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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




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.

Celebrate Another National Pancake Day? We're Happy to Comply.

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/26/2014 10:37 AM
Apparently it's National Pancake Day? It's all a bit unclear, as Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day) is traditionally related to Lent and occurs worldwide during February or March. It was even co-opted by IHOP for marketing and charity purposes.

Imagine our surprise when we noticed that many sources are currently listing today as National Pancake Day. They say competition makes things better, so we're willing to celebrate twice a year.

If you haven’t perfected your master pancake recipe yet, give ours a shot! It’s made with whole-wheat flour, probiotic-rich kefir and applesauce – ingredients you can feel good about eating, and will feel good after eating! You can celebrate today, tomorrow or all year long with this healthy and delicious recipe.


1 cup whole wheat flour (for lighter pancakes, mix ½ cup all-purpose flour with ½ cup whole wheat)
1 Tbsp sugar (scant)
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1/ tsp salt
1 cup Lifeway Low Fat Plain Kefir (or 1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 apple, grated
 
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Crack the egg into a medium sized bowl and whisk until fully incorporated and frothy. Add in the applesauce, kefir and butter and whisk well. Add liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined (there will be lumps).

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. When up to temperature, lightly coat with cooking spray. Drop ¼ cup dollops of batter onto the hot pan and sprinkle with grated apples. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until bubbles form and pop, then flip. Continue cooking until golden brown on the bottom, about 2-3 more minutes. Continue with the rest of the batter until all pancakes are complete.

Top with syrup, more grated apples, peanut butter, or toppings of your choice. Enjoy with a nice glass of cold Lifeway kefir!
How do you enjoy your pancakes? Do you have a favorite recipe?

End of Summer Recipe Roundup

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/22/2014 9:37 AM
This summer, the Lifeway kitchen cooked, baked and blended up our favorite summertime foods. Not only did we come up with some delicious dishes, but learned some new tricks with our favorite probiotic kefir. We kept our bellies (and a those of a few friends) full of the good bugs that kept them happy and swimsuit ready. As we say goodbye to the summer sunshine and hello to the changing of leaves, we wanted to pay one last tribute to a few of our favorite kitchen creations this year.
This summer staple is simple to make and incredibly refreshing. Even more, it’s full of beneficial potassium, Vitamin C and our favorite belly bugs, which kept us full and satisfied. We enjoyed it with breakfast and as a snack throughout the season and look forward to when we can devour it again next year!
 
When it was too hot to cook, we turned to our tried and true Kefir Ranch Dressing recipe to dress up our favorite seasonal salads and veggies. While it can be a challenge to get children to enjoy seemingly strange vegetables and dishes (thanks to their ultra sensitive taste buds), this dressing tricked even the pickiest of eaters into filling their bellies with their daily dose of probiotics. We used our organic whole milk kefir for a thick consistency, but feel free to substitute our low fat plain or Greek style kefir to your tastes.
 
Our pampered our papas and various house guests this summer with our favorite Baba Ghanoush recipe, inspired by Ottolenghi’s Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce recipe from Plenty. Our pomegranate low fat kefir was a delightful surprise to guests who were expecting a traditional dip. We served it with fresh crudités and warm pita bread, however this fall we think it would be great with crunchy crackers or spooned over a salad.
 
We jumped on the overnight oats wagon this summer and are so glad we did! With a bounty of fresh, seasonal fruits, as well as a wide variety of different kefir flavors, we enjoyed endless combinations of grab-and-go breakfasts that were hearty, healthy and delicious! One of our favorites was our kefir plum almond overnight oats – made with our low fat plain kefir, fresh plum and sliced almonds. We’re testing out different overnight oat recipes with our seasonal flavors now, so be sure to stop back and see what we come up with.
 
Last but not least, what would summer be without a chocolate milkshake? Our delicious, tart and tangy shake is a healthy take on the soda shoppe classic.  Once again we traded refined sugar and processed chocolate for probiotic-rich organic whole milk kefir, cacao powder, honey and dates. It is a treat that’s not only good for your soul, but good for your belly!
 
We’re looking forward to fall here at the Lifeway, but we’ll sure miss the relaxed summer days. What was our favorite dish this summer? How do you plan on kefir-izing you fall favorites? Stay tuned for some surprises from our kitchen! 

National Chocolate Milkshake Day

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/12/2014 9:37 AM


It’s National Chocolate Milkshake day and at Lifeway, we’re all about celebrating life’s little pleasures. Today, we’re acknowledging this festive food holiday with a healthy take on a decadent summertime classic – the chocolate milkshake! We traded artificial flavors, additives and sweeteners for antioxidant-rich whole foods and creamy, delicious organic kefir you can feel good about sharing with your family. We’ve also slashed the added refined sugar by substituting processed chocolate syrup for pitted dates and raw cacao powder.

Healthy Chocolate Kefir Milkshake

Ingredients:

·         1 cup Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir
·         ½ cup organic vanilla ice cream
·         1 ½ - 2 Tbsp cacao powder
·         5-6 dates, pitted
·         ¼ tsp vanilla extract
·         Dash of salt
·         Ice (if desired)
·         Mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts or shredded coconut to garnish

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor. Blend/process until smooth. Garnish with mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts or shredded coconut.

Fun facts: the original malted milkshake was created in Chicago in 1922. By definition, it must include ice cream, otherwise it’s a smoothie (in this recipe, we’ve substituted our tasty frozen kefir without guilt). Learn more about the origins of the milkshake as we know it today here.

