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Category: Battling Eczema

Milk Kefir Popsicle

Milk Kefir Popsicle

The children have been clamouring for home made ice cream. I haven’t had time to make some for them. I need to make more desserts for bargaining chips!! 😜

I had watermelon and milk kefir in my refrigerator and a set of brand new popsicle mould which I bought from Daiso (for only $2!! I love Daiso!!). My first popsicles in the making! 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼

I blended the watermelon and mixed in the milk kefir. Voila! Watermelon smoothie! Poured the mixture into the popsicle moulds and popped them into the freezer.

The mixture eventually separated into 2 layers. 😅 BUT my easy-going children loved them! Why? They are cold and they had 2 colours. 😂😂😂 Anything cold goes with them.

I need to come up with more kefir popsicle recipes that don’t separate into layers though. Keep your eyes on my posts! 😊

Ingredients :

Watermelon

Milk kefir

 

More kefir recipes

Little Miss Muffet's Curds and Whey

Little Miss Muffet's Curds and Whey

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on a tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey;

Along came a spider

Who sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

One of the nursery rhymes I learnt during my childhood days.  I have always wondered, what were “curds and whey”.  Now I know! Hey! I make that everyday from my milk kefir! They separate in curds and whey after fermentation and both are extremely nutritious. So Little Miss Muffet is a healthy little girl! Wahahaha!

In my last milk kefir post, I posted that my kefir grains were starved to death… Sigh… As I had no grains, what I did, was to “recycle” the curds. After fermentation, I would take a big scoop, put the curds into my glass container, feed it with milk, then ferment them again.  With the curds, I was able to continue making more kefir.

Why?

Well, that’s because there is still live culture present in the curds. The live culture continues to stay alive and cultivate the milk.  Theoretically speaking, this can go on and on and on.  However, as they are microscopic and can’t be seen by the naked eye, the only way to test the amount of culture in the curds is by lab testing. If the bacteria die off, it will stop cultivating. The safer way is to still obtain the kefir grains for cultivating the bacteria.

So, I used curds to culture my kefir for quite a while, til Marcelly came to my rescue! By giving me more grains!! Thanks babe!!

It’s just a useful tip for you. If you are able to get live cultured curds, you can technically make curds for quite a while, even without grains.

Therefore, if you are unable to find grains, you can buy the original milk kefir from Craft & Culture and then use it to make more kefir.

Happy fermenting!

Milk Kefir Food

Milk Kefir Food

Ever since I started milk kefir making, I have incorporated it into our diet.  In order for the diet to work, it has to be worked into our lifestyle permanently. Milk kefir has over 40 strains of culture. Just google milk kefir and you will find that it’s a wealth of goodness! Anyway, it’s a lot cheaper and more natural to eat this, than to buy the multi-strain probiotics capsules. Besides, it is helping my 宝贝’s eczema tremendously.  I will do anything for her!

So now, the whole family has been “gently persuaded” to have kefir for breakfast EVERY DAY! Yes! Every single day! Now, it’s just part of our diet. I will add on to the list… If you have any new ideas, please feel free to let me know!

Banana Raisins Kefir

Watermelon Kefir Popsicle

The Day My Kefir Grains Died….

The Day My Kefir Grains Died….

My milk kefir grains have… disappeared!!

It’s tragic…. I swirled around my filter.

I had just returned from the States after almost 3 weeks. I had left my precious grains in the care of my Mother, so that she could continue to produce kefir for my children while I was gone.

Me : Mom! Eh… what happened to the kefir grains??

Mom : Aren’t they inside the kefir?

Me : No… nothing’s there!

Mom : Oh… Dunno why, but they got fewer every time I make…

Me : (suspiciously) How often do you make them??

Mom : Arh… whenever the kids finish eating lar. Then I make more.

Me : So… how often is that?? Do you give them kefir every day?

Mom : No lar… sometimes I remember I will give. So every 4-5 days, I make some lor.

Me : Did you put the grains into the fridge when you don’t make them?

Mom : No. Need arh? I just left them on the table.

Me : 😭

My Mom literally starved my kefir grains to death!!! The  grains are usually covered with milk and left in the refrigerator when I am hibernating them. And it is good to hibernate them every other day so that they are not “overworked”. In fact, they multiply faster whenever they get some rest.

So, remember, not to starve your grains to death. Pop them into the refrigerator, covered with milk to rest them.

