Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Best Milk / Dairy Free Alternatives

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Growing up my mom had milk allergies. She made her own milk substitutes with almonds and found coconut milk to be also very good. We had baked goods with rice milk and pancakes with almond milk and homemade ice cream with coconut milk.
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I love milk like everyone else but what I love even more than milk with almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk and I will list the best ones. I know there are a lot to chose from now and some are yucky for sure. But I promise the ones I list are sooo good you might want to switch over to these instead of having milk all the time.

The good news is that most stores carry many varieties of non-dairy milk alternatives, including soy milks, rice milks and almond milks, both in non-refrigerated boxed products as well as refrigerated varieties.

Here are my favorite rice milks.

Here is my most favorite almond milks. I drink in my shakes in the morning. Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze.

Almond milk is a great substitute for milk in every aspect of cooking and baking as well as over cereal or in your morning coffee. Creamy, usually just a little sweet and high in vitamin E and other essential nutrients, almond milk is almost always found in with the other non-refrigerated boxed beverages.

Coconut milk is great for cooking and baking and I love just drinking it just the way it is. YUMMY! Going to go get a glass right now. :)

Coconut Milk
Prepared from fresh coconut meat, coconut milk is a great option for richer dairy-free dishes.

Mom's Homemade Almond Milk
Even though store bought almond milk is soo good it's also nice to make your own like my mom did for us when we were kids.

Makes about 5 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

1 1/2 cups whole blanched almonds, soaked 8-12 hours beforehand if it’s possible
4 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup or honey or 1/4 cup agave
dash cinnamon

*Other equipment:
  • Blender
  • metal strainer
  • cheesecloth
Soak almonds in water for 8-12 hours. Use whole blanched almonds because they already have the papery, slightly bitter almond skins removed. If you don't have blanched almonds you can either blanch them yourself, or use regular almonds. Regular almonds will need the skins removed after soaking them in water.

Once Almonds are soft strain the water from the almonds and place almonds in blender. Add 1/2 cups of water.

Blend the almonds and water for 1-2 minutes. Every 30 seconds or less use a spatula and stir almonds so they don't get stuck to the sides of blender. It will end up looking chunky.

When it is finished it will be smooth puree. Add the cinnamon and maple syrup, honey or agave.

And add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of water. Blend everything together for another 2-3 minutes, until it is completely smooth and frothy. Taste the milk, and adjust the vanilla, cinnamon, and sweetener to taste. You might also find that a pinch of salt brings out the other flavors in the milk.

Place 3 or 4 layers of cheesecloth over a metal strainer set over a bowl. The strainer or a single layer of cheesecloth wouldn't strain the almond milk well enough, since it's so well-blended. Pour the almond milk through the strainer into the bowl. You might have to do this part in batches, depending on the size of your strainer and bowl. Use a spoon or spatula to press down on the strainer and move the solids around, to help the almond milk through the cheesecloth.

Once most of the milk has passed through the strainer, gather up the cheesecloth and gently squeeze it to remove excess liquid. You'll be left with really fine almond meal inside the cheesecloth.

NOTE:You can discard it, or you can dry it out in a very low oven and use it in place of almond flour in baking recipes!

Alright, you did it. There is your almond milk read for drinking, baking or anything else you want to use it for. YUMMY! Enjoy

*Other equipment:

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