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.

 

Cashew-Cacao Spring Balls

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Happy Spring everyone! Apparently the first day of Spring was on Monday. I don’t know about everywhere else, but it definitely feels more like winter here in Dublin today (thanks to the grey skies and sideways rain). If you’re like me and sometimes need a little chocolatey pick-me-up to keep you going on grey days like these, you’ll LOVE this delicious little number.

There are so many variations on energy ball recipes out there. Personally, I like to keep it simple. These Cashew-Cacao Spring Balls contain only 5 ingredients, and will definitely put a spring in your step! (Pro tip: if you’re watching you sodium intake, they work great without the sea salt, and will only contain 4 ingredients! Yuss!)

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5 ingredients: cashews, dates, cacao powder, coconut oil & sea salt.

Medjool dates are appearing in all sorts of recipes lately, and it’s no wonder really. They have an amazing ability to add natural sweetness as well as a delicious, caramelly texture to sweet dishes. On top of that, they are a great source of  potassium, magnesium and fibre! This recipe works out at less than 1 date per ball, so you don’t even need that many dates to get that amazing decadent, sweet taste!

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When it comes to choosing sweeteners, it’s important to choose your poison wisely, and enjoy in moderation. Some good options are dates, raw honey, good quality maple syrup, and coconut blossom sugar. Remember that all these healthy(ish) sweeteners DO contain naturally-occuring sugars (mostly glucose and fructose), so are not sugar-free. They’re just refined sugar-free. 

The difference between eating lots of dates and eating lots of refined (cane) sugar is that when you eat refined sugar all you get is the calories, with absolutely no other nutrients. When you choose a natural, unprocessed sweetener (like the ones mentioned above), you’re getting lots of other great nutrients along with the natural sugars in dates. For this reason, natural sweeteners are more satiating, and less likely to lead to a sugar crash a few hours later.

Now, the fun part: the recipe. Warning: this one involves getting your hands messy!

 

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

Cashew-Cacao Spring Balls

MAKES: approx. 12  | PREP TIME: 20 min

INGREDIENTS

7 dates

150g cashews

3 tablespoons cacao powder

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

METHOD

Pro tip: if the Medjool dates you bought are a bit tough, you might need to soak them in boiling water for about 15 minutes, and then drain them before adding them in step 2, with a tablespoon of their soaking water.  

  1. Place 2/3 of the cashews in a blender or food processor, and blend until you get a fine flour. Throw in the remainder of the cashews and pulse to get a rougher texture. Take all cashews out and set aside.
  2. Place the dates and the tablespoon of melted coconut oil in the food processor, and blend until you get a thick paste.
  3. Add the blended cashews back in on top of the dates, along with the cacao powder and sea salt. Blend everything together until you get a thick, chocolate-y dough-like texture (see photos).
  4. Pinch a bit of the mixture into your hands and roll until it forms a ball (about the size of a ping-pong ball). Repeat until you run out of mixture. It made 12 for me.
  5. Place in a container in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up, then store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

 

 

 

Healthy Pancakes: Two Ways

fullsizerender-11Happy Pancake Tuesday everybody! I’m excited to share with you my very first blog post! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a health and wellness nut, so I’m sure this blog won’t come as a surprise to you. It was inspired by the year I spent living in New York City, where I really began to understand the importance of where your food comes from, how it has been processed, and why it matters. On this page you will find plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and (mostly) plant-based recipes, as well as some thoughts on wellness and environmentalism. Anyway, instead of getting into the finer details of this blog’s purpose (which I’m still figuring out anyway…more on that to come in the about section), I’m going to cut to the tasty part: I present to you Healthy Pancakes: Two Ways. One plant-based, one paleo.

3-Ingredient Vegan Pancakes & Choco-Almond Sauce

*This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free & gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats*

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I love oats in all forms, and often have porridge for breakfast during the winter. This recipe is pretty much porridge in the form of pancakes, so makes a delicious Pancake Tuesday breakfast for all you oat monsters out there!

