Tag Archives: almond milk

“From Scratch” Ain’t Always Worth It

I know.  It’s a stunner.  I’m a total DIY girl, but I have realized today that somethings are just not worth DIY-ing.  Is that a word?  (Dang you, Pinterest, for nourishing my fevered desire to do it myself.)  Certainly, there are things that I don’t really want to do myself…like, folding socks, for example.  I don’t mind it when they all match, but they never do.  It’s disheartening.  That said, I undertook 3 mini research projects with DIY potential this morning, which may or may not have been fueled by weird pregnancy cravings.

I love crispy puffed rice cereal, sourdough bread, and yogurt.  Not so much together, but individually, they’re awesome.  Kind of like caramel corn and broccoli with cheese sauce.

Last night, the combination of watching my hubs make popcorn in our hot air popper and realizing that the only cereal we have in the house is Cheerios (which are great, but I’m just not feeling them right now), made me wonder if said air popper had more than one application.  Corn is a grain…rice is a grain…you see where I was going with this, right?  It won’t work, unless you happen to have rice that still has its outer husky shell thing attached in your pantry.  I do not.  I found some recipes that swore that you could fry cooked sushi rice and it would be kind of like the real thing, but it ain’t worth it.  I don’t fry things for a couple of reasons.

  1. I like my eyebrows where they are, thanks.
  2. My tummy doesn’t like fried or greasy things.  Not even doughnuts.  It’s sad, but what are you gonna do?

I have come to the sad conclusion that it ain’t worth puffing rice from scratch.  Which means that a trip to the grocery store is likely in order, unless I start craving Cream of Wheat sometime soon.

My hubs brought a loaf of sourdough bread home for our little date night on Monday.  I never remember how much I like sourdough bread until it’s been a year since I’ve had any.  Even though I can’t puff rice, bread is totally within my realm of capability.  I make it quite often.  This lead me to check out exactly how to start a, well, starter.  I have found about 30,000 conflicting recipes and techniques and I’ve only just begun to sift through them.  I called my grandma this morning to ask her how, and completely forgot when we started chatting.  It was awesome, but I remembered an hour later that I completely missed that proverbial boat and I’m going to have to call her back later.  My sister did that Amish friendship bread thing for awhile when we were kids, and that used a starter, so I can probably ask her, too.  The thing that I have come to realize is that a starter is like a pet.  For real.  You have to feed it every day, keep it in an ideal climate, and possibly talk to it to make sure it isn’t lonely.  Do I really want to undertake the responsibility of caring for a colony of wild yeast bacteria?  I’m still on the fence about this one.  I do love kitchen science, so maybe it’ll be a go.

My last “I really want” was yogurt.  Yogurt has turned out to be the only foolproof way of getting Toddler to consistently do dairy.  He doesn’t believe in drinking milk unless it has been flavored by Cheerios and is drunk by the spoonful.  It is a time-consuming and messy process, particularly now that he’s also into DIY.  With Momma.  One of the things I’ve come to discover about maintaining my blood sugar levels is that I can’t do dairy.  Well, I can do cheese, butter and small (1/4 cup) amounts of carb-smart ice cream, but that’s it.  I’ve switched to almond milk for the rest of my milky needs, but I can’t find almond milk yogurt anywhere.  I know it exists…just not where I can get it without paying an arm, a leg, and possibly a bit of my soul into the bargain.  It just isn’t worth it.  And then I got an e-mail about a DIY yogurt machine on sale.  (Dang you, Amazon, for nourishing my fevered desire to do it myself.)  I read reviews, recipes, researched (you guessed it) yogurt starters, different ways to make it with almonds, etectera ad nauseum.  I’ve gotta say…it’s tempting.  Like, a lot.  My kiddies go through a metric butt-ton of the stuff, so it’d by nice to be able to control what goes into it.  (I have issues.)  And if I could make my non-dairy non-soy (allergies…what are you gonna do?) version into the bargain, that’d be great, too.  Right?  I can take care of two bacteria colonies!  What are a few billion more mouths to feed?

Or, perhaps, I should just buy a loaf of sourdough bread when the itch is really strong and continue to live without yogurt in my life.  Need is a vacuous concept, after all.

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Adventures in Almond Land

So, this ride on the gestational diabetes merry-go-round, I decided that I wanted to go even lighter on the whole dairy thing than I did when I was pregnant with Baby.

Okay.  I don’t really want it.  But, with my numbers looking like they live on a pogo stick in spite of the insulin shots, I’m willing to try nearly anything.  (I refuse to try eel.)  This isn’t that big of a deal.  I limit my dairy intake to tiny amounts of cheese, cream cheese, and margarine.  The killer is that I’ve been craving ice cream.  I want cold.  Creamy.  Yumminess.  It may be less than 40 degrees outside, but I want it.  Plus, I got my ice cream maker for Christmas, and I want to use it, dang it.

