Hey there! Happy Tuesday! 

Only 20 more days left in this month, and I still have plenty keeping me busy, including the looming thought of having to pack up this house in a few weeks. UGH! It never gets easier.  

So today, I want to touch on a hidden chemical that I’ve recently come to learn more about called carrageenan. Chances are, if you’ve ever purchased almond or coconut milk from the grocery store, this ingredient sits on the list on the back of the carton. 

So what is it? 

Well according to Google……

“Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties.” 

The FDA deemed it safe to consume, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything anymore now does it? 

The problem with this ingredient is that is not digestible and has no nutritional value. It is often used because it thickens and emulsifies products and it is often found even in organic and “natural” products.  And although it appears to be derived from a natural source, it can be incredibly destructive to your digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella.

So I did a little assessing of some of my own products and came to find out that SO many of the “organic” or “natural” non-dairy and dairy products contain carrageenan. Truthfully, ever since discovering this chemical, it’s been more of a task now to find products without it than with it. 

Ultimately, I don’t like the thought of putting any chemical into my body on a daily basis, but there are definitely times when I know carrageenan is in a product and I will consume it anyway – hello Starbucks coconut milk! But for my everyday use and especially what I feed Grayson, I try to avoid it at all costs. 

Fortunately, the almond and hemp milk we buy (I use hemp milk in my coffee and almond milk for everything else) doesn’t have it, but I had to make a lot of brand switches and eliminate some things from our pantry in the past few months. Then I got to thinking about how even the seemingly “healthy” items in the grocery store are still very processed.  My goal is to eliminate as much processed foods from our everyday diet as possible, which led me to start making my own almond milk. 

So before I actually did this myself, I was clueless as to how you could milk an almond?  I knew if you processed almonds in a food processor for 10 minutes, it would turn to almond butter, but how in the world did a white liquid substance form from a handful of almonds?  

Well I’ll tell you and you may be surprised just how easy it really is….I know I was! 

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In order to make your own almond milk, you need a few things….almonds (I used blanched almonds for ease, but you can take the peels off yourself), water, a towel and a high speed blender.  That’s it! 

First, you want to soak your almonds.  It’s great if you can do this overnight, but I always forget and end up soaking mine for about 20 minute in boiling water.  Be sure to add a touch of salt to the water as well. 

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Once your almonds are done soaking, drain them.  You don’t want to use this water to blend with, but you do want to grab some filtered or pure water for the next step. 

Combine your almonds with filtered water in a high speed blender and blend away…..

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Quickly, a white liquid appears. 

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Next, pour your mixture (I do half at a time) onto a kitchen towel over a large bowl.  I like to use a kitchen towel but you can certain use cheese cloth or a nut milk bag (if you can find one).  Honestly, a towel works just fine, just be careful when pouring that your liquid doesn’t pour into the bowl before you ring it out. 

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Next, you carefully pull the sides of the towel up and grab a hold of the top to secure.  Then ring it all out into the bowl. 

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From there, you can put this back into the blender and add a touch of vanilla.  I like to do this so it has that nice vanilla flavor but it’s not necessary. 

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And it’s that simple! 

Okay, but the best part about this whole thing is that when you’re done, you are left with a ton of almond pulp…..

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What’s so great about that?  

You can dehydrate the pulp in the oven and then blend into almond flour!!  This little tip just saved me a ton of money! 

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And it’s that easy and incredibly cost effective.  All-natural, homemade almond milk in a matter of minutes. 

Homemade Almond Milk
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup blanched almonds
  2. 1 tsp corse sea salt
  3. 2 cups of water
  4. 4 cups of filtered water
  5. 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Instructions
  1. Soak your almonds with the salt in 2 cups of water overnight. If you are pressed for time, boil the water first and let the nuts soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain the almonds and place them in a high speed blended with 4 cups of filtered water. Blend on high for about 3-5 minutes, until a smooth, white liquid appears.
  3. Pour the mixture over a large bowl lined with a kitchen towel or cheese cloth. Carefully pull the sides of the towel up and squeeze the towel so that the liquid is rung into the bowl.
  4. Optional: Add a tsp of vanilla to the milk and place back into a blender for a few seconds to incorporate.
Notes
  1. Store in the fridge for up to one week. (*Note- the milk will only last about a week in the fridge so drink up!)
Say What You Need to Say http://www.saywhatyouneedtosayblog.com/

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things….Lately

by Lauren on February 8, 2016

Helloooooo! 

Sorry again for the delayed posting, but I can finally let you in on why I’ve been SO busy these days! 

I told you a few weeks ago that I was contacted by a former boss of mine to do some contracted marketing work for a new business he was starting.  Well, it just so happens that this new business was he purchased an ECHL Hockey Team and has brought Pro Hockey back to Worcester, MA.  

