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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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Mar 21, 2017

 

Travel will always be a big part of who I am.  I’m not exactly sure where this drive came from but it is deeply rooted within me.  My daydreams take me to far away lands and I would spend every penny I had on the adventure of a lifetime (and I almost have many times). 

 

This latest exploration takes us to the northern tip of Newfoundland, where the locals live among moose, whales and polar bears, certain parts of the year. 

 

Even in the summer they get huge icebergs floating down from Greenland (the journey takes two years!!) where they get stuck and melt down to become part of the sea. 

 

It’s a mysterious place with the most welcoming people. 

On our arrival in St. Anthony’s one evening, we were stopped by a local couple who gave us a pin with the town crest on it and to welcome us to their home. 

 

The moose are lined up on the sides of the road at dusk and the minke and humpback whales are feeding along the coast. 

It’s not a place many people visit and taking a whale tour to meet the humpbacks up close and personal is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The miles they travel every year is so impressive it makes our trip look inconsequential.  

 

For now, I think I should let the pictures tell the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The adventure never ends,

Crystal

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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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Mar 06, 2017

 

No plans are ever set in stone…

Something we have learned so very much on our latest trip through Canada and the U.S.  We were in Seattle with my cousin, Jenny, when I received a call from my mom. Our grandma had a stroke.  Oh my gosh.  What do we do?  We are so far away.  A little while later the phone rings again… the medicine grandma was given had a bad effect and she didn’t make it.  Stillness, tears, realization.  I’m so far away.

After flying home to spend time with family and to lay grandma in her final resting place it’s back to the Pacific Northwest.  I land in Portland and only days later I can tell something isn’t normal.  I’m being pulled back towards home.  Food is tasting weird.  I’m sore in odd places.  We extend our stay in Portland to make more travel plans.  We make a reservation at our favorite restaurant, The Blossoming Lotus, and I have this feeling we shouldn’t be ordering a bottle of wine. After three positive tests, I start to believe the results.

We are having a baby.

What?  This wasn’t the plan.  We extend our stay in Portland again.  Rearrange our plans.  Take a blood test.  Also positive.  Time to be grown ups…

After a few cold days camping in Bend, OR we realize the plan we made wasn’t going to work.  It was time to start adulting; which I’ve been running away from as long as I can remember.  There was something deep inside of me that has been pulling me back towards the heartland where I never really planned on returning.

Each day brings us a little closer to the day we bring our first child into the world and we can’t wait to meet the little one but in the meantime I will be keeping my belly bump safe and we will be securing a wonderful place to bring this new life into.

As our big adventure comes to an end our greatest adventure begins…  it is more than I could have ever asked for and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our future family of three (I mean four, don’t forget that crazy husky :).

Lots of love to you and yours,

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.