As I get ready to head outside on this beautiful November day here in Maine I'm making a smoothie for breakfast.  I have mentioned these is a previous post but I have never shown you what I do to make them.  So here is my method.

Kefir ready to use. The grains are floating at the top
Kefir ready to use. The grains are floating at the top

I start with my home made kefir which has been fermenting on the counter for 12 hours.  I rotate between two pint jars.  Each jar has kefir grains in them.  Fortunately here in Maine I can purchase whole unpasteurized and not homogenized organic milk from a local dairy.

Since I am still working we do not have any dairy animals on the farm.  There is a huge time commitment to keeping them healthy and milked that I just don't have right now.  Our goal is eventually to have a very small dairy goat herd.  Our land is much more suited to goats than cows.

I put one of the pints of kefir out on the counter in the morning and leave it the entire day.  We have found that around 12 hours of fermenting creates the flavor of kefir that we like.  In the evening the kefir goes into the refrigerator so it will be cold when I add it to the smoothie in the morning.  The next morning I use the fermented pint for the smoothies and put the second one out on the counter for fermenting.  After I pour the kefir into the blender I add more milk to the kefir grains and put it into the refrigerator.

Kefir and yogurt with chia seeds
Kefir and yogurt with chia seeds

To the kefir I add a pint of plain homemade yogurt.  I then thrown in about a tablespoon of chia seeds.  Chia seed are all the rage I know but they really are good for you.  Chia seeds contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber both which are thought to help with diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.  Now who couldn't use a little help in that direction?  Besides if you don't drink your smoothie right away, I take mine to work with me, they get gelatinous and help to thicken the smoothie and I think it makes them easier to digest that way.

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On top of the chia seeds I add greens.  I am able to get an organic mix of spinach, kale and chard.  A good handful is all that is needed.  Then about a tablespoon of our raw honey is put in.  I don't use it so much for the sweetness because the fruit makes it fairly sweet, but for the properties it has to fight allergies and strengthen the immune system.  Besides what can be better than using some of your own (actually my bees) honey everyday.

Then in goes the fruit.  I have used several combinations depending on what we might have in the house but there is usually a banana then some frozen strawberries and blueberries from the homestead.  I have also used kiwi which adds a nice tang to the smoothie.  Now that apple season is here I want to try a apple cinnamon smoothie which I think would be really yummy and cinnamon is really good for you too.

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Ok, now for the "smoothie" part.  Everything gets processed in the blender until smooth.  I use the blender on medium speed at first to get everything incorporated.  It takes a few seconds until the fruit make their way to the bottom of the blender to be chopped.   I leave the blender at this speed until it looks like the fruit and greens are all chopped fine.  I then turn the blender up to full blast for just a few seconds at the end.  You don't want to leave it on high for too long because it blends air into the smoothie.

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Put your smoothie in a sealed container and off you go with a nourishing smoothie to start your day.  Well, I'm off to hang the sheets on the clothes line.  This guarantees a good night sleep tonight on sheets fresh from the outdoors.




Beautiful blueberries
Beautiful blueberries

Once again this year our high bush blueberries have been producing wonderfully.  Now I know this is Maine and we grow some of the most amazing wild blueberries in this state.  They are small and sweet and perfect for baking.  I really like to use them in my blueberry muffins and pancakes because the small ones distribute throughout the batter very nicely.  However, picking blueberries from bushes is much easier on your back than the traditional method for wild blueberry fields which are low bush and require "raking" to harvest.

We have 4 plants that are mature and producing fruit and 3 additional smaller plants that are growing and we should be able to harvest from then in the next few years.  Like any other fruit plant or tree it takes a little while until you get fruit.

The other great thing about blueberry bushes is that they are perennials.  Once they are established as long as they are taken care of they will give you fruit year after year.  Our bushes are in the front yard fenced off from where the chickens roam the rest of the property.  Before we put up the fence I would look out my kitchen window to see chickens jumping up to snatch berries off.  I guess they love the antioxidants too.

I flash freeze the blueberries we harvest to be used later mostly in smoothies that both my husband and I take to work for breakfast.  To flash freeze we just lay the blueberries out on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the freezer for several hours.  The berries are then transferred to bags and kept in the freezer.  The advantage to flash freezing is that the berries are all separate so when you open the bag you can take out just what you need since they are not frozen into one lump.  If you just put them into the freezer bag fresh and put the whole thing in to freeze you risk that they will freeze together and it will be more difficult to use only what you need.

We make both kefir and yogurt and use a combination of both in our smoothies.  Then we add a tablespoon or so of honey a handful of greens and a few berries.  This is all blended and makes enough for both of us for breakfast.  Whatever greens and berries are available make great smoothies.  We tend to use berries more than other fruit because one they don't have too much fructose in them and two they are loaded with antioxidants.  Kale is the green that we use most but spinach, bok choy and even chard are great.  Any combination of berries and greens makes things interesting and nutritious too.

Even if you are buying yogurt, kefir and frozen berries from the store smoothies are a great way to pack a big nutrition punch to start your day.  It only takes a few minutes to make them and I'm betting the kids will love them too.


DSC_0112 (2)The strawberry harvest has come to a close.  My wonderful husband picked the last of them from our 100 or so plants.  We were able to freeze whole berries to use in our breakfast smoothies.  I think when we were all finished there were 4 gallon bags in the freezer.  That of course does not count the countless number that we ate along the way.  I took the last of the harvest and made ice cream with them today.  It will be a treat this evening after my husband gets home from work.

I have gotten into making kefir everyday and we use that and homemade yogurt in our smoothies.  Our local natural food store stocks unpasteurized milk that I make the kefir and yogurt with.  We sweeten with just a bit of honey add greens like kale then a few strawberries and blueberries.  It is a full meal when whirred up in the blender.

The garden has been planted from the seeds that I started back in April.  I really enjoy gardening but to be honest I'm not very good at it.  Everything is always great when I get it planted then along come the weeds and I seem to never be able to get ahead of them.  I know I need to mulch to keep the weeds down but I never seem to get to it.  It is hard to come by straw here in Maine since no one really grows oats or wheat so I use wood chips.  All the chips that we did this spring went down on the inside of the hoop house on top of the cardboard.  I'm trying to get that area doing much better so I can use it next year.

I did purchase a small 6 x 8 foot greenhouse from Harbor Freight.  It is still in the barn in the box since I need to level the ground where I want to put it.  It will go in the front yard where I took out the two peach and two apricot trees that did not make it through the winter.  My goal is to be able to grow greens during the winter, or at least maybe until January before the real cold hits.

Well, time to move the soaker hose in the garden to the green beans.  Visit with you soon.