What I Ate Wednesday

Breakfast

Breakfast was 1 banana, half a chocolate cherry chia protein shake, 2 slices of bread with almond butter and cinnamon, and a large cup of half coffee/half vanilla almond milk.

I tend to eat larger breakfasts and then graze during the day…sometimes on healthy stuff.

Snacks

Snacks were a few organic animal crackers with vegan chocolate chips, a serving of organic white corn chips, and chai tea with a splash of chocolate almond milk.

Hasselback Potatoes

For dinner I finally tried making hasselback potatoes. They came out good but probably could’ve been cooked a few minutes longer. I put salt, pepper, and olive oil on them before cooking, then topped with Daiya pepperjack and Tofutti sour cream.

Southwest Salad

Also for dinner I made a large southwest salad with black beans, avocado, corn, and other veggies. Topped with Wegman’s faux chicken that was tossed in bbq sauce and Frank’s hot sauce.

Late Snack

Late night snack was half an almond butter (can you tell I have a problem?), pretzel and chocolate chip sandwich.

Homemade Almond Milk: Round One

Almond MIlkI’ve been wanting to make homemade nut milk for a while, but it seemed like it wouldn’t be cost effective since nuts are so expensive. I found a bunch of different recipes, some make homemade twice as much as store bought, and some would make it slightly less. I usually buy Almond Breeze because it uses non-gmo almonds. Silk used to, but they’ve since stopped.

Price Breakdown
The average price of Almond Breeze is $3.35 for 2 quarts, or 42 cents a cup. The ratios that I used priced out my homemade milk to $4.24 for 2 quarts, or 53 cents a cup. I’m fairly certain I can adjust the ratios so that the price is comparable, and I don’t think the taste would suffer at all.

Bulk Almonds

The only thing is, I’m not sure that these almond (bulk from Wegman’s) are non-gmo. I’d guess they definitely aren’t. The raw organic ones are $12.99/lb which increases the price to $6.93/2 quarts. (Almond Breeze is non-gmo, but not organic.)

Paint Strainer Bag

Nut Milk Bag
I was totally sure that Wegman’s would have nut milk bags since they have a huge natural/organic section, but I was wrong. I was googling them on the way home (as a passenger) and read a lot of suggestions to use paint strainer bags. I stopped at the Home Depot and got a  two pack of nylon bags for $2.64, where most nut milk bags online at around $10. I’m not gunna lie, I was pretty skeptical to put food in these bags when I saw them at the store, but they seem to be plain nylon bags and identical to the fancy expensive ones.

Nylon Bags

I guess if I die, we can blame it on the bags. I’m thinking if I continue to make milk on a regular basis, I might splurge for a fancy organic hemp bag, but for testing purposes, I’m happy with what I bought.

Recipe
It really couldn’t be more simple. The only inconvenient thing is that you have to soak the almonds for at least 8 hours. I ended up soaking them for about 20 hours.

Equipment needed:

  • blender
  • nut milk bag, strainer, or cheese cloth

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 4-6 cups filtered water + 2 cups for soaking
  • sweetener (optional)…I used 1 date that I soaked with the almonds and then a squirt of agave
  • other flavors, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, etc. (optional)

Instructions:

Cover the almonds in filtered water and soak for at least 8 hours. If using dates to sweeten, you can soak them too.

Drain the water, and add 4-6 cups of filtered water to your blender. Add almonds, sweetener, and flavorings, and blend.

Strain the almond milk and enjoy.

Check out the pictures down below.

2.5 cups of almonds

.88 lbs of almonds cost $7.03 and gave me 2.5 cups of dry almonds.

Dates for sweetness

I used one date that I soaked with the almonds, but I didn’t really taste the sweetness. I might add one or two more for vanilla milk.

Soaking

I soaked 1 cup of almonds for about 20 hours.

Skin comes off easily

One tip I read was to skin the almonds. While the skin does slip right off, I was not doing that for EACH almond. And I don’t think there really is any need to.

Soaked

4 cups of water

I used 4 cups of water for this recipe.

Blending

I blended it on medium and high speeds for a minute or two. It didn’t take very long.

Straining

I used 16oz mason jars (and a larger spaghetti sauce jar) because that’s what I had.
Straining

But it was a little difficult when I was straining the last bit.

Using 4 cups of water in the blender got me about 5-6 cups of milk. Next time I’m going to use more water to blend. I’ve noticed that when I use store bought almond milk in my coffee or chai tea, it barely lightens it, but with this, only using a splash makes it really, really light.

Chai

Just a splash in my chai tea.

Almond pulp

I’ve saved and frozen the left over pulp, and I plan to either use it as almond meal in baking, or throw it in smoothies. I guess if you normally use almond meal, it would make the recipe even more cost effective.
With a donut

I don’t normally drink milk, but I enjoyed this vanilla milk (with cinnamon and nutmeg), with a homemade pumpkin spice donut!

More on why I would never drink cow’s milk

January Goals Revisited

Instead of a new years resolution, I had a few goals for January:

Complete 33 days of p90x3. Success. I started on Dec. 30th, so by the end of January I  completed 33 workouts. I plan on continuing this for February and March.

cal2

No spend January. I’d say half success. I started off really well, and spent about $130 a week (on average) instead of $100 for groceries. I also needed to buy vitamins for everyone, and ordered a 3 month supply from Vitacost…so that was $56 that I hadn’t planned for. Other than that my only splurge was on two bottles of kombucha (~$8) because I was really excited to start brewing it at home. What helped was using cash for purchases (xmas money) and keeping a list of any impulse buys that I wanted. I’m going to try to do this again for February.

Keep my desk clean for the month of January. Fail. I almost finished cleaning it today (Feb 7th).

Paint the hallway before the end of January. Success. Except for fixing the part of the ceiling that I got purple on, everything was done by January 23rd.

Hallway

Put various amounts of money aside into savings each week. Fail. I didn’t even do this once. I didn’t really want to because I wanted to focus on saving money this month.

How are your new years resolutions shaping up?