Do you drink coffee? How do you take yours? Have you ever had to switch the way you make your morning coffee?
One of the hardest parts about the whole30 for me has been adjusting what I put in my coffee. I used to put lots of 2% milk and a little agave or stevia, plus sometimes a few drops of vanilla. It wasn't that hard eliminating the sweetener, because I love the simple synergy of milk and coffee. Since I also love coconut milk, I thought that might be a great choice for my morning cup. But, despite being amazing blended with ice in a coconut frappuccino, coconut milk is terrible in coffee. It's too thick. Even light coconut milk in a carton is too thick (and has icky things like carageenan added to it). Coffee shouldn't be viscous, so coconut milk is out.
The next thing I tried was almond milk. It's hard to find unsweetened almond milk without too many additives, but the Whole Foods brand wasn't too bad. And when I put that almond milk in my coffee, it was fine. I had to put a lot more almond milk than regular milk, because you can pour in a lot of almond milk before your coffee stops looking (and tasting) totally black. Anyway, coffee with store-bought almond milk is okay, but I figured I could do better.
This homemade almond milk is easy, and you can add a little whole30-friendly sweetness by putting in a few dried apricots (or dates). The ingredients list is short and wholesome, and the result is much more delicious than what you find at the store. Creamy and subtly sweet, this homemade almond milk is by far the best nondairy milk I've found to go with my morning coffee. Of course, it's also great on its own or blended into smoothies.
This recipe makes lightly sweetened vanilla almond milk; just omit the vanilla and apricots if you would like to make plain almond milk.
Ingredients (makes about 2 and 1/2 cups; adapted from Choosing Raw):
1 cup raw almonds
Water for soaking
3 cups water
Pinch of salt
4 dried apricots, soaked in hot water (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Cheesecloth or a nut milk bag
Soak the almonds in water to cover for at least two hours, or up to eight. Drain and rinse the almonds and discard the soaking water. Place the almonds, 3 cups of water, salt, apricots, and vanilla in a blender. Blend on high speed for a minute or so until smooth.
Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl, or place a nut milk bag over a large jar, securing it with a rubber band. Pour the almond milk into the sieve or nut milk bag. Allow it to drain for up to an hour (or if you are impatient like me, squeeze the cheesecloth or bag to remove as much liquid as possible). Discard pulp, or save to use in smoothies. Store almond milk in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, and shake before using.
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