Sometimes, when I find out how easy it is to make something that I never thought twice about purchasing at the store, I feel like a Class-A dummy for not having figured it out sooner. Did you know all it takes to make your own almond milk is a few almonds, some water, and a wee bit of vanilla extract?
This, my friends, is another feather in the hat of consumer anarchy.
Or something like that. My metaphors rarely make sense.
Almond milk is silly good stuff, as creamy as whole milk, but much lower in fat and calories, and loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals. I stopped using regular milk in my cereal a few years back, partly because I was mildly alarmed at the processing involved in creating skim milk, and also because cow's milk simply stopped tasting good to me.
For a while, I used soy milk, and then I switched to rice milk or almond milk, but I wasn't big on the over-processing or the stabilizers that were used, so I did what I generally do when presented with options I'm not crazy about: I walked away and said "Aw, just forget it." I say that more often than I would like.
Hence the water in my oatmeal, and the lack of granola in my diet lately.
Then I overheard someone talking about making their own almond milk.
Well, good grief. That had not even occurred to me. You take some almonds and soak them overnight in a bowl of water. Then you drain the almonds, put them in a blender with water, add a little vanilla extract and some sweetener if you need it, and voila. You have almond milk. Thick, creamy, fresh, almond milk with the purest flavor imaginable.
Want to blow your kids' minds? Get them to help make it. And then serve it with their cereal instead of regular milk. Princess Hazelnut actually cried this morning when she found out I had not soaked some almonds overnight to make more almond milk for her breakfast.
There are solids left over after making the almond milk, and I could not bear the thought of throwing them away, so I put them in a jar in the fridge for a day or so and did a little searching. There are, as should be expected, some wacko ideas online for what to do with the leftover paste, but my favorite, by far, suggested laying the solids out on a cookie sheet and baking it for about an hour until it is dried out and it becomes - Ta Da - almond meal.
See that little jar of clumpy almond solids up there? Yeah, that's going straight into the oven now. I have big plans for the resulting almond meal. Cookies, I think...
ALMOND MILK (yields 3 cups)
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 3 cups water (in addition to the water used to soak the almonds)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional
- 2 pitted dates or 2 tsp agave syrup, optional
- Soak the almonds in water for six hours or longer.
- Drain the almonds, discarding the soaking water.
- Place the almonds, 3 cups water, vanilla extract and dates or agave syrup (if using) in a blender and blend until almost smooth.
- Pour through a strainer to remove the solids (and save the solids for other uses).
- The almond milk will keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. Shake before using.