Sunday, May 05, 2013

A bit nutty

Yeah okay I did it again.  Sorry!

I was surprised by how many of you managed to find the protein carrot bar recipes - wow!  If you did come across that post, how did you find me?  This ole blog has been neglected by me for a while so it was very surprising to see so many of you commenting on that post.  Nice, but surprising!

So what have I been up to for the last few months?

I initially started on the LiveFit trainer program but that was too hard to follow while living at home.  My Mum would complain to no end about the excessive amount of eggs and number of vegetables around.  The other thing that happened is that when I started on LiveFit trainer, I had to have a couple of my Wisdom Teeth taken out, and the healing process was about 3 weeks.

I also started off LiveFit on the assumption that I wasn't teaching my group fitness classes.  I did have a brief period of time without the classes, but now I'm teaching again, making following the program harder.  So for now, I've parked LiveFit until I'm in a better place to be able to commit to it.

I've been trying some other healthy recipes in the meantime though, and one thing I've discovered is that making your own nut milk at home is really easy!

But first... Nut milk... why even bother?

There's a cafe not too far from my work called Little Bird that make 100% raw, vegan, gluten free, sugar free dishes.  I'm not intending to be 100% raw, or vegan, but I'd like to try to incorporate more of that into my diet.

Firstly, I fell in love with raw desserts.

I mean just look at them.  Don't they look amazing?

That there is a raw cacao and hazelnut tart. No refined sugar, no dairy, no gluten.  It tasted amazing, and you felt amazing after eating it.  Also, raw, which means it hasn't been heated to any higher than 75 degrees celsius.

Check out this gorgeous fresh fig and ginger tart.

Note, it's a little worse for wear after travelling around in my handbag between the cafe and my office, but that doesn't mean it tasted any less delicious.

After trying the raw desserts, it opened my perspective to what other raw dishes are around.  I've eaten two meals there, a Raw Pad Thai which was delightful, but, I've had the Raw Mexican Plate twice as it has been absolutely to DIE for.

I believe the tacos would've been dehydrated - they were beautiful and crisp and the rest of the dish was fresh and vibrant.

Whenever I was at this place, I noticed a lot of people sitting around with iced coffee - a double walled glass with a massive mound of ice cubes, and a small beaker of milk, and a small beaker of coffee.

Curiousity got the better of me, and I tried it.

I initially added half of the milk that I was given, and then added all of it in.  The milk wasn't normal cows milk, it was hazelnut milk, and WOW.  It was at that moment that I understood what the fuss about nut milk was.  My previous tastes of nut milk were commercially produced, full of sugar and laden with vegetable oils and additives, so I was less than impressed.  THIS however, was absolutely delicious.

The cold dripped coffee is not heated above 75 degrees celsius, meaning it is also raw, but I'm not so bothered about that.  I just wanted a way to be able to replicate this at home.

Then somehow, in an incredibly timely fashion, one of the news providers here published an article on how to make almond milk at home.  The article said to push the nuts through a fine mesh sieve, but more research around the wares lead me to The Rawtarian's very similar recipe, which mentioned using a nut milk bag instead of a sieve.  I'd seen them at Little Bird and made a note to get one.

I waited for a special on almonds, and stocked up, and got to work.

I doubled the recipe and ended up with well over a litre of fresh, beautiful almond milk:

Using the nut milk bag was super easy, and once I'd strained the almonds I stood back and was like "... You mean that's it?"

Initially, I wasn't used to the flavour of it and had to add honey for some sweetness, but now I love that gorgeous nutty flavour.  I still season with a bit of cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg.

What was left though, was a massive amount of leftover ground almonds.  Given how much almonds cost, I wanted to try to find a use for them.  A few searches on the internet suggested making a grain-free muesli with the leftover almonds.

I figured, why not.  My Mum makes traditional toasted muesli which is so much better than store bought, and if she can do that, then I knew I could do this.

I used the almond pulp, some dessicated coconut, sunflower seeds, frozen raspberries and grated apple, then left it in the oven for a few hours at a low temperature.

I absolutely loved the net result.

I also stirred through a good hit of ground ginger, cinnamon nutmeg and clove.

I can't even begin to tell you how delicious this was.  And how filling it was!  I have both the milk and the muesli at work and I don't need to eat much of it to be satisfied.

I get the feeling that I'm going to love making and making more almond milk and almond muesli.  I can't wait to experiment with other nuts too - I've so far tried cashew milk as well (DELISH!) and I of course want once again to experience that amazing hazelnut milk flavour.

I've since made another batch of muesli, and this time it's with apple, citrus fruits (orange and grapefruit) and grapes.  I reckon there's loads of fun that you can have with this.

If you're afraid of making your own nut milk, don't be!  It's super easy, and well worth it.


  1. Rachel7:28 pm

    You should buy the Revive Cafe cookbooks - loads of dairy free "cheese" cake made with cashews etc.

    I love home made almond milk, and if you buy the nuts from your local spice shop, it is soooo much cheaper than the supermarket.

