Almonds, four ways.

Change: v. to make different; transform; n. the act or instance of making or becoming different.

Not everyone deals with change well. For others, they crave it. Routine is something that we grow attached to, it gives us comfort. For many, food provides that sense of ease and security. Morning mug-filled sessions to start your day, an afternoon pick-me-up, your go to evening protein-starch-veg trio for dinner, a sweet treat night cap. 

I happen to fall in the “others” category. Change for me is something I hunger for (no pun intended.) It is an opportunity to reinvent and find new exciting things, in the old. I especially love when I discover new and exciting ways to use ingredients. I get really inspired when I can find a healthier way to make classic recipes or comfort foods, that taste just as good, if not better.

Today’s motivation is one ingredient. Taking one simple ingredient and giving it four different faces. The almond. 

The almond is a wonderfully satisfying and health supportive food that many of us already enjoy. What many don’t know is that nuts do need some preparation in order to make them more beneficial for our bodies. These littles guys can be quite harsh on the digestive system. Nuts have enzyme inhibitors that make them difficult to digest, however, with the simple process of soaking them in salted water overnight, you unleash these enzymes to help neutralize the inhibitors. Through this soaking method, these enzymes are now accessible and actually help us digest fats. Along with this, it makes all the good stuff more available for our bodies, making these morsels healthy powerhouses. A great source of protein, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E. 

I know this process can seem a bit daunting when you are just looking for a easy, healthy snack on the go. This got my wheels turning, so I began playing in the kitchen. How can I make one soaked batch of almonds and stretch it to its fullest. And this is what I came up with....

To start: the night before, simply soak those suckers in some salted water for at least seven hours; drain and let the fun begin. 

Recipe #1
Almond Milk:
1.5 c. soaked almonds
5 c. water
2 pitted dates
pinch of salt
splash of vanilla extract

Put all your ingredients into the blender and give it a good whirl for about a minute. Strain through a cheese cloth or cloth napkin lined strainer, reserve the pulp remains. Voila, almond milk! 
Great in morning tea or coffee, with oatmeal or cereal,  or just straight up. The uses are endless, and a perfect dairy substitute. 

So now that I have made milk what do I do with all this leftover pulp? Remembering my goal, to stretch this one ingredient as far as I can...Crackers & dip!

Recipe #2
Almond Pulp “Pita” Crackers: 
1 c. almond pulp
1 egg
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic power
few grinds black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out dough to a thin sheet, about 1/4” thick. Remove upper sheet of parchment and bake for 15 mins. Remove and slice into squares or other desired shape. Place back in the oven for and additional 3mins. Let cool and enjoy! 

Recipe #3
Almond Pulp “Hummus” Dip:
1 c. almond pulp
1/4 olive oil
1-2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested & juiced
salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add olive oil as need for a creamy consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. 
Great with crispy crudites!

Now you are left with some soaked almonds that make for great snacks to have on their own. You can pop them in the oven to dehydrate while you have fun making the other recipes. 

Recipe #4
Crispy Almonds: 
(Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions recipe)
Place soaked nuts into an 150° oven to dehydrate, 12- 24 hours. Once completely dry and crisp, store in an airtight container.

And there you go, almonds, four ways.