How To Make Your Own Almond Flour

Can anyone tell me what makes a man tick?  Because I am at a loss.  My husband whom I think is (usually) a genius leaves me scratching my  head.  Why?  Let me tell you how my day started.  We have 2 of iPod touches, the ones that have Face to Face which is video calling.  First just let me say that I hate the idea of video calling.  I don’t want to be bothered worrying about how I look just to make a phone call.  It’s great for the kids and Grandma and for the kids and my husband or I while at work.  However it’s not great when the iPod rings at 5:20 am because my husband, who was at work, thought I would be awake and he wanted to demonstrate to a male co-worker how the thing worked.  Seriously?!  I ignored the call and tried to go back to sleep.  Then he called back at 6:30.  I had just woke up and was barely upright or even thinking yet.  I answer the call and while waiting to connect see myself on the screen and ponder what has become of me.  Can you now imagine how mortified I am when the call connects and there is Ron’s co-worker staring back at me.  Seriously, what was my husband thinking?!  Now I know better than to show my face when I answer a call.      

One of my favorite blogs is Elana’s Pantry.  Nearly everything this woman posts looks great.  For me the problem is that she uses a lot of almond flour.  I love almond flour, just not the price.  She recommends one particular brand, Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.  While I’m sure it is a great product, I just can’t see myself spending that kind of money on flour.  As I have said before on this blog, we grind a lot of our own flours.  We grind amaranth, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and corn.  We save a TON of  money doing it this way.  Since I am leaning toward a grain free diet lately it got me wondering if I could make my own almond flour.   Turns out that yes, I can.  It’s quick and easy.  I have used this almond flour for cookies, muffins and pancakes.  So far everything I have tried with it has worked out great.  I have never purchased almond flour so I guess I have nothing to compare mine too but I expect that mine is moister so I need to use a bit less oil in whatever recipe I am using if the recipe calls for commercial almond flour.  The only things you need to make this is a coffee grinder (preferably not one that you use coffee beans for) and a wire mesh sieve.   

Here’s how I do it.  

Larger Pieces Sifted Out

Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whole raw almonds to the coffee grinder.  Grind until you have a fine meal.  When you hear the grinder make a different noise and the almond meal inside is not moving well anymore, stop.  If you continue you will be making chunky almond butter.  Pour the almond meal into a sieve which is sitting in a large bowl.  Shake out the almond flour into the bowl.  The larger meal and some bigger pieces will be left over.  Just leave them in the bowl for now and repeat the process until you have the amount you need.  Then add back into the grinder all those small pieces and the courser meal and grind again.   

Closer Look

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I must get at my day now.  The kids found the small head of a salamander in the living room this morning.  I have got to locate the rest of him.  Yup, that’s desert life!

Translation Please

A big part of my day is trying to decipher my 2 year old’s speech. I swear she is working with about half of the alphabet, at best. She gets so frustrated in repeating everything she says, that she says it louder and louder until she is screaming it. I think she thinks I am deaf. Sometimes I repeat back to her what I have heard and she will say “YA!” (Ya, you dummy, that’s what I said!) We often have to get Sage to be our interpreter. So let’s play a little game. How many of these can you figure out?

1. Huck Me!

2. ho -e hane handus

3. me hus me heef

4. me poopeen now!

5. haucat heok

6. no hypa, me hig now

7. husus honan eeteen hurdpoop

8. hinasore

9. heepitoo?


10. hiya heepeen hit me.


11. heer mommy, hoogy



Okay, can you figure any of these out? I would love to see your comments with some guesses. I’ll post the translations in a day or two.

It’s Mother’s Day today and as my gift Ron took the girls out of the house so I could have some quiet time (Justus is napping). This is the absolute best gift I could receive. There is NO gift that could be better than some time to myself. Before I had kids I hated being alone and had to fill in those times with phone conversations or TV or something like that but now since having kids I just can’t get enough time alone. (Honestly it is a rare thing.) I used to look at those people who went to movies or restaurants alone and think they were pathetic loners who couldn’t even come up with one friend or family member to go with them. I now know that those people are parents and they are loving that time alone. So Happy Mother’s Day to all you tireless moms. Here’s wishing you some peace and quiet all by yourself!

