homecooking

How To Make Your Own Almond Milk and Why You Want To

I'll start by saying that I am not against cows milk. It's tasty stuff and I do enjoy half-and-half in my coffee. I also really like ice cream. But I try to keep it at a minimum in my diet, especially during the winter, because I definitely do notice I get more mucus-y and congested after consuming it. Do you? Have you ever kept track? Try that out and see what you see.

Today, I'll tell you how to make your own almond milk and why you want to.

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I started using alterna-milks back in 2000 when I was a total hippie. I started with carob-flavored rice milk. It had a ton of sugar but I didn't read labels for their ingredients back then. I just looked at calories. 100 calories per cup. Great. I had no idea what was good or not good. I just consumed.

Things are very different now but I had to start somewhere. Over the years, I've learned that it matters what's in my milk. It matters about everything I eat, really, so I read labels and make sure I know what I'm consuming.

When I started drinking almond milk on the regular a couple of years ago, I didn't notice the long list of ingredients on the label. Things like: tapioca starch, carrageenan and sunflower lecithin. Those are mostly natural ingredients used as emulsifiers or thickening agents, so it is shelf-stable and resembles the texture of cows milk. The sweetened versions contain 15-20 grams of sugar* in an 8 fl oz (1 cup) serving! That's about 5 teaspoons of sugar, friends. Just in one cup of milk. And it's cane sugar that's been added in, not the naturally-occurring lactose found in cows milk.

Makes a big difference, huh?

A couple of years ago, I learned how to make my own almond milk to wipe out all those extra ingredients and added cane sugar. I've refined the recipe and process a bit and I am sharing it with you so you can reduce your milk intake. Why would you want to do that?

Cold and flu season is approaching, yes? Less mucus means less sinus pressure means less suffering. Savvy? Good.

HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK

Ingredients 3 cups raw almonds (preferably organic) 7 cups of water per 1.5 cups of soaked almonds 2 pitted medjool dates

Tools heavy-duty blender 2 fine-mesh wire strainers large airtight container

Instructions 1) Cover almonds with fresh, filtered water in a glass dish or jar and soak for 2-3 days in fridge. 2) Rinse and drain. Set aside. 3) Scoop 1.5 cups almonds and add one pitted date to blender and ~7 cups fresh water. 4) Blend on high for 5 seconds. 5) Pour through 2 mesh strainers into airtight container. 6) Let the almond pulp drain completely and toss it in the strainer to remove excess liquid. Store in small airtight container. 7) REPEAT.

This should make about a half-gallon (64 ounces) of almond milk that you want to use within a week or so. You can use it with oatmeal, for smoothies, in tea or coffee or for baking!

What can you do with the wet almond pulp?

Here's the best part of making your own almond milk--you get *free* almond flour!

Make sure the excess liquid is squeezed out and spread it on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake in the oven at the lowest temperature possible for 3 hours. Make sure you spread it around so it dries out well. Then, once it is dried out and cooled, blend it to reach your desired consistency for baking!

Cost breakdown:

I 32 oz store-bought container of almond milk (which may or may not be organic): $2.99

3 cups of raw almonds: range from $6.49 (non-organic)- $8.99 (organic)/pound yields 64 ounces of milk PLUS ~3 cups almond meal/flour for baking.

When I realized that the boxed milk might be a tad cheaper but wasn't actually 100% almond milk it was just a no-brainer for me. I'm paying less money because I'm actually paying for all those thickening agents and added sugar (in the sweetened varieties), not just pure almond milk.

I'll spend a tad more on whole foods ingredients, put in a little labor and get a LOT more in the end.

*info courtesy of BlueDiamond.com

When will you give this a try? Did this post help you feel a bit more confident to make the jump to making your own almond milk?

I welcome your comments and questions below.

NOTE: someone already asked me for recipes for other 'milks' due to almond allergies. I don't have those available...yet. ;)

Too Busy to Cook Is Too Busy

  In September, I took on quite a lot of amazing projects and programs. I started grad school (two classes), an incredible new leadership development program, I ran a virtual program online for 15 days, hosted 4 live webinars and gave two talks in person. No wait, three talks.

It was an amazing month full of breakdowns and breakthroughs in time management and my own resiliency and work ethic. Truly, it was a great experience.

And it's not sustainable. Not one bit.

