Week 4 in Review + Double Recipe Feature!

Hey! Happy Weekend! How was your week?

This was Week 4 of the JSJ Challenge, and I encouraged you guys to try making one pantry staple from scratch, and to try a new workout!

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So…how did it go? What did you make? What fun workout did you try? Extra points if you tried the Stability Ball Workout I posted on Wednesday….not seriously, but if you tried it I’d love to hear what you thought!

Now…I’m not one to complain, but we have had worst month with our satellite internet connection. 😦 So far we have had internet only 10 days out of 25…I would say that is pretty bad. I don’t like to throw the hammer down on companies, but we are pretty frustrated to say the least with HughesNet. I would NOT recommend them to anyone. However, we have no way to contact them since internet is our only source of communication with the “real” world, but also, since it is our only source of communication…grr…it’s just frustrating.

But, I’m not here to write about that.

Instead I will continue, as I can, to post tasty & healthy recipes, fun fitness facts and info, and kick-butt workouts here @ Fitness in the Kitchen. Thanks for reading and sticking with me as we work through the technical difficulties. You guys are awesome!

Week 4 was super fun for me! I LOVE experimenting in the kitchen, and I have this on-going list of things that I’d like to try and make from scratch when time allows. Plus new workouts = happiness. No boredom happening in this home gym! 🙂

One pantry staple in our casa is almond milk.

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My hubby and I are both WI born, and Pete is a dairy boy to the core. Me on the other hand…I am the girl who used to try everything to get out of drinking my glass of milk with meals as a child. Sometimes I would let the cat in when Mom wasn’t looking and the cat would happened to jump on the table and drink my milk. Yucky. Or the one time my brothers and I decided it would be a fantastic idea to toss our milk through the screen on our screened in porch while Mom was inside in the kitchen. Yeah…that one didn’t quite go as planned.
But, this girl loves her almond milk. It’s so rich and delicious, and works amazing in baking as well.

I thought transitioning our family from dairy milk to almond milk, would be like running into a brick wall at full speed…but it wasn’t. Pete loves almond milk. And I have always wanted to make it from scratch, so Week 4’s Challenge was just the kick in pants that I needed.

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You haven’t tried almond milk yet? Well, let me tell you almond milk is loaded with calcium, and vitamins, and is lower in calories and added sugars than dairy milk. You will not be getting as much protein, but there are many other ways to get protein in my opinion.
Plus, after making almond milk here in my kitchen this week, I have to tell you how incredibly EASY it was. It took me about 15 minutes, including washing the dishes. Plus it’s cost effective: 32oz. of milk can be made from just one cup of almonds.

And for my your benefit I went the extra mile and created a “healthier” flavored coffee creamer with an almond milk base.

Uh huh…it’s just as amazing as it sounds. And because I couldn’t wait to share the recipes, here ya go:

Easy Homemade Almond Milk
makes about 32oz of milk

1 cup raw almonds
3 1/2 cups water

The night before you want to make your almond milk, put your almonds in a bowl and cover them with filtered water. Let soak overnight. The next day drain the water and rinse your almonds a couple of times with clean water.

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Add the almonds to your blender + 3 1/2 cups filtered water. Blend. Start on low speed and slowly move to the highest speed. It will take a minute or two to get everything blended well.

Over a large bowl, using a “nut milk” bag or mesh strainer with cheesecloth pour the contents of the blender pitcher into the bag or strainer. If using a nut milk bag squeeze the milk out from the top down using your hands. This will take a couple of minutes. If using the strainer method, use a spoon to press down on the almond pulp to extract as much milk as possible.

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Once milk is extracted put the almond pulp in a separate bowl or freezer bag for future use. Pour your now strained almond milk into a jar or covered pitcher. Store in the refrigerator.

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Tips:
* Your almond milk will separate in the fridge so be sure to shake it or stir it before consuming.
** Also, if you prefer your almond milk a little more on the sweet side you can add some sweetener such as maple syrup, raw honey, or stevia to the strained milk and then put in the blender again for a few seconds to blend in the sweetener. I’m sure it would be amazing with a little cinnamon or vanilla extract as well.
***Bonus: Save that almond pulp! Google recipes with almond pulp for some tasty ideas. Nothing goes to waste.

Now for that coffee creamer…

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Almond Joy Coffee Creamer

1 1/2 cup homemade almond milk
1 T cocoa
1 T Coconut cream concentrate
2-3 tsp agave
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
Dash sea salt

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In a small saucepan over low heat add the homemade almond milk, cocoa, coconut cream concentrate, agave, and dash of sea salt. Whisk constantly until lightly steaming. Remove from heat and whisk in the coconut extract.

Pour your finished creamer into a cute pitcher, or glass jar. Store in the fridge.

* To make your coffee: Pour a healthy amount of the creamer into your coffee cup, about 1/4 cup and top off with strong brewed coffee. For a decadent version, top with whipped cream and shredded coconut! 🙂

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For my new workout: I consulted none other than one of my favorite fitness blogs; Gina @ Fitnessista. Gina has a wealth of fitness knowledge and writes a fantastic blog. Her workouts are always fun, and challenging. I picked a quick 15 minute whole body workout and it got my heart pumping and I got a good, quick sweat. Gina is inspiring. In fact, she’s writing a book of quick, effective workouts and healthy recipes to fuel your workouts that comes out next year. It’s on my “must buy” list.
You should really check out her blog The Fitnessista

Now it’s your turn: What did you make from scratch this week? What workout did you try? Did you love it/hate it? What was your favorite part of this weeks’ challenge?

See you later today…fingers crossed for internet, with this week’s meal & fitness plan!

~ Liesl

2 thoughts on “Week 4 in Review + Double Recipe Feature!

  1. Okay, definitely want to try this almond milk recipe!
    I had heard of people making it, but figured it would be a lot more expensive!
    I really appreciate you sharing this!
    I enjoy reading your blog and being challenged to live a healthier, more fit lifestyle!
    Recently having gotten married I feel the weight of this responsibility a bit more as I am cooking for my man too! Thanks for all the great ideas!
    Any thoughts on something you could use other than the cheese cloth for straining the milk?
    http://www.lovelydoesit.com

    • Hey Amy! Thanks for reading the blog and I’m so glad you are going to try making your own almond milk.
      Instead of cheesecloth I would “highly” recommend a nut milk bag. You can purchase one on amazon for like $6. They are great. However, if you don’t have cash to be spending on that kind of stuff, I would recommend using a good quality, thick papertowel laid in a metal screen-type strainer. You can then use the back of a spoon to gently press on the almond pulp to strain out all the milk.
      Hope that makes sense and helps you.
      Best wishes to you in your marriage, and on your healthy life journey. I hope you keep reading.

      Liesl

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