[VIDEO]: Creamy dreamy almond milk

Have you noticed almond milk is all the rage lately? Almond milk latte here, almond milk smoothies there. It's almost inescapable. So what's the deal with this nutty powerhouse-turned-creamy liquid?

Raw almonds (left) vs. soaked almonds (right)

Raw almonds (left) vs. soaked almonds (right)

Almonds are amazing for the body -- mostly because of its high concentration of protein, healthy fats, antioxidants and B vitamins. However, that doesn't mean you can just go munchin' away on nuts all day erryday. No way! One serving of nuts is about the amount you can fit inside one handful with your fingers touching your palm -- that's right, it's not that much! If you eat more than that, often, you may find yourself a little bloated (that's a LOT for your body to break down in one sitting). I like to think of nuts as a condiment, rather than a main ingredient. That way I get the goods without the bloat.

Sadly, these nuts have tannic acid and enzyme inhibitors in their skin. But there is a solution. We can actually soak the nuts (whether for nut milk or your snacking pleasure), which helps release those bad boys so you can more easily digest the goods. Less work for you body, more nutrients into your bloodstream. Bonus. For years I didn't soak my own almonds because I just didn't know what that meant, and it's easy: soak overnight, in the morning, spread them out on a towel to dry. Then throw them into a container and they're good to go!

Another way to get all that goodness without the bloat is taking the soaking one step further and making almond milk. This nut milk has all the amazing benefits you can get from its whole form, and the flavor is amazing! So creamy and dreamy, and in my opinion, even more delicious when made from scratch. But there's so much confusion about almond milk. People always ask me:

"What brand is the best?"
"Why would I make it when I can just buy it?"
"I can't drink it fast enough, how else can I use it?"

Here's my humble opinion (since you asked!). I recommend making it yourself vs. buying conventional brands. IT'S SO EASY. Like, stupid easy. No icky chemicals. You can trust the source. And, it just tastes more satisfying when it's homemade, amiright? While you need to soak the almonds a few hours beforehand, it takes all of 10 seconds to get your soaking bowl together, and all of 3 minutes to "milk" the following day. It's kind of a no-brainer!

Now, what to use it for? Let me count the ways! Here are a few of my favorite uses:

  • smoothies
  • thickener for soups, sauces, and stews (fresh nut milk thickens when heated)
  • add to coffee or tea (again, the thickening qualities make it oh-so-creamy)
  • base for a healthy hot chocolate
  • accompanied with homemade granola

I have the perfect easy recipe to make you feel all fancy, without having a culinary degree. Catch this week's episode of Michelle's Monday Minute all about Almond Milk, then snag the easiest recipe of all for a Creamy Dreamy Almond Milk. Enjoy and share!

Creamy Dreamy Almond Milk
Yield: 2.5-3 cups

Ingredients:
1.5 c. raw almonds
3 c. filtered water

Optional flavor additions:
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice blend
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 medjool date, pitted
1 tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Soak almonds with cold water in a metal bowl. Cover bowl with a towel and place in the fridge overnight (at least 8-10 hours).
  2. The next morning, drain almonds and thoroughly rinse using a sieve
  3. Transfer nuts to a high-speed blender with filtered water and optional flavoring (depending on what you plan on using it for), and begin blending. Start on low, then gradually increase speed to high and continue to blend for about 2-3 mins. or until a milk forms.
  4. Place nut milk bag in a large bowl (preferably with a spout), and pour blender contents into bag. Gently start squeezing liquid through the bag until all liquid is extracted (messy, but worth it!). 
  5. Pour milk into a glass jar. Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes:

  • You can make more or less depending on how many people will be using the end result. This amount works for my household...there are 2 of us, and we use it in our coffee/tea every morning, plus more for cooking over the next few days. 
  • Save that almond pulp for granola, smoothies, muffins, or homemade crackers.
  • Get creative with your flavors. Think ahead as to how you'll use the milk -- if you want to use it for a variety of recipes, I recommend keeping it plain so you get the most uses from it, otherwise, season away!