In the Kitchen:
In all honesty, I’ve been feeling pretty run down this week so I haven’t had a lot of energy to experiment with any complicated recipes. However, I did make an ultra easy, “no-strain” hazelnut milk, which is my new favorite thing ever.
Simply blend in a high-speed blender (I use a Vitamix):
1 cup of roasted unsalted Oregon hazelnuts (*Note: You’re supposed to soak the nuts for a few hours or overnight, but because I never follow directions I didn’t do that. It turned out just fine.) with 4 cups of filtered water, a dash of vanilla extract, a bit of maple syrup to your taste, and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt.
It’s so rich and creamy and smells incredible! You can use any type of nuts you have on hand. We’re just all about hazelnuts this year after “rediscovering” when we bought a bag from Trader Joe’s months ago. This is one of our biggest indulgences as far as groceries go lately–they are a bit pricey, but so worth it.
This is much fresher and tastier than store-bought nut milk, plus you don’t need to worry about wasting pulp. No “nut milking” required. It’s perfect for lazy people like me who just want to blend and drink. I can’t believe that I’ve been missing out all this time!
I also made some pretty cool green rice which was as simple as adding natural food coloring powder, yet really enhanced the look of this dish. What can I say? I really appreciate aesthetically pleasing food and vibrant colors! I’ve been having fun with natural food coloring–sprucing up basic food and making them vibrant with plant pigments is my jam!
I’ve been trying to spend less money on groceries since we’re on a budget, plus I just want to challenge myself to eat very simply instead of purchasing fancier vegan products. We already reduced eating out at restaurants to 1-2 times per month, so this reduction in grocery purchases will definitely be a stretch for me. I’m grateful that I haven’t had to worry about my grocery budget for so many years up until this point in my life, but I’ve always lived by the mantra of “let food be thy medicine” and truly believe eating nutrient dense food can save you tons of money in potential medical expenses. This means that traditionally I was always willing to spend more money on quality produce and grocery items. However, I know that I can manage spending less by just sticking to the basics. The bulk of my diet will be centered around nutritious and affordable foods such as potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, dried beans, lentils, bananas–an array starches! And of course, frozen fruits and vegetables which are less likely to go to waste than fresh produce.
That said, my meals may not look as exciting, but if anything, it forces me to get creative in the kitchen! Like this chewy and fragrant banana bread I made with oat flour, spelt flour, applesauce, and a bunch of bananas I adapted from Oh She Glow’s recipe (but replaced applesauce for oil) for instance:
I’ve also been eating tons and tons of oat bran. I’ve been cheating on oatmeal a bit this past week, and added this healthy version of cream of wheat into my breakfast rotation. Oatmeal is still cheaper to buy in bulk, so I only have oat bran a few days a week. I just love the texture and it’s really high in fiber (even more than oats at 6g per 1/3 cup) so it keeps me full for hours! I highly recommend giving it a try if you’re a fan of cream of wheat (I use the Bob’s Red Mill oat bran).
I don’t have much to mention on this front, but one item I have been loving is Trader Joe’s green jackfruit in brine. Unripe jackfruit totally looks like pulled pork. It’s uncanny and even a bit freaky to me. You may have seen it in grocery stores in the refrigerated section with all the faux meats, usually marinated in barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce. It tastes incredible and has an excellent nutritional profile.
This Trader Joe’s brined jackfruit is super low calorie as well at only 45 calories per 1 cup, with 7g of fiber. I like to use it as “carnitas” and add taco seasoning to it and throw it into tacos, and because it’s so light you can pile it high with guac and other delicious toppings!
I highly recommend this product for those of you looking to replace meat particularly in Mexican dishes–it’s the perfect substitute for pork!
Please comment below if you try this easy plant-based milk or any of these products! Have a wonderful weekend, all!