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We’ve been drinking a lot of almond milk lately. Out of a desire to lessen on dairy intake, out of pleasure, and just because. A few weeks ago I purchase Silk brand almond milk as it was on sale at a local chain grocery store. Unfortunately I didn’t pay any attention to the ingredient list until I got home – there were a lot more than I was expecting and some pretty weird and probably unnecessary things. Other than that one time I have been buying Blue Diamond brand almond milk from one of the local co-ops (they don’t carry Silk almond milk). Blue Diamond has a lot less ingredients than Silk but still more than simply almonds and water. I saw a photo of fresh almond milk on Instagram last week and decided I would give it a try. Depending on the ease of making it, the cost effectiveness, and the quality I was prepared to make it a regular occurrence in our home, much like making butter.

So here is what I did…

For all of the steps you will need:
1 cup of raw almonds (organic if possible!)
Around 10 cups of water
Some sort of sweetener (I used a tablespoon of maple syrup)
A towel
A fine strainer and/or cheesecloth
A blender
A few containers

This makes approximately one half gallon of almond milk.

** Update ** Due to my container size and finding our desired strength of almond milk I now use 3/4 cup of almonds and 6-7 cups of water.

First being by taking 1 cup of almonds and putting them in a bowl. Cover the almonds with water and then cover the bowl with a towel and place it somewhere cool. Let the almonds soak in the water for 24-48 hours. If you soak them for more than 24 hours empty the water once, rinse the almonds, and cover them with water again. The almonds will absorb water and become quite plump.

After the 24-48 hours rinse the almonds and discard the soaking water.

Put the almonds into your blender or into a large container if you’re using an immersion blender. Add 7 cups of water and then blend. The water will quickly turn white and frothy so blend until you think there are no large almonds left. This is a bit more challenging with an immersion blender so move it around and do your best to find all of the almonds. Add your sweetener and blend again.

After everything is blended pour it through a strainer and/or cheesecloth and into the container you wish to store the almond milk in.

You will be left with almond milk and almond meal. The almond meal is the ground up almond pieces. This can later be used to make grain free pancakes, be added to baked goods, and more.

In my experience the immersion blender missed a few almonds so I was left with almond milk that tasted a little watered down. It will take a few tries to completely get the hang of it and to hone in on my preferred consistency and flavor. You can play around with the ratio of almonds to water and sweetener as well until you get exactly what you’re looking for.

If desired you can remove the peels of the almonds after soaking but before blending. This will change the flavor slightly and you will be left with almond flour after blending rather than almond meal.

Here is a photo comparison of my almond milk (on the left) and Blue Diamond almond milk (on the right).

The cost of a half gallon of Blue Diamond almond milk is $4.19 and the cost of approximately two cups of almonds is $2.47. Two cups of almonds yields one gallon of almond milk so cut that cost in half and you see that $4.19 vs less than $1.25 is a wonderful deal. Of course there is more time involved in making almond milk yourself and a few additional costs including the energy to blend it, water, sweetener, and cheesecloth, if used. But you gain a fresh homemade beverage without any added ingredients. So… give it a try and let me know what you think! :)

I haven’t been photographing our dinners lately and I’m a little disappointed. For the past few months I’ve been making lots of new things – I have rarely repeated a recipe. It’s been nice to try new things rather than getting stuck in the rut of uninteresting staples. When I started dinner last night I grabbed my camera and made sure to photograph nearly every step.

I made Chicken Biryani from The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman (which can be found in my Amazon store). With some tiny variations.

For this recipe you’ll need:
2 T butter
1 onion (chopped)
salt & pepper
1 cinnamon stick
10 cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 T ginger (minced or grated)
1.5 cups basmati rice
3 cups chicken stock
A whole chicken (cut up) or chicken pieces

Take an onion..

 

 

 

 

 


Chop chop chop it up. Messy chop.

 

 


Melt two Tablespoons of butter. I often cook in dutch ovens… so I suggest that.

 

 


Add the onion and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Cook until the onion is soft and brown (5-10 mins).

 

 


While the onion cooks grab your spices…

 

 


Make a funny face with your spices…

 

 


Make a pretty picture with your spices…

 

 


Mince some ginger.

 

 


In a little bit you’ll need the chicken stock so if you have any prep in that area do it now. Thanks to Brooke I now use this (which I suggest you use, too!).

 

 


When the onion is soft and a little browned at your spices. Wait about a minute and then…

 

 


Add the rice.

 

 


Mix together until the rice is coated and shiny (2-3 mins).

 

 


Add the stock and the chicken.

 

 

 

 


Cook for about 25 minutes – it’s done when the rice and chicken are both tender and the liquid has been reabsorbed. If you need more cooking time add a bit of water if necessary.

 

 

 


Put it on a plate and eat it up! :)

If you’re anything like me the smell of the cardamom pods and the rice will make you think of kheer. And then you’ll really really need some kheer. So you’ll make some.

Simmer 8 cups of water with two cardamom pods for about an hour or until the milk has reduced by half.
Add 1/2 cup of rice and cook for about 20 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar (or a little less.. 1/2 cup was kind of sweet for me) and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Make sure you’re stirring often and the milk does not begin to boil.

Yuuummmmm!

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