Saturday, April 27, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

Since we discovered a few months ago that my hubby is lactose intolerant, I've been trying to figure out healthy milk substitutes... We started with just buying lactose free milk, but that's expensive and I felt like his stomach was still bothering him a little bit. So I decided to start buying almond and coconut milk instead. Then I started looking at all the added ingredients and I didn't like that, so I looked into how to make it... and realized that it's pretty simple, so I thought I'd give it a try! I pulled out the old blender and started putting it to good use (more use than it was probably designed for...). I've been making homemade almond milk for about a month now and I LOVE it! I'm still tweaking it to get the exact flavor I want, but I think I've come up with a pretty good recipe.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds (I get them from Costco or Trader Joe's)
3.5 cups water
1/2 vanilla bean (I buy these in bulk from the grocery store and they're like $0.30 each, which is pretty good! I prefer using vanilla beans over vanilla extract because the alcohol flavor from the extract is very noticeable in milk)
Optional: dates to sweeten (I use half of one, or a whole one if I'm feeling crazy!)

1. Soak almonds overnight in water (enough to cover them)
2. Drain soaking water
3. Put almonds and 3.5 cups water in the blender (and the date if you want it sweeter)
4. Blend for a few minutes (maybe 4-5 for a normal blender, about 30 seconds in a VitaMix)
5. Strain using a nut bag (I bought mine from amazon for like $7 - it's definitely worth it!)
6. Scrape the vanilla beans from the vanilla pod and add it to the milk (I added it before straining the first time, but most of the beans got left in the almond pulp... oops!)
7. Mix and serve :-)
8. Keep in the fridge, I think it lasts for about a week

You can also add other flavors... This morning I decided to make chocolate milk for a special treat for the hubby (along with breakfast in bed!), so I added 1 Tbsp of cocoa powder, a dash of cinnamon, and a dash of cayenne to 1.5 cups of the fresh almond milk. It was pretty yummy but a little grainy from the cocoa powder... Still super tasty though! 

Recipe in Pictures:

Soak overnight (this is after soaking)

 Blend for a few minutes (with fresh water)

During blending

Strain with a nut bag 

Yummy almond milk! 

Leftover almond pulp - all ready to make cookies or granola! YUMMM! :-)
(These will be featured in another post!)

Since I'm an avid tea drinker, one of the struggles I had with almond milk was that it wasn't as creamy as cow's milk, so didn't taste as good in tea (but it's definitely better than coconut milk). So, I decided to come up with a creamier version. This is what I came up with:

Homemade Almond Cashew Milk (especially for putting in tea!)

1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cashews (they're cheapest at Trader Joe's)
1 cup water
Optional: a little vanilla bean

Same method as above! The result is super creamy and delicious!
Obviously I only make a small batch since I only use it in tea and because cashews are more expensive than almonds so I wouldn't want to waste it! ...the good thing about these nut milks is that they're so easy to make, so when we're about to run out, I just put the nuts into soak and can even make it in the morning before work if necessary! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Start of Something New

I'm finally starting a new blog! This blog will be a place for me to just talk about the "normal" things of life... everything from good deals, to cooking and baking, to fun things we're doing.

My next post (coming soon!) will feature my homemade almond milk and my other homemade nut milk that I make just for having in tea :-)