This weekend Brad ran the TC10K, Nikolai and I ran the 1.5 K and Uliana pulled a few all nighters. So we are all a bit sacked this Monday morning.
Nikolai is particularly tired as he shares his bedroom with Uliana who, for some reason, has turned her crib into a dance floor. Every night we put her to bed and she decides to party like it's 1999.
She also has become a fiercely determined participant in EVERY activity. "No no no no no", "mine" and "Lula" (her version of Uliana) have become the sound track to my life. And though it is hard to redirect Uliana, dress her, feed her, or do anything with her around... I have to remember that her personality will probably serve her well as an adult. She also REFUSES to be photographed, so it's been a few weeks since we've been able to get a picture of her smiling face. I do wonder what we have in store for us as she's only 16 months old... I'm just glad that she already has a fantastic vocabulary, and I always know exactly what it is that she wants.
Here are some photos from Nikolai's t-ball game this weekend. Brad decided to volunteer as a coach this year!
Saurkraut in a Mason Jar
I'm on a fermentation kick lately, and saurkraut is my favorite. Mainly because it's incredibly easy, the kids love it, and being homemade means it's full of probiotics! I'm hoping that regular doses of probiotic foods might help Nikolai's digestive system cope with all his food intolerances.
Cabbage naturally has lactic bacteria, which is why it's so fermentable!
To make a single 750 ml mason jar worth of saurkraut:
1. Grate one medium head of cabbage. (This is done easily with my beloved Salad Master, but you could use any mandolin or grater.)
2. Toss cabbage in 1 tsp of pickling salt. (You could use up to 2 tsp of salt. You could also use less salt, but it's not as much fun.)
3. Add your other flavors at this point. (I've given some ideas below).
3. Pack it into a mason jar and beat it down with a spoon to squeeze as much into the jar as possible. Leave about 1" of head room.
4. Top with something to keep the cabbage weighted down. (In the photo, I've used small jam jars on the purple kraut, and the core of the cabbage for the green kraut).
5. Loosely cover the jars to keep out pests. (You could use cloths, but I just float the metal jar lid on top.)
6. Store the jar at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days, but up to 7 weeks.
7. For the first 3 days the kraut will bubble and form liquid. You will want to place your jars on a bowl or plate, to catch any juice that might bubble out of the jar. After the first day the cabbage should be completely submerged by it's own liquid. If it isn't, then you will need to top with water. But try tamping the cabbage down first as it shouldn't be necessary to add extra liquid.
8. Keep checking your kraut every few days to make sure that the cabbage is fully submerged. If mold grows on the top simply scoop it off and keep fermenting. (I have made quite a few jars of saurkraut, and this has never happened to me).
9. Keep tasting it with a clean fork. The kraut is finished when you like the flavour. Just pop it into the fridge to stop the fermentation process.
-Adding a cup of grated apple, fennel, cranberries or carrot (in my purple kraut) will sweeten the kraut.
-Onion or garlic are a savory addition.
-For a spicy kraut add hot pepper slices.
You can also add whole spices for flavour:
-2 bay leaves and 5 black peppercorns (in purple kraut).
-1 tsp caraway seed, 1 tsp mustard seed and 10 juniper berries (in green kraut).
-2 tsp of mixed Indian curry spices
-1 tsp dill seed
Feel free to experiment!