Homemade almond milk

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Homemade almond milk is the best thing I have discovered in a long time.

  Since reading an article claiming that all almonds that come from the US are pasteurized and go through either a gassing process( using chemicles) or a steaming process (where they lose a lot of nutrients ) I have been concerned. I eat a lot of almonds.. I use  almond milk and I use almonds in my oatmeal and salads every day.
  After some research I discovered that organic non pasteurized almonds from Spain have not gone through these processes. You can usually find them at a health food store in the fridge.
  So in order to know where the almonds are coming from that are used in my almond milk I decided it was time to make it myself. I heard it wasn’t hard so why not give it a try.
  Turns out it is super easy and I feel great knowing our milk is coming from the best almonds available to us and that the milk I’m feeding my family has NO preservatives. Win win!!

  There are a few recipes out there and don’t be scared to experiment.

I used:

1 cup of almonds
4 cups filters water
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp organic maple syrup
You will need a milk bag as well

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Soak your almonds over night. I added water until it was about an inch over them.

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The next day I drained the water that they were soaking in and then added the filtered water. And blend blend blend.

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Now pour your blended almonds and water into the milk bag. I got mine from amazon for like $13.

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Squeeze all the liquid out leaving the almond flesh behind. I through this out but some people use it for other things.

I then I add the vanilla and maple syrup. I’m going to also try adding cacao and syrup to make chocolate milk for my son.

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It’s a hit!! It’s great in my iced coffee recipe too :)

Cheers,
Sandra

DIY Covered sandbox on wheels

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  I can’t believe summer is right around the corner… and my to-do-list is very long this year.
  I have been wanting to build a covered sandbox for the kids but we didn’t want it take up any lawn space and I wanted to be able to move it around if I needed more patio space. SO we decided to put it on wheels. (Great idea honey). In hindsight we should have used bigger casters and wheels. These ones are a little small for the size.
  I saw a few different plans for some smaller sandboxes on pinterest. (Which is always great for some inspiration) Here are some great plans I found on Ever Brooke.com.

   We didn’t really have a drawn up plan before we headed to the store for supplies.. THAT is how hubby and I roll most of the time.. just wing it!

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Getting the kids involved is a must in our house.

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…and so happy to be daddies helper.

   We used the plans we found online for the most part but adapted it a bit so we could make it bigger and stronger to accommodate the wheels. It is going to be pretty heavy with all the sand in there.

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  Hubby stained the boards before we got started since we didn’t get treated lumber.* be sure to stain all sides.

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We made the frame 5.5′ x 6.5′. So quite big :) … and use 2″x 8″ boards for this part.

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After adding a plywood bottom we braced it with some 1″x 6 ” boards and added the casters and wheels before laying it down. We used 3″ screws for this.

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  We used some caulking to seal the base and painted the top of the plywood with 3 coats of stain. I’m hoping to keep a lot of the rain out with the canopy but any heavy rain fall and the sand is going to get wet so we don’t want the water soaking into the plywood.

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Here shows that we added some 1″x 2″ boards for more support since we are adding a 1″x 6″ around the top edge for the kiddos to sit on.

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We made one side higher than the other on the canopy frame so the water would run off easier. My hubby purchased the sand from a landscaping place for $15. A LOT CHEAPER THAN BY THE BAG !!

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I made the canopy cover out of some outdoor fabric from fabric.com. I purchased 4 yards for about $35 CAN.

So the total cost was around $200 for all the wood, stain and fabric…AND it turned out great! Thanks honey.. one more thing off my to-do-list!

I  know this will be well used this summer…My son has been in it every day since we filled it with sand.

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Cheers,
Sandra
~In a family love is spelled time ~

Cauliflower pizza crust

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This IS really good. I have tried to do this a few times with a FAIL… but then I found this recipe and it is really great. This is like ‘pick it up off the plate’ pizza crust. Not soggy like others I have  tried. Ok here we go..

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Things you need:

Cheesecloth
1 head cauliflower (roughly chopped)
2 cloves garlic (or powder)
3 eggs 
1/2 cup Mozzarella grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil ( or dry is that’s what you have)

Toppings of your choice:

Fresh Mozzarella
Spinach
Pizza Sauce
Red onions
Olives
Sundried tomatoes

Put chopped cauliflower in the food processor and blend until it turns into a pasty mush.

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Now you want to put the cauliflower into a cheesecloth and squeeze until all liquid is out. This takes a little work. You can do this the night before and let the cauliflower dry out more but I just squeezed the crap out of it until there was no more liquid :)

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This was a bit of work so I had a glass of wine to help me along.

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Mix all remaining ingredients in with the cauliflower. Mixing it well.  

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Grease your pan and form an even layer on the bottom of the pan with cauliflower mixture. I used as icing spatula.

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and slightly firm.

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Now this is where you can make a decision. If you add your cheese topping and melt it in over and then add the rest of the ingredients and just put back in over for 5 minutes it will be less likely to get soggy… or don’t add any really moist ingredients until it’s out of the oven, like the tomatoes.

