No waste almond milk

After trying various homemade non-dairy milk recipes I’ve finally found the one that works (the one my kids love).  Ive tried Rice milk, Oat milk and soaked almond milk, all of which were a drag to make.  The rice required cooking, the oats were thick and starchy, the almonds needed to soak, all of them required straining and prep time.  Uh…no.  In the words of the now infamous Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that”! There is a better way.  Enter homemade, no waste almond milk.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

almond milk

  • About a pound of almonds (raw or roasted, your choice)
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil
  • 6 cups Water
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or sugar, agave or maple syrup…all optional)

 

Here’s what you’ll have to do:

1st, make almond butter
Combine almonds and canola oil in a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Best to use a Vitamix blender (click to purchase one with free shipping), which has a tamper so you can push the almonds down onto the blade.  Add more oil if you need to in order to get a nice, smooth blend. Transfer to a storage container. It should look something like this:

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Next, milk the almonds

Scoop out 1 Tbsp of almond butter for every 2 cups of water. Combine the two in Vitamix (don’t bother cleaning the almond butter out of it) and add your sweetener (totally optional).  Blend on high speed for a minute or less.

No straining required, just hold the top of the blender pitcher while pouring into your storage container to keep the foam out. The above recipe makes about 6 cups of almond milk so keep that in mind when choosing the size of your container. I used to use an old glass milk jug but it was a hassle to clean.  I now use a large, re-purposed honey jar with a wide mouth…

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Super easy, low maintenance.

Store the almond butter in the refrigerator, especially if using raw almonds. When used exclusively for making almond milk, the almond butter will last you 1-2 months and keeps well in the fridge. Use almond milk within a week, as you would store bought almond milk after opening.

Remember, no recipe is written in stone at Home Aide Good. Play around with this recipe, see what works for you and come back to report your findings.

 

How to make your own UN-Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly is made from crude oil.  We don’t really want crude oil rubbed all over our bodies do we? Huffpost has an interesting article about the dangers of using petroleum jelly which you can access here.In the meantime, here is a simple way to make a very good substitute.

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Ingredients:

1 Cup base oil (can be olive, coconut, almond or any combination of your favs)

2 Tbs pure beeswax

 

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Instructions:

  • combine oil and beeswax in a medium sized pot (I like to use cast iron) and melt the beeswax down
  • transfer to a heat safe container, use a silicone spatula to scrape all of the oils out of your pot.
  • If you like you may add your favorite essential oils for scent or added benefits, but the scent of the beeswax is actually enough.  It smells quite good without any added fragrance.  Use your own discretion here.

 

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Whalah (is that how you spell whalah?).  Shrugs. Anyhoo, thats it.  Allow the mixture to set.  If you make it at night it will be ready by the next morning.  It should thicken to a slightly softer consistency than petro-jelly.  If it is too stiff you have added too much beeswax, try melting it down again and add more oil.  If it is too thin you have used too little beeswax, melt it down and add a little more wax.

This body jelly makes an excellent moisturizer.  I use it on my skin daily to lock in moisture.  For best results, apply immediately after you shower, preferably before you dry off.

Try it for yourself and come back to this post to report your results.

 

5 foods to stop buying right now

Saving money doesn’t always mean you have to sacrifice a lot of your time.  The staple foods on this list take minutes to make.  Multiply these recipes a few times and you wont have to make another batch any time soon.

Baking

#1 – Pancake Mix – We’ve been duped.  Pancake mix is so easy to make and store that we could collectively put this food manufacturer out of business if we all made our own.  Shame on Aunt Jemima!  Here’s how to make it yourself.

  •  2 c Flour (your choice)
  • 1 Tbs Sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Combine dry ingredients and store.  Double or triple as you feel the need.  When you want to make pancakes scoop out 1 cup of the pancake mix and add the liquid batter:

  • 1 C milk
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs oil

Whisk together and add to the dry batter.  Like the commercial mix states, for thicker pancakes, add less liquid, for thinner pancakes, add more liquid.  You can make biscuits using the same basic mix (minus the sugar maybe).  For every two cups of mix add:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Combine milk and butter.  Make a well in center of biscuit mix.  Pour liquid batter into the well and mix to form a dough.  Drop chunks of dough onto a baking sheet for drop biscuits or roll out and cut biscuits with the open end of a glass.

 

#2 – Pancake Syrup – The main ingredient of most commercial pancake syrups is high fructose corn syrup. Most have maple flavor added, whatever that is.  Maple syrup is usually not even on the ingredients list.  The reason why is, maple syrup does not have a long shelf life if stored above 70° F.  I find pure maple syrup, however, to be too thin for pancakes anyway.  So I got a little creative.

  •  Maple Syrup
  • Raw Honey
  • Black Strap Molasses

Now, I just poured these ingredients together according to my tastes.  I didn’t bother with measurements because our strawberry hot cakes were hot and we were hungry.  But, feel free to measure and get back to me when you get it just right.  I’ll post the results. *Tip: to get these sticky ingredients to slide right off your measuring utensils, coat measuring spoon and cups with oil before filling them up with the sticky stuff.  Thank me later

 

#3 – Baking Powder – Store brought baking powder has aluminum in it to keep it from caking.  Who wants to eat aluminum…show of hands…didn’t think so.  The good news is that there are only two ingredients required to make baking powder.

  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Yup, that’s really it.  The above recipe will make 1 Tbs of baking powder, which is usually the most that any recipe will call for (unless you are making baking powder bisquits…post that later).  If a recipe calls for less than one tablespoon of baking powder, I mix a tablespoon together anyway, put it in my old baking powder container and scoop out however much I need.

