Easy Homemade Almond Milk for Vegans

I made a new vegan homemade almond milk.  Due to treatment of factory farm animals, I am trying to move towards a more vegan lifestyle.   We have been buying the “humane” milk; however, that doesn’t change the way that milk is produced.  Baby cows are still taken away from their mothers so that the milk can go to us, instead of the cows.  I can’t support this.  But I still crave a morning bowl of cereal sometimes.  Enter in Almond Milk.

I had made coconut milk and I still love that; however, I was left with a lot of coconut pulp that I wasn’t sure what to do with.  I do have almond pulp left over from the process, but I can easily find a way to incorporate this in more foods we currently eat than coconut.

A couple of things to consider before making Almond Milk.

  1.  Buy unseasoned raw Almonds.  Organic is preferred, however it is way more expensive.
  2.   Don’t forget to soak.  Soak for at least 12 hours.  This softens the almonds for a better texture of the finished milk.
  3.   Make sure the water to nut ratio is correct:  4 parts water to 1 part nuts.
  4.   Blend long enough and make sure you strain well.
  5.   Flavor your milk.
  6.   Use fresh nuts.

How to make homemade Almond Milk.

  1.  Soak nuts over night.  12 hours is a good average.  Your water should be murky when it’s ready to go.  Strain from water.
  2.  Rinse well.
  3.  Add nuts to high speed blender.  Add the appropriate amount of water given the ratio above.
  4.  Most recipes indicate to use cheese cloth but if you have a great strainer, that works too.  I don’t want to use cheese cloth once then throw it away so I used my metal cheese strainer and it worked pretty good.  Some of the smaller bits got through but I’m okay with that.
  5.  Store in mason jars and refrigerate.  This may be the time to add flavoring like vanilla extract, cinnamon, a date or agave extract.  Source says to use it within 2 days.

My next goal is to figure out what to do with yummy almond pulp.

Bowl of Homemade Almond Milk Pulp

I will slow bake it in the oven to dry it out but below are a couple of options.

What to do with left over Almond Pulp:

  1.  Grind it finely in order to make Almond Flour.  This will be great for many baking purposes.
  2.   Coat chicken breasts and bake.
  3.   Add to salads, smoothies or muffins.
  4.   Add to cookie batter.
  5.   I am making homemade biscotti tomorrow for the first time so I’m going to add a bit to the dough before I bake it.
  6.   Add it to crusts, make crackers or add it to facial scrubs or homemade soap as an exfoliator.

I would love to hear your experiences in making Almond Milk.  Have you made other nut milks?  What is your favorite?  And please, I would love more ideas on what to use almond pulp for.

Easy Homemade Coconut Milk

I have been obsessed with Coconut Milk since I found that the unsweetened kind had barely any sugar.  It’s nearly 0%.  I have been trying to reduce my sugar intake; milk being really high in sugar, was the first thing I considered removing from my diet.

If I had realized how easy it was to make this stuff, I would have been making this for a long time.  I found a recipe to try out on Wellness Mama here.  I figured I’d give these instructions a try, and if needed, I would alter or add more coconut, based on my taste preference.

I had sweetened coconut shreds in my fridge I wanted to use, so this isn’t the true unsweetened variety that I want, but I wanted to use it and there is no better way than to use it for something I need anyway: coconut milk.  So I measured what I had available, which was about 3 cups.

Homemade Coconut Milk 12

Based on the ratio on Wellness Mama’s site, this didn’t match so I had to do some math.  Brings me back to the good ole days of junior high school or elementary school.  When did we learn ratios, I don’t even remember.

Homemade Coconut Milk Calculation 1

So my recipe called or about 6.85 cups of water to 3 cups of coconut shreds.  Wellness Mama used approximately 1.75 cups of coconut shreds to 4 cups of water.  Adjust as you see fit.

Heat the water to hot, but not boiling.  I went a bit too far with the temperature so I let it sit for a while.  Once it was at a good temperature, I added the coconut and used an immersion hand blender and blended it for a couple of minutes.

Then you send it through a colander to collect the coconut and release the coconut milk.  Originally I had planned to use a colander and a coffee filter but this deemed TOO slow so my husband told me to use the metal strainer (which he uses for cheese).  Worked like a charm.  I owe him credit: thanks Ben!

Homemade Coconut Milk Strainer 1

I popped the coconut milk into the fridge to cool for a while before I put them in my reusable bottles.   Love these things.  I found a box of them in our garage and thought they were perfect!  I think they were purchased years ago to make homemade booze and gift them, but that never happened.  I will put them to use in a different way.

Homemade Coconut Milk 21

Now, I need to find a use for these left over coconut shreds.  No reason to put them in the compost bin when they can be used in a healthy recipe.  More to come on that.

Homemade Coconut Milk Shreds 1

Remember to shake your coconut milk before you use.   This should last me a week or so.  I will update with how it holds up.

