I get angry at buying pre-packaged foods; with its excess plastic packaging and unnecessarily added unhealthy ingredients, production in food science laboratories and shipment from around the world. I also get angry at paying $3.99 for a small package of granola or a half gallon of almond milk at Target. Especially if a recent article was true that a container of almond milk only uses $0.39 of almonds in production. This system of food science, production, shipping, and consumption does not fit with my values to live simply and tread lightly on this earth.
I’m not trying to get into a 1990’s Tupac vs. The Notrious BIG rap debate, but the west side is the best side for me. I live in Washington, so I prefer to get food that was grown in a nearby state, county, or town. I can get fruits and veggies and herbs from my porch, farmer’s market and some local grocery stores. BUT, almonds and oats are not grown around here, so I must look at other means to get these food products to my house. Azure Stand (based in Oregon) allows me to go online and order almonds from CA and bulk oats to make granola and almond milk.
Making almond milk yourself is easy and this is how you do it:
1. Soak 1 C of almonds in water for 8 hours.
2. Drain off the water and put almonds in Vitamix blender with 4 C water.
3. If you like, the skins of the almond will easily slip off if you squeeze the almond in between your thumb and forefinger after soaking. You can de-skin them all (not necessary if you are using a nut milk bag to strain) or de-skin one almond in order to shoot an almond across the room at your spouse, friend, or dog:)
4. If you like, add 2-4 dried dates and/or 1 tsp vanilla extract into blender with almonds and water.
5. Blend until smooth.
6. Squeeze mixture through Zimtal nut milk bag (can buy on Amazon), into a mason jar.
7. Enjoy your milk on the proceeding granola…
As I see it, there is a lot of freedom in granola, meaning you can throw whatever you want in there. So, here is a starting point.
4 C oats (gluten free, rolled, whatever you like)
1/4 C millet
1/4 C quinoa
1/4 C hemp seeds
1 C whole raw almonds
1 tsp salt
1/2 or 3/4 C sweetener (maple syrup, honey, etc)
4 Tablespoon oil (coconut, olive, etc)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C dried fruit
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything except dried fruit in a bowl and spread on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, mix, then bake another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, put granola in bowl and mix in dried fruit. Done.
I haven’t tried this yet, but my plan for the next batch is to combine the oil and sweetener in the recipe above with 1 C unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter and 1/4 C cocoa powder and pour that mixture over the granola before baking. I expect it to be highly delicious. I might add a bit more oil and bake it as a lower temperature in concern of potential burning. We’ll see how it goes!