Sunday, July 24, 2011

Almond Milk

It was a big surprise to me when I learned how easy it was to make good almond milk. Making your own has the advantages of being much cheaper and free of added preservatives and other ickys.

  • 10-20 almonds
  • (optional) 1 date
  • 1 liter water
  1. It's best to soak the almonds overnight as this makes them more digestible, but you don't have to. To soak, simply put them in a bowl with clean water on the counter overnight. In the morning, rinse them off and then store any that you're not going to use right away in the fridge. I like to soak 1-2 cups at a time so I have plenty ready to use.
  2. Fill your vessel with water, about 90% full. Then dump this water into your blender. The reason we leave 10% is because when you add the almonds and blend, the mixture froths up a bit and takes a little more space.
  3. Put almonds and optional date (remember to take the pit out!) into the water. The date makes it a little sweet, which some people like (most almond milks you buy are a little sweet). You really only need about 10 almonds for a liter of water to get a nice solid white color and decent consistency. I like to go for 15 or so for a thicker consistency. 
  4. Blend the heck out of it. A good blender such as this one is helpful here, but most blenders will probably do fine so long as you're patient. I blend for about 5 minutes.
You're done -- it's that easy!

Since your homemade almond milk is all-natural, the solids may separate out a bit after it sits for a while. You can just shake it before you use it. Or, if this bothers you, try using fewer almonds or blending for longer.

You can also use the same process for making sesame or hempseed milk.

Update: You can also fortify your homemade almond milk by throwing in a vitamin B12 pill! Yeah.

Friday, July 22, 2011

chickpea miso soup

I like to cook large batches of beans and store them in jars in the fridge. Then I can quickly make beany dishes such as this one.

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • (optional) 1 scallion, sliced
  • a pinch of instant wakame flakes
  • 1 tsp chickpea miso (or whatever miso you have around)
  • 3 cups water
  1. Turn the heat up on a large saucepan. Add the water and then everything else except the miso. Bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until the carrots begin to soften.
  2. Turn the heat off and remove the cover. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Add  the miso and stir well. Serve!
This makes enough for two large servings. I like to have the first with breakfast and the second with dinner.

It's also good with sliced cabbage cooked into it just like the carrots.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

buckwheat greenola

That's right, greenola. I was inspired by Go Raw's Spirulina Energy Bar, which I discovered on my recent cycling adventure between Whole Foods Market stores.

Loaded with vitamin B12, this is easy to make and to experiment with variations. It also goes great with my homemade almond milk.

Dry ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups whole buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup millet
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup Spirulina (or less)
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1 date (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pecans or your favorite nut
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
In a medium or large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients with a spoon. It won't look incredibly green yet. Don't worry, it will soon enough!

In a blender, blend all the wet ingredients together until smooth. Add more water if necessary to get it all to blend.

Pour the wets over the drys and mix well.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes, 1-2 hours is best. This is to let the seeds and grains soften and in some cases begin sprouting. Meanwhile, heat oven to 215. Prepare two baking sheets using parchment paper, silicone baking mats (I have these and they work great), or a little coconut oil.

Spread the mixture onto the baking sheets thinly. "Bake" (really, it's more like dehydrating) for 2 hours, then check it and stir a little to break apart the clumps. Repeat until it's all dried out.

  • If you're pressed for time you can bake it at 300-325. I like keeping the temperature lower because that leaves more of the nutrients intact.
  • If you're a raw foodie and have a dehydrator, you can use that instead of baking.
  • Bake it overnight on your oven's lowest temperature setting.