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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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I have tried making many versions of almond milk but this one is my favorite.  It does take a little planning ahead but I promise it is worth it. 

I could go on and on about this but I will try to keep it simple.  You should always soak your almonds before you make them into milk because of the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors.  Without getting to sciencey on you I’ll break them down here:

Phytic acid (or phytates) -  bind to minerals in the digestive tract and carry them out without absorption; vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and zinc.  Can you see why this would be a problem?  We want to digest those minerals, not waste them!  Phytic acid is also in grains, legumes (beans), other nuts and seeds.  By soaking, we can remove or reduce this pesky anti-nutrient.  Adding a little acid (like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar) to your soaking water helps break down even more phytates.

Enzyme inhibitors – this genius compound that almonds (and other foods) have is quite impressive.  It stops the almond from sprouting prematurely.  Only when the conditions are right will the enzyme inhibitor release and the almond will start to germinate.  What this means for you: the enzyme inhibitor when eaten does not break down the food in our digestive tract so we do not absorb the vitamins and minerals. Once soaked, the availability of the nutrients are increased.

This process only works with raw almonds so make sure they have not been pasteurized.  If they are not raw, soaking does nothing but soften them up for easier blending. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe and technique.  Once you know how to make almond milk the possibilities for nut and seed milks are endless! 

With love,

Crystal

Almond Milk
Makes 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of raw almonds
Water, for soaking
A squeeze of lemon or a splash of apple cider vinegar (optional but recommended)
4 cups water
1 or 2 dates, pitted (optional)*
1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)*
Pinch of pink Himalayan or sea salt
1 nut milk bag or cheese cloth

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a medium bowl place almonds and enough water to cover them a couple of inches.  Add your squeeze of lemon or apple cider vinegar to the bowl.  Let soak for 8 to 12 hours. 

2. Drain the almonds after they have soaked.  Rinse two or three times.  

3. Add the almonds to a high speed blender with 4 cups of water, pitted dates, vanilla and salt.**

4.  Start blending on low.  Slowly turn up the blender until the almonds are pulverized and the milk is creamy and frothy.

5. Place the nut milk bag over the container you want to pour your almond milk into.  Slowly pour the almond milk in.

6.  Gently squeeze all of the liquid out of the bag until the pulp is all you have left.

7. Enjoy right away or refrigerate.  Keeps about 4 to 5 days.

Notes: *If you plan on using the almond milk in a savory recipe omit the dates and the vanilla.  **If you plan on saving the almond pulp to make flour, do not add the dates, vanilla or salt (you don't want these items in your flour).  Follow to step 6, rinse out your blender, add the milk back in with the dates, vanilla and salt and blend until creamy and frothy.

 

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I hope you have all done swell during this time of change and growth for me.  For my first recipe back I want to make you my go to green juice.  Well, I wish I was making it for you (and I will be if you show up at the American Heart Association Walk this Thursday in Bridgeport, WV!).  Today, on the last day of summer I want to share with you this nutrient dense, chlorophyll rich drink. 

I know its a little cliché for a health coach to give you a recipe for a green juice but right now I am pretty hooked.  I go through phases with green juice (and you may too).  I start to crave them when the summer heat moves in.  Especially, when I am traveling and not eating quite as healthfully.  In the winter they make me too cold so I rarely feel the need for them and reach for warmer nourishing soups and stews instead.  I am hopeful that we will have a little more warm weather (I’m sure you guys in the south will) so I can keep whipping these up in the mornings.  I love this recipe because it is full of chlorophyll from the greens, the apple adds a slight sweetness, the ginger gives it a nice little kick and the lemon cuts through it all perfectly!

 

There are many beneficial nutrients in freshly made juices.  They contain loads of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, plant-purified water, phyto-nutrients, chlorophyll and more!  As a rule try to make your fresh juices with mostly veggies.  When you juice fruit you end up with a lot of sugar.  An 80/20 ratio is a good rule to follow. 

We got a new juicer as a wedding gift this summer (thanks John!) and I absolutely love it!  It is an Omega J8005 Masticating Juicer.  It takes a little more time to prep than my old centrifugal juicer but it is easier to clean and there is less oxidation, which means more nutrients.

 

This recipe should work with any type of juicer just had to share a little love note to my omega in case you are in the market for one!

Would you like to see more juice recipes on the blog?  Do you have a favorite green juice? Feel free to share it in the comments below!

Health, wealth and green juice,

Crystal

Revitalizing Green Juice
Makes about 16 oz.**

INGREDIENTS

1 lemon

1 apple

1 inch of ginger

1 cucumber

5 to 6 Kale leaves (about half a bunch)*

Small bunch of parsley (about 1/4 to 1/3 a full bunch)

INSTRUCTIONS

 1. Wash and prep fruit and vegetables to fit in your juicer.

2. Put everything through the juicer.

3. Pour into a glass (I usually use our nicest wine glasses :) and enjoy!

Notes: * any type of kale will work.  I like to pick out what looks best at the farmers market or grocery store but Lacinato or dinosaur are my favorite. **Size varies based on produce and juicer so you may get more or less. This could be one or two servings.  I usually split it with my husband but it could be a large single serving too!  

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Oct 09, 2014

 

Fall is definitely my favorite season.  I was even lucky enough to experience two falls this year!  I visited Patagonia during fall in the southern hemisphere and it was pretty amazing.  I love hikes this time of year, when there is a slight nip in the air and the leaves are starting to change.  This weekend we spent time outside enjoying the season.  The leaves weren't quite starting to change near one of my favorite hiking spots but I'll share this photo from a couple years ago of Hudson enjoying the view!

Once fall rolls around you start seeing pumpkin everywhere and it seems like everyone can’t wait to get a pumpkin spice latte.  The sad truth is this is way more unhealthy than you probably imagine.  Food Babe did an investigation on it a few weeks ago and I will not be hitting up the local Starbucks for one of these anytime soon.  It isn’t possible to get it dairy free and there isn’t actually any pumpkin in it.  So basically your most beloved fall Starbucks drink is a total fraud. 

Please don’t fret we can cure that craving easily in your own home!  Here is my delicious and healthy version that you can make in your own kitchen.  And there is actually pumpkin inside.  Oh yeah!

I am not much of a coffee drinker because I don’t handle caffeine very well so I decided to make this version with chai tea but it can definitely be made with coffee as well (we actually tried it this weekend and it was just as delicious).  I do really love coffee but I can’t quite get on board with decaf because the chemical extractors that are typically used to release the caffeine.  I am still looking into the water extraction process so I may have more information on that in the future.

Okay, back to the latte.  All you really need to do for this drink is brew up some chai tea (or coffee/espresso) and whisk together some non-dairy milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, a little vanilla powder and some spices (pumpkin pie spice would work well here).  Heat the pumpkin mixture and then froth it up.  I have a manual milk frother and an attachment on my immersion blender.  This step is totally optional but it gives it the traditional latte feel.  And it is kind of fun playing barista sometimes.

 

Pumpkin Chai Latte
Makes 2 Lattes

INGREDIENTS

3 tbsp pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups oat milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/8 tsp vanilla powder (or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground ginger

pinch of ground nutmeg

1 to 1 1/2 cups brewed chia tea

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Brew chai tea.

2. In a small saucepan whisk together pumpkin puree, oat milk,  maple syrup, vanilla powder and spices.  Heat until barely starting to simmer.  Then remove from heat.

3. Optional step:  Froth the pumpkin mixture with an electric or manual frother.

4. In your mug add 1/2 to 3/4 cup chai tea and fill the rest of the way with the pumpkin milk mixture.

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.