“A reveler is someone who loves sharing their passion for good times.”
-Ali Larter’s Kitchen Revelry
I wasn’t in the kitchen quite as much as I thought I’d be this weekend. I always think I’m going to get in there right away and make every great idea I saw on Pinterest the night before. Reality check. This is where I have to remind myself to slow down. What ingredients do I have on hand and how many different stops in town will be required.
I find myself gravitating toward the lighter recipes in the last couple weeks. Last week, I made a tasty millet salad with a peanut ginger dressing and various veggies. Scott wouldn’t touch it. Anything laced with shredded carrots scares him off. I don’t quite understand that one. Is it similar to those people who can’t eat cilantro because they think it tastes like soap (it’s genetic, right)?
In keeping with the theme of lightness, I’ve been thinking about a good green smoothie. You know, the kind with kale or spinach, or both and chia seeds or flax meal: something really good for me. Many of the smoothie recipes call for water, or coconut water, or various different kinds of milk as the liquid component. I’m not opposed to dairy products (in fact, I probably love them a little too much), but my goal was to cut back. Almond milk seemed the obvious choice. However, a while back I read something interesting about Almond milk found in the grocery store (read about it here). Basically, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of the various preservatives and stabilizers or thickeners found in processed milks. I know, I know, everything in moderation. The more I thought about it, I realized I must have a “pin” with a recipe for almond milk. Sure enough! Martha Stewart to the rescue. Ha! I followed Martha’s recipe with just a few changes:
Homemade Almond Milk
1 Cup raw Almonds
4 Cups water, divided
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp raw honey
pinch of vanilla salt
In a blender combine the almond and 1 cup of the water (heated to boiling). Let stand for 30 minutes. Add the remaining 3 cups of water, teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, teaspoon of raw honey and pinch of vanilla bean salt. Blend until frothy.
Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and slowly pour in the mixture, using a rubber spatula to press the liquid out of the pulp. Using a funnel, ladle the strained milk into a clean glass bottle and place in the refrigerator. The milk will keep in the fridge for about a week. Remember to shake well before pouring.
Here’s where Martha and I differ. She advised to discard the solids. A sense of wastefulness came over me and I thought, “there must be something tasty I could make out of this leftover pulp. It was still full of wonderful ingredients. Little flecks of vanilla bean and the subtle flavors of honey and salt.
I vaguely remembered having read somewhere about what to use leftover almond meal for, but it wasn’t coming to me. A few days ago, I had pulled Ali Larter’s Kitchen Revelry from my shelf and had planned to thumb through it. I finally sat down to it yesterday afternoon. To my pleasant surprise, there it was. She has a recipe of her own for almond milk. Hers calls for dates as a sweetener and less milk, for a thicker consistency. I’m looking forward to experimenting with that recipe too. And then I turned the page and found her recipe for Almond meal cookies (with the leftover meal from the milk recipe). Perfect! I carefully scooped the meal into a paper-towel lined container and popped it into the fridge, and made my list for the store.
I’m not going to lie. I was somewhat skeptical about this cookie recipe. Mashed bananas and shredded coconut are not exactly my thing. We were very pleasantly surprised. The dough went together so easily and I really like how they bake up without spreading.
Almond Meal Cookies (adapted from Kitchen Revelry)
1 ¼ to 1 ½ Cups mashed ripe bananas (from 3 to 4 bananas)
¼ Cup coconut oil, warmed
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp raw honey
1 ¾ Cups old-fashioned oats
1 Cup almond meal (solids leftover from the above almond milk recipe)
1/3 Cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt
¾ Cup vegan carob chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line one or two rimmed baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Mash the bananas and mix with the warmed coconut oil, vanilla extract, and raw honey in a small mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine the oats, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until evenly mixed. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix. Stir in the carob chips. The mixture will be moist. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls on the baking sheet and press to a ½ inch thickness. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. The cookies should be golden around the edges. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
Note: If using store-bought almond meal, add a couple tablespoons of almond milk to make up for the lack of moisture otherwise found in the homemade almond meal.
These little treats were delicious. Warm from the oven, they had the faint aroma of freshly baked banana bread. The coconut wasn’t overpowering and the carob chips were a burst of melty, sweetness. We’ve decided they would make a great breakfast cookie, or maybe even a late night snack.