Smoothie-like kefir keeps everything in balance
BY TIFFANY POE The Busy Kitchen
Monday, September 24, 2012
9/24/12 at 9:00 AM
Editor's note: The Busy Kitchen is a new Monday column written by two area chefs - Tiffany Poe and Valarie Carter - who also happen to be mothers of young children. They'll explore nutrition, cooking for kids and more.
I'm sure by now you've gotten the idea that I operate a "busy kitchen." I'm sure you do, too.
For that matter we all lead busy lives and live in a busy world. With all the demands in our schedule, it's no wonder sometimes our "gut" can feel a little stressed out and upset. Between home life, work, school and activities, we are sometimes not completely conscience of what we put into our bodies much less our children's.
Many years ago - after a long time of eating anything and everything I wanted - I started having some "belly" issues. At the end of it, I learned a thing or two about digestion health. And one of my favorite food discoveries was an amazing product called kefir.
Kefir is an ancient smoothie-like drink that originated in the Caucasus Mountains of Europe and reminds me of a second cousin twice removed from yogurt.
Known as the champagne of dairy, this 99 percent lactose-free drink is said to be derived from the Turkish word "keif" for "good feeling," which makes sense because people in that region of the world live to be well past 100 years old.
Kefir is chock-full of nature's best friend, probiotics. These friendly little digestive bacteria keep everything in balance in your tummy.
I purchase kefir every week as part of my regular grocery shopping, and for around $4, it's one of the best and most inexpensive ways to give my kids something "good," fast and refreshing on the go.
Kefir comes in 10 to 15 flavors and is available at all large grocery stores and health food centers. It is effervescent, fruity and I promise your kids will love it.
I use kefir in three ways each week as part of my children's diet.
Straight up: No fuss, no muss. We drink it right out of the bottle. Yep, I cannot deny it. I have been spotted allowing my children to drink kefir right out of the bottle on the way home from the grocery store. It's a little weird, yes, but they love it and aside from doing kefir shots before breakfast, it's the easiest way to get it in their belly.
Kefir Koolies: This recipe is super simple and allows you to incorporate a little more fruit, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids into their diet. I use strawberry banana kefir, raw honey, milled flaxseed and fresh fruit. This recipe is a great way to get out of the house quick in the morning.
Kefir Parfait: Call me a simpleton but this is an almost stupid easy way to enjoy kefir and have a filling, quick, no-cook breakfast or snack for you and your kids. I simply pour kefir (whatever flavor your choose) onto granola and fresh fruit. Grab a spoon and you are in kefir business.
2 cups fresh whole strawberries (about 14-16 small berries)
2 cups strawberry-banana kefir
1 cup ice
1 tablespoon milled flaxseed
1/4 cup raw honey
1. Combine banana, strawberries, kefir, ice, flaxseed powder and honey in blender.
2. Puree on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses.
Note: Freeze fruit for a thicker koolie or change up the kefir and fruit flavors throughout the week.
1 cup granola
1/2 cup fresh fruit (your choice)
1/2 cup lowfat kefir (your choice of flavor)
1. Mix granola and fruit in a bowl or portable to-go container and pour kefir over the top.
2. Let soak for a few minutes for a softer parfait.
Note: For a fun brunch idea, alternate the granola, fruit and kefir in a glass bowl or cup for a more elegant presentation.
Check Tiffany Poe's Gastronomy Mommy blog at tulsaworld.com/gastronomymommy for a step-by-step tutorial on making Kefir Koolies.
Chef Tiffany Poe, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., owns Tiffany Poe Culinary Services, a consulting, food styling and corporate coaching company. She and her husband have three small children and own The Grandview Inn, a historic bed and breakfast near the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska.