Homemade Creamy Almond Milk

Creamy Almond Milk Quick and Easy

Creamy Almond Milk

 

My primary reason for learning how to make Creamy Almond Milk is to add flavor to coffee. I really enjoy adding creamer to my coffee. For years, my creamer of choice was half and half. However, in an effort to reduce calories, I decided to try some alternatives. First, I tried soy milk and really enjoy the taste, but became increasingly more concerned about the list of ingredients. Next, I tried Almond Milk. The taste was acceptable, but after a few days I noticed a rash developing. The rash disappeared after I discontinued drinking the almond milk. This was puzzling because, I consume almonds almost daily without any skin issues. After investigating the ingredients, I decided the possible cause was due to the preservatives and other unpronounceable ingredients.

A few days later, a friend mentioned that she makes her own and explained the simple steps to make creamy almond milk. With just a couple of personal tweaks, I decided on this very basic recipe. The difference in flavor is amazing. It gives my coffee a wonderful almond, vanilla flavor. Occasionally, I even use it in place of milk for cereal and oatmeal.

Here are the quick and easy, step-by-step directions for making Creamy Almond Milk.

You will need:

1 cup raw almonds (preferably organic)

3 cups filtered water (plus more for soaking almonds)

1 Tbsp. vanilla (I only use JR Watkins Original Double Strength Vanilla)

1-2 Tbsp. raw honey (completely optional but, really good)

Soak Almonds
Soak Almonds Overnight using filtered water.

 

 

Cover the Almonds in filtered water and soak for 24 hours or at least overnight. The almonds will swell and soften slightly as they absorb some of the water. This will make a creamy almond milk with less grit. After soaking, rinse and place in a blender.

Filtered Water in Pyrex Measure Cup
Filtered Water

 

Pour three cups of filtered water over the almonds and set the blender to the puree setting.

Blending almonds in Vitamix
Blend until creamy.

 

Puree in blender until thick and creamy.

 

Draining almonds using a nut bag
Drain the almond mixture

 

Drain the almond mixture using a stainless steel double mesh strainer, lined with a nut bag. You will need to stir occasionally to enable most of the milk to drain.

Squeeze milk from almonds.
Squeeze milk from almonds.

 

Squeeze excess milk from the bag. Pour the milk, vanilla and honey into the blender.

 

Blend ingredients just until combined
Blend ingredients just until combined

 

Blend for about 30 seconds to a minute, just enough to combine the ingredients. Pour into a glass pitcher and place in the refrigerator.

 

Homemade Creamy Almond Milk
Homemade Creamy Almond Milk

 

 

 

The Creamy Almond Milk will stay fresh for 3-4 days.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Please leave a comment to share how you use almond milk and different variations you like to use.

 

 

Use the remaining almond mixture to make almond meal.

Drying almonds in warm oven.
Dry almonds in warm oven.

 

Heat the oven on its lowest setting. Spread the leftover almond meal on a lined baking sheet and place in the heated oven until thoroughly dry. Pour dried almond meal in a blender and process until fine.

Use the almond meal in cookies, cakes, bread or a variety of other recipes. It is especially delicious when used as breading for chicken strips.

Here are some of the culinary tools I use to prepare Creamy Almond Milk.

 
Simply click the image to learn more about each product:

Krona Stainless Steel Deluxe Double Mesh Strainer by Norpro
Stainless Steel Double Mesh Strainer

 

Nut Milk Bag by Rawsome Creations
Nut Milk Bag

 

Anchor Hocking 8-Cup Batter Bowl With Red Lid from Fox Run
8-cup Batter Bowl with red lid.

 

1 qt Milk Bottle
This vintage style, ceramic Milk Bottle keeps milk colder than plastic or cardboard.

 

JR Watkins Original Double-Strength Vanilla
JR Watkins Original Double-Strength Vanilla

 

Visit The Kozy Nook
View our complete line of culinary tools.
A collage of whisks for every cooking need.

Gourmet Cooking Utensils

Kozy Nook Has Your

Gourmet Cooking Utensils

So, what’s the difference between an ordinary kitchen gadget and gourmet cooking utensils? The cost? Some gourmet cooking utensils can be quite expensive, but not always. Are they utensils that only professional chefs have access to? That’s not typically the case either. Let’s take a look at the whisk, one of the most common utensils found in most every kitchen. Are whisks considered gourmet cooking utensils?

Technically a whisk refers to a utensil used in a rapid, sweeping motion for the purpose of moving an item. In the kitchen, our intention is to move ingredients. Whisks are vital for incorporating air into eggs and batters or blending ingredients to a smooth consistency. While most kitchens have a basic whisk for whipping up scrambled eggs, others are stocked with several types designed for more specific purposes. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular styles.

