Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vanilla Walnut Non-Dairy Milk QUICK!

Quick 2 minute VANILLA WALNUT milk:

1 cup walnuts

1/2 tsp (or more) Vanilla Bean powder,

or vanilla extract will do in a pinch

1 Tbs Agave nectar or other sweetener, if desired*

1 cup or so of water

Blend. Pour in enough water to make it a Liter of Vanilla Walnut Milk.

No Vita-mix or Blend-Tec super blender are needed. No soaking, no straining. No dairy. Happy vanilla walnut milk!

*if you opt-out of using any sweetener, then soak the walnuts for a couple hours in water to remove any bitterness. Rinse well. Blend.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alternatives to Cow-milk

Okay. So after reading the extensive amount of evidence showing how unhealthy dairy is for us, such as from T.Colin Campbell's ground-breaking book "The China Study" we know that it is best for us--and best for the planet, to ween ourselves off the bovine breast-milk.
After finally getting off the dairy, about seven years ago, I went to my friendly Co-operative market here and perused the dairy-free 'milks'. I've of course had soy milk many times, but then tried almond, hemp, hazelnut and coconut. Some of these are unflavored, sans carob, chocolate or vanilla, but still most have added sugars and some have many ingredients.
Even before reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "Food Politics," by Marion Nestle, which were two very influencial books to me, I have been avoiding foods with a paragraph for an ingredient list and opting for those with perhaps five ingredients or less. I definitely avoid those with very long names that many dietitians cannot even identify. With much of the soy milk sold in stores being of the GMO variety, I would of course avoid those. Illegal to be sold in Europe and in Canada due to safety concerns, but safe for Americans? No thanks.
So there are some decent options in the store that I use on occasion, such as unsweetened coconut milk but I would rather make it fresh. Besides, stocking store shelves on the east coast with cases of almond milk, that came all the way from California and which probably includes 1/2 cup or less of non-water ingredients per quart, well, is almost like buying those wasteful little plastic bottles of water. There are better ways!

There are some decent options in the store that I use on occasion, such as unsweetened coconut milk. But I would rather make it fresh. Even in the stores though I haven't seen Walnut milk. Perhaps it would be much more expensive than other milks, but I have been making my own.

After viewing a recipe online at Eat Raw Vegan, I of course modified it significantly, so here is my recipe:

Vanilla Walnut Milk

1/2 cup Walnuts, raw (organic if possible)
1/4 cup Dates, pitted
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla bean powder*
(vanilla beans cut open and scraped out, so much better than an "extract")
5 cups water

Soak the walnuts for several hours (or just overnight) in enough water to cover them completely. Discard the water and rinse well to reduce the tannins and bitterness. Also soak the dates in another container in 1/2 cup water (of the 5 cups). Start blending with some of the remaining 4 1/2 cups of water on full power and gradually add the rest of it. If it is blended well enough there will be no residue to filter, it should be smooth and ready to go!

Stay tuned for additional recipes for dairy alternatives!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Do you need eggs in baking?

A friend of mine just asked me: 'Can I use flax seed meal as an egg substitute? Is that even possible? Great question. Some people really see the recipe as the way it has to be, but with such a high-quality substitute that is much healthier and doesn't have the food-safety concern of Salmonella enterocolitis (Salmonellosis)

No need to keep eggs in the fridge for baking when Flax is cheaper, healthier, a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, essential fiber and protein, without the risk of salmonella, as are a concern with eggs--especially those from factory farms as is the case with the majority of eggs consumed in the United States.
each Tablespoon of ground* Flax, or "Flax Meal" provides, according to: , 1600 mg Omega-3, 2g of cancer preventing Fiber and 1g Protein with only 37 calories.
*I have an inexpensive "coffee-grinder" that I only use for the purpose of grinding flax.

--> For baking, instead of each egg, substitute:
1 Tablespoon ground Flax
3 Tbs Water (or Almond/Walnut/or Soy milk)

Ground flaxseed has many uses, such as in soy/coconut yogurt, mixed with some water and dabbed onto a pizza crust or on the top of bread will help to create a browning effect in the oven. It is also useful in smoothies, such as:

Super-hero Smoothie:
1 cup (or so) Kale, just the leaves, setting thick stems aside for other use
1-2 bananas fresh, ripe ( or frozen over-ripe bananas, saved for such use)
1 apple, de-cored or 1 orange
Blend well with just a couple cups of water, just enough to keep things moving. Add a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed as desired.

Note:Since Flax is so high in Omega-3, if you grind it (i.e. make Flax Meal) find an empty jar to re-use and store in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Grinding the flax will puff it up, slightly increasing its volume, so measuring a tablespoon of ground (unpacked) flax will have 1600mg Omega-3/37 Calories vs 2300mg/55 Calories in whole/non-ground flaxseed, which may be more important if making large batches of egg-free baked treats.