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I added everything and then baked it for 15 more minutes.

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This turned out really good. I used this crust recipe for garlic cheese fingers for the kids too.

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Hope you all give cauliflower crust a try. So healthy and yummy.

Cheers,
Sandra

~good FOOD good LIFE~

Healthy broccoli salad

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I love this salad. It is quickly becoming another favorite of my family’s. This is much healthier than a lot of broccoli salads out there that are full of cheese and bacon. Sometimes you try to make a really yummy dish “healthy” and it just doesn’t work.. this IS NOT one of those times. The dressing is delicious!!

SALAD:

4-6 cups of broccoli chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup cranberries
1 apple cubed
1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped  walnuts

DRESSING:

1 cup almond butter
6 tbsp water
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp curry
2 tbsp agave or honey
Salt and pepper to taste

I mix all the dressing ingredients in my bullet and then pour over the salad, mix and set in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.

Yum yum

If you like to have a little bacon in your broccoli salad try a turkey bacon or what I use is some chopped up chicken.

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Hope you give it a try!

Cheers,
Sandra

~having somewhere to go is a home.. having someone to love is a family ..and both is a blessing~

DIY burlap banner

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I have a love for photography and have long dreamed about being able to take a great picture. I love taking pictures of my kids and I feel like I have a creative aspect that is an asset when taking photos but the technical side is lacking for me.
I recently took a short photography class and gained a little bit of knowledge… enough that it made me  love photography even more.
I really want to find time to take some more classes but work is so crazy busy it will have to wait for a bit.
I love burlap banners and I  think they make the cutest photo prop.
Here is how I made one for a valentine’s shoot I did with my 3 year old.

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THINGS YOU NEED :

burlap
mod podge
string or ribbon the length of the banner
Paint and stencil
Hot glue gun and glue

INSTRUCTIONS :

I bought my bulap at fabric.com. I got a yard of light natural burlap. I did this banner and have lots left over to do a couple more.

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I cut out a triangle from a piece of construction paper to the size I wanted and used this to trace out 7 flags on the burlap. Cut with scissors or a blade. Than I seal the edges with some mod podge or you can use 1 part white glue one part water. This will help to keep it from fraying. Paint all edges with mod podge and let dry. Mark the middle of each flag or where you want to place your heart or letter.  I used a heart stencil to paint hearts on each flag. I just used a water base paint from the dollar store. Let dry.

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Cut a string or ribbon to the length you want and hot glue the string to the back of the flags.

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That’s it. So easy and cheaper than purchasing. I’m going to do one for Easter and Christmas as well.

Turkey meatballs and zucchini noodles

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I have been making zucchini noodles for a while and we all love meatballs around these parts. In my search for a healthy alternative to beef meatballs my Hubby found a turkey meatball recipe from Jessica Alba. She made these on Martha Stewart. Here is her recipe.

TURKEY MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped zucchini
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, mix turkey, panko, carrots, zucchini, onion, eggs, Italian seasoning, and salt until well combined; form into 1-inch balls.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning, until browned, about 7 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup chicken broth; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 7 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup broth and increase heat to medium; cook, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed. Serve.

ZUCCHINI NOODLES

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I bought this neat gadget called a veggie spiralizer on amazon for $30. It’s great for making these zucinni noodles.

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I add a tbsp of water and a little oil to a pan and cook the noodles until a little soft but not mushy. About 3-5 mins is good.

SAUCE

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2 cans of chopped tomatoes
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
Handful fresh basil chopped
2 handfuls organic spinach

Bring to a light boil and then add the cooked meatballs to the sause and simmer for 20 mins.

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Pour over the noodles and serve.

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My son still likes to have pasta noodles so I buy brown rice noodles for him.

Hope you give this a try. It’s a favorite for my family.

Cheers,
Sandra

~all that really matters is that people you love are happy.. everything else is sprinkles on the Sunday – Paul Walker~

Green Hummus

  
   Green Hummus for St.Patrick’s day

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Easy to make green Hummus

2 cups chick peas
1 avocado
3 garlic cloves
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup olive oil
1 cup cilantro
2 tsp cumin
Sea salt and pepper to taste

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Blend all ingredients in the processor and set in fridge for 4 hours. Enjoy with rice crackers or veggies.

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Hope you all have a wonderful St.Patrick’s day.

Cheers,
Sandra

~ if you’re lucky enough to be Irish than you’re lucky enough ~

Chewy gooey Granola bars

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We are all trying to find healthy snacks for our little ones lunches. Sometimes the search can be daunting. Reading lables and trying to figure out nutrition value vs all the stuff we are suppose to keep them away from. I get overwhelmed sometimes as I’m sure some of you do as well.
  I like to make baked goods but cookies and muffins aren’t exactly a healthy alternative. I am on the search for a few GO TO recipes for granola bars. We loves nuts around this house so one recipe with nuts and nut butter and one recipe without that the kids can take to school. In my search I found a few I wanted to try but at the time I didn’t have everything I needed so I kinda threw together what I had and away I went. My first attempt ended up not sticking together very well so I adjusted it a bit and they turned about pretty great. Most importantly my son can’t get enough of them and I know exactly what he is eating :) and WE LIKE THAT!!

