Staples for Living a Healthy Lifestyle: Homemade Almond Milk (Written from Italy)

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As we start a new year with intentions set high, ones often fueled towards healthy living, I wanted the next few weeks on the blog to be dedicated to Staples in the Kitchen that I’ve found extremely useful for living a healthy lifestyle.  These are simple recipes that I find myself turning to more than any other, ones I depend on the most for creating simple meals that are extremely nourishing and energizing.  These are also staples that will help ease your way into a healthy lifestyle. 

 One of my go-to staple recipes that I find myself using in virtually every meal is creamy, homemade almond milk!  When I started to eat healthier, I first sought out to try and make almond milk.  I thought that it was going to be extremely difficult to find a cheesecloth strainer and the right kind of almonds.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I quickly found a cheesecloth at a local health food store, however, you can just as easily purchase one off amazon for very cheap – I use this one all the time and it’s still in great shape!  I’ve seen many almond milk recipes that call for blanched almonds with the skin removed.  These almonds can be difficult to come across so I find myself more often than not using regular, skin intact, raw almonds.  Having the skin removed will create creamier and smoother almond milk.  I honestly cannot tell the difference, especially if I’m using it as an ingredient in a recipe.  It always tastes delicious!

Either way, starting a healthy lifestyle should be fun, simple and motivating; an act that doesn’t require stress or anxiety towards finding the exact ingredients.  The importance comes from the pursuit and gaining a new perspective on healthy eating.  The best thing about these recipes is that you can interpret them the way you want!  If you have an intolerance to almonds, try using cashews or seeds to blend into a milk.  The best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to make it encouraging and simple enough to where you want to come back and look forward to creating healthy and delicious meals.  A great way to feel inspired is by allowing yourself to be flexible in the kitchen – by switch up a recipe for similar foods that you can easily find and ones that you enjoy.

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Now for the almond milk.  I consider this a staple recipe for living a healthy lifestyle as its extremely nourishing and I use it constantly throughout the week as a dairy substitute.  Homemade almond milk is incredibly easy to make and only requires the almonds to be soaked and then blended with fresh water – very simple!  Since we soak the almonds, we make a creamy and delicious pure almond milk.  Homemade almond milk is far healthier and creamier than any that I’ve come across in grocery stores!  We are only using two ingredients versus ones that are packed with preservatives and unnecessary sweeteners.  Drinking fresh almond milk also has a host of nutritious benefits!  It is full of vitamins A, D, and E.  Vitamin E is known as the beauty vitamin, supporting healthy skin, hair and nails, as it’s full of anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.    

As almond milk is one of my staple foods, I make it every Sunday in part of my batch-cooking day.  I prepare the almonds Saturday night so that when morning comes all I have to do is blend and strain!  If I find myself running low midweek with only a cup remaining, that’s when I’ll start to soak another batch of almonds.  Almond milk is delicious when making oatmeal, overnight chia seed pudding, in desserts and often added to savory meals for creaminess.  Almond milk really is an incredible staple to have in your kitchen, encouraging you to keep enjoying and working towards your pursuit of healthy living.  Happy New Years! 

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Serves:  4 ½ cups

Prep Time: soak overnight or at least 4 hours | Cook Time: 3 minutes

Ingredients for the Almond Milk:

- 2 cups almonds (raw, skin intact or blanched is okay)

- 4 ½ cups water (add more water if you desire a thinner consistency)

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Start by placing your almonds in a bowl along with enough water to cover the almonds.  Set in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours to allow the almonds to soften and soak in the water – this is a very crucial step in having a creamy almond milk.  When ready, drain the almonds of the used water and rinse well.  Then add them to a blender, along with the fresh 4 ½ cups water, and blend for 1-2 minutes until the almonds have been ground into a crumble or paste.  Be careful not to completely pulverize the almonds into the water.  Now line a bowl with the cheesecloth and slowly pour the almond milk through – catching the almond pieces as you go.  Once all the almond milk is through, squeeze the bottom of the cheesecloth to make sure you get all the delicious almond milk out.  Finally seal with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  You can discard the strained almond pieces or dehydrate them to be used in a cookie recipe.  Enjoy!