Monday, June 22, 2015

BACK TO HOMEMADE

When we started this blog 'a life made simple' way back in 201, I was planning for it to be about the where, what, whys and hows of what we thought was a simple life. I have to say that over the years, as we have travelled during the winters and worked steady through the summer months, I have really wondered where the 'simple' fit in.

And now more then ever I am wondering about where the 'simple' fits in. I've been thinking about that as a blog post for a few weeks but tonight isn't the night - it will have to wait.

Along those lines, however was that the 'simple' back then was really to be more about living frugally. Our lifestyle requires us to be frugal. Being frugal is actually not so simple but it is the one things I hope we can hold on to as we go forward leading a more stable life - now that we won't be traveling south for the winter. 

For us, and many others - to be frugal means to be conscious about where our money is spent and finding ways to make do without something or to be creative about procuring it. For me, one of my favourite things to decrease our spending, while at the same time increase the quality of the products we consume, is to make things myself. 

For years now I have been making our toothpaste for instance. I admit to not doing that while on the road - which is why I often question how simple the road life is. As many of you can attest to - there are many things that are much simpler when living in a house then on the road. 

Last week I tackled something else that I've been wanting to make homemade for some time.

Almond and coconut milk. 

I did make almond milk once a couple of years ago and loved the result. The other day when I took my first sip of my first batch I wondered why I haven't continued.


Learning a few weeks ago that commercial almond milk is only about 2% almonds I decided to once again make our own.

By the way - last week we picked up this fancy new blender for me. I'm the kind of gal who likes domestic gifts. I've been putting smoothies out for years with a little itty bitty single serve blender from Walmart. I knew I needed a new blender so did some research. I decided if we were going to invest we may as well go all the way. 

The Ninja Ultima turned out to be the one I chose. Imagine my excitement when it went on sale at Canadian Tire a few weeks ago - down to $139 from $249!


Not the most exciting photos but hey - it's a pretty easy process. The almonds have to be soaked overnight which is one of the best things about making the milk yourself because it sprouts the almonds. I used Wellness Mama's recipe which you can find here.

Here's my Ninja in action - it's powerful so it's loud. No doing this while someone is napping!


Without cheesecloth I used a tea towel for straining. As the recipe mentioned, I then put the almonds on a cookie sheet, dried them and put them back in the Ninja.


Amazingly good and really a pretty easy process - well worth the effort. With that I moved on a few days later to Coconut Milk - which is beyond amazing. We are particular fans of Trader Joe's Coconut Milk but this even beats that!

I have to say that I haven't worked out the cost - so I'm not sure if we are saving money by doing this. All the articles I've read say that it is cheaper to make your own even with the high price of almonds. 


I also wanted to share with you are newest find that we are now quite addicted to - Organic Fair Soda Syrups. I do want to get into making our own sodas also but these are doing quite well in the mean time. The soda syrup is generally essences, herbs and spices - which we add to soda water. 


If you are wondering how the campground here at Fintry has been going it's been great. Well, of course there are those things that aren't so great that come with the territory but all in all we are having a super season so far. 

We've been full on the weekends with still fairly quiet weekdays. That's about to change with the end of school and start of summer vacations this week. We expect to full or almost full most nights from this weekend until the September long weekend. 

Our flower, vegetable and fruit gardens are also doing great - I'll take some pictures soon.

Teresa




18 comments:

  1. What a luxury for you - new blender plus kitchen to experiment with stuff you love....it was a great post and I hope all park dogs are on their leads...LOL seems funny you talking about Summer and we are heading into Winter - makes for interesting reading ...have you had a winter any time, being a snowbird? (They call them grey nomads here - folks that follow the sun) but I wouldn't refer to you guys as "grey nomads"...LOL

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    1. I know - a huge luxury - we are feeling pretty good with our higher salary! No dogs will not be on leashes unfortunately - a constant battle! I know - it is strange about the opposite season. It's been 5 years since we have been in Canada for the winter so it will be an adjustment for sure. More for Cassia then us since Derek and I grew up with winter. Ha! Actually both Derek and I have grey so sadly it does apply!

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  2. I make my own almond milk for the same reason you do. I toast my almonds prior to blending, makes the almond milk extra yummy. I do like the idea of turning the pulp into almond flour. Thanks for that link.

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    1. Ya - why waste it - I did the same for the coconut!

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  3. Sound like a great product, and so good for you too.

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  4. Try making you own butter. Should be easy in the Ninja.

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  5. Only 2%?? Did not know that... We still making smoothie with a hand held immersion blender, now I want a Ninja. Nice price too! I'll be look for those syrups, especially root beer! Can't wait to hear what you cook up next!

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  6. Only 2%?? Did not know that... We still making smoothie with a hand held immersion blender, now I want a Ninja. Nice price too! I'll be look for those syrups, especially root beer! Can't wait to hear what you cook up next!

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    1. Definitely get a Ninja Cj - you can probably find it cheaper as things are more expensive here..... I forgot to mention that the syrups are from Vancouver Island so Canadian made. You should be able to find something in the USA though - you guys have way more products to choose from! I'm so wanting to make our own yogurt!

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  7. Great deal on the blender! I would never get my car repaired at a Canadian Tire store ever again, but they do come up with some good retail bargains.

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    1. I can't say I'm the biggest CT fan myself and I have been stung at the automotive department too! It was the only place with the blender though and with that price I couldn't pass it up of course!

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    1. Almond Milk price: 1 cup almonds = 1/4 lb., cost of almonds per 1/4 lb = $1, it takes 1 cup almonds to make a quart per "Wellness Mama's" recipe, making a gallon cost around $4, but also you get the almond pulp. I'd think you come out better this way, does it actually taste better than Original Silk or Almond Breeze cost around $3.25 half gallon? It seems your basically removing the flavor from the almond; oil, fat and protein should still locked up in pulp.

      Now all you need is a pair of earmuffs to keep that Ninja at bay :)

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    2. Hi Brian! I should have known you'd do the leg work for me. Since I know our prices differ I decided to do the math. Ok - so for us we can buy almonds at $2.30 per 100 grams. 1 cup of almonds is 70 grams so prices is about $1.60. We can by the 946 ml which is about 4 cups for $2.50 - $3 - with $2.00 the cheapest when on sale. So - we are actually really ahead since it tastes way better and is better for us! I think more is being put in the milk then just the taste - the oil and fat too!

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    3. Woh-wah, you get a great price for almonds. I'm gonna need to try this stuff, sounds wonderful. I'm a believer, but those metric numbers are a bit foreign to my US edumucation. We US folk have a crazy way of doing things, right!

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  9. Can't wait to see the garden. That too requires a stationary home!

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