By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/28/2014 8:37 AM
This summer, Lifeway is cooking, baking, and blending our favorite summer treats with our favorite probiotic kefir. Full of the good bugs that keep bellies happy year round, our summer recipes are keeping things fresh and fermented. If you're itching to get in the kitchen, try one of our Bugs Bites for a refreshing take on some summertime classics.
Strawberry shortcake is a perfect summertime dessert. A quick biscuit, a sprinkle of sugar, and a creamy topping transform a simple berry into a towering treat.
The biscuits we like to use to build our strawberry shortcakes are light and crumbly instead of flaky and crisp, no match for our eager forks. This is not a biscuit sandwich you can pick up and eat with your hands. A pale color visually lightens the dessert up, too, but if you prefer a more toasty look, you can brush the biscuits with a little egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water) before baking. Like buttermilk, kefir’s tangy bite helps the biscuits rise and stay light and airy.
If you don’t keep heavy cream around to whip up, a little probiotic Lifeway Farmer Cheese is a delicious and nutritious replacement for a creamy topping. If your local grocer doesn’t carry this tangy, spoonable delight, you can substitute ricotta.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 1998
Makes 4 large biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, chilled
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
Preheat oven to 375°F. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add kefir, tossing with fork until large moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into 3-inch round. Transfer to baking sheet, spacing evenly.
Bake biscuits until tester inserted into center comes out dry, about 20 minutes (biscuits will be pale). Transfer biscuits to rack and cool to lukewarm. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cool. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and store at room temperature. Before serving, rewarm in 350°F oven for 5 minutes.)
Makes 4 large servings
1 quart fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
1 cup Lifeway Farmer Cheese
Slice strawberries into halves or thirds depending on their size. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir the remaining sugar and kefir together until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the farmer cheese and salt and stir to incorporate.
Slice the biscuits in half, spread a layer of farmer cheese mixture on the bottom half, and top with strawberries and their juices. Add the biscuit top and garnish with a spoonful of cheese mixture and a few strawberries.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/23/2014 9:37 AM
Photo by Maura Daley
Lifeway’s hometown of Chicago has a lot of great summer festivals: Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and many more musical mashups pop up all over the city to turn up the noise as the temperature rises outside. But the city gets hungry, too, and one of our most famous, longstanding traditions is the Taste of Chicago. Vendors from all over the city congregate in Grant Park to sample bite-sized portions of their famous fares to fans from near and far.
This year, Lifeway’s Starfruit Kefir Truck will be at the Taste of Chicago, July 9-13 in the food truck village! Admission is free and our bitty bites will be on sale at a special Taste of Chicago price.
You can also catch the Kefir Truck anytime you’re in Chicago by following @StarfruitCafe on Twitter!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/22/2014 11:37 AM
Brunch season is upon us. We're dining al fresco, mixing savory and sweet in the same meal with reckless abandon, celebrating mothers, fathers, grads, and all other rad spring events.
If you find yourself in the kitchen, tasked with making brunch, and out of milk, have no fear. Lifeway Kefir is a great in many recipes that call for milk, buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. If you want to start your kefir cooking experimentation with a tested recipe, we've got your covered there, too. Here are a few of our favorite brunch recipes with a tart & tangy twist.
Kefir Apple Pancakes with Burnt Sugar Sauce
Breakfast Baked Eggs
Grapefruit Kefir Granita
Lightened Up Lemon Kefir Cake
Kefir Challah French Toast
Raspberry Chocolate Chip Kefir Scones
Kefir Overnight Oats
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/22/2014 8:37 AM
Julie with Mayor Daley in 1998 at Fancy Food Show in NYC
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/21/2014 7:37 AM
Our friend Gene is the founder of Charity Miles, an app we frequently partner with to raise money for worthy causes through physical activity. He even won a Webby this week for his incredible work. Plus
he met Doge at the ceremony!
Below is a quick Q&A with Gene about fitness and #MotherCulture. Enjoy, and don't forget to walk, run or bike for a good cause with Charity Miles. Every mile matters!
You sure are an active guy these days. Did you grow up running marathons? How did your family influence your physical fitness habits?
