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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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After three weeks on the road we made our way to Portland, Maine.  We decided to treat ourselves and rent an apartment for five nights.  

 

We spent time exploring the city, eating delicious food, checking out some local breweries, taking Hudson to the dog park and playing on dog friendly beaches. 

  

It was a nice little break from camp life but to be honest, by the end, I was ready to be back in our traveling home.  I guess our camper and rooftop tent are starting to really feel like home even if the ground beneath it is ever changing. 

 

It always surprises me how quickly I adapt to the life of a “gypsy” traveler.  More quickly than I adapt to being home after my travels (reintegration is so much harder). 

 

This is the first trip I have taken of its kind but definitely not the first time I’ve spent consecutive months traveling.  It is these times when my soul seems to soar.  I feel more like myself in my own body and I am just living. 

 

I know it isn’t easy to give up on the modern conveniences we are used to but there is something freeing about having everything you need (for a little while) traveling on your back or in your car. 

This wonderful world is at your fingertips.  It is there for you to explore.  I believe our time on this planet is a gift and I want to see as much of it as possible. 

This trip is exciting because I am exploring my own backyard… the USA and Canada; as opposed to hopping on a plane to see other countries and cultures. 

I am learning to appreciate the subtle differences in cultures and cuisines through the regions on the continent I grew up on. 

One thing I really missed while we were in Portland was feeling the rhythm of the day.  After only a couple days living inside I was starting to feel out of sync.

 

Now, lets talk a little about food….

 

If you don’t already know this, I love shopping at farmers markets!

It is a great way to eat seasonally and but the freshest produce possible. 

I get a lot of my recipe inspiration from what I find at farmers markets and sometimes it isn’t even the produce...

This particular trip I found some chaga sourdough bread I was super excited to try! (Chaga is mushroom renowned for it’s medicinal properties)

It was delicious!  I made my favorite version of toast with it and was sad I didn’t buy more!

For the toast; it’s just a smear of tahini and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.  It doesn’t sound like much but man, it is delicious!!  Hopefully, you liked this easy recipe and a glimpse of our super cute airbnb!

Love and light,

Crystal

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Jan 01, 2016

 

Happy New Year!!

This time of year has me thinking a lot about resolutions (and probably you as well).  Do you even know exactly what a resolution is?  Well let me tell you: it is a firm decision to do or not do something.  Please focus on the word FIRM.  Please don't use this term lightly.

Just because this is the time of year you are "supposed" to make a resolution doesn't mean it is the right time for you.  Make sure it is something your really want.  Check in with yourself and ask WHY you want it.  Maybe you are still traveling and it makes more sense to start a resolution when you return home or next month or six months from now.  I think it is always a good decision to make positive changes but make sure you are doing them for the right reasons and will take the time to implement them into your life.

If you know me very well, you know I am not a fan of fad diets.  Resolutions are often like fad diets: they don't help anyone and end up making you feel bad about yourself.  DON'T LET YOUR RESOLUTION BECOME A FAD DIET!

When/if you are ready to make changes here are a few suggestions on how to implement then and stick to them:

1) Choose your why.  This is a very important to making lasting changes.  If you don't have a strong why, what is the point anyways?  What is your reason for wanting to do this and will you put time and effort into accomplishing it?

2) Make a plan.  Changes are a lot easier when you have a plan.  Once you have decided on a resolution and know your why the next step is to sit down and write out a plan.  The key is to start small.  Maybe you decide to gradually increase of remove something from your life.  Set a plan on how much you add or take away each day, week or month.  Also, depending on your resolution you may be able to set specific times or cues.  For example: if you decide you want to work out more, you could start by working out once a week and gradually adding in workouts.  You can set yourself up for success by choosing a specific time of day and setting out your workout clothes or packing your gym bag the night before.

3) Implement when you are ready.  Choosing the right time can be crucial for your success.  Pick a time where you don't have more than usual on your plate or a lot of stress.  This will only make it harder. 

Bonus!  If your new resolution can be combined with something you enjoy or a reward try adding it as motivation.  Going back to the workout example, maybe you set a goal of working out three times a week and once you have done that for two months straight you reward yourself with a new outfit you've been eyeing or a night out with friends.  Something you really enjoy but don't do too often.  Just make sure you don't pick something that is detrimental to your goal. 

I hope this helped you get some perspective on your resolutions and will help you make lasting changes!

Cheers to a wonderful new year!

 Crystal

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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.