Almond Milk – Vitamix

Probably a year or so ago, we began using almond milk instead of cow milk.  I haven’t drank storebought cow milk in many years but I will drink raw milk when we can get that and I will drink buttermilk.  Weird, huh?  I tried to like storebought almond milk . . not for any particular reason. It smells good but to me, it tastes kinda sticky or slimy. Vince loves it.  He uses it on his cereal and when I eat cereal, I can use it on there but I cannot drink it.

A few months ago, I tried making almond milk.  At the time I was using my regular blender, which was just an inexpensive blender (real inexpensive because when I bought it, Chad was living at home and he used it more than I did).  It wasn’t terrible when it was new but it had seen better days.  When making almond milk with it, I never felt like I was getting enough “almond” out of the nuts and gave up.

One of the things I couldn’t wait to do with the Vitamix was make almond milk.  Today was the first day I remembered to take pictures but, like everything else I’ve done with the Vitamix, it is amazing for making the almond milk. Here’s a quick little recap of how I do it.

Of course, I start with almonds.  The amounts used is dependent on how much you want to make.  The almond milk keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, but not much longer than that.  It’s so easy to make, I mostly make it every morning.  Start with raw almonds.  The ones I buy are pasteurized because they’re easier to find that totally raw as in just out of the shell nothing done to them almonds.  Some things I read say that ALL almonds sold in the U. S. have to be pasteurized and then I’ll find a place online that is in the U. S. that says it’s selling totally raw and unpasteurized almonds.  It really doesn’t matter to me . . I take what I can find easily.  Almonds do grow around here, though I’ve not seen any for sale, nor have I seen any trees.  If my choices are buying pasteurized almonds, or shelling raw almonds myself, I’ll probably buy pasteurized almonds!

I put 1 cup of almonds in a jar and fill it with cold water.  I leave it sitting on the counter during the day but put it in the fridge over night.

Almonds Soaking

Almonds Soaking

Here’s the difference in 1 cup (left) of almonds that have been soaked overnight and 1 cup (right) that have not been soaked.

Soaked vs. unsoaked almonds

Drain and rinse the almonds.  Place them in the blender with water.  Since I used 1 cup of almonds, I add 2-1/2 cups water. Some folks add more, some add less.  There’s no exact right or wrong . . just do what works for you.

Almonds in Blender with Water

If using a Vitamix, start with it on 1 and gradually turn up to about 8.  Blend for a few seconds.  Let rest, then blend again. I do this several times.

Blended Almonds

The blended almonds and water will have to be strained through something.  You can use multiple layers of cheesecloth, though I find it allows some of the meal to get through.  I used to use a lint free dish towel and that worked but my favorite way is to use a nut milk bag. I like this bag because I can just rinse it out and hang it over a cabinet door knob and it’s dry in an hour or so and it doesn’t need to be washed in the washing machine where it might pick up dog or kitty hair. I place the drain bag over a half gallon jar.  I’m only going to get about 2-1/2 cups of milk since I used 2-1/2 cups of water but with the half gallon jar, the bottom of the bag doesn’t sink back down into the already drained milk.

Milk Draining

Allow the milk to drain.  I will sometimes hang the bag from the cabinet door knob so I can see when it’s done.

Milk Draining

Once it’s drained, it can be sweetened with either sugar, honey, stevia . . whatever you want to use, or it can be used unsweetened.  If I’m going to be drinking it, I add a little sugar.  If I’m using it for smoothies or cereal, I add no sweetener.

What’s left from the almonds is this:

Almond Meal

In another post, I’ll tell you what I do with this yummy stuff!  In the meantime, figure out how much almond meal or almond flour costs in the store and you’ll know the value of this by-product of making your own almond milk.

 

Almost Beef Carbonnade in Crockpot

When I wake up, there are a hundred things running through my head.  At the top of that list lately has been knitting.  All I want to do is knit!  It seems that all I have time to do in the mornings are chores . . in the house . . outside the house.  There’s not much I can do to come up with extra time in the morning but I’m still determined to cook in the crockpot and have it taste really good. We aren’t much into “mediocre” when it comes to our food.  I can easily fix things that are edible enough but I’ve just never had much luck fixing things in the crockpot that we taste and say “Wow!  This is good!”  Yes, convenient, not much mess, but never outstanding food from the crockpot.  I am not giving up!

I had a package of “mystery” beef out for dinner tonight.  I have no clue what it is.  It’s in a FoodSaver bag so that means I probably bought it in a big package and what is written on it simply says “Use the pressure cooker!” which tells me it’s tough . . though handling it, it didn’t seem like it would be tough.  The plan was to cook it in the pressure cooker, make gravy and serve over rice.  That idea just didn’t thrill me and I thought of putting it in the crockpot.  Beef, a can of mushroom soup . . I could get by with that.  But I wanted more.

I’ll have to tell you later how this turns out but so far, it’s looking and smelling pretty darned good.  It does involve messing up a pan, in addition to the crockpot.  I’m calling this “Almost Beef Carbonnade”.  There’s no real recipe for what I did but I’ll recap it here.  Change it up as you like, add different spices or other ingredients.  That’s what makes cooking fun!

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Start by dredging the meat in seasoned flour and browning it (somewhat) in a bit of oil.

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Two onions were sliced, a couple of cloves of garlic were chopped, and sauteed in the oil remaining in the pan where the beef was browned.

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Almost Beef Carbonnade

There are a few tomatoes still on a couple of the remaining vines in the garden so I quartered some of those and added them.  I left out photographing a step but I browned 5 slices of bacon in the same pot I had been  using and added the bacon to the crockpot.

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Into the grease that was in the pan, and there was probably about 1 – 2 tablespoons, I added oil and spices – about 1 teaspoon of Italian herbs, and a bit more than 1 teaspoon of dried basil and oregano, along with about 1 teaspoon of black pepper.  I cooked, stirring until the flour was browned.

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Almost Beef Carbonnade

One tablespoon of “Better than Boullon” beef base to about 3 cups of water.  Next I found a bottle of wine that was open and added it.

Almost Beef Colonnade

Almost Beef Carbonnade

A little wine makes everything better and the sooner it gets used . . that’s one less thing in this house!

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Almost Beef Carbonnade

All of that made a yummy looking gravy!

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Almost Beef Carbonnade

Four sliced carrots were added, and I sprinkled some of the dried pepper mix that I made from the sweet peppers in the garden.

I added a little salt but will adjust the seasonings once it’s almost finished cooking.

If this doesn’t end up being a “WOW” dish in the crockpot, I’m giving up on the crockpot!

Dinner!

Dinner!

Tonight, I will fry eggplant, bake crusty bread, get out a jar of salad and boil some noodles  .. I should be able to knit til just a few minutes before dinner time.

 

 

 

Road to Brenham #11

It’s time to sew the blocks together into rows!  Hopefully all your blocks, corners and side triangles are made now.

This is the layout.  Sew your blocks into the rows as shown below.

Rows

Rows