Healthy Blueberry Muffins (using almond pulp from homemade almond milk)

You know, because you needed more food porn in your life. ❤

Y’all.

Prepare yourself for a slew of food-related posts, because I have REDISCOVERED MY LOVE FOR COOKING & BAKING.

Lemme tell you:

Nothing (NOTHING) feels better than making something with your bare hands.

ESPECIALLY when it’s something you get to eat afterward. Like… HOLLA!

Last week, I had a little adventure in the art of making homemade almond milk (something I’ve wanted to try for YEARS).

Then, I was left with all this weird stuff.

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Almond pulp, we’ll call it.

It’s the texture of modeling clay, and tastes like almond-flavored sand.

(mmm)

So, I did what any millennial would do, and hit Google for some ideas.

I found this blueberry muffin recipe that utilized almond pulp, but tweaked it to my own liking (you know. I’m a rebel. Rules shmules).

And here I am today, eating the most delicious, nourishing, tummy-filling muffins my taste buds have ever laid … buds on. (?)

I mean, look at that.

IMG_3124Are you drooling yet?

IMG_3123I am.

IMG_3132And they’re kid-approved, too!

Just kidding. She threw that entire muffin on the floor moments after I took this picture.

But, who knows? Maybe your child will be less “terrible pre-twos” than mine.

Or, you could always replace the blueberries with chocolate chips.

That will DEFINITELY do the trick. 😉

Let’s do this thing!

Healthy Blueberry Muffins (using almond pulp from homemade almond milk)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond pulp (the leftovers from 1 serving of this homemade almond milk)
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2/3 cup + 3 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup + 3 Tbsp. oat flour (if you don’t have any, just blend some uncooked, old-fashioned oats in a blender. Boom!)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup honey (go local!)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (extra virgin, cold-pressed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar (sounds weird, I know. Don’t add this until the VERY end!!!)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 muffin tin!
  2. In a large bowl, mix the almond pulp, chia seeds, whole wheat flour, oat flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a small pot over medium heat, add the honey and coconut oil. Mix until melted, and remove from heat (don’t forget to turn off the burner!)
  4. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  5. Once the honey & coconut oil has cooled somewhat, SLOWLY pour it into the egg mixture while mixing, so the eggs don’t cook.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients: mix.
  7. Add the blueberries (or chocolate chips, or coconut, or chopped bananas… whatever you want!): mix.
  8. Finally… add the vinegar! Mix!
  9. IMMEDATELY pour into your greased muffin tin & toss in the oven.
  10. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove when the muffins are tan/brown around the edges, and a toothpick pushed into the center of a muffin comes out clean!

Voila!

IMG_3137Storage tip: line a tupperware with paper towels above and below the muffins. These will soak up any excess moisture, keeping your muffins perfect! Make sure to wait until muffins are COMPLETELY cooled before storing!

Comment below if you follow this recipe – I want to see how they turn out! ❤

Happy Saturday!

kelsieesther

Homemade Almond Milk

Alternatively titled: Mark My Words, I’ll Be 80 Years Old Selling This Stuff at the Farmer’s Market.

Do you ever have those things, where you keep thinking “I’m totally going to do that someday,” and then 5 years later you’re like “Why haven’t I done that thing?!”

Also, have you noticed that when you FINALLY end up doing that thing, it takes like 5 minutes and WAY less work than you thought, and you’re like “WHY THE HECK DID I WAIT 5 YEARS TO DO THIS THING?!”

For me, that thing is making homemade almond milk.

Not to give you way too much insight into my digestive system, but when I drink cow’s milk (or “milk,” as lactose-tolerant people call it), ugly things happen.

brace-yourself-farts

So, I do what any sane person would do, and buy almond milk instead.

But here’s the thing:

Most almond milks have weird additives.

Like, here’s the ingredients label for my current almond milk (HyVee brand, unsweetened vanilla):

Almond milk (filtered water, almonds),

(interjection: why didn’t they just stop there?! They were doing so well!!)

But on the list goes:

Tricalcium phosphate, natural flavors, sea salt, gellan gum, dipotassium phosphate, xanathan gum, sunflower lecithin, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin d2, dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin e).

Now, before you start yell-typing at me, I am fully aware that most of these things are vitamins.

But A) I get all the vitamins I need from my daily superfood smoothie, and B) What is “natural flavors?” What is “gellan gum?” What is “xanthan gum?”

Sure, maybe these things won’t kill me or give me cancer, but I’d rather play it safe. My prerogative, you know?

SO.