Cold Cucumber-Avocado Soup

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 9/4/2014 1:34 PM
 

We recently shared a traditional Eastern European soup called okroshka, and today we have another scrumptious soup for you to enjoy. Depending on where you live, cold soup season may soon be coming to an end. We think this refreshing cucumber avocado soup recipe is the perfect way to cap off a great summer! 

Total Time:
4 hr

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Level:Easy

Ingredients

1 large cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks 1 large, ripe avocado, peeled
2 scallions (green and white parts included) chopped
1 cup vegetarian broth

3/4 cup Lifeway Low fat plain kefir
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste Garnish:
Dollop of sour cream, chopped chives or scallions

Directions

In a food processor or blender combine the cucumber, avocado and scallions. Pulse until the mixture is thoroughly chopped.

Add broth, Lifeway kefir and lemon juice and continue to process until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and chill for 4 to 6 hours. Taste for seasoning and serve in chilled bowls with garnish. 

Labor Day Recipe Roundup

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 8/29/2014 9:51 AM
Labor Day weekend is upon us, which means many will be celebrating with parties and picnics. Let your friends at Lifeway give you a hand with some tasty recipe ideas that won't force you to spend all of your time working the grill. Plus, these snacks are a great way to sneak in some probiotics to counteract all of the other stuff you might consume over the weekend!

How about some sweet potato fries with a kefir chipotle dipping sauce? No frying required!



Or maybe a light and tangy kohlrabi and cabbage slaw



Of course, there's something to be said for tradition. Potato salad is always a winner, and this one has a probiotic boost! 



What's for light and fruity and perfect for dessert? You could take the easy route and pick up some of our new frozen kefir bars in a store near you, or we'll teach you how to make your own frozen kiwi kefir pops!



 

Lifeway Bug Bites: Okroshka Chilled Kefir Soup

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 8/22/2014 7:37 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. 




Gazpacho and vichyssoise get a lot of attention when chilled soups are on the menu. But our favorite summer soup at Lifeway combines the best of both the Spanish and French favorites with a Russian twist. Versatile and almost infinitely customizable like gazpacho, yet creamy, filling and satisfying like vichyssoise, Okroshka is a delicious Russian summer tradition we are happy to enjoy stateside. This recipe is a great example of Lifeway's own #MotherCulture, inspired by the native land of our founders the Smolyansky family and customized to the specifications of our Marketing Director, Marina, just how her Ukranian Mom makes it.

While our parents’ and grandparents’ Old World versions were most often made with a combination of kefir and water as the base, we add a splash of richness with chicken stock instead. If you’d like to make a vegetarian version, water or vegetable stock are fine substitutes. Non-meat eaters can also omit the bologna, or you can customize the recipe to include your family’s favorite member of the finely ground sausage family: kielbasa, hot dogs or even ham will work great. If you don’t have a red potato, any waxy potato will do. And any crisp garden veggie will add texture and fresh flavor to the party.

The perfect recipe to accompany a morning at the farmers market or a trip to your vegetable patch, enjoy Okroshka any way you dice it!

 

Okroshka

2 cups Lifeway Original Kefir (or your favorite plain, traditional variety: Krestiansky, Bazarny, Weijski)

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon dill, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup scallions, sliced

2 hard boiled eggs, diced

1 large red potato, cooked, peeled, and diced

½ cucumber, diced

2 radishes, halved and sliced thin

½ cup bologna, diced

Whisk together the kefir, chicken broth, dill, and salt, and refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. Slice or dice to 1 cm size the remaining ingredients and divide evenly among 4 bowls. Pour ¾ cup kefir mixture into each bowl and serve immediately, chilled.

Seize the Summer with A Pineapple Banana Kefir Smoothie

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 8/18/2014 10:43 AM


As of this writing, we have only 
35 days 9 hours, 30 minutes and 37 seconds of summer remaining. What better way to truly seize the summer than with a simple yet refreshing fruit smoothie? Here’s our take on a pineapple banana smoothie.

Ingredients:

1 cup pineapple, cut into chunks

1 banana

1 cup Lifeway Low Fat Kefir

Combine banana, pineapple, and Low Fat Plain kefir in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serves 1

Lifeway Bugs Bites: Kefir Ranch Dressing

By LifeWayKefir LifeWayKefir on 8/5/2014 7:37 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. 



The three magic ingredients that can transform anything into a kid-friendly meal are cheese, peanut butter, and ranch dressing. Is there any health food so appalling that it cannot be saved by one of these things? Funky green smoothie?
 Add some peanut butter. Noses turned up at broccoli? Melt on some cheese. Celery sticks left untouched? Slide over a side of ranch! We're still testing it out, but this fact may be one of the pillars of Lifeway #MotherCulture truth. 

You may have heard that children are more sensitive to tastes, and more likely to refuse veggies and dishes that aren’t sweet enough, because they have more taste buds than adults. Their pickiness might also be due to a weariness of new flavors, not necessarily stronger ones.

Either way a dip into a dish of ranch dressing can help the carrot sticks go down. Many store bought varieties are loaded with fat and preservatives, but it’s easy to make your own at home. Naturally low fat buttermilk is a classic ingredient that usually gets mixed with sour cream or mayonnaise. Our version uses whole milk kefir to achieve a little richness and no mayo. But if you want a thicker, more decadent dressing or dip, you can use up to half the amount of kefir and substitute half with mayonnaise. The herbs can also be switched out based on what you have on hand; tarragon, cilantro, and basil are other good choices.

 

Kefir Ranch Dressing

1 ½ cups Lifeway Organic Whole Milk Kefir

1 clove fresh garlic

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped

2 teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. 

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