Thursday, September 22, 2011

Making my own almond milk and a rice n' bean loaf

I finally decided to go ahead and make my own almond milk! I've been buying unsweetened almond milk for ages and since I always have large bags of raw almonds on hand, I thought I'd try my hand at it.  So this isn't really a recipe, as I just tried to gather as much info as I could from various sources online and in books,to see what a good ratio would be. Here's what I came up with:

Unsweetened Almond Milk:

1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
4 cups filtered water
pinch of salt
Vitamix (or other powerful blender)

Put the almonds and 1 cup of water into your Vitamix (or other powerful blender). Blend on highspeed for several seconds until the almonds are mostly pulverized. Add the rest of the water and the salt. Blend again for another 10-20 seconds. Put your sieve over your bowl, and pour the milk into it slowly. Stir with a spoon, to help the liquid come out more quickly. Keep this up until all the milk has been poured and you just have almond pulp in the sieve. I only did this process once, but you could do it twice if you really want to. It should keep in the fridge for a few days.
Mine was just a little gritty still, but I don't mind it. I only use it in oatmeal, in smoothies, and with granola. Some people use cheesecloth. I might try that next time, since I have some. You can also add dates or some other sweetener, if you prefer sweeter almond milk. And here's a recipe that uses some of that leftover almond pulp!

Rice N' Bean Loaf:
-makes 1 large loaf

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can navy beans, mashed up
3 stalks celery, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup almond pulp (from the almond milk,or you can use juice pulp if you prefer)
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup oats
1 TB flaxseed meal (ground flax seed)
1 TB vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano or basil
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Put parchment paper into a loaf pan and spoon the mixture into it, pressing it into all the corners. Smooth the top and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for another 10 minutes. I served it with a red tomato sauce on top. Some sort of mushroom gravy might be nice, as an alternative.

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Coming up: A book review of Robert Cheeke's Vegan Bodybuilding, perhaps a recipe for raw cream cheese, stewed tomatoes/okra, and more talk about Vitamin B12 and D.

Eat smart,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How do you eat YOUR oats??

(Bob's Red Mill 5-grain Rolled Cereal)

I never realized there were so many different kinds of oats! And actually, I never really ate oats until a couple of years ago. My brother introduced me to cooking whole oat groats in my rice cooker!! What? My rice cooker will cook more than rice? Yup. In fact, it cooks lots of things, but I haven't been adventurous enough to try....yet.

Variations on an oat:

1. Cooked whole oat groats. You can buy oat groats at specialty health food stores or online, like at Bob's Red Mill. They can be cooked in a rice cooker or on the stove. I love cooking these, then adding flaxmeal and almond milk right into the pot (or rice cooker). Then I spoon it into a bowl and add some dried fruit, chopped nuts, and a little agave and cinnamon. I think this is my favorite kind of oatmeal.

2. Steel Cut Oats. These are actually "cut" oats, as opposed to, yup, you got it, rolled! They are in much smaller pieces, but take longer to cook. I make several days' worth on the stove at once, to last several days. These are really nutty and have a great texture. I have these with dried fruit and nuts on top. I find that these don't need the added sweetener because they have such a great flavor on their own.

3. Rolled Oats or Quick Cooking Oats. Quick cooking oats are rolled thinner than the "old fashioned" rolled oats, so they take much less time to cook. My husband loves these. This is what I make him every morning! And yes, he likes it with salt. If I'm out of all other oats, I'll make these too. Easy to make in the microwave too.

4. Raw oat groats. You simply soak whole oat groats overnight in filtered water. I like to soak some almonds as well. Then, in the morning, you put them both in the food processor and process with some water (or almond milk) until the desired consistency. I throw in some dates (into the food processor) to add sweetness. Or, if you prefer, you can add the sweetener directly to your bowl. I enjoy this kind of oatmeal in the summer, on hot days, since it's served cold.

5. Raw buckwheat groats. I know, they're not technically oats, but I've seen so many people use them this way, that I thought I'd include it. I finally tried these. The buckwheat sure has a different flavor. I used this recipe. To me, the texture was really gummy. Next time I try them, I'll leave out the chia. It's basically the same idea as the raw oat groats...soaking overnight, etc.

