back at it again.

Here’s the thing.

I’ve been thinking about starting up Hippiefig again for a while now.

Hippiefig began as a health food blog that my boyfriend and I collaborated on in the summer before our senior year. We were finally done studying for SATs and were in for a more relaxed school year (besides college applications and decisions, no big deal…)

Really not much has changed since we have gone away to college, except that I’m now stuck in a cramped dorm room with 2 other girls, and dorm rules permit nothing but crappy microwaves and mini fridges to somehow keep us fed with good food.

Since coming to college (and declaring two majors: public health and theatre) I have learned my way around the dining halls, the overpriced markets, and everywhere in between. I may or may not have had to sneak a rice cooker into my room to accommodate my plant-based wishes, but it has all been worth it. I’ve learned to cook potatoes, lentils, quinoa, and pasta in my rice cooker, and it has been an enjoyable (and 99.99% successful) journey so far! Note to self: red lentils in the rice cooker will turn to mush before you can even eat them.

I may not be the most refined college chef out there (yet) but I have so much to share for other college vegans and anybody else who is curious about this lifestyle. Eating a whole foods, plant based diet is so rewarding for your overall physical health (and I’ve even found it becoming a spiritual aspect in my life as I’ve learned more and more about the ethical and environmental aspects of veganism and what I am doing to help our earth). My goal through these blog posts is to inspire others, provide support, and demonstrate just how easy and rewarding this lifestyle can be for anybody who is willing to try it.

I will be posting much more soon! Until then, here are some photos of me and Mother Earth. I fall in love with her a little more every single day!

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Hello!

Whoa, long time, no blog post!

Senior year has hit… and unfortunately that means that I’ve had to put the thing I enjoy the most (making recipes, taking photographs, and sharing them here!) to the side. Funny how that works. I have been the assistant stage manager of a show for the past 2 months so that has occupied my hours of good sunlight after school almost every day. Now that the show has opened, my hope is that I can get back into the swing of things and begin posting recipes more regularly again!

On a more fun note, Mark and I also had our homecoming and we celebrated Mark’s 18th birthday since we’ve last posted anything! Though school is always very work intensive, it has been a very good few months so far!

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Today was quite an awesome treat. My family’s story was featured on Happy Herbivore! After my mom, a doctor, had a heart attack, and the reality of our serious family history of heart disease became clear, we jumped into this new lifestyle with open arms.

Lindsay Nixon’s blog and cookbooks were some of the best sources my family turned to in order to find easy, delicious meals during our initial diet and lifestyle switch. I especially love her dessert recipes because they are typically the healthiest versions of any treats that I can find!

I’m so excited to welcome all of the new visitors and followers I have had today. My heart is so happy knowing so many people are committed to lifelong health and happiness through a plant-based diet!

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I have tons of new recipes that I have been stockpiling, including healthy pop tarts, a cheesy pasta sauce, and baked falafel! I can’t wait to share these with you very soon!

Have a great week,

Jenna 🙂

Vegan Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzels

Sometimes, being vegan means missing out admittedly-unhealthy-but-delicious-nonetheless foods. It seems like every time I go to the mall, the smell of soft, cinnamon-sugar pretzels waft through the air, just tempting me to give in and buy one. I never have, and now that I’ve put together this remarkable treat, I never will have to! I present to you: vegan cinnamon-sugar pretzels! I’ll admit, these things aren’t the same as eating a plate of greens, but they don’t hurt for a treat every once in a while. Better yet, they require very little ingredients and, though they can’t be put together within minutes, the steps are very simple.

First, prepare the ingredients for the pretzel dough. This will require combining active dry yeast with warm water, salt, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Once the yeast has been activated, the mixture will be bubbly. Begin adding 1 cup of flour at a time to the bowl, mixing each time. Begin kneading it the dough. Once the dough is elastic and smooth, knead for about 5 more minutes.

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Next, place the ball of dough in a bowl that has been greased with a small amount of olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until the dough has expanded to about twice its original size. Using a knife, cut the dough into 8 separate sections–1 for each pretzel–and begin rolling and twisting the pretzels into their desirable shape.

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Now, for the signature “pretzel taste,” bring a pot of water and baking soda to a boil. Place each pretzel in the baking soda bath for about 30 seconds, and then remove from the water. This process is, in my opinion, crucial for making pretzels that brown and harden on the outside, leaving a chewy bread on the inside.

