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Hiya! After having quite a few friends and family ask how I make my super creamy barista style almond milk, I am here with a tutorial. There are a lot of directions, but don’t worry. It really isn’t very difficult.

First off, to toot my own horn, this almond milk is the best you will likely ever taste. Second, unlike many store bought milks, you choose the sweetness. I choose not at all, so you’ll have to figure out what you’d like to try and in what proportions on this front. Third, this milk doesn’t separate in the bottle or your favorite hot beverage. Finally, if lectins from almond skins make you break out in a rash, like they do my husband, or upset your tummy, like me, use blanched, as I do. They cost more but are totally worth it.

Now, for supplies:

A high speed blender is an absolute must

Large – 8 cup – glass measure

rubber gloves

glass container(s)

clean nut milk bag, cotton bag, or t-shirt


filtered water


xanthan gum

Just in case you are thinking, like I once did, that using your favorite stainless steel water bottle is a fine option for storage, please don’t. I have zero understanding of the chemistry, but no matter how freshly sanitized with boiling hot water, our precious milk promptly went bad. Giant sad face. Use glass. Read all of the directions, then get the proper sizes washed and ready.

Okay, let’s go! To make what we use over a week, we use these measurements, but, obviously, scale to your needs. The ratio is 1 part almonds to 4 parts water.

4 cups almonds, at room temperature

1 1/4 teaspoons salt (just over 1/4 teaspoon per cup of almonds)

3 cups boiling water, plus a little more

13 cups water

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (1/8 teaspoon per cup of almonds)

Now that you’ve decided on your ratio, wash your hands. If you’re using gloves, wash the gloves, too. Don’t chance the milk going bad. Put the almonds and salt (to help preserve it; I don’t know how it will last without it, and it won’t taste salty) in the blender. The almonds need to be room temperature, or your yield will drop. Add the boiling water. Let sit one minute.

While the almonds, salt, and boiling water sit (we’re softening them up and hopefully killing any stray nasties), pour the other bit of boiling water over whatever cloth you’ve decided to use and your glass containers. Swirl the water to get the sides and rim. Pour out. Add three cups of water to the blender, and turn on high. Blend for one minute.

Turn off the blender, and carefully pour the thick mixture into your bag or t-shirt over the large measuring cup. It will be HOT!! Use gloves if you are sensitive to heat. The amount you pour will vary, depending on the volume you made and size of the bag. This picture shows about half.

VERY gently squeeze the bag. If you are too aggressive at first, the almond solids can literally burst through the seams or the fabric. Squeeze until you feel the majority of milk is in the measuring cup. Pour that milk into your clean glass container. Add more of the almond water mix, if you have any remaining. Gently squeeze again. Pour into the glass container(s). Repeat until there’s no more almond mix. Pour some of the remaining water in the blender to get every bit off the sides and pour it over the solids in your bag. Now, pour the remaining water through the almond pulp, in whatever proportion works best, and pour that into your glass container. It’s okay to be agressive at this point. Use those muscles. We want to get every last drop!

Once you feel you’ve gotten all that you can, wash out the blender container. The next step is to add the xanthan gum. If you’re like us and use 16 cups of water, this will be done in two batches. Since there is less almond and more water with each progressive squeeze, we make sure to mix all of our glass containers equally into the blender, so none of the bottles are watery. Don’t worry about being exact, just do the best you can.

Alright, your blender should be full of almond milk. Sprinkle the xanthan gum over the top. If you are doing the full recipe, this will be 1/4 teaspoon. Put the lid on and blend on the lowest setting for one minute. Any higher, and you’ll make a frothy mess. Pour proportionally into your glass container(s). See photo below. Pour the remaining milk into the blender. Add the xanthan gum. Blend on the lowest setting for one minute. Fill your containers.

As you can see, there might be a little more than you initially intended. A bonus to drink first, since you probably did not pour boiling water over the container. Refrigerate. Use within a week. Most of all, ENJOY!

Hello there! Happy Friday afternoon. It’s been a while since I posted many of my own words, one part absence of them, two parts business. My friend Bebe and I did a whole bunch of beading, with bookmarks, tassels, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces made. There’s one more set in a holding pattern while I decide if they are quite right.