For those of you that may be from or know anything about Worcester hockey, this is a very big deal!  So I’ve been behind the scenes developing the marketing plans, working on the website, building the email database and social media accounts, and preparing for the big press conference that was held today! 

Truthfully, I don’t know a ton about Pro Hockey, but this has all been very exciting and I’ve been honored to be a part of the experience.  If you are interested, you can check out more about the team here – http://worcesterprohockey.com

So….back to my everyday life….

I have a few random things to share with you – more things that I have really been loving lately. 

Here we go…..

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This simple smoothie combo has been my go-to after a workout.  It’s one scoop of vanilla protein (I use a raw, vegan based protein powder), all-spice, ginger, cinnamon, and one banana with almond milk.  It tastes like a frozen chai and it’s delicious! 

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John and I tried this new Apothic Crush wine for our date night last Friday.  I’ve always been a fan of the Apothic wines and this one was by far the best!  It really is very smooth. 

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I made this recipe the other night and it rocked my socks off!  John (who isn’t even a big curry fan) also loved it!  We polished it off in one sitting, which was kind of a bummer because I imagine it would have made for some delicious leftovers. 

Speaking of amazing recipes….

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I’ve discovered my new FAVORITE chili recipe EVER!!!!!! 

Oh my gosh you guys, Giada De Laurentiis’s California Turkey Chili is incredible!  I made this last night for our Super Bowl party and it stole the show (or at least my show).  I then reheated some for lunch today and realized it’s even better the next day.  

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Here we are before the big game yesterday!  So we had our good friends over (who have 3 kiddos) and it was pure chaotic bliss! Let’s just say parting with youngsters running around is way different than partying pre-babies.  I don’t think I watched more than 5 minutes of the game and missed the entire half-time show.  Oh well, let’s be real….I was in it for the food! 

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Here is Grayson hanging out with his good buddy, chatting over a good dinner and a glass of milk.  These two are precious! 

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Lastly, my heart melted when I opened Grayson’s diaper bag from church yesterday and saw his first ever Sunday School project.  My baby is growing up and I simply can’t stop it! 

Well I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and have emerged from your food comas from yesterday!  Cheers to a good week ahead! 

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Some Life Updates

February 1, 2016

“Is this thing on?”  Oh my dear friends, it has been quite awhile since I’ve been here with an update post, so I thought it was certainly due.  As busy as things have been, God always has a way of slowing me down when I need to be paced a bit, but unfortunately, he does […]

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Evolving Our Art {GIVEAWAY}

January 28, 2016

This post is sponsored by Minted. Thank you for reading! When John and I first moved in together, I fell witness to his eclectic bachelor-life style, which included dirty dishes in the sink, a near empty fridge, and Dave Matthews posters thumb-tacked to his living room walls.  As nostalgic as it all was to my […]

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How to Choose the Perfect Jogging Stroller

January 26, 2016

Hi guys!  I have a fun guest post from my friend Ivy on a topic I think many of you will find interesting…How to Choose the Perfect Jogging Stroller. When I was pregnant with Grayson, I did lots of research on a good stroller and one I could easily use for my workouts.  But since […]

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That Time It Snowed 30 Inches in ONE DAY

January 24, 2016

Ugh!!!!!   I think John and I are cursed in a bad way.  First, we lived in Chicago and experienced a TERRIBLE winter (eh hem, the winter we conceived Grayson because well….) and then we moved to Boston and you all remember last winter there (hello 100 inches of snow!) and then we decided to […]

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What Happened When We Stopped Nursing

January 20, 2016

When I began my nursing journey with Grayson, I had no idea what it would all entail.  The difficulties, the initial pain in the beginning, the huge hormonal imbalances…. But overtime, I realized how much my child loved to nurse and I too became incredibly in love with the act of nourishing and nurturing my […]

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Copycat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars

January 19, 2016

It’s mid-January and we are just now expecting our first big snow storm of the year!  Truthfully, I guess it’s pretty good that we’ve made it this far without seeing the white stuff, but on the other hand, I was really crossing my fingers we would somehow get a clean bill from any snow this […]

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Easy Vegan “Tuna” Salad with Paleo Mayo

January 14, 2016

Hello!  I’ve been scarce lately, haven’t I?  Well in my defense, life is beyond busy at the moment.  My evenings (when I usually blog) are filled up with multiple work projects and binging on “How to Make a Murderer”. Uhhhh have you guys seen it?  John and I are OB-sessed! I think we have 2 […]

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45 Min Full Body Tabata Workout

January 11, 2016

Hi friends!  I hope your week is starting off splendidly.  I’ve hit the ground running in this New Year and let me tell you, things are only getting started.   January brought a few new changes to my group fitness schedule including swapping out my Monday RPM class for a new Tabata class.   Tabata is […]

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