The Sport Berkey is a filtering water bottle. Go here to read my review and see a video demo of my Sport Berkey filtering some very red food-colored water into clear drinking water! :) Over the life of the bottle and filter, the Sport Berkey water bottle comes out to just 4 cents per bottle of filtered water, making it a great alternative to bottled water, especially when traveling or in a location without access to good drinking water. :)
Speaking of traveling, I'm going to be doing some next week! The children and I are flying to Ohio to spend a month (yes, a month!) visiting with family and friends there. It's been over a year and a half since our last trip there, and most of my family hasn't even met little Moshe! :)
So, I'll be staying at my parents' house, and they are internet-less. And we're cell-phone-less. With all the "lesses", I'll have MORE time for fun! ;)
However, unlike last time where I took a complete break from doing anything online, this time I'll be taking my laptop with me and hopefully will obtain internet access a couple times each week and and share about our adventures and some food pictures! :)
I have some amazing guest hosts lined up for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, so you can still share your kitchen tips or come read everyone's kitchen tips each week even though I'll be on vacation. :)
Joshua is also threatening to take over my blog while I'm away. So you never know what you may find here during the month of May! ;)
My email inbox has plagued me for... probably YEARS. I have always been behind, even though I don't get a lot of emails. I get a lot of requests for help with kefir making, yeast bread troubleshooting, and even requests like the measurements to double a recipe, figure out the calorie caount of a recipe, etc...
In preparation for my vacation, I've been going through the 300+ emails that haven't been answered. Most of them I COULD answer, if I had 10-15 minutes to write. But I have come to realize that I just DON'T have that 10-15 minutes... times 300! So I've been deleting all the 6 months+ old emails that I simply cannot get to. I feel so guilty doing that! But really, having them sit there for another few years is not going to help anyone, either.
So if you've emailed me, thank you. I read all my email and have been doing better about replying! But if you emailed a year ago and never heard back, unfortunately I am most likely not going to be able to respond. Thank you for understanding and for allowing me to keep my priorities in order (as much as possible!). :)
(Okay, I know probably no one reading this is even wondering about an email they sent me. But I had to write about it to help ease the guilt!)
Our Berkey is a counter-top water filtering system that is effective, affordable, and perfect for disaster readiness, as it filters without electricity and can even filter rain water!
Read more about the Berkey here. We bought ours 3 years ago from More Than Alive and love it! We're still using the original filters, which should last another 3 years yet. At 1.6 cents per gallon over the lifetime of the filters, we are so blessed to have clean water for cooking and drinking that is practically free!
The Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier is a water bottle with the same great black Berkey filtering element, set up for on-the-go instant filtering. More Than Alive offered to let me try out a Sport Berkey, along with giving away one here. (Scroll down for giveaway details!)
However, I am really liking the Sport Berkey water bottle! I decided it wasn't really fair to compare the price of its filtered water to the Royal Berkey, but instead, compare to bottled water.
The Sport Berkey isn't exactly cheap, at $29. Using water from any source (think a rain barrel, stream, or river!), you can refill it 160 times, making each bottle of water 18 cents.
If you're refilling from the tap (city water or well water), you can refill about 640 times, decreasing the price per bottle to just FOUR CENTS. FOUR CENTS, people! And that's for a 22-ounce bottle.
What I love about the Sport Berkey:
Instant, on-demand, on-the-go filtered water.
Perfect for traveling. You can take an empty Sport Berkey through security at the airport, and then fill from a drinking fountain. So much better than paying inflated prices for airport water or drinking straight from a fountain!
Bottle is BPA-free, and water is filtered just prior to drinking. This water tastes great, just like water from our Royal Berkey!
Perfect for emergency preparedness or disaster readiness. The Sport Berkey has a shelf life of 50 years!
All the same great water features as other Berkey water filters: clean, healthy drinking water with beneficial minerals remaining.
The filter in the Sport Berkey can be replaced for $17. This makes subsequent refills even cheaper than 4 cents. Now, I haven't had my Sport Berkey long enough to need to replace the filter, so I can't attest to how well the actual bottle holds up over the years.
--You are not the head of a household and want something personal-sized
--You travel a lot
--You have limited space
--You're on a limited budget
--Or you currently buy bottled water
...then I think the Sport Berkey could be a great investment!
How well does the Sport Berkey water bottle actually filter? Well, I did a food coloring test to find out. I was giddy over the results, and have photos and video proof of red water turning crystal clear!
