Easy Homemade Almond Milk

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I think everyone has asked themselves at least once (or googled!), while enjoying a delicious glass of creamy almond milk, “How do you milk an almond?” All of your questions will be answered with this recipe (hint: you don’t milk an almond, you blend it). Making homemade almond milk sounds a lot more intense and consuming than it really is. Once you’ve soaked your almonds the whole process takes about 10 minutes, and even less to drink it! I love making almond milk from scratch because I can control how sweet I make it, and it is free from extra preservatives and additives that the store-bought variety contain. Because this milk is preservative free, you should enjoy it within the first three days of making it. A jar of almond milk and a box of homemade cookies make a great gift! Plus, check back later this week and I’ll share a tasty, gluten free recipe using the almond pulp you’ll yield from the almond milk.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 medjool dates, pitted
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • nut milk bag or cheese cloth (you can find these at some grocery stores, Whole Foods, or online.)

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If this is your first time soaking nuts to make milk or cheese, (welcome!) place the nuts in a jar or container and fill with water until the nuts are covered. Place in a cool, dry place, and forget about them for at least four hours, but I usually choose to leave them overnight.
After the nuts are soaked, drain and rinse and plop them in the blender with all of the other ingredients and blend for about 1 minute.

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I highly recommend using a nut milk bag for the straining portion of this recipe, as it is a lot easier than a cheese cloth. If you are using a cheese cloth (as shown here), I recommend using a shallow bowl so the cloth is easier to manage. Slowly pour the blended mixture through the bag, (do this in small batches if using the cloth) and allow to drain in a mixing bowl. Squeeze the excess milk out of the bag.

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Transfer the milk to a jar and-look at that! You’ve successfully milked an almond. What’s left in the bag is called almond pulp or meal. Store it in a ziploc bag or tupperware in your freezer; I’ll be sharing a recipe later this week using the almond pulp! Zero waste recipe right there.

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Popcorn Party

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Hi everyone! Can you believe it is already October? One of the best things about fall, especially Halloween, is curling up on the sofa with a scary movie and a big bowl of popcorn. Today we’re sharing a few popcorn recipes to make those movie nights a little more fun (hint hint, no microwaves involved!). We’re hosting a popcorn party with almond caramel corn, spicy chili lime and truffle parmesan popcorn. Popcorn is so easy to make and is also relatively low in calories. The best part is, all of these recipes are very simple and there is no baking required. So get the scary movie ready and let’s get this party started!

First, we will share the recipe for homemade popcorn, which will be used for all of our popcorn topping recipes. Then we will share the recipes for our featured flavors. Enjoy!

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First things first, the popcorn. We are absolutely NOT microwaving our popcorn! Come on, you are better than that. Microwaveable popcorn is full of chemicals and hidden calories. Homemade popcorn, made over the stove, is healthier and cheaper than microwave popcorn. It tastes better, too! If you haven’t tried it before, it is easier than you may think.

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I have fond memories of being at my grandmother’s house as a young girl, her house full of kids as Jess and I ran around with our cousins. I admire her for so many reasons, but especially because she was always encouraging her grandchildren to help in the kitchen and share in her love of cooking. Many of the first dishes I ever made were made in her kitchen using recipes passed down over generations. Popping popcorn over the stove with my cousins was a great activity that kept us all entertained and better yet- fed!

Choose a popcorn brand that you like and make sure to buy raw popcorn kernels. I have used many different kinds and find that they are mostly the same. Trader Joe’s sells a huge bag that lasts forever and it is only $2- can’t beat that! For our popcorn party, I used a brand (White Cat Corn) that I found at Sur La Table, because I always need an excuse to go in that store and because I am a sucker for anything in a mason jar. Any regular raw popcorn kernel will work, though.

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HOMEMADE POPCORN

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (can use coconut oil instead)
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 large pot with a lid

This makes about 6-8 cups of popped popcorn, enough for two people.

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium high heat.
  2. Put 2-3 kernels in the oil and cover the pot with the lid.
  3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover the pot with the lid.
  4. The popcorn will begin popping soon! Once it starts, gently shake the pot back and forth several times over the burner. This will help ensure even popping and no burnt popcorn. Also, crack the lid slightly so steam can escape.
  5. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pot from the heat.
  6. Remove the lid and dump the popcorn into a large bowl (Tip- the sooner you do this the less soggy your popcorn will be).

