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pinchin’ pennies: got (non-dairy) milk?

12 June 2011

Hello, dear (lack of) readers, and apologies for the lack of posts! No good excuse for the absence, so I’ll just get down to the good stuff:

horchata

cinnamon brown rice milk

One of the first things I did in dealing with my money diet, as my dear friend likes to call my present penury, is start making my own non-dairy milk. It’s surprisingly easy, surprisingly delicious (considering my obsession with Silk’s new unsweetened almond milk), and, of course, incredibly cost-effective. You don’t even need a vitamix — though of course, if you’re lucky enough to have one, this is obviously a good excuse to use it — because I made my first few batches in my ol’ $20 blender.

I started out with almond milk, because it felt safe. Also I had almonds. The recipe I used called for 1 cup of raw almonds plus 4 cups of water, though since I’ve seen (thriftier still) recipes calling for a reduced almond:liquid ratio. I added a touch of vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, and a few drops of stevia; then let the blender have at it for a good 3 minutes or so, strained the liquid, and . . . done. Easy. Creamy, frothy, divine: definitely my favorite non-dairy-milk endeavor so far.

Unfortunately, I quickly ran out of almonds, and they’re not exactly in my price range anymore. Next up was oat milk: I made raw oat milk by soaking a cup of oats overnight, then blending the soaked oats with 4 cups of water and just a touch of stevia. I found the flavor interesting — well, oaty — the first day, but oddly off-putting thereafter (odd considering that oats are basically my lifeblood). Tasted fine in baked goods, but if you’re planning to drink it straight-up or in overnight oats or something, can’t say I’d recommend it. (Some day I might try the cooked-oats variety . . . when I have a microwave and/or pot, that is.)

Yesterday I made rice milk, which I’m pleased to say will probably be my go-to milk for at least the next couple of months (if not indefinitely!). Cheap ‘n’ tasty, even if it’s not quite as decadent as the almond variety. This time I used half a cup of cooked brown rice, two cups water, a tablespoon of date puree, a touch of vanilla, and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I’ve been calling it horchata — that’s cinnamon rice milk, right? — though I make no claims as to its authenticity.

horchata

so maybe I went a tad overboard with the cinnamon....

The third thing I did with it (after drinking it and making pancakes!) was make some delicious horchata chia pudding. Easiest thing ever: mix 2 tbsp chia seeds with 1/2 cup rice milk and a few drops of stevia (plus a liberal sprinkle of cinnamon if you’re not using this “horchata”), then let sit in the fridge, stirring and adding additional horchata/rice milk if necessary. When sufficiently frog-egg-like, you can either eat it as-is or give it a whiz in the vitamix and then let chill in the freezer (my preferred method). Creamy, cinnamony, nutrient-y goodness!

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