Homemade Almond Milk.

January 31, 2012

I am not a huge player on the almond milk front.  I like it, I buy it and drink it from time to time (mostly in smoothies), but until today I had never tasted the real stuff (as in homemade).  I figured it would make a pretty big difference....and was intrigued to try it especially after reading Kristina's write-up the other day. But I have to tell you about this version because it is a bit different (not to mention dead simple), and ohmygoodness it was so good I drank that whole bottle in one afternoon.

The sweet and lovely and kick-ass Shelly invited me over this morning to make her version of Bitchin' Sauce (which I tweeted about a couple of days ago).  The sauce itself and the recipe is going to be discussed in its own post, so don't worry.  The brilliant thing about her version of sauce (besides being as delicious as the stuff we buy at our farmer's market!) is that you start by making a batch of almond milk and then use the leftover almond meal/pulp to make the sauce.  Love it!!

So, here's what you do if you want to taste the creamiest, loveliest, yummiest almond milk.  You are on your own to track down one of those cool French milk bottles however!  She gave it to me as she is purging her house of stuff in preparation for their move to Australia for a year.....I try to not hold that against her.  ;-)

Almond Milk

3/4 c. raw, organic almonds (I think she soaked hers for a few hours, but I can't be certain)
2 c. water
1 pitted date

Whirl everything in a blender for a couple of minutes.  Mind you, she used a regular old blender.....no Vitamix necessary.  Pass through a fine mesh strainer.  Don't squeeze...just let it drain out.

Shelly had this great tip: no need to buy the expensive strainers from a health food store.  Just buy one of these mesh paint strainers (you can pick them up at Home Depot).

I want to try adding a little cinnamon and maybe a little maple syrup as Kristina suggested....I can't imagine doing so would be anything but all sorts of loveliness!

Quinoa Salad With Fennel, Carrot, Zucchini and More.

January 24, 2012

I figure as long as I'm on a posting roll, I may as well share with you a really yummy salad I made.  Now, I know I have mentioned on more than one occasion how crazy I am about this quinoa salad with apples and aged gouda.  (It still might be the best.)  Then, the other night for Supper Club, Alice made this quinoa dish.  Also really, really good.  But today I wanted crunchy and fresh with lots of flavor.  I remembered a salad my friend Megan made and asked her for the recipe.  I followed it mostly and made a couple of changes just because I had different ingredients on hand.  It was so very insanely delicious.  If I do say so myself.  ;-)

Quinoa Salad With Fennel, Carrot and Zucchini

I think it's really important to chop the vegetables finely.  I'm not sure why, but it's just better.

2 c. cooked quinoa (cooled to room temperature)
1 small zucchini, chopped finely
5 small carrots, chopped finely (I had a beautiful rainbow assortment which worked nicely)
1/2 red pepper, chopped finely
1 small head fennel, chopped finely
2 small shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons
1/4 c. sherry vinegar
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a serving bowl.  Mix together remaining dressing ingredients and add to quinoa and vegetables.  Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.

Eating Healthy (ish).

Although it had nothing to do with New Years Resolutions, sometime about a month ago, B and I started to get serious about eating healthier.  B has had a health issue over the past couple of months (nothing serious, thankfully, but impacting his quality of life nonetheless).  We (mainly I) have been researching like crazy to find non-medical (lifestyle) ways to address it.  The Western doctors he has been seeing only go so far.  One of my frustrations with Western Medicine is that unless something has been proven to an absolute certainty, they don't even discuss it.  As in "Doc, should I be eating less crap and more veggies?'  "Well, there's nothing that has shown that would help."  BAH.

Anyway, eating healthier will help us in many ways -- of that I (although not a doctor!) am certain.  Problem is there is just so much conflicting information out there.  There is common sense (less meat! more whole foods!), but then there are lots of other seemingly worthy factors to consider.  We have been dabbling in the Alkaline Diet (as that is what is supposed to most address the issue he is dealing with), but it is very extreme (basically vegan with no fats at all, even plant-based ones....um, hello salad with lemon?).  A few friends are raving about the GAPS diet, and I feel aspects of that could help us.  Also, eating based on our doshas (which, of course, are different from each other) is intriguing, as is food combining.  But again, there are so many conflicting theories!  So hard to know which path is right for us (which again may be different from each other ARGH!!!)

