Homemade Pistachio Mylk

pistachio 2This Green Nut, the Pistachio, has soared in popularity in the last few years. There’s been a rise in pistachio-related foods, like Rosa Brothers pistachio ice cream and Fiddyment Farms pistachio butter. As we can attest to, it’s one “green” food that once you start cracking them open, it’s hard to stop! An added bonus if you’re a Californian: they’re right in your backyard with CA being the 2nd largest producer of pistachios in the world. pistachiosThe Many Benefits of Pistachios (source: American Pistachio Growers):

The facts (below) are based on a 1-ounce serving of pistachios. A 1-ounce serving = 49 nuts, more nuts per serving than any other snack nut, so fill that palm up!

heartHealthy snacks are considered to be nutrient-rich foods that contain fiber, lean protein and healthy fat. Pistachios make the ideal snack because they’re a one-stop shop, containing 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein and 11 grams of heart-healthy fat per serving.

heartContain essential vitamins and minerals like B6, thiamin, copper and phosphorus.

heartLots of potassium – as much a 1/2 a large banana or 1 orange.

heartThey work double time – they are naturally cholesterol-free & also improve heart health by lowering cholesterol.

heartIncrease antioxidants in the blood, which has been suggested to prevent some chronic diseases.

heartContain beneficial anti-inflammatory properties, perhaps helping to balance out what we do to our body with sugar consumption.

Besides eating them by the handful, here’s another delicious way to get your pistachio fix — How-To Make Pistachio Mylk: pistachio mylk 1INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup raw whole pistachio kernels (I used California-grown pistachios from Keenan Farms)
  • 4 cups water (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (depending on your taste, might want to add more)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon

pistachiosStep 1: Soak the pistachio kernels in water overnight. They are a little harder to break down than cashews.

{Steps 2-4 are the same as making homemade cashew mylk. See the pics in link for visual reference}

Step 2: Add cashews & 2 cups water to a blender (I used a Vitamix). Blend on a low setting & increase speed, if necessary, until nuts are pulverized & it looks like liquid. pistachio_ingredientsStep 3: Blend in 2 more cups of water, your sweetener of choice (I used honey), vanilla extract, & cinnamon.

Step 4: Strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth. This separates the small nut pieces. Store the milk in a covered container in the refrigerator. Keeps for 3-4 days. pistachio mylk_glassThe taste is a little more potent than other nut mylks because pistachios, in general, have a stronger taste. I’d say the flavor of pistachio mylk is green and deep. Drink by the glass or add to coffee & smoothies + enjoy!
2 glasses pistachio mylkVisit A Lovely Life on Pinterest for more on pistachios –  nutritional facts, recipes + more.

Thanks to Keenan Farms for the delicious pistachios & to our local farmers for growing them!

All photos by Shina Welch Photography for A Lovely Life.

Do you have a favorite kind of nut mylk?

Kelly_signature1

Legs-Up-the-Wall

Photo Credit: Shina Welch Photography

Photo Credit: Shina Welch Photography

My all-time favorite yoga pose is Legs-Up-the-Wall. I’ve taught this to my mom, husband, friends, & yoga students. They all LOVE it. It’s easy to do, doesn’t take much time, & feels amazing, making it a crowd pleaser.

What is Legs-Up-the-Wall pose? An inversion, which basically means the flow of gravity is reversed & the head is below the heart.

The go-to restorative yoga teacher, Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T., wrote a great book, Relax and Renew. In it, she breaks down yoga poses that can help us relax & restore in the high-stress, fast-moving world we live in. “The antidote to stress is relaxation. To relax is to rest deeply & with Legs-Up-the-Wall that can be done in just 5 minutes”, she says.

The Benefits:

  • The most basic reason – it relieves tired or cramped legs & feet.
  • As humans (not animals hanging from trees), we stand or sit most of the day, causing blood & lymph fluid to accumulate in the lower extremities. By changing the relationship of the legs to gravity, fluids are returned to the upper body & heart function is enhanced.
  • Increases circulation all throughout the body.
  • Beneficial for the endocrine system – helps rebalance the thyroid & can also help with fertility.
  • Calming because it helps the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in (the opposite of fight-or-flight).
  • Decreases blood pressure.
  • Restful, but also recharging.
  • Gently stretches the backs of the legs, front torso, & the back of the neck.

When?

I do Legs-Up-the-Wall, without fail, once a day. Sometimes more, depending on the day & how I feel. I’ve noticed I feel much better when I do it than when I don’t.

  • Any time of the day for 5-15 minutes, especially if your legs feel achy or you feel the need to rest & slow down. Good to do at end of the work day.
  • Great after traveling, to recover from jet lag, & after walking, standing, or sitting for long periods.

Where?

