Monthly Archives: August 2014

Almond Milk

It occurred to me recently that making almond milk, something I’ve been making from scratch for several months, might be something that is worthy of a blog post. It’s another one of those recipes or procedures that I take for granted, that I assume everyone knows how to do. Then I realized how ridiculous that assumption was – I was taught how to make almond milk by someone, so maybe there are folks out there who would appreciate being taught by me. What do you think?

I used to buy my almond milk from the grocery store – organic, plain, unsweetened – until Colin Medhurst at Feed Life told me about carrageenan. Carrageenan is a natural ingredient derived from seaweed and is used by food manufacturers to make food products thicker and/or to prevent separation. The only problem is the consumption of carrageenan can cause inflammation in the digestive system. And guess where you can find carrageenan on the ingredient list? Almond milk! Okay, not all almond milk has carrageenan, but some does including the brand I was buying! I also learned from that Feed Life Nutrient Dense Eating workshop that it’s important to make sure the almonds I buy are sourced from Europe. Why? Because almonds from the USA, even organic ones, are irradiated before export to Canada! Can you believe it?!

So, armed with this new information about commercially prepared almond milk and almonds, I decided to begin making my own almond milk. It’s actually really easy. You don’t need a high powered blender (which is good because I don’t have one), it doesn’t take very long, the ingredient list is minimal, and the homemade almond milk tastes so much better – fresh, tasty, almondy.

So here’s how it’s done:

1.  Soak 1 cup of raw, organic almonds in water overnight.

2.  Drain the almonds, then put in fresh water.

3.  Peel the almonds. This is kind of fun! Just hold an almond by the fat end and pinch and the naked almond slips right out of it’s skin! The almonds must be wet and freshly soaked in order for the peeling to be quick and easy. If you drain the water and don’t peel the almonds right away, the skin is not so easy to slip off.

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4.  Put the peeled almonds in a blender and add 4 cups of water.

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5.  Put the lid on and blend for 5 minutes.

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6.  That’s it! Keep the almond milk in the fridge and use within one week.

7.  If you want, you can add vanilla (1/4 tsp vanilla powder) and dates (2 pitted Medjool dates) before you blend to give you a sweeter almond milk. This is great if you only use the milk for smoothies or for pouring on your breakfast cereal or in baking. If you use your milk for making savoury sauces, then leave the dates and vanilla out.

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How do you use your almond milk? I use mine in smoothies and on porridge as featured here or like this:

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This is a delicious and nutritious seven grain porridge from Galloways (which has, sadly, gone out of business in the Lower Mainland), topped with blueberries picked seconds before from the blueberry bush in our back yard. Yum!

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A note about the font: This post was written in large, black, bold font for easier access by people with vision impairments.

 

 

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Basil Tomato Pasta Salad

Well, I guess there’s a bright side to being on strike and out of work. I am able to spend more time reading food blogs, trying out new recipes, and creating some summer fresh dishes. I’ve also become quite good friends with Pinterest!

Recently, I organized my boards on Pinterest so that all my posts from this blog and all the posts from my original blog are there as well as a separate board for all the recipes I’ve been collecting from other blogs. I invite you to follow me on Pinterest!

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This salad here is one I found on Soup Addict.  I pinned it to my Recipe board on Pinterest then promptly adapted it to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand at the time and to better fit with my preference for lower fat dressings. The original recipe called for using ramen noodles from a package (throw away the flavour packet), but I changed that to some lovely curly vegie pasta I had in the cupboard. Also, rather than use the called for 2 tbsps. of oil in the dressing, I used only 1 tsp and subbed in an avocado. I also upped the basil content and was able to use some of the beautiful basil we have growing in a pot on our back patio. Just look at it!

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I didn’t have any heirloom tomatoes, but I did have some red and yellow grape tomatoes and the two colours along with the green of the basil worked wonderfully in the salad.

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By the way, something I’ve noticed when reading other food blogs is that I really enjoy posts that have a lot of pictures. So, here we are, six pictures into this post and I haven’t even given you the recipe yet! Is it working for you? I’m not the greatest photographer, but I think my food photography is improving. Anyway, on to the recipe:

Basil Tomato Pasta Salad

2 cups curly pasta (I used about 1/2 of a 340 g package of Eddie’s Organic Vegetable Corkscrews)

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1 tsp olive oil

10 red grape tomatoes and 10 yellow grape tomatoes, quartered

2 green onions, diced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced

handful of fresh basil, finely chopped

Dressing:

zest from one lemon

2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsps. white wine vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp. agave nectar

1/2 to 1 whole avacado

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp. minced basil

Cook the pasta until al dente, drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with 1 tsp olive oil. Add the tomatoes, green onions, yellow pepper and basil to the pasta and toss gently. Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor or even using an immersion blender. Start with just 1/2 an avocado, taste, then add more avocado if you want the dressing to be thicker. Also, add a bit more salt according to taste. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables, toss and let sit for a bit to allow the pasta to absorb the dressing. Serve at room temperature.

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