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Dairy Alternative : Oat Cashew Milk

I have a secret. Confession really. You don’t have to sit down. Coffee is my cryptonite. Whoa! It feels good to get that of my chest. I’ve been in a bit of denial; six cups before noon is totally normal right?

Let’s be real. Haven’t we all sat in the denial  pool at some point in our lives?  I’ve done the green tea route.I love teas actually but if I had to choose between the two, it will be coffee. It always be coffee.

There is a point to this rambling. I made my usual cup of smooth, dark deliciousness but I had the urge for a creamer. My usual go-to in this instance is coconut milk. Popped the ‘fridge open…dang it! I was out. I needed milk but not from the usual suspects.

I’m just not about that life. I’m also not vegan. I just really try to avoid dairy as much as possible due to health issues. But I digress.

Oats. Those wholesome grains that usually make its rounds at breakfast, stared back at me from my refrigerator shelves. So oat milk it was. Creamer problem solved.

I added some cashew in there which adds a lovely creamy consistency. If you happen to be lactose intolerant  or  just looking to have a healthier / cheaper dairy alternative, then this “milk” can be your go to as well. So here is a super simple recipe on how to get your fiber in and have bonus benefits on good cholesterol and whatnot.

You will need:

2 Cups Oats ( I used quick oats in this recipe but I recommend Old fashion  rolled oats)

4 Cups filtered water

1 cinnamon stick (medium ) or 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp  freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 cup  raw cashew nuts ( soaked in 1 cup filtered watered for 20 -25 mins & drained)

Fine sieve and nut milk bag/ cheesecloth

Sweetener of your choice ( I used honey)

ingredient shot edit

Process:

Add oats , cashews ( and cinnamon stick if using)  to your blender. Pour in filtered water and  blend for 3 minutes until everything has been pulverized and has has become a smooth mixture.

Next place your nut milk bag into sieve and place over a large bowl to strain out the leftover pulp.  Squeeze gently; you don’t want your milk all over the kitchen floor. Trust me.

You should now be left with creamy milk. Add in salt, nutmeg, ground cinnamon ( if you haven’t used stick) and sweetener. Stir everything together until fully incorporated. You can strain again to ensure a smooth finish.

Congrats you’ve made “milk”! Moooovellous! Too much? Ok.

pouring milk in glass 1 edit

Note: Do not boil this “milk” as it thickens. 

Quick tip: If you don’t have a fine sieve or a fancy nut milk bag,  a thin clean cotton cloth  lined in a colander can also be used.

Coconut Chia Pudding

It’s Wednesday. Yes, I know you are fully aware of the days of the week.  But it’s also mid- week. I promise no hump day jokes. I’m no good at that anyway. But internet cousins ( that’s totally cool I adopted you right?) we’re almost at the glory land of weekend fun..can you see it? Are you into it? You may be too busy doing what adults do to notice?..ok  cool no biggie.

In the mean time, I can provide you with a treat. I’m not into tricks. Just a l little something to shake up your mid- week style and provide you with wholesome goodness. We all need wholesome everything in our lives. Yes.

Chia. Whoa! The craze on the chia was insane right? At that time when that commercial aired, I didn’t  even know that the seeds were edible.  I just wanted the “pet”. And somehow that sneaky seed has crept back into our lives. The seeds contain  protein, fiber and a whole slew of other awesome benefits that does your body good. You know, wholesome everything, in that very tiny seed.

You will need;

5 Tbsp chia seeds

2 1/2 Cups coconut milk

2 Tbsp honey ( or sweetener of your choice)

1/8 tsp cinnamon

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg ( optional)

Clean  jar or glass

Add Ins ( optional)

1/4 cup of mixed nuts ( almonds, cashews, pecans, brazilian)

1/3 cup of raisins or dried cranberries

1/3 cup of dried fruit (papayas, bananas or pineapples)

Process:

Add sweetener to coconut milk and stir until dissolved. Whisk in chia seeds until all has been incorporated into coconut milk. Cover and leave  jar/ glass  to stand for 3 minutes. The chia seeds would have started to absorb the milk by this time and should start thickening. Whisk again to break up any clumps.

The mixture should be thick by this point as the seeds would have doubled it size. Pour into a bowl if serving and top with add -ins for some texture. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days.

chia shot 2

Note: You can add more coconut milk if you like. This is all personal preference.

Quick Pepper Sauce

Let me start off this post by saying a very Happy Divali to my Hindu community. I get to experience a very multi-cultural country and I am grateful to be born here. With the menus that would be present at most Hindu households today – curried everything, I thought about sharing this quick recipe with you. Also I visited the market this weekend and through  bargaining aka sweet talk , scored scotch bonnet peppers...way, way, way too many.

seasoning with vinegar salt 1

So in keeping with today’s theme I decided to make a quick pepper sauce. This condiment can be found in almost every household here and will definitely debut on lunch and dinner tables today. It can be purchased at local markets and grocery stores. But  homemade with fresh herbs and produce is where its at. Let’s jump in, shall we.

ingredients laid 1
blender action

You will need:

1 medium onion

20 scotch bonnet peppers ( I told y’all I  hauled)

6 leaves shandon beni

5 large garlic cloves

1 large lime

1 Tbsp salt

1/2 Tbp sugar

6 stalks fresh chives (sometimes the stalks have two coming out in this case use 3)

1 1/2 cup  white vinegar

Glass jar

Process: 

Washed all produce thoroughly. Roughly chop chives, onions and chandon beni. Add peppers, garlic, chopped herbs and onions into blender. Pour in vinegar, add salt and sugar and squeeze the juices from the lime in. Be careful with the seeds from the limes, make sure to catch them if squeezing directly in.

