Saturday, April 28, 2012


Hi everyone yes Kombucha has arrived to Mary Helen's Test Kitchen, here in Hollywood.  My goal is to share this wonderful Probiotic elixer with my family, friends, and neighbors. All with the hopes of sparking an interest in probiotics as alternative to medicine.  I'm not saying stop taking your medicine by all means no. Just start by adding this to your diet little by little.  See what happens after you use it for a while.  Ask yourself.  Do you really feel better? Stronger? Pain free?   Although I have been brewing kombucha a few months, I consider myself knowledgeable enough to share with you my findings as I've done a lot of research and a lot of brews and experiments.  I always have a variety of kombucha's brewing at one time.  My SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) are all happy campers and love their, ginger, hibiscus, dandilions, and apple juice, etc. Their is no end.

My SCOBY arrived in a quart size jar and was the same diameter of the jar, just as described.  Earlier I had purchased a six gallon plastic beverage container. which I washed and rinsed well, then a double rinse with vinegar. I also had my green tea brewed and sweetened.  My SCOBY was in it's new home. I put this in a warm spot undisturbed and in 5 days I had my first gallon of kombucha.  Now because of the diameter of my 6 gallon container the diameter is larger.  This means my SCOBY is larger too.  As it takes up the diameter  Note: The plastic containers must read #1 or #2.  This number can be found at the bottom of the plastic container inside a triangle.  Also note that the kombucha does not have time to leach anything from the plastic because it is removed within a few days and it is not yet as acetic.  However, kombucha does turns into vinegar quickly, so I would recommend once it has fermented, store it in glass containers with plastic lids just to be safe.  By the time it vinegars it is known as a powerhouse of nutrition.  The cultured probiotics  multiplies as each hour passes.  A glass first thing in the morning is an excellent way to really wake up and start your day.  It wakes up every nerve in your body for sure with its tangy, slight vinegar taste alone. I like to add a very strong dose of cayenne pepper and garlic to my breakfast Kombucha drink.  Not to mention the fact you are feeding your body's cells live food.  This is cellular nutrition and rejuventation!  I started  drinking one half cup 3 times a day.  After a few days,  I went to drinking one cup 3-4 times a day.  I also drink Water Kifer and Milk Kifer.  I have a variety of probiotics going through my body all day long.  How do I feel after almost one year of probiotics?

Well, first of all I used to take about 200 pills a month.  And I still felt sick.  I was always watching my fat, and was on some sort of diabetic diet. Yet  I looked and felt very sick and quite toxic.  I even had my own power=chair equipted with a oxygen tank holder.  Yeah they pimped my ride alright.  LOL.  I had given up on life, felt hopelessly despaired, and doomed to die.  I was diabetic, I had high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  It created neuropathy, which meant my legs gave out a lot. This was only naming a few of the illnesses.  I got bigger and bigger.  It seemed like I was losing the battle quite rapidly.  I also forgot to mention that I was born with essential tremors, which mine were severe.  They progress with age, and at this time I was in constant seizure mode.  I could no longer feed myself with a fork, for fear of stabbing my face.  Yup, ouch.  Their were a lot of things I could no longer do, like cook or hold a knife or brush my teeth.  Everything was 100 times harder.  But I had no other choice but to continue one day at a time.   My own body had become a hazard to my health.

My life changed when I  pursued the God I knew.  I won a lottery to my beautiful apartment in Hollywood.  It was a chain of events for the positive. I had two brain surgeries by a wonderful neurosurgeon at Cedars Sinai .  His name is Dr. Adam Mamelak if anyone is interested.  Today among many other things  I am temporarily tremor free.  Today I am able to write..hahaha.  Look ma I'm writing, and I'm walking too.:))

I came here in a wheel chair almost 2 years ago. and today I am medication free!  All my blood tests came out very good.  My A1C sugar is less than 6.  No sign of diabetes, or anything else.  Besides my breathing.  I am walking all over town...sometimes running to catch a bus or to get to an event on time. My energy level has increased so much, I lost 40 lbs.  My brain feels so "let's go find out".  My body says, let's get busy.  There are not enough hours in the day to do all that I do.  So I do a lot in my 18 hour no more nap days.  So my answer is yes I do feel better drinking my homemade kombucha, and milk and water kifers.  A LOT BETTER!  Thank Godl

