“Milking the almonds” and making crackers

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Have you ever heard the joke about vegans, that says “the most difficult part about being a vegan is waking up at 5 a.m. to milk the almonds”? I have always found it rather funny, although now that I have actually made my own almond milk (!), I find it funnier.

After Christmas, I visited Sur La Table, where I got a really good deal on an appliance I’ve wanted for awhile now, an air fryer (more on that in a later post!) While I was there, I came across a nut milk bag, which had a recipe and procedure on the back. I had to try it. I wondered how hard it would be to make.

Honestly, the hardest part was waiting 24 hours while the raw almonds soaked in water. The rest was a breeze. Basically, you soak a cup of almonds in water, rinse off and drain, then blend the almonds with 2 cups of fresh water for 2 minutes. I also added a half tablespoon of vanilla extract into it, and next time I am going to add some liquid stevia. Then, you take a large bowl and position the bag inside so that you can pour the almond and water mixture into the bag. The almond milk will start to seep through the bag into the bowl. Once the mixture is in the bag, you tighten the drawstring and start squeezing the bag from above. You continue to squeeze until you have gotten as much of the liquid out of the bag as possible.

This leaves you with the rich, creamy almond milk in the bowl, and a bag full of almond pulp. You can place the almond milk in a jar and place it in the fridge (it will separate a bit, but you just need to shake it up before drinking or using in recipes). As far as what to do with the almond pulp, there are so many recipes online for what you can create with it! I ended up making sweet crackers! They’re the best gluten free crackers I have had in a while. I can’t wait to make some that are savory rather than sweet, though!

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Here is the recipe for the crackers:

Ingredients:

  • almond pulp left over from the above almond milk-making description
  • 1 tbsp sugar (a vegan liquid sugar would work well too, such as maple syrup or agave)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vegan butter flavoring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together almond pulp and other ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet, roll the dough into a ball. You may need to knead it a bit with your hands first.
  4. Place another piece of parchment paper over the dough ball and flatten with your hands a bit. Then roll it out to a thin layer, between 1/8″-1/4.”
  5. Take off one side of the parchment paper, leaving one piece of parchment on the cookie sheet with the rolled out dough on top. This was a challenge for me…I was adapting this from a recipe that didn’t explain this part that clearly and I had to repeat this several times. The dough gets rather soft and sticky, so be careful and patient.
  6. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into even squares in a checker pattern. The crackers do not need to have space between them yet. Leave them next to each other as they are. You will be flipping and separating them later. It will be impossible to do at this point.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. It’s possible that you may need to check to see if they are beginning to brown earlier than that. If they are (checking after 10-15 minutes), separate and flip them with a spatula. Bake for another 5-10 additional minutes (or more if necessary…do not let them get too golden or brown).
  8. Voila! Experiment with other flavors, adding spices or herbs, etc. Cinnamon would be a good addition for this recipe.

 

 

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Vegan Mofo Day 10-Worldly Wednesday-Curry Chickpea Salad with Apples and Almonds

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This is one of the simplest, easiest, and delicious recipes I like to make. It also has a good amount of turmeric in it, which I have been hearing so much of the benefits of recently. Pairing the almonds with the chickpeas gives it a firmer texture and the apples give it a nice crunch. It’s really good in a wrap or some sprouted rye bread as a sandwich, or even as a topping for a salad.

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Ingredients:

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  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup vegenaise
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 chopped apple of choice

Directions:

  1. Place the chickpeas and almonds in a food processor and chop thoroughly. The almonds give the chickpeas a more chicken like texture.
  2. Transfer the chickpeas and almonds into a large bowl (bigger is better, I used a bowl that was too small at first that caused some overflow.
  3. Add the vegenaise, curry powder, turmeric, and nutritional yeast, and stir well, until the ingredients are all combined.
  4. Fold in the chopped apple.
  5. Serve in a wrap with lettuce, in regular sandwich bread, or on top of a salad.

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Vegan Salad of the week: Vegan Mediterranean “Chicken” Salad with vegan Caesar dressing

Okay, so I’m setting a goal again to eat a large salad for one meal a day as part of my health goals. This easily helps me get enough (or more than enough) servings of veggies daily, and keeps my caloric intake for trying to lose weight easier to manage.

I’ve been experimenting with healthy salad dressings and somewhere down the line someone clued me into this online list of oil free dressings: here. I’m going to experiment with salads based on some of these dressing recipes in the next couple of weeks.

At first when I started making salads, I would stick as many vegetables in it as I could but it took me about 45 minutes to chop everything myself, and was sometimes difficult to force myself to eat with full servings or more of cucumber slices, carrots, etc. It would take me an hour or longer to chew everything, as well, haha. So eventually I reduced the amount of vegetables and went for easier salads.

My favorite salad for the longest time was 2 cups of lettuce, 3-4 sliced sweet gherkin pickles, 4 sliced pickled beets chopped up even smaller, a baked boca “chicken” patty, 1/8 cup raw almonds, and this dressing. But eventually I ate that salad so many times that I’m probably not going to eat it any time soon!

So that’s what lead me to decide to try and invent a new salad every week! Here’s this week’s creation.

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First I made the Caesar dressing from Sexy Tofu, except I added 2 extra tbsp of nutritional yeast because I’m having difficulty meeting my b-12 intake without extra nooch. I try to add more whenever I can, and I don’t think it made it taste bad or anything, it’s still super delicious.

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I’m posing with the croutons while being photographed making the salad, haha

I was going to make my own croutons, but in my search for a good vegan bread to make them out of I got discouraged and also was hungry and planning to make the salad for my next meal, so I gave up and bought some Mediterranean herb flavored croutons that happen to be vegan. I got them from a local grocery store called East Side Market in Providence, it seems to have a good selection of kosher and middle eastern type foods, I think this is why they carry them and that they’re vegan too. They’re actually a product of Israel. They have a distinct taste, are a great, crunchy texture and the spices really give it that distinct kind of Mediterranean taste. I put 4 tbsp of the croutons (they’re very small making it possible to fit them in a tablespoon easily) in the salad.

Basically, the salad is:

2 cups chopped lettuce

2 tbsp of the caesar dressing

4 tbsp mini Mediterranean herbed croutons (if you can’t find this style of crouton, it’d be awesome to make your own croutons, and it’s really easy and delicious. All you do is take a half a loaf of bread of your choice–rye or pumpernickel or a mix works really well, or any bread that isn’t really soft–Cut it up into small chunks, stick in a plastic bag, drizzle some olive oil into the bag, shake to coat the bread with oil, add whatever herbs and spices you like, shake the bag of bread and oil again to coat, and stick in a 275 degree oven, checking every 15 mins until the croutons are completely crunchy!)

1 roasted red pepper chopped small

8 whole black olives

Fake chicken of some type. I bet beyond meat would be really good. I just use a baked boca chicken patty that I cut up small

1/2 tsp vegan parmesan (Okay, so you can make your own in various recipes found in cookbooks and online but I really doubt any of those will taste as parmesan-y as Galaxy Food’s Go Veggie Vegan alternative. I don’t know how they do it but it really does have that sharp parmesan flavor. It’s also a really fine texture which I believe would be difficult to duplicate on your own. But yeah, if you’ve found a good homemade version, let me know! Here’s what it looks like:

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make sure you see the yellow “vegan” text in the right hand corner, because I believe they do make other kinds that are dairy free but not vegan

So that’s my salad I’m eating for this week.

Stay tuned next week to see what new salad creation I come up with. It’ll probably get posted on Monday or Wednesday, but I’m not completely sure yet.