For my filtering experiment, I used some food dye we had on hand.
Suck (or in this case, squeeze!) to filter the colored water.
The results? Completely clean drinking water!
Watch my video of this process:
That's just the visual test. The taste test comes when you can take smelly, chlorinated tap water and turn it into delicious, pure-tasting drinking water!
Tap water varies a lot, and here in the Seattle area our tap water tastes pretty good. In Ohio, the city tap water smelled and tasted awful, and wasn't always safe for drinking (not by my estimation, but by city officials). We were relieved and excited when we got our Berkey water filter and it actually worked on that horrible water! (We had been buying reverse osmosis water, and were accustomed to that.)
More Than Alive is giving away a Sport Berkey water filtering bottle to a reader here! If this product is of interest to you, this is your chance to get one for free! Log in and leave a comment on this post saying you would like to be entered. Giveaway is open today and tomorrow ONLY, Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, 2011.
Use this discount code to receive 10% off your order from More Than Alive today and tomorrow ONLY, Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, 2011.
Full disclosure, as always: When we purchased our Berkey water filter from More Than Alive several years ago, we were so thrilled with it that I signed up as an affiliate with More Than Alive. Purchasing through my links helps support this website!
I don't review something unless we would spend our own hard-earned money on it, and such is the case with the things we have purchased from More Than Alive. I'm delighted to be able to offer giveaways and discount codes for More Than Alive! :)
My post this week detailed my 5 top favorite frugal foods and how I serve them. Here are the 8 other posts along that theme -- all well worth checking out! I've found so much inspiration here and I know I'll be returning to implement some of these ideas in our own home! :)
Mandi at Life Your Way shares recipes for her 5 frugal meals here. Smoothies are one of her suggestions, and it's one I've turned to for a healthy, easy dessert or breakfast. (For the past couple weeks, whenever the kids ask for dessert, I say "Okay, what kind of fruit do you want on your yogurt/kefir?" ;)
Shaina at Food For My Family writes "When Two Meals Become Five". Shaina always draws me in with her amazing photography! This week she shares about her food budget categories (categories? I am so haphazard in comparison!) and some of her personal food savings tips!
Yesterday, I promised a round up of all the posts in the Eat Well, Spend Less series! I've poured over each of these posts and they are well worth your time!
Jessica at Life As Mom writes about Avoiding Expensive Ingredients to Eat Well & Spend Less. Her post is right on! You know from my grocery shopping posts that even though we eat lots of beans and rice (yum!), we also splurge where it matters to us, and good food does matter to us. Go read Jessica's post; I smiled through the whole thing! :)
Katie at Good Life Eats shares about Homemade DIY Pantry Staples. Along with some great ideas, Katie's food photography always amazes me! Her food blog has some of the best food photos, period. (My pics look a little boring after you come back from her blog...) ;)
Cultures for Health is a company located here in Washington state and they offer starters and cultures for a variety of different healthy foods -- like milk kefir, water kefir, sourdough, yogurt, buttermilk, kombucha and more! Cultures for Health also offers supplies for cheese making, sprouting, and other fun stuff.
Cultures for Health offers 10 different kinds of yogurt starters, including some that will culture right on your counter (like kefir), skipping the tedious warming of milk and monitoring temperatures. (I know some people say that homemade yogurt is super easy, but I beg to differ!) :)
I'm excited that three of you will get to choose a culture from Cultures for Health! This is your opportunity to start making your own kefir or yogurt, sourdough bread, buttermilk, kombucha, etc.
The giveaway (3 winners!):
Go here to enter the Cultures for Health giveaway. Giveaway is open Monday, April 4 through Wednesday, April 6, 2011. THREE random winners will be given the opportunity to choose a culture of their choice from Cultures for Health! :) (Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Cultures for Health. I asked them if they would offer a giveaway to readers here and they graciously agreed.)
Sourdough dinner pie... one of the recipes/techniques that has me anxious to jump into homemade sourdough! :)
Have you heard about traditional soaked breads and muffins (or maybe read Nourishing Traditions) but thought it sounded too complicated? (That's me!)
Have you wanted to learn how to make real sourdough bread, but just didn't know where to start?(That's me!)
Have you been reading about homemade yogurt, kefir, and cheeses, but wondered if they were really worth learning how to make? (That's .. almost me. Finally, something I can kinda sorta partially do!)