6. Muesli. Ok, not just oats either, but another excellent breakfast! It's usually a combination of oats and other grains with nuts and dried fruits. The "original" way to eat it is soaked overnight in yoghurt. It's really excellent with non-dairy yogurt! You don't have to soak it overnight, you could just soak it for 15 minutes or so. You can also just eat it with almond milk, like this picture (taken in Switzerland this summer).

Then there's always chia pudding, like this chocolate one here:

My favorite "regular" oatmeal is Holly's. I love the cranberry almond! I also love Bear Naked's hot cereal "medley". But alas, they don't make it anymore :(

When I'm on the road, I like Starbucks oatmeal. And it even comes with packets of dried fruit and nuts...just how I like it!

By the way, Bob's Red Mill just happens to be having a sale on oats right now...go get yours! (No, they didn't  ask me to do this...I just love them!)

There are so many variations of this stuff, I'm sure I missed some. How do you eat your oats? And what do you put on top?

Eat smart,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Millet Patties and Irene

(the "road" in front of my parents' house)

Well let's just say, Irene sure did a number on the east coast. My parents live in Vermont and they got an unbelievable amount of flooding! Their whole road in front of the house was covered in water and yes, they got water in their basement (which couldn't be pumped out due to the flooding in the road). But luckily, they are fine! There was the typical power outage, but they have a generator. Their alpacas and other animals are also ok. And the CSA farm, which uses their land, did pretty well in the storm. On the other hand, the one bridge to my sister's cabin across the street was washed away. Luckily, nobody was renting at the time. They will have to rebuild that soon.

As of yesterday, some rivers in NJ and VT had not yet crested, so some places were still under water, like Paterson, NJ (15 feet). I hope you are all staying safe. There IS Katia out there, and we've got our own little "tropical wave" arriving in the Gulf shortly.

On to the food part of this post!

I had some leftover items in the fridge, and instead of making my typical "bowl" of grains, veggies, and sauce, I decided to make it in a different form: patties.

Lemon Tahini Millet Patties:
(makes 8-10 patties, depending on size)

1/2 onion, chopped
1/4-1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup broccoli slaw (or shredded broccoli and carrots)
1 cup mushrooms (any kind, I used white button), sliced
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats (you can prob. use regular oats too)
1 cup cooked millet
1 cup juice pulp (carrot/beet based)
1/2 cup (plus a few extra tablespoons for serving) *Lightened-Up Tahini Lemon Dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine the millet, oats, and pulp. 
Put 1/4 cup water into a pan, and add the onion, zucchini, broccoli slaw, kale, and mushrooms. Cook on medium heat until slightly soft. (you don't need to cook all the way through). Let it cool for a few minutes. Add the partially-cooked vegetables to your food processor and pulse several times until mostly chopped. You can also puree it until it's mashed, but it won't have a nice texture and will have a lot of extra moisture (you may have to add a few extra oats if it's too moist). 

Add the processed vegetables to the millet mixture. Mix well. Add the dressing to the bowl and mix. Bake on a Silpat (or parchment paper) on your baking sheet for 15 minutes. Turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let them sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Drizzle a little extra dressing on top! (I ate mine in a sandwich the first time, but the second time I just drizzled some sauce on top: delicious!)

*This dressing has become my new staple. It is absolutely amazing...I put it on salads all the time! I also serve it on top of my "bowls" as a sauce on top of grains and vegetables. I highly recommend you make at least double the recipe and keep it in your fridge!!

PS-Yay, I finally found a use for some of that juice pulp from my new juicer!!

Meanwhile, we've got a nasty marsh fire burning here and I just can't go outside anymore. It's so smokey and my lungs hurt even if I'm only going from the front door to the car! I sure hope they put it out soon. Maybe the rain that's coming will help.

I'm almost 3 weeks into my p90x program! I think I can see a little difference already. Today my glutes and obliques are pretty sore. Today's workout: Kenpo X.

Are any of you on a strict workout program? What do you do for exercise?

Eat smart,


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