Save The World With Homemade Almond Milk!

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So I’m a little hyperbolic with my post titles – but every little bit helps! As any healthy foodie is probably aware of – almonds are a great staple when replacing dairy, or gluten-laden ingredients. You’ve got your almond flour, almond meal, almond milk, almond butter – basically any form of almond you could want.

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But what’s the process like for farming almonds? Well, as most of you know, the California farmers have been dealing with a severe drought for the last few years – including some of my extended family in Northern California. For those almond farmers – water is a precious resource. How precious?

A single almond uses over 1 gallon of water.

Now I used to be a big almond milk drinker – Almond Breeze was my go-to. It is for a lot of non-dairy milk drinkers. But when my good ol’ farmer dad sent me this Mother Jones article, I realized a few important things almond milk:

  1. The commercial almond “milk” is basically even MORE water with a tiny bit of almond smashed into it, plus a bunch of weird additives.
  2. The leftover meal is full of fiber and nutrients that get lost in the “milking” process.
  3. It’s gotta be way better to make your own.

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And when I finally did make my own, I realized one even more important thing about almond milk:

  1. You will NEVER want to buy store brands AGAIN.

Which leads me to the obvious post for today: how to make your own almond milk! (And stay tuned for how to make your own almond meal, using the leftovers!) Obviously, this is vegan and gluten free.


Total Time After Soaking: 15 minutes                                      Makes: 4 Cups

You Will Need:

  • 2 C Raw Almonds
  • 8 C Filtered Water – Divided
  • High Speed Blender
  • Cheese Cloth (or nut sack)
  • Strainer
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Optional Sweetener
  • Optional Vanilla

To Prepare:

  • Soak the 2 cups of almonds in 4 cups of filtered water for at least 12 hours, and no more than 48.
  • Drain and rinse the almonds.
  • Add almonds, and remaining 4 cups of filtered water to a high speed blender.
  • Blend for about 2 minutes.
  • Balance the strainer over the mixing bowl (see pictures below). Line the strainer with the cheese cloth and pour in the blended almonds and water mixture. Pour in as much as you can fit, then lift up the edges of the cheese cloth to create a sack filled with the almond pulp and remaining water. Squeeze gently until all of the “milk” has flowed out into the bowl.
  • Save the almond pulp for almond meal later. Recipe to come!
  • At this stage you can pour the strained almond milk back into a blender and add sweetness to taste (I used dates) and about 1 tsp of vanilla.
  • Funnel into a bottle, or jar, and enjoy! Save in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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Magic Bars & Magic Farms!

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It’s calving time on the farm! Spring time is magic time, especially in Missouri. After slogging through the winter dullness of the land, and rescuing cows from frozen ponds, comes the delight of the frolicking calf! And apparently overly cheesy references to birth…

In lieu of this magical celebration, I’ve made you….Magic Bars!!

And not just any Magic Bars…PALEO Magic Bars.

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These bars are LOADED with coconut, gooey chocoolate, and coconut condensed milk. Obviously, being Paleo, they are also gluten free, and they can EASILY be Vegan – just by subbing the egg with 1 flax egg. Substitutions will be noted below. In the meantime….here’s some more dessert food porn.

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Ooooh.

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Aaahhhhh.

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Ooooooh yeeeeeaaahhh.

Hey, if you’re gonna hype up food porn, spring time calving season over Easter Weekend is the time to do it.


Total Time: 45 minutes                                                           Makes 12 Bars

You Will Need:

  • 1 Can Coconut Milk (full fat)
  • 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp maple syrup, divded
  • 1/2 C Almond Flour
  • 1/2 C Coconut Flour
  • 1/3 C Coconut Oil
  • 1 Egg (for vegans, use flax egg: 1 T flax meal + 3 T of water – mix and let sit 3 min.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C + 1/4 C Chocolate Chips, divided
  • 1/2 C Walnuts chopped
  • 1/3 C unsweetened shredded coconut

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and greased down 9×9 inch baking pan.
  2. Make the coconut sweetened coconut milk by pouring coconut milk and 1/4 C maple syrup into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, then simmer for 25 minutes, or until 1 cup of liquid remains.
  3. WHILE making the coconut milk, start the cookie crust. Pour almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, egg, salt, baking soda, and vanilla into food processor and pulse until ball of dough forms. Press dough into the bottom of the pan. Pat it out evenly until the dough is level across the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges are brown and pulling away from the pan.
  4. Remove crust from oven, and cover with 1 Cup of the chocolate chips, walnuts and shredded coconut, in that order. Pour over the coconut condensed milk. Add the remaining 1/4 C of chocolate chips and a few more pinches of coconut.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 45 minutes.
  6. Slice and enjoy!

