It's that time of year again! The kids are getting ready to head back to school, why not take a few courses yourself?  

I've just added a whole bunch of classes. In addition to  the usual ones-- like handmade soap, soy candles, sauerkraut, pickling and  kombucha-- I've added  2  brand new courses  that you've been asking for:
First, there's  Sprouted Grain Bread.  Experienced whole meal  bread bakers who  want to go to the next level will love  this class. If you haven't yet taken my 100%  Whole Wheat Bread class, I highly recommend taking that one as an introduction before trying your hand at sprouted grains. I am teaching that intro class two times  before the  sprouted grain class happens on Sunday, Sept 18th.


Second, there's my new Vegan Yogurt Making class. I've been experimenting with a few recipes to develop a yummy dairy-free yogurt. We'll try a couple in class, and we'll even make some home made muesli using fresh oats you'll roll in class.

Click  here   for course descriptions, dates, times  and registration.

Click  here  to see the classes in a calendar format. 

See you in class!
When you  get right down to it, what the heck *IS* yogurt in the first place? Yogurt is milk that has been cultured with one or more strains  of lactobacillus-- bacteria that eat sugar, turning it into lactic acid. That's where yogurt gets its tangy flavor. 

Why would we want our milk full of bacteria? Good question. 

Like a bunch of other fermented foods, yogurt contains beneficial  probiotics. These tiny organisms live naturally in our gut, helping to break down our food and making nutrients bioavailable. They also crowd out the harmful bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy digestive track. Lacto-fermentation is a natural food preserver, and it's responsible for many of the delicious and nutritious foods  we love, like  cheese, pickles, beer, sauerkraut,  kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and even sourdough bread.

Making yogurt at home is fast and easy, and you end up with a pure product that contains none of the added sugar, corn syrup, flavors, colors, thickening agents,  preservatives and chemicals that are often found in store-bought yogurt. All you need is milk and a starter culture-- which is about a half cup of your favorite yogurt to kick things off.

Warm your milk, add your cultures, and let nature do the rest. A yogurt fermenter makes your job even easier, maintaining a steady 95 -100 degrees F while your yogurt incubates. But even that is optional as long as you have a warm spot to let your yogurt get going. Watch this week's video to see just how easy it is to have homemade yogurt!

We've gotten really into making homemade soda at our house lately. Let's be honest-- sometimes, the stuff we get excited about here at the Roost (growing fava beans! making tofu!  composting chicken crap!) doesn't really turn our kids on. But making soda? THEY'RE DOWN WITH THAT. There are so many delicious  varieties-- your salivary glands will explode just imagining them. Honeydew mint? Vanilla pear? Pomegranate basil? Balsamic date? Homemade tonic water? Sour cherry cola? Cocoa chile tingler? Sparkling apricot nectar? Raspberry white tea spritzer? Lavender grape migraine buster? TOO MANY TO NAME. And if you're at all like Trish and me, the exotic cocktail possibilities just increase the excitement geometrically. Check out this great book at our store-- it's all inside.

And your kids can get onboard, not just because all kids like soda and because the flavors and combinations are endlessly exciting and intoxicating, but because these recipes are fast and simple.  So they can create them with you and enjoy the process of making something from scratch. You can play with different types of natural sweeteners and the quantities you use. These drinks are healthier, lower in sugar, completely free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. You don't even need a soda machine, CO2 cartridge, or seltzer water to make them.

We'll start things out nice and easy with this homemade ginger ale recipe. Very basic and straightforward.. Making ginger ale yourself is so fast and such a no-brainer, you may never buy ginger ale again. But just wait. In the weeks to come, we have countless soda secrets to share. So cut your teeth on this one. And if you go down the soda rabbit hole like we have, let us know your favorite flavors and best discoveries. We'll trade secrets.

Bottoms up!
In celebration of National Granola Bar Day this coming Wednesday, we're making quick and easy granola bars from scratch. They contain only six ingredients and don't even require baking.

Here's what you'll need:

3 cups rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds
2 cups pitted dates
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup honey 
OPTIONAL: 1 cup chocolate chips

You can toast the oats if you feel like it, but that's optional. And beyond that, no oven is necessary, making this an especially great recipe for kids to whip up. Feel free to try all kinds of substitutions-- maple syrup or agave can replace the honey.... walnuts, pecans, macadamia, cashews, or other nuts can take the place of the almonds.... butterscotch, carob, white chocolate, or yogurt chips can be used instead of chocolate-- or leave them out altogether. You can add sunflower seeds, chia, flax, coconut, dried cherries, blueberries, or cranberries. Get creative and let us know what recipes work best for you.
Watch the video, and in under three and a half minutes, you'll have the full scoop. Wanna taste? Come to The King's Roost from 5-7pm on Wednesday, January 21, for National Granola Bar Day. We'll be serving up champagne and several different flavors of our own homemade granola bars. Better yet, if you bring samples of your own granola bar recipe for others to try, we'll give you a free pound of fresh-rolled whole oats for your next batch!


