Raw nut flour!

Hopefully I have inspired some of you to make your own nut milk at this point. I was surprised and delighted when even my brother in law (definitely not the nut-milk making type!) asked me for the recipe!! I have used all types of nuts so far; cashew, almond, pecan, and hazelnut to be specific.

At first I was throwing away all the pulp that I strained out with my nut milk bag.  But it seemed like such a waste, and I had read that you could save it and use it elsewhere.  So I started tossing the wet chunks into my food dehydrator for 24 hours or so and they came out looking like this:

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You should know that I have a super cheapy Ronco food dehydrator, which actually works quite well.  But your dehydrating time may vary.  You could probably also do it on a very low temp in the oven, but I haven’t tried it.

I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with them all, but I just kept chucking them in this container every few days.  Today I was finally inspired to make my favorite chocolate chip cookies that call for blanched almond flour.  I put the dehydrated nut pulp chunks into the dry canister of my Vitamix and whizzed it all up until it made nut flour. Raw almond/pecan/hazelnut flour!!

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That had hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup from the nut milk mixture.  It was delicious and came out pretty finely ground. I did take the skins off the almonds after soaking because I don’t like how they flavor the milk.  So this might have made the texture of the flour a little finer, not sure.

My son and I made these cookies and they were deeee-licious.  Not so FODMAP friendly because they do have a little honey and coconut flour, but so so good.  Maybe I will try to make them over without those ingredients one of these days..

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In the meantime, save your nut pulp and make flour. It’s amazing! And nutritious! Some people have a beef with nut flour because it is such concentrated protein and fat, but I say eat the treats made with them on special occasions and only in moderation, and you will be just fine!

I’d love to hear what you do with your nut pulp!!?

 

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Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Milk

Hello to all, and apologies for not having posted in a while! I have taken some much needed time to rest and rejuvenate over the past few weeks. First, I attended an amazing meditation retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and highly recommend getting there if you ever have the opportunity.  After that I spent a few days warming up in beautiful Puerto Rico, and experiencing some incredible nature in the rainforest.  I am back in the freezing cold now, and back in my kitchen, which I am grateful for.  There seemed to be a serious lack of fruits and vegetables in the parts of Puerto Rico I was in, and It will be a long time before I eat another fried plantain!

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A while back I posted about making my own cashew milk, which was incredibly delicious.  Well, since then I have embarked on a new diet to help improve my digestion.  I have been dabbling with the low FODMAP diet, and have read this book about it.  It was very informative, and though I haven’t been really strict with it, I have found that avoiding certain foods that are high in FODMAPs has been beneficial for me.

Unfortunately, both cashews and dates are high in FODMAPs, so I had to revamp my nut milk recipe.  I had previously tried almond milk but found it to have an unpleasant bitterness to it.  I have since discovered that removing the skins from the almonds seems to eliminate the bitterness.  I also tried pecan milk, which was good, but there was a lot of pulp to strain out.  So I wanted to share my latest almond milk recipe.  I have found that the addition of cinnamon is fantastic too.  After soaking the almonds, the skins slide off very easily.  It is a bit of a tedious task, but I think it’s worth it, especially when you have this guy helping you in the kitchen!

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Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Milk

(gluten free, dairy free, grain free, low FODMAP friendly)

3/4 cup raw almonds

1 teaspoon sea salt

4 cups filtered water

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In a glass jar or bowl, soak the almonds with sea salt in filtered water for 6-8 hours or overnight.  Drain, rinse well and and slip the skins off of the almonds if desired.  Combine almonds, 4 cups of filtered water, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla in the  blender and puree for 1-2 minutes until a smooth consistency is reached. Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Homemade Nut Milk

For years and years I have been buying and drinking non-dairy ‘milk’ of different sorts, as I have never been able to digest regular milk.  First it was soy milk; sweet, thick and delicious.  After some time I stopped being able to digest soy, so switched to rice milk.  It was thinner and decidedly not as delicious, but I made do with it for many years.  Then came the news about rice and arsenic, and though I still have my reservations about whether this is really a threat, I couldn’t keep feeding my boy something that could potentially harm him.  So we switched to almond milk, and had been enjoying it for a while now.  Lately though, I have been reading about carrageenan, a thickener in many non-dairy milks that has shown in some studies to have a detrimental effect on some individual’s GI tracts (read more about this here and here…and now I just found out it’s in my sliced turkey too. DOH!!).  Well no one needs any extra inflammation in their lives, and anyone who knows me knows I certainly do not need any extra GI irritation.  Now, you should know that carrageenan is still on the FDA’s list of approved organic ingredients, but personally, I don’t really have a whole lot of faith in the FDA and their many lists.

Anyhoo, I have been seeking out milks that do not include carageenan for the past few months, and some have proven to be better than others, but then I started to wonder about these other ingredients too.  Take a look at this:

IMG_3028I’m pretty OK with cane sugar and salt…but Locust Bean Gum?? Gellan Gum?? What are these and why do we need them?

So I’ve been hearing how easy and amazing it is to make your own nut milk, and also how beneficial it is to soak your nuts and seeds before consuming them.  So I finally gave it a shot.  I do own a Vitamix, so all I really needed was a nut milk bag (everyone seems to hate this particular combination of words so I’ve been trying to throw ‘nut milk bag’ into my conversations as often as possible lately).

I started with almond milk, and it was good, but there was a bitterness that comes with raw almonds that I just couldn’t get past.  So this week I tried cashew milk..HELLO!  It is so creamy and delicious and SO easy to make, I don’t think I will ever go back to that stinky boxed milk again.  I am excited to experiment with other nuts and seeds so I will keep you posted.  But for now, here is how cashew milk goes.  It’s still somewhat experimental right now, so just go with what feels right to you, you can’t really go wrong with cashews.

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Cashew Milk

(Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free)

Adapted from The Shiksa in the Kitchen

3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews

4 cups filtered water

1-2 dates, pitted (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

pinch of sea salt (optional)

Soak cashews in filtered water for 4-6 hours, no longer.  Apparently cashews can be finicky when it comes to soaking ; most “raw” cashews have been heat treated and  can become a bit slimy if soaked too long.  Drain and rinse well. Combine cashews, water, dates, vanilla, and sea salt if using in the blender and puree for 1-2 minutes until a smooth consistency is reached.

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Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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This is the only downfall that I can see of homemade nut milk. It doesn’t last as long.  Also, I have to say that with the cashews I don’t even think I needed to strain it, as there was barely an sediment left in my nut milk bag.  But that will probably depend on the blender you use and how smooth you like it. Also, you could sweeten with honey or maple syrup too, or not at all if you like it that way or plan to use it in a savory dish.  I was wondering if I could make an unsweetened version and freeze it to use in dishes when I need it.  I’m not sure how well it will freeze, so I will keep you posted on that too.

But don’t you worry, I have found some other uses for my NUT MILK BAG, which I will let you in on soon!  In the meantime, I’d love to hear about anyone else’s nut milk adventures and how they turned out.  Here is my first smoothie made with homemade nut milk, spinach, banana, and peach.  YUM!

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