My daughter Eva has Rett Syndrome; a rare neurological disorder that in her case, left her locked in a body that would not work for her from the age of 9 months. I went from being a photographer to being a mum to being a rudimentary therapist, advocate and ranter. This blog is here to share ideas, thoughts, therapies, recipes, advice and sometimes have a rant. or two.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to make Homemade Almond Milk - a step-by-step guide

Homemade almond milk: one of the easiest things I put off doing for years.  And I'll never buy it again.  It's a 15 minute process, a bit messy until you get used to how to do it, but simple, cheap and has a gratifying level of i-made-it-myself smugness.

My next post will have some recipes for cakes that use the leftover almond meal.  So don't throw it away!

1. Buy your almonds in bulk to save time and money.  Store them in a sealed jar to keep moths out.  Buy organic almonds if you can because lets face it, our girls have enough going on internally without asking their liver to process loads of chemicals as well.  If you can't buy organic then at least buy pesticide-free almonds.

2. Soak em!  Overnight (minimum 3 hours max 12 hours in a cool dark place) and covered with water.  Filter water is best, tap is fine but do not use hot water as you don't want the skins coming off.

3. Drain and rinse.

4. Pop them in a blender and cover with at least twice as much water.  Filtered water is best.

5. WHIZZZZZZZZZZ !!  I do mine on the ice level for about 2 minutes with a few stops between to let the almonds settle before re-whizzing.

6.  Pour the mix through a fine sieve into a jug or bowl (since taking these shots I've found a large bowl to be easiest and less messy)

7.  Press down on the almond mixture to get all the juice out.

8. Put the leftover bits of almond back in the blender and cover with water for a second whizz.

9.  Pour through the sieve again and when squeezed through put all the remainders aside in a bowl and then in the fridge.  This can be used in cakes, muffins or any recipe that calls for almond meal but has to be used within about 2 days.  It looks like this...

10.  Now get some cheesecloth and place it over the mouth of the container you'll store your almond milk in. Hold it in place with a rubber band. Mason jars or an old Passata bottle work well, just make sure it is thoroughly clean and dry. 

11.  Pour the milk through the cheesecloth....


you may have to help it through with a spoon...

Squeeze the last liquid out of the cheesecloth like you're milking a cow then store it in the fridge.  Add the bits of almond meal left inside the cheesecloth to your bowl in the fridge.

12. It should last about 3 days but you can check it by tasting it.  It starts to smell and taste sour when it's turning.  Enjoy!  

follow up

The last post seemed to make my family wonder if I was ok. I am in fact not only ok but very fine and really quite happy. I may not have a glass overflowing with freshly squeezed sunshine but I am definitely a glass half full! 
Maybe it's been such a long time between posts that my writing was a bit off kilter or something...  anyway the "happiness project" I've started after reading Gretchen Rubin's book of the same name (ok I've only read 2 chapters but it has started me off...) is just to make a few tweaks to my life to help me remain a glass half full, help me get my career back on track and maybe clean up a few unruly piles of crud in the process.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Trying, failing.

There are days that Rett syndrome doesn't bother me much.  It's there of course, lurking around, being the reason that Eva can't put on her own shoes or dress herself for school.  The same reason she can't play by herself while I do the cooking/washing/working/insert-whatever-I-do-alone here. But you know it's just part of daily life now.  Then there are days that it's just such a big fat PAIN. Every time I feel on top of it, something new happens. Scoliosis worsens or her shakes get worse or she's holding her breath.  There's a Rett syndrome handbook (brilliant, but big enough to concuss you) by Kathy Hunter that tells you most things you might need to know but of course there's constantly new research, new drugs, new possibilities of what might be causing new issues that I feel I have to, need to, read.  I often feel overwhelmed by what I don't yet know and wish I did.  I search the internet then wish I'd not.
And then there's the managing part of having a child with Rett syndrome, or for that matter any syndrome or disability.  Managing appointments, managing meetings about school or services... managing to look like I'm keeping it all together.
I'm pretty sure I keep it together most of the time.  But after a very revealing discussion with Eva's dad I realise that my sunny outlook on life has slowly been clouded over the years.  It's not surprising of course.  But I don't like it.  And now that I realise it, I want to do something about it.  Unlike Rett syndrome it is something I can fix all on my own.