I also keep a “backup” supply of hibernated grains in my refrigerator, just in case…. Very kiasu now…

milk kefir grains

2 Ingredients Gluten free pancake

2 Ingredients Gluten free pancake

Oh great!! I ran out of gluten free pancake mix and the brand I usually use was out of stock on Iherb! After discovering Iherb I simply refused buy the gluten free or organic stuff from local shops anymore! It’s about 30% cheaper on Iherb, including shipping fees! I think I’ll write about Iherb when I’m free!

Anyway, I remembered vaguely that my cousin posted a link in our whatsapp group on some healthy easy-to-do recipes.

Ok… Time to test the pancake recipe. I was pretty skeptical about it because it only had 2 ingredients. Ya… Only 2… And you can find them in everybody’s home. Well… Almost! Maybe 90% of the people have them at home.

Easy peasy. Just egg and banana!!! Huh!! Do I hear you say “huh?!” My reaction exactly when I saw the recipe.

Aiya.. Even if 宝贝 doesn’t want to eat it, I will. I love bananas!

So the proportion is 1 banana (the big one. I use 2 small ones sometimes) : 1 egg

Mash up the banana. Add the egg. Beat them together. Drop a dollop of the mixture on a pan. Make sure your pan is not too hot. The banana burns easily. Once it solidifies, flip it over.

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Ta-da!! Here they are!! Not scoring high in the looks department but they certainly were yummy!!

These were the 2nd batch of my 1st attempt. The 1st batch ended up in my tummy. Too ugly to be seen! It took a few tries to get them reasonably decent looking. 😅

But hey! They are gluten free, yummy and easy to make if I run out of breakfast food to serve up.

Have fun!

*Enter TFZ557 at Iherb.com to get $5 off your first purchase!*

Kefir Breakfast

Kefir Breakfast

Ever since I started making kefir, I’ve been serving up kefir smoothies mixed with fruits. I need to start thinking of more variety of kefir food. 😕

Because I don’t add sweetener to the kefir, I’ve to mix it with sweet fruits.

Our favourite banana slices, raisins kefir! Just chop up everything. Throw them into the bowl. Scoop kefir – quantity to taste. Mix. Voila! Easy enough for breakfast!

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The only one in the family who eats his kefir neat.

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You can also get milk kefir from Craft & Culture! Have a healthy day!

More kefir recipes

Healthy Living – Milk Kefir

Healthy Living – Milk Kefir

How I got started on Milk Kefir!

Wow! I’ve taken such a long break from blogging. My phone is bogged down with so many photos which I’ve stored for my blog articles which I’ve no time to write. I’m blaming it all on my holiday and procrastination.

Anyway, here’s something on what I’ve been up to lately.

Milk Kefir! In a nutshell, the good bacteria in Yakult and Vitagen? That’s it! Minus the high sugar concentration in these 2 drinks.

It all started when I was lamenting about the expensive probiotics that 宝贝 was taking to keep her eczema from flaring up. And hopefully, to introduce enough good bacteria into her system that she outgrows her food allergies.

“Why don’t you try making your own?” Celly said. “Very easy wan!!”

I looked at her doubtfully… “Sure or not?!”

Her mom managed to get some kefir grains from her friends and has been making kefir for them. Her son’s eczema condition has improved tremendously after eating it. I have read about people cultivating their own kefir but I never thought it could be done in hot, humid Singapore!

So she kindly gave me some starter kefir grains, with very clear and explicit instructions on how to do it. She even lent me her plastic sieve as I only had metal ones at home. I bought the equipment from Daiso a few days later. So I’ve done a few rounds of it and glad to say, my kefir grains are still surviving!!! ✌️Thanks Celly!!!

It simply tastes like original yoghurt. Sour loh. Only 小小宝贝 eats it in its original condition. Don’t ask me how he does it! He simply loves it!! The rest of us eat it mixed with fruits or cereal!

So how to go about doing it??

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This is what the kefir grains look like. The bunch of spongy curd in the container.

Pour milk over the kefir. 100ml of milk for every 10g of kefir.

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It’s so easy that 宝贝 can do it too!! Cover the container and leave a little gap so that the gas produced during the fermentation can escape. Or else you will be faced with a minor explosion of fermented milk in your cupboard… Something that I don’t look forward to. Leave it in a dark and cool place. I leave it in my cupboard that’s not frequently used so that it’s not disturbed. If you want it to be more liquid (smoothie kind), take it out after 2 days. I prefer it to be more solidified so I “harvest” it after 3 days.