Another bit of business has been our Taos house. I cannot tell you how many iterations of the design I have made over the past two years since buying the land. Fifteen? Twenty? Thankfully, my wonderful husband got me a design program for the computer, as all the first tries, maybe even half of them, were done with sharp pencil and ruler on graph paper. Oof. I made fine work of several erasers.

Just this week, I landed on the layout of our dreams, and it is now in the pre-fab designers hands. She will work out the finer points of passive construction, then sometime early next year it will rise from the ground in 7-10 days.

As for the design itself, I will likely keep secret until the big reveal, but I will tell you that it has everything Greg and I have ever dreamed of in 2200 square feet, including a slightly over-sized single garage: two wings separated by the main living space, a large covered patio, an office for me (with a view window for Juniper), a cozy guest room; and a multi-use space for working out, Greg’s desk, and guitar jam center. Truly, all the things!

A lot of the design was driven by the near tragedy of our dear friends’ son. He was in a horrible car crash three years ago and is mostly wheelchair bound. We realized something similar could happen to us or a beloved guest at any time, so we might as well try to future-proof by modifying and stretching every space for wheelchair access. It isn’t difficult, but it does take more thought and a little more money. I’ve got a crazy spread sheet with estimates of the highest average cost for every job and detail I could conjure in hopes of not being terribly surprised when the bids roll in. Fingers crossed!

So there you have it. Time well spent, I think. Now a little summer dreaming in the depths of cold. I can’t remember if I shared this photo before. We suspect the previous owners were quite short, and this doorway from the patio is a perfect example. In order to keep Greg from knocking his noggin, I bought these cute flags. They do a fine job and are super cheerful, too.

Enjoy your weekend…

The last of our garden tomatoes, before and after roasting into a delicious soup.

The first year since moving to our Colorado house that the garden aspens actually turned sunset hues. They’re usually killed by frost or snow before the opportunity arises. What a show!

Juniper looks so little when she sleeps.

Jett came for a visit. We gorged on Italian food and homemade ice cream, shopped, walked, and puzzled. It was a great day!

Doing a lot of meat over shredded cabbage, as of late. This is a middle eastern take on ground chicken, with tomato, onion, raisins, and hot honey pinon nuts. It was delicious.

Have you watched Sprung on freevee? If you haven’t and are a laugh out loud and nice show person like me, get to it! It’s a super fun series about three people released early from prison because of COVID. I’ve watched it twice and highly recommend the same.

I am holding a John Wayne casserole made after seeing it on the show. It has a biscuit base, ground beef, cheese, and a million different iterations after that. In keeping with old school casserole vibes, I added a can of cream of mushroom soup, then a mixture of garlic and chile powders, tomato, green chile, and corn. Tasty!! I’d make it again in a heartbeat.

When Greg and I were in Wisconsin, we had some really good maple pecan fudge. Its only defect being it was a bit too sweet for us. I couldn’t get it out of my head and decided it could benefit from the bitterness of chocolate. I made a batch this past weekend, dividing the basic five-minute fudge recipe, two thirds with white chocolate chips and 3/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (real maple syrup was a major fail), and one third with the usual chocolate chips, and layering the two. It is amazing peeps!

Bought a jar of wonderful creosote and rosemary cream and a delightfully scented candle from Sonoran Rosie. So pretty and smells like the desert in bloom.

Bracelet in progress. I think I like it.

Way back in 2008, I wrote about the concoctions I made in the drinking and body care categories. One of them was kombucha, which I have made off and on in the fourteen years since. We’re in an off period now, but never say never about the future!

I also tried various deodorants and shampoos, which in their former formulations I abandoned. The deodorant paste contained baking soda and made my armpits break out in a rash after a couple months, while the shampoo eventually made my hair look greasy all the time. Live and learn.

Today I present you with what I have learned. I still make soap (and very much enjoy it!), for hand and body washing, shampoo, and pictured at top, laundry. This is made from 100% coconut oil (and lye, of course) which cleans clothes exceptionally well and will make your skin drier than dead leaves if you wash with it on the regular. Greg and I grate it with a microplane, using about two tablespoons per load. A batch of eight bars lasts well over a year, mostly because we only wash a load or two a week.