 

#4 – Brown Sugar – How much is brown sugar running you these days?  I havent bought any in so long I have no idea how much it costs.  Here is another two ingredient recipe that once you learn how to make it, you will probably never buy any again.

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 Tbs molasses

Pour sugar into a high speed blender like the Vitamix (click to buy one with free shipping).  Make a well in the center of the sugar.  Pour the molasses into the well and blend on low-medium until sugar is all coated with the molasses.  A few tips:

  1. Store this in an airtight container in your pantry.
  2. I usually make a small batch unless a recipe calls for a lot of brown sugar to prevent caking.
  3. I prefer blackstrap molasses rather than sulfured molasses.  The blackstrap makes a dark brown sugar. If you want a lighter sugar, just use less of the blackstrap molasses
  4. The well is important because if you are not careful you could turn your brown sugar into powdered brown sugar…which brings us to the next item you should stop buying right now.

 

#5 – Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar really is just one ingredient- sugar – although I do prefer to use two.

  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Cornstarch

Pour ingredients in your Vitamix and blend on high until you have powdered sugar.  Store it in an airtight container.  Make more or less to suit your needs.

 

#5a – Whipped Cream – May as well stop buying this too.  Make your own and save a few dollars.

  • 1 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbs powdered sugar

Whip the cream for a few seconds with a whisk to get some air in it.  Add the powdered sugar (or honey if you like) and whisk it together using steady quick motions until you can pull the whisk up and see a sharp peak that doesn’t bend over.  Be careful not to whip it too stiff though or you will end up with a sweet, soft butter.  Which, now that I think about it, might not be such a bad thing.

 

 

 

 

 

Home Made Flu Fighters

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Autumn is here.  The kids are back to their lessons, the leaves are falling off of the trees, our nights and mornings are much cooler, the apples are ripe and the pumpkins are everywhere. Winter squash, sweet potatoes, turkey pot pies…all the things we love about autumn have returned.  Also returning is the one thing about Autumn we don’t love so much…Influenza.  Yes, flu season is upon us and now is the time to be proactive in keeping our families safe.  In addition to the flu shot that you and your family may receive, below are a few articles dedicated to fighting this ugly virus before it knocks you on your butt, cold (no pun intended).  Since most of us cannot afford to be down with a fever, body aches, chills, stuffy noses and relentless sneezing for 3-5 days, or home tirelessly caring for a flu-bug bitten loved one, here are some things you can make to fight the flu virus should it creep into your homes.

The Hot Tottie (and The Virgin Tottie)

The Incredible Onion

*Mysol Spray

As always, dont forget to frequently wash your hands long enough to sing your ABC’s, get plenty of rest, eat your greens and drink plenty of water.

The Incredible Onion

I once read that back in the early 1900’s there was a flu going around in the rural Midwest. Almost every family in one particular town was affected by the loss or devastating illness of at least one family member.   A few months after the illnesses some health workers or doctors went around to interview the families.  They heard that there was one family who wasn’t affected at all.  Not one family member became ill.  When asked what the wife’s secret was, she said she placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in every room of the house.

Now I don’t know how much truth there is to this urban legend but, raw onions are known to absorb harmful microbes, so much so that they are prone to make people sick when eaten after having been out for just a few hours.  It is for this reason that we must be careful to add the raw onions to our salads just before serving because the germs that they absorb can give people food poisoning (I know right, and we always thought it was the mayonnaise).  Once cooked, the onions are fine, but raw, they are powerful absorbers of harmful micro-organisms that make us sick.

cut the onion

That said, should the flu bug (or any other bug) creep into your home this season, try cutting both ends off some raw onions and place each one in a bowl.  Put a bowl in every room and change it once a week during flu season.

Update:
This just in! I was discussing strange home remedies with one of my coworkers at lunch and she told me that her father used to wrap onion slices around her and her siblings ankles and wrists with a cotton cloth overnight in order to draw out fever. She said it worked every time. Thanks Ms. Hope!

The Hot Toddy (and The Virgin Toddy)

Got a nasty cold?  The hot toddy eats that…

hot toddy

1 ½ cups hot water

1 Lemon, freshly juiced

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 Tbs local raw honey

1 shot whisky or apple cider vinegar

  1. Add lemon and garlic to boiling water, low boil about 5 minutes

  2. Strain the boiled liquid into a tea cup and add raw honey and whisky/cider vinegar

 

Drink as hot as you can stand it, as quickly as you can.  Get yourself under the blankets immediately and go to sleep.  The point is to sweat it out and rest while this medicine goes to work in your body.  Drink this 2 nights in a row and you should feel good enough to get back to your life.  This works like a charm for me and my family.  Thanks to Mama Ajoke for the recipe.

 

*Mysol Spray

Lavender OilThis is my all natural version of Lysol disinfectant.  It is very useful for when a family member is sick.  It’s even better before they get sick.  Spray this concoction in every room, on pillows and bedspreads, in bathrooms, on doorknobs and anywhere else that germs need killin’.

  • 1 Spray bottle
  • 1 part distilled water
  • 1 part alcohol (rubbing or vodka)
  • 1/2 tsp of lavender essential oil
  1. Add all ingredients to a spray bottle and shake lightly
  2. Yeah that was the only step

We all know how well alcohol kills germs but what you may not know is that lavender eats bacteria and viruses for breakfast.  It’s also pleasantly fragrant and naturally soothing. This spray is the best at getting that “somebody is sick in here” odor out of a room.