I'm a very hands-on person, and reading about something often times just isn't enough. I think this is partly why I love making videos to share here. Something that sounds complicated when written down can seem so easy in a video! This is also why every single one of my recipes has at least one (but usually more) photo of the finished product, and always has -- from the very first recipe we added.
Actually, I prefer to have someone showing me things, letting me do it myself, and seeing the main points in writing -- all at the same time!
I understand when I see it done, it starts making sense when I am doing it myself, and I can remember it when I see it in writing! :) (Now what style of learning would that be?!)
The Fundamentals eCourse will guide you as you take steps towards traditional cooking (soaked grains, fermented foods, water kefir, dairy kefir, cheeses, and lots more!). The videos are a beautiful quality and will persuade you that you CAN do this! (At least, it worked for me!) :) There is also a Fundamentals eBook (think of it as your class syllabus for the Fundamentals eCourse).
I've wanted to learn how to make sourdough bread for years, but never took the time. I also felt intimidated by the whole idea, yet didn't want to just browse Amazon and buy the highest rated sourdough cookbook. I'm picky like that... and somewhat lazy, so I like someone to hold my hand and do all the hard research for me. (Usually Joshua ends up with the research job!) :)
Gnowfglins also offers Sourdough A to Z (eBook) by itself if an eCourse isn't your thing. I printed my copy of Sourdough A to Z and it's thoroughly detailed. Sourdough English Muffins are one of the first things I want to try... after I get my own sourdough starter going! :)
But, if you're interested in any of the eCourses, you get them ALL for the same low price so there's no need to pick and choose! :)
The newest eCourse from Gnowfglins is Cultured Dairy and Basic Cheese. This course will move you beyond my little posts about making my own kefir, into the world of sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, and all kinds of cheeses -- kefir cheese, feta, traditional mozzarella, fresh cheddar, and a whole lot more. Everything I've seen from Gnowfglins is approachable yet extremely informational.
While the Fundamentals and Sourdough A to Z eBooks are sold as individual products, the eCourses are offered on a subscription basis. I am impressed at the subscription rates Gnowfglins offers.
My printed copies of the two ebooks. I like a recipe I can hold in my hands! :)
A 1-month subscription to the Sourdough eCourse is just $11. (This includes unlimited access to all 3 eCourses!) During that month's time, you can watch a good portion of the videos, start making sourdough, and when the month is over determine whether or not you want additional time to access the online eCourse videos. The book is yours to keep, forever, so you can continue to use the recipes and information from it, even when you're past the learning curve.
As I mentioned, these eCourses are detailed and thorough, so if you decide to work through all the lessons you'd need a bit longer than just a month! But you are completely free to pick and choose which topics are of interest to you, and learn those things. :)
If you do decide to purchase more than a 1-month subscription, you'll get a discount. For just $10 you can purchase a recurring month-to-month subscription, which you are free to cancel at any time for no charge. If you sign up for a year's subscription, it's just $8/month!
If you're truly interested in delving into new cooking adventures, I recommend more than a 1-month subscription because there is just so much available at Gnowfglins! There's no need to try to rush through and not ENJOY the process! :) (Go here and scroll down to see everything available!)
Have you heard about traditional soaked breads and muffins (or maybe read Nourishing Traditions) but thought it sounded too complicated?(That's me!) If you want to make changes in your baking methods but feel overwhelmed, here is an example of how these videos will help:
Since I already make kefir, I'm planning to make these kefir chese balls, which are a simple, no-cook kefir cheese. (I'll let you know how it goes! I just need to get some cheesecloth first.)
I honestly just love Wardeh's videos. She has a way of inserting helpful tips from her own experience. Even though I don't have fresh cow's milk (and really didn't need to learn how to skim cream from it!) I thoroughly enjoyed watching this video from the Gnowfglins You Tube channel:
Water kefir -- one of the foods detailed in the Fundamentals eCourse
Am I switching our diet and lifestyle to "real" food and "soaked" everything? No. You will continue to find some very naughty recipes on my website. ;) But if you've been reading here for the past few years, you may have noticed a trend toward healthier and easier. I'm always up for variety and I hope to keep things healthy-ish and easy-ish even when I want to try something new! :)
Full Disclosure: I am honored to have been asked to help promote the Gnowfglins eCourses as an affiliate. You know I wouldn't tell you about something unless I felt it could be a good value for YOU! I feel the Gnowfglins eCourses are a valuable learning tool well worth the cost -- if learning these topics interests you. I understand being on a tight budget though! Notice all the links to recipes you can try without signing up for anything? :)
You know I love beans, and cook with dried beans on a near-daily basis! I'm in love with slow-cooked pinto beans and beans with toppings (like sour cream, cheese, cilantro, or fresh tomatoes, and hot sauce of course!) is my idea of gourmet dining -- on a budget! ;)
But really, even just tender fresh-cooked pinto beans with a little salt is enough. (Definitely add salt to your long-term food storage consideration! It's cheap and makes plain foods much more palatable!)
