Archive of ‘Desert’ category

Homemade Almond Milk

Blender seq

Almond milk….It is rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious. It is so awesome to make this milk at home, and the best part is, you know exactly what went into it!  Of course I don’t  have the time or the energy to do this always, but when I do it is my preferred method. Making almond milk at home is actually super simple, and the taste is incomparable to the store bought stuff…totally worth a try.

Why almond milk rather than cow’s milk? Well, this is a “to each his own” answer…not sure if I am ready to go down that rabbit hole, but I will say that I prefer the taste of almond milk over cow’s milk. I like drinking a plant based product that has good nutrients and lots of calcium. I like the fact that I don’t need to worry about antibiotics and hormones or how many cows contributed to my one glass of milk. And simply, I like almonds!

Almonds are rich in Biotin, Vitamin E, Calcium, and Magnesium. All of which contain numerous health benefits. The B vitamin, biotin, is notorious for strengthening and beautifying hair, skin, and nails. Although some of these effects have not been scientifically proven, we do know that it plays a major role in nerves, metabolism, and cell health.  Preliminary research suggests biotin may improve insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It promotes overall inflammation reduction and is thought to aid in immune function. It may postpone heart disease onset and age-related cognitive decline while preventing dangerous blood clots. It is important to note, that it is recommended to consume Vitamin E through food rather than supplements (unless directed by a professional) as any hazard associated with Vitamin E supplements are still unclear. Calcium is known for its role in bone health, but also may aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Like Vitamin E, taking calcium in supplement form is a little controversial. Magnesium is thought to play a role in the reduction of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and even migraines. Almonds also have good protein, fat, iron, zinc, folic acid, and many other vitamins and minerals. It is always better to get your nutrition from foods because as I stated previously, experts are still unsure of the risks and benefits associated with vitamin and mineral supplements.

Okay, now for the nitty gritty…the milk itself. I purchase organic almonds and soak them overnight. Most recipes agree that they should be soaked but disagreements arise as to why  they should be soaked. I soak to soften them and remove any impurities that may be lingering on their skins. Simply blend them up with clean water, a few dates for sweetness, and strain. Viola! You have almond milk (see recipe below)! Remember this milk has NO preservatives so drink up quickly. I would give it three days in the fridge…maybe four if you’re lucky. It freezes great so if you aren’t sure how quickly you will drink it, freeze half of the batch.

The only truly tricky thing about this recipe is the straining. You have a few options. You can strain through a sieve and cheese cloth, cheese cloth alone, a fine mesh strainer, or a nut milk bag. I have tried every which way and each has pros and cons. I like the fine mesh strainer simply because I don’t always have cheese cloth lying around, but this can be time consuming. My favorite method is by far a nut milk bag. This is a super fine mesh bag that is used specifically for nut milks (but can also be used for anything that needs a good straining). It is inexpensive and completely reusable. If you enjoy making almond milk, and believe that you will continue to make it in the future, the bag is the way to go. Nut milk bags can be found here. Soaked almonds and dates

 Add almonds, dates, and water then blend away!

Blender seq  Now strain through nut milk bag…

Milk through nut milk bag

Milk next to strained bag

Chill and serve!

Finished almond milk enhanced

Homemade Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Organic Almonds
  • 2-3 Medjool Dates
  • 2-3 Cups Filtered Water

Instructions

  1. Soak almonds in water overnight, changing the water at least once.
  2. Add almonds, dates, and your preferred amount of water. I like mine rich and creamy, so I usually use only 2 cups of water. If you like it thinner, use three.
  3. Blend until almost completely smooth- at least one minute.
  4. Strain through preferred straining method- see above for options.
  5. Chill and serve!