I went to HyVee (my grocery store of choice), and bought almonds from the bulk section (near the natural foods section), for $9.00/pound.

One pound of almonds was about 3 cups, and this recipe called for 1 cup. The total recipe ended up making 4 cups of almond milk.

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Almond milk, feat. Brother Arm.

Math (notice how I sprinkle pictures in the mix, so you don’t get bored):

Normal almond milk usually costs like, $3/half gallon.

Half a gallon = 8 cups.

In order to make 8 cups of almond milk, I would need to double this recipe, which would utilize 2 cups of almonds.

2 cups of almonds = (roughly) .66 pounds.

Based on HyVee’s almonds, this would be roughly $6.

13833206_10154352257575996_1009837135_o

SO, depending on where you get your almonds, it’s not necessarily more cost-effective to make your own almond milk.

HOWEVER, some very smart ladies informed me that Sprouts often has their bulk almonds on sale for $4.99/pound (WHAT?!).

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Moist pulp – mmm *vomit*

So, to make 1/2 gallon of almond milk from Sprouts almonds would cost about $3.33.

That’s just an extra $.33, for peace of mind and zero preservatives, thickeners, “natural flavors,” etc.

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Mmm, and look at that leftover pulp… ❤

Worth it, in my book!

If you know of any cheaper places to buy almonds, please let me know in the comments! I would be forever indebted to you!

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Here’s what’s leftover. This was like modeling clay – could be a fun tactile thing for babies to play with, and if they eat a little, who cares?

Okay. Without any further ado, here’s the recipe:

Homemade Almond Milk of the Gods:

  • grab your cup (or two, if you’re making 1/2 gallon of almond milk) of almonds, and throw them in a bowl. BOOM.
  • Cover with filtered water, and allow to soak overnight.
  • Look at those plump, juicy nuts! (I had to).
  • Drain & rinse the almonds.
  • Throw them in your Vitamix or other blender, along with 3.5 cups of water for each cup of almonds you originally used.
  • Optional add-ins: vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt, the blood of your enemies.
  • Blend. BLEND THAT MO-FO! ON HIGH! Cackle like a villain, because nobody can hear you.
  • If you want the almond pulp removed from your almond milk (most people do), pour the almond milk through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl/cup/whatever.
  • Take the rest of the moist pulp (*shudder*), and toss it into a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, OR $1 dishtowel from Wal-Mart, if you’re smart like me and hate spending money.
  • Squeeze! Squeeze that mo-fo! (Into the bowl of almond milk). *note: this is the most satisfying part of making almond milk, and is probably the reason I’ll be an old maiden making various nut milks to sell at the farmer’s market. Anger = obliterated.
  • Have a sip. Or ten. Or drink all of it, because you’re a boss and you deserve it.

Who’s got some other add-in ideas to share with me??

If you follow this recipe, be sure to comment below and let me know how it turned out!

HAPPY SATURDAY! ❤

kelsieesther

 

Today, I Ate Something I’ve NEVER Eaten Before!

New things are really hard, especially for someone like me who’s SUPER habit-driven. Like, to give you an indication, I’ve eaten an omelette for lunch every single day for the last 4 days. And I’m not even sick of it.

But today, I tried something totally new…

Hey friends!

This morning, for breakfast, I had something I’ve never tried before.

Those of you who know me (and maybe some of you who don’t), know that I usually have a smoothie for breakfast. It looks a little something like this:

Kelsie’s Usual Breakfast Smoothie:

1 frozen banana

a handful of frozen berries

a handful of greens, either fresh or frozen

roughly a tablespoon of peanut butter

one serving of chocolate protein powder

skim, whole, or almond milk, depending on the day

Pretty healthy, right?

Lately I’ve been a little tired of it, though. I’m in a total smoothie rut. I have all these different smoothie recipes, but it’s the protein powder I’m tired of! I don’t really have a favorite brand, so I usually buy whatever is cheapest (depending on the ingredient list). And I’m pretty sure the brand I have right now is making my mouth hurt. You know that feeling, like you *might* get a canker sore but your mouth hasn’t decided yet? Yeah. That feeling. Every time I drink my morning smoothie. 😥

So, after two friends were sweet enough to give me some samples, I tried something totally new this morning:

Shakeology.

Chocolate Shakeology.

As many of you know, I’m very, very particular about what I put into my body, which is why I want to bring you on this little journey with me. I’ve been brushing off this whole “Shakeology” trend because I assumed it was just another gimmick or supplement or blah blah blah. Well, my plan is to drink Shakeology every day for a week or two, while doing some extensive research on the ingredients (so far, it passes the “Kelsie test,” but time will tell if it withstands).