  • Part of the beauty of the pose is that it can be done ANYWHERE – at home, work, in a hotel room, wherever there is a wall! *If you don’t have enough wall space, you can use the back of a closed door or large piece of furniture like an armoire.
  • A comfortable, quiet area is ideal.

Props:

  • A wall.
  • Standard-fold blanket (the firm, wool ones that are typically used in yoga studios) or a thick bath towel folded lengthwise, then in half 2x.
  • Eye pillow (optional) or a folded face cloth.
  • No need for workout clothes. Can wear anything as long as you’re comfortable. foldingbathtowel

How To Do The Pose:

Step 1: Sit on floor with 1 side/shoulder against the wall w/ knees bent, & parallel to the wall. Place your hands on the floor behind you. Step 1-sit@sideofwall

 

Step 2: Using your arms as support, with 1 smooth movement, swing your legs up onto the wall, gently lower your shoulders & head down onto the floor. Step 2 - swinglesupwall

 

Step 3: Once in position, make sure your tailbone & buttocks are completely on the floor, not rounded. Move as close towards the wall as feels comfortable. *Options:

  • If your lower back rounds, move slightly away from the wall until your lower back is flat on the floor.
  • If you are close to the wall & feel a strain at the back of your knees, bend your knees a few inches. If that doesn’t relieve the strain, move a few inches away from the wall, bend your knees, & rest soles of feet on the wall.

Place folded blanket or towel under your head & neck to support the space (cervical curve) behind your neck. Make sure your chin is slightly lower than your forehead.

Move legs to hip distance apart. Keep knees relaxed & soft with a slight bend (not locked out), just strong enough to hold them vertically in place.Step 3 - lay down, adjust blanket under neck

Step 4: And you’re in the pose! Place your arms out to your sides w/ palms facing up. Gently close your eyes. If you’d like, place the eye pillow over them. Step 4 - lay down

In The Pose:

  • Take long, slow breaths – inhale & exhale gently through your nose with mouth closed.
  • Tune into your legs – feel the fluid moving from your feet, down your legs, all the way to your abdomen. As the blood flows towards your heart, imagine the tension leaving your legs, softening them.
  • Feel your entire spine & body supported by the floor.
  • Allow your head to soften towards the floor, releasing tension in your jaw muscles, eyes, & neck.
  • With your arms spread wide, feel the openness in your chest & heart.
  • Enjoy the feeling & settle into your breathing.

To Come Out Of The Pose:

Step 5: Remove the eye pillow (if using one). Slowly open your eyes.

Step 6: Bend your knees & lower them down the wall towards your chest. Stay here for a few breaths. Step 5 - knees towards chest

Step 7: Roll to 1 side. Stay for a few breaths. *If get up too quickly, can feel light-headed. Step 6 - roll to side

Step 8: Slowly push yourself up to sitting. Step 7 - push yourself up

Step 9: You feel amazing – calm & refreshed.

This is too cute not to share…it’s kid-tested & approved too! He loved it! 🙂 even kids love it!

NOTE: The pose is very safe, but not recommended for those with: a hiatal hernia, serious eye problems, like glaucoma, during menstruation, more than 3 months pregnant, neck problems, migraine headaches, & serious heart problems.

I hope you love it as much as I do!

P.S. This is a repost that I wrote pre-pregnancy. After I was 3 months pregnant, I didn’t do the pose as often and definitely not past 7 months once it became uncomfortable to lay on my back.

Kelly_signature1

 

A Lovely Home Update

laguna vista_front of house final (1){our home – before}

It’s been awhile since A Lovely Home update. There’s been so much going on. So many details to consider and decisions to make. I work on it or I’m there daily, so I can honestly say it’s become a part-time job. Since I’ve become pregnant, I’ve focused even more on the house, wanting to get as much done while I feel great, have energy and am comfortable! And we’re down to crunch time with the end of October as the expected move-in date.

Here’s a progress update: framing_front of house_use this oneThis is the framing in the front of the house that created a larger Entry and a Dining Room. house_new frontAfter framing was finished and the windows were installed, new siding to the addition went up. We, unexpectedly, also had to replace the old siding on much of the house since a lot of it was damaged when the windows were installed. Such is a remodel…home_new entryhome_new entry windowsHere’s an interior view of the new Entry and Dining Room. With the old single-paned windows gone, these new double-paned windows make a huge difference. They make the house more insulated and up-to-date. And I LOVE large windows! framing_living roomThis is the old framing that was covered in redwood. As soon as you walked through the front door, it felt like you walked straight into this panel. Not a good, expansive look.home_new screenThe new panel with a more airy feel. The opening will have a cool, plywood screen, creating a division between the Living and Dining Rooms. kitchen_demo 2 finalThe old Kitchen with the redwood ceiling.house_kitchen with new panellingThe new, in progress Kitchen. Some of the redwood ceiling was destroyed and reused in the Master Bathroom, so we added new paneling. Thankfully, after trying out a few samples of wood, we found a fairly inexpensive one that’ll achieve the same texture as redwood when painted.

