I've been forced into a crazy diet that restricts me from having just about everything. So needless to say, over the past few months I've been cooking up a storm, and in the tiring process, I've learned a few cool tricks through some research and a lot of trial and error. Homemade almond milk is so easy to make and absolutely delicious. The reason I decided to create my own was because, no longer allowed to eat or drink dairy or sugar, I was dying for a milk alternative to add to tea, smoothies, or just drink plain. I found that literally all store-bought almond milk has at least additives and thickeners. Some have tons of added sugars and other unwanted bits. The only exception is Nettie's Naturally which I hear is delicious but slightly on the expensive side. I've seen it at Ellwood Thompson's, but it usually flies off the shelf.
The process of preparing the seeds is the most important part of making the milk. Be sure to purchase raw, organic almonds when possible. Soak the almonds in reverse osmosis (or filtered) water in a glass container with a squeeze of lemon juice for 8-12 hours. (12 hours is ideal) This will sprout the almonds. Sprouting is essential to making the nuts more digestible and aiding in nutrient absorption.
After 12 hours, rinse the nuts with more RO water, then place them in a blender, or in my blender-less case a Nutri Ninja, with 3-4 cups of water. This is not an exact science. I typically use 1 part almonds to 4 parts water. The less water you use, the thicker and creamier the milk will be.
Once you've blended the almonds and water until creamy and white, pour the liquid over a nut bag and into a bowl (I found mine at Ellwood Thompson's for about $6) to strain out the pulp.
Squeeze the excess moisture from the bag. You'll have plenty of pulp leftover to turn into other delicious treats, none of which I've yet perfected. In fact, I just turned what would've been a deeeelicious batch of gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, taste-free cookies into a melted puddle of mush using said almond pulp. If you have better luck, do share!
And there you have your almond milk! Store in a glass, airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days. For extra special almond milk, try mixing in some goodness such as vanilla, stevia (or sugar if you're a normal person who can eat that), and cinnamon.
And now the Super Duper Secret Smoothie recipe:
Let me just preface this by saying you do not have to follow these exact proportions because everyone hates measuring. Just follow the little-o-this, little-o-that method.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Smoothie
5-6 cubes of ice (almond milk can be frozen into ice cubes for an even tastier treat)
1 cup (give or take) homemade almond milk
5 sprigs worth of chocolate mint leaves (yes, this is a thing! I had no idea until I saw it one day at Ellwood's (if you can't tell I shop at Ellwood's A LOT))
2 tbsp avacado
1/4 cup of assorted nuts of your choice. I use pecans, macadamia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Add the following if not added to the almond milk already:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cap full vanilla extract (or a vanilla bean if you're real fancy)
1 pinch sea salt
4-5 drops stevia extract
This tasty treat is the perfect sub for sugar-loaded, fattening ice cream. I eat it for breakfast just about every day, fulfilling my lifelong dream of having mint chocolate chip ice cream for every meal.