Delicious Homemade Almond Milk

I generally drink milk based smoothies 4-5 mornings a week. I prefer the mild taste of almond milk in my smoothies over low fat cow’s milk, plus it keeps my calorie count down (a girl’s gotta watch her figure after all!) Not only is almond milk rather costly, but it is usually loaded with added sugar and a list of other ingredients that I can’t pronounce. So, instead I have taken to making my own almond milk in batches every couple of days. I can blend up 4 cups of almond milk in no time with my blender and it lasts for about 2 days. Because I make it myself, I have the option of sweetening as much or as little as I like – I prefer the natural unsweetened blend.

This is such a super simple recipe that you could probably use for other nut milks. I’m allergic to most other nuts and can only eat almonds so I haven’t tried any other variation of this recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups of raw almonds
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • optional sweeteners: agave, medjool dates, stevia.
What you’ll need: a high speed blender like my Optimum 9400 Blender, a milk bag and measuring cup.


Healthy & Chewy Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

I’ve seen recipes for healthy black bean brownies all over the internet. I have a sweet tooth, so I have been wanting to try my hand at making them. Now that I have a high powered Optimum 9400 blender, they were easy peasy to whip up! The one problem that people talk about is the dryness of some of the black bean brownie recipes. So, I decided to mash up a few different recipes and come up with what is undoubtedly the chewiest black bean brownie recipe. These are beyond decadent, and you won’t even know that the only chocolate in the ingredients are just 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.

Chocolatey and tasty, these bad boys are a triple threat, packed full of fibre, protein and anti-oxidants. A cup of black beans is equivalent to two 8 ounces glasses of milk, plus the added benefit of fibre.

Easy to make in an Optimum blender, healthy profile and a nice snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, I bet you want the recipe, right?

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The chewy texture and sweetness comes from the medjool dates – also a fiber filled powerhouse. Applesauce keeps them moist and the cocoa powder and chocolate chips give that authentic chocolate flavour. I chose to make them into little brownie bites to keep myself from eating an entire brownie pan. Be warned that your kids will love these, Mr P polished off 3 with a glass of milk in no time – he would’ve eaten more if I’d let him (side note: these are fibre filled, so its to your benefit to NOT go overboard…if you know what I mean!).

And if you want to make it even that much more healthier, its super easy to blend up your own applesauce with a hint of cinnamon.

(Mouseover the top right hand corner and pin the recipe for later!)

 

Ingredients

  • 400g can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 + 1/4 of chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 12 Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe makes 36 mini bites using a miniature muffin tray.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Use coconut oil to grease the muffin tray.

Mix all the ingredients together in the Optimum blender except for the chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Once blended, add the chocolate chips and mix by hand. Scoop the mixture out by the tablespoon, I added 3 chips to the top of each mini bite before sliding the tray into the oven.

Let bake for 20-25 minutes. You don’t want the bites to get too hard, just a bit crunchy on the top. Let cool for 5 minutes then pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

I made this recipe again, this time opting to make it in a brownie pan. I also did not have applesauce so used a small banana instead. Needless to say equally chocolatey moist taste!

Have you tried black bean brownies before? Let me know how you go with this recipe.

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First Impressions of the Optimum 9400 Blender

The Optimum 9400 blender has been recognized as the No.1 Vitamix rival. So I was excited to be invited as a Friend of Froothie by the New Zealand distributor of the Optimum 9400 to put this powerful blender to the test. In just a few days I have created so much more than just smoothies – everything from black bean brownies, to sauces, soups and desserts.

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I’ve only had it for about a week, but this is what I’m digging about the Optimum 9400 Blender so far:

  • The BPA Free 2L jug, big enough to create large batches of healthy soups, desserts and smoothies for the whole family
  • The tamper tool
  • Everyone’s fruit and veggie intake is up, its easy to blend anything from spinach to beetroot right into a smoothie
  • The amount of time saved, a soup takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish and it comes up smooth, creamy and warm
  • The simple to use variable speed control
  • Easy to clean, just whizz on variable setting 8 with 1L of water and a drop of soap
  • How easy and quick it is to create healthy and tasty snacks, meals and smoothies
  • The free book of inspirational smoothies, soups and desserts that comes free with every blender
  • This blender is crushing ice like a boss! Many blenders claim to do this, but not all truly do!