Easy Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup

I hate cooking meals.  I would rather bake something sweet.  But I came across this easy recipe that even I could make.  It didn’t require making a huge mess or a lot of ingredients.  It is gluten free and vegetarian.  If you like squash soup you will probably like this one too.  It has the same consistency as mashed cauliflower.

 

Ingredients

3 medium sized sweet potatoes

1 head cauliflower

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

7 cups of water

Cut the cauliflower into smallish pieces, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven at 400 for 20 – 30 minutes.  Roast until light brown and but not mushy.

Chop the sweet potatoes, onion and garlic and put in water to soften.  When the cauliflower is done put this in the veggie mixture.  Once the potatoes are soften allow to cool before you blend.  I took mine off the burner and went for a walk.  Once I returned I took the hand blender to it and blended it to a lumpy texture.   Reheat on the stove until hot.  Season with salt and pepper.

My husband and I had enough for 2 full meals each.  We at it again the next day, but we added some diced ham to it.  We are by no means vegetarians and we had ham left over in the fridge.  It did add a little salt to it and it tasted like scalloped potatoes.   It was yummy and easy.

 

DIY Almond Butter

I eat a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich almost every day.  It’s quick to make and somewhat fulfilling.  I suppose not as satisfying as a pizza or Fettuccine Alfredo.  In trying to eat healthier I found that almond butter has less fat than regular peanut butter.  I love Trader Joe’s almond butter specifically.  Unfortunately, here in Fargo, we are 3 hours away from the closest Trader Joe’s.  Yes, we have it here in the grocery stores, but it’s double the price.    Plus, I had no idea how easy it would be to make it myself.   It’s easy AND it tastes delicious.  Here are the easiest steps.

Ingredients

Almonds

Honey (optional)

Salt (optional)

Really, that is it.  However, I found a recipe that adds a bit of raw honey (which I had) and salt.

I bought a bag that was 2 and a half cups of chopped almonds.  I toasted them on a skillet on medium until it browned a bit.  Popped the almonds in the food processor, added a couple of teaspoons of raw honey and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  It blended for about 5 minutes until it turned into a butter consistency.

Have you looked at the ingredients on a peanut butter jar?  Molasses, Hydrogenated Oil, Sugar…Why are these things needed?  Peanuts and almonds are tasty all by themselves.  And I know that hydrogenated oils are NOT healthy.

I suppose the bag of almonds cost about $4.50.  I could have saved some money but I didn’t want to spend time shopping.  So for less than $5 I have good, raw and tasty almond butter.  You have to really try this yourself!

Pumpkin Pancakes

I must be in the fall mood because I have been craving fall flavors like apple butter and pumpkin.  I think that you can enjoy these flavors any time of the year, but it is extra special at the right season.

Two years ago we had a great harvest of pumpkins.  I don’t remember the exact count, but we ended up with the equivalent of 60 cans of pureed pumpkin.  I have found some great recipes using my pumpkin.  I love this Pumpkin Swirl Bread recipe from my friends’ blog.  I also have tried pumpkin risotto which is great.  Here is my favorite recipe using pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour

3 Tbsp packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 cup milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup cooking oil

1.  Combine flour and other dry ingredients.  In second bowl combine eggs and remaining ingredients.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Mix until mixture is just a bit lumpy.

2.  Heat frying pan until water dances or sizzles.   Flip once the sides lift off the pan and bubbles form and stay.

I really enjoy these both hot or cold.  I usually make 3 small pancakes for a snack at work.  It is even quick enough to make before leaving for work.  And there is barely any sugar in it, but it’s sweet enough if you have a sweet tooth.   I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

 

Healthy Banana Cookies

Do you ever have the problem that your bananas have gotten too ripe you can’t eat them anymore?  Sometimes when we go shopping at the grocery store we guy a bag of bananas that are too ripe to sell.  We end up with about 3 bunches for $2.99.  We never can use that many before they go bad so I just throw them in the freezer.   This is a great way to hold on to them and use them when you need them.  I take out three for this recipe at a time and let them thaw out.  It’s a great way to save money on bananas for baking.  Here is the recipe.

3 ripe bananas

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup dates (or raisins in my case)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In medium/large bowl mash bananas.  Stir in oats, dates/raisins, oil and vanilla.  Mix well.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

3. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, or until lightly brown.

Make sure to wait the full 15 minutes.  Once I baked these without waiting and my cookies were hard.  I still ate them, but they weren’t as chewy and soft as they should be.

I actually didn’t have any dates or raisins when I made them today so I just left them out.  You could also subsitutute almonds or walnuts.  If you usually bring a granola bar to work with you for lunch or a snack this is a good substitute.  I am on a low sugar diet and granola bars from stores are loaded with sugar.  For this recipe I didn’t add any sugar.  It is just the natural sugars from the bananas.