Balloon Whisk Baking Utensil
Stainless Steel Balloon Whisk, click image for complete details.

A basic Balloon Whisk is designed for general all-purpose whipping. Most popular sizes range from a mini 6- inch, up to 13-inches. Commonly used for eggs, pancake batter, roux, dressing and a variety of other applications. The rounded structure conforms perfectly to the shape of mixing bowls. Generally, a 9-inch size is sufficient for many purposes and every kitchen should include at least one of these.

Stainless Steel Aerator Cage Whisk Gourmet Kitchen Utensils
Aerator Cage Whisk, click image for complete details

An Aerator Cage Whisk is similar to a balloon whisk except, its unique design includes a large head and an additional wire cage inside which contains a metal ball. It is used for heavy whipping and thoroughly blends thicker batters, culminating in an extra-smooth texture.

Danish Dough Whisk Baking Utensil
The Danish Dough Whisk, click image for complete details.

The Danish Dough Whisk has a unique design, which at first glance, doesn’t appear to be very useful. However, it has become essential in my kitchen for mixing sourdough starter, incorporating delicate ingredients into batter and mixing dough for cookies or biscuits. It requires fewer strokes to accomplish incredible results.

 

 

 

Stainless Steel Flat Whisk Gourmet Cooking Utensils
Stainless Steel Flat Whisk, click image for complete details.

A Flat Whisk is routinely used to prepare a roux or sauce in a skillet. It is formed to efficiently sweep across the surface of your skillet while stirring to prevent lumps. This results in a smoother roux or sauce.

Whisk Coil Whip Gourmet Kitchen Utensil
Whip Whisk, click image to view complete details.

The Coil Wire Whisk is constructed with an individual wire, coiled into a balloon shape. It’s primarily used for liquids or beating eggs. Simply place it in a bowl and pump the handle up and down to distribute liquids. This springing action whips and fluffs batters.

Sauce Master Gourmet Kitchen Utensil
Sauce Master kitchen utensil, click image for complete details.

The peculiar style of the Sauce Master consists of a main loop encased in a wire that is coiled around it. It is wonderful for preparing sauces, gravy, pudding, gelatin and batters. The long handle and angle allow it to be used in deep pots or bowls. The whisk head covers more surface than a traditional balloon whisk.

Mini Saucinator
The Saucinator, click to order yours.

The Saucinator is an extraordinary whisk similar to the Sauce Master, with a few notable improvements. The heat resistant silicone coil covers more pan surface to prevent scorching and will not damage your cookware. The coil that extends up the handle performs like an additional whisk. Your sauce, gravy, pudding or batter will be even smoother. The silicone construction makes it easier to clean. It is available in a large size for deeper pots and a small size for saucepans. It’s another essential whisk in my kitchen.

Flat Coil Whisk Kitchen Utensil
Flat Coil Whisk, click image for complete details.

The Flat Coil Whip bears a resemblance to the Master Sauce Whisk and Saucinator. However, it is smaller at only about 8-inches and the head isn’t quite as angled. It does have many handy capabilities. Its small, slender size enables it to fit easily into small containers to quickly whip up an egg wash for pastries, incorporate milk into eggs for light and fluffy scrambled eggs, mix cornstarch with water for a thickener or anytime you need to mix a small amount of liquid ingredients quickly and easily.

Granny Fork Gourmet Kitchen Utensils
Granny Fork, click image for complete details.

A Granny Fork, efficiently incorporates eggs, butter or other liquids with dry ingredients. It has slightly offset stainless steel tines and a sturdy soft grip handle. Due to its size, it can also be used to shred meat, mix together meatloaf or for cookie dough. Although, not usually thought of as a whisk, it can function as one in many instances.

Rotary Beater Whisk Baking Utensil
Rotary Beater Whisk, click image for complete details.

The Rotary Beater Whisk is a throwback to a time before electric mixers. It brings back memories when, as a child, I was not allowed to operate the electric mixer. I have always loved to experiment in the kitchen so, I didn’t allow that minor restriction deter me. The rotary beater would be my alternative. At my young age, the rotary beater seemed so awkward to handle. I always ended up with a mess to clean and usually didn’t achieve the results I was striving for. It was a dream come true when I finally saved up enough money from babysitting to buy my own electric hand mixer. I still keep a rotary whisk, more for sentimental reasons than practical purposes. Even now it seems a little awkward to use, but you never know, I might get the hang of it someday.

