Teri, I actually saw this post briefly as I was draggin myself off to bed, after sewing most of the day...so I figured you, or someone would answer it and if not, then I was planning on 'jumping in' this morn
hehe..I'm so tired, but I have the hardest part of my son's Halloween costume made now! It's all good, as long as the questions get answered by somebody!
The vanilla kefir (using live grains) recipe is on page 3 of 'Got Kefir' and in some other places, but easier to bump the thread for you, as you have some other questions.. As are a ton of other ways to try Kefir, if you don't like the taste straight up (Me and Teri has some issues...but I'm actually coming around a bit now, as the natural flavor is 'growing' on me now)
As Teri says, we like the 'cream cheese' made with Kefir, to eat on toast, bagels, or use as a dip.
I try to keep that thread bumped, as it seems there is a question about Kefir every few days...feel free to add any interesting food experiments you have with Kefir!
I made a Cranberry Kefir pie that was AWESOME, and I'm not big on Cranberries. I think I'll try adding strawberry puree or something in it next time!
Kefir tastes like stronger yogurt to me, with a slight 'buttermilk' flavor. I just use it in any recipe calilng for milk, buttermilk, yogurt, etc. It makes breads especially soft and yummy! I hate beer, but there is a slight 'tinge' of something fermented about it for sure, as you find is a really good sourdough bread.
I'd be surprised if you couldn't buy some store brand Kefir at a local HFS, it's a staple, like yogurt. There are several mammas who can ship grains to you, to make your own. I posted a link that allows people to put in where they live, and find people close to them that ship grains. GaleForce and I ship alot. There are other mammas here that have grains that will be growing soon enough, or might be ready. If you can't find someone local in Canada, then let us know.