda in the fridge to make it last longer, but it will lose some of it’s carbonation.

If you make this fun drink we call raspberry soda, I hope you enjoy it as well as we do!

Some Of My Favorite Water Kefir Resources:

– Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS instructions: How to Make Water Kefir

– Kelly @ Kelly The Kitchen Cop: Is Kefir Soda An Alcoholic Berverage?

– Cultures For Health: This is where you can buy water kefir grains (you might also find these at Amazon) and watch many helpful videos about water kefir.


Homemade Playdough With Natural Colors


     Our boys love to play with playdough, but I think since we started making and coloring our own, they like to make it even more than they like to play with it.  It is so much fun to make colored playdough at home!

It all started a little over a year ago when I started adding a mix of powdered herbs to some of our smoothies and drinks.  Some of those powdered herbs are so brightly colored, especially the beet root powder!  Some of them also smell wonderful, like the orange peel powder.  So, we decided to try using some of those herbs to color our homemade playdough and were very excited by the results.


You need:

2 cups flour

2 cups water

1 cup salt

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

4 tsp. cream of tartar

Simple process:  Mix all ingredients in saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until ball forms (or until stiff enough to knead).  Knead until smooth.



Choose 4 or 5 powdered herbs that are bright in color.  You may want to have these ready before you make the dough as they seem to mix with the dough better when it’s still warm.  We used the following:

Beet Root Powder = fire brick

Bilberry Powder = purple

Burdock Root Powder = light brown

Spinach Powder = sea green

Orange Peel Powder = golden rod

            Scoop 1 to 2 Tbls. of each powder into separate cereal bowls and divide your dough between the bowls (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of dough per bowl).  You can vary the amounts of powder and playdough to make lighter or brighter colors.  Just have fun experimenting! 

We store our playdough in ziplock bags and it lasts about 4 – 6 months, depending on how and how much it gets played with.  Hope you have as much fun as we have coloring playdough someday.



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Homemade Sauerkraut




If I had known how easy it is to make sauerkraut, I would have started making it a long time ago!  My sister and I were inspired by the West Ladies in The Art of Canning DVD.  With their encouragement and my mistake on our Azure order (wanted two heads of cabbage . . . got two boxes with 32 heads!), we were blessed to try something new and I’m so glad we did.  Besides being easy to make, our children love to help with the sauerkraut as well, making it a fun family project.


So here is how easy it really is . . .


  • cabbage
  • salt
  • whey (see update note)

How to make:

  • Wash and grate cabbage (or cut up into fine strips).
  • Put cut cabbage into large bowl(s).
  • Sprinkle with about 1 tsp. sea salt per head of cabbage.
  • Let your children play . . . knead, squish, sqeeze, and grab the cabbage until the water starts to come out of the cabbage, making a puddle in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Press softened cabbage into jars and add a little of the “cabbage juice” to each jar leaving about an inch of space between cabbage and lid.
  • Put lids loosely onto jars.
  • Store in a cool dark place for about 3 weeks.
  • Then, enjoy and keep opened jars in refrigerator.
  • That’s it!

Update (9/2/11):  I have found that adding 4 T. of homemade liquid whey per quart of saurkraut makes the saurkraut even better.  Mix it in just before putting saurkraut into jars.  Be sure to transfer saurkraut with whey to the refrigerator after 3-7 days.

Homemade jars of sauerkraut last one to two years unopened.  If you don’t care for sauerkraut, but would like to get the health benefits, try adding it to things like sausage, beans, soups, salads, or omlettes.



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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins


With a husband and three boys who love chocolate, it is a joy to bake these healthy, chocolate treats.  The fun thing about this recipe is that you can make just about any kind of muffin using the same basic ingredients (see ideas below the recipe).  The chocolate variation has become our family favorite.

Although you can use a basic soaking method for these muffins, I have found that it is much easier to use a sprouted grain flour mix, as it is difficult to mix using the soaking method.  I use a sprouting method posted under my pancake and waffle master mix recipe.  The flour used for these muffins is a mix of sprouted pastry wheat, rice, buckwheat, and millet all ground together, but you can use any flour you like.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the following:

– 1/4 cup coconut oil

– 1 beaten egg

– 1/4 cup raw honey (or sweetener of choice; we have tried to cut back on sugar so this may not be enough sweetness for some)

– 1/2 cup milk or rice dream

Gently blend in only until moistened:

– 1 3/4 cup fresh flour (I use sprouted pastry wheat with a little rice, millet, and buckwheat tossed in)

– 2 tsp. baking powder

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 2 T. – 1/4 cup cocoa powder (depending on how chocolatey you want them)

– about 1/2 cup chocolate chips (again, depends on how chocolately you want them)

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-20 minutes depending on the size of your muffin tins.


Blueberry muffins – omit cocoa powder and chocolate chips and add blueberries.

Chocolate Chip – omit cocoa powder.

Pumpkin Chip – omit cocoa powder and add pumpkin puree (about 1/3 cup) and 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.

Buttermilk Spice – omit cocoa powder and chocolate chips and replace 1/4 cup of the milk with 1/4 cup of buttermilk, add 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, top with a strussel mix of butter, flour, and sucanat.

Cranberry Pecan – omit cocoa powder and choclate chips and add dried cranberries and pecans.

There is almost no end to the variations for these muffins.  It is fun to think up new ways to make them and the boys are always excited to see what kind I make, though I think chocolate, chocolate chip will always be their favorite.  Have fun baking for the holidays!



Homemade Herbal Tea Mixes


Mama Tea

– 8 parts red raspberry leaves

– 3 parts alfalfa tops

– 3 parts peppermint leaves

– 2 parts nettle leaf


Immune Booster Tea

– 3 1/2 cups echinacea herb and/or root

– 1 cup rosehips

– 1 cup elderberries

– 1 cup fennel


Chamomile  Creamsicle Tea

– 1  1/2 cups chamomile

– 1 cup lemon grass

– 1/4 cup peppermint leaf

– 1/2 cup orange peel

– 1 cup rosehips

– ground vanilla bean to taste


Children’s Composition Tea

– 2 cups chamomile

– 1 cup yarrow flower

– 1/2 cup elder flowers

– 1/4 cup peppermint


Decongestant Tea

– 3 cups mullein leaf

– 1  1/2 cups lemon grass

– 1 cup chamomile

– 1 cup elderberries

– 1/2 cup orange peel


All Time Favorite Red Roobios Chai Latte Mix

– 2 cups red tea

– 5 T. cinnamon

– 5 T. whole cloves

– 3 T. cardamon

– 2 T. ginger root

– 1 T. ground vanilla bean

– after making tea, add raw milk and honey to taste

For all mixes, use about 1 tsp. of herbs per cup of hot water . . . and remember to re-use those herbs for the second cup, delicious!  Joyful sipping!