Another try at the bug

It’s funny sometimes how things tend to cycle back around in life. For instance, in November of 2014, I posted about my Baby Bug, aka the ginger bug I had just started. That was my first foray into fermentation and it was unsuccessful. I killed my little bug before it ever had the chance the flourish.

Here we are, two years later, and I have started a new little baby bug. I’m a bit more confident this time around. I have a greater understanding of the fermentation process after experimenting a bit in the kitchen and I am REALLY craving some ginger soda. I’m determined to try this time until I succeed.

This post follows my Ginger Bug’s first week in hopes that you may find this helpful in starting your own Baby Bug. Yours may begin to bubble quicker than mine did, especially if your house is warmer.

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Day One (November 7): In a quart jar, I combined 2 cups water, ½ cup white sugar, and about 1 tbsp minced ginger. I covered it with cheesecloth and put it on my kitchen counter. I used tap water that I brought to a boil and cooked down. Since I did not have organic ginger, I peeled it before mincing it. I stirred it all with a wooden skewer.

Day Two (November 8): Fed 1 tbsp minced ginger + 1 tbsp white sugar. Moved to bedroom (where warmer). Temperature in house was 55 degrees overnight.

Day Three (November 9): Fed 1 tbsp minced ginger +1 tbsp white sugar.

Day Four (November 10): Fed 1 tbsp minced ginger + 1 tbsp white sugar. Noticed a few bubbles on the surface.

Day Five (November 11): Fed 1 tbsp minced ginger + 1 tbsp white sugar. Household temperature is 58 degrees.

Day Six (November 12): Did not feed – not home.

Day Seven (November 13): Fed 1 tbsp minced ginger + 1 tbsp white sugar. Ginger bug is really bubbling now! It is time to make some soda!

So for my first soda made with my ginger bug, I decided to go with a ginger soda. It seemed rather fitting and I could use my fresh ginger root that I received the weekend.

To start with, I boiled 4 cups of water and added it to about a 4 inch root of ginger, grated. I let every sit until it had cooled and infused. Then I added the juice from one whole lemon, ½ cup white sugar, 1 tbsp. real maple syrup, and ¼ cup of strained ginger bug liquid.

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I mixed it all with a wooden spoon and then bottled. I used glass bottles but will “burp” it daily for the next 2-3 days or until it is nicely carbonated. Then I’ll pop the bottles in the fridge to enjoy.

To my ginger bug, I added ¼ cup filtered water, 1 tbsp minced ginger root, 1 tbsp white sugar to give it a bit of a boost. I’m going to drop down now to only give it 1 tsp. ginger and 1 tsp. white sugar daily/every other day.

Fingers crossed that my little experiment turns out better this time than last time!

Farmer’s Market Haul 11/12/2016

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I went to the Edenton Farmer’s Market last week and managed to stay under my goal for $40 finally. I spent $19 on produce, $5.50 on bread, and $9.83 on meat for a grand total of… $34.33 – yay me!

What I got for my money:

  • Beets
  • Asian Bekana (pictured to the left)
  • Bullhorn Peppers
  • Bok Choy (pictured in the middle)
  • Turnips
  • Butternut Squash
  • Garlic (I still have a few bulbs in my pantry from a few weeks ago, but I love garlic)
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Ground Beef
  • Beef Kidney

I don’t quite have a plan yet for anything, other than pickling the beets (yum). The Bekana (Bukana?) is a new one for me. Doing a little research shows that it is sort of an Asian green? I decided that is how I will use it. I found a mixture of recipes showing it cooked and raw so I have a bit of variety.

The beef kidney is something that I’ve never purchased before but I thought that it would be a nice little treat to mix in with the dog food. Ideally, I would like to make all of my dog food from scratch. Not today but maybe one day.

If you’re paying close attention to the picture, you may have noticed that there is a bit of ginger that I haven’t mentioned. One of my friends harvested a small batch of ginger and gave me one of the roots. I used that last night to make my fresh ginger soda. Check back tomorrow for more information and a step by step for my ginger bug.

5 Ways to Destress During a Busy Time

Ever have one of those weeks where it seems like you are being pulled in a hundred different directions? That is how last/this week has been. I’ve been busy at work this week, busy making product for The Southern Belle’s Garden (with shows scheduled last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), not to mention family obligations/emergencies (3 relatives in the hospital). Not that I am complaining. Things do tend to fall by the wayside during busy weeks. I don’t get to spend as much time with my boyfriend, my dog, my chickens, or with just myself and I do enjoy my alone time. With the holiday season starting to ramp up full-swing, I know that my precious free time will dissipate, so I need to use it wisely.

