Saturday, April 30

Homemade almond milk

On our most recent trip back to America, I was surprised to see the presence of Almond milk in the grocery stores in the dairy section right next to cow's milk. When I last lived in the states in 2003, you had to go to the health food store to get it. I was also impressed at how cheap almond milk is! I spent the 5 weeks we were there drinking almond milk whenever possible. It's lower in carbs than regular milk, same amount of fat, HALF the calories, cholesterol free, loaded in antioxidants, has nearly as much calcium and an impressive array of vitamins. Really, what's not to love? Well, the price of it in Norway, that's what's not to love. Coming back to Norway, I went in search of almond milk. We have soy, rice and oat milks readily available in normal grocery stores here, but no almond milk. I finally found some at the health food store, but it was a tiny box and it was about $10!! Crazy.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. How hard can making homemade almond milk be?? Not hard at all is the answer! I can get raw almonds in bulk for about $11 a KILO here (that's about 2.2 pounds) and I only need a cup to make about a liter of milk, so it's a significant savings over the health food store almond milk. I tend to make small batches, as it only lasts about 5 days in the fridge and I really only use it in my smoothies, so I don't need a whole lot.

Start by soaking a cup or two of almonds in water over night. They will nearly double in size after the soaking:

Drain them and rinse them and put them in your blender or food processor and cover them with 4 or 5 cups of cold water:
Process them on high until the mixture is white and frothy:
Next, strain the mixture into a container. You can use a fine mesh sieve, but I use a bag specially made for nut milks:
That's it! How simple is that? Put it in an airtight container and use it how you would milk! It's delicious, and more importantly, it's so good for you! Now go make some almond milk:

Tuesday, April 26

Green beans roasted with garlic and basil in coconut oil

The days are getting longer and warmer and it's that time of year where we are starting to get a lot more fresh produce. Yesterday at one of my neighborhood fruit and vegetable markets there were some green beans I just couldn't pass up, and when Christopher lit the grill tonight, I decided to roast them over the hot coals!
I prepped the beans by tossing them in coconut oil, 2 cloves of fresh garlic, a handful of fresh chopped basil and a pinch of crushed red pepper:
Next, I put them in my roasting basket and put them on the grill:
There was a lot of smoke when coconut oil met hot coals, but the smell was delicious. I just stirred them every 30 seconds or so, and because the coals were so hot, the beans were done in about 4 minutes. The finished result was delicious:
A great way to get one of your 5 servings of fruit and veggies!

Monday, April 25

Homemade almond/cashew butter

I'll admit it, I'm a almond butter girl on a peanut butter budget, so when I read something about making my own nut butters at home, I did a backflip in my head. I can get raw nuts here in Oslo fairly inexpensively, whereas a tiny jar of almond butter sets me back about $8. If it's possible to make my own for half the price, it's a no-brainer for me. A quick Google search confirmed that I was not the first person to have this idea, so who better to let guide me than a gal called Heather with a blog called 'Heather Eats Almond Butter'? So, if you're tired of paying too much money for nut butters that are older than 10 minutes, look no further. You're going to need whatever nuts you want to use. I used cashews and almonds. I didn't measure, just used enough to cover a baking sheet:

I popped them into the over to roast them. Roasting brings out a really lovely flavor and depth to the nuts, and the aforementioned Heather said the roasted nuts tend to butter up quicker than the raw. I almost burned them, so remember to keep an eye on them:
Put your roasted nuts into your food processor:
Put the lid on and turn the processor on high. You'll get alot of noise and a nut powder first, but keep the machine going, turning it off every now and then to scrape down the sides. Depending on your food processor, this can take anywhere from 9-12 minutes.

Soon you will be rewarded with a gorgeous creamy nut butter:
The sky is the limit as for flavors. You can keep it plain, as alone it has such a glorious depth to it, or you can add maple, chocolate, cinnamon or whatever!

The nutritional benefits of fresh nut butters are too numerous to list here, but this is one thing that is a staple for me in a paleo/primal way of eating. It's also low on the glycemic index, so my blood glucose never spikes when I eat it.

What are you waiting for?? Go and make some homemade almond/cashew butter!