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Kefir Kommunity

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Welcome to Kefir Kommunity! This is your one-stop-shop for nutrition news from around the blogosphere. If it’s got to do with kefir or probiotics, chances are, it’s here. But you’ll also find cutting edge information, articles and links to stories about all things health – from workout trends to cool food science research, delicious recipe suggestions to expert Q & As. We love to share our passion for what we do with the best customers in the world, while offering you exclusive info on special events, deals, promotions and all sorts of other happenings at Lifeway HQ and beyond. We encourage  you to tap into the power of Kefir Kommunity’s blog by reaching out to us or fellow kefir fans with comments or questions. So make yourself at home, pull up a chair and stay a while. We promise to treat you right. 
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Recipes




Fall Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/24/2014 1:06 PM

Thanksgiving week is here and we’re so excited to spend time with our families and chow down on some delicious, healthy, kefir-ized Thanksgiving dishes! We’ve once again been perusing our recipe archive for things to make. We wanted to stretch our culinary skills and incorporate our favorite seasonal ingredients into dishes everyone will love.

Last year, we made a Green Bean Casserole. It was delicious, but a bit heavy (and we know there will be one at every celebration. We love mashed potatoes, but you can’t go wrong with our Farmer Cheese Mashed Potatoes, so we’re not going to mess with it. How about dessert? Sweet Potato kugel, or pumpkin pie? They’re everywhere, and frankly, kind of boring. We want so surprise our guests with dishes they’re not tired of before they reach our table. Can you get behind that?

This week (starting today) we’re going to share with you three brand new kefir-infused recipes for Thanksgiving that we know you’ll love. So when you make your next grocery run, be sure to stock up on Lifeway Kefir (you know you’ll need it for the day after anyway!).

The first new recipe we’re sharing with you today is our version of butternut squash soup. Soup, though not common at the table, is a great addition to any fall meal spread. It’s warm and light and adds a different texture to the meal, making your dining experience all the more interesting.


All varieties of squash are abundant this time of year, but one of our favorites is the butternut. It’s rich in fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and most notably carotenoids, which are shown to protect against heart disease – never a bad thing! The subtly sweet, creamy flesh of the squash is typically paired with sweeter mates, such as apples and cinnamon, but we love the contrast a hot curry powder offers, in addition to the tang of our Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir (you could sub plain lowfat, if whole milk isn’t available in your region).

You can buy canned or boxed butternut squash puree, if you’re short on time, but we definitely recommend roasting your own.


Fall Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 cups cooked butternut squash
  • 1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 heaping Tbsp curry spice (heat to preference)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • Basil, extra spices, pepitas and olive oil for garnish

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and place the racks in the middle. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and cover the cut half with tinfoil .Place the squash skin-side down on a greased baking sheet and roast for roughly an hour (until fork tender). Roast for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout.

Once the squash has cooled, scoop the flesh into a blender or food. Add the kefir, olive oil, and spices and stir.

Pour the soup into a sauce pan and heat over medium heat until desired temperature is reached. Garnish with more spices. Serve with a light salad or baked bread for a hearty meal, or as part of your holiday celebration!

Read More »

Pregnancy-Supporting Kefir Smoothie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/20/2014 3:00 PM
 
Last week, a loyal Lifeway kefir drinker called in requesting a smoothie recipe for his pregnant wife. He had read that drinking kefir was good for women who are pregnant and wanted to ensure she was eating the healthiest foods she could to ensure a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.

While a healthy diet is just one factor to consider when pregnant, we were happy to do some digging and for foods commonly recommended for pregnant women, and to develop a smoothie recipe that incorporates them!


From our research, we found the following foods recommended most:

Whole Grains – high in soluble and insoluble fiber; enriched varieties also contain folic acid

Beans – high in fiber and protein, they also contain iron, folate, calcium, and zinc

Eggs – a good source of protein and fat, they’re also high in choline

Salmon – rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a great source of protein and B vitamins

Dark, leafy greens – rich in calcium, protein, folate, vitamins, minerals and fiber – they’re nutritional powerhouses

Colorful berries – full of potassium and a slew of vitamins and minerals necessary for development

Walnuts – a high plant-based source of omega-3s, they’re also good sources of protein and fiber

Low fat kefir – like other low fat dairy, kefir is high in protein and calcium, but it also contains live and active probiotic cultures, which keep momma’s tummy happy and baby healthy

Looking at that list, doesn’t it seem like ANYONE could benefit from drinking a smoothie made from those fabulous ingredients? We’re certainly enjoying the following blend, – pregnant or not!


