not-too-nutty Nut Milk

lily having tea

Until recently I have been rather skeptical of the need for nut milk.  The mass-produced, processed kind in a box or carton often has all sorts of other additives to thicken or preserve it and I would just as soon avoid all that. I hadn’t ever tried making my own, though, and now that I have, I am rather a fan of the stuff.

We have been drinking organic, raw cow’s milk for the last couple of years and I am quite happy with that most of the time.  In the beginning of the new year–2013–I am planning to eat ‘clean” again for awhile, which for me means no grains, added sugar/sweetener and no dairy.  I quite enjoy my tea in the winter time, so I have been feeling around for some milk alternatives that I feel comfortable with.  Coconut milk works quite well (I try to find the stuff in a can that contains only coconut, though often it has guar gum too), but has a slight coconut flavor.

I mentioned to my mom that I was going to try making nut milk.  “I have a recipe!”, she exclaimed. Reaching into the bowl of garlic that we keep on the counter, she pulled out a small, dusty slip of paper.  Of course, the recipe for nut milk lives in the garlic bowl…

The recipe read as follows:

12 each of almonds, walnuts and cashews (or all of one kind.) [I used all sprouted, skin-less, dehydrated almonds]

1 T. raw pumpkin seeds

1T. raw sunflower seeds

1 T. sesame seeds [I skipped these]

4 cups water.

1 t. (raw) honey or favorite sweetener

Blend nuts/seeds with one cup of hot or cold water for 1 minute. [be careful if you use hot – start the blender of slow and hold the lid on tight so you don’t have an explosion]  Add rest of water and blend for one more minute.  Strain through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth. Squeeze to get the last bit of liquid out. Stir or blend in sweetener.

I found that the taste of the nut milk was almost indiscernible when added to my decaf earl grey with a touch of honey. Success!

[I used the left over nut grounds to make “french toast pancakes“]

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, gone green.

Smoothie...gone green.

Smoothie…gone green.

The color of this morning-time meal-in-a-glass is an outrageous, living, emerald-jade, jubilant green.  Try it out.

Recipe:

Blend:

1/4 C. cooked pumpkin or squash

1/4-1/2 C. coconut milk or plain yogurt (I like to use full-fat) or some of each

1/4 C. apple cider or less

1 tsp. cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

1/2 t. grated fresh ginger

splash of vanilla

dollop of maple syrup or your favorite sweetener

a scoop of your favorite protein powder, a handful of hemp seeds, or a raw (local, pastured) egg for extra protein

dash of salt

Blend until smooth.  Add a handful of spinach and a couple leaves of kale, stripped from the stems.  Blend again, using kale stem to push down greens, until smooth and a beautiful green color.  Taste test for spice/sweet/tart.  The consistency of this delicious concoction will be closer to a pudding than a drink with these proportions and I like to eat it with a spoon…

Enjoy!

Notes:

Measurements: I am not a measurer unless I am baking, so these measurements are a place to start from.  Please use your intuition as you throw stuff in the blender.  If it feels like too much of something, use less.  If you want more of something (liquid, sweet, green, etc.), use more.  Have fun!

Sweeteners: If you are not eating any sugar, try using Stevia (just a sprinkle of powder) or vegetable glycerin instead of maple syrup. Substitute water, coconut water, nut milk, whey or your other favorite liquid for the juice.  Add extra cinnamon for a little more sweet.

Easy way to roast a pumpkin or squash: Oven at 375-400°.  Cut squash/pumpkin in half and put face down in a large, oiled casserole dish (I use coconut oil) and add a bit of water.  Cover with tinfoil or not.   Bake until flesh is nice and soft when poked.  I like to cook pumpkin until skin starts to brown – about 45-60 minutes depending on size, oven temp, etc.  Seeds are super easy to scoop out once flesh is cooked.  I like to then scoop flesh out of skin and freeze, or put in the fridge to use in smoothies, soups or pies.

Protein powder: The whey protein powder that we are currently using at home is from Dr. Mercola; I like it, and I feel good about the ingredients.  I feel mixed about protein powders in general and I try to avoid soy unless it is cultured/fermented so I avoid soy protein powders.  Dr. Mercola points out that using raw egg instead of whey protein powder actually slows the absorption of protein, so if you are using this shake as a post-workout meal, the whey protein may be a better choice.

Turnip “French Toast” Pancakes with Bacon

Recipe:

Peel and steam or roast turnips (see note about substitutes) until tender. Make sure to cut off any tough or stringy parts if turnips are not young and tender.  Mash about 3/4 C. (or less) with a fork or potato masher and mix in 1 T. nutritional yeast, 1 t. cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, vanilla, dash of salt, maple syrup.  You can also add 1/4 C. almond or coconut flour. (you could also do this in a food processor)

Beat an egg or two and whisk into turnip mixture.

Heat stable fat in a skillet (butter, ghee, coconut oil…) until hot.

Ladle batter onto skillet, three small pancakes or one large. Cook until set on top and golden on bottom. Flip and cook until done.
serve with butter and maple syrup (optional) and a side of bacon or fried tempeh.

Optional: scatter a few raisins on the pancakes before flipping for “raisin bread” style.

Note: this recipe also works with squash, pumpkin, rutabaga, yam, etc. Basically anything with the same type of texture and taste palate.

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