In conclusion, all kitchen gadgets, regardless of how common, are considered to be gourmet cooking utensils when they’re used to prepare a gourmet dish. What do you think? Do you remember a time when you were excited to receive a new kitchen utensil? Leave a comment and share with us.

Perfect Burger Press

 

Perfect Burger Press from Progressive Int'l.
Perfect Burger Press by Progressive Int’l.

This Perfect Burger Press by Progressive Int’l. makes it quick and easy to make hamburgers, turkey burgers or veggie burgers. The three-piece set includes a comfort grip pusher, dimple insert and non-skid base. The dimple insert enables the burger to cook more evenly.

 

Garlic Asiago Cheddar Burger

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. JR Watkins Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp. JR Watkins Smoked Paprika

1/2 tsp. JR Watkins Chipotle

1/2 tsp. JR Watkins Granulated Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. JR Watkins Coarse Sea Salt

2/3 cup Asaigo cheese, grated

2/3 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients until combined.

In a large bowl, gently combine ground beef, minced garlic and spices. Don’t over work the ground beef or, the burger will be tough. Divide into 6 balls and form patties using the Perfect Burger Press.

Cook burgers on a hot grill to desired doneness. Top with a mound of Asiago and Cheddar.  These burgers are just as delicious cooked indoors on an indoor George Foreman type of grill.

Here are some of our favorite tools for preparing perfect burgers:

Perfect Burger Press by Progressive Int'l.
The Perfect Burger Press by Progressive Int’l.

To order yours, click on the image

Garlic Twist by NexTrend
Clear Garlic Twist

Quickly minces garlic and is dishwasher safe.

JR Watkins Grinder Seasonings
JR Watkins Spices

Click the image to view the complete line

of JR Watkins spices and herbs.

 

 

Clean and Store Fresh Strawberries

Plump Sweet Strawberry
Plump Sweet Strawberry

Plump, sweet strawberries are such a healthful treat. One cup has only 50 calories and they’re a good source of vitamins A & C, potassium, folate and fiber. Utilizing the following method for cleaning and storing fresh strawberries helps to prolong the freshness so, you can enjoy every last berry.

Normally, we have to purchase twice the amount we need because, we typically eat half of the berries before we have a chance to use them in recipes.

Clean Fresh Strawberries
Wash fresh Strawberries in water, vinegar mixture.

Fill a large bowl or basin with 8 cups cold water and stir in one cup of apple cider vinegar. Carefully pour strawberries into water/vinegar mixture and gently swish to make sure all berries are wet. Allow to set 5 minutes, swishing gently every couple of minutes.

Dry Strawberries
Dry strawberries on dishtowel.

Place strawberries on a dishtowel or paper towels to dry. Discard any berries that show signs of mold and remove any bruised berries.  They will cause the other berries to break down sooner. Blot lightly with another dishtowel or allow to air dry.

Progressive Fresh Fruit & Veggie Keeper
Strawberries stored in Progressive Fresh Fruit & Veggie Keeper

Place a paper towel in bottom of storage container to absorb any moisture, fill with berries and place in refrigerator.

This is the best method we’ve found to clean and store fresh strawberries. The vinegar helps to kill bacteria and reduce mold yet, the flavor of the berry is not affected.

This water/vinegar method is good for cleaning most fruit and vegetables.  Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower probably need to set 10 minutes. If you get into the habit of soaking your produce as soon as you get it home from the market, you’ll be able to enjoy it whenever you need it for cooking or for a healthful snack.

Here are some culinary tools we like for preparing fresh strawberries:

Fresh Fruit and Veggie Keeper by Progressive
Progressive Fresh Fruit & Veggie Keeper
Strawberry Tomato Huller
Strawberry/Tomato Huller
Jole Strawberry Slicer
Strawberry Slicer
Push n Spin Strawberry Huller
Push ‘n Spin Huller by Progressive Int’l.
Stuffed Burger Press from Norpro

Stuffed Burger Prepared Fast and Easy

Stuffed Burgers in 3 Easy Steps

Stuffed Burger made with Stuffed Burger Press from Norpro
Juicy stuffed burger filled with cheese, onions and mushrooms.

 

This was the easiest stuffed burger I have ever assembled. I was able to easily fill the the burger with my favorite ingredients without making a mess. The filling stayed inside the burger while grilling and the cheese was deliciously melted as you can see from the image.

My husband stuffed his burger with swiss cheese, diced onions and mushrooms. I preferred a little attitude with my stuffed burger, so I filled mine with pepper jack cheese, diced jalapeños and caramelized onions for sweetness.

