Friday was the last of the long 60 days of biochemistry. By 8:30 am I was finished with my last test and was overcome with a wave of enlightenment. I WAS FINISHED!! All the hard work, and grueling study hours, paid off. Procrastination was held at bay, and motivation pulled me through the finish line. What a sense of relief!
However, unlike most my classmates, I still had a long list of "to do's" before any celebration was in order. Today was the day I also had to move from North Seattle to the East. After my last long run along the Burke-Gilman trail, I started packing. It was only 10:30 am but it seemed like the day had been going on forever. Waking up at 4:30 for a pre-test cram session can do that.
By noon I was finished, my car packed to the brim, and my back aching. It sucks to move alone. All the stress, anxiety, and frustration just seems to build, one box after another. Finally, with the windows rolled down, and NPR turned on, I made my way, sweaty and tired to my new home.
I now live on a little farm in the city. It sounds crazy right?? Three acres, with chickens, fruit trees, and both a flower and vegetable garden. It seems I have found a little slice of heaven, only 5 miles away from Bastyr. Sometimes I just smile to myself and thank all my lucky stars. The path that has led me to Bastyr always just seems to fall into place. I truly believe the world is helping me fulfill my dream.
After unpacking and organizing, my weekend finally began with a good glass of red wine. The weekend was beautiful and filled with friends, indulgence, and gratefulness. A whirlwind of life in its finest moments. It ended as quickly as it came, with a hug and wave goodbye.
Since most people have tried almond milk, I decided base my recipe with almonds today. However, you can use walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, seeds such as hemp, sesame, sunflower, etc. You can also add a little sweetener and spices to flavor you milk naturally if you like. Just get creative.
Almonds, are wonderfully nutritious nuts. They are great sources of riboflavin which works as a co-enzyme in energy production (FAD) and as well in preventing oxidative stress in cells. Also, almonds are high in vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant, riding the body of free radicals, and helping in reducing oxidative stress. Magnesium plays a vital role in the relaxation of muscles as well as veins and arteries. A proper balance of both calcium and magnesium is very important. However, many people are deficient in magnesium, which is associated with cramps, aching, and soreness, as well as nervous system problems. One serving of almonds, which is a quarter cup, supplies 24.6% of your daily magnesium, 44.8% of your daily vitamin E, and 17.8% of you daily riboflavin.
However, nuts must be soaked to offer the most nutrition. Almonds and other nuts contain phytic acid, which reduces your ability to absorb minerals during digestion. Phytic acid binds to important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc in the small intestine rendering them insoluble. This hinders them from being absorbed by the gut cells and can cause mineral deficiencies. Soaking nuts in filtered water over night helps break down the phytic acid. Since nuts and seeds are bursting with wonderful macro and micro nutrients, in order to benefit most from you newly made nut milk, please take the time to soak them prior to starting the procedure.
When getting creative with this basic nut milk recipe, you can create a creamier milk by adding more nuts to the 4 cups of water. This basic recipe is for a nice light milk. However, if you are craving something more dessert like, simply just add more nuts. If you would rather have no flavor, just omit the vanilla. Since cow's milk is naturally sweet, I add a single date for sweetness and a dash of salt, brightens the flavor. Have fun, and enjoy making your own personal nut milk.
Lightly Sweet Vanilla Almond "Milk"
Makes a quart
4 cups filtered water
1/2 cup almonds (soaked overnight and rinsed)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla bean scraped)
1 date (pitted)
dash of sea salt
High speed blender (I use a Blendtec)
Thin kitchen towel or nut milk bag
Large kitchen bowl
Clean glass container
1. Place nuts into a bowl and cover with filtered water. Leave on counter at room temperature overnight.
2. Drain and rinse nuts and put into the blender. Fill the blender with 4 cups of filtered water.
3. Add the date (or your choice of sweetener) and the vanilla.
4. Blend on high for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, until light and frothy.
5. Place sieve into bowl. Soak the kitchen towel in water and ring out any excess. Lay the kitchen towel into the sieve and pour the milk into the towel slowly. Bring the corners of the towel together and squeeze out any remaining liquid. Save the nut pulp for baking or discard into compost.
6. Rinse the towel and wring out excess water. Repeat the procedure to insure pure milk.
Note: After soaking nuts overnight, you can also opt to "peel" the skin off. This makes the filtering processes quicker. Also, if you like your milk extra creamy double the amount of almonds with the same ratio of water.
Worlds Healthiest Foods: Almonds
Nourishing Traditions: Sally Fallon