Pregnancy-Supporting Kefir Smoothie

  • 1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir
  • 1 large handful organic spinach
  • ½ cup organic frozen mango chunks
  • ½ cup organic frozen berries of choice
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • Water and ice to taste/desired consistency

Put all ingredients into a blender (the higher the power, the better the consistency) and blend until smooth. Enjoy fresh!

Please note, we chose to create this recipe using organic ingredients intentionally, however use your discrection and source where you can. Check out this list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 foods to eat organically and conventionally, where you can.

Read More »

Cranberry Orange Kefir Scones with Orange Glaze

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/18/2014 9:30 AM

As the continues to weather cool down and the nights become downright chilly, we’re excited for any excuse to turn our ovens on in the morning and cook up a great breakfast! Winter is fast approaching and we’ve been experimenting in the Lifeway Kitchen with a few of our favorite seasonal flavors – 
Cranberry Crème Brulee and Eggnog (currently available in stores - ask your dairy manager to order some for you)!

If you ask us, nothing goes better with a hot cup of coffee or tea on a lazy weekend morning than the perfect scone. Our Cranberry Orange Kefir scones are golden brown and slightly crunchy, tender, moist and hearty on the inside. Even better, the can be made the night before and baked right out of the freezer! How easy is that?

We used our seasonal Lowfat Cranberry Crème Brulee kefir in this recipe, but feel free to substitute any kefir flavor you have on hand (our Lowfat Pumpkin Spice Kefir will make a debut soon in a version of these soon).



Cranberry Orange Kefir Scones with Orange Glaze
Adapted from: 
Ashley Marie’s Kitchen
Yield: 8 (or 16) scones
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 4 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter, grated/finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries (heaping)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup Lifeway Lowfat Cranberry Crème Brulee Kefir
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp warm water) -  sub one large egg if you don't have flax seed
 
Orange Glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice 
  • 1 Tbsp Lifeway Kefir1/4 teaspoon of orange zest

Garnish
Nuts, seeds, or dried berries of your chosing.


Directions

In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of ground flax meal and three tablespoons of warm water. Mix with a fork and set in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to chill.

In a large bowl, sift flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda. In a separate bowl, add sugar and orange zest. Mix the sugar and zest with your fingers until well combined. Add sugar mixture to the flour mixture and stir well. With two knives, a fork, a pastry cutter or your hands, cut the chilled butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add in the cranberries and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the kefir and flax egg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and the kefir mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dough just comes together, being mindful not to over mix. The dough will be sticky.

With floured hands, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface (tip: dust wax or parchment paper with flour for easy clean up). Pat the dough into a round with a 1-inch thickness, spreading out from the center with the heel of your hand. If the dough is a bit shaggy you can knead it 3-4 times to further incorporate the ingredients.

Cut the dough into 8 triangles and space the triangles out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze the scones for 30 minutes (the goal is to get/keep the butter as cold as possible). Alternately, you can roll the dough thinner into a rectangle and score into 16 triangles (see image below). Adjust baking time accordingly.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Once the oven is preheated and the scones are finished chilling, place them in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 15 -20 minutes until firm to the touch and cooked through. Allow to completely cool.

While the scones are cooling, prepare the orange glaze. In a small bowl, stir powdered sugar until there are no lumps. Slowly add the orange juice and zest, careful to remove any lumps. Once the scones are completely cool, pour or brush the glaze onto the scones. We've topped ours with goji berries.

*Again, feel free to substitute any flavor kefir of your liking, or to add nuts, seeds or other dried fruit in place of the cranberries.
 

Fall in a Bowl: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal with Kefir and Pecans

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/12/2014 2:33 PM

This time of year, few things seem as difficult as waking up in the morning. The sun comes up later (and goes down earlier…) and frost blankets our windows, making heading out the door a daunting task.

There’s a bright spot to the cold, dark mornings of late fall and winter, though: it’s hot breakfast season!

Oh yes, we dare you to find something more satisfying and comforting than a hot bowl of thick, delicious oatmeal. It’s not only warming for your tummy, it’s healthy and filling, too!