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Click the link below for detailed topping recipes and step by step instructions to make

almond caramel corn, spicy chili lime, and truffle parmesan popcorn!

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Childhood Favorite Lasagna

Lasagna was always a staple in our house growing up; it was one of the first recipes our mom taught us to make. Years later, it is still our favorite comfort food and perfect for serving to guests and family.

Today, we’re sharing updated twists on a childhood favorite. Jess shows us how to make a vegan tofu ricotta lasagna with “meat” sauce while Nikki mixes things up with a hearty lasagna soup. Both of these robust and comforting dishes are perfect for a chilly fall night. Enjoy!

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Click the continue reading link below to find out more about our updated twist on classic lasagna recipes!

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Meatless Mondays: Kale Caesar Salad

All hail kale! That’s pretty much my motto in life, and after you try this savory, filling take on caesar salad, I’m sure you’ll feel the same way. It is our third installment of Meatless Mondays this week, following Hearts of Palm Tacos and Fried Rice Two Ways. Kale is a very trendy food without a doubt, but it is delicious, packed with vitamins, and very versatile. This salad is vegan, and much healthier than traditional caesar salad, while still maintaining that creamy caesar taste. Make your Monday simple; let’s get started!

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 bunch of dino or tuscan kale
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • sprinkle of pepper

Wash your kale well and trim the stems off. Chop into bite sized pieces and throw in a mixing bowl. Chop your garlic and halve your lemon.

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This is the most important step! Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto your (clean) hand and sprinkle salt on top. Rub your hands together and massage the kale. This removes that bitter taste from raw kale.

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In a small bowl, mix together your olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, salt, onion powder, and pepper vigorously until well combined. Pour on top of the kale and toss well. I opted to add hearts of palm into my salad. Is it weird to say hearts of palm is my favorite food?

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There you have it! Incredibly quick Meatless Monday dish. I served mine with buttery herb pasta.

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Meatless Mondays: Fried Rice

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Meatless Mondays are back again this week! Incase you missed it, last week we shared Hearts of Palm Tacos, and today, another favorite, fried rice two ways. Fried rice is the perfect Monday meal, fast, filling, and there’s usually plenty leftover for lunch the next day. Fried rice is such a versatile dish, you can throw almost anything in and be guaranteed to have delicious results. This week we put together a pescetarian Portobello Fried Rice with shrimp, and a vegan Kimchi Fried Rice. Both meatless, both savory and delicious for any diet, and both can be used as side dishes or your main course. Hit the link below to get cooking!

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Best Burgers

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Who doesn’t love a good burger? This all-American meal is one of our favorites, but every once in awhile we like to switch it up. Today we’re sharing two recipes, as usual, a vegan and a pescatarian burger. Jess’s black bean and quinoa veggie burger is both healthy and hearty. Nikki will be sharing a tilapia burger topped with spicy avocado salsa. Both of our burgers are also topped with a spicy and delicious chipotle aioli (two versions), which also serves as the perfect topping for everything from sandwiches to burritos. We hope you enjoy these unique twists on a beloved classic meal!

Click the link below to chow down!
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Meatless Mondays: Hearts of Palm Tacos

Happy New Year! Apologies for us being M.I.A. the past few weeks, the busy holiday season sure got the best of us! We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday full of love and lots of delicious food!

Now, back to business, today we are starting a new weekly feature here on the blog: Meatless Mondays! Every Monday we will feature a vegan or vegetarian dish tasty enough for both our omnivorous and vegan readers. If you’re like us, you probably over-indulged a bit during the holidays (by a bit we mean three-too many Christmas sugar cookies and ten-too-many glasses of champagne, but you know, who’s counting?). It can be difficult to get back into a healthy eating routine and Meatless Mondays are an effortless way to cut calories and add some more plant-based nutrition back into your diet. For us omnivores this might seem scary (my carnivorous boyfriend wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea), but incorporating a meat-free night into your weekly dinner plans is both healthy and good for the environment, and can be delicious, too!

