Thursday, January 30, 2014

Creative Visualization Workshops: How long have you denied yourself of what you want and need? Nourish your soul and mind!

Self-Care is the first to go by the wayside during busy times or economic difficulty. We have all been through some rough times these past few years with the recession in the U. S. The economy may still be suffering, but you need not. Take care of yourself. You deserve it! 

Contact me at for affordable opportunities for special pricing or payments. Going rates for similar programs range from hundreds to thousands.
At $150 for 12 hours of therapy equals $12.50 and hour!

How could three hours a month focused on what you truly want change your life? 

This workshop series is designed to carve the time out of daily lives and look within to draw out what truly fulfills us. Rabia Erduman, Psychologist- Therapist -Healer, will lead the small group through meditation, introspection, and provide information to guide participants to transform their lives into what they truly desire.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gluten Free Buckwheat Ale

The Goal:  A gluten free all grain beer

The Challenge Encountered:  Getting the sugars high enough

The Outcome: Yet to be determined

The Process: Modern Medieval Ale-wifery

5 gallons of wort extracted and ready to ferment

Buckwheat Ale Ingredients:
4 lbs Sprouted/Roasted/Milled Organic Buckwheat

9 lbs Cooked/Mashed Sweet Potatoes

25 Organic Dried Black Mission Figs

8 Organic Apples Cored/Peeled/ and made in to Applesauce

5 lbs Clover HoneyYield: 5 gallons

6 Gallons Purified Water 

1.5 oz Hallertau Hops

1.0 oz Irish Moss

This gluten-free all-grain beer has been in the works since we first started brewing 3 years ago. Our first batch fell victim to our inexperience. We discarded the mash because it became a thick porridge-product. It might have mashed but more likely it would have clogged up the mash-tun and/or made a wort full of grain particles. Therefore making a beer with sediment and more susceptible to contamination. 

Since those early days of brewing, we have improved our skills, knowledge, and most of all experience and equipment. We went all-in to brewing and vinting. Gerald and I  home-brewed beers, ales and mead, increasing equipment inventory and our experience with each brew. Gerald has since worked two seasons in a winery. I volunteered at many beer and wine events to learn about tasting, styles, and products. There is always more to learn and with every batch we think of ways to improve the process. 

The process and ingredients of this gluten-free beer made me feel like a medieval ale-wife.We did not follow a recipe; rather, we took samples, measurements and even tasted the wort until we got it to where we wanted it. We were creative and used what we had in stock to make adjustments. We were monitoring the boil under the stars. I could not help but whisper words of prayer and love into the brew. 

So on to the steps of making this Buckwheat Beer!

Part 1: Preparing the Buckwheat

Sprouted Buckwheat, Milled Buckwheat
Rice Hulls, The Mash they made.
Gerald sprouted, roasted and milled the organic buckwheat.  

Continuous Improvement: 
Rice Hulls: Gerald added Rice Hulls to the milled buckwheat to give it structure in the mash. The rice hulls did indeed help. We had less clogs in the mash-tun with the rice hulls added. 

Part 2: Gathering the Equipment

Propane Burner Stand and  10 gallon Brew Pot
We bought a propane burner and stand, a propane tank and propane. We also bought a 10 gallon stainless steel pot, a 10gallon mash-tun, and a stainless steel mash-tun paddle.

Continuous Improvement:
Propane Burner: Temperature is a big deal in brewing. The kitchen stove either took too long or could not reach the temps  we needed. The propane burner worked wonderfully!
Stainless Steel Paddle:  A previous batch was ruined by contamination from a wooden paddle. I sanitized in an iodine solution but the porous wood could not be properly sanitized. The stainless steel paddle can be thoroughly sanitized and is great to use. 
10 gl Pot/Mash-TunA 10 gallon pot and mash-tun makes a big difference when brewing and sparging grains. There was plenty of room for the mash and water. The mash-tun insulated excellently and kept the 160 degree strike-water temperature up to release enzymes from the grains to make the mash.