Below is our recipe for cinnamon apple oatmeal with kefir and pecans, or as we like to refer to it, "Fall in a bowl." It’s our new go-to recipe that can be doubled to feed as many people as needed. Even better, it's made with wholesome, natural ingredients you can feel good about eating.

Oats
:
Steel cut and rolled oats are full of soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber helps keep us full (and our hands out of the chip bag). Steer clear of instant and quick oats – they’re highly processed and not the best option.

Apple
:
Like oatmeal, apples contain soluble fiber for fullness. They also contain a wide variety of antioxidants and minerals – things that are beneficial for good health.

Cinnamon
:
Cinnamon is more than just a delicious spice; it’s also good for your health, according to some studies. Cinnamon has been used as a traditional health remedy and weight loss tool for generation, though modern scientific studies are inconclusive.

Pecans
:
Pecans are a great source of natural, healthy fats and contain a variety of important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and manganese.

Kefir
:
No Lifeway recipe would be complete without kefir! Pouring cold kefir over slightly cooled oats makes completes the bowl in creamy perfection. Plus, the added protein and probiotics keep you full longer and your digestive system working well.


Cold Morning Oatmeal: Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal with Kefir and Pecans
 
Serves 2-3

1 cup thick rolled oats
2 cups water
1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir (or kefir variety of your choice)
1 medium/large sweet apple, chopped
2 Tbsp pecans, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
Honey, to taste
 
Bring water and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and add oatmeal and apple. Simmer 8-10 minutes, or until water is absorbed (to taste). Turn off heat and cool for roughly five minutes. Stir in kefir, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Spoon into bowls and top with pecans and more cinnamon to taste. 

Read More »

Saturday Nut Fever

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 11/9/2014 8:37 AM
 
Peanuts are like the superheroes of the snack world. At first glance they look so small and unassuming, but inside they hold secret superpowers, including:
 
  • They transform before your very eyes, from a handful of nuts to creamy or chunky peanut butter
  • They fight health crimes such as heart disease and Type-2 Diabetes
  • They save the day when you’re starving and can’t possibly wait another hour for lunch
  • Additionally, they’re packed with protein and healthy fats, are naturally gluten free, and are an important (and yummy) part of the all-important plant-based diet

Why are we gushing about these little nuts? Because November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month. And baby, we're lovers, not fighters. To celebrate, we’ve cultivated a handful of nutty facts*along with a few recipes so you can celebrate in sticky style:
 
  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter
  • Four of the top 10 candy bars manufactured in the USA contain peanuts or peanut butter
  • The average child will eat 1,500 PB & J sandwiches before high school graduation
  • Mr. Ed “talked” on TV thanks to peanut butter; he was fed the sticky spread that created a natural talking motion as he moved his tongue and jaws
  • Six U.S. cities are named Peanut: Peanut, California; Lower Peanut, Pennsylvania; Upper Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Tennessee; and Peanut West Virginia
  • Goober—a nickname for peanuts—comes from “nguba,” the Congo language name for peanut
  • When making Girl ScoutsDo-Si-Dos, peanut butter cream is deposited onto the cookies at the rate of 2,800 cookies per minute
 
What better way to celebrate this fantastic month than with peanut butter kefir recipes, right? Below are two of my favorite: Peanut Butter & Kefir Dip with Apple Slices, and the ever delicious (and appropriate) Peanut Butter and Jelly Kefir Smoothie.
 
The easiest peanut recipe simply calls for you to open a jar of peanuts, shake some out and toss ‘em back. But those things are addictive, so it’s easy to OD on them. A one-ounce serving (you know, one serving) is a small handful – about 40 peanuts or 2 Tbsp of peanut butter. If portion control is tricky for you but you still want to enjoy the taste and health benefits, you’d be nuts not to try these recipes.
 
Peanut Butter & Kefir Dip with Apple Slices

2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
¾ cup Lifeway Greek Style Kefir
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 apple, sliced

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter for about 20 seconds. Once melted, stir in the kefir, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth. Wash and slice the apple into pieces. Snack away!
 

 
Peanut Butter & Jelly Kefir Smoothie
 
1 Lifeway Goo Berry Pie Frozen Kefir Probug Pop
2 Tbsp peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)
½ c Lifeway Lowfat Blueberry Kefir
½ banana, frozen
Heaping ½ cup raspberries
2 ice cubes
 
Place all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
 

 

*Courtesy of the National Peanut Board.

