Wednesday, February 8, 2012

almond joy

No we are not making candy today (although have you SEEN some of the almond joy recipes floating around the internet these days....mmmmm....).
 Anyway, today we're going to talk about almonds, and how I really, really like them.
Thus = "almond joy".

Almonds amaze me! 
I love that such a tiny little bite sized something is such a powerhouse of healthy nutrients, vitamins, minerals, they taste good, and help fill you up. To me they are the perfect snack.

Where to start?
They have protein! Vitamin E!(the highest food source of vitamin E) Magnesium! (more than spinach) Calcium! NO cholesterol--they can actually help lower your cholesterol, and almonds are good for your heart.

My favorite way to eat them (and the most practical), is just plain.
 A handful for a snack.
I usually keep a little bag in my purse for when I find myself starving in the car/at the school/post workout and can't wait until I get home to eat something.

-We like to mix them with dried fruit(any kind) and sometimes throw in chocolate chips for a easy trail mix--whether at home or when we head for the hills.
-I toast them and chop them up to add to oatmeal, granola, or yogurt.
-I add them to smoothies. 
-Added them to this cauliflower and chicken bake.
-I made almond butter (here), which was an instant favorite.

But today I wanted to try a whole new way of eating them......almond milk.

I have bought vanilla almond milk on occasion as a treat.
It is goooooood.
We like it mostly for our oatmeal or cereal.

But even though I was buying organic almond milk, there are still a few things on the label I'm not quite sure what they are, so figured, why not try making it?

I got the idea from Jen.
Her cute family is dairy free, and they drink it daily. If this is the case for you, for sure go follow her instructions (here), for a little bit different version.

I made my almond milk a little bit thicker and creamier, since we aren't using that much at a time.

Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk
What you need:
raw almonds (I always get my almonds at Costco or in the bulk bins at Sunflower Market or Whole Foods when they are on sale)
vanilla extract (optional)
honey or pure maple syrup (optional)
blender/food processor

Your almond:water ratio is 1:2 for this recipe.
You can add more or less water to your liking.

For this batch I used 1 cup of almonds, 2 cups of water.

Place almonds in bowl/jar and cover with water. Soak overnight.
Drain and rinse almonds after soaked.
Place almonds in blender/food processor with water
(1cup almonds, 2 cups water)
blend until smooth.
Place cheesecloth over large bowl and pour almond milk through cheese cloth into bowl.
You'll want to pick up the cheesecloth full of almond pulp and sqeeeeeeeeeze all of the milk out.
oh yes, this is very hands on. 
When you've got all your liquid out, add a few drops of vanilla and a glob or two (professional term) of honey as a sweetener (this is optoinal. almond milk is good unsweetened too, you can add as much or as little as you like).
Pour into a container and refrigerate.
Make sure to give it a good shake before you use it.
almond1 copyalmond2 copyalmond3 copyalmond5 copyalmond6 copy
You just made almond milk!
As for the leftover pulp,
don't get rid of it--it's full of all the same health benefits as almonds.
Spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake at 300° for about an hour--until it's nice and toasty.
Put it in your food processor and pulse until it's fine.

This can be added to your baked goods, pancakes, waffles, you name it. I'll be adding it to our smoothies.
I will post a recipe next time I use almond meal in baking.
almond7 copyalmond8 copy
What is YOUR favorite way to eat almonds?

When I first started this whole "how to eat food series" I had planned on only featuring produce. But I've decided it's fun to explore different ways to eat all kinds of food. I have LOVED all the comments on each post and have loved trying out many of your suggestions--thank you!



Danielle said...

Wow. I can't wait to try this. Thanks for your comments on my blog- I really appreciate it! I'm so excited to try this, and other snacks on your blog :)

Leslie said...

Yum! I love almond milk! I've sort of quit cow's milk and Almond Breeze original is my milk of choice. I'm so excited to try this! Thank you, thank you for sharing this!!

kylie said...

you take the most breathtaking photos sheena. just stop it! ;)

Harris Family said...

