Heavenly Almond Milk with Vanilla Bean and Dates

Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (16 of 31)

Save the money buying almond milk and make your own. Creamy, lightly sweet, and so satisfying—homemade almond milk (without the additives and preservatives) is a true luxury!

It also contains no animal byproducts, allowing vegans and vegetarians to enjoy it without guilt.

Personally, my favourite flavour combo comprises of utilising an entire vanilla bean, a couple Medjool dates, and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. The secret to an intense vanilla flavour is blending the entire vanilla bean; just chop it up and toss the whole bean into the blender. Not to worry if you don’t have one on hand though: a half a teaspoon of vanilla extract will work just fine in a pinch.

This milk is delicious served with cookies, cereal, in a smoothie, or simply on its own.

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Almond milk’s high vitamin E content makes it a superfood for skin, helping to protect it from the  sun damage. 

I am now going to rave on about the merits of almond milk. First, for those who are looking to lose weight, almond milk is your solution. Did you know that one cup of almond milk contains only 60 calories, as opposed to 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories in 2 percent, 102 calories in 1 percent, and 86 calories in skim? Enough said – it makes for a great substitute that will help you lose or maintain your current weight.

Moreover, almond milk won’t impact your blood sugar levels. Home made almond milk (with no additives) is low in carbs, which means it won’t significantly increase your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk for diabetes. Because of its low glycemic index, your body will use the carbs as energy so the sugars aren’t stored as fat (score!).

Almond milk also keeps your heart healthy as there is no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk. It’s also low in sodium and high in healthy fats (such as omega fatty acids, typically found in fish), which helps to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.

For those who care about beauty and skin, the vitamin E boost in almond milk will work wonders. Containing  50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, almond milk contains antioxidant properties essential to your skin’s health, such as protecting it against sun damage.

For those who are lactose intolerant (i.e. have difficultly digesting the sugar in cow’s milk), almond milk is particularly fitting as unlike cow’s milk, there is no lactose. Lactose intolerance is prevalent amongst the Asian population and impacts about 25% of the US population.
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Almond milk is a suitable, lactose-free substitute for cow’s milk.

Heavenly Almond Milk with Vanilla Bean and Dates

TIME: 15 minutes | SERVES: 4 cups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large cup of  almonds
  • 3.5 cups of filtered water
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 whole vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of himalayan sea salt

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METHOD:

  1. Soak the raw almonds in a bowl of water overnight. Hint: the longer you soak, the creamier the almond milk will become.Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (30 of 31)
  2. Drain water in colander. Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (29 of 31)
  3. Place drained almonds in a Vitamix (or any powerful blender will do).Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (28 of 31)
  4. Add the dates, vanilla bean and a pinch of himalayan sea salt in the Vitamix. Fill up the container with filtered water at a ratio of  roughly 3-4 x as much as the volume of the almonds. Here I used 3.5 cups of water.Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (26 of 31)
  5. Hit the on button, at first on low, before slowly increasing the speed to high and blend for 1 minute.Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (25 of 31)
  6. Once everything is blended, strain the contents into a large bowl using a cheese cloth or nut milk bag/sprouting bag (as if milking a cow).Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (20 of 31)Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (19 of 31)
  7. Once done, pour the almond milk into a jar and store in the fridge. Almond milk can be stored for 2-3 days (since there are no preservatives) in the fridge.Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (10 of 31)
  8. For variations, feel free to blend in some cacao and banana for an almond milk smoothie to best kick start the day. Otherwise, the almond milk makes for a refreshing alternative to milk when served chilled.Almond milk with dates and vanilla bean (18 of 31)

 

Roast Cauliflower with Dates in Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (1 of 14)

A peach was once a bitter almond; a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” ~ Mark Twain.

Cauliflower, which literally means “cabbage flower”, is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, often overshadowed by it green cousin broccoli. The cauliflower originally came from Cyprus, and was introduced to France from Italy in the middle of the 16th century. Though it tastes rather bland on its own, this white cabbage flower is extremely nutritious and can be considered as a superfood.

First, this white cabbage contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumour growth. Moreover, sulforaphane has been found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function. Cauliflower also contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check (too much inflammation is linked to cancer and other diseases).

Due to our busy lifestyles, most of us lack the vital nutrients in our bodies needed to keep it performing at an optimal level. This is where incorporating cauliflower into your diet comes in handy. One serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.

Cauliflower really doesn’t have much flavour on its own. However, this white superfood absorbs flavours and spices extremely well. It really doesn’t take too much effort to transform plain old cauliflower into something quite scrumptious.

I find that dressing cauliflower with a tahini-lemon garlicky sauce complements the white flower harmoniously while roasting it adds a certain ‘crunch’ to it and gives it a nice golden colour. Throwing in some dates adds a pleasant sweetness to the dish while pine nuts offer an extra dimension to jazz up the simplicity of this healthy side dish.

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INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 4 as a side)

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 ½ lb.)
  • 4 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts, roasted

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius.

2) Toss cauliflower with 2 teaspoon of olive oil, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Throw in the dates and layer both evenly on a roasting tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.
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3) Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add tahini, lemon juice, 5 tablespoon of water, and salt. Simmer over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

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4) Transfer cauliflower florets into a mixing bowl. Whisk the sauce and pour over the cauliflower and toss till the florets are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with the roasted pine nuts and chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Cumin and Coriander Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Crushed Almonds

Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Dates (4 of 19)

Did you know that cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6? What’s more, it’s also a very good source of choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin. Additionally, it contains a good dosage of vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, niacin, and magnesium. So if you want a food that wil help lower your risk of contracting cancer, improve your digestion, and help with calcium absorption, this white cruciferous vegetable is the choice for you.

But wait, isn’t cauliflower super bland, tasteless, and lacking in texture? Short answer: Yes and No. “Yes” by its very nature but “No” if you know how to cook it the right way to deliver maximum punch and texture. What is the right way? For me, it involves roasting the cauliflower with a concoction of cumin and coriander spices, then adding chopped dates for a touch of sweetness, and throwing a handful of crushed almonds to pack in the extra “crunch factor”. Mmm….suddenly, cauliflower has taken on a new dimension, delivering a really incredible flavour that one can be impressed by (well, at least marginally).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets, outer greens removed
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 knob of butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Half a cup of pitted dates, chopped into halves
  • Handful of roasted almonds, crushed
  • 1 piece of fresh coriander, chopped

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Blanch cauliflower in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes then transfer to a colander and give it a good shake to get as much water out as possible. Allow it to steam dry (don’t want any water or else it won’t roast properly).

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2) Bash the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle. Combine with the cumin. Repeat for the almonds.

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3) Chop the pitted dates into halves.

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4) Add knob of butter with some olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Throw in the cauliflower and throw in the spices, almonds, and dates. Mix together thoroughly to ensure cauliflower florets are covered with the spice mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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5) Transfer contents to a roasting tray and roast for about 15 minutes to crisp up the florets.

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6) Serve and garnish with some chopped fresh coriander.

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