Spicy Chocolate Halloween Kefir Tart

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/31/2014 10:37 AM
Our final Halloween Recipe Revamp was a huge hit in the office, as chocolate often is. We made a fabulous Silky Chocolate Kefir Tart last year and couldn’t resist bringing it back – with a few changes, of course.



This year, we wanted to add a little heat to our tart, which we’ve dubbed our Spicy Chocolate Kefir Tart (clever, we know…). After some perusing and comparing different spiced chocolate recipes, we settled on on a simple Mexican hot chocolate-inspired combination. A pinch of Cayenne pepper and a scant 1/8 tsp of chili powder bring out deep chocolate notes, while cinnamon and vanilla keep the tart sweet and enjoyable for the whole family.



A dollop or two of whipped cream (left over from your Candy Corn Smoothie, perhaps?) isn’t necessary for this tart to be delicious, but we couldn’t help it. Add two mini chocolate chips for eyes and you have the sweetest, spookiest tart that is perfect for your evening potluck, or to eat after a night of trick or treating.

Spicy Chocolate Halloween Kefir Tart
 
Ingredients

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate (chips or your favorite bar; sub dark chocolate for a less rich tart)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp fine flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp chili powder
Pinch of cayenne
1 - 9" pie shell (or 5-6 - 4" tart shells)
 
Directions

Begin by letting all of the ingredients come to room temperature and preheating an oven to 325° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, kefir and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix cayenne, chili powder, cinnamon salt, sugar and flour. Add to the egg mixture and stir to combine.

Over a double boiler, warm the chocolate chips until they are melted, careful not to let them burn.

Once the chocolate is melted, very slowly whisk the melted chocolate into the egg and spice mixture (we suggest starting by pouring roughly ¼ cup of the chocolate in and stirring vigorously to warm up the egg mixture. If the egg mixture isn’t tempered properly, the eggs will scramble and you’ll need to start over).

Once all of the chocolate has been mixed in, pour the batter into your prepared pie crust. Bake at for about 30 minutes, or until the custard jiggles. Be careful not to crack the top (though it’s fine if you do).

Serve warm or cold and top whipped cream!

Tip
: If the chocolate mixture "curdles" or clumps when added to the egg mixture, the egg mixture was too cold. To fix this, place the mixing bowl with the egg mixture into a bath of warm water and whisk until all ingredients come together.

Candy Corn Kefir Smoothie Revisited + Whipped Coconut Cream

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/30/2014 7:37 AM

Candy corn: you either love them or you hate them. Arguably the most ubiquitous Halloween candy alongside the similarly textured candy pumpkins and super sticky caramel creams, these corn kernel-shaped confections are typically both bought and consumed in bulk this time of year but quickly forgotten come November first (ok, seventh – we always have a few bags that linger). Found in candy jars on desks nationwide, they’re as much a part of the Halloween season as scary movies and frightening costumes.



They’re also quite terrible for you, nutritionally.

At Lifeway, we’re always looking for ways to enjoy our favorite treats in healthier ways. We’re certainly not ones to pass up homemade dessert, but if we’re going to indulge in a sweet, it has to be worth it. Frankly, candy corn just isn’t worth it.

 
 

Around this time last year, our culinary team came up with a delicious Candy Corn Smoothie as a festive alternative to the artificially colored sugar bomb of a candy that goes by the same name. While we love that recipe, we wanted to tweak it a bit (and add more of a nutrient punch). Though it’s the end of October, the temperature reached an astonishing 79°F this week, giving us what we’re sure will be the final warm snap before winter. Naturally, we craved something tropical; this smoothie is the result!

Candy Corn Smoothie Revisited

Serves 2-3

1 cup Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir
½ cup orange juice
1 large banana, frozen
½ cup pineapple chunks, frozen
1 cup mango pieces, frozen
½ cup carrot juice

Directions:

In a high-powered blender (or regular blender), blend kefir, orange juice, banana, pineapple and mango until smooth. Pour roughly ¼ cup of the mixture into each clear glass.

Add carrot juice to the remaining mixture in the blender and blend until smooth. Spoon or gently pour the rest of this blend on top of the first layer of smoothie in the glasses evenly.

Top the smoothie with prepared whipped topping, or homemade coconut whipped cream (recipe below). The tropical flavor of coconut goes great with the mango and pineapple in the smoothie – trust us!

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 can full fat coconut milk (without additives or guar gum – like this brand)
 
Place can of coconut milk in refrigerator and refrigerate overnight, or at least four hours (this allows the cream and milk to separate – we will be whipping just the cream!).