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This is what it looks like after 3 days.

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Filter it with a plastic sieve. The filtered part is what I add into fruits.

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I’m left with the kefir grains after the filtering. Here we go again!

When my kefir grains propagate, I can give some away so that everyone can benefit from it. Hope they grow up soon!!!

1 Dec 2014

Thanks for all the comments and feedback left by my readers! Check out this link for more information on how to cultivate kefir and even recipes with it.

2 Dec 2014

This gets more interesting every day. After I started talking to people about kefir, I found out that kefir grains are being sold at Tekka market! So if you are in Singapore, head there!!

9 Oct 2015

A lot of things have happened since the last update.  First of all, I have changed the sieve.  I no longer use the one in the picture, because the holes were too big and my kefir grains kept slipping through them.  So they were not multiplying at all, as I kept losing them.  On the bright side, they ended up in my stomach, so it’s not too raw a deal. :p

I have since, changed to this plastic sieve and I stopped losing every single precious grain.

sieve for milk kefir I have also changed my fermentation time to half a day.  This is also dependent on the weather and location. As Singapore is a warm country, the fermentation time tends to be shorter than in temperate countries.  If you like a more sourish taste, then you can leave it out for 1 full day.  I have taken it out of the dark cupboard and left it on my kitchen tabletop so that it’s more convenient.  Therefore, the fermentation temperature is higher than the dark cupboard as well.  These are some contributing factors.

I have also switched to glass containers to house the kefir.  Plastics are generally pretty stable and shouldn’t react with the kefir, but since I have glass containers at home, I use them instead.

New Instructions :

  1. Put the kefir grains in a glass container with a wide opening.  I’m using a pyrex glass container. For every 10g of kefir grains, pour 100ml of milk over them.
  2. Leave them to ferment in a cool place, away from the sun.  Fermentation time depends on temperature. Optimal temperature is around 22-25 degrees C. For Singapore weather, fermentation time is around half a day.  If you like it to be more sourish, then ferment them for 1 full day.
  3. Sieve the grains using a plastic sieve with fine holes. Kefir is ready to be eaten.  Store them in the refrigerator.
  4. Put the kefir grains in a glass container and repeat step 1.

 

25 Dec 2015

Please check out my website Craft & Culture!  There’s a wealth of information on cultured food on it and its facebook page.

26 Dec 2015

The things I do with Milk Kefir! Yums!

27 Dec 2015

Don’t make the same mistake as I have done. My poor kefir starved to death….

30 Jan 2016

Temporary stopgap measure to continue with milk kefir cultivation while waiting for my new kefir grains. Yep! I continued cultivating milk kefir without the grains.

 

 

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic Eczema

It all started with a few tiny blisters on my palms and my soles. Just mildly irritating but nothing more than that. I started getting worried when more appeared.

The last time I had this, it was HFMD (hand foot mouth disease). But… none of my children was down with it this time. And I had neither fever nor sore throat (well, I did lose my voice and it’s still hoarse because I overused my voice box. Over 10 hours of continuous usage with little chances of water drinking. I need to give myself a gag order!! 😷) This time I couldn’t have been so suay or “cannot make it” to get it when no child in the household had it, right?! *rolls eyes*

I googled (no one uses the word “search” anymore. Google has pulverized the usage of search. Even 宝贝 says,”Mama if you don’t know anything, just google loh!!” 😅) on the symptoms – red rash, impossibly itchy, blisters on palms and feet soles. The search results turned up with hfmd but only if it’s accompanied with fever and sore throat. Or else it’s dyshidrotic eczema.

Gosh! How I hate this word eczema. It’s been plaguing me (because 宝贝 has it) for years and years. It’s probably due to something I ate. But I’ve been eating all kinds of food everyday so it’s kind of hard to pinpoint it.

I have this once every few years. The last time I had it was probably 5-6 years ago. So rightly, I should be very thankful that it’s so occasional.

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I just have to endure the itch and pinprick pains when the little blisters combine. The dastardly things don’t itch in the day, but torment me at night!!! I can now totally empathize with 宝贝 now when she scratches her arms. It’s unbearable for me, as an adult and I’ve pretty high tolerance for pain and itch.

It’s been more than a week. Some of the early blisters have dried up yet new ones have been appearing. They have started to spread to the back of my hand.

