Category Archives: Beverages

Hemp Milk

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
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Hemp milk is by far the easiest dairy milk substitute.  There is no cooking and, with the Vitamix, there is no need to run it through a filtration bag.  It is very calorie dense with lots of protein.  It tastes great as is but I’ve added a couple of ingredients for folks who like their milk substitutes a little sweeter.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Directions

  1. Place hemp hearts, dates and 2 1/2 cups of water into the Vitamix into the container and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute.
  5. Turn machine off and remove lid.
  6. Add the remaining cup of water and the vanilla and secure lid.
  7. Select Variable 1.
  8. Turn machine on and blend for 30 seconds.

 

Food Tips:

  • It is a good idea to slice the dried pitted dates lengthwise before putting them in the Vitamix.  This will ensure that no part of the pit was left inside during processing at the plant.  I have yet to find any literature that says they are dangerous but the pieces can clog g-tubes.  Even if a piece gets through it could cause problems in the GI tract of someone who already has difficulty processing solid food.
  • If you have time, soak the dates and hemp seed for 30 minutes before blending.  This reduces the amount of sediment and completely removes the need for straining or filtering.
  • One cup of fresh hemp seed milk has about  194 calories.  It has 10 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat so, unless you have a high caloric need, I suggest sticking to the 1/2 cup serving size.  Hemp milk will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  Drink it straight or add it to smoothies.  It is also a great base for blenderized meals.
  • As with all “Super Foods” take the time to research and steer clear of the idea that “if less is good, more is better.”  This is very important if you are dealing with specialized or restricted diets, on medications or have various health conditions.

 

Time Tip:  Freeze any portion of the milk that will not be used in 3-4 days in ice cube trays.  Store the cubes in labeled and dated freezer bags for up to 6 months.  Since each cube is about an ounce, you can quickly grab what you need without wasting any.

 

Money tip:  Shop around before buying hemp hearts.  They can run as high as 12 dollars a pound in some stores and on line.  Winco has the lowest price at $7.02 a pound.  They can be found in the bulk food section for much less than the prepackaged bags.  It is good to alternate seed/nut milks.  If you are on a tight budget, alternate the types of nut/seed/bean milks you make to save money.  This is also important especially for individuals on blenderized diets to insure balanced nutrition.

 

Homemade “Ripple Milk”

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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The first time I had ever heard of this was on a Facebook group called blenderize RN. Having a teenage boy on a blenderized/pureed diet can be difficult at times. Because of his complicated GI tract and minimal oral experience, it’s hard finding things he can and will eat without slowing his digestion down. Since Matthew drinks his formula, I wanted to increase his calories and protein without adding more formula but do it in such a way as to not upset his very restricted palate. Enter “Ripple” (aka split pea milk). Since everything I blend for him is homemade, I thought I would try making it myself. I added 1 cup to his normal formula recipe and he didn’t even notice. It was so easy and inexpensive, I just had to share.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked yellow split peas
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 4 pitted dates

Directions

  1. In a medium size sauce pan, bring 1 cup of dry yellow split peas and 4 cups of water to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes on high then reduce temperature to simmer and cook until peas are soft (about hour).
  2. In the large Vitamix container, add ingredients in the order listed and secure lid.
  3. Select Variable 1.
  4. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
  5. Blend for 1 minute or until completely smooth.
  6. Remove milk from blender and repeat steps 2-5 with remaining peas.

Food Tip: This recipe makes a total of 10 cups of milk.  It is thick so if you plan on drinking it, you may want to thin it out a bit.  With 75 calories per cup and 8 grams of protein, it makes an excellent addition to a blended diet.  It can also easily replace cows milk in baking for those who have a dairy free diet.  Milk will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

Time Tip:  Make the full batch and freeze extra milk in ice cube trays then store in labeled and dated freezer bags.  Each cube is about 1 once making measuring a  breeze.

Money Tip: One pound of dry split peas cost around 70 cents a pound at bulk food stores like Winco.  Ripple milk runs about $4.29 for 48oz.  Since I only used 1 cup of dried beans, I made 80oz for only 33 cents!

Raw Coconut Milk

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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coconut-milk-2

When I was a little girl growing up in Massachusetts, one of my favorite memories was making coconut beans and rice with my grandma. It was an old family recipe from Jamaica that was made during the holidays. When we were making it, the wonderfully sweet smell of fresh coconut filled the house. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table with a cheese grater grating the coconut meat by hand and placing it on cheese cloth. I can also remember the stern look I got from her when she caught me sneaking a piece to nibble on. It was my dad’s job to “milk” the coconut. The cheese cloth containing the shredded coconut was tied and placed in a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes then squeezed and measured. My dad was the only one tough enough to handle the job. All of this took lots of time but the final dish was like no other. It was a labor of love so we didn’t mind.