When you’re ready to make your cream, remove the can from the refrigerator and carefully open the top.

Either carefully pour off the thinner milk or scoop out the cream into a chilled bowl (we’ve had the cream both sink and float). Set the milk aside for use later.

Using an electric mixer, slowly start beating the coconut cream, increasing the speed, until you’ve reached the consistency you desire. Serve immediately by spooning a dollop of cream on top of your smoothie, or refrigerate until ready to use. The cream will stay well in the fridge for about a week (though we don’t think it’ll last that long!).

Notes: our original recipe calls for Lifeway Lowfat Peach Kefir. If you’d like a slightly sweeter taste, use that in place of the plain kefir.

Revisiting Red Rum Cupcakes: A Halloween Treat

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/29/2014 9:37 AM

Halloween is just a few days away and if you’re anything like us, you’re more than ready to celebrate with spooky costumes, eerie eats and ghostly treats. Not to mention jack-o-lanterns, scary movies, too much candy and, our favorite, parties! It’s a festive time for sure and we’re so excited it’s here again.



Creating and cooking healthy (most of the time, at least!) festive food to be enjoyed by friends, coworkers and family is one of our favorite ways to celebrate a holiday. Halloween offers us the opportunity to not only work with some of the best produce around (we’re huge fans of winter squash, dark leafy greens and root vegetables – more of that is to come soon!), but allows us to get a little quirky with what we make.



This year, we’re bringing you not one, but three of our favorite Halloween recipes! Today we’re featuring our Red Rum Cupcakes. We made them about two years ago and decided to bring them back for a bit of a redesign. We cut back on some of the butter and sugar (we’re sure you won’t notice they’re gone) and swapped the white sugar with coconut sugar. Let us know what you think!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Lifeway Organic Plain Lowfat Kefir(vanilla would also be nice here)
1 3/4 cups cake flour (see Notes)
1/4 cup grass fed butter, softened (see Notes)
1 cup coconut sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (we like Dutch processed)
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp dark rum
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp baking soda
Red food coloring (see Notes)
 
Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two standard cupcake pans with paper (or silicone reusable) liners. You’ll get close to 18 cupcakes from this batter.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (or a REALLY strong arm and whisk!) until light and fluffy – roughly 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating completely before adding the next egg.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the dark rum, cocoa and vanilla. Add to the sugar/butter mixture and beat well. Add your red food coloring until it’s as red as you’d like.

Pour kefir into a liquid measuring glass and add salt. Stir until combined. Add to the kefir/salt mixture to the other liquid ingredients in three parts, alternating with the cake flour (one part kefir, mix, one part flour, mix, etc.). With each addition, beat until the ingredients are just incorporated, careful not to over mix.

In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add this mixture to batter and mix. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well-blended and the batter is smooth, again careful not to over mix.

Pour batter into cupcake liners until 2/3 full (careful not to overfill, as these babies rise!). Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when you gently touch them.

Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes, before removing from the pan to cool completely. When cool, frost with icing of your choosing, splatter with food coloring and enjoy your festive Halloween treat!

Notes:

Cake flour: This recipe calls for cake flour, which differs from regular all-purpose flour in many ways. Most notably, it is has a much finer grain, lending to extra fluffy baked goods. Substitute all-purpose flour if you have it on hand, and learn more about cake flour here.

Butter: We suggest using organic, grass fed butter in this recipe for taste and health benefits. Substitute other butter you have on hand, melted unrefined virgin coconut oil, or the vegetable oil of your choice. Read more about the benefits of grass fed butter here.

Food coloring: We recommend gel food coloring for the goriest possible color, however we understand there is controversy behind artificial food coloring. While we didn't make our own here, we did find this great recipe for homemade, food-based food coloring and hope to experiment with it soon!

Apple Cider Pecan Mini Doughnuts. You're Welcome.

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/21/2014 7:37 AM
We collected quite the bounty of fresh apples while visiting the orchard last weekend and have been dying to bake with them ever since! We know there are quite a few apple recipes located on our blog that we love, but we weren't in the mood for cookies, a smoothie or a big slice of pie when we set off to bake. No, we were feeling doughnuts. Soft, delicious, moist, kefir doughnuts.

 
Ah, now we’re talking.
 
