Sometimes I get the greatest satisfaction from the simplest of things. I often have this experience with food. I love those moments when you create something beautiful and delicious and it fills your body and soul with delight. I have not been having many of those satisfying kitchen experiences these days. Lacking excitement and filled with frustration, my healthy food explorations have been uneventful and devoid of delightful discoveries. So, when I unexpectedly experienced one of those increasingly rare moments of culinary satisfaction, I decided I better milk it for all its worth.
Believe it or not, hemp seeds are on hubby’s list of dietary do-not’s (at least for the time being). Since I am usually cooking for the both of us, I have been avoiding this super seed in most of my kitchen adventures. But, I was having one of those stay-home-Saturdays and hubby was gone for the weekend, so I decided to try out this whole milk-making thing using hemp seeds.
- 1 cup organic hemp seeds (aka: hemp hearts)
- 3 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1 tablespoon agave, maple syrup or honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (or a vanilla bean, if you wanna get fancy)
- Combine all ingredients in the blender and let it whir for a good 3-5 minutes or until the consistency is creamy and smooth.
- Pour hemp milk INTO A BOWL (*see note below), using a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth to filter out the pulp. You can also use one of those nifty nut milk bags, if you happen to have one on hand. Squeeze to extract all the liquid and discard the leftover pulp.
- Adjust or add additional flavors to suit your taste (sweetener, cinnamon, chocolate, etc.)
*I wanted my milk to be rather unflavored, hoping to use it in a few creative concoctions. So this recipe will probably not satisfy your sweet tooth.
*You can skip the straining step entirely if you like, but your milk will be quite thick. This is what my husband does. But in my humble opinion, it’s the one thing preventing his milk from attaining true perfection.
*You can discard the pulp, however there are probably many clever ways in which it can be put to use. I saved mine and added it to the batch of Overnight Superseed Oatmeal that I later made. Next time I want to experiment with that a little more.
*I thought it would be a great idea to strain my milk directly into the narrow opening of a quart-sized storage jar. I propped up the strainer, positioned it just so and I was delighted with my strategy to avoid dirtying yet another bowl…until I turned away for just a moment. Not so brilliant strategy. Just
use a bowl.
Oh, what a mess! I was so sad to see all that perfect milk go to waste. Well, no use crying over spilt milk, I suppose. Once I mopped up that precious bit of lost milk, I stepped back to admire my creation and instantly began pondering the many tasty ways in which I could use it. Glancing at a bowl of organic summer stone fruits sitting idly nearby, I’m pretty sure I heard the peaches scream, Helloooo, lady! Peaches and cream?! I got one of those random, I-don’t-know-where-it-came-from ideas and I roasted a pan of peaches and plums. This milk is somewhat thick, like the consistency of cream and not watery like many nut milks can be. I think it lends itself well to things like a creamy latte or a simple bowl of fruit and cream. After allowing them to slightly cool, I drenched a few in this perfectly suited hemp milk and drizzled a tiny bit of honey on top. Dessert for breakfast…who doesn’t love that?
Then, in a rare moment of clarity and planning ahead, I prepared a large serving of my favorite busy-day breakfast ingredients. Overnight oats are so easy to make, can be stored in the fridge for several days and lend themselves well to just about any grab-n-go receptacle. I put a super seed twist on mine this time, increasing the nutrient density slightly by adding some ground flax seed, chia seed, my leftover hemp seed pulp and cinnamon. Mix it all in a bowl with some of that perfect milk and after an overnighter in the refrigerator your nutritious oats are ready to go. I like mine dressed up (I find them boring unadorned) and they sport so many styles with fashionable taste and grace. These oats are perfect for breakfast on hot summer mornings, as they taste delicious cold. But they warm-up nicely, as well. Adaptability…one of my favorite qualities in a recipe.
- 3/4 cup whole oats (gluten-free if need be)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 2 tablespoons hempseed pulp (or hemp hearts)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups hemp milk (or your favorite milk alternative)
- 1 tablespoon sweetener (agave, maple syrup or honey)
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir, cover and store in the fridge overnight.
Over the next few days I found a few perfect ways to enjoy my homemade hemp milk. It was delightful in a cup of hot matcha tea for an afternoon me-time moment. And coffee…well, that goes without saying. But the milkshake…mmm, the milkshake. That non-dairy, soy-free, nut-free, organic, no GMO, low-sugar, non-carageenan containing, Chocolate Mint Chip Shake really hit the spot!
Nothing beats the heat on a summer day like a good old-fashioned milkshake. Though simple to make, this particular shake is far from old-fashioned. I am not usually one for chocolate, especially when it comes to cakes and shakes. I would almost always choose vanilla over chocolate. Except when mint is involved. There is just something about the combination of chocolate and mint that I really do adore. So I threw a couple frozen bananas in the blender with a few tablespoons of raw cacao powder, one or two spoonfuls of crunchy cacao nibs, a teaspoon or more of mint extract and a handful of ice cubes. I added however many cups of homemade hemp milk, blended on high speed until it reached that perfect milkshake consistency.
Now I know that many of you hate that vague sort of “recipe”, but I don’t know what to tell you. That’s just the way it is. Adapt. Embrace the versatility, enjoy the flexibility and just remember this basic formula: combine, whir, stir, taste, adjust. Repeat if necessary. We are given so many guidelines in life, but a guideline is just that, a guide. Never be afraid to wander outside the lines to create something perfectly suited for you. And when you do, be sure to milk it for all its worth.
Seek satisfaction in the little things, create your own perfection and enjoy.