Part 3: Gathering Brewing Specific Ingredients

Yeast with Go-Ferm Added
A trip to the brew store for hops, Go-Ferm,  Ph-Stabilizer, and yeast. A trip to the water store for purified water.

Continuous Improvement:
Go-Ferm: In the past we had a problem with stuck fermentation or yeast that failed to start. Using Go-Ferm helped to rehydrate the yeast, or wake them up.  Go-ferm also protects the yeast from ethanol toxicity.
Ph-Stabilizer: Getting ph right matters. Two previous beers went acidic.While sour beers are growing in popularity I want my beer to come out as planned. So we added a ph-stabilizer. 
Yeast Nutrient: In the past we have bought yeast nutrient. Now, we add just a little wort to the yeast. So the go-ferm wakes it up and the added wort feeds the yeast. Gerald developed this method working at the winery. 

Part 4: BREW DAY 

Aside from the hours it takes to get everything out and sanitized. It takes many more hours to prepare as you can see and then many more hours to brew. Then there is clean-up. We usually plan a brew about a month out then brew on a weekend. We brewed on Martin Luther King Day (After Donating clothes and food to charity in honor of MLK). So maybe we will call this a Social Justice Ale or Have Faith Ale or The First Step Ale or Step One Buckwheat Ale...So many options.

The Brewing Process- Abbreviated:

Mash #1
Mashed Buckwheat, Rice Hulls, and  5 lbs  Sweet Potatoes. 
Specific gravity was 1.005
Mash #2
Boiled some wort with another 5 lbs of sweet potatoes, the home made applesauce, and figs then put through the mash-tun on top of the buckwheat/Rice hulls,and sweet potato mash. 
Specific gravity was 1.024
The Boil
Added 5 lbs Honey, Hallertau Hops, and Irish Moss. 
Specific gravity was 1.070

Cooled the wort. 
Racked into a glass 5 gallon carboy
Topped off the wort with purified water.
Pitched the yeast.

Attached a blow off valve and put into the insulated  fermentation box.

Now we monitor and wait. This beer may come out and it may not. I will keep ya posted. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


This is my first kombucha batch. I was given the SCOBY by a friend. Once faced with the slimy SCOBY, I screwed my face up into a wince and could not believe I have ever willing consumed kombucha.  I got the thing home and pushed the SCOBY to the back of the fridge. Honestly, I was pretty grossed out by the growing yeast and bacteria culture. I know that kombucha is good for my health. I know I like to drink it. However, when faced the brown-green, inch thick living culture, I did not want to think about consuming it or even brewing with it. 

I put off brewing it for along time. Well, for about 2 weeks. Finally with all the holidays over and the fridge cleaned out from holiday left overs. The SCOBY was exposed and staring at me again. I stopped procrastinating and got down to making kombucha. 

Day 1: I brewed a strong green tea. I let the tea cool overnight. I also brew beer and have learned the hard way that it is very easy to shock or kill yeast if the wort is too hot. So, I did not take any chances in shocking my SCOBY and let the very sweet green tea cool completely. 

Day 2: I took out the SCOBY and used ziplock bags for gloves. I removed the SCOBY from the jar. I added a step in warming up the cold jar with hot water so the cold jar would not slow fermentation. Yet not too, hot to shock yeast.  I added the tea, and one cup plain raw kombucha (store bought from whole foods). Next, with a little help from my daughter,  I coaxed the SCOBY out of the bowl, careful not to break it. It resisted a first. Then it was as slick and quick as a fish!  In a swift swish and plop it was in the tea. I made quite a shudder as it went through my fingers--see picture above. 

Now I will monitor temperature and wait. I will let you all know how it turns out.  