I didn't grow up running. But my family was always active. We'd go skiing together on the weekends— a tradition my mom started with her parents as a little girl. I'd throw the baseball in the front yard with my dad after dinner. We rode bikes and rollerbladed together. It was just a way of life for us.
Do you find that contributing to charitable causes helps you stick to your fitness routine? What else keeps you motivated to get moving?
For me, running is about storytelling. Maybe not through words, but through action. When I started running marathons, it was a way for me to express my commitment to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease (in honor of my grandfather). But as I got more into it, I became even more inspired by other runners' stories. I remember being at the starting line of my first marathon: Chicago, 2002. Looking around at the 20,000 other runners, I could see that each one had a story on their face. And each story was about to change over the course of the next 26.2 miles. I was (and am) honored to share in these stories. This is what really motivates me.
Do you have any Mother’s Day traditions in your family?
We usually have some kind of brunch with my Mom in the morning and then go to my aunt's house for a barbecue in the afternoon. When I was younger, my cousins and I would play roller hockey all afternoon. In the last few years, my mom and I have rented bikes in New York City and rode around Central Park or down the Hudson River Greenway.
For folks who are new to a daily exercise regimen, or those who really just like to push themselves to exhaustion, what would you recommend in terms of a refreshing, high protein snack to have after working out?
Lifeway Kefir, of course! I like mine with fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries :)
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/20/2014 6:37 AM
There’s more to bananas than just a hearty dose of potassium.
If you get them on the green side, they are packed with complex starches that keep you fuller longer, and if your digestion is going in overdrive, they can help slow things down and get your body back on track. The potassium also helps keep your body’s fluid levels in balance. They also contain short-chain fatty acids that feed the cells that line your intestines. These cells are also responsible for absorbing nutrients like calcium into the bloodstream so it’s essential to keep them in good health! Green banana fans are definitely out there, but they do have a waxy texture which can leave a bad taste in your mouth and a bad feeling on your teeth.
Ripe bananas, sweeter and flecked with brown speckles, offer their own nutritional boost. As the banana ripens, the starches break down into pectin, a soluble fiber that helps speed up digestion. Soluble fiber also gives the healthy bacteria in your gut something to eat and allows those probiotics to flourish. The sweetness of ripe bananas combined with their high fiber content makes them a great alternative to more processed sweeteners in smoothies.
This recipe uses strawberries for some bright berry flavor and peanut butter for added protein. Lifeway’s Plain Unsweetened Kefir is a great probiotic, no sugar added base.
Banana Berry Kefir Smoothie
1 cup Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
6 frozen strawberries
½ ripe banana
1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter or nut butter
Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/19/2014 12:54 PM
Follow Ethan's journey as Lifeway CEO for the Day on Julie Smolyansky's Instagram (our CEO for every other day)
Hi I’m Ethan. Today I got to be CEO for the day at Lifeway Foods. My mom won this for me at a silent auction fundraiser that provides scholarships for my school.
The day started off heading to Lifeway Foods headquarters in an Uber Black Car, true CEO style! On the way, we had a conference call with the legal team at Lifeway. I loved chatting with the legal team; if I don’t become a CEO I want to be a defense attorney. They advised me to be truthful, treat others as you want to be treated yourself, be conscious of the constitution – assume innocence until proven guilty, and be a good listener.
Before the tour of Lifeway’s manufacturing facility, we took a quick food safety lesson and put on a lab coat and hair coverings.
I met the production team and really liked how they produced stuff, it’s awesome! The amount of milk used every day is a lot – 8 tankers! They taught me about day to day production at Lifeway.
I got to help brainstorm a fun activity for Kidzapallooza. Lifeway does fun games with beach balls and hacky sacks, and makes custom ProBugs backpacks to give away to winners.
We talked to the PR team on a conference call, too, with a briefing on the #MotherCulture campaign. I learned that a PR team does Public Relations and talks to media and press.
After that, we went to the flavor lab in Lifeway’s test kitchen. The flavor lab was cool. It was simple to put a bunch of flavor concentrates together and make a new type of kefir! I picked caramel and raspberry because it’s one of my favorite combinations. I added a bit of lime to make it taste better. At first it was really tart, but the flavors made it taste better. I added a little extra honey at the end to make it perfect. I added beet juice to make it pink because raspberries are kind of pink, and thankfully it didn’t really do anything to the flavor.