In case you wondering why, since we’re such a small family, it takes a while to achieve a full load, usually every two to three weeks for darks and once a month for lights. I considered the minimalist clothing idea at one time, only having a few items in each category, but realized with so few garments, the necessity of washing a small load of laundry all the damn time, and who wants that? No one under this red roof, I assure you. I went for a minimalist color scheme instead – black, white, grey, oatmeal, harvest yellow, forest green, turquoise, and rust for the majority of my tops and sweaters. Jeans in every fade, a single black pair of corduroys, ochre, rust, and green pants, skirts, and shorts. Most every garment is a good match for the others. I also wear everything but the undies for as long as they aren’t visibly soiled or smelly.

It’s also a boon for all of our water reducing measures in preparation for moving to Taos. We’ll have a well and collect rainwater for all of our usage, no endless city taps! It is best to be prepared well in advance.

Getting back to it, I also make hand and lip balms, with beeswax, avocado, and olive oil, sometimes with herbal infusions, like creosote bush and calendula, and the remains of lip balms I’ve gotten as gifts. The lip stuff I use several times daily and the hand balm every night at bed time. I should also mention the hand balm benefits from the addition of zinc, which is a pretty amazing all-around for skin.

In the liquid category, the pink spritz (a great re-use of a rosewater bottle) has a mixture of zinc, magnesium flakes, sulfur, and filtered water. Greg has super sensitive skin, and this is the absolute best mixture for keeping it clear, soft, and itch-free. He sprays it all over, scalp included. It is not hyperbole to say the change has been astounding. Surprisingly enough, he doesn’t smell like matches, either.

The old rye bottle is a mixture of apple cider vinegar and rice water, which I use as a face and hair rinse. The blue spritz is our deodorant – a combination of essential oils (tea tree and white thyme for antimicrobial properties, sweet orange for scent), water, magnesium flakes, and a touch of alcohol. The amber bottle is my moisturizing hair oil. I use castor, olive, and jojoba oil, with rosemary and mint essential oils, which are supposed to stimulate hair growth. That is not definitive, but really smells nice. It helps keep my dry ends in check, at least!

Are you still there? The camera continues to please, dear peeps, in spades!! Our first frost brought a whole host of photographic delights.

Weekend morning ritual: get up without an alarm, though shockingly close to said usual hour, enjoy a latte or three and a ginger biscuit or three, with Juniper cuddles on the sofa. Right when her pants are full to brimming with ants, we walk!

Oatmeal Raisin with flake salt, crispy-sweet, salty good.

Creamy chicken stew, made with cauliflower and cream cheese instead of actual cream, pureed to smoothness. Add ground chicken, green chiles, corn, onion, garlic, and powdered New Mexico chile galore. Eat super duper fast.

Happy Halloween!!

The late snow kept Pike’s Peak in prime prettiness for days. Another silver lining…

Our girl gets the bestest belly rubs and poses with brilliant iris blooms. She is all that and then some.

The petal parade has begun….

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, twenty-nine years!! It is quite the number, which leaves us both pleased as punch. In celebration, we went to Dos Santos, our favorite taco joint, on Friday, and yesterday I made bouillabaisse and homemade garlic and red pepper aioli (high falutin’ word for lip-smackin’ good mayo) for the day-of celebration. It is slathered on extra crunchy French bread croutons before being delicately dipped in the broth. Every manner of happy tastebud sound follows. We enjoyed it with a bottle of wine purchased on our Missouri vacation last year – Hermanhoff White Lady. It made for one heck of a way to celebrate!

While I labored in the kitchen, the hubster labored in the garden and on our screen door. Juniper is sometimes an impatient little booger when it comes to getting in and out of the house and had made enough of a wreck of the screen that insects could get in, no problema. So we had a heavier duty one installed (by Mullet Screens – a kindly guy who comes round in a van!) and bought the “screen saver” (HA!) to keep further damage from occurring. It needed a little trim, and Greg made it so. It looks quite nice and seems built to last.

All the sprouts tended since January are snug in the ground and looking quite lovely! The stick structure in the middle is made for beans to climb and came from fallen branches in all these terrible winds we’ve been having. I am super excited to think about our summer harvest. Though I won’t be counting any beans until they’re actually off the vine. Now that snow is out of the picture, we are in prime hail season. Oh, Colorado….


Happy 73rd Birthday to my MOM!!

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