Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

Fermented Cucumbers

The longest and most time consuming step in making fermented cucumbers is procrastination! It is so easy to ferment vegetables that it is almost a crime to buy them.  I do love the mild kimchi made and distributed by the Sanjas brand, but kick myself every time I buy it because I just know how easy it is make on my own.

Fermented vegetables and other fermented foods, like ginger ale, kombucha, etc. aid in digestion and are probiotic. I was thinking about how my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ diets often included pickles and sauerkraut. Undoubtedly for the same reason that I appreciate my fermented salads. They taste good, and help with digestion. Who could ask for more?!

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The primary ingredients to make fermented cucumbers are really simple:

  • cucumbers
  • salt
  • water

Then I also add:

  • garlic
  • dill
  • pickling spices (I buy pre-mixed from Penzey’s)
  • horseradish leaf – this is supposed to keep the cucumbers more crunchy.  I’ve also seen recipes that use oak leaf for this purpose.

Mix the salt, about 2 tbsp depending upon how many cucumbers you have, with hot water and let it dissolve.

Put the horseradish leaf, dill, garlic and pickling spice at the bottom of the jar.

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It is my experience both with utilizing the jar most effectively and creating the right pickle serving size that it is better to cut the cucumbers.  I usually try to slice them on the diagonal lengthwise, unless they have a wider circumference – then I get a little more creative in splitting them.

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For lack of a better word, I then cram the sliced cucumbers in my mason jars, packing them in as tightly as I can, leaving a little bit of space below the part of the jar with the screw threads.

I did add some coconut vinegar into each jar this time. I’ve never done that before, but thought it might add some additional tangy taste. Vinegar is also helpful during the fermenting process, but is not necessary. For the large jar I put about a tablespoonful and for the quart jar I used about a teaspoon.

Fill the jar 3/4s of the way with the salt water.  Add warm water to finish.  Make sure the pickles (to be) are completely immersed in water.  Screw on the lid and put away for a week.

And here’s the best tip that I can share.

Fermented cucumbers

Write on the calendar when to check them.  I need the reminder one week later!  I will not remember otherwise! (Note: it’s okay if you leave them longer, they just get more sour.) Place in refrigerator when they reach the taste you like.

Happiness Challenge

A friend of mine tagged me in the “Happiness Challenge” on Facebook where I was instructed to post 3 things that define my happiness for 6 days.  I’ve collected all the posts here.  In doing this challenge,  I found myself recognizing happy /  amusing / funny moments throughout each day.  That was the true reward.  Although, picking 3 and sharing them each day with my Facebook friends also made me happy.

Day 1
1. Happiness is being tagged for the happiness challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated Marcy’s posts and while I am more typically a voyeur than a participant, I am touched that she tagged me to do this.
2. Happiness is seeing my son growing up and settling into his new independent life.
3. Happiness is reading true life love stories in the NY Times In Memoriam section. One of my favorites is “I don’t need to visit you because you are with me every day.”

Happiness Challenge Day 2
1. Happiness is sleeping with the windows open.
2. Happiness is thinking of the next trip with my daughter. Barcelona? Milan? Paris? Florida?
3. Happiness is watching my daughter excel in and completely enjoy her college experience.

 Happiness Challenge Day 3
1. Happiness is transforming a ball of string.
2. Happiness is visiting my local library at 11 PM via my kindle.
3. Happiness is our weekly mah jongg game even if I don’t win and even if we have to miss a few weeks here and there.

An impromptu happiness post. Happiness is seeing Italian tourists at MY farmer’s market, glad to be able to share a nice American experience with them!

Happiness Challenge Day 4
1. Happiness is clearing out my garage and having a little extra cash in my pocket. (Thank you, Lois, for organizing the community garage sale, and thank you, Jill, for selling alongside me.)
2. Happiness is being able to go to bed early and sleep late after a long day.
3. Happiness is knowing what I need to do today, and fitting spending a long morning in bed (unfortunately by myself!) into the schedule.

Happiness challenge - a cleaner garage

A clean(er) garage!

 Happiness Challenge Day 5
1. Happiness is finally having the sense to turn my air conditioning back on and enjoying a good night’s sleep.
2. Happiness is knowing that I did not miss the canning season and will have fresh tomatoes in the winter. (I’m thinking creamy tomato soup on a cold winter day.)
3. Happiness is seeing my friends’ travel posts. Thank goodness for FB since getting together for slide shows like my grandparents used to do just would never happen these days.

Happiness Challenge

Ready for canning

Happiness Challenge Day 6, the final day of posts
1. Happiness is dragging myself out of bed, late, this morning, after having spent a wonderful evening catching up with an old friend.
2. Happiness is having the opportunity to review one’s life (while catching up) and being content with the decisions I’ve made in it.
3. Happiness is having a bright spot of color in an otherwise drab landscape (i.e. photo accompanying this post).
The tradition is for me to now tag other people to continue this practice of posting 3 points of happiness for 6 days. Only because it really isn’t painful, and it’s actually been nice to recognize points of happiness, I hereby nominate Christine, Gisela, Kathy (when you’re feeling better) and Linda. I look forward to reading your posts!

Happiness Challenge: a spot of color!

What are some of the things that make you happy?

Back to Clean Living!

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The reward to clean living is feeling good. It’s as simple as that.  My trip to Italy lasted beyond the time there and I spent much of the summer continuing to eat gelato and grains and other things that make me feel bloated, depressed and unsatisfied.

There are three things that help me follow the lifestyle I really want:

  1. The (Right) Mindset
  2. The (Right) Resources
  3. Acknowledgement of how I’m feeling (and why)

I stopped my 3x weekly visits to Crossfit in May due to a combination of excuses. First, I sprained my wrist and was medically advised to not use it, especially for working out. Then, we went to my son’s college graduation. My original goal for Crossfit was to look good in the photos for his graduation. (Check!)

Proud Mom!

Proud Mom!

Then I went to Italy. Then it was too hot. Now I’m too out of shape to go back! LOL. It’s like straightening your house before the cleaning people come. I want “it” (the house, my body, etc.) to be somewhat presentable before the experts take a look.

Of course, I have to get my mind back in focus. I am getting there. I finally acknowledged that a lot of my physical complaints – upset stomach, gas, poor sleep, always hungry for one more taste – were due to my increased consumption of wheat and sugar (more specifically, chocolate). I knew I had to stop eating those items to feel better.

I was able to get back on track just by reading a new ebook for grain-free snack recipes, Ditch The Wheat. I have not made any of the recipes yet. But I have all (or most) of the ingredients already.  It made me realize “I can do this,” and it’s not that hard. The snack book is similar to one of my favorite books, Primal Cravings, icon
icon and has recipes for all types of snacks – sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy.  There’s also an e-book with 70 grain-free desserts. The recipes do not overlap between the two Ditch the Wheat e-books. I would recommend buying both!

I bet you’re wondering what about the “living” part of this post? This post seems to be about clean eating. Well, I finally dusted off my 10-minute kettle bell workout DVD this morning, and did 2 of the sets. YAY ME! Of course, I am so out of shape that I was wobbly picking up the morning paper off the lawn after that “little” workout. I am not belittling myself. I am getting back to the land of clean living, and taking proper care of myself once again.

Now I’m off to make some of those Ditch the Wheat recipes…that must be why I recently purchased the organic gelatin!!  Clean (living) gummy worms, anyone?

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