Basic Ingredients for Unflavored Homemade Kombucha Tea (KT):
1 SCOBY (you can order one here if you can’t make your own)
8 green tea bags (I doubled this because I like strong tea)
1 cup sugar (I used honey and added a little extra)
1 gallon of water
1 gallon  jar
1 old t-shirt ( I used coffee filters)
1 Rubberband (to secure coffee filter/cloth lid)

Directions for Unflavored Homemade Kombucha Tea (KT):

  1. Boil 64 oz of water (8 cups) in a large pot.
  2. Add 8 green tea bags and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
  3. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir well.
  4. Allow the tea to come to room temperature and pour into a clean one-gallon mason jar or crock.
  5. Add 64 oz more water to the jar and place the SCOBY (along with any KT it came with) into the jar.
  6. Cover with a piece of old t-shirt, and secure with a rubber band.
  7. Allow the homemade kombucha to ferment in a dark place (mine was in the pantry) for 7-14 days. Mine was ready after 8, but I live in Southern California, and it’s been warm lately. The fermentation time will vary depending on your location, your SCOBY and how sweet or sour you want the homemade kombucha. Sample by moving the SCOBY aside and taking a little out with a clean spoon. After this time, your tea may be slightly carbonated and will be unflavored (only tea-flavored). You may drink the homemade kombucha tea then or to do a second fermentation with different fruits for flavor and more carbonation.
sourced from :
I also like the Wiki how directions: 

Mini Camino Cali Style Dec 3, 2013 thru Jan 2, 2014

We made it happen! We walked for 30 miles over 3 days along the beautiful Monterey Peninsula Coastline. I felt absolutely blessed by the awesome trekkers who joined us for our Mini-Camino Cali Style walk. What a healthy way to ring in the New Year!

On Dec 30th the intrepid walkers began to arrive from afar. It was amazing to me that a member from my Camino Family from Spain was actually sitting in front of me in my living room. Now I was forming a new Camino Family.

Thank you to all who walked along with us and those who walked in spirit with us on Facebook. Happy New Year! This is only the first of many walks, pilgrimages, workshops and much more to come from Mountain Goat Enterprises!

As always my friends, Buen Camino!

Please feel free to browse our photos from the 3 day trek!
Thanks to Dawn, Giny, and Derrick for sharing your photos with me to share :)
christina sierra's photos on Google+

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Year 2014 Walk From Carmel to Marina

New Year 2014 Walk 
From Carmel to Marina

Day 1: On your own or walk from Carmel to Asilomar.
Option 1: Enjoy the Monterey Peninsula on your own. Suggestions: Point Lobos, Carmelite Monastery Mass at 8am, Carmel Mission, Carmel. Option 2: Walk from Carmel to Asilomar.                 8.9miles/ 14.32 Km Meet that afternoon at Asilomar Conference Grounds.


Day 2: Asilomar Conference Grounds to Monterey Hostel.
An easy day of walking along the coastal trail with full views of the ocean. Lunch any where you like along Cannery Row.
A visit to the Aquarium if you like. Then Check in at Monterey Hostel.
4.1 Miles 6.6 Km

Day 3: Monterey Hostel to Sand City/Marina
Walking along the Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail with more full views of the ocean. Morning coffee break at Starbucks in Sand City.
Option 1: End of walk. Get picked up.                                   4.2 Miles/6.7 Km
Option 2: Walk onto Starbucks in Marina.                           9.6 miles/ 15.45 Km

This is a pay your own way event. You are free to join or leave at will. Below are the lodging suggestions that correspond with the walking itinerary. Please reserve early to be sure you have a space.
Dec 31st- Asilomar Conference Grounds.
800 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Phone:(831) 372-8016
Rooms start at $126.00 for double occupancy
Jan 1st- Monterey Hostel
778 Hawthorne Ave, Monterey
Phone: 831.649.0375
Beds start are $24-27
Jan 2nd- Depart or stay with Family/Friends in Marina
Contact Christina if you would like to be our guest J

(831) 747-4957

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The 6 mile Business Meeting to Be Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise!

Emily and I set out our front doors in early Sunday Morning and walked to the next town!
6 miles in 2 hours!
Have you ever noticed that some of the best ideas come to you when you are walking and talking with someone? Well its scientifically proven that both talking with someone and walking will improve mental ability! 

