aahmond milk

It’s pronounced “aahmond,” because the farmers shook the trees so hard, the “L” fell right out!

Kidding aside, I drink my fair share of almond milk.  I try to limit dairy intake, and almond is my favorite faux-milk for cereal, baking, and cookie-dunking.  Unfortunately, almond milk comes with lots of other junk in it besides almonds.  Namely:

  • Tapioca starch
  • Tricalcium phosphate
  • Xanthan gum (Xana-what? Xanadu?)
  • Potassium citrate
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • Ergocalciferol (gesundheit!)
  • DL-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (oh my.)

Not only can I hardly pronounce most of those, I have no idea what they are or why they have a place in my almond milk.  Fortunately, my uncle Matt recently caught my ear when he said he makes his OWN almond milk, from scratch! And guess what? The only ingredients are almonds and water.  So, mega-props to Uncle Matt for coming up with this (I think Google may have helped), and here goes my first photo-blogged kitchen adventure! Excuse the iPhone photography.

Step One- Soak them aahmonds!

Overnight is best, says Matt, but 4 hours will do the trick.  These babies bathed for a good 15 hours.  Drain and rinse well.

1 cup of almonds will yield 3 cups of almond milk.  This was about one cup of raw almonds.

Step Two: Blend ‘Em Up

Put your soaked almonds into your blender or food processor and add 3 cups of filtered water (per 1 cup of almonds).  Blend on high for a few minutes, until the little pieces of almond skin that you see flying around get reeeeal tiny.

Step Three: Strain Away

Line a pitcher with a paint strainer.  $1.99 for two at OSH, and you can probably reuse! Pour the contents of your blender into the lined pitcher and squeeze out the liquid.  I recommend clean hands for this, because a lot of the liquid that ended up in the pitcher touched my hands.

The end!

You should be left with a pitcher full of delicious, xanthan gum-free almond milk.  You’ll also have a strainer full of pulp.  Uncle Matt used his as breadcrumbs- dry them out in the oven first, then mix with some olive oil for baked chicken or fish!  I went the salmon route tonight, mixing mine with some garlic and basil that I combined in the food processor (photo is just raw pulp, before I put them in the oven and spiced ’em).

Uncle Matt points out that this milk will not last as long as the packaged version- probably due exactly to the fact that it doesn’t have all of those weird non-food ingredients that keep food edible for way longer than it should be.  I poured mine into an empty almond milk container and plan to consume it before it goes bad.  So, suck on that, ergocalciferol…if that is your real name.

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here I go…

It’s a rough realization to wake up one day and find that you’re a walking stereotype.

Here I am, about to turn 25, and fully in the throes of a good, old-fashioned quarter-life crisis. Three years out of college, and what do I have to show for it? Probably a lot… but it would be very un-quarter-life-crisis-ly of me to admit that to you, or to myself.  No, we can’t cloud the cliché of the “young adult in transition” with a hopeful list of accomplishments!  We must sigh, furrow our brow, bite our lip, and do what any directionless, twenty-something with a lot to say would do; we start a blog.

It wasn’t just my lack of direction that led me to blogging.  I actually do have interests; one big one, in particular.  In the last year, my eating habits and food philosophy have evolved significantly, thanks to eye-opening friends, maturing taste-buds, and life-changing literature (do yourself a favor and buy these two books right now).  I used to be someone that counted calories and made myself miserable with the control I let food have over my life.  The more I learn about real food, how to eat it, and why we’ve strayed so far from it, the more control I have and the happier I am to eat.  I’m constantly appalled by the decisions I see being made around me, both by hungry people and by the food industry that sadly dictates much of what they eat.  Don’t get me wrong- I’m not here to preach.  I’ll be the first to admit to you when I eat 38 Hershey Kisses in one sitting (that happened) or steal the remnants of someone’s nacho platter after they’ve vacated their table next to me in a restaurant and after I’ve eaten my own whole entire dinner (yup, that happened too).  I’m not a foodie and certainly not a health expert.  I’m just your average quarter-life Jane, devouring food blogs and trying to learn as much as I can, anxiously awaiting the times in the day when I can spend hours with my food processor. (Ok, other than my obsession with homemade nut-butters, I’m average.)

It would be disingenuous of me to present quite as negatively as I did when we met a few paragraphs ago, because in fact, I love my life.  And I don’t take such a dark view of the world that I feel compelled to jump on the Internet and complain about it every day.  I guess my hopes for this blog are two-fold: that I’ll turn this fledgling of an interest into a full-blown hobby by sharing it with you, and that as a result, my woeful, crisis-filled life (where is the sarcasm font?) will find some purpose.  And maybe, just maybe, that will be something we can all sink our teeth into.