Basically, Shakeology contains protein (from a few different sources), as well as your daily vitamins and minerals, ALL of your fruits & veggies for the day, pre- and probiotics, digestive enzymes, over 70 superfoods, and tons of different herbs to support your body in lots of different ways. You can simply shake it up with your liquid of choice, or you can blend it with ice and liquid for a “milkshake”-like effect. Here’s the label for Chocolate Shakeology:

I blended mine with 10 ounces of whole milk and about a cup of ice, and lemme tell ya – it was REALLY yummy! It actually thickened up like a Wendy’s frosty or chocolate milkshake, and the taste was incredible. I’m craving it a little as I type this. 🙂

Here are my thoughts on day 1 of replacing my normal breakfast smoothie (recipe shown above) with Shakeology:

My initial thoughts:

  • Cost Factor: My normal smoothie > Shakeology

This has been the one thing holding me back – Shakeology runs at about $4 per serving. If you become a Beachbody coach, it’s about $3 per serving, but STILL. I usually purchase my normal ol’ chocolate protein powder for like $20 and that contains about 18 servings, running at just over $1 per serving. BUT, that chocolate protein powder doesn’t contain vitamins, minerals, and herbs, and usually DOES contain artificial flavors and sweeteners. So, in this category, you really do get what you pay for.

  • Taste Factor: Shakeology > my normal smoothie

Surprising, right? I thought it would taste like one of those nasty nutrition shakes like Carnation Instant Breakfast or something like that… but NOPE. It was super creamy and delicious and tasted like chocolate milk/Wendy’s frosty. Count me in!

  • Fullness Factor: Shakeology > my normal smoothie

I did NOT expect this one, to be totally honest. I’ve even tried blending my normal smoothie with whole milk, and it just doesn’t keep me full past 2 or 3 hours. I usually have to have a protein bar or something along those lines to get me to lunch! After drinking my Shakeology and having a piece of 100% whole grain toast with coconut oil and cinnamon (which I always eat alongside my normal smoothie as well), I was STUFFED. I felt like I had just eaten a feast! I drank it at 8 a.m. and it kept me full until about noon, noon-thirty. Win!

  • Time Factor: Shakeology > my normal smoothie

This is a big part of the reason I was so interested in Shakeology to begin with. It’s getting a little labor- and time-intensive to lug all the ingredients out (frozen bananas, frozen berries, frozen or fresh greens, milk, PB, knife or spoon, chocolate protein powder), “measure” them out (somewhat), then put them all away. Shoot, I have a one year-old! I don’t have time for that business! This morning I simply grabbed my packet of Shakeology, threw it in the Vitamix, added milk, added ice, blended, and drank (slurped, more like). Much less cleanup, much less time, much less mess, and less dirty dishes to boot! I’m a fan. I just need to find a really big cup, because I had to use two to hold all that Shakeology goodness!

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Exhibit A: I forgot to take a picture until I had already drank (drunk? Drinked?) one of the cups! My bad. Also pictured: delicious Calcium gummies from Costco.
  • Energy Factor: Shakeology > my normal smoothie

I didn’t expect this one either! But it’s only been ONE day, so I’ll monitor this one closely. In retrospect, though, I’m not surprised – Chocolate Shakeology contains 6 grams of sugar (about 1.5 sugar cubes), whereas the banana ALONE in my normal smoothie contains about 17 grams of sugar (over 4 full sugar cubes). Yes, yes, calm down, I know it’s FRUIT sugar, but sugar is sugar. It enters the bloodstream and does its thing regardless of the source.

banana
The sugar in my banana smoothie. And that’s not even counting the protein powder and berries!

It’s 2:00p.m. right now, and usually I’d be getting sleepy, but my energy has remained constant throughout the entire morning. This is huge!!! Usually I’d be contemplating a nap, but instead… I’m writing this post. Obviously. So this is a huge win for Shakeology! I’m all about eating to feel good and fuel your daily activities – if Shakeology will get rid of my afternoon “shlump,” then you can go ahead and call me a fan.

Wow, guys. That’s 4/5 for Shakeology, on Day 1 of this little adventure. Color me impressed, but I’m going to keep drinking it before I get too excited! Time will tell.

I’ll keep you guys posted!

Have you ever tried Shakeology? What’s your favorite flavor? Do you have any recipes that use Shakeology? Please share in the comments below!

Have a happy, healthy day!

kelsieesther