Almond Milk — Homemade?!

A couple of weeks ago, my partner and I hosted our very first Thanksgiving dinner. In order to make this dinner as special as possible, we decided to make our own (vegan) ice cream. But not just any ice cream. Ice cream with a homemade almond milk base.

Was it ambitious? It sure seemed like it!

In actual fact: it wasn’t that hard! I was stunned to discover that making almond milk was not only pretty easy, but also kind of fun. Something about squishing that bag of warm-ish water soaked nut mash was kind of cathartic. And the resulting milk was so rich and flavourful!

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It was so awesome, that we even decided to try to make it on a regular basis, instead of always buying our almond milk with its additives.

And for those of you who are thinking “But what about the calcium and vitamin D fortification?!” — fear not! It is entirely possible to just throw a couple of supplements into the milk while you’re blending it up!

I haven’t even gotten to my favourite discovery in this process, though.

The ice cream recipe with its homemade almond milk called for a very high percentage of almonds (almost 1 to 1 with water). Which seemed very expensive to do in the long run. I compared it to other recipes and found that most recipes are closer to 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water, which seemed much more affordable. What was the difference?

Look at all that almond meal from that concentrated milk!

Look at all that almond meal from that concentrated milk!

Having that high concentration of almonds rendered an ultra-thick creamy, rich almond milk. The “cream” of almond milks. It was so rich that I didn’t want to drink it. You see, I decided at the age of 2 that I didn’t like anything other than skim milk, no joke! And I’ve never felt differently after all those years, I just don’t like the rich/thickness of it on its own (in hot chocolate or ice cream, that is a different story…). I had to dilute that ultra-rich almond milk way down until it seemed drinkable. And voila, my own skimmed-almond milk.

But it blew my mind–the fact that you can make almond milk according to your richness preferences! Does that blow your mind or is it just me?

The moral of the story: homemade can be better, and fun. And, of course, customizable!

The Gender Divide – Hugs Edition

Something has been bothering me for awhile.

Hugs.

And I bet Winnie the Pooh wouldn’t find this so bothersome. But I do.

Actually, I love hugs. When you care about someone, I think they are a great expression of that feeling. They can make me feel better when I’m sad or upset.

Here is what I don’t love: sexism. You heard me. How can hugs be sexist? Simple. Say Shelly and John have known Ben equally well for a couple of years, and are friends, but not really very good friends. Where John and Ben would shake hands, Ben will, generally, expect a hug from Shelly. Don’t believe me? Just observe. I’ve seen it happen over, and over, and over again. And every time it makes me just a little more uncomfortable.

Just because I am a woman, and you are a man, doesn’t mean I want to hug you. Please get out of my personal space. Please treat me equally as you would a man in the hugging regard. I like hugging. I don’t like hugging people I don’t know well enough. I’m sensitive about that.

However! In the event that the men do hug, they still don’t do it the same way. They always do that weird locked fist thing first, so that their chests don’t touch. Because obviously that chest touching would ignite fierce homosexual longings that they would be unable to ignore. That’s the only reason I can think of for doing that. And if you don’t actually have a good reason, hug fist-free! Isn’t that locked fist kind of uncomfortable anyway? I bet you didn’t know that my heart melts a bit when I see men hug properly.

So melt my heart, dammit. Then, maybe, you can give me a hug.

A Little Less Wise

After a certain number of years, I was forced to accept the truth–I had to get my wisdom teeth out. I had been putting it off, hoping that one day my teeth would just figure it all out, and I could be one of the few that is able to say “I still have my wisdom teeth”.

Alas, it was not to be. So on a bright September day, I went in for my very first general anaesthesia surgery. To say that I was scared to go under for the first time would be very, very true.

I can’t deny that there was something nice about falling asleep and waking up and having it all done. The loopy-ness wore off quickly. The ache-y pain wasn’t bad enough that my need for stronger drugs was greater than my stubbornness towards taking stronger drugs.

But I’ve been slow to bounce back. Tired, weak and sore, I have missed a lot of work and other activities in the following days. I’m getting there, just slowly.

However, what has struck me most about this experience is what a prime example wisdom teeth are in showing how unique we all are from each other. I have heard dozens of wisdom teeth stories over the years, and not one has been the same. Some people actually have wisdom teeth that are fit and happy. Some should get them out but are avoiding it. Some people got 2 out at once, and some got all out at once. Some people were fine 2 days afterwards, and some weren’t. Some people spent a whole week on crazy pain killers. Some people ended up with infections, or dry socket. Some people got chipmunk cheeks, some people barely looked different.

And it’s such a simple thing. Just 4 teeth that we seem to have evolutionarily outgrown. Yet for each person, the outcome and how our body deals with that outcome is different.

I find great comfort in the fact that we haven’t evolutionarily outgrown uniqueness, don’t you?

What’s your wisdom teeth story?

Doing All The Things

An odd feeling has struck me over the past 2 weeks. I have been motivated. Not to write a blog (obvoiusly) or to get more exercise or to fold laundry (it is quite the pile). No, I have been motivated to make our new home perfect.

I planned out how we could put up the ribbon wall behind our bed in the bedroom. But, that would require a headboard, because otherwise we might pull it down inadvertently with a misplaced pillow. Should we buy a headboard or make it? Or maybe just spruce up a second hand one? Also, we need reading lights, because the switch for the ceiling light is WAY too far away from the bed (and it’s not very good for reading).