To find out what else I’m digging about the Optimum 9400 blender and to hear my first impressions, check out the video below. Hint: I loooove this blender – it’s changing our entire family’s lives!



The Law of Attracting Memorable Moments

Do you live in the here and now and create memories from doing? Or do you spend energy collecting so many ‘things’ that you don’t live in the moment? Which one are you? I’m the former, I’m all about collecting memories. Call it Law of Attraction, living amongst the locals, sowing what you reap or whatever you like, but I have learnt through my travels that the more you live in the moment and the more you take the time to enjoy what is going on around you, the more lasting memories you create.

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We visited Disney in Florida last year, it was my first time as well as the kids’, Mr BAM had been to Disneyland in LA but agreed this was an altogether different situation being able to experience Disney through the eyes of our kids.

I remember seeing families in the various gift shops arguing over which pins to buy to build their collection. In a nutshell, Disney pin trading involves talking to other Disney guests as well as Disney crew to look at trading one of your pins for one of theres. Sounds like a great way to meet other people and “bring home the magic”, but alas I saw many more people just buying up pins and alot less interaction. Other parents were buying heavily overpriced Disney autograph books and pens so they could collect signatures from their favorite Disney characters. I cannot tell anyone one way or another how they should enjoy their family memories and places they visit, people they meet and things they see. But, what I noticed was that the THINGS (autographs and pins) were making moms and dads rush around disney and dragging screaming kids behind them to collect more and more things. Instead of enjoying the most magical place on earth, talking to others and even just engaging with the characters, the collection of THINGS had become a struggle.



Healthy Breakfast: Quick and Easy Overnight Oats

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Overnight oats are a tasty, nutritious and quick breakfast that anyone can add to their daily meals. Truth be told, I can eat overnight oats for days on end without it feeling boring. The great thing about overnight oats, is that the variation to toppings is only limited by your imagination.  You can make them sweet one day by adding fresh fruit and natural sweeteners, you can eat them plain jane, make them savory with the addition on nut butters or add-on extra protein like yogurt on a heavy workout day. Just think of anything that you’d add to hot oatmeal, the difference being you can whizz a bowl of these bad boys up in no time at all!

One of the many things that I learnt coming off my 6 months weight loss program with Shaklee 180 is that breakfast is so important. I know we’ve all heard it before, but for some reason this mantra has really stuck with me. I ate 3 balanced meals and 2 snacks per day and I lost 25 pounds and 16 inches (and it is still off  5 months later!). I think it is the noticeable increase in energy that I experience when I don’t starve my body. After several hours without food overnight, breakfast is needed to jumpstart a body’s metabolism for the day.

I’m always on the lookout for breakfast options that are no-brainers and protein rich, so the overnight oats is a winner in my books. If you like oatmeal and haven’t tried overnight oats yet, all I have to say is GET.ON.IT! You will love it. Just like you I am busy, making lunches, getting kids to school, getting myself off to work and then trying to fit exercise in there. Not only are overnight oats easy, but you can take them with you if you absolutely must rush out the door before eating breakfast.



The Newbies Guide to Bikram Yoga

If you’ve never been to Bikram Yoga, you may be wondering what to expect. You’ve heard it is a 90 minute yoga class in intense sweat inducing heat, so why do people either love it or loathe it?? I’m on the love it side of the fence for so many reasons…The most obvious reasons being the physical – increased flexibility, weight loss and strength, and the mental benefits – have you ever experienced a yoga high? No? Try any yoga for this euphoric sense of lightness and peace.

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I met the owner of Christchurch’s only Bikram Studio about 10 years ago at a Women’s Lifestyle Expo. She offered me a pass to come as often as I wanted over the course of a week. She said if I made it to the studio at least 2 times I would have made my my money back. If I made it to the studio within 3 times in 7 days, she promised I would be hooked and my body would love me for it. My husband happened to be away on business that week, so I made it in for a class 4 times that week and I was instantly hooked. The weight dropped drastically at the beginning, sugar cravings lessened, my skin looked great and at night I slept like a baby while by day I had a ton of energy. 



About
KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »