Several weeks ago, I posted a query, asking readers about their gluten free breakfast choices. I got a lot of wonderful answers which you can see by going to this post and reading the comments. What a fantastic variety of foods all of you eat for breakfast! It gave me lots of ideas and encouraged me to continue with my quest to find satisfying, delicious foods that I can eat for my first meal.
My latest first-thing-in-the-morning meal has been homemade muesli, a concoction that consists of a whole lots of different components, depending on your preferences for dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, and flakes (and anything else you might want to add). I pour Vanilla Almond milk over the whole thing and then dig in. It’s one of the first gluten free breakfasts I actually look forward to. It’s so delicious that I’ve even considered having it for more than one meal!!! For me, I feel like I’ve finally hit the breakfast jackpot. Donâ€™t get me wrong, I still love a piece of crispy, toasted Breads From Anna gluten free bread or Glutino Bagel. But itâ€™s nice to have a change of pace.
The first few mornings I made the whole thing from scratch each time. But then I got smart and made a batch of the dried nuts and dried fruits, enough to last for four breakfasts. In the morning, I then only had to add the fresh fruit and almond milk to the mixture.
3 strips of dried banana AND/OR 3 â€“ 6 chopped dates
one small handful dark raisins
7 raw almonds, chopped
7 raw pecan halves, chopped
handful raw sunflower seeds (not roasted or salted)
1 â€“ 2 tablespoons grated unsweeted coconut
one chopped apple
about 6 â€“ 8 blackberries or the berry of your choice
Mix. Thatâ€™s it! Store in a container and try not to eat it all at one sitting!
If you’re looking for dairy-free milk alternatives, maybe you’ve tried the gluten-free commercially prepared dairy-free milk. You can buy this product at Whole Foods, local health food stores, or Trader Joe’s, in cardboard pourable containers. Thereâ€™s soy milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk, almond milk and probably other choices that Iâ€™m forgetting. The one that I presently have in my frig is the Pacific brand of Vanilla Low-fat Almond Milk. I use it for my tea, coffee, and to now pour over my muesli. It’s ok, quite acceptable actually. But truthfully, it doesn’t come close to homemade almond milk.
I actually really love the almond milk that I’ve been making at home. I mean, like I REALLY love it! And that comes from a person who has really dug her heels in when it comes to finding suitable dairy-free milk alternatives. There are two different ways that Iâ€™ve made it. The easiest way is to make it without cooking it. Iâ€™ve also made it with my Soyquick Milk maker, an alternative that cooks the almonds. I will be blogging about this fabulous machine in a future post. But for now, let me tell you how you can easily make uncooked homemade almond milk. I’m including the recipe below, but if you want to watch a video of it being made by an expert, go to youtube.com and search for either Karen Knowler or almond milk. I can’t seem to figure out how to actually place her youtube video in this blog post. Any ideas, please let me know!
Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk (uncooked)
1 cup raw almonds (with or without skins)
3 cups water
medjool dates or any dates you can find â€“ make sure there are no pits inside the dates
agave syrup to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the scrapings from one fresh vanilla bean
Iâ€™ve read that it is best to soak the almonds overnight, however I always forget, so I just make it with almonds straight from the bag. By the way, the almonds from Trader Joeâ€™s (they cost about $4.69 per 16 ounce bag) appear to be gluten-free. Many of their bagged nuts say that theyâ€™re made in a facility that also processes numerous ingredients, including wheat. Not so with the almonds. Of course, itâ€™s always best to check â€“ we have to religiously read labels.
Put the almonds and water in a blender and blend on highest speed. When it appears that the almonds are as finely chopped as theyâ€™ll get, turn the blender off. Of course, I would love a Vita-mix blender, but for now Iâ€™ve made do with my regular, run of the mill blender.
Strain the almond milk by placing a sprout or nut bag, if youâ€™re lucky enough to have one, over a bowl or measuring cup. Pour the almond milk into the bag. Squeeze the bag to get all of the liquid out of the blended almonds. If you donâ€™t have a sprout or nut bag, another alternative is to place a strainer over the bowl or measuring cup so that it will not tip over. Lay a doubled or tripled piece of cheesecloth over the strainer. Pour the almond milk into the strainer.
Once the almond milk is strained, pour it back into the blender (first you have to thoroughly wash it before reusing for this next step). Add the dates, agave syrup, and vanilla and blend. You will want to taste the milk to see if you want additional dates, agave syrup, or vanilla, per your taste.
Store in the refrigerator. Best to use within the next 2 or 3 days.
So there you go. If you decide to try making your own almond milk, please let me know. Iâ€™d love to hear about your experience.