The great thing about going to the house and taking these pictures, even though it looks messy, is that we can see that progress is slowly, but surely, being made. I have an overall vision of what the house will look like and this helps me envision it even more.

It’s not finished yet, so there will be more details and updates to share! Stay tuned…

Kelly_signature1 

A Lovely Life Welcomes A Lovely Baby!

nick+kelly hawaii{our babymoon in Maui}

I’m so happy to share that my husband and I are expecting our first child!! It’s a really exciting and (already) life-changing experience. It’s amazing how it’s shifted our perspective and without a doubt it will even more once the baby comes in January.

Two weekends ago we had a Gender Reveal party with our family at my in-law’s home. Here’s a peek: reveal_front door decor{cute front door decor – is it a boy or girl superhero?}  reveal decor_mother goose bookreveal_cupcake tower{delicious cupcakes from my fav bakery, Frosted Cakery}

I was curious to know everyone’s guess of the gender, so we had them grab a pink or blue golf ball. It was interesting that the majority of our family chose pink balls. reveal_golf balls 2I’m so grateful that my good friend, the talented event planner behind hooRAE, Rae Pardini, came to our rescue. She handled the reveal (crazy she knew the gender before us), so we didn’t have to find out before our family did. It was as much a surprise to us as it was to them, making the experience even more special and priceless.

I knew I wanted to do something golf-related, but wasn’t sure what. Rae had the idea to fill a golf ball with either pink or blue powder. When it was hit, the ball would explode and reveal whether it was a boy or girl!
reveal_nick about to hit ballNick and I were nervous, even though we’d be happy either way…reveal_pink smoke!and it’s a GIRL!! Apparently our niece, Payton, is happy she’s getting a girl cousin! reveal_payton with ballreveal_pink golf ball in our hands Reveal_pink ball in 1:2{ball (on right) post-explosion} reveal_pink cupcake up closeWe’ve appreciated all the support and excitement from our family and friends. I’m really looking forward to A Lovely Life continuing to evolve with more topics, including the pregnancy, childbirth + baby. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Stay tuned…

Kelly_signature1

An End of Summer Dinner Party: The Dessert

SR_final cobbler side shotWhen Chef Shayna and I put our heads together to create a simple + seasonal menu for a casual Summer dinner party, one thing instantly on the menu was peach cobbler. To me, peach cobbler has always been the epitome of Summer – fresh, juicy peaches with the most delicious, crumbly topping. Served slightly warm with vanilla ice cream on top and you had the perfect dessert!

There’s so many recipes for peach cobbler, but we chose to make Shayna’s tried-and-true one. Our idea to serve them individually in small ramekins is so it’s easy for guests to grab and mingle. We used peaches grown by Shayna’s grandfather, keeping it very local. 🙂

Hopefully you’ve been following our End of Summer Dinner party posts – each one with a different part of the meal. bruschetta, salad, lemonadeheartTHE MENU

Drink: Refreshing Lemonade with a healthy twist (a cocktail version too!) – coming this week.

Appetizer: Bite-Size Bruschetta Cups

Main Dish: Chicken Summer Salad with strawberries & goat cheese

Dessert: Mini Peach Cobbler

Mini Peach Cobbler: 

adapted from Shia LaBeouf’s recipeSR_whole fresh peaches in bowlservings: 6

Ingredients:

Fruit Mixture:SR_fruit mixture ingredients

  • 5 cups of fresh peach wedges (about 6 peaches)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sugar

Topping:SR_topping ingredients used in peach cobbler

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 envelopes instant apple cinnamon oatmeal

Prep: SR_kelly + shayna cutting + dicing peaches1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare (6) ramekins with cooking spray. SR_stirring peaches, flour and sugar together 2. In a large bowl, combine the fruit mixture – peach wedges, flour + sugar. Toss to coat. Divide peaches equally in ramekins. SR_adding oatmealSR_adding butter3. In a medium bowl, combine the topping ingredients – flour, brown sugar, melted butter, oatmeal + chopped nuts. The mixture will be lumpy. SR_stir topping mixture together4. Top peaches with this mixture. SR_layer oatmeal mixture on top of peaches5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until fruit mixture is bubbly + topping is slightly browned. SR_cobbler ready to be bakedServe warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. SR_final cobblerAnd you have a delicious, sweet and fresh Summer dessert! SR_cobbler overhead shot with whip on yellow plateWe hope you try these recipes for an End of Summer party and like them as much as we do.

Next up: the drink!

Photos by Photography by MJD for A Lovely Life.

Find out more easy recipes your friends, family + kiddos will love at chefshayna.com.

Do you have a favorite Summer dessert?

Kelly_signature1