Fresh Almond Milk

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Project Adventures in Vitamix is well underway.  This morning I made fresh almond milk to use in coffee for the weekend, so easy and way better for you than the processed store bought stuff.  Usually I don’t go through the trouble of straining the almond milk after it’s out of the Vitamix, but today I decided to use my new fine mesh strainer to see what the big difference would be.  I have to say, there is a big difference between the strained and unstrained product.  The unstrained milk has a very nutty quality and naturally a thickness to it that stands out in coffee or when drank alone.  The strained product is a lot softer in flavor, mixes into coffee well and…for lack of a better descriptor…is milky tasting.  The vitamix really pulverizes the almonds, what you are straining out is the very fine shell and meat of the nut that has escaped the 2 horsepower blades.  This will make just over 3 cups of milk and about a half a cup of froth.  The best part is that the frothy goodness left over in the strainer is a perfect nutty base for a smoothie.  Talk about starting the weekend out strong!

Ingredients:

1 cup of raw almonds
3 cups of water
1 tsp of agave (or sweetener of choice)

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to your Vitamix (or other high power blender) and increase speed to high, run for 2 minutes.

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2. Slowly pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, using a spoon to remove the froth as you strain.  Use the milk immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  I’m not sure about the storage life, but I try to use the milk up in about 2 days.

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I like to add a very small amount of sweetener to my almond milk since I’m using it in my coffee, but you do not have to.  If you are going to use the milk for baking or another cooking project, just skip the sweetener.  You may want to substitute for a little salt if you are planning to use it in a soup or savory meal.

I had a lot of frothy goodness left after straining the milk, and of course didn’t want to let it go to waste.  I put the froth right back into the Vitamix and added a frozen banana, 3/4 cup of frozen strawberries, large handful of kale, and 1 cup of water.  Blend on high for 45 seconds, makes 2 smoothies.  AMAZING!

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Enjoy and Stay Healthy!

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Coconut, Strawberry and Basil Smoothie

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Today I was looking for a creamy smoothie with a different flavor profile from the norm.  I have a basil plant that is holding on for dear life by the front window, begging for sunlight in the middle of winter and unfortunately too close to the window to stay warm on these sub-zero days.  With the 5-6 living leaves that remain I wanted to make something to recall the days of summer when fresh herbs are robust.

To add creamy smoothness the combination of banana and coconut milk (from a can) are pretty great.  The coconut milk gives more thickness to the smoothie than almond milk or regular milk, and the coconut flavor in the finished product is perfect.  Of course this was blended in the Vitamix for optimal consistency.

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Ingredients:

1 Ripe Banana
1 cup of Red or Green Kale
5-6 large frozen Strawberries
5 small Fresh Basil Leaves
1/3 cup of lite Coconut Milk, canned.

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Directions:

Add ingredients to Vitamix blender in order provided and blend on high for 45 seconds.  Add more or less coconut milk as needed for desired consistency.  I didn’t put any ice in this as the frozen berries give a cool icy quality, but you can add ice if you like.

Stay healthy and Enjoy!

Ginger Green Smoothie

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I have finally gotten my hands on a Vitamix and I’m never letting go.  In the two short weeks that I have had this little beauty in our house I have used it every day.  The best part about this blender, aside from the obvious amazing ability to liquefy everything it comes in contact with, is the fact that my husband loves it too.  Eating healthy has never been so easy and delicious.  I have had the Vitamix for about 2 weeks now and have used it at least once a day since then.  Every morning involves a smoothie, I make my own almond milk to put in my coffee, I make dessert, sauces, and of course a spectacular soup.  I am still getting used to the power and temperament of the blender, so my recipes will take a little time to perfect for public use.

I do have to say I was not a true believer in the Vitamix until I actually put it to use.  I thought our old blender was great, it blended things and if I left it running long enough the contents would be smooth.  Apparently I didn’t know what smooth was, because the vitamix makes everything so smooth it actually becomes creamy.  Okay, enough bragging about my new toy, lets get to the smoothie of the day.

Today I made a green smoothie with a small chunk of fresh ginger to give it a nice little spice/kick.  I am of course not reinventing the wheel here, a smoothie is a smoothie.  Green smoothies are all the rage as they are said to break up greens such as spinach and kale into small enough pieces to digest all the nutrients.  Something about breaking up your food into liquid form has made me really look more closely at what I am buying as well.  If I am releasing hidden nutrients, I am probably releasing hidden chemicals as well.  So not only have I jumped on the Vitamix wagon, I am looking around inside the organic wagon as well.  I have chosen for a long time to believe that if I wash my fruit/veggies well enough that it’s totally fine, but in reality those chemicals are likely penetrating into every bite.  So I have started to switch to organic greens and slowly switching out my fleshy fruits/veggies as well.

2013-12-30 09.06.56Ingredients:

1 Clementine, peeled
1/2 Red Delicious Apple (seeds and all)
1 handful of Kale
5-6 frozen Strawberries
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1/2 inch piece of Fresh Ginger
1/2 cup of water

Directions:

1. Add all the ingredients to the blender in the order listed above and blend on high for 45 seconds.  Add more water or ice as needed for consistency desires.

Enjoy and stay healthy!