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Where we've been, and how to eat well when you feel like absolute rubbish...for months on end.Read More
How to repurpose almond meal from almond milk with the help of Moon Juice, a dehydrator and some kitchen magic! Vegan gluten free sweet treats for one and all.Read More
So in connection with Episode 11 of Life Butter Radio (also here in iTunes), we wanted to show you one way that we that we try to minimise waste in the Life Butter Kitchen. We've had a few questions about some of the treats that we've served up on our Instagram...so here's a little look at how we turn kitchen scraps into bases for everything from standard recipes revamped (healthy fish & chips, anyone?) or kitschy, fun sweets!
Making nut milk is a regular part of our culinary rhythms; it is something we undertake on a weekly basis, and take no inconsiderable joy in. Mostly because we still don't drink our coffee black, and no-one in our home can tolerate dairy). But there's also something therapeutic about "milking" the bag...it's a strange pleasure. And honestly the difference between what you make at home and what you buy in the store is SO dramatic (though the Rude Health varieties are pretty great). People who say they don't like nut milk should try a home-brew; it's really rich, froths well and is so much fun to make! Of course if you don't like the taste of nuts or are allergic, you can use seeds (we are a fan of pumpkin, but hemp works well too). Pumpkinseed milk has a slight greenish tinge, which the tiniest LB team member finds hilarious...see, fun already!
There are about a million different recipes for nut milk already out there, & they are all pretty much the same: soak some nuts or seeds in water (preferably filtered) for at least 4 hours (overnight is apparently best), rinse them in the morning, and then blend them with filtered water & maybe some dates if you want it sweet, or cinnamon/vanilla paste/cardamom if you want to flavour your milk.
Most recipes say to add salt; we've never done this. Proportions....we don't really measure, to be honest. We are not reeeeeaaally rule followers (you may have picked up on this if you follow us on Instagram), but if you are, then here are some measurements from our go-to for wellness kitchen creations, the Moon Juice cook book.
But even just eyeballing it, we've never turned out a batch we didn't like. So if you're like us, just get a big-ish bowl (we use a soup bowl), empty some nuts/seeds into it, just cover with water & soak as directed above. Then empty the drained, soaked seeds into a powerful blender (the Vitamix (US here) is a fave for a reason - pricey, but we've had ours for 10 years now! You can also find reconditioned ones that cost a bit less). Cover with roughly three times the amount of filtered water, blitz for 30ish to 45 seconds, and, as the blender is working it's magic, place a nut milk bag (US here) over a clean vessel of choice. You can use a cheesecloth too. Then the fun part - pour the blended water & nuts into the clean vessel and "milk" the bag or cheesecloth until the pulp inside is just damp and all your thick lovely milk is contained below.
So far, so groovy. But once you've "milked" your blitzed-up nut-water, you are left with a not inconsiderable amount of leftover nut pulp. What does one do with this?
Well, until about a year ago, we just chucked it in the food waste. I had read about nut cakes and raw treats, but they always looked like something that grew out of the side of a tree. Not pretty and definitely not delicious.
BUT there's the fact that it takes a lot of water to grow almonds, that they (and many other nuts) are imported, and that I'll re-toast fresh bread or repurpose cooked pasta several times to avoid waste. So it just seemed wrong. And then we got into Moon Juice, and the controversial but oh-so-fun Amanda Chantal Bacon showed us that nut pulp could be made into fun, instagrammable things...like doughnuts. The Moon Juice cook book promises that it's actually easy & quick (ESSENTIAL) to make use of these milkmaid by-products, so we gave it a go. Here's how.
On a day when we have NO time (many a day), we inverse the nut milk bag over a bowl, dumping out the damp pulp, cover and pop in the fridge to be dealt with later in the day.
When we have 60 seconds, we plop the nut pulp on a sheet of parchment paper that we place in our dehydrator (you can also use your oven - just put it on its lowest setting - but you should leave it open, which is hard if you have kids). We set the dehydrator at 70 degrees C and go about our biz.
It normally only takes a few hours to get bone-dry (which is what you want). Not going to be home? You could probably leave it on all day; you're not trying to keep a chewy consistency, so it's fine if it gets brittle. Once bone-dry, the nut pulp will look a bit like coral - it can then be blitzed into nut flour. You can do this immediately, or toss it into the fridge and do it later - maybe when you have a accumulated a bit of a stash. For the grinding, you can use a flour mill (we use the dry grains attachment to the Vitamix (US here), which actually came with it when we purchased it back in 2008). Just drop in the nut-coral and pulse until you get a relatively-fine grain flour. You may have to shake the jug around a few times to get it evenly milled, and you could probably also do this in a food processor - perhaps more easily by adding the nut pulp gradually. This is just how we do it. It sounds a bit gross (dried nut pulp?) and labor-intensive, but we promise it's quick and not at all difficult, otherwise it would not happen in our home.