So.  Here is where we are.  We juice lots of green leafy vegetables for about three days at a time and start the day out with a big glass.  Water with lots of lemon.  Very little coffee.  (This is all the alkaline stuff.)  Fewer starches (mostly for him.....I haven't gotten serious about it yet).  More bone broth.  And a cruciferous vegetable everyday.  Got that idea from Martha Stewart Living.  I mean, I already knew they were really good for you....but the idea of eating one (or more) everyday?  Sounds good to me.  Plus we happen to love all those vegetables.  Here are some of the recipes we have tried or will be trying soon.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup With Greens

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Broccoli Soup (the best I've had)

Wilted Kale and Roasted Potato Winter Salad (this is one of our all-time favorite dishes)

Raw Kale Salad (we have had many variations...they are all good as long as there is lemon, olive oil and some good cheese)

Cole slaw (loving this version!)

JalapeƱo and Lime Marinated Kale Tostadas

Baked Eggs With Tomato Sauce, Kale and Gruyere

Broccoli Slaw

Cauliflower Salad with Green Olives and Capers

Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots

The stand-by: roasted with lots of olive oil and sea salt until crispy (broccoli rabe, cauliflower, kale, etc.) -- the kids love it this way

Anything I'm missing?  How do you love your cruciferous vegetables?

photo credit

A Request.

January 22, 2012

This might sound a little silly, but reading blogs has been an important part of my life in the past few years.  I have gotten to know many of you through your blogs and been inspired, laughed out loud, felt connected to.....a bigger something.  If I had to pick one blog that has impacted me the most, I believe I would have to say it is Kelle Hampton's "Enjoying the Small Things."  I posted a link to her amazing, life-changing birth story almost two years ago.  Kelle is an amazing human.  I can't say more than that.....just read her blog if you don't already.  (Or, at least, please, please read her post from this morning.)  

Today her sweet little Nella turns two.  Kelle and her family have a goal this year of raising $200,000 for the National Down Syndrome Society in honor of Nella's second birthday.  They are so close to their goal.  Please join me in helping her.   

Summer Vacation.

Is it too early to start thinking about summer vacations?  Nah.  It takes some planning!  Some foresight!  B and I took the plunge the other night into: 1. Where should we go? and 2. Where should we stay?  and 3. How on earth do we find a place to stay?  That's always the hardest part it seems, for us anyway.

Neither of us are feeling motivated (at the moment, anyway) to take a big trip this year with the kids involving major time changes and travel time.  And let me tell you: you need some motivation if you're going to undertake something like that with three small ones!  So, we are looking closer to home (but not too close!) and trying to figure out where to go.  It's a wee bit overwhelming as there are so many incredible places to visit.  I would personally rather come across an awesome place to stay and have that be the driving factor.  You know, one of those "my friend's aunt has this beautiful house on the lake that never gets used, and you should really see it...."  In other words, I hate going on VRBO and trying to find somewhere to stay.  Too overwhelming!  Too untrustworthy!
Here's where you come in: How do you guys find vacation rentals?  Any super secret tips?  Anyone ever done a home exchange?

Also, where is your ultimate summer vacation?  A house on the lake?  A beach rental?  Camping in the Sequoias?  A lodge somewhere?  Tell us, please!

all photos on my pinterest "places i'd like to be" board

More Family Photos Than You Ever Wanted to See.

I never showed you the photos that Kim took while she was here in October (except for the photo we used for our card this year).  Family photo sessions are getting more and more painful (why oh why do my kids hate having their picture taken??), but she somehow manages to capture the kids in their natural state (which is what I think her genius is as a photographer.....well, at least one of them!).  And I apologize for the onslaught of photos....I just couldn't narrow them down any further.  ;-)

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