We're patting ourselves on the back for these; they are delicious! Warm straight out of the oven sprinkled with cinnamon, or cooled and topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and pecans - however you eat them, you'll enjoy them. They were perfect for a quick breakfast and paired excellently with a cup of coffee. 

Good thing there are more than enough to go around, right? We bet these would also be delicious with pears and walnuts, or with any of low fat kefir flavors. Adjust to your taste!
 
Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup plain Lifeway Plain Low Fat Kefir
1/4 cup cider reduction (recipe below)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large apple, peeled and diced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
Whipped cream and additional pecans for topping

Cider Reduction
 
2 cups apple cider
 
Heat cider in a medium sauce pan to a boil (be careful not to let it boil over). Reduce heat and let the cider simmer, reducing to ¼ cup. Set aside to cool until thick.
 
Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Spray a mini doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
 
In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
 
In large bowl, mix together kefir, cider molasses, applesauce and sugar. Add in flour mixture and until combined. DON’T OVER MIX! Fold in apples and pecans.
 
Spoon batter into mini doughnut pan wells, filling each no more than halfway full (you will have extra batter for extra batches). Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from oven and cool for ten minutes before popping out of the pan. Cool completely before topping, or enjoy warm.

Feel free to make any adjustments or substitutions you see fit. We bet our Lifeway Organic Whole Milk kefir would make these extra creamy, and substituting pear for apple would also be delightful! In place of white sugar, try coconut palm sugar or a stevia for baking blend, if you enjoy the taste.

Fun fact: Apples are loaded with incredible health benefits. Not only does the fiber content help you feel satisfied (and stay fit and trim!), they're full of antioxidants, polyphenols and other vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and happy! Learn more about our favorite fall food here.

Welcoming Fall with an Old World Tradition

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 10/8/2014 12:06 AM

We’re experienced our first truly fall-like weather at the Lifeway headquarters last week. The temperature plummeted, the sun disappeared and chilling rain was accompanied by blustery winds for the better portion of the week. It was a stark contrast to the lovely late summer warm spell we had been enjoying, and, needless to say, had our team at a loss. Do we surrender Summer to Fall with complaints and colds, or do we celebrate the changing of the guard in style?
 
If you guessed, “celebrate,” you’re correct. And what’s celebrating without eating? Not a celebration we want to attend, that’s for sure!
 
In order to welcome in the cool weather appropriately, we turned to our culinary roots, better known as “our mothers,” for a recipe many of our team enjoyed as children. Syrniki, also known as Russian Cheese Pancakes, were (and are) a childhood/family favorite; we’re excited to share our special recipe for them with you today.
 

Syrniki served with fresh berry sauce and Ryazhenka, a traditional-style kefir.
 
Syrniki
 
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 Tbsp flour (whole wheat, all-purpose – your choice) + more for dusting and hands
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Cooking spray
 
In a large mixing bowl, crumble/break up white cheese with a fork. Add in eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix well. Add baking soda and flour, mixing until just combined. Batter should be thick. Refrigerate batter for about an hour to thicken more, if desired.
 
When you’re ready to cook your syrniki, heat a skillet on medium-high and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle some flour on your working surface and on your hands. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the pancake batter at a time into your hands and form into thick patties roughly two inches in diameter. Add to the hot skillet and cook as you would a pancake (until golden brown on both sides, flipping halfway through cooking). Serve with berry sauce (recipe below) or toppings of your choosing (sour cream, nuts and honey are traditionally used).
 
Berry Sauce
 
1 cup berries (we used a mix of raspberry and blueberry)
1 Tbsp lemon juice + grated zest
2 tsp sugar (to taste)
 
In a small pot, heat the berries until warm and juices begin to escape. Stir in lemon juice, zest and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until bubbly and desired thickness is achieved. Cool slightly before serving with syrniki. Enjoy with a glass of Lifeway Kefir, orange juice or coffee.
 
What is White Cheese?

Many traditional recipes for syrniki call for cottage cheese or farmer cheese, but we choose to use our Lifeway White Cheese, as it is thicker and the cakes hold together better. It is a cultured soft cheese made from an Old World European recipe. It adds unmistakable flavor and texture to your favorite dishes and recipes. It’s low in fat, cholesterol and calories and it has a distinctive, pleasantly smooth flavor. Lifeway White Cheese is composed primarily of dry curds and has a consistency of feta cheese. Use it as you would feta, as a salad topping, or as a feeling for crepe or pancakes.

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