Cover and hit that blend/ grind button. When everything has combined, taste a little carefully. Salt can be adjusted as needed. Pour into glass jar and store in the fridge. Boom. Condiment done.

Yields:  2 1/2  cups of hot sauce.


pepper sauce shot 2

Simple Banana Mango Smoothie

You’re in a rush. I know. I understand. Our lives have become a huge to – do – list and so very little time to get things done. Breakfast. We need it. We sometimes tend to forget it. Let’s stop doing that, ok ? Yes, I do too. Totally not judging.

We all want to have something a little easier to grab and go in  the morning. Coffee is a great idea, currants roll..not so much. How about we chuck some good ‘ole fiber in.Yes?

This smoothie can totally be dinner, lunch or a snack too.Your time is limited, it’s important. I understand. I got you! Awesome..let’s go.

You will need:

2 Cups Spinach ( packaged  type)

2 Cups Water ( Coconut water works well here too)

2  Bananas, very ripe

1 mango, very ripe

2 Tbsp soaked chia seeds ( optional)

1 Tbsp  coconut oil ( optional)

A knob of ginger, peeled and diced ( optional)

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Process:

Add spinach and water into blender and blend.Next add in bananas and mango. When everything has combined smoothly add in chia seeds and blend for an additional  minute.You can add more liquid if you desire, depending on the  consistency you like. Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from: SimpleGreenSmoothie

Note : You can substitute the spinach for any favorite leafy vegetable such as kale/ romaine lettuce or watercress. You can also mix the greens when you want to switch it up!

A Taste of Tortola (BVI)

Sunburn marks still adorn my body and I’ll admit, I have a slight case of vacation ‘tabanca’. I know we all must come back to reality. For me it’s that 7.30am – 4 pm – grind reality.  But somewhere between the tracking of daily inventory and visits to the scanner machine,  my brain has yet to get back into ‘work mode’.

And as my mind wanders to my glorious two week- sun filled- visit to beautiful  British Virgin Islands ( Tortola & Jost Van Dyke) images of crystal clear waters and awesome rum cocktails are all I can think about.

Having arrived at the beginning of the country’s two week  60th Emancipation Festival celebrations, I was ever so pleased to have the opportunity to experience the festivities firsthand. Itineraries  were planned in advance  by my very gracious hosts as they knew I was all about the food . Dining at fancier restaurants this time around wasn’t my intention as I opted to eat more of the local offerings which meant – street food!

snow cone
Beating the heat with a tambran juice sno cone at the festival parade
conch lunch
Local cafe lunch : beans & rice, tossed salad, fried plantains and stewed conchs with a passion fruit drink!

 

One of the main events I looked forward to, was attending a food fair held in the town’s main area during the festival celebrations. Some dishes were somewhat familiar to what is eaten here at home as most Caribbean islands, share some of the same fruits and vegetables.

market scene

local
Friendly local giving a briefing on the tarts and pies offered at her stall.
Saltish Cakes
Saltish Cakes being made on spot.
PicMonkey Collage
Food fair offerings!
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Quick lunch – Clockwise: sweet mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, plantains, coconut dumplings & salted cod

Between shopping trips  in the bustling Road town area; we stopped at the very popular BAZZ  to have fresh, natural fruit smoothies made on order.  A smooth, satisfying drink with  just enough natural sweetness and deliciously refreshing.  It was became almost a ritual once I made it into town to have one.

smoothie
Bazz’s  fruit smoothies: Stawberry/banna combo (top) , cashew ( bottom)
portk
The popular Dareo’s Jerk Center :  festival ( similar to trini fried bakes) and bar- b- que pork.Divine!

I also had the opportunity to visit Jost Van Dyke  this time around. An exhilarating  boat ride down to the island left me a little winded,but the scenery made up  for that. Oh boy was it worth the rough waters long the way!

beach ed
White Bay
beach two
White Bay

beach three

A visit to the Soggy Dollar bar, located right on the beach is  a must when visiting this amazing island. After all the sea bathing one can do,  appetites needed to be fed.

bar

conch fritters
Conch Fritters with cocktail sauce
jost lunch
Sirloin Burger ..sooo juicy!

The beach bar served an ‘American style’ lunch menu. So  I chose a side of crispy potato wedges, sirloin burger which came with thick cut , tangy pickles and an al- dente  tuna-pasta salad. I was hungry!

The real star however at Soggy Dollar is the Painkiller. A delightful concoction of  dark rum, fruits( orange and pineapple), coconut cream and nutmeg. This cocktail hit the spot ( I did a happy jig) and having just one didn’t  really work out as I tried to limit my alcohol consumption…really? I’ll tell you though it is a definite creeper, this  one.  Just make sure you’re not the one driving the boat or car when leaving if you’ve had a few of these!view

drank
Double up.

This visit to Jost Van Dyke was indeed the highlight of my trip and I plan on visiting again when next I make it to the BVI. These islands hold a special place in my heart, from the delicious local fare to the very hospitable folk. I look forward to many more adventures and taking you along with me!