Sheena just thinking of you and how fun it was to get to know you in Midvale and call you a friend!Im terrible at staying in touch so sorry for the few interactions! I was in such a negative slump living there-forgive me! But was just thinking about how positive and sweet you always were and are. Thanks for being a great example of being happy and enjoying right where you are-living in the moment. Moving to AZ has made me realize that I have to just enjoy each moment because things change so much- I guess I associate you with enjoying life! So Thanks! Im glad you lyme is gone!! Hope life is good! Miss you- April

whitneyingram said...

It's almost stupid how easy making almond milk is. I too was looking for something full of less gunk and that is how I ended up "milking almonds".

Once again, for good measure:

"I have nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?"

Kimmie said...

Hi Sheena, I have never made almond milk this way before and never drained off the pulp. I just soak 1 cup of almonds overnight, drain them and rinse well and then add in 3 cups water, 5 dates, and 2 tsp vanilla and blend on high in my Vita-Mix for 2-3 minutes. I then add in 1 quart of water and 1/2 cup dry milk powder and blend it all together and it is really good. I'll have to try your way as well.

Here is link showing what I do:

Also, we took 2 cups of almond milk and made Almond Milk Ice Cream that we enjoyed with Lemon was such a yummy treat!

The almond milk definitely adds a yummy addition to morning Steel Cut Oats.

I hope you know that it is one of the highlights of my day to visit your blog!

Love your enthusiasm and zest for life!! Thanks for all of the wonderful information you so willing share with us!

Hannah Nicole said...

oh, I love this! will have to make some soon. We think my brother Sam who has CD might be lactose intolerant, so almond milk would be a perfect (delicious fix!) we already buy it, but homemade is even better. :)

Tanae Nelson said...

I had never even considered this an option before and now I am super excited to try something like this, thanks for sharing how simple it can be.

Rach H @ FamilyEverAfter said...

THANK YOU! my son was just put on a dairy free diet again (we've been experimenting, but he's allergic). Any and all ideas are so helpful. Thanks for the link to Jen's site too, very helpful. :)

Lori Folkman said...

I can't go a day without eating almonds. I've even gone some days where the bulk of my calories has been in almonds. I can't believe you can make your own almond milk--I thought that would have to be done in a dairy! :)

Tara said...

Did you ever think you would use so much cheesecloth? ;)
I remember way back before we had any kids, we spent the night at Jake & Liz's house in St. George and for breakfast they shared their homemade almond milk with us since they were only eating raw. It was really good! I've kind of been living off almond milk the last month or so (they had an awesome sale at Harmons and I stocked our fridge). I don't know if you do protein shakes, but I love mixing the vanilla protein powder from Lifetime with a cup of almond milk and about a third cup of frozen cherries. It's so creamy and cherry-almondy and good.

e said...

isn't homemade almond milk 5 million times better than the boxed stuff? I love my nut milk bag, strong and easy to clean.

your blog is inspiring. food, photography & fitness!

Brittany said...

homemade almond milk? siiiiiigh. i LUST after almond milk. thank you for sharing this. :)

Courtney said...

Your talents with cooking amaze me!

Julianne Blanch said...

I love almonds and remember, as a kid, going to my grandparents' almond orchard. Great memories! My favorite snack is simple: almonds and raisins. BTW, do you have any good recipes for persimmons? Beautiful photos, as always! THANKS!

s.calder said...

Yum! Looks SO good. I also wondered if you got the cute milk bottle from Crate and Barrel and how long the milk lasts in it?

Also. Your photos are so lovely!

Danielle said...

Just wanted to let you know- I made almond milk this last weekend and ate my granola I made with it like was SO GOOD! LOVE it!

sheena said...

@s.calder the milk bottle is from Target clearance last fall, and we used the milk up in about 4 days.....but it should last longer than that:)