 

Stuffed Burger Maker with Removable Indention Tool
Stuffed Burger Press with removable indention tool.

 

 

If stuffed burgers are not your thing. The set includes a removable indention tool to allow you to prepare traditional patties.

 

Step 1:

Two Patties Need for Stuffed Burgers
You need two patties for each burger.

Prepare your favorite filling ingredients and set aside. Divide your ground meat into approximately 2-inch balls. You want the patties to completely encase your stuffing to prevent the filling from oozing out during grilling. If they’re too large, the patty will be too thick. With just a little practice, you will be able to make the perfect size to fit your personal preference. You will need two patties for each burger.

Two Patties Need for Stuffed Burgers
You need two patties for each burger.

Step 2:

Press the indention tool into the patties, add stuffing and season with your favorite spices.  Every member of the family will enjoy creating their own variations. Plan a burger night with lots of filling options.

Step 3:

Stuffed burger patty
Stuffed Burger Patty

The final step is to grill your burgers. If the weather is warm, we prefer to grill outdoors. During cool or rainy weather, we grill indoors using a George Foreman type grill. To add a smoky flavor when cooking indoors, I like to combine a little Liquid Smoke with barbecue sauce and baste liberally onto the burgers before grilling.


Grilled Bacon Mushroom Swiss

Stuffed Burgers

 

Grilled Bacon Mushroom Swiss Stuffed Burger
Grilled Bacon Mushroom Swiss Stuffed Burger

Ingredients:

5 pounds lean ground beef
10 slices bacon, chopped and cooked (not crispy)
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
JR Watkins Coarse Sea Salt and JR Watkins Granulated Black Pepper
2 cups finely diced onion
2 cups finely diced baby bella mushrooms
3 cups shredded Baby Swiss
JR Watkins Steak and Chop Seasoning Grinder (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat a grill for high heat. When the grill is hot, lightly oil the grate.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, bacon, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, garlic, salt and pepper until well blended. Make 20 balls. Prepare and fill patties as instructed above, distributing the onions, mushrooms and cheese evenly.  Make sure to enclose the filling and seal all of the edges of the patties together tightly. Liberally grind the Steak and Chop seasoning over the prepared patties.

3. Grill the patties for 8 to 10 minutes per side, or until meat is done according to your preference and cheese in the center is melted. Serve on a toasted bun with your favorite toppings and dressing.

PREP 15 mins

COOK 15 mins

READY IN 30 mins

Variation:

Substitute the beef with ground turkey or chicken and fill with a mixture of grated carrots, grated parsnips, finely diced bell pepper and feta.

 Here are a few links to our favorite kitchen gadgets for preparing stuffed burgers:

Purchase a Stuffed Burger Maker at 1. http://www.shop.thekozynook.com/Stuffed-Burger-Press-028901500508.htm?sourceCode=blog
Purchase your Stuffed Burger Maker Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Twist by NexTrend
This Garlic Twist will quickly mince garlic, ginger, nuts and more. Purchase yours here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Zester from Kitchen IQ
This Better Zester from Kitchen IQ features a non-stick grating surface and conveniently measures grated ingredients. Purchase yours here.
Better Zester II
Conveniently measures your grated ingredients. Purchase yours here.
JR Watkins Grinder Seasonings
Find a complete line of JR Watkins Grinders, Spices and Extracts here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Have you ever stuffed your burgers? Please leave a comment below and share your most delicious burger recipe with us.

 

Artichoke Spinach Pizza

Artichoke Spinach Pizza
Artichoke Spinach Pizza

Recently, we went to dinner with our son and his girlfriend. As we were waiting for our waiter to serve our meals, I suddenly felt something very warm on my shoulder and chest. The waiter had attempted to reach over my head to place my dish on the table. While doing so, a small bowl of dipping sauce had slipped off the plate, spilling sauce onto the front of my blouse and splattered the remaining contents as it hit the table. Thankfully, it was not one of my best blouses and we all had a good laugh. I had ordered an artichoke spinach pizza and was really impressed with the flavor.

We enjoy a preparing our own freshly baked pizza. This Artichoke Spinach Pizza recipe is quick, easy and most importantly, delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Artichoke Spinach Pizza

Ingredients:

1 pizza crust
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Pitted Green Olives
1 Garlic Clove
8 oz. can or jar Artichokes, drained
1/2 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 oz. fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh Baby Spinach
1 Tbsp. Sliced Green Olives
1/4 cup chopped can or jar Artichokes, drained
1/4 cup Roasted Red Peppers, thinly sliced
Cornmeal

Directions:

Preheat pizza stone in oven to 500 degrees F, then reduce to 400 degrees F.