Friday, April 27, 2012


About 3-4 weeks ago I sliced into shreds 2 small heads cabbage one purple and one regular.  I put them in a bowl covering with water.  I added 1/4 cup salt.  Let sit for 2 hours, then rinse to wash out most of the salt.  Pack tightly into 2 quart size jars, leaving 3 inches on top.  This will expand.  You then want to add vinegar (I used kombucha vinegar) about one inch over the cabbage. I inserted a smaller jar within the jar to keep it down in the liquid.  I covered it with a napkin and a rubber band to hold it in place.  Set this in another container as it will most likely expel some of it's juices during the fermenting stage. It will start to smell bad.  But hey it's cabbage.  This is normal.  So is the white crud that will grow on top.  When done you just discard.the top.  Cover with a non metal top and put the rest in the refrigerator and enjoy this wonderful Probiotic food.  The taste is so good.  It has a very tangy flavor.  It is still quite crisp and pretty.  Oh yes and it is also very inexpensive.
Do not mistake this Raw Probiotic live Sauerkraut for the store bought sauerkraut.  There is no comparison. The store bought kraut is dead.  It's been cooked in distilled vinegar, and salt.  Sad because they took a healthy vegetable and made it actually harmful.  Here this living food is still raw and alive and highly nutrition.  It is loaded with vitamins and minerals and has the anti cancer fighting chemicals... PHYTO-NUTRIENTS. I let time take over and today,and now it is a PROBIOTIC food as well.  I prepared this so easy right?  Slice, salt and water and time. 
Probiotic food has been known to ward off hangover's if eaten beforehand.  It also wards of cancer and diabetes.

I have been a diabetic for over 10 years now.  I am glad to say, today I am a survivor of diabetes, and all that goes with it.  Since I've been using healthy naturally made probiotic foods about one year now,  my diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol has long gone. So has any arthritic pain. Thank God.  I just got tired of being sick and tired, and not being able to plan my day. I decided to take control, because I realized, we do have free agency and we do get to choose what goes in our body. So far I've been able to keep the 40 lbs that I unintentionally lost in the process too.  That's just another plus for me.

Today I can eat what I want, of course in moderation without fear.  I have not had to check my sugar, call 911 and best of all I get to have a life now free of any medication.   Today, FOOD IS MY MEDICINE.
Anyway, I thank God, and I am grateful.
Try it and have fun in your kitchen. 
Enjoy your well being with food.
Let us get well together.
Many blessings
Mary Helen

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Good afternoon, my son came over this morning hungry as usual.  I was getting ready to leave so I didn't have anything planned.  I searched my pantry and came up with a can of spinach, eggs, and bread.  I thought hmm, I had less than an hour before my ride arrived.  So let's get busy.

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • 4  eggs beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (yogurt, buttermilk or coconut milk etc. I used kifer milk because I make it and readily had it) 
  • 1/2    cup onion diced (green, white, yellow, it doesn't matter)
  • 2   cups day old bread cubed 1 inch
  • 1   tbsp curry powder (this is optional but then I would have to change the name above)
  • 1   clove garlic minced
  • 1    cup cheese grated (I used yellow, but white would be great)
  • 1     tsp salt
  • 1/4  cup oil  (I used extra virgin coconut oil or butter)
Beat all ingredients well before adding bread cubes, reserving some cheese for the top.  Let sit for about 5 minutes for the bread to absorb the egg mixture.   Bake in casserole dish for 35-45 minutes.

This tastes similar to Spinach Quiche with curry flavor.    And all it was was some stale bread that no one wanted to eat, some eggs and a can of spinach, with cheese.  Who knew it would taste so good.   Yet feed a family of 6 for so little.  It yielded two of these bread dishes.  My son took the other one home.  It has veggies, protein, and carbs.  It's tasty and filling.  What more can one ask for.  Have fun in your kitchen.  Explore

Peace, and many blessings.
Mary Helen

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I picked up quite a bit of beautiful bosc pears Saturday morning.  I love to can for food storage, but I also wanted some of these pears in raw form.  I know I can't eat that many pears before they go bad.  So I'm going to ferment these for it's probiotic effects. I'm trying to get healthier, and every bit of  raw probiotics helps.  Remember, FOOD IS MEDICINE.

