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Friday, March 23, 2012

Homemade Rice Milk

At the start of lent, I gave up meat with the intention it would evolve into being vegan at some point. Starting this week, I have stopped eating milk, eggs, cheese etc. I still eat bread that I know is made with eggs and I am sure there are other products I have had that have hidden milk or eggs or whatever in them. So, I'm "vegan enough".

I am not a milk drinker, although I do have it in cereal on the rare occasion I eat cereal. So, having a milk alternative is not imperative to me. However, we have recently begun experimenting with limiting milk and milk products for one of our children since we suspect she may have an allergy or intolerance or whatever. Here is where the homemade rice milk comes in. She eats cereal pretty much daily and also enjoys drinking glasses of milk. I know there are all kinds of milk alternatives on the market (soy, coconut, almond, rice etc) and they are readily available at the regular grocery store, but they are pricey and I'm a bit of a freak and like to do things like make my own.

So, here it is.

Rice Milk:
1 cup organic, long grain brown rice
8 cups water (for cooking)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp agave nectar
1/3 whole vanilla bean, split

I added the agave and vanilla to mine, but the original recipe I found just had the rice, water and salt.

Wash rice and strain. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil over high heat, add 1 cup brown rice:

And 1/3 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Cover and lower heat to simmer, cook for 3hrs. It will look like a thin rice pudding/porridgey kind of stuff

Fish out the vanilla beans (store in a baggy if you want to try to reuse them, like me :). Let cool, stir in salt and agave nectar:

In batches, fill blender half with rice mixture and half with water. I did up to the "2" line with rice, then the "4" line with water, so my blender was not full to the top and had room to blend.

Blend until very smooth, stopping and scraping sides etc to make sure it's all blended. Then strain over fine mesh strainer twice.

If you are a freak like me, you can save the rice that you strain off and add it to your homemade dog food (more on that later).

After straining, the milk is still pretty thick like cream. I added about 1/2 cup of water before pouring into the jars.

Even with the added water, it's thicker than my taste, so I add more water to it at the time of using it. Store in the refrigerator in glass jars and drink up!

As far as how this tastes, it's hard for me to say. I'm not a milk drinker and I don't enjoy a nice cold glass of milk alternatives either. It has a nice vanilla scent, but not so much vanilla flavor. I may add vanilla extract as well next time. It is also not sweet at all, so if you want a sweeter milk, add more agave nectar (or real sugar or honey or whatever). I have not yet tried it with cereal myself, but the 3 little girls in our home have all tried it and they drank it just fine. I have cooked with it and it has been perfect for that use. I mixed chocolate syrup into it and the kids all liked it that way. I think it would be great in baked goods, so I plan to use a lot of it that way. So, it will for sure get consumed, but not sure it cuts it for a daily milk alternative (at least not in our home).

Linking up here:

I Heart Nap Time

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken 3-Ways

This should really be called "crock pot chicken a million ways" because there are seriously endless uses for this chicken. But these are the 3 ways I used it.

I put about 3 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot, spinkled 1 packet taco seasoning mix, poured 1 jar of green tomatillo salsa, put the lid on, put it on low and walked away. It was super easy. After cooking for about 8hrs, the chicken just shredded apart with a fork. And it tasted amazing! With just 2 easy ingredients, fabulous chicken. Love it! Check out this post for pictures of the process.

I portioned it into 3 ziploc bags and stuck them in the freezer.

I defrosted the chicken in the bag in the fridge the night before I needed it, then warmed it in a bowl in the microwave:

Put the chicken on a tortilla, top with cheese:

Warm on the griddle:

Dinner #1 Done!

I also used the shredded chicken to make the Southwest Chicken and Potato Soup recipe posted earlier:

Dinner #2 Done! (and lunch the next day and the day after that)

Then I made chicken burritos with it. I made pinto beans in the crock pot (just like I did here with the black beans) and mexican rice:

This time, I forgot to thaw the chicken the night before, so I re-warmed it in a pan (more time-consuming, but still worked in a pinch):

Then, rolled it all up into this yummy-ness:

Dinner #3 Done! There were also lots of left-overs for lunch from this one too.

There you go. 3 1/2 lbs of chicken (cost me about $9), cooked once, made into 3 dinners and several lunches. This chicken would be great for tacos, enchiladas and even my bbq chicken salad sandwiches or Mexican Stuffed Shells.

You're Welcome :)