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Finally, add a mixture of equal parts sugar and cinnamon atop each pretzel. Sprinkle generously and then move onto a greased baking sheet (parchment paper will not work for these pretzels–the bottom of each pretzel would stick to the paper while baking).

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Place baking pan in the oven at 450°F for about 12 minutes, until perfectly browned on the outside.

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These pretzels are amazing right out of the oven. They’re sticky, sweet, and reminiscent of a perfect cinnamon roll on a Sunday morning. Enjoy these without the guilt of mall-bought pretzels. They can be customized any way you want to fit your preferences! Or, try cutting the dough into small bite-sized pieces, for tiny pretzel appetizers for a party, event, or night at home. Enjoy!


Vegan Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzels

Yield: 8 pretzels


Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 cups water (for baking soda bath)
  • 2/3 cups baking soda (for baking soda bath)
  • 3 tablespoons Cinnamon (for topping)
  • 3 tablespoons (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Combine yeast, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and warm water in a bowl for about 5 minutes, until yeast has activated (the mixture will be bubbly)
  2. Add 1 cup of flour at a time to the mixture at a time, mixing until the dough has combined
  3. Place the dough on a cutting board that has been sprinkled with flour. Knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth, then continue for an additional 5 minutes
  4. Place the dough in a bowl, greased lightly with olive oil, and cover with a damp towel. Place in a warm area for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size
  5. Cut the dough out into 8 separate pieces on a cutting board. Carefully roll each piece of dough, about the width of a cutting board, and then twist into desired pretzel shape
  6. Bring a pot of water and baking soda to a boil. Place each pretzel in the water for 30 seconds
  7. Create a cinnamon-sugar mixture and sprinkle atop each pretzel, then transfer pretzels onto a greased baking sheet
  8. Let pretzels bake in the oven for about 12 minutes in an oven, preheated at 450°F. Watch carefully: the pretzels will be done baking when they are golden-brown on the outside
  9. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving

 

 

Fudgy Vegan Avocado Brownies

Senior year of high school is just around the corner… College apps, late nights studying, and significant decisions about my future are all becoming a reality, and I can’t help but feel a mix of emotions as my last week of summer passes. I can’t lie, last year, as a junior, I hardly slept–there were multiple nights where I pulled all-nighters studying for tests and finishing projects and I was under a lot of stress. This summer, cooking with Mark has been an amazing way for me to regain a creative outlet, and it has been especially comforting because it involves plant-based foods, a diet (though so much more than that to me) that I am extremely passionate about embracing and sharing. (We recently got home for a vacation in the mountains with Mark’s family and had a great time–there was lots of time spent in the water, enjoying good food, and playing cards!)

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I have been doing a lot of thinking, particularly about how I want to better my lifestyle in the coming year. First of all, getting more sleep is necessary. I don’t plan on being up past 12, at latest, this year, though we will see how long that lasts. Most importantly, however, I want to continue bettering my eating habits. I do a lot of reading about vegan eating and nutrition and what is best for my health. For a long time, I have been very confused about how much fat I should be consuming, because there is a lot of mixed beliefs held by veggie doctors, nutritionists, and bloggers. I have come to realize that as I get older, I can worry about fat more, but as a teenage girl, eating some extra fat is not the worst thing I can do for my health. Though some studies suggest there are heart benefits with extremely low fat diets, it would be silly for me to think that I wouldn’t be missing out on some amazing benefits for my heart, brain, and body by eliminating healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and my favorite… AVOCADO.

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This past week, I have been trying out all sorts of back-to-school recipes: crackers, chickpea chicken nuggets, and these delectable, fudgy brownies.


The steps are so simple for these brownies that they will only take about 10 minutes to prepare. Simply use a food processor to blend avocado, 2 “flax eggs” and coco powder.

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Then, combine this with some additional ingredients to add taste and texture and spoon out into a brownie pan. (Look at this awesome pan, it allows all of the brownies to have crusted edges!)

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Place the brownies in the oven for about 20 minutes, and when they’re cooled off, they’re ready to eat! These guys are best a few minutes out of the oven, where you’ll find that they have maximum fudgy-ness. Seriously, look at that inside!

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These brownies are totally guilt-free and delicious. I can’t wait to make another batch of these for my first week of senior year. Nothing says “You will get through this school year” like a homemade vegan treat!

