Homemade Nut Milk

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of store bought nut milks as they tend to have a lot of preservatives and other nasties added into them to keep them shelf stable. That being said, I am guilty of buying the odd carton once every few weeks because they’re just so convenient and tasty.

This week, I tried making my own nut milks for the first time. And guess what? It actually is REALLY EASY! The things that were preventing me from doing it before were: a) having to soak nuts overnight before and b) needing a nut milk bag/piece of muslin cloth for straining the pieces of nuts out of the milk.

Once I bought myself some muslin cloth in a local fabric shop and got organized about buying and soaking whatever nuts I needed the night before, the rest was a doddle.

…so, here we go: cashew milk and hazelnut milk.

*These recipes are vegan-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar free*

Cashew Milk

YIELDS: 3-4 cups milk | PREP TIME: soak nuts overnight | MAKE: 10 minutes

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup cashews (raw & unsalted)

3 cups filtered water

….that’s it!

optional flavours: 

2 medjool dates

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

…you’ll also need some muslin cloth, cheese cloth or a nut milk bag. I used muslin cloth here.

METHOD

  1. Measure out 1 cup of raw unsalted cashews. Leave to soak in water in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day, your nuts should be plump and soft to the touch. Drain and rinse the nuts thoroughly, then place them in your blender with 3 cups of fresh filtered water. Blitz for about 20-30 seconds until you get a milk-coloured liquid.
  3. Place a sieve on top of a bowl or measuring jug that holds about 1 Litre/4 cups liquid. Drape the muslin cloth over the sieve, and gradually pour the nut milk through the cloth and sieve, letting it drip into the container below. You’ll need to do this in stages as the bits of nut will gather in the cloth, slowing the process down. Towards the end, you can grab the four corners of the cloth, twist them together to form a sort of ‘bag’, and gently squeeze the milk down through the cloth until all the milk has passed through the cloth (make sure your hands are clean for this part!). Discard the pulp, or save to use for something else.
  4. If adding some optional flavours, rinse out your blender, pour the strained milk back in, and add the cinnamon/vanilla/dates until smooth. I used cinnamon and vanilla extract here, and it was yummy.
  5. You’re done! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Hazelnut Milk

YIELDS: 3-4 cups milk | PREP TIME: soak nuts overnight | MAKE: 10 minutes

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INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup hazelnuts (raw & unsalted)

1/4 cup almonds (raw & unsalted)

3 cups filtered water

….that’s it!

optional flavours: 

 

as above

…you’ll also need some muslin cloth, cheese cloth or a nut milk bag. I used muslin cloth here.

METHOD

  1. Measure out 3/4 cup of raw unsalted hazelnuts and 1/4 cup raw unsalted almonds. Leave to soak in water in the fridge overnight.
  2. The rest is the same as the cashew nut milk recipe above.

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Grain-free Coconut Granola

This granola may lead to some serious snacking-by-the-handful. You’ve been warned! It is amazingly delicious with almond milk, on top of porridge, or as a homemade trail mix to snack on when you’re on the go!

I decided to try out a grain-free one because I seemed to be eating oats non-stop there for a couple of weeks and thought I’d try something new. The oats have been replaced with coconut flakes (the big kinds, not desiccated coconut!). They go a lovely golden colour and have a moreish crunchy texture- you’d hardly notice there are no oats!

This granola is packed full of nutrients since it is made entirely of lightly toasted nuts and seeds coated in a little maple syrup and coconut oil. It is inspired by a recipe by Dr. Sarah Ballantine, an award-winning paleo food blogger (see original here).

