Hello Friends. The Holiday season is upon us…are you feeling the stress yet (ha ha). Personally, the process of purchasing gifts totally stresses me out. So to simplify life and decrease that pesky stress, I like to do homemade gifts for family and friends. Hands down, it’s always so appreciated and well received. I start by making a list of family, friends, and “other” (school teachers, co-workers, piano teacher, childcare, etc) and then decide on what I am going to make. This year I am doing a gift bag with a homemade candle, jar of homemade spiced nuts, tea, mandarins, and small jar of honey. I might also add my favorite Raw Pepperminty Nutty-Roons – we will see how motivated I feel. The last two years I made my popular homemade granola which you should definitely try. It’s soooo good!! This year I making something new…candles! I have wanted to make candles for years. Last year I bought a bunch of supplies but never got around to testing them out. And you know what, it’s ridiculously easy. I have both beeswax and soy and started with the soy (it’s so pretty and white). The process is easy as well as fun and not to mention fast. I’m super excited about adding a sweet little homemade candle to my gift bags this year. Yay! xo, -Amber Continue reading
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Ever have one of those weekend (or week) days where you feel sort of blaaah and have a ton of stuff to do (in my case work) and stay in bed all day working and sleeping on and off and then at around 9:00 pm you start to feel really crusty and oily and want to just scrub your skin off? I had one of those days over the weekend. It was so hot here last week friends (108 degrees if you can believe it), and fires everywhere! Poor drought ridden California. It can get pretty nasty here in the summer with bad air quality…and the fires! Gasp. It’s really sad. I think all that gets to my immune system and just zaps me. So I got a lot accomplished on my crusty lazy day, and then wanted to do something to enhance my mood, you know, get out of the funk. I like to pamper myself and do some self-care when I’m not feeling well. A good face and body scrub was in order. I’ve been using a simple two ingredient facial scrub that works like magic at sloughing off dead skin and creates a lovely glow. It closes my pores, tightens my skin, and evens out my skin tone. I have experimented with different ingredients such as lemon, oatmeal, salt, and oils. I just go with what yields the best results, and the sugar scrub is the best I’ve used so far. If you give it a try, let me know what you think. And friends, take a little you time for self-care. A fresh coat of nail polish, a relaxing shower, a face and body scrub down, a massage…whatever, it really does wonders for the mind and body. Continue reading
If you’re a vegan, or allergic to dairy, or just downright dislike cow milk…this post is for you. It’s all about homemade nondairy milks. I’ve been making homemade nut milks for close to 10 years! I started making them in my Magic Bullet and then graduated to a high speed blender. I’ve tried many different nut and seed milks. My ALL TIME favorite is walnut milk and I have created a video (end of post) sharing how I make walnut milk and also demonstrate the use of both and high speed blender and standard blender in the quality of the walnut milk. In this post I share with you some of the basics to making your own non dairy milk, with several recipes to get you started. And I hope you find it inspiring…as well as delicious.
Okay, let’s get started… Continue reading
Hello friends. I’m super excited to share an amazing new lotion ingredient with you: mango butter! I am in love. Mango butter is a soft, non-greasy butter extracted from the mango kernel (not the meat) and it has a soft earthy scent. Here are just some of mango butter’s benefits: (1) it is rich in powerful antioxidants, vitamins (A, C, & E) and minerals that help reduce degeneration of skins cells (aka, fights wrinkles), improves elasticity of the skin, and offers protection again the sun’s UV radiation, (2) powerful anti-inflammatory agent, good for bug bites, rashes, wounds, scars, and poison ivy/oak, (3) beneficial for the scalp and hair, and (4) excellent for eczema, dry skin, and other skin conditions. Continue reading
I was so excited about our winter garden this year and wanted to share it with you! A while ago we made some new planter boxes (a super basic and easy design – see video below). I love doing a winter garden every year, as I have great success with peas, carrots, and lettuce. But this year I finally grew beets! And broccoli! And cabbage! and *sort of* onions/leeks. I garden in a fairly small space but still we have such fun and the kids LOVE it. I live in Northern California where we have mild winters and blazing hot summers. In fact, summer gardens around here go until early/mid November, then I switch over to the winter crops. But really, it’s never too late to start a garden…with a little research, you can find any crop to grow anytime of the year. Winter gardens are just so fun! Mother nature provides the rain and those delicious root veggies grow and grow in the frosty cold weather – lettuce thrives and the peas go crazy. And I love seeing all the green leaves popping up during those cold winter months. I’ve included some pictures for you of my gorgeous beets (first time growing!) and a few other winter crops. I’ve also included my video on how to build the simple planter boxes we use. Enjoy and let me know what you like to plant during the winter…or anytime. xo, Amber.
