Well, this post didn't get up on Friday like I said it would. We had a marriage conference at church this weekend including our church and our three church plants. It started on Friday and went all day on Saturday. I also had to drive Kory to a weekend youth conference an hour away (= 2hrs round trip) on Friday BEFORE the marriage conference. Anyway, I just didn't get around to posting.
After my new books arrived last week, something else arrived that was very exciting! (Well, exciting to me, anyway.) Last spring my friend Lori from Connecticut stayed overnight at my house while in town for a Classical Conversations Training. I happened to have a Rubbermaid container out, full of old homeschool materials that I was planning to sell. Lori went through it and found a few things that she wanted. Though I didn't want her to pay for anything, she left promising me a check in the mail. Well, that check came only a short time later and it was for MUCH more than the books she took with her! It also had a little orange sticky note attached to it saying I should put the "extra" toward my blender fund.
Lori knew I had been wanting a high-powered blender so that I could grind GF grains and nuts as well as continue making lots of smoothies. I was only more convinced of my desire for a new blender after I had dinner with Lori one night and she served me a sample of her homemade almond milk made in her blender. Oh. My. It was so delicious that my thoughts were consumed with rich and creamy almond milk the entire one hour drive home from her house!
So, I cashed her check and kept it in the bank envelope. I labeled the envelope "Blender," and tucked it safely away in a kitchen cabinet. (Didn't want it to accidentally get spent on groceries or gas, etc) Well, my intention was to add to the "Blender Fund" each month, but that just did NOT happen. Fast forward through Christmas, where I refrained from spending the "Blender Fund," which is nothing short of miraculous ~ but I was determined! Then fast forward to my birthday, where my grandmother gave me a check that would perfectly raise the fund to almost the exact amount needed to purchase a new Vitamix blender! I could hardly wait.
I knew almond milk would be my first creation in the blender. (We do drink cow's milk and eat all dairy products now, but still use alternatives at times.) I had already gone in on a bulk order of some raw almonds with Lori and others. And these are truly "raw" ~ not the "steam pasteurized raw" almonds you will find in the store, I learned. Evidently, stores are not allowed to carry truly "raw" almonds. (Sort of black-market-ish, if you will ~ kind of like raw milk.) I soaked a cup and a half of the almonds overnight. The next morning when I returned from the gym, I was anxious to have some fresh almond milk for breakfast AND use my Vitamix for the first time.
The soaked almonds were added to the blender along with 4 cups water, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and some agave. I blended it for 2 minutes, strained the milk through a fine mesh strainer, and........
....served a delicious mug of the concoction to Kayla and myself! Oh, it was so good ~ and almost a filling breakfast in and of itself.
What I wasn't expecting was THIS:
This is what was left after the milk was strained. I had no idea the straining process would leave so much almond "pulp" behind. I wasn't sure what to do with it, but couldn't bear to part with it, so I stored it in the refrigerator. Over the weekend, (when I wasn't speaking at or helping with the marriage conference) I kept brainstorming about what I could do with these "leftovers." Finally it came to me, and I can hardly wait to share the SECOND creation I made with the Vitamix AND the almond pulp!
I will try and post that tomorrow ~ which is another snow day here in MA. (Yep, we're expecting about another foot of snow over the next couple of days.) For now, I 'll leave you with Lori's almond milk recipe.
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
4 cups water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp agave
pinch sea salt
Blend for 2 minutes. Strain through fine mesh strainer, and serve or store in the refrigerator ~ IF you don't drink it all in one sitting!
Oh ~ and almond milk makes an especially delicious hot chocolate!