  2. Cheers Rachel, I love Revive, so I should get those books! The spice shop near my work sells organic nuts around the same price as the supermarket, however, you have raised a point, I haven't looked at non-organic nuts at other spice shops. I'll put my feelers out :D

  3. Why do you have to be so far away?? I want to come through the screen, have a lovely almondy breakfast with you and then have lunch at Little Bird! All looks s very good and healthy.

    Missed you!

  4. It's such a shame Lyn! I'd love to have an almondy breakfast and lunch at Little Bird with you! Dreams are free though, right? Maybe one day ;)

  5. Great to have you back...again :) Nut milk recipe looks great, love trying new things like this.

  6. Yes! Those desserts look amazing and it is hard to control yourself if you are in front of these beautiful desserts. I want one now! Give me some cake please. Anyway, I'm going to do the Almond Milk. Thanks for this!

  7. Hello Raina,

    When I started to convert into a vegan, I thought I'm not going to last and go back to my old diet habit. I never thought I can still enjoy eating comfort foods. Now, I made peace with my cravings and it's great that there are raw desserts. It is delicious and nutritious too. I really love your post! Thanks for sharing! :-D

  8. Meg - They look gorgeous, don't that? And they're not *that* much more pricey than traditional desserts, so even better! Let me know how you go with the almond milk :D

    Jim - It is great that there are raw desserts, right? :D I can't wait till I'm in a better place to play with making them myself! Thank you so much for reading! :D

  9. Some of this food looks fantastic. I have to say it is very nice to see you back. Its been a while. x

  10. I started to buy almond milk it is delicious, never thought about making it myself, so thanks for this will give it a go.

  11. Love your post, thanks for all the natural recipes!

  12. Sally - Thanks! It has been a while, hopefully I can be 'back' properly this time :D

    Kate - It's so easy to make it, I totally recommend giving it a go :D

    Mandy - Thank you! :D

  13. I'm so happy that you're finally back! Whew, great choices of food!! I haven't tried eating raw dessert, does it really tastes good? Guess, I really have to check it out for me to know how it tastes like. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Great desserts and the pictures are yummy!
    And now, something for a laugh:
    Appetizers are little things you eat until you lose your appetite.
    Have a great day!

  15. First of all, I never tried any raw desserts so I find it really interesting. I wonder how it tastes differently from the usual desserts. Is it less sweet?

  16. Bradshoe - Raw dessserts really do taste good! If you come across one that's like a cacao tart/cheesecake (like the picture of the first one I posted), try it!

    Julie - The sweetness is still there, but it's more flavoursome as the sweetness isn't from sugar, but from 'other things' (dates, fruits, cacao, etc.) The main point of different is the base, it's more nutty in texture than crust/cookie like. The 'creamy' part of the desserts tend to come from soaked and blended nuts like cashews or macadamia.

  17. Anna - Ack, for some reason when I moderated your comment it didn't publish! Sorry about that!

    Appetizers are little things you eat until you lose your appetite. <-- Love this!

  18. Wow! You are really creative in making this nutty milk, Raina. I love almonds so I always have leftovers in the kitchen. I think I know what to do with it. Thanks a lot! :-)

  19. I can’t help but crave in front of my monitor as I look at these delicious desserts! I’m on a diet right now and I am having a hard time controlling myself! I want a piece of everything right now! Ha ha Do I sound like a “craving lunatic”? Sorry I just can’t help myself. Anyways, I’ll just let my eyes feast on these heavenly desserts. Thanks, Raina.

  20. Lonnie - You have to give it a go, it's so easy! Would love your report back when you do :D

    Carina - At least you know your craving for something good with these raw desserts! Hopefully I'll get to make one and then share the recipe with everyone :D

  21. Wow! I love raw desserts especially the hazelnut tart. You are right, I really felt amazing after eating it. ;-)

  22. Wow! I love these amazing raw desserts! BTW, I would like to request if you could post nutritious recipes about raw desserts. Thanks so much! :-)

  23. Jannette - When I get to making a raw dessert, I will share them, of course. I haven't made any as yet, just eaten them ;) But if you look up The Rawtarian or even just google 'raw dessert recipes' there's *loads* of resources already out there :D

  24. Almond milk is very interesting. I never tasted it before. I will visit the link in this post about how to make almond milk. I can't wait to try it. Thanks a lot!

  25. That Raw Mexican Plate is really delightful! I love tacos and nachos especially when I'm with my Mexican cousins. They make very delicious Nacho Dorito Taco salad.

  26. Hi Raina,

    I love sugar free and gluten free dishes! That's the reason why I also love raw desserts. BTW, Hazelnut tart is my favorite. It's so delicious!

  27. Raina,, Another witty and great post. I love gluten free food and recipes. Helps with my digestion quite a lot. Anything with nuts in I Love!

  28. Wow! I want to try that Raw Mexican plate. It looks so tempting. The tacos look delicious too! :-)

  29. Nutty milk sounds amazing. I agree though, the tacos look incredible too :)

  30. Tacos are my fave. They are awesome and just rock!

  31. The raw cacao and hazelnut tart looks straight up my street yum yum :)