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Fudgy Vegan Avocado Brownies


Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup coco powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare brownie pan with baking spray
  2. Blend avocado, coco powder, and “flax eggs” in a food processor or blender, until creamy. Add more water if necessary
  3. In a bowl, add baking powder, all purpose flour, sugar, and salt
  4. Add avocado and chocolate puree to the dry ingredients. Then, add water and vanilla extract into the bowl and stir all the ingredients together until smooth
  5. Add brownie batter into brownie pan and place into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through. After baking, remove from oven and let chill for about 5-10 minutes before serving

Vegan Eats on the Road: Palo Alto, California

Jenna here! This week my family went on a college road trip up through California. Right before we visited Stanford, we pulled over in a small shopping center to use Happy Cow, an extremely helpful guide for vegans and vegetarians hoping to find fitting restaurants while on vacation or in an unfamiliar area. I instantly saw great reviews about Calafia, a local, organic restaurant with an entire vegan and vegetarian menu. To our surprise, we were already in the right location! We walked into the restaurant and were immediately seated and given the special menu.

I ordered the vegan panini, which was packed with zucchini, spinach, a hummus-like spread, and a tomato jam. I was quite surprised by the tomato jam, because it turned the savory panini into something much more sweet, almost reminiscent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I particularly enjoyed the bread, which was quite crispy and fitting for a panini.

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The salad that came with the panini was also amazing. I typically don’t enjoy salad dressing–weird, I know–and eat salads plain, but this dressing, which was lemony and sweet, tasted great over the spicy arugula.

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My parents ordered two dishes to split. One of the dishes was the Dragon Noodle Bowl, which included firm tofu, onions, broccoli, and an almond base. The broth of this noodle bowl was perfectly warm and spicy–it would definitely help with a cold! I am still a bit scared to try tofu, but my parents said it was perfectly cooked and had a comforting texture similar to cheese.

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Finally, my parents split the Vegan Love Fest Pizza, which was topped with the same hummus-like spread that was in my sandwich, onions, olives and jalapeños, and radicchio. I loved the crust on this pizza, which was thin and crispy. It was definitely not a “traditional” pizza, which was a surprising plus because we didn’t feel stuffed or grossed out after finishing off the pizza.

Overall, my family’s experience at Calafia was very positive. The meals were each large servings and all of the food was extremely tasty. I especially appreciated the fact that the ingredients were clean and that the restaurant clearly makes an effort to support local farmers in California and provide its customers with the healthiest food possible. If you are ever in Palo Alto and are looking for some satisfying plant-based foods, be sure to check Calafia out!

Vegan Cranberry Chocolate Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy cookies are an instant reminder of childhood with their chewy texture and perfect blend of sweet and salty flavors. Sometimes, you just have to spend a night relaxing, watching movies, and enjoying a batch of warm, right-out-of-the-oven cookies. Tonight was one of those nights.

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These cookies are very easy to make and are a hit with everyone. The batter only takes minutes to assemble, filled great ingredients like rolled oats and oat flour and creates a delicious treat that children and adults can all enjoy.

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Once the dough is filled with the special ingredients–dried cranberries and chocolate chips–that make these cookies so unique and tasty, they are rolled out into balls on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper and then placed in an oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

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These cookies expand plenty once they are in the oven, so be sure to leave room between each cookie! Once they have been taken out of the oven and left to cool for about 10 minutes, they are ready to serve. The addition of homemade oat flour in this recipe can certainly be replaced with all purpose flour, but it is a major contributor to the taste of these cookies, which have a slightly nutty flavor that compliments the other spices perfectly. Treat yourself to something sweet and enjoy a perfect batch of Cranberry Chocolate Cowboy Cookies!


Cranberry Chocolate Cowboy Cookies


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water + 3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer, whisked
  • 1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup semisweet, dairy free chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Combine oat flour, all purpose flour, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, vanilla extract brown sugar, and white sugar in a bowl. Whisk water and Energ-G Egg Replacer until frothy and add to bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the ingredients together until smooth
  2.  Add baking powder, baking soda, salt and oats into mixture and continue whisking ingredients
  3. Place cranberries and chocolate chips into the mixture, carefully folding them into the batter until well distributed throughout dough
  4. Place 1 inch balls of dough onto 2 separate cookie pans lined with parchment paper, pressing down slightly so that they are somewhat flat and leaving about 1/2 inch of space between each cookie
  5. Place cookies in the oven, preheated at 350°F, for about 20 minutes or until golden brown
  6. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving

Homemade Oat Flour – Gluten Free Flour Alternative

As a part of the vegan food-blogging community, it is inevitable that one will stumble across a great variety of gluten-free options. Plant-based eaters are always conscious of eating what is best for our bodies. To many, opting out of consuming gluten has provided great benefits. Though we do not typically eat gluten-free, we have found one of the easiest ways to make virtually any baking recipe gluten-free using one simple, healthy ingredient: steel cut oats.

