Friday, February 24, 2012

Make your own Almond Milk


Did you know you can make your own almond milk and that it is incredibly easy? I know buying it in the store is convenient but if you have the time you should try to make some not only because it is cost effective but I think it tastes better and you can control what is in it, make your own flavors and adjust the thickness and sweetness to your liking.

Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
6 cups of cold water (this can be adjusted depending on how thick you like your milk)
Any flavoring you choose, today I made vanilla

Method


Start by soaking your raw almonds preferable for 6 to 8 hours in cold water but I  don't plan ahead very well so I have been soaking mine in hot water for about an hour. I know technically this doesn't qualify as raw, I am not a raw foodie person so I am okay with soaking them in hot water if it gets me my almond milk faster. Here is a tip, look for raw almonds in bulk at your grocery store. They are so much cheaper than buying a bag I think I picked up my last few pounds of almonds for $2.88 a pound but normally they should be less than $4.00 a pound and you should get about 3 batches of milk out of each pound.


After they have soaked drain off the water they were soaking in and rinse them in cold water a few times.


Dump the soaked almonds into your blender along with 6 cups of cold water. Here is where you can play around with the thickness of the milk. I originally started making my milk with only 3 cups of water and while it was good, I thought it was to thick, kind of like the consistency of a half and half. I have always been a skim milk girl so I gradually added more water until I found a thickness I liked. So this will make a skim milk consistency, if you like your milk thicker, add less water just remember that the calorie count per cup will increase as you decrease the water.


You can see that I also added a whole vanilla bean to my milk. I know most of you are saying vanilla beans are spendy why would you put a whole one in your milk? Well, a year or so ago I bought vanilla beans in bulk for dirt cheap, I think I got like 200 beans for $20 or something like that. They have been sitting in my freezer since then and I use them when I can, making vanilla almond milk is a perfect use for them. Of course I realize most "normal" people don't have 200 vanilla beans hanging around their house so feel free to add some natural non alcohol based vanilla extract to the milk instead. Today I only used the almonds, water and a vanilla bean.



I was in a small local health food store the other day and they had all kinds of natural extracts. I saw a chai extract that I thought would make for a yummy flavor. I didn't buy it but may go back sometime and try it. I also have some rum extract left over from making rum cake over the holidays...I thought if I added some to the milk along with some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves it might make for an eggnog type version next Christmas. Just be careful when buying a lot of extracts have alcohol and or sugar added so be sure to read your labels. You could also add some Stevia if you like your milk sweeter or even some cacao powder to make a chocolate almond milk. Basically what I am saying is sky is the limit when it comes to flavoring your almond milk or just leave it plain, I do this quite often so that I can make things like almond milk alfredo or my sweet potato frittata.


Put the lid on your blender and grind those almonds up. I have a fairly high power blender so it doesn't take much time as all but if your blender isn't as high power that is fine you will just have to blend it longer. You will no it is done when you don't have huge chunks of almonds left and a foam has developed on top of you milk.


Pour your milk into a mesh strainer that has been lined with 2 layers of cheese cloth. You could also buy a nut milk bag but I find this method works just fine so why buy something that isn't necessary, unless you really want to after all it is reusable which is nice so that you aren't creating as much waste, come on you know all us Oregonians are environmentalists at heart, reduce, reuse, recycle. I actually do a little sewing so I will probably make my own when my cheese cloth runs out...I know I can make them cheaper than $7.00 a bag. Let me know if you want one, you pay the shipping and I would be happy to make one and send it your way.


Let the milk drain until mostly nut pulp is left. At this point pick up the cheesecloth and squeeze the pulp over the strainer...there is quite a bit of milk left in the pulp. Continue to squeeze until all the milk is released from the pulp and the pulp is fairly dry.


Save the pulp, there are lots of uses for it probably not while on PINK but you can freeze it for later. My kids have requested cookies today and I am going to replace half of the flour in the recipe with my left over nut pulp. (I will be summoning all of my will power today to not eat these.) But there is a whole site devoted to what to do with nut pulp if you really want to use it somehow. The almond nut pulp crackers on this site intrigue me but I don't have much will power when it comes to resisting crackers even healthy ones so  I will probably pass.


Pour your milk into a pitcher and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Aren't these old fashion glass milk jars cute...I have been saving them not knowing what I would do with them, now I have a use. See my hoarding ways have paid off. You will have to shake the milk before use as I find it separates just a little but I think even the store bought brand says to shake before using. See I told you it was easy.

Enjoy your homemade almond milk!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sweet Potato Vegi Frittata


What a trying week I have had. We all have them and I will live through it but boy oh boy. All three of my kids have had their own separate issues this week that are wearing on me. Let's just say being a parent is difficult sometimes and leave it at that. When life gets stressful it makes it difficult to stick to healthy eating. Let me tell you it took all my power not to order take out for dinner tonight, it was just one of those days where the kids got home from school and all hell broke loose and before I knew it it was 7:00 and I hadn't even thought about dinner. Instead of ordering take out, I chose to throw together a quick frittata, which is really just a crust-less quiche. This could also be made reset friendly, if you left out the sweet potato. It would be less substantial and more like an omelet but still something that could be made ahead.

