Friday, January 28, 2011

Rich and Aromatic Almond Milk - yes, made at home!

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Dear fellow nut-cases,

While I don't ever see myself becoming a vegan or all-raw foodist, I enjoy eating and cooking (or in the raw case, preparing) meals that follow that trend.  It is without question healthier and easier on the body to leave meats and, often, cooked items off the menu.  Eating lots of produce, nuts, whole grains, and the like provides your body with vitamins and minerals and nutrients and micronutrients and water content and fibers that are all vital to giving your body the tools to build, digest, grow, and heal properly.

Almonds themselves are a great source of protein - so this drink makes a wonderful post-workout recovery drink!

Almond milk from the store, however, almost always (even organic brands) contain artificial vitamins that cause nutritional imbalances and toxicity over time.

I enjoy incorporating raw and vegan/vegetarian cookbooks into my bookshelves so that I have plenty of options right at hand to prepare creative meals that don't use meat or a lot of fatty, hard-to-digest ingredients.

A cookbook that I've recently started using to find new recipes is Raw Food/Real World, a fun and beautifully photographed book full of gourmet dishes that use loads and loads of nutritious ingredients.  In this book, they had an entire chapter on delicious drinks.

The following recipe, which is a barely modified version, is for a refreshing, rich drink made from almonds and optional sweet ingredients (without any sweetening it is still good as a quick drink, but a little too "watery-nutty" for my taste).  Many of you are probably already used to almond milk, like Almond Breeze.  I love those drinks!  But I really love being able to make things at home, so I was delighted to learn this recipe.

It calls for raw, unsalted nuts, but I had an entire box of roasted, salted almonds so I figured I'd use those before buying any.  I rinsed them thoroughly and soaked them for just a few hours longer than the minimum the recipe recommends.

Almond Milk
Serves 2 (but I can drink it all!)

1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water 4 hours or overnight
4 cups filtered water
1/4 cup agave nectar, OR raw honey, OR a few drops stevia liquid
Optional: 1 tablespoon non-GMO soy lecithin
Optional (but I highly recommend including!): a few drops almond extract
Pinch of salt

In a high-speed blender, blend the soaked and drained nuts and filtered water on high speed for 2 - 3 minutes to ensure the nuts are well blended.  Strain through a mesh strainer and cheesecloth as many times as you like to ensue it is very smooth. I strained it through a mesh strainer twice first, and then through a few layers of cheesecloth three times.  

Rinse the blender cup thoroughly and then pour the almond milk back in with the remaining ingredients.  Blend to combine thoroughly and taste for sweetness.  

It will settle into two layers in the fridge if it sits for very long, but don't be alarmed by the strange appearance - just give it a good hard shake!  Serve cold and refreshing.  

Enjoy your easy-breezy almond milk!  Personally, I like to have a cold glass in the morning while I organize my schedule for the day. 

Until next time  - 

Mrs H

P.S. fun idea: I am freezing some of mine in my ice cube tray for making fruit smoothies!



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