Monday, May 27, 2013


As you know, I get raw, organic, whole milk every week. It has been marvelous for my allergies, and then there are the other nine months of the year. Cheese is an option, except that paleoistas can’t have cheese. Yogurt is out because I recall some homemade yogurt that was slippery, stringy, mucousy and all around revolting. What to do? What to do!
A person can make their own kefir. Kefir comes from Kefir grains—small, rubbery, irregularly shaped balls, very like bits of rubber cement. I don’t know where kefir grains come from, probably Baby Jesus. Then Amazon is the broker. Mine arrived in the mail in a thin milk-ish medium. 

Kefir grains are ALIVE, no time to waste. They go into a glass jar where they get covered with milk, ideally your raw, organic, whole milk. Close the top of the jar with a breathable cover—I use a paper coffee filter—set it on the counter and wait. 
The grains are very small to begin, maybe a teaspoon’s worth all together. I used a pint jar and added a cup of milk. I changed the milk every two days, straining the grains out using a nylon strainer and putting them in a fresh, clean jar. Apparently it is very important that the jar is clean and the strainer is nylon

. After about two weeks, the grains looked a little more robust and I strained the kefir into a bowl and had it with berries.
Luckily I was a few months into Paleo at this point, because this kefir is SOUR. More sour than plain yogurt, one of those things that taste good just because you know how HEALTHY it is. Maybe I’ll bring some on our next vacation. We can have it with the prunes.

After a month, the grains have tripled in size, and from then on, the kefir is thick-ish. I moved from a 4 inch strainer to a 7 inch strainer.
They grow up so fast!
The grains continue to grow and soon I am adding 2 cups of milk and I have kefir in just two days. Voila!
I mostly use it in smoothies and for this, it is marvelous.
I am not completely conversant in the life and times of a kefir grain, but as I understand it, they eat the milk. Does this mean kefir is a waste product? If you leave town, you can add extra milk and refrigerate the grains  for up to two weeks. I’m not sure what happens if you leave them for longer. I’m not sure I can ask my house sitter to tend the kefir grains. Six dogs with a DSM-V‘s worth of emotional issues is one thing; kefir, clean jars and nylon strainers seems like a task too far. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Better Bean

Dear Marg,

I went to a meeting earlier this week and all my friends were raving about this company that is creating not just a new product but a whole new class of food. Beans, like canned, but fresh, in the refrigerated section with the fresh salsa and hummus.Apparently it is very difficult to get consumers to stretch their preconceived notions of where and how beans ought to be bought.

I bought some and you know what, they are great. As you expand your Paleo horizons-o I'd highly recommend A Better Bean.They'd be good in a breakfast burrito. But not a smoothie, even a weekday smoothie.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Party Pour Une

Amos is at hockey. Gardening is done for the day. All is well.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just Deserts, No Dessert

Dear Alison, Abigail and Mom,

As you know, Margaret and His Lordship, Amos and I all went to Moab for a week. What you may not realize is that going on vacation with Margaret is egs-aust-ing. Biking, hiking, canyoneering, all before noon. Granted it was so ungodly hot that you had to be done with your outdoor activities by then but still. First there's her generally high level of enthusiasm and energy, and then you add a few cups of Peet's and you've got yourself a doozy of a day planned.

Speaking of which, here's what happens every night around 9.

Marg: so, what are we going to do tomorrow?
HL: uh oh,  she's on the planning barge.
Marg: no I'm not, I just want to know what time we are getting going in the morning.
HL: Planning barge.
Marg: It's late and I want to go to bed and I need to know what time to get up.
All: okaaaay

The sum of all this activity was afternoons spent in bleary comas, books askew on gently rising and falling chests, the comforting hum of the anemic air conditioner in the background. We'd rally around 6 or 7 for Paleo Dinner. No dessert. Occasionally we'd have a few prunes.