When I finish up my blog post, I’ll head back to school, but just for band practice. I play saxophone. And I’ll be sure to pack some ProBugs Blast for my band mates!
pit stop at Starfruit Cafe!
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/16/2014 6:43 AM
As part of our new #MotherCulture campaign,
we’re interviewing moms all month for their inspiring takes on healthy motherhood. Moms have one of the toughest jobs in the world and we at Lifeway applaud you for all that you do to make our world a happier, healthier place!
Mom: Diana Semmelhack, Chicago suburbs, mom of three kids, ages three to six.
Three kids – wow! How have you changed as mom from the oldest to the youngest?
I’m a lot more relaxed now. With Jake, our oldest, everything was done by the book: I sanitized every nipple, heated the milk separately from the bottle, everything was organic, every Baby Einstein movie was played. By the time Max (our youngest) came along, nipples were in the dishwasher; if he was eating on the floor, it was OK. Now, it’s more about managing time and my personal sanity.
When you grocery shop, what do you look for as a mom?
I try to do as much organic as possible - any milk, meat and cheese for the kids has to be antibiotic-free. And lots of fruits and veggies …we eat really clean and healthy. But they’ve had cheeseburgers and fries, of course. They have cake at birthday parties. But when they eat those foods, I try to balance it by giving them some fruit or vegetables, too. If they have fries, the four of us will split one order and they need to eat some broccoli, too. We’re Russian, so they tasted caviar before they could even talk. And I always encourage them to try new foods. Like today: Our daughter tried Brussels sprouts for the first time. She didn’t like them, but at least she tried them.
Also, I’ll add that not a day goes bv that my kids don’t have kefir – ProBugs, ProBoost, they love it all.
Is your family active together?
My husband, Joel, and I are really active, and working out is something we take seriously. I workout four to five days a week and the kids know momma’s getting strong. On the weekends, they might come into basement and watch us – they’ll help me count sit-ups. They love riding their bikes, and they’re outside as much as humanly possible. If it’s nice outside, I tell them it’s time to get out there and play. Any chance they have to run, they run. And I invite them to cook with me, get them involved. I think it’s good for them to see what goes into different foods they enjoy. Once a week, we’ll make bread – banana bread or zucchini bread – and they help mash up the ingredients, mix them up, that kind of thing.
How is it different raising a daughter versus sons?
There’s more drama with girls. She’s not even five years old and her friends already have cliques. It’s so scary, all the bullying and social media and having such a critical eye towards themselves. We had that, to a point, but I feel like we grew up in a more nonjudgmental environment. Girls today are mean starting at a really young age. My most important goal is to make sure she’s confident. I just want her stand with her head held high and know she’s smart and powerful and beautiful.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/15/2014 8:14 AM
We’re not sure how “vanilla” became synonymous with “plain” or “boring” but were are surely not in agreement with the notion. A hearty dose of vanilla adds some deep, round flavor to our light and refreshing plain kefir. And if you’re looking for a filling way to start your day, we added protein, fiber, and omega-3s to this smoothie in the form of all natural, whole nuts, dates, and flax. This sweet treat is big enough to split!
Vanilla Date Kefir Smoothie
1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir
6 dates, pitted
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon ground flax
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 teaspoon maple syrup
4 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 5/13/2014 7:17 AM
For those who like a little crunch in their smoothie, a few chia seeds or berries are a great addition. For those who like a lot of crunch, add a lot of both! This floral blend has a nice, light, lemony flavor from adding in a pinch of cardamom and a splash of kefir. Each refreshing sip packs in chia’s omega-3s, blackberries’ antioxidants, and the probiotic power of Lifeway Kefir.
Hibiscus Berry Kefir Smoothie
2/3 cup brewed hibiscus infusion, cooled
1 tablespoon chia seeds
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 cup frozen blackberries or mixed berries
½ cup Lifeway Organic Lowfat Pomegranate Açai Kefir
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Sweeten with honey to taste.