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Oats were one of the first grains cultivated by humans, and have been a staple of the Irish diet since prehistoric times. Although they are technically gluten-free, they can contain trace amounts of gluten because many farmers grow them on the same land and in rotation with gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Also, during the packaging process, oats can be handled in facilities that also handle gluten-containing grains.

Regular oats are usually fine for people with non-coeliac gluten-sensitivity, but people with coeliac disease need to buy certified gluten-free oats to make sure that they don’t react to them. If you can tolerate oats, they make a nutritious breakfast, providing us with cholesterol-lowering beta-glucans as well as decent amounts of manganese, phosphorous, selenium, magnesium, B vitamins, and zinc!

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blend the oats until they turn into a course flour like this

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SERVES: 2 |   PREP TIME:  5 min  |   COOKING TIME: 10 mins

INGREDIENTS

for the pancakes:

1 cup oats (use certified gluten-free if coeliac)

3/4-1 cup almond milk (adjust to get desired consistency)

1 banana

1 teaspoon coconut oil (for frying)

optional extras:

pinch of sea salt

pinch of cinnamon

vanilla extract

for the choco-almond sauce:

1 heaped tablespoon almondbutter

3 teaspoons raw cacao powder

2 teaspoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons almond milk

METHOD

  1. Put the oats in a high-speed blender and blend until you get a fine oat flour. If you’re blender is on its last legs, I recommend using porridge oats instead of jumbo as they’ll break down quicker!
  2. Add in the banana, 3/4 cup of almond milk, optional extras (if using) and blend until a thick batter forms. If it looks too gloopy, gradually add the remainder of the almondmilk until you get a finer consistency.
  3. Heat the coconut oil on a non-stick frying pan at high heat, and spread evenly.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the pan, using back of spoon to flatten each pancake out. I used about a heaped tablespoon per pancake, and fitted three at a time onto my pan.
  5. Reduce heat to low-medium so that you don’t end up with a crispy outside and a gooey inside! Cook on lower heat until you see bubbles on the top of the pancakes and the edges begin to crisp.
  6. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the pancake is a golden brown.
  7. While the pancakes are cooking, whip up your choco-almond sauce! Just put all ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until smooth.
  8. Serve as a stack of 3-4 pancakes per plate, layering with chocolate sauce. Drizzle leftover chocolate over the stack, and add a few berries or banana slices to jazz it up.

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2-Ingredient Protein Pancakes with Tahini Nutella

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

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This one is paleo-friendly, replacing the oats and almondmilk with 2 eggs.

SERVES: 1  |   PREP TIME:  5 min  |   COOKING TIME: 10 mins

INGREDIENTS

for the pancakes:

2 medium eggs (preferably local and organic if possible)

1 banana

1 teaspoon coconut oil (for frying)

optional extras:

pinch of sea salt

pinch of cinnamon

for the tahini nutella (makes about 3/4 cup):

1/3 cup tahini

1/4 cup maple syrup

2-3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

METHOD

  1. Put the eggs, banana and optional extras (if using) in a blender and blend until you get a smooth, thin batter. If you don’t have a blender, you can mash the banana with a fork, then add the eggs and mix until smooth!
  2. Heat the coconut oil on a non-stick frying pan at medium heat, and spread evenly.
  3. If using the tahini nutella, prepare that by melting the 2 tablespoons coconut oil and then adding all the ingredients to a small bowl or container, mixing until smooth.
  4. Pour about 1/4 of the mixture into the pan, and tilt pan to spread evenly.
  5. Reduce heat to low-medium, and cook until you see bubbles on the top of the pancakes and the edges begin to crisp.
  6. Flip and cook for another minute or so, until the pancake is a golden brown.
  7. Serve as a stack of 4-5 pancakes, layering and topping with tahini nutella.