Saturday, April 30, 2011

Oats, Spiced-Almond Milk, and Spring!

I absolutely love spring. I wish it could be spring forever. When I lived in was! Ah, the good ole' days. I never realized how spoiled I was over there....until we moved to back to the mainland.

The only negative thing about Spring is when these little buggers come out.

I don't know what it is about Spring that puts everyone in "eat healthy mode", but I've jumped on the health train.

Now, I don't eat many unhealthy foods to begin with.....but I've also never made homemade granola and almond milk either. So this extra healthy stuff is new to me! Oats have so many health benefits that I could never go over all of them on my blog.

I think most of us know that we should all try to add oats to our diet. I, not being a big oatmeal fan, had to find different ways to eat this healthy food. Luckily, I have discovered two new ways to do eat oats. to me, at least.

The first being granola. If I had known all these years how easy it is to make granola, I would have started making it ages ago. Sorry Bear Naked, you are delicious, but I've found someone else....and his name is homemade granola. I hope we can still be friends.

Actually, I have a little confession. Granola is easy to make, but I messed it up the first go 'round. Here's a NOT add too much brown sugar or honey. The first time I made it, I added more than the recipe called for (thinking, honey never hurt anybody), and the honey and brown sugar burned. It wasn't pretty guys.

Can you guess where these ended up?

The other way I love to eat oats is muesli. Muesli is a dish made of uncooked oats that are soaked in a flavorful liquid, such as apple juice, or any fruit juice. I soak mine in milk. It comes out so creamy and delicious. I add peanut butter, honey, dried fruit, and nuts just before serving. Now there have been many debates over what exactly can be called muesli, so if this is not the authentic kind then I am sorry. I don't know what else to call it. Uncooked Oats Soaked in Milk just sounds.....gross.

The almond milk is good, but takes some getting used to. Do not expect it to taste like milk, or even like the Almond Milk you buy at the grocery store.

I added dates to my almond milk for natural sweetness. I also heated it up in a pan for 5 minutes, turned off the heat and added cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. I let this steep for a delicious Spiced Almond Milk, made from scratch and oh so much cheaper than the processed store-bought stuff. If you are into the whole "raw food" thing, then just skip the heating.


Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds, skins on
2-3 cups filtered water, this varys person to person

Soak the almonds in water (not the filtered water, but plain tap water) overnight.

In a blender, blend soaked almonds along with filtered water until mixed thoroughly. Liquid will become white. At this point you can add 3-4 pitted dates if you like sweet almond milk. Blend the dates for a few seconds.

Strain using a Nutmilk bag. I didn't have one, so I used a colander. It is not as good as a nutmilk bag, and I will probably buy one for next time, but a colander gets the job done.

There you have it! Fresh Almond Milk.


3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sliced almonds, or any other nut
1/4 cup sesame seeds, or any other seed/nut
1/3 cup flax seeds (optional, but very healthy)
1/4 cup honey
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
a dash of salt
dried fruit

Preheat oven to 320 F. Mix honey and brown sugar in a large bowl . Add oats, and whatever nuts and seeds you like. Mix thoroughly, making sure all of the granola is covered with the honey/brown sugar mixture. Season with a little bit of salt. This will help bring out the sweetness, believe it or not!

Pour onto a greased baking pan. Spread out evenly. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown.

After you take it out of the oven, add the dried fruit (however much you want). Spread granola back out on the baking pan and let cool. Break the granola up and eat with yogurt, cold milk, or plain.

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