Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade Almond Milk
For so long I have wanted to make my own nut milk. Like most of us, it seemed a lot easier to just pick a carton from the store. So my longing to complete the process got pushed to the side until most recently, I made some homemade cereal. To put almond milk with added stabilizers etc.. into freshly made cereal just didn’t seem right. So, the time had come to throw out that Almond Breeze and pull out that cheese cloth.

I have to be honest, the process was SO much easier than I anticipated. It took no time at all. So long as you soak the almonds (or any nut/seed) overnight, the rest comes together in under 5 minutes.

So it worth making your own? Heck yes! The pure almond taste is unlike anything you will get from a carton. The frothy texture is also a nice added bonus. What’s best is that this recipe is a mere base for any flavours you want to add. I like the idea of adding matcha and cinnamon or cacao and peppermint oil. Will test those out and update the recipe ASAP.

So you must be wondering where that homemade cereal recipe is….CHECK BACK SOON!
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Ingredients:

• 1 cup almonds soaked overnight(any nut/seed will work too!)
• 4 cups water
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (non alcoholic) or the seeds of 1 vanilla pod
• pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
• 2-3 drops liquid stevia (2 tbsp maple syrup or 3-4 medjool dates will work too)
• optional flavour combinations- add 1 tbsp of the following: cacao, cinnamon, matcha powder, ginger, maca powder

Directions:

1. Soak almonds overnight (these are easier to digest and to blend!)

2. Place a cheese cloth over a large bowl. Rinse soaked almonds under cold water.

3. Add rinsed almonds, 4 cups of water, vanilla, salt and stevia to a high powered blender or food processor. Blend twice on the highest power.

4. Pour mixture over cheese cloth. Lift up the ends of the cheese cloth and form a ball. Squeeze the pulp until no liquid remains. (*add the leftover pulp to your next granola or smoothie)

5. Store almond milk in an airtight container for 3-4 days in your refrigerator. Shake well before serving!
Homemade Almond MilkHomemade Almond Milk

Healthy Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

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One of the most common consumer misconceptions is that the deliciously sweet chocolate hazelnut spread known as Nutella is healthy. My guy’s mom once told me how confused she was by their commercial, “how can chocolate spread on toast be a nutritional breakfast?” she asked. Well I had to deliver the bad news that in fact, Nutella is not a truly healthy option for breakfast. It does contain hazelnuts which have good-for-you flavonoids, healthy fats and vitamins to help support brain function, heart health and lower cholesterol. BUT, it also contains palm oil, and heaping amounts of sugar. A two tablespoon serving has 21 grams of sugar. That will not give your child sustainable energy throughout their day. They will most likely get an immediate sugar high followed by a very abrupt crash which will leave them in a dozed state during first period. Meghan Telpner gives an amazing break down on why you should probably ban the stuff for good here.

Good thing I have come up with an alternative! Well it isn’t just me… Most healthy food bloggers have come up with their own version of the spread using unrefined sweeteners and dairy free options. I took a look at a few and decided I would start with roasted hazelnuts and slowly add ingredients as I went. It took a while until I found the right consistency and flavour. What I realized actually was that this spread can work in a variety of ways to meet your needs. Don’t want it dairy free? Use organic milk. Want it sweeter? Add more dates, maple syrup or stevia. Want it chocolatier? (is this a word?…it should be) then add more cacao or even melted 70% chocolate! The possibilities are endless, but I have provided you with the spread that works best with my taste buds! The most essential part of this recipe is roasting your hazelnuts. Without roasting, the hazelnuts wont be noticed as much in the spread, plus you need to get rid of those annoying skins.

I have been spreading this on pears, my healthy bread and eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon! I am more excited though for next weeks post where I spread this tasty treat on a Passover friendly dessert. It is EPIC! Until then, get your spread ready!
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Ingredients:

• 2 cups hazelnuts
• 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (alcohol free is best!)
• 1/2 cup cacao powder
• 4-5 medjool dates pitted
• 1/2 cup almond milk (or more if needed)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Roast hazelnuts for 20-30 minutes or until oils are released and skins begin to loosen.
2. Place toasted hazelnuts on a large dish towel (preferably one that isn’t too soft) and fold the cloth over. Roll the hazelnuts back and forth within the cloth. (you’re kinda exfoliating the hazelnuts) The skins will fall off. If the cloth doesn’t remove the skin then you can do them individually by rubbing them between your thumb and index finger.
3. Place the hazelnuts in a food processor or vitamix and pulse until the hazelnuts turn into nut butter. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Feel free to add more dates, maple syrup etc until you get the consistency and sweetness that you desire.
4. Place in an airtight jar, and store in your fridge!

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