This week, we are sharing a healthy, vegan and gluten-free take on tacos! Instead of meat we are using hearts of palm. If you’re unfamiliar with this fibrous vegetable, it is the edible inner portion of a cabbage Palm tree. You can buy them at most grocery stores and they come in a can. Their taste is very similar to that of an artichoke heart. This simple recipe requires shredding the hearts of palm, which can be a bit tedious. However, the rest of the recipe is a piece of cake (vegan, gluten-free cake, of course)! The shredded hearts are marinated in a mixture of chile in adobo sauce as well as a chipotle cooking sauce that can be found at most grocery stores. Not a lot of work here, which is ideal for a Monday night. Let’s get started.

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HEARTS OF PALM TACOS

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14 oz.) hearts of palm
  • 1/4 cup chipotle pepper in adobo sauce with chipotle chopped
  • 1/2 cup Herdez cooking sauce available at most grocery stores
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • tortillas
  • avocado and pico de gallo for topping (optional)

The prep for this recipe requires chopping the onions and garlic as well as shredding the hearts of palm.

Here is the star of the show: the hearts of palm!

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Typically, about four hearts come in a can which is enough to fill about 6 tacos. Here is where the tedious shredding comes into play. If possible, I recommend doing this the night before to save yourself some time after a tiring workday. To shred the hearts of palm, pull back the layers of the hearts and shred like you would a cheese stick. It takes some practice but you’ll get the hang of it after the first one, and of course it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should look something like this when you’re done shredding:

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After shredding, sautée the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so.

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Next add the shredded hearts of palm to the onion and garlic mixture and cook for a few minutes so the onion flavor can be absorbed.

Now add the adobo sauce and Herdez cooking sauce and stir. Also add the salt and cumin here.

Let the hearts of palm and onion and garlic mixture cook for about 5-7 minutes, just until everything is nice and hot.Spoon the mixture into your favorite taco shells (these are my favorites right now, I also like to fry them in a pan with a bit of oil for some extra crispiness) and top with fresh pico de gallo and avocado! Time for a Monday night fiesta, enjoy!

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Snickerdoodles

Continuing with our Holiday Cookie Series, we’re sharing two takes on the classic Snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodles are another delicious, easy, go-to recipe for us this time of year. Snickerdoodles are the perfect cookie; crunchy and sugary on the top and chewy and soft in the middle; perfect to enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate. As great as they are, we decided to mix up the traditional Snickerdoodle; this week Jess shares vegan Chai Spiced Snickerdoodles, while Nikki shares her Snicker-doodles, with little pieces of Snickers bars in them!

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Click the link below to get started on this sweet treat!

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Candy Cane Cookie Sandwiches

 Today we are launching our Holiday cookie series, where we will bring you several tasty cookie recipes over the next week or so. In our family, holiday baking is one of our most celebrated traditions. We usually devote at least a few days during the holiday season to baking all day. Baked goods make a delicious and thoughtful gift for anyone special in your life. Wrap the treats in some festive packaging and you’re ready to go! To kick off our online cookie party, we will be sharing Candy Cane cookie sandwiches. These are very similar to an Oreo (only better) with a festive twist- candy canes! The peppermint-rimmed cookies are not only delicious but are also super cute and festive! As usual, we’re sharing a vegan and nonvegan recipe for these cute cookies.

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Candy Cane Lane is one click away!

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Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti and meatballs is one of our favorite comfort foods. But with all the heavy eating and drinking that goes on during the holidays (not complaining!), a high-calorie bowl of spaghetti isn’t exactly helping us fit into our Christmas dresses! Have no fear, spaghetti squash is here! Spaghetti squash is a low calorie, nutrient rich vegetable that tastes a lot like spaghetti with the same texture as pasta (more of an Angel Hair texture, if you ask us).  Spaghetti squash is the star of this post and we’ll show you everything you need to know to make this guilt-free comfort food. Today we share two recipes, as usual, a vegan and  non vegan take on spaghetti squash with meatballs and homemade marinara.

Let’s eat!

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First we must complete a proper introduction. Meet spaghetti squash! Located in the produce department of most grocery stores, near other squash like butternut, delicata, and more.

There are many ways to cook spaghetti squash, but the most frequently used approaches are roasted in the oven, and for those of us who are more pressed for time, the microwave!

To prepare in the oven place the squash in a shallow pan and poke with a fork a few times. Bake at 350 for one hour.

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Let the squash cool enough to handle, and slice in half.

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Scoop out the seedy middle and use a fork to scoop the spaghetti like strands out.

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Click the link below to find our recipes for marinara sauce and meatballs!

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