Category Archives: DIY

Homemade Almond Milk in 4 Easy Steps

 

Healthy Homemade Almond Milk- yum!

Creamy, delicious almond milk to drink, to put over cereal, to put in tea/coffee & in smoothies          Photo Credit: Source

 

Why Make Your Own Almond Milk?

Almond milk is such an easy item to make and so delicious.  While store brought almond milk is nice and convenient, I don’t think it is as healthy as home-made.  For one thing, most store-bought almond milk is pasteurized, killing many valuable nutrients and extending the shelf life.  Plus, additives like carrageenan  (which is a suspected carcinogen) are in many soy and nut milks.

I am a firm believer in fresh, whole foods as mother nature intended.  I love the idea of organically grown, lush and life giving, rather than pesticides, refined, processed and environmentally damaging.  Plus, if you buy your almonds in bulk, you avoid plastic waste and help ween us off of our polluting petroleum dependency.  Even the cartons that you buy almond milk in are lined in plastic (yes, I know- shocking) and plastic can leach toxins into your milk.

Buying almonds in bulk can save money and is a more sustainable choice.

Use a cloth bag to buy your bulk almonds and avoid plastic waste.

Does homemade almond milk cost more?

That depends on where you get your almonds and if you utilize the leftover almond meal.  I get bulk, raw organic almonds for $8.99 per pound at Wholefoods, which is the best deal I have seen, so far,  in my neck of the woods.  What makes this more cost effective is that the leftover almond meal can be turned into a snack, extending the value of making almond milk.  Click here to see many fun recipes utilizing your almond meal in delicious ways.

Now, on to the fun.  Here are the ingredients and supplies you will be needing:

Supplies

  • Jar or glass cup (for soaking the almonds)
  • Vitamix or blender
  • Nut milk bag (click here for a nut milk bag made from 100% organic cotton,  so you don’t get any yucky plastic chemicals leaching into your fresh almond milk.)
  • Quart-sized (or larger) glass measuring cup or bowl
  • Large mason jar or container to store your nut milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw almonds (organic, if possible)
  • 3-4 cups of filter water (depending on thickness desired)
  • 2-4 pitted Medjool dates (depending on sweetness desired) or 3 table spoons of coconut sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, chopped (or 1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of fine grain Himalayan salt or sea salt to enhance the flavor

NOTE: This recipe makes about 3.5 cups of almond milk.

STEP 1 (optional)

Soak your raw almonds to make them easier to digest and nutritious.

Soak your raw almonds to make them easier to digest and more nutritious.

Soak raw almonds  in filtered water for at least 7 hours in a jar or glass.  Empty out almonds and water into a strainer and then rinse off thoroughly. I like to soak mine overnight and then make my nut milk in the morning to go into my smoothie.

NOTE: This first step is optional, but I think it will enhance the nutritional benefits of your almond milk.  Everything in nature has natural defense mechanisms to help continue its species.  Porcupines have quills.  Jelly fish will sting you if you touch them.  Nuts, seeds and grains have phytic acid.  The acid binds to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese in the gastrointestinal tract, which inhibits our digestive systems’ ability to break the nut down properly.   Thankfully, if you soak almonds, the acid is deactivated.  Click here more information on why to soak your nuts.

STEP 2

Delicious raw, organic almonds

Delicious raw, organic almonds

Put the almonds and 3- 4 cups of filtered water into your vitamix or blender.  Blend until nuts are finely ground.  In a Vitamix, that takes under a minute.

STEP 3  

RESIZEalmond milk 002

Milk your nuts

When I first started “milking” my nuts (I know, I know, it does sound a little perverted, but I promise it is all perfectly G-rated), I liked to imagine that my nut milk bag, filled with pureed almonds and filtered water, was like a cow udder.

So, here is how you “milk your nuts”:

Get your large glass measuring cup or glass bowl ready.  I like the glass measuring cup because it pours easily into another container. Holding your nut milk bag over it, pour about half the water nut mixture into it (depending on the size of your nut milk bag and glass bowl, you may be able to do the entire nut water mixture at once.)  Then, repeatedly squeeze the nut milk bag, milking out every last drop of almond milk.  Put the leftover almond meal into the fridge or freezer so that you can use it later for a fun recipe, such as homemade crackers

If you use something the size of a large glass measuring cup, you may need to transfer the nut milk into another container, before milking the last half of the nut water mixture. 

Step 4

Put nut milk back into the Vitamix or blender and add in the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Creamy, delicious almond milk to drink, for smoothies, to put into tea or coffee or over cereal.

Healthy, homemade almond milk- yum! Photo Credit: Sarah Jane Smith

Viola! There you have it!  Easy, breezy almond milk.  Please refrigerate.  This should last at least 48 hours.

Have you ever made nut milk?  What is your experience?  Know of any fantastic nut milk recipes? If so, share in the comments sections below.

When Trash Becomes Treasure: The Joy of Repurposing & Upcycling

Lately, I have been on a repurposing kick.  It’s an area of my green journey that I didn’t visit as much before.  Many things I would have thrown out or recycled, have suddenly found a second life, a reincarnation into something new and inspiring.  So, please enjoy this photo essay of upcycling and repurposing by myself and other bloggers.

Turning Old Jars Into Gems

Why recycle when you can reuse? Remove labels from jars by soaking jars in water for an hour or two.  After that, labels will easily come off .

 

Jars for Storage

Nut butter jars now store whole nuts. Spice jars are refilled with bulk spices. A small jar now houses rose petals for tea.

 

Store an avocado, carry your lunch or put homemade nut mylk in repurposed jars.

Store an avocado, carry your lunch or put homemade nut mylk in jars. The possibilities are endless.

Make your own wholesome dressing and put in a mason jar.

Make your own healthy dressing & put in a mason jar.

Other Containers Creatively Reused

An old mug houses a bottle cleaning brush.  A jar is reused to hold veggie scrub brushes.  A tiny clay pot hold steel wool.

An old mug houses a bottle cleaning brush. A jar is reused to hold veggie scrub brushes. A tiny clay pot holds steel wool.

Clockwise:  A spray bottle is reused to contain vinegar and water to condition my hair. A bath salt jar gets a second life holding a homemade body butter.  A silicone lid from a broken travel mug becomes the perfect soap dish.  A protein bar baggie now houses one of my many sample soap bars.

Clockwise: A spray bottle is reused to contain vinegar and water to condition my hair. A bath salt jar gets a second life holding a homemade body butter. A silicone lid from a broken travel mug becomes the perfect soap dish. A protein bar baggie now houses one of my shampoo bar samples.

A jar lid becomes a plant dish.

A jar lid becomes a plant dish.

A strawberry container upcycles into a linen closet organizer.

A strawberry container upcycles into a linen closet organizer.

 

Coming up, here are some of my favorite upcycling ideas from others:    

A chair becomes a towel rack and shelf. Courtesy of the blog, Twisted Sifter.

A chair becomes a towel rack and shelf. Courtesy of the blog, Twisted Sifter.

Incandescent lightbulbs become mini hanging vases.  Courtesy of Red Ship.

Incandescent lightbulbs become mini hanging vases. Courtesy of Red Ship.

Oh, lovely.  A bike is held by old bike handlebars.  Courtesy of Upcycle That.

 A bicycle is held by old bike handlebars. Courtesy of Upcycle That.

Apparently, all you need is a glass cutter and very coarse sand paper.  Courtesy of The Art of the R's.

Apparently, all you need is a glass cutter and very coarse sand paper to transform wine bottles in glasses. Courtesy of The Art of the R’s.

Who wants this beautiful lamp made from a wine bottle?  Courtesy of HGTV.

Who wants this beautiful lamp made from a wine bottle? Courtesy of HGTV.

This mirror is made from collected sticks that are painting white and attached to a mirror.  See HGTV on how to do this.

This mirror is enhanced from twigs that are painted white and attached to it. See HGTV on how to do this.

An old wine box transforms into shoe storage.  Courtesy of Twisted Sifter.

An old wine box transforms into shoe storage. Courtesy of Twisted Sifter.

 

Ever wonder what to do with old, mismatched kitchen utensils?  Courtesy of Twisted Sifter.

Ever wonder what to do with old, mismatched kitchen utensils? Courtesy of Twisted Sifter.

Need to decorate?  How about framing an old piece of wood with character?  Courtesy of HGTV.

Need to decorate? How about framing an old piece of wood with character? Courtesy of HGTV.

Transform your old jars into a decorative herb garden!  Courtesy of Camille Styles.

Transform your old jars into a decorative herb garden! Courtesy of Camille Styles.

 

Have you ever repurposed or upcycled?  What ideas would you like to try? Share the inspiration in the comments section below.

How To Get Fabulous Hair With Baking Soda And Apple Cider Vinegar

With my desire to eliminate plastic from my life, I started trying new methods of washing my hair without bottled shampoo.  People are calling these methods “noo poo” (i.e. no bottled shampoo).  One popular method uses baking soda to wash hair and apple cider vinegar to condition it.  I was quite pleasantly surprised by the results.  Dare I say that my hair looked the best it had in a long time?   By my definition that means soft, wavy and shiny. In fact, it was probably the shiniest I had seen in years with amazing body to boot.  Who knew that I didn’t need conventional hair conditioner and that ACV  (apple cider vinegar) would do the trick?

So, if I have peaked your interest, here are my instructions so you can get gorgeous, shiny hair  that is full of body:

  1.  resizeIMG_2267                                        Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water.  Put contents into an empty shampoo bottle.
  2. resizeIMG_2274resizeIMG_2275                   Mix 1-3 tablespoons of ACV with 16 ounces of water into a spray bottle (I reused an empty household cleaning bottle rather than buying a new spray bottle.)
  3. Once you get into the shower, wet your hair and pour the baking soda mixture onto your entire scalp. The nozzle of your shampoo bottle cap helps control the flow. There is no need to pour this mixture onto the rest of your hair.  This is because when you rinse, the mixture will work its way down the length of your hair. It’s a deep cleanser, so this little bit of brief contact is all that is needed. Please make sure that you rinse out the baking soda mixture THOROUGHLY.
  4. Spray the ACV mixture onto your scalp and along the entire length of your hair.  Let it sit in your hair like a conditioner for a few minutes and then rinse.  The ACV actually smooths and seals the hair shaft, making it feel silky and look shiny.  For extra shine and conditioning, rinse the ACV mixture out with cool or cold water, which further helps to seal the hair shaft.  I kind of do a mini back bend so that the cool water only hits my head and not my body. And, don’t worry, the ACV smell dissipates as your hair drys and you won’t smell like salad. Your hair will pretty much smell like nothing, which to me is truly clean.

Here are two selfies of me with my freshly washed baking soda and ACV hair.  It also happened to rain that day, so that probably amplified my positive results:

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This is what my hair normally looks like (note that it looks less wavy and a little less shiny in these selfies):

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Observations, Variations And Tips

With the baking soda ACV no poo method, my hair felt very squeaky clean.  While my hair was wet, it did not feel conditioned enough and a bit dry.  However, as it dried, it grew softer and softer.  Even with this softness, it was tangly and a little harder to comb through.  To remedy that, I re-wet the ends of my hair and put a very small amount of coconut oil on my ends.  When I say small, I mean tiny– like 1/16 – 1/8 of a teaspoon.  It works like a charm!

If your hair comes out too dry with this recipe, try using less baking soda in your mixture.  If your hair still seems unclean and greasy, try using more baking soda. Everybody’s hair is different.  See what works best for you.

If you mix your baking soda with hot water, I would use a glass bottle instead of a plastic shampoo bottle (so that the heat doesn’t cause the plastic’s chemicals to leach into your mixture) and attach your shampoo cap to it like so:

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Well, that’s all folks!  Please feel free to ask me any questions and share your experiences with this method.  I look forward to hearing from you.