Almond butter came into my life in 2004 when I was doing my first candida cleanse. And I kid you not, at the time it was pure indulgence. Not much was allowed on the cleanse, but small doses of almond butter was okay, so I pretty much fell in love. After the cleanse and through the years I ate almond butter regularly. I’m deathly allergic to peanuts, so how fun to make my own version of PB&J with almond butter. As much as I love almond butter, about a year ago I discovered that it irritates my digestion to no end. So although I don’t eat almonds or almond butter much anymore, it’s beloved by my husband and children. So I make it for them. Making at home is also motivated by the insanely high price of store bought organic almond butters (common to see $15 for a jar…I’ve seen it as high as $24!!). If you love roasted almond butter and want to save a little money, then this recipe is for you. I also make a raw version with soaked and dehydrated almonds and included directions for this at the end of the post.
- 3 cups raw organic almonds
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Arrange the almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer
- Roast for 10 minutes
- Remove from oven and allow the almonds to cool completely
- When the almonds are cool, add to a food processor
- Turn it on and let it whirl. After about a minute the almonds will form a stiff, dry ball. This is okay. Take off the lid and break the ball apart with a fork. Turn the machine back on and keep it blending. If it stops up again, do the same with the fork
- After about 3 minutes the oils in the almonds will release and the mixture will become thin. Continue blending until the almonds are creamy and smooth. It takes about 9 minutes in my food processor. Add in your pinch of salt toward the end of the process. Please note, I do NOT have a fancy, high tech food processor. It is the most basic model
- Store in glass container in the fridge
- 3 cups raw organic almonds
- Walnut oil (or olive oil)
- Pinch of salt
- In a large bowl, add the almonds and fill with filtered water (with about two inches over top of almonds). Soak for 12 - 24 hours. I soak mine for 24 and change the water once
- Drain and rinse the almonds
- Lay them out on a towel and pat off the excess water
- Add almonds to a food dehydrator and dehydrate on 105 degrees for about 30 hours
- The almonds will be properly dehydrated when they are crisp and crunch to the taste and you an visually see the meat of the almond is dry. You can tell when there is moisture left, you can see it and feel it
- Place the dehydrated almonds in a food processor and blend. You need to stay close to the food processor and give it many breaks, as the almonds get very hot and you don't want the temp to rise over 118 degrees. So if you are keeping this raw, blend and check the temperature throughout the process
- After the almonds look well blended, you can add in a little oil to help the moisture factor. It's up to you how much to add, so start with a teaspoon and go from there. At this point you can also add in the pinch of salt
- Raw almond butter made with this method smells and tastes different than roasted almond butter, but still delicious (and much easier to digest!)
*After blending I let the milk sit in the blender for about 10 minutes. This gives the milk time to settle and the foam to gather on the top. After the 10 minutes I scoop off all the foam. After removing the foam my original 7 cups remain. I dislike straining foamy milk through the nut milk bag.
6. After you scoop off the foam (and discard into the sink), strain the milk through a nut milk bag. I strain the milk into an 8 cup glass Pyrex
*If using a “regular” blender (not high-speed), start with 4 or 5 cups of water and blend on high for up to 2 minutes. Add more water in future batches if you’d like.
What to do with that macadamia nut pulp? How about make a raw hummus dip!
After blending I let the milk sit in the blender for 5 -10 minutes. This gives the milk time to settle and the foam to gather on the top. After the 5 minutes I scoop off all the foam and discard into the sink. After removing the foam my original 7 cups remain. I dislike straining foam through the nut milk bag. See here for foam scooping process.
*If using a “regular” blender (not high-speed), start with 5 cups water and blend on high for up to 2 minutes. Add more water in future batches if you like the consistency and taste with 5 cups.
*To sweeten hazelnut milk, you can add any individual or combination of the following: 3 soaked dates, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, brow rice syrup, yacon syrup, or drops of stevia to taste. A common method is to add strained nut milk back into blender then add sweetener and blend.
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Alert – Foodgasm Ahead!! Chocolate Covered Strawberries (with homemade dark and white chocolate – vegan and sugar free)
*You don’t HAVE to make the chocolate with cashew butter! Skip it for a creamier finish.
*Cool the berries, then re-dip in chocolate until you achieve your desired chocolate thickness. I prefer a thin layer,