Fast forward to the present. Because of the Vitamix, I can make fresh coconut milk in a fraction of the time, no scraped knuckles from the grater, with less mess and nary a burn from scalding water.

Ingredients

Prepare fresh coconut

6oz fresh coconut meat

4 cups of water (total)


Directions

  1. Place coconut meat into the container and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
  4. Blend for 30 seconds or until a fine mash is formed using the tamper to press the coconut meat into the blades.
  5. Turn machine off, remove lid, scrape container with a Vitamix spatula, add 2 cups of the water and replace the lid.
  6. Select Variable 1.
  7. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  8. Blend for 1 minute then pour contents into a Vitamix filtration bag to extract the milk.
  9. Return the mash in the filtration bag to the Vitamix container and add the remaining 2 cups of water.
  10. Repeat steps 6-8.

Food Tip: Save the coconut water extracted prior to removing the meat from the shell to drink separately.  Coconut milk is VERY high in fat calories so watch how much you drink (about 256 calories per 4oz serving). It is an excellent way to boost the calories in a blenderized or pureed diet for people with volume intolerance. Raw coconut milk will only stay fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days so freeze any unused milk and/or coconut water in ice-cube trays and store in dated labeled freezer bags. Always test for allergies by giving a small amount (1-2 tsp) over the course of 4-7 days.

Time Tip: Coconuts typically contain 12-14 oz of meat. Freeze any unused meat in a dated and labeled freezer bag for future use.

Money tip: Coconuts are less expensive during the holidays so stock up, process and save.

For more information on picking and processing fresh coconuts, please see my blog post on that topic.

Sunrise Green Smoothie

This makes for a great eye opener but It’s refreshing any time of day.

Sunrise Green Smoothie
Sunrise Green Smoothie

1 cup water

1cup romaine lettuce

1 cup fresh spinach

thin slice of fresh lemon (including the peel)

4 frozen pineapple cubes (or 4oz frozen pineapple)

2 frozen mango cubes (or 2oz frozen mango)

1 Stevia packet (or more to taste)

  1. Placed all into the Vitamix container in  the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.  Use the tamper if needed to push the ingredients into the blades.

Food Tip:  Any of your favorite greens will work in this smoothie.  Spinach and romaine lettuce are good starters for the novice green smoothie drinker because the fruit masks the taste of the greens.  As you get more accustomed to the taste, try removing the Stevia and some of the fruit.  That will retrain your palate into not always needing food to be sweet to taste good.

Time Tip:  As with my other smoothie recipes, I save time by pureeing the fruit and freezing them in ice cube trays.  No need to separate large chunks of frozen fruit. Also, I can add exactly the desired amount of fruit keeping the flavor just like I like it or give me option to change it up a bit.

Money Tip:  Buy your greens at a food warehouse such as Costco or Sam’s Club.  As soon as you open the bags, fill  gallon-sized freezer bags, label and date them, then put them straight into the freezer.  Use up the fresh greens in the refrigerator then begin using the frozen greens.  No more tossing half of your greens in the trash 3 days after you bring the home and running out to by more.  No waste ALWAYS means more money in your pocket.

Melon Agua Fresca

Here in southern California the summer heat is just beginning to ramp up.  With temperatures that hover near 100 degrees sometimes into October, staying cool and hydrated is high on our list of priorities.  My husband came across this recipe on Foodwishes.com and asked me if I could make it.  I just happened to have half a watermelon in the refrigerator so my answer was, “Absolutely!”  I researched the heath benefits of watermelon and was surprised at what I found:

Despite popular belief that watermelon is made up of only water and sugar, watermelon is actually considered a nutrient dense food, a food that provides a high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a low amount of calories.
Watermelons have become synonymous with summer and picnics, and for good reason. Their refreshing quality and sweet taste help to combat the heat and also provide a guilt-free, low maintenance dessert for kids and adults alike to enjoy.
Along with cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelons are a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae. There are five common types of watermelon: seeded, seedless, mini (also known as personal), yellow and orange.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown of watermelon and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate more watermelon into your diet and any potential health risks of consuming watermelon.
Nutritional breakdown of watermelon

