Thursday, January 16

Milk & Meal: Homemade from Almonds

I didn't always like almond milk. The kind that you get in a carton at the store just never tasted right to me. I bought several different brands and I just never liked the after-mouth taste. Then I looked at the ingredients list (Note to Self: look at ingredients BEFORE purchasing). Calcuim carbonate, Carrageenan, Gellan gum, additional vitamins...  I mean what is that stuff anyways?? Shouldn't Almond Milk just be about the Almonds? There are already vitamins in the nuts why are they adding them? I am not here to definitively say that these ingredients, both natural and chemically made, are "good" or "bad". I just want REAL FOOD. 

So I decided to make some homemade prior to adding to my Not A Fan of Food List. After the initial ingredient discovery, I looked at recipes all over the webs and tried out a couple of different ratios. This is what I came up with... YOU might like yours creamier or you might like it more watery- this is what I like. I would also like to mention that my taste tester I.E. Mr. FFF really despised my very first batch... as in he told me "there are somethings you just can't make and you shouldn't try". Doesn't that sounds like a challenge to you? It does to me!

This almond milk is a 2 days process but it is sugar free, chemical free and ridiculously tasty. 

Homemade Almond Milk

Ingredients: Filtered Water, 1 cup Almonds, 1 Date (this is optional, just adds a hint of sweetness)

Day 1: Put one cup of raw almonds in a mason jar, fill with water until right above the almonds. Lid on, walk way.
Day 2: This is still a waiting day. I added more water because the almonds had risen above the waterline.
Day 3: Milk day! Dump the soaking water, rinse the almonds. Your almonds will be really plump and juicy! Add the nuts to the blender, with one date (take out the seed) for sweetness and add 1.5- 2c of filtered water (recipes normally say 1 to 2 cups per cup of almond). I used to find 2 cups of water to be too much because it made the the almond milk have a skim milk fluidity but as long as you let the almonds soak for TWO days and you have a decent blender 2 cups should be fine. Blend for a few minutes until nuts are pulverized. Take your milk nut bag (yes I have one it was $7 on Amazon but you can use a strainer and a cheese cloth instead) place in a medium bowl or Pyrex, pour in almond mixture in nut bag, pick up bag and squeeze liquid from pulp. The amount of almond milk you get will depend on how much water you used. Make sure to keep your almond milk in an air tight container and refrigerate. Remember, this stuff isn't pasteurized and since it is completely made of REAL ingredients it only lasts 3-4 days... but that isn't really a problem in my house. 

What to use almond milk for? As a creamer in your coffee or tea, replacing fruit juice in your morning smoothie, with cookies (hehe), if you are a cereal eater use it in place of milk. The list goes on... I personally love to use it in my morning cold brew. In fact, I have to make sure to eat breakfast within 30 minutes because if I let more time go by I am pretty content with the protein in my morning cup of joe and wont eat until lunchtime. 

Don't forget to save the pulp! Almond flour is expensive but if you have a dehydrator and a food processor you can use your leftover almond pulp and get two different uses from the same almonds. How awesome is that?! (Some might say frugal, I say penny-wise.) I have done it before in the oven but here in Florida I don't like to leave my oven on for that long, even in the "winter".  Put your dehydrator on at 165 degrees (my oven only goes as low as 170)  and then add the pulp to a tray and leave it over night to 12 hours. Once its no longer moist you can add it to your food processor and pulse away until there are no more lumps. Now you are ready to coat your chicken, make crackers, paleo pancakes... or whatever else you can come up with. Here are a few more ideas. 

 Making almond milk is not hard but it does take planning. Do you like almond milk? Would you ever made your own?


* Thanks for the awesome Christmas present Sis!

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