Put the next 6 ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a smooth sauce consistency, about 30 seconds.

Roll out pizza dough to desired dimension. Place onto pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread the processed artichoke/olive pesto sauce over the pizza crust. Take a little more olive oil and brush the edges of the pizza crust, then evenly distribute the toppings: mozzarella, spinach, green olives, artichokes, and roasted red peppers. Slide pizza onto preheated pizza stone.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until crust gets golden brown and top is hot and bubbly.

Note: We enjoy adding a liberal amount of JR Watkins Pizza & Pasta Seasoning right before serving.

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment while dining out? Please leave a comment telling us about it.

Here are a few items you may find useful while preparing pizza at home:

Grip EZ Pizza Wheel Cutter
Grip EZ Pizza Wheel Cutter

 

Solid Bamboo Pizza Peel Paddle
Solid Bamboo Pizza Peel Paddle
Rectangle Pizza Stone 13 x 15
Pizza Stone 13 x 15
JR Watkins Grinder Seasonings
JR Watkins Grinder Seasonings

 

 

 

Healthful Smoothie Recipes

Vita-Mix Green Smoothie
Green Pick Me Up Smoothie

I have had an Oster blender/mixer/meat grinder system since 1981. It has been invaluable for all these years and I continue to use it today. However, several years ago, I witnessed a demonstration for a VitaMix and have been desperately wanting one because, it blends the roughest vegetables and fruit into silky, delicious smoothies. The investment was a little much since I already had a blender but, the results weren’t as smooth as I wanted. In July of 2013, I had an unbelievable surprise when I won a door prize for this beautiful VitaMix 750 Pro!

Smoothie Recipes
Preparing the First of many Vitamix Smoothie Recipes

Obviously, I was beyond ecstatic. Thankfully, a wonderful cookbook was included and I was already stocked up on fresh produce so, I could begin blending up smoothie recipes right away. As you may have already guessed, the first recipe to try was the Green Pick Me Up smoothie. It is so refreshing and flavorful. We have it quite often and occasionally change it up a little according to what’s in season. Here is the recipe and a couple other favorites you may enjoy.

 GREEN PICK ME UP SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (75 grams) green grapes

1/2 orange, peeled & seeded

1/2 green apple

2 cups (72 grams) Swiss chard

2 cups (480 ml) ice cubes

Directions:

Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed, secure lid and process until smooth. For the Vitamix, select Smoothie program. Per 1 cup serving, this recipe has only 70 calories, 3 grams of fiber and no fat.

FRUIT SALAD SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup green grapes

1/2  medium orange, peeled & seeded

1/2  slice pineapple, core included, cut to 1/2 inch thickness

1/2 cup (65 g) peeled and roughly chopped cucumber

1/2 medium carrot

1/4 medium apple, seeded

2 cups (480 ml) ice cubes

Directions:

Place all ingredients into the blender and process until smooth. For the Vitamix, select Smoothie program. Per 1 cup serving, this smoothie has only 83 calories, 3 grams of fiber and no fat.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp. JR Watkins Original Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp. JR Watkins Peanut Butter Extract

1 medium banana

1 Tbsp. peanut butter

1 cup ice cubes

Directions:

Place all ingredients into the blender and process until smooth. For the Vitamix, select Smoothie program. For the Vitamix, select the smoothie program. This recipe contains only 177 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of fat.

Options:

JR Watkins Extracts impart incredible flavor without adding additional calories or fat.

Various herbs and spices can be added for additional health benefits such as ginger, turmeric, cayenne powder and cinnamon.

To increase the protein in smoothies, we like to  add one or more of the following:

1/4 cup soft tofu

1-2 scoops of whey protein powder

1 Tbsp. Peanut or Almond Butter

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt

Here are a few items you may find useful for preparing your favorite smoothie recipes:

Stainless Steel Measuring Cups Set of 4
Set of 4 SS Measuring Cups
Measuring Spoons SS 5pc rectangle
Set of 5 SS Measure Spoons
Sink Station Green
Sink Station for washing, peeling and draining fresh fruit and veggies.
Swiss Pro Peeler
Useful to remove peel from kiwi, potatoes, carrots and a variety of other fruit or vegetables.
JR Watkins Naturals
JR Watkins Naturals offers the finest quality Gourmet Extracts and Spices to add incredible flavor to your favorite smoothie recipes.

We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment telling us about some of your favorite smoothie recipes.