I’m blessed in that stress doesn’t affect me all that much. I’ve been called “zen” on more than one occasion and don’t let my feathers get too ruffled. But here are some of my favorite ways to relax when I start to find myself feeling a little too run down.

  • Breathe. My mantra is “Just Breathe.” To take a moment and realize that this too shall pass and that everything will be okay. I really focus on my breathing, inhaling deeply and slowly so that my body expands – exhaling slowly and feeling the stress on my body lessen. I’ve thought many times of getting that mantra tattooed so that I will always have it to remember but haven’t yet (along with something representing my favorite movie – The Lion King).
  • Soak. There is nothing that relaxes me faster than a tub filled with hot water (almost unbearable hot is what I like) and a good book. Maybe a candle to the side. That’s sort of why I started making my bath salts and soaks in the first place. They are blends that I enjoy using when I feel a little on edge.
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Coconut Milk Salt Soak | Available Here
  • Pamper. Going along with SOAK, I also enjoy it when I can have a few moments, however brief, to pamper myself. I like to kick back, slather a mask on my skin, and just relax. My favorite mask is a blend of raw honey and lemon juice (Mix together 1 tbsp. honey + juice from 1/2 lemon – apply to face, avoiding eye area, and let sit 15-30 minutes before rinsing) that leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean.
  • Declutter. Declutter your mind, declutter your house/car/whatever. Sometimes we just have way too much stimulation in our lives. So get rid of some of it. If you have 20 things on your brain, write them down to give them the focus they deserve. Reduce some of the clutter in your home. Throw away or donate items that are no longer of use to you.
  • Oils. Except for my slight addiction to soda (that I’m working on), I try to live a somewhat healthy life. I have discovered that using essential oils is key to maintaining my focus in life. While peppermint is my all-time favorite essential oil and the oil used most in my product, I am a big fan of doTERRA’s BALANCE blend. BALANCE is a blend of Spruce, Ho Wood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, and Blue Chamomile that promotes a sense of relaxation. Sometimes I diffuse it, sometime I apply it my feet or on my wrists.
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Since I can’t have a diffuser at work, sometimes I make due by just inhaling the scent from the bottle.

What are your favorite ways to relax and destress?


Interested in receiving your own doTERRA oils at a discount? Consider signing up as a Wholesale Member or Wellness Advocate to save 25% off of the retail price on all product purchases! For more information, contact me or visit http://www.mydoterra.com/emielli and click on JOIN AND SAVE at the top.

Farmer’s Market Haul 10/22/16

Saturday morning, a few weeks ago, I found myself as a vendor beside Ollie of Somerset Farms at the Edenton Farmer’s Market. Now, I’ve known Ollie for years (I even dined at her house a few weeks ago – pictures forthcoming, along with pictures from my Alaska trip, really), along with the rest of her family. They are great people and you really can’t beat their delicious certified organic produce.

Being next to Ollie was a delight and my downfall. I spent all of my money at her table. See, when I go to the Farmer’s Market, I usually like to limit myself to $40. If I spend anymore than $40, I tend to purchase more than what I need and end up wasting produce. I only went $5 over budget this time however and am rationalizing by the fact that the mushrooms I purchased took up almost half of my budget.

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So here is what I got from the Edenton Farmer’s Market for $45.

  • Garlic – 4 bulbs total. We love garlic (in fact, we planted a few bulbs from Somerset Farms in our garden a few weeks ago) – plus, garlic is good for you!
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Beets (Robb doesn’t really like beets, then again, he never thought he really liked Radishes either until he tried some of mine over the Summer)
  • Radishes
  • Ground Lamb
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Bullhorn Peppers – I went over my budget to purchase these, but I had been eyeballing them all morning.
  • Lamb Rub Spice – Ollie creates these delicious spice and tea blends. I’m a fan. I picked up this particular rub to go with some lamb purchased from her quite a few months ago.

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The good thing is that I had a plan on utilizing everything! I dehydrated most of the mushrooms on Saturday night for use throughout the Winter. The lamb and garlic, along with a few mushrooms I saved out and some of the kale, went towards a more traditional Shepherd’s Pie. Last week, I roasted the beets, peppers, and radishes, serving them with halibut flown home from Alaska.

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On another note, please check out The Southern Belle’s Garden – I’m in the process of revamping it so that I can utilize it more as a business page and a place where you can buy my products online. I have my salves currently up and will be uploading a delicious Elderberry Syrup for sale shortly. My goal is to have almost all of my current inventory listed there by the end of the week, which means that I need to get on the ball taking some stock photos!