STOP THE PRESSES. This is breaking news. Did you know that January 21st is NATIONAL GRANOLA BAR DAY? Roostafarians, we cannot allow this day to go unheralded. Mark your calendars and come celebrate with us by stopping by The King's Roost from 5-7pm this Wednesday evening. Enjoy a sampling of various scrumptious, homemade granola bars (from our own fresh-rolled oats!) and top it off with an elegant champagne toast to granola.

But that's not all.  I, Roe Sie, master granola-barrister, will demonstrate how to flake oats-- rolling grains one handed while juggling granola bars. Best of all, I challenge YOU to show off your own granola-making prowess. You will be rewarded for your efforts and contributions! Bring samples of your own granola bars for us to try, and you will get a FREE pound of freshly rolled oats to make your next batch!

Need more inspiration? On Tuesday, I'll post a recipe for killer granola bars in this week's featured DIY project video. See you then!
Happy holidays, everyone! Our kids are out of school for roughly seven thousand years-- how about yours? So this week, we turned DIY Tuesday over to them, since they had some extra time on their hands. Our 11-year-old, Walter, is a master cookie maker, and he took the reins in order to bring you one of his very best recipes-- apricot cherry white chocolate oatmeal cookies, made from scratch. He even mills his own wheat berries and rolls his own oats, although you can certainly buy yours at the store, instead.

It's ridiculous how fast, fun, and affordable it is for kids to make treats for eating and sharing. And sure, these cookies contain butter and sugar and whatnot, but using 100% whole meal and fresh live grains makes you feel much better about letting the wee ones pig out on a decadent and delicious snack.

Here are the simple ingredients to make 36-48 cookies:

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
¾ cup granulated raw sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup butter
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried cherries
½ cup white chocolate chips

To find out how Walter works his baking alchemy to turn these ingredients into terrific cookies, watch this video!

I drink kombucha every morning. Some people claim it reverses arthritis and supports healthy joints, due to naturally occurring glucosamines. Others say it fights cancer, thanks to being chock full of enzymes, probiotics, and glucaric acid. Lots of people tout kombucha's digestive benefits and mood boosting, immune-enhancing properties. All I know for certain is that it tastes great and makes me feel awesome.

But if you've ever grabbed a bottle of the stuff from a store  shelf, you know that what DOESN'T make you feel so awesome is the hefty price tag. Kombucha is spendy! Fact is, we're simply talking about fermented sweet tea here, nothing more than that. Making it yourself is fast, easy, and costs just pennies per batch. All you need are 8 tea bags, water, sugar, and a gallon jar, plus the probiotic colony to kick things off. Just be sure you get your starter (also called a "mother") from a reliable source and heed all precautions for cleanliness and handling so nothing scary grows in your tea. Ditch any batch that may have been contaminated, grows mold, or smells funky.

Try using different varieties of tea, or experiment with adding fruits, herbs, or juices after fermentation and right before bottling your kombucha. The permutations and possibilities for flavors are endless. You'll never buy kombucha again!

Of all the nerdy DIY gadgets we have at home, our oat roller might just be the family favorite. It's so user-friendly and fast, and the kids are big fans of oatmeal, granola bars, cookies, various baked goods, and muesli-- all of which taste so much better with fresh-rolled oats. Oat groats (or oat berries) are the whole-grain kernels which can be stored for up to twenty years and still stay alive and "fresh." But the minute you split, cut, or roll oats, they begin to oxidize and go rancid. All the germ and good oil that's been sealed inside the husk becomes quite unstable when exposed to air. That's why rolled oats from the store shelf taste different than oats that have just been rolled or cut. That said, muesli can still be delicious with store-bought rolled oats. And no matter how you come by your oats, homemade muesli is a much better value, far more customizable and nutritious than most store-bought breakfast cereal. The flavor combinations are endless; there's a muesli for everyone. It's a well-kept secret we're letting out of the bag because it's simply too fast, easy, and scrumptious not to try.
I'm fully aware that to many people, milling your own grains sounds pretty crazy and over the top. I certainly thought so when my friends Karyn and Jason first tried to convince me of the benefits. I honestly figured they were becoming new-age hippie fringe lunatics with too much time on their hands. 

But humor me for one minute. When you stop and think about it, how is milling grains any weirder than grinding your own coffee beans? Lots of us do that. And this is pretty much the same thing-- but even MORE crucial for flavor and freshness. It only takes a few seconds to make your own wholesome flour, and you get countless nutritional benefits, terrific taste, and NONE of the bitter flavor we often associate with whole wheat.  

Today, I made the kids' favorite: Dutch-style breakfast crepes, using my Mom's recipe. I modified it for whole grains, and it tastes great. Less than 30 minutes from wheat berries to the breakfast table. Makes me so happy to see my kids enjoying good, simple food. So basic, only a few key ingredients. Give it a shot! 

And of course, a giant thank-you to Jason and Karyn, for turning me on to cooking with whole grains in the first place. 

People don't always like cabbage... or know what to do with it. In under seven minutes, I'll show you how to make your own sauerkraut from scratch. So simple and easy. Delicious flavor, and YOU control how intense you want it to taste. The only ingredients are cabbage and salt-- the magic of fermentation does the rest. It's incredibly tasty and healthy... terrific on sandwiches, salads, wraps, and roast meats. Check it out!