Awhile back, in this post, I gushed and gushed over my friend Mary and how amazing she is about always having the most healthy and yummy treats for the kiddos. After we had a good laugh about how my post was borderline stalker material, we decided that we should get together and make some food for the blog. A girls day in the kitchen! No husbands, No kids! Well, we started planning that about 4 months ago and finally a couple of weeks ago we actually made it happen. We kicked everyone out of the house and with Mary barefoot and in a long dress and me in my stinky and too tight gym clothes, we got to work. We chatted, laughed, shared funny stories about our ridiculous daughters and got busy making some delicious and healthy food to share with you.
Over the next couple of weeks, Mary will be popping in with her own recipes and stories to share with you. I hope you love her as much as I do and I'm sure she will be flattered and a bit scared to have more than me as her stalker.
No one warned me that in giving birth to a 7 pound 7 ounce bundle of cuteness, I might lose all short-term memory, and suffer from the dreaded "Mama brain." (What was it that I came all the way to the grocery for and why did I forget to bring my list?). It is for that reason, I can truly appreciate a recipe that is so forgiving it actually improves when my Mama Brain kicks in. Homemade almond milk is one of those joyous recipes. Seriously, when you completely forget about it - it only gets better. I know, I know. Isn't it so much easier to just buy the stuff at the grocery and be done with it? Rest assured, the ease and final product may make you a convert too. Packed with vitamins and minerals, including potassium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin E, copper and selenium, (all the good stuff you want to put in your kiddo's belly), you honestly will have a hard time going back to the boxed stuff after experiencing the creamy richness of fresh almond milk.
There are many ways to enjoy your homemade almond milk. Pour it directly into a sippy cup and hand it over to your kiddo, or enjoy it in a favorite mug together. At my house, my sweet toddler and I have a morning ritual. Like two chatty neighbors, we sit in the kitchen for a moment each morning and share a warm drink. While my coffee is brewing, I warm her almond milk, adding a sprinkle of cinnamon, Himalayan salt, or on occasion a small dollop of local honey. There is something truly wonderful about these moments where we both sit with our mugs in hand and share a giggle and a smile before the chaos of the day ahead begins. I love to think that over time, these moments will grow into something more meaningful where we talk about things going on in each of our lives. For now, she likes to hold her mug to mine and say "cheers!" and we test one another on our knowledge of animal sounds. Two is quickly approaching and I have heard many adjectives attached to this period looming on the horizon. My hope is having rituals like our morning drink will perhaps make two (and seven and twelve for that matter) be a little less turbulent than I have heard and maybe time will slow down for just a moment.
Homemade Almond Milk + Cinnamon
1 cup Organic Almonds
1 or 2 Organic Pitted Dates (optional)
4 cups water - to soak
4 cups water - to blend
Pinch of Cinnamon (optional)
Makes approximately one quart. Will last for 5 days in the fridge
Start by soaking 1 cup of almonds (and pitted dates, if you choose for a slightly sweeter option) in 4 cups of water for 12 hours to several days, changing water every 12 - 24 hours. Soaking for 2 days seems to kick the milk up to an even creamier consistency. When you are ready to blend, drain almonds (and dates) from soaking water and add to blender with 4 cups of fresh water. Blend until you see the mixture reach a creamy and smooth consistency.
Using a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth, strain the mixture into a bowl or jar. Add a pinch of cinnamon and serve warm or cold. Refrigerate and Enjoy!
Also, definitely hold onto the remaining almond meal. It is a fantastic and healthy addition to smoothies or baked goods like muffins. Here are a few ways to put it to good use: