Tag Archive for Gluten-free

Almond Milk

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Here’s the secret to really killing it with a smoothie: homemade almond milk. It’s got four ingredients and could have less if you want, takes maybe five to ten minutes to make, and all you need is a regular blender and cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. No fancy expensive equipment or hours of toil and cleanup. It is a beautiful thing in this life to find something so simple that adds such decadence to a healthy breakfast, or really any meal I guess. For the record, a nut milk bag is this thing:

Specialized nylon thing

Basically a nylon mesh bag with a drawstring on the top. While the almond milk that comes in aseptic containers, those lined cardboard boxes, had recently come to be a staple for me in my smoothies, when a friend brought me some homemade stuff while we were on a cleanse, I knew there was no going back. The milk was so delicious, I would just drink a glass of it for fun. At her suggestion, I simply watched a video on YouTube, made a few changes for my liking, and voila, it only takes like 5 minutes, saves a bunch of money, and tastes out this world.

1c raw almonds, soaked overnight (this activates enzymes in the nuts to help digestion)
1 Medjool  date
1 vanilla bean
3c filtered water

Take your almonds out the night before as you putter around the kitchen and soak them in filtered water. In the morning, drain the almonds and toss them in your blender. Cover the almonds with 3 cups filtered water, extract the pit from your date and toss it in, and add your vanilla bean. Alternately, you can use another date for sweeter milk, you can use vanilla extract if you like, or omit vanilla altogether if it’s not your jam.

Turn your blender on for about 2 to 3 minutes. As you can see, I don’t have a fancy Vitamix or anything, just that cute deco number up there we found at an estate sale for 4 dollars. It’s the best. Pour the resulting milk into a mixing bowl. Then take your nut milk bag (you can also use cheesecloth) and turn it inside out which will take the seam out of the way when you clean it, and insert it back into the blender and fasten the drawstring around the top. pour everything from the bowl back into the blender and lift the bag slowly up out of the liquid. Then wring all the liquid out of the almond meal. Voila.

I save the almond meal in the freezer to use for my next gluten-free baking attempt, which by the way, is really some heavy trial and lots of error. It might be awhile before you see an original recipe here, but I am enjoying the learning. You can also sprinkle the meal in yogurt, over oatmeal, on pancakes or use it in your next muffin or bread mix.

The homemade milk is low in saturated fat, has NO cholesterol, very low in sodium and provides you with a great source of magnesium. Magnesium activates enzymes in our bodies, contributing to energy production. It also helps regulate calcium levels, as well zinc, potassium, and Vitamin D.  We also use it to build bones and regulate body temperature. Word.

Pear Cake for Kimberly

I worked as a barista when I was in college at a joint that no longer exists called Cafe Roma. I was an insecure youth whose unfortunate fears manifested in rejecting others. Santa Barbara had a massive Greek system and my days at the cafe were spent lounging with goths and punks, hurling silent scorn at the sorority ladies who came in to order Non-Fat, Decaf Lattes. We called them Why Bother Lattes. They’d walk away with the pints of coffee clutched in sapphire bedazzled fingers and greek letters in arcs over their butts, ponytails and ribbons bopping toward a study date with their boyfriends. I was a bitch.

Eventually, I dialed down from being a bitch to being snarky, where the mean might not be AT you, but more around you. The new Why Bother target of my days had become Vegan baked goods. Desserts with no butter and no eggs. Add to that No Sugar and you could have me in a serious mouth frothing tirade of Why Bother, providing, of course, I didn’t froth too much and get the filter of the cigarette all wet. Nothing less appealing than a soggy filter, even for smokers. Those were the years where I always wanted to be right.

Now I am not so invested in being Right. I really just want to be happy. Which also means being healthy, for me. While I am not vegan, I would say about 80% of my meals these days just turn out that way, and refined sugar is, with any grace at all, a thing only to be found in my rear view mirror. But I love dessert. This one is particularly delicious with No Sugar, No Dairy, Vegan, and No Gluten. And I’m picky about dessert. I altered this recipe from Terry Walters’ Clean Start, a wonderful book with incredibly clean and healthy food, packed with flavor and creativity. I brought it to the first Moving Out of the Sugar Shack workshop where the attendees seemed pretty sold on it. As with most recipes, I first read them a few times. Then I make some initial tweaks just in my mind. After I attempt the recipe, I make notes and keep tweaking it until it suits my own tastes. Hers is pretty dang good right off the bat. Her other book, Clean Food, is one of my favorite books to recommend to clients just beginning to get back into the kitchen and make clean healthy choices.

1c garbanzo flour
1c almond meal
1/2c potato starch
1T baking powder
1t baking soda
3/4t ground cinnamon
1/4t ground cardamom
1/4t fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 c crushed walnuts

3c grated pears (about 5), whatever ones look best
1/2c pear juice
1 banana, ripe
1/4c maple syrup
2t lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
1T vanilla extract

1 pear for topping
Other topping options:
Dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)

Turn your oven on to 350 if you have a good oven. If you are me, and you have a crappy oven, use 375.

Put your dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. I put my wet into a food processor, but any mixer will do. If you don’t have one, just mash your banana by hand and then whisk them all together in a bowl.  Then dump your wet into dry and mix the whole shebang.

Pour the goods into a 9″ square or round pan, greased. I used coconut oil to grease the pan. Top the thing attractively and bake for 45 minutes or until you poke a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean. It should be slightly browned on top.

Now have friends over and play cards. Enjoy each other. That’s the best part.