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homemade almond milk

Few things give me more satisfaction than making a fresh, all natural alternative to products we buy in stores. Especially when it costs less to make it than to buy it. Case in point, almond milk. I’ve never really been a fan of the stuff – I found it to be too sweet, and well, not very almond-y. And have you ever looked at the ingredients? Even the “healthiest” brands are alarming. Thankfully almond milk is super easy to make and tastes way better than the store bought variety.

Homemade Almond Milk | kukkiva.com

Keep in mind that a fresh batch of almond milk (about a quart for this recipe) will last about 5 days. Adjust the amount you make based on your consumption. Also, depending on how thick you like your almond milk, adjust the amount of water you use. Less water, creamier almond milk. Enjoy!

ingredients

1 cup raw almonds
8 cups filtered water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Honey (optional)
Cheesecloth for straining

directions

Soak the almonds in 4 cups water for 10 hours or longer. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier your milk will be.

After the soaking period, rinse the almonds well and place in blender. Add the salt, and at least 2 cups water to start. Blend well. If the milk is too creamy, add additional water, but no more than 4 cups total. Blend for 2-4 minutes total.

Place the cheesecloth in a mesh sieve over a bowl. Gradually pour the mixture into the cheesecloth, allowing it to drain in the bowl. Once all the mixture has been poured into the cheesecloth, gather the edges and begin to wring out the remaining milk. Add honey to desired sweetness. Store milk in airtight container (I used an old glass pasta sauce bottle) for up to 5 days.

 

pan-seared salmon

Perfectly Pan-Seared Salmon | apricotsandwalnuts.com

It sometimes feels like we all fear making fish because it’s so insanely easy to overcook it, bringing out that horrid “fishy” taste and smell. Surprisingly, pan-searing or pan-frying salmon is super easy and fool proof if you follow these important techniques.

• Salmon skin cooks to a delightful crisp, similar to that of chicken skin. The skin and the layer of fat just below it are what will help the fish maintain it’s moisture, so you should always cook the fish with the skin on, skin-side down. If you’re not crazy about the skin, it’s easy to remove after cooking.

• To keep the fish from sticking to the pan, pre-heat the oil over high heat. You want the pan and your fat source to be as hot as possible. Once the oil is nice and hot, add the salmon skin-side down, then reduce the heat to medium.

• During the first couple minutes of cooking, press the filet down with a spatula. This will help keep the fish from curling, a result of the skin shrinking. Keeping the filet from curling will help ensure the fish cooks evenly. Allow it to cook almost all the way through on the skin side, then flip and cook for an additional minute or less. If your pan and oil were hot enough, you’ll have no trouble with sticking.

• Temperature, temperature, temperature! Dry, stale, flaky fish occurs when too much heat has been applied for too long a period. 125°F to 135° are the ideal temps for medium-rare to well done salmon filets. If you see white clumps on the exterior or surpass 140°, you’ll quickly be approaching an overcooked fish.

I personally love fish served with pesto, roasted potatoes, and a side of green beans. I season my fish with salt, and use coconut oil when cooking, and that’s it!

banana bread muffins

paleo banana bread muffins | apricotsandwalnuts.com

just because we’ve gone paleo doesn’t mean we’ve given up delicious treats. in fact, we still have plenty of them, and are always rather happy that they’re not only damn good, but are also made from whole foods with no processed sugars. you can chow down on a few of these banana bread muffins and not get hit with the carb nap attacks. these aren’t overly banana flavored – they actually taste more like a bran muffin, and the walnuts add the perfect amount of nuttiness without taking over. enjoy!

ingredients

1.5 cups almond flour
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, + more for topping

directions

preheat oven to 375˚ F.

in a large bowl, sift together almond flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. combine well.

in a separate medium bowl, add the mashed bananas, eggs, honey, vanilla, and oil – mix well.

make a slight well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. add in the majority of the chopped walnuts and stir until combined.

fill the baking cups in your muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full. sprinkle a few chopped walnuts over each cupcake. bake muffins for 21-23 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. let cool before serving.

(original recipe from With Style & Grace)

roasted potatoes & brussels sprouts with bacon

paleo roasted potatoes & brussels sprouts with bacon | apricotsandwalnuts.com

i love brussels sprouts, but the mountain man doesn’t exactly claim to be there number one fan. or their millionth. finding ways to serve them is always a challenge, especially as i don’t like to completely mask their flavor since i happen to love them. this dish thankfully makes both of us happy – the brussels sprouts rendered in the bacon fat are delectable, and the potatoes are the perfect balance to it all.

a trick with this dish is to cover it with foil for 1/2 the time it cooks (either at the beginning or the end is fine). it can dry out quickly, charring the bacon and shallots in the process. definitely use a deep dish container, versus a baking pan, to ensure it doesn’t dry out completely. if you’re using larger, dense potatoes, let them get a head start cooking before adding the brussels sprouts. enjoy!

ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil or fat of choice
2 tbsp gluten free whole grain mustard
2-3 cups new potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2-3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced (the smaller the crispier)
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
salt + pepper

directions

preheat the oven to 425˚ F.

in your baking dish, whisk together the coconut oil and mustard. toss the potatoes, brussels sprouts, shallot, and bacon in the bowl until evenly coated with the mustard and oil. sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

spread the mixture so it’s even throughout the dish, then place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. if you see it’s starting to dry out, cover with foil to help trap the moisture in the dish.

once the potatoes are cooked through and the bacon is crispy, stir once more, allowing it to bake for additional 3-4 minutes. remove and serve hot.

thai lettuce bowl

paleo thai lettuce bowl | apricotsandwalnuts.com

this recipe has been in my collection for years and is insanely easy to make. most people like to serve this in lettuce cups, but i find them to be too annoying to eat that way. half the head of lettuce inevitably can’t be used because of tears, and the pieces you can use just fall apart while you’re eating it. so i keep it easy and serve this over a bed of lettuce.

this dish also commonly has a lot of rice as part of the “filling” which we obviously don’t include. if you want a little more substance, mix in a cup of cauliflower rice just before serving. enjoy!

ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp tamari
1/2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp chopped green onions
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup carrots, shredded
2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

directions

in a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground turkey in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, stirring often. once browned, add the onion, stirring frequently. add the garlic, tamari,  vinegar, and carrots to the mixture, and stir. as the liquids begin to boil down, add the green onions, sesame oil, and bean sprouts; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.

spoon mixture over bowls of lettuce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. serve with a side of hot sauce for those who enjoy a little kick to their thai food.