Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Joy of Almonds

raw almond milk and pulp

I love almond milk more than any other non-dairy milk and drink it with every meal, and then some.  I used to drink Almond Breeze, which is very good milk and I’m not knocking it at all, but the cost of it is crazy.  However, now I make my OWN almond milk.  Cashew too, but almond is number one.  Anyway, it is absolutely delicious, fresh, smooth and tasty.  It makes my wallet happy too.
Besides it being cost effective, there are other benefits as well.  Such as therapeutic.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Why?  Right after making the milk in my Vitamix, you have to pour it through a nut bag, or cheese cloth, to strain it from the pulp.  The milk is warm, and while squeezing the nut bag and watching the bowl fill up with yummy milk that I just made with my own two hands (okay, props to the Vitamix) I feel calm and energized at the same time.  I don’t know, could be a me thing.
The other thing I love about making my own almond milk is no waste!  That’s right, I use the almond pulp as well.  More bang for the buck as they say.     

raw almond pulp dough

For instance, above is a bowl full of almond pulp from two batches.  I always make 2 batches to fill up my milk container.  I’ll post the how to at the end.  Anyway, in that bowl are other simple ingredients to make pizza crust (recipe from The Rawtarian, which I tweaked a little).  All raw of course. 
You can also dehydrate the pulp and use it as a dry flour.

raw almond pulp pizza dough

Here I’ve made a large tray for pizza crust that is now going into the dehydrator.

raw almond pulp pizza crust

Halfway through I take out the bread tray and score it for individual size pizzas.

raw almond pulp sandwich bread

And another tray that I sliced into sandwich size pieces - minus a couple that didn’t make it to the tray.  A little smaller than standard bread because I like small sammies.  This is from another batch of pulp I had.

raw veggie burger sandwich

Speaking of sammies… here is my raw veggie burger on my homemade almond pulp bread. Mmmm.  It is SO good!

raw almond pulp fudge

Can’t forget the sweet tooth.  Raw Almond Pulp Fudge.  Mmmmmm... this is guilt-free yumminess!  Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! 

Now for the Almond Milk recipe:

If you don’t have a Vitamix, no worries, but do make sure your blender is powerful enough to handle making nut milk AND make sure you soak the almonds 8-10 hours.  Soaking is not just for the nutritional value, they need to be soft as well.  There are tons of recipes for a variety of nut milks, which I tweak here and there - you can do the same.  Sometimes I add all or some of the optional ingredients in this tweaked recipe:

4 cups fresh water
1 rounded full cup of soaked raw almonds
1 medjool date, pitted or sweetener of your choice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Sprinkle or so of cinnamon (optional)

Put ingredients as listed into the Vitamix, start at 1, turn it on, quickly turn up to 10 and then high for 2 minutes.  If you’re using a different blender, use your best judgment.

I use a large batter bowl that I strain the milk into and then pour it into my milk container. Helps me to not get it all over the counter.  I pour half of the milk into a nut bag and gently, continually squeeze the bag until all the milk is out.  Remove the pulp and store into a container.  Do the same thing for the rest of the batch.

Since I drink plenty of milk I make 2 batches back to back, but not in the Vitamix at the same time as that is too much at once.  I always drink a glass after making it and then put the rest in the fridge.

So there you have it.  From 2 batches of almond milk I fill up my container, and from the pulp I get either a tray full of pizza crust or sandwich bread.  Almonds bring me such joy.


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