Anyway, I printed out my copy of The Everything Beans Book when it was released 10 days ago, and have spent a bit of time reading it and looking over new recipes to try. I've only tried one so far, but it was a BIG success! (Not going to the grocery store as often means I need to really plan ahead for new recipes or non-essentials!)
Pasta with White Bean Sauce is an easy white sauce, but the flavor is impressive! The beans help thicken the sauce, while boosting the protein and fiber. There's not usually many redeeming qualities to white sauce, but this bean version made us feel semi-justified in enjoying one of my favorite meals -- pasta with white sauce!
I admit, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good this sauce recipe is! I tasted it as I made it (which did result in the addition of chicken base for a flavor boost), and was dubious as to the end result. However, in the end I thought the cheese, beans, -- everything was just right about this sauce. I do think I prefer smooth sauces, so in the future I may try blending this recipe. That said, I did still really enjoy this sauce slightly-chunky (mashed beans)!
I don't usually serve "mystery foods" to Joshua, but knowing that both white sauces and beans are not on his list of top favorite foods (although he does enjoy them occasionally!), I didn't divulge anything further than "Hey Honey, I tried a new white sauce recipe!"
I served the pasta and sauce with grilled chicken, and Joshua said it was "very good". I said "Really? Well, there's white beans in the sauce." He said, "Really? Well, I can't taste them. It tastes like macaroni and cheese, not beans."
Wow! Now, I could taste the beans in the sauce, but I liked the flavor. (I also knew they were there, so I'm not completely sure I would have been able to distinguish the flavor and identify it without knowing.)
I'm thinking we may add mashed white beans to white sauces a lot more often, especially since it's so easy to cook a big pot of beans, freeze in 2-cup portions, and thaw as needed. The presence of beans also cut down on the need for as much butter/flour for thickening, which is an added health bonus!
There are many more delicious-sounding bean recipes in The Everything Beans Book, and I'm planning to try several of the bean soup recipes, after I make a trip to Business Costco (or maybe Fred Meyer) and get some more beans since I just have pinto beans left right now!
It's easily printable (duh!). I like to hold paper copies of recipes in my hands, and with the click of a button (and a whole lot of paper!) this was a reality! :)
The recipes are tested -- by Katie and her team. I feel confident making these recipes!
There is lots of info about the recipes and beans in general! I was quite impressed!
I can actually see myself making a good portion of these recipes. Sure, there are some that I don't think I'll try. But many that I plan to! :)
Katie also sent me a review copy of her Healthy Snacks To Go ebook. Who doesn't like snacking?! And the promise of homemade power bars (that have gotten rave reviews from other bloggers) is inviting.
Unfortunately, I didn't have this ebook before our last Costco trip 2+ weeks ago (patting myself on the back for breaking my Costco addiction enough to wait more than 2 weeks between shopping trips!!) and so I need to buy some bulk nuts and dates in order to actually make the power bar recipes. (I'll post pictures when I do!)
Aside from one recipe that doesn't include measurements or a photo (leaving me feeling unmotivated to try "Cold Balsamic-n-Spelt Salad"), the recipes look approachable and sound yummy!
I think these crackers are fairly easy to make. When you consider the high price of a box of "real" Wheat Thins, these crackers are well worth the time! I try to include helpful tips in the recipe instructions and notes (Katie does this as well in Healthy Snacks To Go!) so that even if you've never made crackers before, the process will go smoothly and quickly for you. And, the amount of work involved can be reduced if you use a food processor to blend the butter into the flour.
Yes, it's a small chunk of time. I estimate 15-20 minutes to make the crackers, and then 5-10 minutes to bake. And then there's the clean-up. But the kids can help make these, and have a great deal of fun with it, too!