So there you have it! Nut flour that you can use in any recipe that calls for any type of ground nuts or seeds. We see ground almonds all the time - in recipes for baked "fish and chips" (the nuts give them crunch), baked "fried chicken" (ditto) and of course in any number of flourless desserts, including the crumble recipe in GP's It's All Good book (one of our standbys - US here). And perfect for Spring!
In part two, we'll take you through the raw treats we made...for anyone wanting to try something a bit different!
Nut Milk Bag & Dehydrator
Vitamix - Standard & Dry
Nuts, Seeds & Salt
Decaf for me, but I'll be dropping some acid after this
Is it us, or is every psychedelic or otherwise recreational drug on the mkt getting a rebrand as a who-would-have-thunk-it health hero? Ketamine (you know, the date rape drug), MJ (if this is news to you, where you been?) and even acid (the one that terrified me in particular growing up because it CARVES TRACKS IN YOUR BRAIN) -- these are all getting a makeover as unexpected aids for everything from depression, anxiety, to PMS (PMT). Now that cannabis is legal in more places, both cannabinoid oil (a non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant) and the more traditional joint are being examined as potential health superstars. Researchers (and let's be honest, excited journos) are suggesting that Mary Jane can help with everything from stress to depression, anxiety, hormonal issues...even morning sickness. What? We would have thought that the sun would come up black before someone suggested that a pregnant woman enjoy a formerly illegal substance. Or maybe enjoy anything, actually, other than a balanced meal (but not sushi, poached eggs, anything with mayo or creme brûlée, obviously) with a side of herbal tea. Pregnant women aren't supposed to be getting high off anything other than their own surging hormones. And actually, these days, neither are the non-knocked up.
This is my theory as to why we are suddenly feeling the ganja: we are constantly being told how to look and feel better - that a better life is available to us if we eat healthfully, meditate to calm the mind, and digitally detox (while still keeping our instagram game strong). And underlying this message is a sense that, to be our best selves, we should all be limiting, if not down right abstaining from, um, everything that is stimulating, intoxifying...fun?
Want to sleep better? Put down your phone and turn off the tv (at least an hour so before bed anyway - check out Episode 1 of Life Butter Radio for details on why) Want glowy skin, bright eyes, thick hair, boundless energy, a strong immunity and permanently positive attitude? Then cut out the things that are potentially draining you nutritionally and energetically...you know: coffee, sugar, alcohol, tea, possibly gluten, maybe meat or other heavy foods...hell, even tomatoes because they are a nightshade, whatever that means. I was just listening to a podcast where Kim Snyder says she no longer eats onions & garlic, not because they give her bad kissing breath, but because they are too "mentally stimulating" according to Ayurveda. What?
But the thing is, we WANT to be stimulated. We seek fun, adventure, a lift. And so those of us who haven't gone full yoga monk but who want a seat on the wellness train are looking for kicks in the earth & gut loving, gluten & sugar-free way. For some of us, this my mean drinking straight raw cacao (or snorting it - yes, really) and ecstatic dancing.
For others, psychedelic stimulants may seem more "natural", and therefore somehow more aligned with our lifestyle.
The sexi-fying of drugs isn't exactly new; it's been part of the way prescription drugs have been marketed and sold to doctors (who then prescribe them to us) for years. If you're not familiar with the Pharma rep phenomenon, the following clip from Hpw I Met Your Mother will clue you in. Think ex-cheerleaders on commission.
What does this all mean? Are the drugs we were terrified of encountering after multiple sessions of D.A.R.E. actually not as uniformly health destroying as we have been taught to believe? Could they, in the right circumstances & under a doctor's supervision, actually help people where "safe(r)" prescription drugs, therapy or, um, ginger tea have failed? That may be true, and this may be end up being another strand of western medicine that looks to alternative therapies to incorporate a broader view of how we treat and heal illness. We love this; it is the future of medicine, and so I'm happy for those it really does help. But for the rest of us, excited by these headlines and secretly hopeful that they mean there could be a penalty-free high hidden in substances we have always been taught grant pleasure at a high cost...is that true? Didn't we try this already in the '70s?
I'm all for the highs, from ecstatic dancing, a tickle session (no one is higher than a 2 year old on belly tickles), or something more provocative, but the fact is that highs are fleeting and lows are just part of the deal. Life has every color of the rainbow, and there is no homeostasis of awesome available for us all the time. Which doesn't meant that we shouldn't seek out exaltation, but after every lift, whether chemically-induced or otherwise, comes a bit of a comedown. Just because something in "natural" doesn't mean that it is good for us, and if we get as attached to hemp oil chocolates as we were to our beer & nachos, for me there's little difference. For me, wellness is realising this, and learning how to just be, however, you are, in the moment...whether that's hyped up from coffee or in shavasana calm. If you're after a high and maybe a bit bored of your glass of red (even with all its antioxidants), then sure, try some CBD oil energy balls instead. But you could also try the occasional tequila. And maybe some pizza. We hear gluten is about to make a serious come back, so you could be slightly ahead of the curve.
We've got all kinds of thoughts on food, including the resurgence of the very naughty gluten. If you haven't heard Episode 8 of Life Butter Radio yet, tune in here...it's fab!