 

Vegan GF Askinosie Cocolate Chip Bars

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I’m sure you like chocolate. Most people do. But there’s chocolate, and then there’s chocolate. My favorite chocolate? Askinosie.

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You want to talk about farms, and what companies are doing to promote those very entities? Askinosie Chocolate is the place to go. They work directly with cacao farmers all over the world to ensure direct trade, and the highest quality beans in their chocolate. They also  AND they’re based out of my hometown of Springfield, MO! Take a look at what they’re all about:

We have a lot of respect for farmers. Farming, as a way of life, a career, an art and a necessity has been a part of our family in the Ozarks for generations. This appreciation is part of what led us down the path to Direct Trade—because farmers are an essential piece of the puzzle. We want to honor farmers as experts and craftsmen, so we treat them as such and consider them partners in our business.” -Askinosie.com

Did I mention it’s great in baking? Because it is. Especially in these gooey gluten free, vegan, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars! These are thick, soft, chewy, and full of melty bits of chocolate – and the healthy, fiberful chickpeas are completely unnoticeable.  Yes, you can get the best of both worlds!

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Total Time: 25 minutes                                                           Makes 12 Cookie Bars

You Will Need:

  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 oz. 72% Askinosie Dark Chocolate Bar , chopped
  • optional salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Grease down an 8×8 pan and set aside. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the chocolate chips, and pulse the processor a couple of times until they’re mixed in. Then pour into the greased 8×8 pan, and sprinkle the Askinosie chocolate bits over the top.

Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes, until a fork comes out clean, and edges are barely pulling away from the side of the pan. Sprinkle with sea salt if you choose, and let the pan cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

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Vegan GF Key Lime Pie + Coconut Crust

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I’m a nerd. I was a biochemistry major in college, secretary of the Biology Club, a member of our highschool’s Math Club, Bio Club, Band, etc. Not to mention I grew up on a farm.

I was super cool.

But one of the best things about being a nerd? You get to know about certain things that not everyone else does – like the best made up holiday ever: Pi Day! That’s right. A day to celebrate 3.14159365359.

But the best part of that day? YOU GET TO MAKE PIE.

In lieu of the fact that St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, I am posting this recipe between these two lovely holidays. Thus, it is a pie, and it is green. Hooray for math and Ireland!

And pies. Mostly pies.

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THIS pie happens to be vegan, gluten free, nut-free, AND paleo. And very low in sugar, as well.

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And also awesome.

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Total Time: 30 minutes                                                                                  Serves: 8

You Will Need:

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Flax Meal
  • 6 Tbsp Water
  • 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Honey (Or Agave, for strict vegans)

For The Pie

  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • Zest from 2 Limes
  • 3 Medium Sized Haas Avocados (2 Large)
  • 1 Cup Coconut Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Flour (optional)
  • 1 Tsp Psyllium Husk (optional)

To Prepare

For The Crust: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir flax meal into a small bowl with water. Let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes.
  2. Melt coconut oil and honey into a pan on low heat and stir.
  3. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and stir together. The dough should clump together to be able to pick up and roll into a ball by hand.
  4. Place ball of dough in a greased 9 inch pie pan. Smooth out so there is enough dough covering the bottom, and halfway up the sides of the pan. Pat down the edges to give it a nice crust look.
  5. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. When done, allow to cool before pouring in the pie filling.

For the Pie: 

  1. Blend the first 6 ingredients in a high powered blender, until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Add the coconut flour and psyllium husk and blend for another 30 seconds or so.
  3. Pour into pie crust, smooth it out, and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. The pie will continue to firm up the longer it sits in the fridge.

Enjoy!

 

 

Farm Fresh Egg Veg & Herb Omelette

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Farm Convenience: large fields/yards to play in with your siblings, plenty of wildlife to entertain yourself with, and fresh herbs and veggies out of the garden.