Grain-free Granola

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, paleo-friendly, grain-free, refined sugar-free & gluten-free *

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PREP TIME: 5 minutes | COOKING TIME: 20-25 mins

INGREDIENTS

dry:

2 cups coconut flakes

2 cups mixed nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazils, and hazelnuts)

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*you’ll need to buy the coconut flakes, nuts and seeds raw and unsalted 

wet:

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil

a few turns of the sea salt grinder (optional)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius (fan oven).
  2. Cover a large baking pan with some parchment paper.
  3. Pulse the mixed nuts in a blender until they break down a little bit, but still have a good bit of texture and CRUNCH!(Or just chop with a knife if you don’t have a blender).
  4. Put the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  5. Put the wet ingredients in a small saucepan, melt over a low heat, and stir gently until combined.
  6. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ones and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  7. Place the mixture on a large baking tray and spread out evenly.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the coconut chips turn a golden brown. You might need to shake and turn it halfway through. (Always keep an eye on your granola because it is sooo easy to burn-I’ve done it so many times!)
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking tray before storing in an airtight container.

 

Tempeh-Beet Curry

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This is a quick, filling, and nutritious curry recipe that my boyfriend and I came up with in New York. It became our go-to when we didn’t have too much time to cook before going out. It makes a great mid-week dinner!

You can usually find tempeh in Wholefoods or Trader Joe’s. If you’re looking for it in Ireland, you would probably need to swing by your local health food shop as it hasn’t made it to the supermarkets yet, as far as I know.

Tempeh is made of fermented whole soybeans. When you add tempeh starter to soya beans and let it sit for a day or two, it becomes a loaf-like fermented food product. The use of the whole soya bean along with the fermentation process leaves us with a very nutritious end product with a high protein content (the same as meat!) and lots of B vitamins!

Tempeh has become one of those trendy health foods because it is thought to reduce cholesterol (due to its isoflavone and niacin content),  increase bone density (high calcium and copper content), and even help balance your gut bacteria thanks to the good bacteria which grow during fermentation! It also adds an awesome meat-like texture and a bit of a nutty flavour to your plate of veggies.

Soy is quite a controversial topic amongst health nerds, and for good reasons too. Nutritional cook Susan Jane White gives us a great low-down on the controversies surrounding soy in her first cookbook, so what I’ve written below is mostly based on that (to read more about her thoughts on it, check out her blog post here).

Soy has traditionally been used for years in the East as an excellent plant-based source of protein and vitamins. Once word got out West about how great soy products were for peoples’ health in places like Japan, this drove consumer demand for soy products way up worldwide. This high demand led to more and more industrially produced soy products.

Big companies found cheaper ways of making tofu, soy sauces, soy milks and other soy products, leaving them nutritionally deplete. Some cheap techniques used include chemical isolation and genetic modification (that’s why soy is often associated with GMO!). So, by the time your average slab of tofu or dash of soy sauce gets to your table, it’s only a shadow of the nutrient-dense powerhouse it was when it was first grown! Very sad news for all soy lovers, I know! 😥

What’s more is that the soybean is used to make up a lot of animal feed, and so a lot of forests are being destroyed to make space for soy to be grown in vast monocultures, often as GMO, causing environmental degradation, water wastage, and all the usual problems associated with the dominant meat industry.

Since low-quality soy is now so cheap to produce, it is often thrown into processed foods as an inexpensive bulking agent, so that is why so many of our chocolatey treats contain soy isolate or some other kind of soy derivative. Kind of like how corn and wheat have ended up in everything. As a result, people are beginning to develop sensitivities and intolerances to soy (again similar to the corn and wheat stories).

My thoughts on soy are that it is best to avoid it if you can, especially in processed foods. When I do buy it, I try to only use it once a week, buy mostly fermented products such as tempeh or miso paste, and make sure that it is organic, ethically produced, and non-GMO.

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, refined sugar-free & gluten-free*

Tempeh-Beet Curry

IMG_0479SERVES: 4   |   PREP TIME: 10 min  |   COOKING TIME: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into half-moons

2 raw beets, peeled and chopped into matchsticks

1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets

1 packet of organic, non-GMO tempeh

3 handfuls of spinach

2 tablespoons mild curry powder (I used Trader Joe’s)

1 can full fat coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

salt & pepper to taste

rice or quinoa (to serve)

METHOD

  1. If you don’t have leftover rice or quinoa in the fridge, it’s best to start that first!
  2. Heat some oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, and sweat for 3-5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the carrots, beets, and garlic. Leave to cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
  4. Add in the curry paste and stir until everything is coated. Follow this with the can of coconut milk, the broccoli, and some salt and pepper. Stir, bring to the boil and leave to simmer at a low to medium heat for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tempeh. Leave for 3-5 minutes, or until the tempeh is heated through and the veggies are cooked. I like them with a bit of a crunch!
  6. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt.
  7. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime, and stir.
  8. Serve in a bowl on top of quinoa or rice. Enjoy!