Ditching TV Among Other Things

In the last week of December Ron and I made a decision to discontinue our satellite service. This is something that I have been wanting to do for some time and I had suggested it more than once. But like most North Amercians, we are a teeny bit addicted to TV so Ron nixed the idea. I let it go. Then in the beginning of December it became his idea. Then of course it turned into a great idea. I was fully supportive of “his” idea but really didn’t think he would do it. First he started with the TVs. We had an embarrassing 6 flat screen TVs. One in nearly every room and even in the kids rooms (which we had always said we wouldn’t do). He started selling them off on Craigslist. I love Craigslist. Soon enough we had just one left. The he cancelled the satellite service. I was stunned and more than a little impressed. First he kicks gluten without even a flinch, then dairy, then aspartame, then TV and now he is working on soda in general. Since he has no other “real” vices he is on a fast track to becoming perfect. So you might be asking yourself, why would we do this? No, we’re not starving or having trouble paying the bills. This is really all just a part of a bigger picture. There is a lot to gain by ditching TV. First, the most obvious, is the cash you dish out every month for 7000 stations (and none of them are worth your time). Then there are the countless hours you can reclaim that can go to important things, like your family. We find we are spending more time as a family. We are playing games together, reading, making things, building things, going for walks, cooking, hanging out outside etc. Ron and I are talking more. Ron has started reading again. Him and I are both getting more sleep. Both of us had the habit of turning on the TV when we are tired to “just watch a couple of minutes.” Hours later we are still staring blankly at the TV. Then we wake up tired the next day and our patience is short with the kids and sometimes with each other. Then we’d miserable and lazy and only want to, guess what’s coming… watch TV. The TV was on in the background all the time whether or not anyone was watching. Since it has been off there is a beautiful calm in the house. I am enjoying the lack of the constant din. The girls are more often playing with each other. They are pretending, creating, learning and running. None of those things are done in front of the TV. We are spending more time outside and our attention is more fully on the present moment. How many times have I wished that the kids would just be quiet for a bit so I could hear or see something on the TV… TV is an escape, a drug, a diversion. I don’t want to be diverted from my life. I want to live it. At the end of our lives, will we look back and think “wow, I remeber that one TV show….”? We want our kids to have great memories of the time we spent together. Memories aren’t made waching TV. Life is so short and I want to be present for all of it. I don’t want to waste my precious time being told how I should look or what I should want (also why I don’t buy magazines anymore). I really don’t care what the Hollywood stars are doing, saying or wearing. I love the fact that my kids have no idea what a BRATZ doll is or who Hannah Montana is or what High School Musical is. I love that they adored the castle that Ron made for them at Christmas and that it wasn’t MADE IN CHINA or made from plastic. As I get older I find myself deploring the consumerism that defines American life. Everything is disposable, everything is about appearances and having the right car, handbag, hairstyle, jewelry, cell phone, clothing, body shape and bra size. I think that we have all lost sight of what really matters. Have have have get get get buy buy buy does not make us happier. Maybe it feels good for a minute but why? Because we have one upped the Jones’, or because we are one step closer to looking just so? In the last few months we have tried to reverse our years of that mindset of having and getting. We are constantly selling stuff we don’t use or need. Our entire focus is probably the exact opposite of most people here in Scottsdale. And you know what? It feels good. Really really good. We aren’t just selling stuff but we are giving stuff away too. I have discovered freecycle. This is an online group (probably one near you) that is all about the giving and receiving of free stuff in an effort to keep things out of the landfills a while longer. Right before Christmas we went through the kids toys and gave away everything that they didn’t use regularly. The whole lot of it went to a foster mom of 3 girls for their Christmas gifts. Even Sage felt good about that. So, to those of our friends and family who know about us ditching our TVs and selling all of our stuff: No, we are not starving or even having financial difficulties we are just trying to make the most of our lives.

Okay, I will step down from my soap box now.

