As I have gotten older, I have found that my body doesn't handle dairy the way it used to. I recently took a trip to Rome where I indulged in daily cappuccinos, cheeses and gelato. Everything tasted amazing, but I felt horrible after the trip. I am not a milk drinker myself and use organic whole milk sparingly, but I wanted to have an option that was easy to make, delicious and free of all of the preservatives and the extra ingredients that you find in store-bought milk alternatives. I have an incredibly creamy and tasty recipe for almond milk, but it has a genuine rich almond flavor, which while delicious, wasn't what I wanted. I was looking for something that was mild like milk without all of the uncomfortable side-effects that I now seem to have, so I present to you cashew milk! This recipe couldn't be easier to make at home, is completely modifiable to your taste preferences and satisfies the doesn't-taste-like-nut-milk need! It is light, refreshing and the best part is there is no need for a nut bag or straining- the milk zips right up in a blender!
makes about 1 quart
1/2c raw cashews
pinch of sea salt
100% pure maple syrup
optional- pure vanilla extract, cinnamon
1. Cover 1/2c cashews in water and soak for at least 6hrs to overnight. (If you want to make quickly, pour boiling water over raw cashews and let steep for 30 mins. Continue with steps 2-5)
2. Once soft, drain and rinse your cashews
3. Add cashews, 1c water and sea salt to blender and blend well. Add the other 2c of water and continue blending. If you prefer an even thinner milk, add more water a little at a time until you've found your perfect milk :)
4. If you prefer some sweetness, add a little bit of maple syrup at a time and taste. A little goes a long way. Here you may also add a dash of vanilla extract or cinnamon, or be a purist and keep it plain
5. Store your milk in the refrigerator and enjoy within 5-7 days. You may notice natural separation in your milk if it has been sitting for a while, so just shake it up and enjoy
What sounds better than a cold, sweet treat on a hot summer day? This 3 ingredient "ice cream" is delicious, creamy and satisfies your sweet tooth without any added processed sugar. All you need are frozen bananas and then any mix-ins that you love. Throw in nuts or nut butter, other frozen fruits, chocolate chips or any other favorite ice cream toppings. You can also try different flavorings like vanilla, coffee, almond or mint with a few extract drops to taste. Zip it up in a processor or high powered blender and serve in a cup or cone. For a firmer texture, place back into the freezer after being processed and scoop after it sets (about an hour). This is a dessert loved by kids and adults alike, is vegan and gluten free and can be made in about 5 minutes at home!
The key is to freeze browning bananas because they are especially sweet. Peel your ripe bananas and cut into pieces, place into a freezer safe ziploc bag or an airtight container and allow to freeze for a few hours to over night until frozen.
Ingredients for our favorite "ice cream":
2-3 frozen bananas
a generous scoop of unsweetened nut butter
Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
1. Add the frozen bananas to your food processor (or high speed blender) and blend until bananas are smooth. Scrape down the sides of the processor to ensure all of the bananas get incorporated.
2. Once the mixtures starts to become fairly smooth, add your nut butter of choice and chocolate chips and continue to blend until the desired consistency has been reached.
3. Serve immediately in a cup or cone, or place back in an airtight container and refreeze until firm. Scoop with an ice cream scoop and enjoy!
Cereal bars sound like a great option when it comes to a fast snack or a quick breakfast, right? Turn those bars over and read the labels... they are a mile long and full of ingredients you would never find in your cabinets. Most pre-packaged foods, like cereal bars which are thought to be a healthful choice, are full of added sugar, artificial flavoring, food coloring, fillers and ingredients that you cannot pronounce. The good news is it's very easy to make your own cereal bars at home and they are delicious! Don't forget to get your kids in the kitchen with you- Kids are more likely to try something that they've helped make and this is a recipe that can include even the youngest helpers.
Ingredients: Makes 12 bars
Please use organic whenever possible
For the crust
1/2c butter, room temperature
1/3c pure maple syrup, room temperature
1 large egg
1c old fashioned rolled oats
2c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2t sea salt
1t baking powder
Filling- Use your favorite jam or make your own!
1.5 c unsweetened applesauce
pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon to taste
Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry
2c fresh or frozen berries- becomes about 2/3c once reduced
1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, use an electric hand mixer to cream the wet ingredients until well combined. You may still have small beads of butter that have not fully combined and that is ok.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time, continuing to mix with the hand mixer until all of the dry has been incorporated.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
5. If you want to make your own filling, there are so many options! Simply blend up 1.5c-2c of fresh or frozen fruit(thawed) and reduce on the stove until thickened.
We especially love a simple applesauce filling. In a small pot on the stove, combine the 1.5c applesauce, pinch of sea salt and dash of cinnamon (or more if you want extra spice) and cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened, stirring often. As it reduces, the sweetness will intensify and the addition of the salt will help bring the natural sweetness out as well.
If using frozen berries, add them to a small pot over medium heat. Once thawed completely, use a blender or an immersion blender to make smooth. If you have fresh berries available, start with blending the berries then add to a pot to reduce. Continue reducing on the stove until thickened, stirring often.
*If you are trying to get more vegetables into your child's diet, this is a great place to experiment! Try adding sweet potato or pumpkin with the apple, carrot or spinach with strawberry (and banana, yum!), or even different spices for interesting flavors.
6. Preheat your oven to 350F and have a cookie sheet ready.
7. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough is between 1/8-1/4in thick. Cut off the rough edges and slice 3inx3in squares. Add a small amount of filling on one side and fold in half to cover the filling and create a rectangular bar. Pinch the sides closed to keep the filling inside. Make sure to combine the crust scraps, roll flat again and use to make a few extra bars. Depending on how thick you roll the dough and how accurately you cut the squares, you may get an extra bar or two :)
8. Bake the bars for 15-17 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Cool and enjoy. Keep in an airtight container or freeze for later.
Fall is officially here and as a chef that means a new variety of seasonal foods is on the menu. Squashes, root vegetables, soups and stews, hearty grains and spices are exactly what the crisp air is bringing to my table. I love starting my day with something warm and filling, but I have to admit I quickly bore of the same old oatmeal after just a few days. My new go-to breakfast is quinoa and it is such a great base for a variety of flavor combinations. It is naturally gluten free, a complete plant-based protein which provides all 9 of the essential amino acids that our body requires, as well as being a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. I typically cook a few cups worth (using just water and salt) at the beginning of the week so that I have it ready on hand. In addition to making a great breakfast, you can also mix it in with salads, add it to burritos and wraps, spoon it into soups and chili, use it as a binder in meatballs or meatloaf, crisp it up in a pan and add it as a crunchy topping to any savory side dish, or even use it as an alternative to fried rice. It is a fantastically versatile and nutritious addition to any meal.
Here is my favorite breakfast quinoa recipe. Think deconstructed banana bread, breakfast bowl style :)
1c cooked quinoa
¾ c milk of choice (I used a scant ¾c of organic whole milk)
½ ripe banana slices
Extras like chopped walnuts, oat floured date pieces, sprinkle of chia seeds
These are some other great add-in options:
Scoop of nut butter
Pumpkin pie spice
Do you have any combos that you love? Please share!