Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Food: Homemade Almond Milk

I LOVE MAKING MY OWN ALMOND MILK. Yes, I had to write that in caps, because who knew it could be so easy to do? Seriously much more healthier since boxed almond milk always have additional added ingredients that does not need to be in your almond milk! The first time I tried, I had quite a malfunction - I tried it with a cheesecloth...and it was messy. The cheese cloth kept tearing up on me and the little ground almonds kept getting into my milk when I didn't want that to happen. So, I went back to buying boxed almond milk for another month until I moved back home for the summer and tried making it again using a strainer instead. BEST. TOOL. EVER. Made the job less stressful!

I usually sweeten mine, but you can easily just take out the last two ingredients to make it simple, unsweetened almond milk. 

Here's a simple and easy recipe to make your own almond milk.
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1-2 medjool dates (remember to take out the seed beforehand!)

1. Soak 1 cup of almonds overnight or for 8-10 hours.


2. Drain the water from the soaked almonds. Pour the almonds into a blender. 

3. Add 3-4 cups of water.

4. Blend! Blend! Blend! Blend until the water becomes a milky colour and the almonds are all grounded up.


5. Add the vanilla extract and medjool date(s).



6. Blend for another few minutes, so everything is well incorporated. 

7. Get a big bowl and pour the mixture through the strainer (my strainer is very small, so I have to separate the straining into three different batches). Once you strain everything, there will be tons of almond grounds - using a fork/spoon, push the almond ground to make sure you get every last drop of the milk through the strainer.


8. Once you strained the whole amount, your amount milk is now complete! Pour it into a cup, a container, and enjoy.


I usually keep my almond milk in the fridge for no longer than one week - which isn't a problem, since I drink it daily. 

My parents usually get almonds in bulk, so making your almond milk is much more cost effective and cheaper than regularly purchasing store-bought, boxed almond milk.

I hope you enjoy this simple DIY!

<3

Susan 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Favourites: MAY MAY MAY



May have been a great month so far - moved back home and kept myself busy this whole month! What made me happy this month?

1. Toronto

It's so weird that I wanted to leave home so f*(&ing badly when I was back in high school. Biggest mistake - never felt more comfortable than being in my own neighbourhood that I grew up in and the city that I know so well. It's so nice and relaxing just moving back home - only two more years left in university and then I can settle back into the city!

2. Banana Spinach Smoothie

Find the recipe here! I blogged about it earlier this month and it's my easy, go-to recipe for most days!

3. WARM & SUNNY WEATHER

We got snow back in April and then we got tons of rain in the beginning of May...Susan hates rain. I'm a walker - I love walking everywhere and rain really does ruin my parade. So, it's so nice that the last two weeks of May was just sunshine and comfortable weather.

4. Numi Tea

Organic tea that is perfectly prepared - even the tea bag doesn't have harmful chemicals! I love the bold and rich quality of Numi Tea. Pricey, but each tea bag can be re-steeped and still taste amazing. Happy I discovered this brand a few months ago and of course, I went overboard and bought two boxes of 100 tea bags on Amazon.

5. Food

Relating back to the first point....being back in Toronto gives me this wide selection of amazing food. I love the small, local restaurants, bakeries, and cafes around. I love trying new bites and my food is my biggest weakness to my paycheques.

Overall, I've been really happy to settle back home for the summer. Enjoying it as it lasts!

<3

Susan

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Skincare: What Cleans My Face?

Since my makeup days are over, I've been hoarding and trying new skincare products all the time. With extensive research, I really found myself interested in seeking for natural and organic skincare lines that have ingredients that I can identify myself. My first skincare routine post on this blog received a lot of love, so I decided to share a series of posts of what I'm currently using. Here are the cleansers that I've been loving recently:



This was the first facial wash that I ever tried that is oil based. It includes coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and castor oil. What I really love about this cleanser is the scent - peppermint and lemongrass are such an energizing combination; the scent that is perfect for early mornings to help wake you up. I usually apply this straight to my dry face, massaging it all over my face (the vegetable glycerin base makes the product look very white on dry skin), and then I slowly incorporate some water to create a lather on my face before wiping everything off. This cleanser doesn't just wake me up in the morning, it really wakes my skin up, making it look and feel brighter, cleaner, and healthier. 



This is a sample I got from the owner. It's really similar to the concept of the oil cleansing method, as the main ingredients to this facial wash are sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil. The difference between this facial wash and the oil cleansing method is the other great nourishing ingredients that it has - such as vitamin e and essential oils. It's extremely gentle and very moisturizing for my dehydrated skin. I usually apply 2-3 pumps of the cleanser straight to my dry face, taking a few moments to really rub it all over my face. Then, I would take a hot damp face towel to drape it over my face as a "steam" to open up my pores to really allow the oil to sink in. After about 30 seconds, I'll slowly wipe off the cleanser. A big plus is the scent - very light and relaxing...perfect for ending your day! 



This cleanser is great for all skin types. A foaming cleanser that will not strip away your skin's natural oils. In fact, it does a great job at cleaning your skin from environmental factors and fighting blemishes, as well as rehydrating your skin with Grape Seed Oil. I visit my boyfriend every couple of weeks and this have been in my toiletry bag every time I pack up. It's in a plastic bottle, so it's super light and I don't have to worry about the container potentially shattering and spilling all over my bag. Also, it's easy to use - the foam makes it extremely easy to rub over my face and wipe off with water and hands. Overall, a great cleanser that will not throw off my skin, even if I only use it for a few washes when I'm on the go. 