Cooties and Houdini

It seems like forever since I have posted. We’ve been sick. All of us. Each more than once. It has been going on for nearly a month now. I am starting to wonder if it will ever end. When every one else gets sick I usually don’t but this time I got it too and bad. I even went to the doctor and agreed to antibiotics which I haven’t had since before Sage was born. I am a firm believer that a huge part of your immune system comes from your GI tract and if you take antibiotics and kill all those good bacteria then you are leaving yourself more vulnerable to getting the next thing that comes around. But this time I was desperate. I had a sinus infection that was so painful that my teeth hurt so bad that I couldn’t eat. The silver lining of course is that I ended up loosing 6 pounds. It made me wonder if anyone ever tried to come up with a way to eliminate your sense of smell as a weight loss gimmick. I cooked yesterday for the first time in over a week. I made my 10 veggie spaghetti sauce. I also have more than a weeks worth of laundry and house cleaning to catch up on. Justus is sick now. He has a fever but no other symptoms. Last night I had to give him Tylenol every 4-5 hours. His temperature got as high as 103.3. I can’t imagine how miserable he must have felt. I was soooo miserable at 101.7. You know, it really sucks living here so far from family when we are sick. Ron was as sick as I was and also took a trip to the doctor and got some antibiotics so he wasn’t any help to me. I really felt like if I could have just had lots of good uninterrupted sleep this wouldn’t have gone on so long. But we have no family here to help out. All our friends also have kids so understandably they need to stay far far away from us. Okay I will stop complaining now.

Houdini the Mouse has set up residence in our CAR. We were at home a couple days ago and Ron needed to get something out of the glove box. He opened it, screamed like a girl and jumped back exclaiming “Holy Crap! There are 2 mice in the glove box!” Sure enough, there was a mound of foam shreds, from somewhere in the car, all piled up in there like a comfy little nest. So glad that discovery wasn’t made while we were on the interstate. Not only that but there was mouse crap everywhere! Dandy. How can mice crap that much? We saw one run out of the car later that day and since then we have traps set up in there. But that mouse is friggin Houdini. It keeps getting the treats out of the traps and tripping the trap all without getting caught in the trap. I am scared to use mouse poison for fear of it dying in there and then the car stinking of dead mouse. And Mom, I bet you are rethinking about not renting a car when you come visit!

Out of time again.

Intolerance

I have been laying here trying to sleep. I can’t. I can’t stop thinking about something that happened today. Maybe if I write it, it will go away.

Today we decided to go see a movie or I should say movies. Ron took the girls to “Madagascar” and I went to see “Changeling” with Justus. We always go to the same theatre because it is always like a ghost town. I honestly don’t know how it stays in business. We like that because we always have the kids with us and many times we are the only ones in the theatre or almost. Today was different. We didn’t realize it was a holiday so there was a huge line up with tons of kids to go see “Madagascar”. The theatre I was in had maybe 10-12 other people in it. Now I consider myself a polite and considerate person. In the past 4 years since having kids I have left numerous movies because of fidgeting kids or kids that won’t stay quiet. Not only do I leave but I do it pretty quickly. I remember the days before having kids and remember how annoying it was to hear a kid crying in the back. So today I half expected that I may not get to see the whole movie. But Justus was so good. We sat in the last row on the side, right by the door for a quick exit if need be. I nursed him for the first bit of the movie and he kind of napped. Then he woke up and was just quiet in my lap. Every now and then he would let out a quiet coo but that was about it. I had just been sitting there thinking how much I was enjoying myself (since I never do this) and how well Justus was doing. He really is a great baby. Moments later some old crotchety jackass with bionic hearing got his diaper in a wad when he must have heard Justus fart or something. He gets out of his seat maybe 3 or 4 rows up and comes over to me.

Jackass With Bionic Hearing: “Would you mind if we enjoyed our movie?” (Dripping in sarcasm)

Me: “No, not at all.” I wasn’t trying to be flippant at this point. I was just stunned.

Jackass With Bionic Hearing just stands there all indignant staring daggers at me.

Me: “Are you joking?”

Jackass With Bionic Hearing: “No. I am not.” And he walks back to his seat while continuing to glance back at me and glare.