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It appears to be healing though. I pop the occasional antihistamine when it gets unbearable and I’ve hijacked 宝贝’s supply of anti itch sprays and creams.

Once all the blisters have dried up, the skin will flake and peel off.

So looking forward to that day.

I promise I’ll henceforth, stop giving 宝贝 the frown and impatient look, tsk at her, “ooi! Stop scratching leh!!” On the bright side, maybe I got it so that I can live through for a few weeks of what she’s gone through for years.

She gently takes my hand and strokes it. “Mama if it’s itchy, tell me ok?” Then smiles empathetically with her Bambi eyes. In that very moment, I’m the most fortunate mother on earth and yet I’m so humbled. She will make a better Mom than I am in future. That’s my darling girl…

Eczema

Eczema

The raging war against eczema started way back when she was a wee baby. The symptoms were all there.

At 6 months old, due to my dwindling breast milk supply, I started her on formula milk. Her over reactive immune system triggered an instant reaction of severe hives on every single part of her skin, that included her face. Panicked, we rushed her to the hospital’s a&e. It went away with the administering of anti histamine. That’s the first sign of her brush with allergy.

She was on and off allergic to various food. Luckily I was diligent on the 3 day food introduction exercise and managed to identify the cause. She was on an unprocessed, no condiment food diet until 3 years old. Fortunately she was an easy going child who loves food.

Her relationship with atopic eczema started when she was 8 months old. Berries triggered a mild reaction which quickly ceased when she stopped the intake and with external application of the Sebamed baby cream, religiously, every 2 hours.

Whenever she had a flare up, the sebamed baby cream ritual started. It all went well and suddenly, one fine day, it stopped working. No matter how much and how frequently we applied the cream, the redness spread. We switched to the California Baby Calendula Baby Cream. It ko-ed the eczema.

We had a 1.5 years relationship with the CB calendula cream until it stopped working as well. I switched to the Weleda Calendula Ointment. It pushed the eczema wave back a little, the redness spread, pushed it back a little and then it came back. It went on like a daily tidal cycle. It started from the right crook, then the left crook, her right wrist, right elbow, the back of her left knee, her neck.

She itched, she scratched and she cried.

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Every bath was a crying affair. She screamed when the water and soap trickled down the open lesions. I asked her,”Do you want pretty arms?” She tearfully nodded. “Well, then, you can’t scratch them.”

I would start applying cream on the areas without open wounds then the 2 crooks would be the last to be treated. After I massaged cream into her left arm crook, she would chant,”not pain not pain”, although tears started to well in her eyes. She’d bent her arm so that she could resist scratching. After the application on her right crook, she would bend her arm and whimper, “Mama please hug me…” I’d hug the poor girl who still had both arms bent. She’s my brave little soldier.

The external application seemed to be helping but it wasn’t good enough. It seemed like a never ending battle, back and forth, every day. I decided to bring her to the TCM.

He’s a renowned TCM who used to be a Professor at our local university. He prescribed some medicine for her at a reduced dosage for her age. It looked brown and unappetizing. And he recommended her diet to be free of prawns and shellfish. She agreed and henceforth, whenever she is offered the taboo food (even when I am not with her), she will politely reject it.

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It helped. The back of her knee healed, the ones on the neck too. But as you can see from her expression, it looked like I was the evil stepmother who was trying to poison her! =.=”

It took 30 mins just for her to down a few ml of brown medicine, amidst lots of coaxing, coercion, intermittent licks of honey. And I had to administer it to her twice a day!!! It was just too much a mental stress for me!

I seeked help on Facebook. Ah! It’s a useful thing. Many people left me messages on various medication, alkaline water etc. Thank you to all these kind souls out there! I’ve written down everything and I’m going to try them all one-by-one.

I’m now trying LactoGG.

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LactoGG is a probiotic. It is a special, unique good bacterium, which has been proven to promote health in the human being.

Well, in short, it is an army of good guys introduced into your body to fight the bad guys!

She’s had it for about 1 month. The patch on her wrist looks somewhat better. The patches on her arm crooks too. But they still have a long way to go to being totally gone.

I’m still administering the Chinese medicine to her, when both of us are in good moods. I may change her external application cream when it runs out, to another one on my list to see if it can help push the tidal wave back.

I’m determined to win this eczema war with her! Eczema, we will triumph over you!!