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Oats are typically gluten-free, although there has been some debate about cross-contamination in factories, which may result in some oats having traces of gluten. If avoiding gluten is a concern, make sure that the oats you purchase are certified gluten-free. If you are just hoping to add a slightly nutty flavor to some of your favorite baked goods, any oats will do!

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This recipe can be make using any amount of oats. A high-speed blender, such as the dry blender Vitamix, seems to do a great job with about 1 cup of oats at a time. Simply place the oats inside the blender…

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The resulting flour will have a fine, powdery texture. It can be used for any baking desire. We have found that when we are not trying to make something exclusively gluten-free, substituting oat flour for half of the flour called and using half all purpose flour makes great food with a unique flavor and texture. Whatever your needs may be, enjoy making homemade oat flour, which can be made in minutes with ease!

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Vegan Blueberry Crisp

Confession time. Jenna has never been a blueberry fan. To her, they’re just not as  as vibrant, sweet, or full of flavor the way raspberries and blackberries are. Sure, blueberries are full of antioxidants and nutrients, but they have never been her “go to” fruit. All of this may have changed, however, because of this blueberry crisp.

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Deep, colorful, crispy and sweet, this blueberry crisp is a comforting treat that can be made extremely quickly and with ease. It is not filled with any questionable ingredients and it’s perfectly satisfying. What could be better?

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This blueberry crisp only requires FOUR ingredients and they’re so basic that it’s likely that you’ll have all of them in the kitchen at all times. The crisp first begins by warming up, softening, and plumping 2 cups of blueberries in a pan of water.

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Once this process is finished, the blueberries are tossed in some maple syrup and then placed inside a dish. Next, it is time to make the crisp’s “flaky” crust.

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With some oats, maple syrup, and applesauce, the topping is mixed together until the oats are thoroughly coated and are sticking together. After adding the mixture to the top of the crisp, the entire dish is ready to go into the oven.The dish is set within the oven, preheated at 350°F for 20 minutes, until the crust has hardened and the blueberries underneath have begun to bubble.

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After this crisp was taken out of the oven and given some time to cool down, we ate the entire thing. The blueberries were sweet but tart and the topping was perfectly crunchy. Overall, it was a definite hit. This crisp would make the perfect breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert with a side of vegan ice cream!


Vegan Blueberry Crisp


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (1 tablespoon for berries + 1 tablespoon for oat crust)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup applesauce

Directions:

  • Add 1 cup of water with 1 cup of fresh blueberries into a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the blueberries have turned a deep purple and have began to enlarge, remove from water and set aside. Repeat with second cup of blueberries
  • In a bowl, toss warmed blueberries carefully with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, then add to dish
  • Add maple syrup, oats, and applesauce together in a separate bowl and mix together until crust forms, adding more applesauce or oats as necessary until a thick mixture has been created
  • Place the crust over the blueberries in an even layer
  • Cook the dish in an oven preheated to 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until crust has hardened and blueberries beneath have begun to bubble
  • Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, until warm, before serving

Vegan French Toast Bruschetta

Hello there, Jenna here! As rising seniors in high school, Mark and I are both approaching the scary-but-anticipated college application process. One step of this, of course, is the good-old college road trip. In preparation for my time away from the kitchen, I spent my weekend trying out all sorts of recipes and taking pictures. This, my friends, was honestly the best treat I could have made after hours of cooking.

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Say hello to vegan French toast bruschetta.

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This little creation is so beautiful and tasty that between my parents, Mark, and I, we polished off 12 pieces within an hour or so. Gooey, sweet, reminiscent of my childhood, and beautiful. (All credit goes to my dad for thinking of this when Mark and I were brainstorming creative food ideas!)

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I had never made French toast before, but the recipe that I whipped up was simple and made the process extremely easy, as it is only requires some plain white bread, cut into thin slices as if to make traditional bruschetta, and a batter of almond milk, flaxmeal, maple syrup, tumeric, and cinnamon.

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After frying up the French toast on a skillet with a dab of olive oil, I made a delicious fruit topping to replicate the tomatoes found on traditional bruschetta. A chopped up apple tossed in cinnamon and softened over the stove and a handful of fresh blueberries did the trick. After being coated in some maple syrup, this fruit was added right to the top of the French toast.