I could not believe it. I sat there stunned for a bit. Seriously, a baby’s very quiet, happy coo was interfering with his enjoyment??? This is so North Scottsdale. I shouldn’t have been surprised I guess. I slowly packed up and left. I left because I felt like I had no choice. Had I not left I have no doubt that he would have created a scene. At that point I didn’t care about his enjoyment or lack of but I was concerned about bothering someone else and honestly after that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the movie anyway.

What is the matter with some people? How miserable must his life be that he can’t enjoy a great movie because of a baby’s occasional quiet coo. And honestly I do mean quiet. If I had thought for a second that he was bothering anyone I would have left immediately. Why have people become so intolerant? There just seems to be so much hatred, anger, self righteousness and general irritation here. I suspect it is because of all the money here. Have I mentioned lately how much I don’t want to raise my kids here?

Thoughts? Comments????

And no, I don’t think I do feel better.

And Now… A Mouse

The desert has really been creeping in this summer. Last Sunday night when Ron was at work (this stuff always happens when he isn’t here), I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something run under my bed. I tried to convince myself that it was all in my head. I couldn’t bring myself to look under the bed. Instead I just worked on my denial and tried to go back to sleep and not think about it. The following morning, in the daylight, I got my courage up and took a quick peak under my bed well actually I made Sage look first. Nope nothing there. All is well. It must have been my mind playing tricks on me. (Whatever it was it certainly would have still been there, right? More denial) Later that night it was all a distant memory when Ron walks into the kitchen and turns on the light and then states quite matter-a-factly, “oh, we have a mouse.” Damn it, my denial will never work so well for me again. So there we are chasing this mouse all over the living room turning over the furniture. Amazingly after about 10 minutes Ron actually caught the tiny mouse. It was sooo small. Being the animal lovers we are (as in non snake, salamander or toxic toad type animals,all of which can be unceremoniously killed as far as I am concerned) we put it in a bucket to show the girls in the morning and then release. Because the little thing looked so terrified Ron even fed it. Here is a video, just for you mom! (My mom is petrified of mice.)

Then yesterday morning I noticed some large coffee grounds on the kitchen counter. More denial. As my sister so cruelly pointed out coffee grounds are not that big. Maybe course ground coffee…. More denial. So now we have mouse traps set up in the house. No kill of course.

And in case that wasn’t enough wildlife in the house we had several birds again. Ron had removed the patio doors to refinish them and 3 of those desert birds came in again. Cactus Wrens I think. There were bird turds all over the house. How can they crap that much in such a short period of time? Maybe that is where the expression “had the shit scared out of you” came from.

What’s next toxic toads, squirrel, rabbit, chipmunk? Maybe I need to rethink getting a cat. Maybe dealing with all the cat hair would be worth it.

I’m Done

Okay, that is it! I am sooooo done with desert living. I am sitting here on my bed reading e-mail when something catches my eye on the floor beside my foot. Something frickin moved! And fast. Oh crap, I thought, it’s a scorpion. I cautiously lean over, after hastily moving my foot, to get a better look. I can’t believe what I am seeing. This is a first. It’s a tiny salamander. How he got into my bedroom, I can’t imagine. So now I am frantically looking for something to get it with. Right now I am wishing that my room was a little less tidy. There isn’t anything laying around but a small piece of paper. At this point I don’t even know if I should kill it or try to catch and release it. Maybe that is a moot point though, the thing just ran under my bed and I can’t see it. Oh, this is just f&^*$%g GREAT! I am having visions of this thing joining me in bed at night. Why does this always happen when Ron isn’t here?! My heart is racing and I am feeling near panicky thinking that if I don’t find it and get it now I may not see it again until it makes babies in my underwear drawer. I grab a hanger and start flicking it under the bed to scare the little thing out. It works. Damn it is fast but due to my horrible adrenalin surge I am faster. I smash my tiny piece of paper down on him (so much for catch and release). I press ALL my body weight into the paper and hold it there for, I don’t know, maybe an hour. I just know that if I lift my hand and that thing runs, I will scream and wake up all the kids and probably my neighbors. Cautiously, I lift the paper thinking that the blood I see on the carpet is a good sign. There he is or rather was. Nothing left but a twitching tail and a blood smear on my carpet. Did I mention that I am ready to leave the desert?????