So far, I’ve tried making three different recipes for actual almond milk ice cream.  The first one I made came from the first recipe of the three listed and consists of almond milk, greenish bananas, cocoa powder and Splenda.  That one’s really good…although it’s more of a sorbet than ice cream in my opinion.  I’ve made it twice with the bananas, and then yesterday, I substituted 15 ounces of pumpkin purée for the bananas.  (Pumpkin has a lower sugar content + higher fiber that seems to = lower blood sugar for this girl.  However, the side trip to Pumpkinville is a topic for another post)  That tasted pretty good as well, although I probably could have (read should have) made it a little sweeter.  Pumpkin is pretty mild, but apparently when mixed with unsweetened cocoa, it morphs into an almost coffee-like flavor.

I’ve also made the “normal” vanilla ice cream base in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook just substituting almond milk for the dairy stuff.  Good, but I still wasn’t terribly happy with the texture.  Almond milk makes weird custard, apparently.  Who knew, right?

Remember how I was pondering how to make instant pudding with almond milk last post?  No?  That’s okay…neither did I.  Anyway, I gave it a shot today.  Apparently, if you halve the liquid called for, it instantly achieves extra-thick pudding-y goodness.  I made a double batch of white chocolate pudding using that method, then decided upon reflection that it was a little too thick.  (It started strangling my blender, so…)  I added an extra cup of milk, plus a teaspoon of almond extract and 2 tablespoons of Splenda, and BOOM!  Great flavor without the wateriness of almond milk.  I let it set for about 10 minutes, and then ran it through my ice cream machine.

My husband was really happy about his dessert tonight.  So was I.  I have all kinds of pudding boxes with various flavors in my cabinet…let’s hear it for finding a use for them!

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Writing in Circles

So, my big writing project today was (supposed to be) completing this week’s discussion board post.  I wanted to submit that as early as possible so I could spend maximum time writing my paper.

I should have done the paper.

The assignment sounds simple.  Normally, I’d be all about explaining the “why” of something.  But, the way the assignment was phrased, it is so vague that I have been writing for at least 6 hours total and have no idea what I’m saying at this point.  So, during my insulin shot tonight, I decided that it was time to put the brakes on this project and e-mail my professor for clarification.  A girl only has so many hours anyway, and I feel like I’ve totally wasted the ones I’ve put in so far.

Speaking of insulin, it seems to be helping quite a bit.  *Knock on coconut.*  I had some weird numbers today, but my doctor is happy overall with the way they’ve looked since we started shots.  Yay!  The bad news is that I’m really craving my Grammy’s lemon meringue pie with ice-cold milk…and the closest I’m going to get to that is sugar-free lemon instant pudding a couple of tablespoons a couple of bites at a time unless I can figure out how to make it with almond milk.  Do you think lemons and almonds go together?  I’m on the fence about it.  I can’t tell if it sounds good because I’m pregnant or not.  It could be worse…I could be craving chocolate cake with ketchup or broccoli and cheese with caramel corn.

New Baby is already performing above average.  His estimated weight at this point of the game puts him in the 87th percentile.  Seriously, he weighs nearly as much at this point as I did when I was born.  We still have a little way to go, so…ouch.

I think it’s time to go lie down and read a book until I fall asleep so I don’t keep obsessively checking my e-mail every five minutes to see if my professor has responded yet.

I couldn’t help myself.  I just checked.  He hasn’t.

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“We’ll be back after these messages…”

I haven’t posted since Wednesday.  I feel kinda bad about this because I’ve been doing a fairly good job about the daily post since just before the New Year.  However, I’m giving myself a hall pass for this gap in postage.

  1. Thursday: 28-week glucose test (for gestational diabetes).  In case you don’t know what this test entails, you have to drink twelve ounces of straight orange sugary-syrup nastiness.  Remember those little barrel drinks from when we were kids?  The ones in really bright colors containing enough sugar to kid-power a small village?  Try multiplying the intensity of one of those bad boys by twelve.  It’s bad.  My symptoms ran from talking really fast to being completely unable to remain motionless to nausea.  And then when the sugar high wore off, I was left with the shakes and the queasies for the rest of the day.  Plus, I got my TDAP vaccine and they took blood from me four times.  I was completely incoherent most of the day…ergo, no post.
  2. Friday: Found out I have gestational diabetes again.  (Yay…)  Apparently, my body can’t make insulin and a baby at the same time.  I’ve never been terribly good at multitasking, so this makes a little sense.  So, I’m back to a very strict diet, testing my blood sugar four times a day (owie!) and I’m on medication.  The good thing about this is that it will (knock on coconut) go away as soon as I have my baby.  It did last time…and I’ve had no issues when I’m unpregnant.  I also had my blood drawn twice and got my RhoGAM shot to keep my Rh-negative self from developing antibodies against my potentially Rh-positive New Baby.  I was really crabby most of the day…ergo, no post.
  3. Saturday:  Bright spot of the past three days…I made almond milk ice cream tonight.  It turned out much better than I thought it would, and that makes me really happy.  I want to try a tofu-based ice cream and frozen yogurt as well…maybe I’ll whip up those bases tomorrow.  I learned that my blood sugar tends to spike a lot when I eat or drink milk products when I was pregnant with Baby, so I’m trying to stay away from dairy as much as possible from the get-go with New Baby.

Tomorrow, we should be back to your regularly scheduled programming.  In theory.

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