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After sitting in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes, these little beauties were all done. They were just as amazing as I imagined when my dad first suggested their creation. Allowing the flavors to marinate in the oven was the best decision of all, because the maple syrup soaked right into the bread, making these bite sized treats all delectable. Because they turned out much smaller than typical French toast, these treats serve as a great appetizer, or, as I like it, allow you to eat a large amount without feeling too guilty… hehehe 🙂


Vegan French Toast Bruschetta


Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette of choice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (1 tablespoon for French toast batter, 1 tablespoon for fruit topping)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flaxmeal + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 apple, fresh
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh

Recipe:

French Toast

  1. Cut baguette into thin slices, about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick each
  2. Create mixture to dip bread into by adding almond milk, maple syrup, turmeric and cinnamon. Set aside flaxmeal and water in a separate bowl for 3-5 minutes and then add into the main mixture when ready. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth
  3. Dip both sides bread into the mixture, allowing the excess liquid to fall back into the bowl before placing on a skillet over medium heat (Unless using a non-stick pan, add a small amount of olive oil onto the pan before cooking)
  4. Allow bread to cook until light-brown on each side, which may take anywhere from 30 seconds to about 1 minute

Fruit Topping and Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Wash, peel, and slice one apple into about 1/4 inch pieces and coat with a few shakes of cinnamon
  3. In a pan, add apples and about 1/4 cup of water, bringing the water to a boil and constantly stirring the apples until the water evaporates. Continue adding water (for about 10-15 minutes) until apples have softened as desired and no water remains in the pan
  4. Add 1 cup of blueberries and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to cooked apples and carefully mix everything together
  5. Place topping on each slice of French toast and then set in the oven for about 10 minutes to allow the topping to warm up and soak into the bread, while crisping up the edges for maximum deliciousness!

Homemade Almond Milk

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There is no denying the fact that it is quite satisfying to make ingredients for day-to-day usage, without having to purchase them from the store. Almond milk is one of the most simple liquids to create, and it is an extremely versatile drink that can be used for just about any cooking or baking need.

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Almond milk is full of healthy fats and nutrients, and making it at home, rather than buying it from the store, not only saves money but also allows us to steer clear of any questionable ingredients that are often under scrutiny in the health-nut-world, such as carrageenan. Whether or not preservatives and thickening agents are truly worth worrying about, making homemade almond milk is extremely simple, and embraces the whole-food lifestyle fully.

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Granted, the process of making almond milk requires a bit of planning. First, it begins by placing almonds in water to soak. There are many different methods online, some suggesting placing the almonds in boiling water, others suggesting placing the almonds in cold water in the refrigerator. We placed 2 cups of almonds into a mason jar with warm water and set the jar a warm spot for about 12 hours until the almonds had just about doubled in size.

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Next, we pinched each almond until their skins easily popped off. Peeling the skins off is not required to make a batch of almond milk, though some claim that it creates a richer and whiter milk.

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We blended the almonds in a few batches for our own ease, using twice as much water as almonds each time. After it was blended to creamy perfection, we poured the mixture over a bowl that was wrapped 3-times-around with cheese cloth, in order to catch all of the almond pulp. After “milking” the cheesecloth like a cow (a very ironic experience), our milk was completely finished.

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We stored our milk in 2 mason jars and used them over about 3 days in our cereal and smoothies.

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Though our milk was not flavored in any way (it has a bit of a naturally sweet flavor that we have never noticed in store-bought unsweetened almond milk), it can definitely spiced up with many ingredients, such as cinnamon, coco powder, or maple syrup, according to your preferences!

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Homemade Almond Milk (Makes about 1500 mL, or 6 servings)


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almonds, raw
  • Water (4 cups for blending, additional for soaking)

Directions:

  1. Place almonds in a container or bowl with warm water, leaving enough room for the almonds to expand. Let sit in a warm area for about 12 hours, or overnight
  2. Pinch almonds carefully to pop the skins off and then place in high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix, and add 4 cups of water (or work in batches, constantly adding almonds and water in a 1:2 ratio)
  3. Blend until creamy, then pour through multi-layered cheesecloth into a bowl. Once the milk has been fully poured out, carefully handle the cheesecloth until the fabric is pinched together at the top, then squeeze the cheesecloth in order to retain the almond milk pulp and pour more milk into the bowl
  4. Place the almond pulp back into the blender with extra water to create more almond milk, or run the smooth almond milk through the cheesecloth an additional time in order to ensure that all pulp has been removed
  5. Store in a glass container and keep in refrigerator for about 3 days