October and the rest of the fall months will be very different, because I am making them that way. While the hustle and bustle was fun and I learned so much from that experience, I noticed something: my homecooking tanked. I'm not saying I was cooking poorly, I'm saying I wasn't cooking much at all.

See, this doesn't work for two reasons.

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1) I'm not walking my talk: I pride myself on walking my talk as a health coach. I need to do what I expect my clients to do to improve their own health and happiness. If I'm not cooking, I'm in no place to encourage them to do it.

2) Food affects our mood: Since I wasn't cooking a lot of nutritious meals for myself, I was grabbing stuff on the go or not eating at all. These are old patterns that didn't serve me in the past but I fall back into them easily from time to time. Pretty soon, the familiar symptoms started emerging: cranky mood, interrupted sleep, allergy symptoms, fatigue, restlessness, a touch of anxiety, cravings for comfort foods, hearing myself complain about my schedule, hearing myself say, "I can't do it, I just can't do it"...and that's just a few.

These days, I see these signs much faster and know how to turn things around much more quickly. I know them for what they are, which is an indication that I'm not cooking and eating whole foods regularly.

Yesterday I had a pile of work to do when the clock struck 6pm but I had to draw a line somewhere. I went to the store and got groceries and began cooking. Within minutes my mood lifted. My outlook brightened. My restlessness abated.

I felt strong. I felt happy. I felt more clear. And after I ate an awesome dinner, I felt fed.

I know every time I get too busy to cook I'm simply too busy. Cooking is essential for physical and mental health. If your schedule isn't allowing time for this essential lifestyle habit, then listen to Ice Cube:

 

You're already a winner. Now you'll be one in the kitchen.

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"What's for dinner?" Now, you have an answer.

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I know you. You're the one who likes my facebook posts and instagram food porn pictures.

You have a goal to eat more healthy food more often (and maybe post pictures of it like I do) but you feel like it's a little too complicated. Maybe you consider yourself to be eating healthy but have reached your limit of what you know how to cook.

I'd like to help.

Welcome to Winning At Kitchen, a program to get you to the next level in your cooking competency. I've been invited to collaborate on this awesome summer program designed to help awesome, average, busy people like you get food on the table faster, with little to no hassle. Some of my recipes are featured which is really awesome! 

What is it?

4 weeks of dinner meal plans, plus bonus recipes for breakfast, snacks and dessert. (That's right, healthy dessert.) The recipes are dairy and gluten-free or can be easily modified. Some are vegetarian meals, some have meat--make it work for you. You’ll get done-for-you, printable grocery shopping lists and make-life-easier prep instructions (hello? How easy is this?!)

AND you’ll have 24/7 access to an online forum for extra help, ingredient substitution ideas, recipe exchanges, kid-friendly ideas (if you got some kiddos) and more. In other words – you’re not alone. You're now unstuck. You’ve got options. You've got people to talk to when you hit a wall.

What kind of meals are included?

Normal, good, tasty food. Maybe you'll even learn about some new healthy options you never knew about before. This is not about detoxing but it IS about healthy and delicious made so easy you'll be like, "who's this chef in my kitchen? Oh. It's me."

Honey Lime Chicken. Spaghetti with Veggie Bolognese Sauce. Blueberry Peach Crisp. 

Good REAL food, made even better with nutrient dense ingredients. You can toss out the story that you can't cook. It's really not true, once you start trying with something simple like this.

Who’s it for?

You’d like to cook but you run out of steam. You want to eat better and expand your nutrition horizons, but you don’t know where to start. But you’re committed to putting real food on the table! The meal plans are created to serve 4, you can double the recipes -- HELLO leftovers!

Imagine feeling focused, organized and efficient in the kitchen. That's what we mean by #winningatkitchen

Save time and money - You won’t have to hunt for recipes or remember to make lists. You also won’t rely on expensive takeout or prepared meals, or waste money on complicated recipes. You’ll have it all spelled out in the most efficient way possible.

Keep it simple and practical - We're serious. You're busy and life is already complicated enough. These 4 weeks will have good, normal, real food that you can find at any standard grocery store. There may be a few items you’ll want to get at Whole Foods or a natural food store, but it won’t be essential.

Do what works for you - I expect you to be busy. It’s ok. Vacations, celebrating birthdays, whatever. Do what you can, when you can. The meal plans and recipes can be used and reused all summer long – and next year too!

How much does all this awesomeness cost?

Just $29.

Ready to sign up and be more of a winner?

Awesome.

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