Skip store bought versions from the grocery store and make homemade vanilla almond milk right in your kitchen with just a few essential ingredients and tools.
I have been dairy-free for about 11 months now and really have been ok without consuming my usual dairy milk in my cereal (or a glass with dinner) and have managed to survive without cheese in my diet. This is quite shocking to anyone who knows me from my home state of Wisconsin considering that my daily evening snack was half a block of sharp cheddar cheese with some pretzel sticks and the occasional glass of chardonnay. It was safe to say that I was addicted.
I will go into my dietary lifestyle changes in another upcoming post, but not consuming dairy has really made my body feel better on a daily basis and my skin has cleared up tremendously. The caveat is that I really gave up eating cereal or having a glass of milk all-together because store bought almond milk just simply wasn’t that delicious to me. We always had it in the house for Sean’s morning coffee or in case a recipe called for it, but it wasn’t readily consumed in large quantities like dairy milk used to be for me. It wasn’t until we started drinking Pressed Juicery’s Vanilla Almond beverage that we both literally became obsessed with how delicious and creamy it was. We were literally planning Saturday afternoons to drive the 35 miles north to Santa Barbara just so we could come home with a bag full of juices and almond milk. Well as fun as Santa Barbara is, it wasn’t really practical for us to drive up there every weekend and they aren’t the cheapest drinks in the world.
Well everything changed when I watched Erin Ireland’s snapchat (@erin_ireland) on her process of making homemade almond milk that I was like, “Wait a second. It’s really that easy to make almond milk in my Vitamix at home?” Needless to say, I immediately began soaking nuts and the next day set forth to whip up my first batch in the kitchen. One word is needed to describe how it turned out — AMAZING! I began to tweak with the recipe a bit to try and really mimic the flavors of the Pressed Juicery version and found that we like a bit more cinnamon in my homemade almond milk. You can adjust the recipe to your liking by reducing the cinnamon, adding more vanilla, using whole vanilla beans, a touch more salt… it’s all up to you!
I will be honest, in the 3 weeks since I’ve learned how to make homemade vanilla almond milk I am in the kitchen blending up a batch at least twice a week. The funny thing is, I even make double batches and it still doesn’t last long in the fridge before one of us consumes it. It’s so good!
The first few times I made it I was using an old, thin (but clean) t-shirt to take place of the nut milk bag because I didn’t own one. The t-shirt works great and is a great option for you, but I highly recommend that you don’t try using cheese cloth. I gave it a whirl and it simply let way too much of the almond meal through the screen. Since those first few batches, I have ordered an actual nut milking bag and it’s worth every penny. It gets the job done well & is a breeze to clean up.
Also, I would highly recommend either recycling some glass jars that you’ve used around the kitchen or purchasing a set that comes with a sealable lid. I found a set of 4 glass milk bottles on Amazon & they’ve been working perfectly for continuous batches of homemade almond milk. You will need a cleaning brush of some sort to get down in the bottle because the almond milk does leave a heavy residue along the sides of the bottle that does require a little scrubbing to get off.
And finally let’s get to chatting about all the leftover raw almond meal you now have after milking your nuts (it’s ok to giggle). You will have quite a bit of it and it’s a waste to just toss it in the garbage. I line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, heat the oven to 170° and sprinkle the almond meal onto the sheet. Place it in the oven for approximately 3 hours and then toss it into your food processor or dry container for the Vitamix and pulse on high for 30 seconds. Simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use for a batch of cookies (recipe coming soon) or a tbsp in your morning smoothie. There are lots of recipes for using this almond meal and it’s so healthy and good for us to consume!
I have to give inspiration credit to Erin Ireland and if you want to see photos of the entire process of making the homemade vanilla almond milk, then check out her post for lots of goodness!