Notes

Almond milk will stay good for at least three days in the fridge...but probably won't last that long anyway!

http://tastefulwisdom.com/homemade-almond-milk/

 

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What’s All the Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia Hype?

chia_seeds

Chia seed heart      Remember those commercials from the 90’s when a kid and his adoring mom would spread that chia seed paste over the clay dog and watch in shear amazement as the seeds bloomed into a full on thick coat of fur right in front of their eyes? Cha-cha-cha-chia! Over and over it would repeat…but what happened to those little guys? Well apparently, they are still being sold, but a greater share of the chia market is now in supermarket and health food stores. Chia seeds are being sold at a premium price, and consumers are ripping them off of the shelves faster than you can say, “Cha-cha-ch”….okay, I’ll stop. So what is all of this chia hype? In fact, what are chia seeds in the first place? They are very small black and white seeds that are actually a member of the mint family. Grown in Mexico, the seeds have an ancient history. Legend has it that Mayan and Aztec warriors would carry these seeds with them as a concentrated source of energy to get them through long journeys. Apparently the word, “chia” means, “strength” in the Mayan language. These mild-tasting seeds certainly are concentrated with nutrients, so it is truly a believable tale. When placed in a liquid, chia seeds can absorb up to twelve times their weight. As they expand, they begin to have a somewhat slimy, jelly-like texture. In theory, if you eat chia seeds mixed in a beverage or smoothie, they will expand in your stomach and keep you more full for an extended period of time. This feeling of fullness will inhibit you from eating more, and you will in turn lose weight by simply eating less. This is essentially how the little seed has been touted as an amazing weight loss aid. Unfortunately, at this time science does not agree. Although there is not an abundance of research available on chia seeds and weight loss, the few studies that have been conducted showed no weight loss benefit from consuming chia seeds. Myth busted!
Now that is not a reason to throw chia out the window. These little gems have truly earned the hype that they are receiving- just not on the weight-loss front. They are filled to the brim with excellent nutrition. Let’s take a look at the nutrient make up of just one ounce, roughly two tablespoons:

  • Fiber: Nearly 12 grams of dietary fiber. This reason alone makes chia a superfood. Unlike flaxseeds, chia seeds do not require grinding to receive full benefits as they can be completely absorbed by our body. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends adults consume between 25 and 38 grams of fiber daily. Although the average American consumes only about 15 grams per day. Chia seeds are an excellent and super easy way to boost your fiber intake.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 4915 mg of Omega-3 Fatty acids. What does that mean? Good health! We always hear about getting in our omegas, but the fact of the matter is Omega-6 fatty acids are everywhere and the Omega-3’s are harder to come by. Many experts believe that it is beneficial to change the ratio of fatty acid intake to reduce the Omega-6 intake while increasing our Omega-3’s. With a 3:1 Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio, this seed is a great starting point.
  • Macronutrients: Many don’t know that macronutrients are simply Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat-no more, no less. The chia seed is the perfect example of a stellar macronutrient composition with 4g Protein (16%), 9g Fat (36%), and 12g Carbohydrate (48%). This is a mean source of energy.
  • Calcium: The National Institutes of Health recommend adults (both men and women) consume 1,000 mg of Calcium per day. In just one ounce of chia seeds you will obtain 179mg of this bone building mineral. That is 18% of your recommended daily intake in just two measly tablespoons!
  • Antioxidants: Chia seeds undoubtedly a great source for antioxidants as they contain a mixture of these free-radical fighting champions. Antioxidants reduce the overall inflammatory load in our systems and fight disease and premature aging. Need I say more?

I should also add that there are 138 calories in one ounce of chia seeds. So is there a downside? There are some drug nutrient interactions to be aware of. Chia seeds may interact with certain blood pressure medications and blood thinners, so please ask your doctor before gorging! There have also been reports of allergy to chia seeds. This is somewhat rare, but take special caution if you are allergic to mustard or sesame seeds. Oh and speaking of allergies, those of you with egg allergies (or simply don’t eat eggs) can actually substitute chia seeds for eggs in baking! You must first make a chia gel that is 1 part chia and 6 parts water- you probably want to blend this mixture in order to avoid big black seeds throughout. One tablespoon of this gel will replace one whole egg in baked goods. I couldn’t resist the temptation to make this post a twofer. Here is a super simple recipe to turn you on to chia seeds! Who could pass up a delicious desert that packs crazy amounts of protein (10g), fiber (16g), and calcium (45% recommended daily intake)!?!

Cha-Cha-Cha-Chocolate Chia Pudding

Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey, more or less to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend until very smooth.
  3. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition Facts: 284 Calories, 15g Fat, 1.8g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 277mg Sodium, 16g Fiber, 10g Protein, 18% Vitamin A, 26%, 45% Calcium, 17% Iron

http://tastefulwisdom.com/whats-cha-cha-cha-chia-hype/

 

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