I made this recipe on Saturday evening. Today is now day 3, and it has been sitting in a warm corner to ferment since then.  Yummy  I get to "Reap what I sowed" now.  Well, it looks good.  It still is sweet, yet tangy. It smells very mouth watering, and tastes even better.  You can still taste all the pieces of prunes as well.  Even though it is raw, the hard grated pears have softened quite a bit, but not mushy.  I can just imagine all the juices in harmony, because I can already taste it.  I'm planning on letting it ferment another couple of days though because I like real tangy food, or at least in some of my ferments.  So I'd say this is coming right along.  By the way, This Pear Relish/ like salsa goes great with chips, or crackers.  But for me I would have added (and I'm going to in a minute) a lot more cayenne chili.  Ok, here goes...

Preheat oven...just kidding.  Just checking to see if anyone is reading this.  lol.

12  Pears, washed, dried, and grated
1   onion large (I used green top and bottom)  Chopped small
1   tomato diced small
1   lemon large, just the juice
1   tbsp Ginger grated
1/2 cup Prunes large, pitted and chopped
1   tbsp Salt
1   tbsp Parsley, fresh or dried
1   tbsp Cayenne red pepper  Fresh crushed or powdered. Note, can use jalapeno or serrano.
1/4 cup  Kombucha vinegar, but any will do.
1/4 cup water

I put the grated pears in a bowl and let it air till slightly browned.  It happens quite fast.  Start adding the ingredients as you chop, or dice them.  The fruit will release a lot of it's own juices by now. I saved the kombucha vinegar for last and used that liquid to top the relish once I put it in sterile jars, and cover with a non metal lid in a warm place for 3-5 days.  Then refrigerate after  It will continue to ferment in the refrigerator but at a slower rate.  No worries, it will only get better.  Can last a long time safely, but it's so good it probably won't last that long.  At least not in my home.  My family loves it.  If they only knew how healthy it is.  Lol.  Shhh don't tell them.

By the way, I rendered 70 oz of my Spicy-Fermented Pear Relish.
All this would have cost a bundle purchasing this elsewhere.
Thank God.  Waste not, want not is my motto.
Peace, and many blessings...
Mary Helen.
P.S.  Just a quick update...
Yes I said 3 to 5 days.  But just to let you know, it's best fermenting for 10 days out before putting it in the refrigerator.  It's really fermented and it's bubbles keep popping up.  It's so tasty besides good as in healthy probiotics too.  Their both good, you try it and decide for yourself!  I had extra jars fermenting, so I did try it:))

Monday, April 23, 2012


Easy Herbed Crackers
Hello, today I was wanted crackers to go with my cheese. I already had a quantity of seasoned bread crumbs that I made earlier to bread chicken, fish, etc. I have no recipe, but I know how to cook. Thank God.  So let's get busy.:))

 Preheat oven to 350
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (can use white)
2 tsp baking soda
1/8 cup of sesame seeds (optional)
1/8 cup of oil.  I used Ghee (butter that has been clarified)
Water...add enough to make it like a watery pancake batter
Herbs, your choice.  I used rosemary, garlic, a pinch of crushed peppers and parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Put about one cup of this batter (more or less depending on the size of baking pan) on a greased baking sheet spreading evenly about 1/8 inch covering the whole pan. 
Bake at 375 for about 10-15 min, or until golden brown and edges begin to lift off pan.  Take out and cut to size with kitchen scissors or a knife while it is still hot and cutable.   Flip over and bake the other side for 5 more min.

The bread crumbs is any leftover, stale bread that I collect before it goes bad, in my freezer.   When I have enough to work with I crumble and season it. I store in in a airtight container for later use.  Sometimes, its whole grain, sourdough, or maybe just white bread. But it is always a combination of different breads.  Remember waste not want not? 

It took less than 5 min to prepare.  The rest is pour and bake. They are a healthy snack and an alternative to any junk food or chips.  They are high in fiber too.  I got over 2 lbs of healthy whole wheat crackers for less than $1.00. Nice huh?  Sorry Trader Joe's I got my own snacks.:))

Now where's my cheese?  What?  Cheese in my crackers?  Yes, the last batch, I added freshly grated parmesan cheese to my batter.  Yum. It was a nice addition.
Be creative make your own.  I would be glad to hear any comments and see what you made. 
Have fun saving money and eating healthy in your kitchen.  I wish you many blessings.
Thank you for your interest
Mary Helen

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Hi, I made Oat Milk earlier, and it looked like milk, so I did substitute cows milk with Oat Milk and made the creamiest kifer ever.  Yummy for my tummy kifer!  Another wonderful  probiotic drink. I will readily admit the most tasty too. My kifer grains danced around in this so they also loved the change. I added my milk Kifer grains to 2 cups of room temperature Oatmilk for 18 hours and let time do the rest.  So easy.  The taste and texture was similar to a soft plain yogurt.

Just like yogurt, the longer you let it set the more tart it becomes.  The more tart it becomes means the culture is a lot healthier and is growing rapidly.   I am quite happy with something a little more tart than, lets say Yoplait brand. No wait. It was more like a rich creamy buttermilk. Yes that's more like it. Look at the jar. Just like buttermilk culture right?  It was refreshing just like buttermilk too.  It's so good that I am already culturing my next batch of Oat Milk Kifer.

So who said you can't get healthy on a low budget?  Guess what?  I drank it all for dinner.  It was my dinner and it was filling as well.  What more can I ask for.  lol.  So in the long run buying my Milk Kifer Grains has been a very healthy investment.  I have used my Milk Kifer Grains with Cows Milk with great success.  I like milk but I can't drink it because I am lactose intolerant.  Kifer changes the lactose to lactate making cultured Kifer Milk easy to digest without discomfort. I have also used my Milk Kifer Grains with Soy Milk and it was hmm okay, drinkable.  But I haven't made it again.  Actions speak louder than words right?  I've also made Almond Milk Kifer and I don't lie.  It was not to my liking at all. But I must be fair.  I was not ready for that taste at all.  So I should never say never.  But this one.  Yes, in my books a winner:)

I hope you enjoyed this.
Many blessings.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Good morning friends. Nope, that's not cows milk although it looks like it. Sometimes I feel silly blogging this because it is so easy.  But someone got to show you just how easy it is, right?  I ran out of cows milk, thanks to my son.  Actually I did buy it for him and  to feed my milk kifer grains.  But that's another blog.  This is a cheap, yet healthy alternative to dairy milks, as well as other non dairy milks.  It's good to use a variety of milks like soy, almond, or rice because each one has it's own nutritional value. If we stick to just one milk, we deprive our body of other nutrition.  And in my opinion, we need all the nutrition we can get.  So here goes my way of making oat milk.
  • 2 cups of presoaked whole grain rolled oats. (no need to soak if using instant oats)
  • 6-8 cups of water (according to taste and thickness)
  • pinch of salt

Optional ingredients Note:
I added this because dairy milk has Calcium and Vitamin D. So, it is a good way to use those vitamins the doctor gave me last year.  Haha.   I added the fat because, hey dairy milk is loaded with fat, and its good.  But coconut fat is another healthy alternative since oatmeal has zero fat.  And now I could use the extra nutrition. and feel satiated too:))

  • 2 tsp brown sugar (optional, you can use any sweetener)
  • 6 Calcium with Vitamin D tablets (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut Cream (optional, I used powdered, because it's easy to store and keep on hand)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla (optional)
Add the oats in the blender using just two cups of water to start.  Blend well before adding the additional water.  Strain with a cheese cloth, or strainer. NOTE:  If adding vitamins, add after straining. May be served hot or cold.

There are countless was to serve this nutritios non dairy milk.  You can use it plain as is, or spice with cinnamon. Try adding almonds or raisins for a treat. It's great over cereal too.  Whatever suits your fancy. Just try it, you might like it.

As for me, one mission accomplished today....I'm going to attempt to make yogurt out of my oatmeal milk soon.  I will post the results later once I complete that mission successfully.

I hope this was helpful to you...wishing you all many blessings.
Mary Helen