All three of these brands are based in Toronto - local and organic! Just what I love! The oil-based cleansers are great for keeping moisture in my skin; the last thing I need in a skincare cleanser is for it to be oil striping. This whole combination is helping my skin cope with my diet change and environment change as I settle back home. Have been making my skin feel and look great - a big plus for going bare face everyday. Definitely cleansers that I will be repurchasing and recommending to others. 

<3

Susan 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Food: Homemade Raspberry Chia Jam

Just as I said in my new years resolution, I'm trying my best at eating healthier and changing my food habits. I've made tons of changes this year so far, but I know this summer would be an easier time for me to explore recipes and options.

Just the other day, my boyfriend's grandma made a loaf kind of cake and I knew a jam would be perfect to go along with it. I remember seeing other articles on chia jam, but this is one quick one I assembled myself in the kitchen the other day.



Homemade Raspberry Chia Jam

1 Cup of Raspberries, Fresh or Frozen (make sure it's thawed!)
1 Tablespoon of Chia Seeds
1-2 Tablespoon of Honey

In a small bowl, using a fork, mash up the raspberries.
Add the chia seeds and mix well. 
Mix in the honey. Some berries, especially frozen, tend to be quite sour and depending on individual preferences, the amount of honey will differ among everyone. 

Tasty and healthy raspberry chia seed jam. Can leave in your fridge for the week.

Enjoy!

<3

Susan

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Food: Spinach and Banana Smoothie...and VEGA ONE!

Sooo, it's been a while - and a lot have happened in that while.

April in a nutshell:
  • I finished all my papers, presentations, and final assignments for second year!
  • I fell down the stairs and sprained my foot...pretty badly. Late night ER for 4 hours was not fun. I can't forget to mention how much I HATE crutches!
  • My relatives from sunny California came for a visit - yay to family time! 
  • My exam schedule was the worst. It was completely spread out and I pretty much had about 6 days in between my exams and days with back-to-back exams. So, I wrote 5 final exams and am now OFFICIALLY FINISHED WITH MY SECOND YEAR OF UNIVERSITY. 
  • I started a new part-time job and am pretty excited for the rest of the summer!
  • I moved my whole life back to Toronto for the summer.
  • I started an internship at another local business as well.
  • Back to pilates and yoga...on a consistent basis. 
As busy as April sounds and a good start for the rest of the summer, I'm back to blogging! 


I've been hearing lots of good things about Vega One through other bloggers and from a recommendation of a good friend. I hopped on the bandwagon as well and decided to order a small tub of it to test it out. With my sprained ankle, I ended up ordering it from vitamart.ca (just a quick note - they have the fastest shipping ever!). Probably because I didn't have a blender at school, I've been really into making smoothies the last few days that I've moved back home. My friend introduced me to the spinach and banana smoothie and I've been loving it. To test the Vega One protein powder, I just add some into the smoothie. Since I've just started testing the Vega One protein powder in French Vanilla, I can't really give a full review of the product yet. But, so far, I'm really liking the taste of it. I've only been adding about a quarter of a scoop of it into my smoothies so far, just so my body can slowly adjust to the additional supplements! 


Spinach and Banana Smoothie 

1 cup of almond milk (you can use whatever milk you want!)
1 banana
1 HUGE handful of spinach
1/4 scoop of Vega One Protein Powder in French Vanilla

Put the almond milk, banana, and spinach in the blender and blend till smooth. 
Add the protein powder and make sure you blend at a slower speed to ensure it doesn't clump up in one area. 
Once it's well blended, pour it into your favourite cup (or mason jar!)

ENJOY!


<3 

Susan


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Food: New Dip!

I've come to the point where I'm too lazy to go walk over to the grocery store to buy groceries for the next two days that I'm still at university. I have exams for the rest of the month and I don't start till a little later on, so I thought it's probably best to just go home.

I had a whole bag of carrots sitting in my fridge for the last three weeks and it really had to go. So, I made a dip one afternoon last week...and I made it again the next day...and the day after...and today.

I think this dip is very particular and will only appeal to some people. But, I think it's pretty tasty and the fact that it can go with so many different foods, it makes it even better.

This recipe is usually eyeballed, but you'll try to get 1:1 part with the main ingredients and a pinch of any of the spices you desire. But, here's a recipe that will get you started and adjust accordingly to your needs.


Cheesy Carrot Dip

1/2 cup of shredded carrots
1/2 cup of shredded cheese
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 tbsp of olive oil
pinch of ground pepper
pinch of ground cayenne pepper 
pinch of garlic powder

1. Mix the shredded carrots, shredded cheese, and sour cream together. You'll notice it's a little clumpy after this step.
2. Add the olive oil. This is what will smooth the whole mixture together. You'll see the change in consistency right away after you mix it all together.
3. Add your spices. 
4. Give it a good mix and you got yourself a good dip.

I used this as a "sauce" for my chicken finger wrap using lettuce. I used this to dip my chicken fingers. And as the photo below shows, I used it as a topping for my perogies . 


I'm pretty happy with this and it's helping me use up my carrots!

I hope you all enjoy this mini recipe. Let me know in the comments below if you tried this recipe and if you did any variation to change it up to your style!

<3

Susan