Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Almond milk and almond four

Today I feel very proud of myself - not only did I make my own almond milk, but I made almond flour too! I made the milk following instructions from Diet, Desserts, and Dogs, an awesome blog full of recipes for people dealing with various food allergies. I couldn't find the recipe again when I went back to look for it, but it is super easy. Just soak 2 cups of raw almonds in a pot full of water overnight. In the morning when they are nice and plump, drain and rinse them, then put in a food processor with a fresh 1 3/4 cups of water. Blend the heck out of it, then, working in small batches, wrap up blobs of your almond mixture in cheesecloth and squeeze out the "milk." This almond milk is much thicker, richer and sweeter than any almond milk you can buy at the store. In fact, it is more like cream. I think I will water this batch down just a tad to make it last longer and make it a bit less rich.
After squeezing as much juice out of the almonds as I could, (and my hands are SO soft now - a pretty great and unexpected side-effect of the whole process) I put the remaining meal on a baking sheet. Then I baked the whole lumpy soggy mess in a 250 degree oven for several hours. I was just winging it at this point, so my instructions are to take the almond meal out now and then and feel it to see if it is dry. It will get kind of crunchy, but that's ok. When it is all dried out it will still be pretty coarse and lumpy. You could save this "almond meal" as-is if you want (I have some in the freezer from my last batch of almond milk) or you could put it in a coffee grinder to get the fine texture of almond flour. There - nothing went to waste! And while it would probably be much easier and less messy to just go to the store and buy almond milk and a bag of almond flour, then you wouldn't feel so proud of yourself, would you?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Now in Organic!

Well, I finally got my act together enough to photograph the organic sandwich and snack bags I made about a month ago. These cuties have been sitting in a safe place waiting patiently for their photo shoot. Isn't the lamb print the most adorable thing ever??? These are from the Modern Whimsy line designed by Laurie Wisbirn for Robert Kauffman's organic line. So now, in addition to being lined in completely food-safe 100% cotton unbleached muslin, you can get your fabric snack and sandwich bags in an even earth-friendlier option. So far I've listed the pouches in the vine and lamb prints, but have all of these fabrics for you to choose from:
I love how these all coordinate with each other. It is definitely a more girly line of prints - wouldn't you have loved opening one of these every day when you sat down to lunch as a kid? I'm still offering the snack and sandwich bags in the Half Moon Modern prints, but am starting to have a hard time tracking down more fabric (thanks so much for all the orders!). If you like what you see, please vote for my reusable snack and sandwich bags in the Handmade Olympics - voting ends on the 27th. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Things that are yellow

There's nothing quite like pushing promising zucchini seeds into the garden dirt on a warm spring afternoon and then feeling those tell-tale droplets on your face and arms that tell you your three year old is urinating on you from the tree fort.

The flowers he and his brother picked for me almost made up for it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Exciting News!

Ooh - I am so excited! My reusable snack bags have been nominated in the Handmade Olympics for favorite eco-friendly handmade goody! Hip-hip-hooray! Do you know about the Handmade Olympics? I first saw the Handmade Olympics at Rikrak Studio last year - there are 6 categories and you get to vote for the winner of each one. Everything in the Olympics is hand-made and you are guaranteed lots of eye candy while you peruse and vote, as well as plenty of fun things to spend your money on. :) But the most important part is that you can vote for ME! Just click here and cast your vote. And while you're at it, go and vote in the other categories too. Such a fun way to get involved in the hand-made community and support some awesome artists. Voting closes April 30th - thanks!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Wrap Up

Well hello, how was your Easter? Here is a picture of my boys headed out for our Easter Egg hunt. Pretty darn cute. What you can't see by looking at this picture is:

- The fact that it is almost 7 pm and the sun is starting to go down
- Our uncooked, uneaten fancy dinner sitting in the refrigerator
- The boys' beautiful white wicker Easter baskets lying abandoned in the dirt of our neighbor's driveway
- A new pile of gross laundry in the middle of the previously clean kitchen
- Taco Bell wrappers testifying to the not-so-fancy Easter dinner we ended up eating
- The stitches in Moses' forehead, the need for which precipitated all of my previous points

Easter egg hunts, it seems, can be dangerous. Moses was one of two children in the minor injury clinic of our town who had sustained an egg-hunt-related injury (the other little girl had a broken leg, poor thing). And while holding a bloody rag to my son's head while he vomited into an empty Kleenex box in the back of the car (all while delivering a pretty convincing argument for why my 3 year old is not old enough to receive a "fire pellet gun" in his Easter basket) is not how I envisioned spending this Easter, I am so SO grateful that he is OK and walked away with nothing more than a couple of liquid stitches (that's right, he didn't even have to endure a needle!). Turns out the vomiting was car sickness rather than a concussion symptom, and he perked right up once he learned he was to be glued back together rather than sewn.

After all that drama, yesterday felt like a day to sit around and do this spring break thing right. It was the perfect combination of sunny and breezy outside - just the right weather to eat some of those hard-earned jelly beans on a blanket in the pasture. Today it is drizzly, so we will head to the dollar store, where the youngest is hoping to find a "fire dagger" he can buy with the money he got in his Easter eggs (he seems to have put his dreams of a fire pellet gun on hold for now). I'm hoping they are all sold out. :)