We also need curtains. And the curtains need to go with all of the aforementioned details. Not too mention a bedskirt to cover up the unsightly bedframe we have…

And that’s just the bedroom.

We moved the office furniture into the den and out of the second bedroom. It was an empty and sad looking room and the office furniture fit in perfectly colour-wise. Now all of the blacks are basically in one room. I’ve decided I prefer lighter colours for everywhere else.

Of course, that means that now the second bedroom is mostly a storage space, and it’s only redeeming qualities are a bookshelf and some pictures we preemptively put on the wall. In preparation for a future sofa bed. Probably. But, there’s a big pile of “stuff to deal with” on the floor, that we still haven’t dealt with. And I really want to, so we can at least see the floor.

Most importantly, that second bedroom has enough room for a craft table. A real one. With storage and a solid workspace in all its beauty. And that in itself kind of scares me–if I commit to this craft space, I have to use it. I have to sit down and use it. In reality, I can’t do that. I can’t sit and craft for long periods of time without even longer-lasting pain. Most of my crafting is done in an impromptu fashion in front of the tv. Maybe I’m focussing on all these other things so I can avoid dealing with this one.

This doesn’t include the big list of furniture that my partner intends to make for our new home, although he may, in fact, build me that craft table (if I can ever decide on it).

I can’t seem to focus on one item for longer than a few days, before flitting to another item like a hummingbird. I want to fix everything, and I want it to be the perfect home, now. Why can’t it just be good enough as it is? It’s a perfectly functional home.

But why be perfectly functional when you can be perfectly beautiful as well?

Book Review: The Knowledgeable Knitter

Image courtesy of amazon.com

  • Author: Margaret Radcliffe
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC
  • Publish Date: Sept 23, 2014
  • 296 Pages

When I stumbled upon a book that promised to tell to me the whys to knitting, I couldn’t resist. I love to know how and why things work the way they do.

A full quarter of the The Knowledgeable Knitter is just talking about pre-planning a project, so it would be an understatement to say that the book strongly advocates it. This is including (but not limited to) doing multiple swatches, to an extent that I am entirely unfamiliar with. On the other hand, I can clearly see the benefits to doing enough testing to know that something as complicated as a sweater will turn out perfectly in the end. I bet I would relate to this more if I’d ever attempted a larger project, like a sweater.

Margaret has put so much useful knowledge and suggestions into this book. Simple things like, many people purl with different tightness than they knit, so that stitches knit in the round might not match a straight stockinette stitch. Or that needles that are the same size might not actually be the same size when it comes down to it.

From the quarter of the book that I have read, I feel pretty confident that this book keeps its promise. It is a valuable resource in a knitter’s arsenal. I use the term resource deliberately, because it’s so information heavy that it’s just not something I can pick up and read for hours at a time. That is the only downside to this book I have found.

This book is definitely geared towards someone taking on a sweater (or similar) project. There are multiple sections that help with the issue of fit, and since I (like most people) have a unique body type, I can see that coming in very handy. I even have some yarn in my collection I’ve had earmarked for a sweater for a long time. Maybe now I’ll get to it? If I do, I think I’ll want this book in my bookshelf first.

Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this post. I did receive a free preview copy for review from netgalley, which will expire and force me to buy the book for myself!

My First Sweater

Recently, my close friend had a baby. She’s the first of my close friends to do so, and it’s kind of rocked the boat in my world. But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about a sweater.

I knitted my very first sweater. And it turned out! I only frogged the same section 2.5 times (the half was a very awkward undoing of only the patterned areas and redoing, one by one…awful). And I only had one major breakdown moment, right around the 2nd frog, when I had trouble picking up the stitches again…there were tears, I won’t lie.

But it was worth it.

Several months and some minor tears later…

A sweater was born!

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(And a baby, for whom the sweater was intended.)

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(In case you were wondering, the baby came first, but only because she had 4 months head start by the time I got going.)

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I am extremely proud of this “little” project! I think it turned out nearly perfectly, and although I can see the flaws in it, I pretend they don’t exist.

And the best news is that it’s big enough that hopefully the baby won’t grow into it until the weather cools down. Making it actually useful, not just pretty.

Win!

The Gauge Monster

It was nearly love at first sight. I saw that pattern and knew deep in my soul that I wanted–no, needed–to make it. The FoxxyLady Shawl is everything I ever wanted in a shawl: it is big, but not too heavy, patterned, but not too much, and embracingly long, but without monotony.

Then I found the yarn: a little fair trade number that reminds me of vanilla bean ice cream. I tried to look at other yarn–there was even a perfectly timed knitpicks sale.

No other patterns or yarn compared. I returned to look at them day after day, yearning for them.

So I took the dive, spent the money and revelled in the beauty of my new purchases, eagerly awaiting the day I could cast on.

Until I decided to do a gauge swatch. My second swatched project ever. Except this time the measurements didn’t work, even after going down a needle size. It was taller than it was wide.

I’ve read up and it seems that there’s not much I can do at this point, unless I was using wool and could block to a specific size. At this point, I may as well just pick a size and run with it–at least until I can see how the first part of the pattern looks.

I want it to work, dagnabbit! The longer it takes for me to find the correct method to get it to look right, the longer it takes me to finish it. I want this shawl so badly!

Why won’t it work?

Did you ever have a project that wouldn’t gauge? Any ideas on how I can fix it?