I'm about to launch into a smallish tirade on Big Food (cousin to Big Pharma). And I say smallish because, try as I might, I can never muster the true spirit of zealotry. I mean, part of my livelihood comes from writing copy and managing the social media needs of a reasonably large food company. So, no, I don't want to turn back the hands of time and go back to the days of butcher, baker, candlestick-maker completely. I just want to be more mindful of options when it comes to nourishing myself and the fam, and stay on top of those big words that you find on food labels.
Okay, so tirade.
In an effort to cut down on dairy (because fat, and because lactose intolerance), the husband and I use soy and/or almond milk (we still buy cow's milk for the boy, and his bones are mighty strong). But after poring over the label of almond milk we purchase by the case from the daddy of oppressive Big Food, Costco, I was surprised to see all the stuff in the product.
Upon further research on the most controversial ingredient, carrageenan, and noting that both Kirk and I are prone to stomach aches that mystify us, I bought us a nut sac. (Okay, they're really called nut milk bags. For obvious reasons.)
And then, of course, you have to buy the organic almonds rather than the regular almonds. Yes, they're twice as expensive, but you don't want to titrate herbicides into your homemade almond milk, right?
It really isn't that big a deal to make your own almond milk. Swear. It's just one of those "thinking ahead" things. Like soaking dried beans overnight. Because that's what you have to do. Soak the almonds in water for eight or so hours.
Next step is, rinse them and then blend them up with water and a half tsp or so of vanilla, maybe a few dates if you want to sweeten it a little. 4-1 water/nuts. Then, get out your giant mason jar, fit the nut sac inside of it. Fasten a rubber band around the rim, and pour your concoction in the bag.
So. What to do with the almond nut meal that's leftover? Well, if you have backyard chickens, they love it! But I also made this cake with it, and it seems to have passed the "potluck" test - just this little piece was left over! Here's the recipe for it (caveat - I'm a bit clumsy with recipes: never truly measuring anything, but I think this is pretty accurate.)
NUTMEAL BANANA CAKE
- 2 cups almond meal pulp
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/2 tsp Xantham gum (I use Bob's Red Mill)
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 Tbsp Canola oil
- (dark chocolate for topping, if desired)
- preheat oven to 350
- Mix dry ingredients in small bowl
- Mash up banana in big bowl, add eggs and oil and mix well
- Combine dry with wet
Pour into nonstick bunt cake pan and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
After it cools, remove cake from pan. Just before serving, double-boil some dark chocolate to drizzle over the top. You can get 12 servings from this, at 120 calories a serving.
salad greens with feta and tuna
piece of almond meal cake
pasta (try the quinoa pasta, for kicks!)
tomato meat (ground boar, perhaps? or turkey?) sauce (add sautéed onions and peppers to jarred tomato sauce)