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Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1 cups chopped dates
1 cups almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips(organic cacao)
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/8 cup chia
1/8 cup coconut oil
1 cup honey or you can use agave or a nut butter works too.

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I used whole almonds so I chopped them in the processor. Then I toasted the chopped almonds and rolled oats in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes or until browning a little.

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Once they are toasted put them in a large bowl and add all other dry ingredients.

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Give it a good mix and then add the oil and honey or nut butter. If you find that it’s not sticking togther well you can add some more honey or nut butter. The second time I made these I added flax seed and more hemp hearts so I ended up adding more honey to get it to stick togther.

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Grease and cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a non stick baking sheet.

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I bought these baking sheets at target for $14 but then found this cuissential one on amazon that I like better.

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Press the mixure onto the sheet, packing it really well. I then added some more chocolate chips to the top of the bars and baked for 15 minuted at 300 degrees or until lightly browning. The chocolate on the top with help hold them togther. I let this cool for a couple hours on the counter than put them in the fridge so they are easier to cut.

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I wrapped them individually in parchment paper and froze half and put other half in a air tight container for this week.

They are very sticky and chewy goey good!!

Hope you give these a try as they are definitely better than any premade boxed granola bars on the shelf.

Cheers,
Sandra

~don’t live for moments just live for every moment ~

St. Patty’s mint chocolate chip pops

Healthy Mint Chocolate pops you won’t feel guilty about giving your kids!!

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I have been making my son banana serve ( frozen bananas blended ) for a while now. He loves it and it really is as good as icecream. I have changed this up a bit by adding coconut milk and some shredded coconut. It really is yummy!!

Then I saw a video on YouTube about adding spinach and mint extract  to banana serve. Hmm great idea.

I recently got a zoku and was excited to try it out with some healthy recipes for my little guy. I got mine on well.ca for like $50. If you are in the US than amazon.com has them as well for like $40.

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These are kinda expensive but to make a quick frozen treat in less than 9 minutes is pretty great.

So here is how I made the St. Patty’s pops.

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5 ingredients:
1 banana
1/4 cup coconut milk
Big handfuls spinach
1/8 tsp mint extract
1/8 cup chocolate chips

I’m trying to go super healthy so everything I use these days is organic but it’s not a must.

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Put everything except chocolate chips in the food processor or blender. I have a bullet but use whatever you have. Blend until it’s nice and smooth. Then add the chocolate chips but only blend for a couple seconds. I like to get some of the chips chopped up but also know my son likes to have big pieces of chocolate in there too.
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If you don’t have a zoku that’s fine, I used a regular popsicle mold for years. Superstore or target has some kid friendly ones. Look for big handles.. the small skinny ones are so hard for little ones to hold.

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Pour it in the mold. This recipe will make 3 pops in my zoku. So double if you are making them in a 6 mold.

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AND HERE IS THE BEST PART!! …
Your kids will never know they are eating spinach. Isn’t that great!!

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Thanks for stopping by again.

Cheers,
Sandra

~Do something selfless for someone today~

kale chips

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I had to add a post about Kale Chips. Kale is something that I didn’t instantly love. I mean what is Kale.. all of a sudden Kale is everywhere. I did try kale salad a few times and was like ok I think I will stick to mixed greens. But since my little journey to find better health I have been trying to add more kale among other things to my diet. And of course in my journey I have given up the beloved chip. Most people like chips.. the salt.. the crunch.. oh how I love me some chips. So after seeing some kale chip recipes floating around I thought I would try them out and since I don’t really love the taste of kale I first tried some spicy ones covered in herbs and spices. But once I tried them with just a little salt and pepper I really feel in love. I have made this simple kale recipe 2 times a week since I discovered it. They are best fresh so I only make one bunch of kale at a time.

So it’s 4 ingredients

Kale, olive oil, salt and pepper
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I like Black Kale but you can use others as well. Wash your kale very well. I fill the sink with warm water and bath my kale really well. Even the organic kale is very dirty. The soil gets stuck in all the creases. So after washing I put it in my salad spinner and spin off as much water as possible. Than I cut out all the streams going up the center of the leave. It can be tough and bitter so just get rid of it .You can than lay it out on some paper towel to dry. You will want it to be completely dry. So I let it sit for an hour or so. 
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Once the kale is dry you will want to brush it with some olive oil ( front and back). Then sprinkle on some salt and pepper and put in a preheated 325 oven for about 15 minutes. I turn mine over half way though.

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You can let them cool a bit or enjoy right away. They satisfy my need for salt and crunch and I truly love the taste.
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Enjoy with some green tea for a night time snack.

My 3 year old has been enjoying them as well and anything healthy I can pack into that little growing body is a huge bonus.

Cheers
Sandra

~smile on the days it seems the hardest to do~