Healthy Eating On The Road (1)

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Driving towards the Colorado mountains last June.

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve decided to dedicate Friday to non-recipe posts. These will focus on other thoughts about our health and the environment. First up is a series about how to stay healthy while travelling! If anyone is away over the weekend, this post might be just what you’re looking for. Shout out to my fellow musician friends who know how tough it is trying to eat healthily while on tour. We’ve all been there: you’re on a healthy streak of eating well and even exercising a bit, when suddenly you get a call to play a gig in the middle of nowhere, and before you know it, you’re deciding between a McDonald’s burger or that dodgy-looking sandwich in the petrol station. Not very inspiring. For anyone who travels a lot for work or otherwise, here are some things I’ve found useful for keeping healthy while on the road:

1. ALWAYS bring water.

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Multnomah Falls, Portland, OR.

This is so simple, yet so easy to forget! And it’s a great place to start if you’re trying to make some small changes. Try stocking up on couple of bottles of water before you take off (or if you’re flying you might need to wait until you’ve landed), so that you always have some on hand. Fun fact: a lot of the time that we think we feel hungry, we’re actually just dehydrated because our bodies can sometimes mistake thirst for hunger. So one possible way to keep hunger pangs at bay is to sip on water during your travels. Not only will you feel fuller, but you’ll also feel more energized, awake, focused, and (for the touring musicians who enjoy the occasional drink) less hungover!

2. Be ORGANISED.

Easier said than done, but sooo important if you want to be able to eat healthily while driving through the arse end of nowhere. The day before I go away, I usually try to make time to go shopping and stock up on a big bag of mixed nuts and/or seeds  (unsalted and raw is best- and just make sure to read the ingredients list for any weird additives before buying!), maybe a few fruits and veggies, and some other snack ideas which I’ll elaborate on in my next post.

It’s always great to start as you mean to go on, so if I have time I attempt to make the first day as healthy as I can (the calm before the storm). On the morning you leave, how about giving yourself a little extra time in the morning to make a nice healthy breakfast at home (scrambled eggs and veggies, or a big bowl of porridge), and prepare a packed lunch? Either a salad, sandwich, or some leftover dinner from the night before. Then you’ll only have to buy dinner out! Look at you, being healthy and saving some pennies at the same time!

3. Buy REAL FOOD snacks.

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An amazing spread at a City Growers fundraiser, Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, NY.

It may seem obvious, but when we’re in a rush it can be easy to forget that snacks don’t actually have to be packaged in the form of a granola bar or bag of crisps. There are plenty of real, whole foods out there that keep pretty well in the car, are pretty easy to find on the road, and are far healthier and filling than sugary granola bars! Fruits like apples and bananas are usually easy to find, as are nuts and dried fruits like raisins or dates. If you pass a grocery store, some baby peppers or carrots and hummus can make a delicious savoury roadside snack, or some avocado mashed on crackers. Or how about peanutbutter on apple slices? There are so many real foods out there that need little to no prep- it’s just a matter of thinking outside the (snack)box a bit!

4. Break up with COFFEE: Make friends with GREEN TEA.

It is tempting to rely on coffee as a crutch to get your through the tour, but personally I find the more run down I get, the less my body can handle it! The first few days are great, but after a few late nights coffee often starts to make me jittery for a couple of hours. Next comes the giant caffeine crash, and finally the hanger sets in. If this sounds all too familiar, try to limit the coffee to once in the morning, then switch to green teas the rest of the day to keep your energy levels a bit more balanced throughout the day!

Do you have any tips for keeping healthy on the road? If you do, please feel free to share them here or on Instagram, I’d love to hear from you!

Teeny x