Sweet Potato Vegi Frittata (serves 2)
1 medium sweet potato
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt or Bragg's
1 tsp Original Mrs. Dash
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Assorted Chopped vegetables

Method

Slice sweet potato into thin slices.  Remember that a serving of sweet potato is 1 medium sweet potato  which should be about the size of your fist. Mine is slightly larger which is okay since this will make two servings. I just sliced mine up using my Saladacco on the thick setting. I know it looks like there is a ton of potato in the pan but the Saladacco cuts the potato into very thin curly slices that are fun but it really isn't necessary for the recipe, just slice them with a knife, a mandolin, a food processor, any of those will work.


Pile the sweet potato into the pan, I used a pie pan but and 8 x 8 would work also.



Chop your favorite vegetables and add them to the pan, I used spinach, onion, zucchini, assorted bell peppers, and mushroom, but use what you like. Don't be afraid to pile them in either, they will shrink down as they cook.


Crack your eggs, 2 whole eggs 2 eggs whites. I know this is a little more than a serving but I am okay with having a little more protein.


Add in your milk, Dijon, yeast, Mrs. Dash, salt or Braggs to the eggs and mix it up.


Pour over your sweet potato, mix to combine all the ingredients


Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until the egg has set and all the liquid has been absorbed.


Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken Alfredo


Oh my goodness, I just finished dinner and I had to hop on here and share the recipe, it was so great!!
What was it? Chicken Alfredo over zucchini noodles. Unfortunately it has one ingredient that is not listed in the acceptable food lists so you are going to have to make the decision yourself on whether you want to try it. That ingredient would be arrowroot. It is a plant based thickener and I used very little of it so for me it was okay, you make that decision for yourself. I wouldn't say it is a reset recipe though because arrowroot contain carbohydrates but for primary, I think it is okay, again you be the judge.

This recipe came about this weekend when I was experimenting with making vegan feta cheese. I tasted the cheese and thought it tasted similar to Alfredo sauce which made me think, I wonder if I could make this into an Alfredo type sauce. Here is what I came up with.

Almond Milk Alfredo Sauce
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp arrowroot
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Braggs aminos
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
dash of nutmeg

Method




Mix all the ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat on medium heat until it has thickened.


Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, your sauce is done.




I served my sauce over zucchini noodles made with my Saladacco. I however chose to take the green skin off of the zucchini so that the noodles looked more like an actual noodle. No reason really, it tastes the same with or without the skin, I just wanted it to look more like Alfredo. I also added 3 ounces of chicken to the dish to complete my protein for the meal. I figure that the sauce made about 1 cup and I used 1/4 cup on my noodles so it would count as 1/4 of my protein since 1 cup of almond milk is a serving, that is why I only used 3 ounces of chicken. I also added some sprouted grain garlic bread toast for my slow carb and dinner was done.

Enjoy!



Thai Chicken Soup


Have you been sitting in the passenger seat of you life lately? I know weird question but one that I found the answer to yesterday when we, took a little trip up to Mt. Hood to do some sledding as a family. You see we didn't go to a sledding hill that has one of those tow rope things, no you have to hike your bottom up to the top of the hill to sled down and then hike back up again. It was no small hill either, sure there were smaller ones but my family didn't want to sled down the small hill, no they wanted to do the "big" hill. My family hiked up and down the hill a few times and I sat and watched as they went up and down, when it occurred to me that this is a pattern in my life, I am always watching other people as they have fun and not participating. I thought to myself, why am I not sledding with my kids and husband? Well, there is that giant hill, there is one reason why I am not sledding. I wasn't sledding for fear that I couldn't get up that giant hill, I was using my weight to determine whether I could or should have fun. I was sitting in the passenger seat allowing this precious moment with my family pass me by. 
Me being a passenger
I made a choice then and there that I was no longer going to be a passenger, I have sat for to long and let life pass me by. I don't want to be the mom that can't be active with her kids any longer. I want my kids to remember a mom who took risks and had fun with them. I got up and started climbing that hill. Guess what, I climbed the hill to the top, the entire hill. I was only intending to climb about half way and sled down but I made it up the entire hill, yep I did. Not once, not twice but probably 5 or 6 times. I could have and would have done more but by the time I finally decided to stop being a passenger, the day was more than half over. Boy was it fun! Please stop being the passenger in your life, take control and don't let the negative thoughts determine what you can and can't do!

video
Me in the driver's seat!

On to today's recipe, Thai chicken soup! This is a great recipe with loads of flavor and one that you could add in any number of vegetables to make it your own. Yes, I believe it is reset friendly, (you make the choice regarding the curry paste) and one you could also leave out the chicken of and have it as a snack any time you get hungry. 

Thai Chicken Soup
4 ounce boneless skinless chicken breast
3 cups chopped vegetables (I used onion, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms)
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 cups water
1 zucchini, cut into noodles (optional)

Method
Brown your chicken in a pot with a mist of olive oil or coconut oil


Remove your chicken from the pan and add in your aromatic vegetables. Those would be your onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger.


Add your chicken back into the pan


Add the remaining vegetables, the water and the Thai red curry paste to your pan and stir to combine. 

Simmer until the vegetables have softened.


When the soup is done add in a squirt of lime juice to the soup. Yes, I used a bottled lime juice and I know a real lime would be much better but I didn't have one.


Turn your zucchini into noodles if you so choose. I use the Saladacco to make my zucchini into noodles.


Spoon your soup over your zucchini noodles.


Enjoy!

Remember don't be a passenger today!




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