"A study released last month by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh shows that walking a few miles per week can stave off the progress of Alzheimer's disease. According to the BBC, the study proves that "people who walk at least 5 miles a week have bigger brains, better memories and improved mental ability compared to those who are more sedentary." 
However the study goes on to report that walking 5 miles a week needs to be consistent for up to a year for results to be significant. So,  I will be setting up weekly walking business meetings. Who is ready to improve their mental abilities! 

But hold the phone, there is another great benefit to walking and talking out ideas. Learning collaboratively with another person is the most advanced stage of socio-cultural learning by Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky is a socio-cultural learning theorist. He has been one of my favorite theorists since I was first introduced to his work back in 1998. Yes, I am that geeky to have favorite theorists, don't get me started. 

Vygotsky 's theory suggests that learning is dependent on interaction with other people. So when we talk and walk together we are fullfilling his learning theory as we strive to understand each other, provide constructive feedback, share and build ideas together. 

I always knew there was something to this walking thing. 
So let me know if you want to join this Mt.Goat for a walking business meeting to tease out ideas and make awesome life plans- that we will actually do!

As Always my Friend, 
Buen Camino!

Em and I had great conversations and have some great plans to follow through on!
Can't wait!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Camino Notes Resurrected #1

Photo by Anastasia Vasileva. (Camino Amiga)
The Camino did not always lead us along beautiful and secluded paths. Sometimes we had to walk on busy roads and highways for may hours.  It was dangerous, noisy, and  the hard pavement was especially tiring on the knees. 

"I pray for you to have the courage to embrace your dreams. Dear God, the Camino is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have done next to having children. I am not even done but am convinced if I can walk the Camino I can do anything. Lots of love! Christina"

I sent the message above, to a friend while I was completing the Camino De Santiago De Compostela in Northern Spain. I had been walking for 11 days of the 35 days it would take for me to complete the 510 mile journey on foot. 

"I have been working on embracing joy in my life and letting go of fear. It's not easy for me, but I work on it. So we ended up doing the Camino because my husband felt a calling to it. When my husband first dreamed of the Camino we did not know what it was. Then my husband watched the movie, "The Way" about the Camino and said he wanted to do it. I had no idea what I was agreeing to, but we had vowed to honor each others dreams in our marriage and so I said "ok. That is what we are doing then."
That was about a year and a half ago. For six months we researched occasionally, and discussed it now and then. In July 2012 we set a goal for June 2014. By July 2012 we started buying gear. On March 15 2013,  I got a layoff notice. On St. Patrick's day I took my hubby out for a drink. He did not feel like celebrating in light of the bad news. I insisted we go out anyway. After I got a few drinks in him we started talking about the Camino. I was not drinking. I said 'let's do the camino this year. There are no guarantees in life. What are we waiting for?' 
So from March to May we set up the whole trip. I was afraid of flying and the unknowns of the Camino and I had real concerns about being strong enough to take on such a task. I was barely recovered from a dislocated patella! But I made a conscious decision to not be ruled by fear. Rather I would be inspired by joy. 
I made a Dali Lama quote my mantra "in this moment I am ok" and self-talked myself with this quote through bumpy flights, being lost in a storm on the Camino and through other trials we faced along the Camino. Now we are home. I am changed for the better!"

The above entry was written after we got home form the Camino. I am glad I wrote this to have it to look back on. I am happy to share this with all of you so that others might let go of fear and embrace joy in their lives. 
I do not promise that your journey will be easy. I can almost guarantee that there will be pain, trials and hardships. However, I can tell you from experience, the only way to succeed is to not give up.

I believe we walk the Camino the way we live.
If that is true, I am truly a Mt. Goat that can weather storms, press on in dire circumstances, will make big leaps when needed, and only takes well calculated risks. This Mt. Goat knows  the only way is through. There are no short cuts. This Mt. Goat knows that as long as I put one foot in front of the other, I am  making progress no matter how slow, and I will make it to the top and as long as I never give up!
My Husband Gerald and I, at the 0.0 Km marker
We did it 918 km!
As Always my friend, 
Buen Camino!