1-1244912058986lAlong with cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelons are a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae.
One cup of diced watermelon (152 grams) contains 43 calories, 0 grams of fat, 2 grams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrate (including 9 grams of sugar and 1 gram of fiber) and 1 gram of fiber. One cup of watermelon will provide 17% of vitamin A, 21% of vitamin C, 2% of iron and 1% of calcium needs for the day.
Watermelon also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene and betaine. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable.
Despite being a great source of the above nutrients, watermelon is made up of 92% water.
(Excerpt taken from Medical News Today. Originally published: Sunday 10/6/13)

Watermelon Agua Fresca
Watermelon Agua Fresca

6 cups fresh scooped or chopped watermelon
2 cups cold water
Simple syrup or other sweetener to taste (optional)

1. Place watermelon and water into the large Vitamix container and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
4. Blend for 30 seconds.

No straining needed
No straining needed

Food Tip: This recipe makes 2 quarts but it can but cut in half and made in the smaller container. Unlike with a standard blender, there is no need to strain out the fibers from the watermelon seeds. The Vitamix blends so completely that, not only are there no fibers, there is very little recognizable pulp when you drink it. Watermelons are typically at their peak of sweetness between June and August so, unless you have a serious sweet tooth, there is no need to add any sweetener.  Don’t like watermelon?  Try the same recipe with cantaloupe.  It is just as refreshing!

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca
Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Money Tip: As with any fruit, buying watermelon in season is always cheaper especially if you buy them at a farmer’s market. I recently purchased a 25 pound watermelon on sale for just over $3.

Time Tip: The original recipe used a standard blender that required 1 minute of blending. When made in the Vitamix it took 30 seconds and there was no time spent on straining.

Mellow Yellow Power Smoothie

I whipped this up after a trip to the gym with my husband.  He tasted it and loved it.  He suggested I add a bit of nutmeg to it and use it as a replacement for eggnog during the the holidays.  That’s saying something because he REALLY loves eggnog.  He might just have something there.  Keep your eye on my blog during the holidays.   You never know.  But for now:

GE

½ cup water
12 raw almonds
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
2/3 cup yellow squash
1/3 cup raw baby (or sliced) carrots
1 tablespoon flax seed
4 (about 4oz) frozen pureed pineapple cubes
4 (about 4oz) frozen pureed mango cubes
1TSB whey protein

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and increase to Variable 10, then High.
4. Blend for 30 seconds or until the desired consistency is reached.

Food Tip: This recipe makes 2 cups and contains 26 grams of protein. It is great as a post workout meal replacement. For individuals on a pureed diet or as a healthy snack, remove the whey protein and use as two 8oz servings. It’s thick enough to be eaten with a spoon even though you can drink it through a straw. The yellow squash adds vitamins and antioxidants and is very low in calories. It has a mild flavor so it blends well in any smoothie while adding to the creamy texture.

Money Tip: Yellow squash in season is very inexpensive but I prefer to grow my own because it’s fresh AND it’s free! As I have said in my fresh fruit puree entry, buying mangos in bulk when they are in season, pureeing them and freezing them is an excellent way to save money. flax seed is less expensive when buying it from a bulk food store plus you only buy what you need so it doesn’t go bad.

Time Tip: This smoothie only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and using the individual pureed fruit cubes shortens the time even more.

 

Fresh Almond Milk

This recipe can be found in the Vitamix Whole Food Recipe book.  My twist on it is the added vanilla.  Because I filter my almond milk, I found that adding the vanilla after meant using less of it. Also the mash remains unflavored so it can be used in a variety of recipes.

GE

3 cups of water
1 cup of raw almonds
Sugar or sweetener to taste (optional)
1 tsp of vanilla

1. Place the water and the almonds into the Vitamix container and secure the lid
2. Select variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to variable 10, then to High.
4. Blend for 2 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.

Food Tip: Milk can be filtered through a nut milk bag for a smoother consistency. The remaining almond mash can be used in lots of other recipes. Processed almond milks contain additives and many contain added sugar. One carton I found had 15g of sugar whereas fresh unsweetened almond milk has 0g and it’s always fresh.

Time Tip: Many recipes for almond milk require hours of soaking before blending. With the Vitamix that is unnecessary so it can be made on the spot with no waiting. Freeze the almond mash in ice cube trays so that they can be quickly added to recipes in 1oz portions. You never have to defrost more than you will use.

Money Tip: A quart of processed almond milk can cost $5 but making it fresh is about half if you buy the raw almonds in bulk.