Cheap and easy almond milk

It’s finally fall!  Which means we are in the mood for cheap, healthy, easy afternoon snacks, and also fighting off our seasonal sniffles.  Which means more warm beverages and less dairy in this family.

Welcome homemade almond milk.  I started making it a few years ago but was turned off by the blanching and straining and how time-consuming the whole process was.  Then I realized that almond butter has already been processed in a way similar to cooking and grinding – could I use that?

I did.  It worked and I used this recipe for quite a while.  Then it separated into a thin white liquid and chunks at the bottom.  Great if I drank it in the first 5 minutes, but I wanted something I could save for a few days.  So I checked out a few other recipes, and looked at the ingredients on my favorite store-bought almond milk, and tried adding lecithin (an emulsifier) and tapioca (makes it creamier).

Since then, I have dropped the tapioca, but kept the lecithin.  I love how it now keeps it from separating, and allows for a super-creamy drink that will keep in the fridge for a few days as well.

Ingredients:

2 tbsps creamy almond butter

3 capsules lecithin (the outside of the capsule melts and blends into the liquid)

1.5 quarts warm water

 

  1. Heat one liter of water to about 100 degrees F.  Pour in a large blender such as a Vitamix.
  2. Add lecithin and almond butter
  3. Blend for 30 seconds on high until smooth and creamy
  4. Add last 2 cups (half a liter) of water
  5. Adjust flavor as desired with vanilla, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice (my fave in the fall)
  6. Serve hot or cold.  Keeps in the fridge for at least 3 days – but my kids usually drink ours up within the first 24 hours!

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Here’s what I love about this recipe:

Cheap:  $0.42 for the almond butter, $.15 for the lecithin and it makes 1.5 liters. 
Healthy: almonds are rich in calcium, potassium, and healthy fats – making this a good beverage for getting those electrolytes pre or post-workout.  Lecithin supplements come primarily from soy or sunflower, but lecithin is naturally also in eggs and certain veggies.  One of lecithin’s key components is choline, which helps maintain healthy cell and brain function.  

Tasty!  I serve it hot or cold, with or without cinnamon, vanilla, and honey.  Hope you enjoy it too!

Pfeffernusse; a traditional cookie comes back

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This year I simplified things for Christmas. We sent out fewer cards, put out only the decorations our family loves, and dropped a lot of my favorite traditional foods for reasons of health (do we need 12 types of cookies?) and time. We kept two types of cookies though; gingerbread men because the kids love them, and pfeffernusse (I say peppernuts) because they bring back sweet memories of making them with my grandma when I was little.  At the time I enjoyed making them more than eating them; why take a low-sugar, bite-size cookie when you are surrounded by an array of decadent sweets? Now as an adult I kind of prefer them. Really.  So much that we named our dog after them.

Besides being tasty, these tiny little gems are packed with healthy spices like ginger and cloves, and they are perfectly portion controlled so I can eat one bite or grab a handful, depending on the mood.  They are also the perfect cookie to make with kids, especially kids like mine who like to play with the dough.

prepping
prepping

blending up the dry ingredients
whisking the dry ingredients

First step: Pour into a large mixing bowl

2 cups whole grain white wheat flour
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of cloves
and stir well with a whisk.

Next, beat the wet ingredients until well-blended:

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either use the measuring cup for oil THEN molasses, or spray your cup with cooking spray; otherwise the molasses sticks like crazy to the cup.

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 egg

Now mix the wet and dry together, beating slowly.  The dough is thick!

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pour wet into dry ingredients and blend
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all blended up!

Now roll up the dough into a nice little ball, cover in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for a couple hours.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then roll out the dough until it is in little logs about the width of your thumb.

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rolling out the dough

Now slice the logs (we just use butter knives) into even-sized little bites. They look a bit like tootsie rolls cut in half at this point.

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cutting into little square “pillows”

Now put those little bite-size wonders on a cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on how crunchy or soft you like them.
After they cool, put 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a bag and shake them up to coat them in a fine dusting of sweetness.

Yum!