LA Convenience: blocks away from friends’ apartments to play in, plenty of wild…types to entertain yourself with, and fresh herbs, veggies, fruit, cheese, and meat from the local Farmer’s Market.

Farm kids just aren’t raised the same way as city kids. Growing up in Missouri, there was no bike riding down the block to hang out with friends after school, or playing hockey in the street. If you wanted to spend time at each others’ house, it was prepped about a week in advance, and included an hour long car ride back and forth. Of course, my brother and I had lots of quality time together spent hiking and building tree forts together. Then again…there was no one else to play with.

But here in California, all of my friends live within a few blocks from each other, which makes it great for production meetings and last minute game nights. Another great convenient feature? Riding your bike to the local farmer’s market to set yourself up for a great post-bike ride snack. While it’s obviously not as great as getting to run outside barefoot and snap up the first clump of chives you can get your hands on – it’ll do for now.

Today’s Farmer’s Market booty? Farm fresh eggs!

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There is nothing like eggs from a farm. The yolks are fatter, more yellow and so creamy. And coupled with nice some nice fat brie, veggies and dill from my Indoor Herb Garden, there’s really no way to go wrong!

For all of you with a special diet, this is GREAT for anyone who is: vegetarian, gluten free, keto, paleo, low-sugar, low-carb, and just plain healthy😉

 


 

Farm Fresh Egg Veg & Herb Omelette 

Serves 1                                                                                 Prep Time: 10 minutes. Cook Time: 15 minutes

You Will Need:

  • 3 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large mushroom (or 2 small ones)
  • 1/2 medium sized tomato
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of brie (about 3 inches long each)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop up onion, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes. Turn stove to medium-low heat and add 2 tbsp of oil or butter. Add onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, until translucent in color. Add garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, saute for another 2-3 minutes, then add tomato, and turn stove to low heat. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring a bit while you do. Add 1 tbsp of fresh dill, along with oregano, and however much salt and pepper you want.

Get another small pan (as wide as you’ll want your omelette to be), and throw on 1 tbsp of oil or butter while heat is on medium-low. Crack eggs into a bowl and mix. Pour egg mixture onto pan. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, or until you can see that the bottom of the omelette has solidified a bit, but the top is still jiggly. Add a slice of brie to each side of the omelette. Pour sauteed veggies into the middle of the omelette, and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped dill. Allow it to cook for another 2 minutes or so, then pour omelette onto a plate, and fold the top over as it slides off. Salt and pepper the top as you see fit.

Enjoy!

Indoor Herb Garden- Trader Joe’s Style

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As a native Missouri farm girl, who grew up on quite a few acres of Missouri farm land, featuring crops, cattle, and horses, I of course spent way more time outside with plants, rather than inside. My brother, on the other hand, spent quite a bit of time outside WHILE inside:

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This is our summer wheat harvest in Missouri – if you stare closely enough, you can even see him driving along in the combine! See more by checking out The Tucker Farms YouTube Channel!

Since moving to LA, however, I have been forced to move my “crop planting” even more indoors than my brother’s photographed experience. One of my least favorite realizations upon moving into a Burbank apartment was that this lifestyle creates certain restrictions – like gardening. Obviously there are some elaborate ways to create your indoor herb garden, but I like simplicity. I like convenience. And I love the fact Trader Joe’s exists, which has been one of my favorite realizations upon moving into a Burbank apartment.

So after placing a very recent TJ’s trip under my belt, I have this to present you with:


 

Indoor Herb Gardening – Trader Joe’s Style


You Will Need:

  • 1 Large Planter Pot (ours is about 10 inches at the widest)
  • 1 Small Potted Dill Plant
  • 1 Small Potted Basil Plant
  • 1 Small Potted Rosemary Plant
  • 1 Sack of Soil ( pick whatever your favorite brand is from any store gardening dept.)

Fill planter with soil until about the middle point of the planter. Remove each plant and place on top of soil – organized how you’d like them to sit. Cover the roots up with the rest of the soil, just until it hits the base of  each plant. Place on a ledge, preferably in a window with direct sunlight – but ours stay shaded most of the day and do just fine!

Feel free to play around with different herbs. Just make sure there is enough space in the planter for the roots to take hold, and not inhibit each other’s growth.

NOTE: Do NOT overwater. This is the best way to kill plants. I advise watering when the soil is very dry to the touch – which will vary from climate to climate.

Enjoy your garden!