Thursday, March 27, 2014

easy, healthy, creamy, mostly-homemade coconut milk

years ago i used to drink soy milk with my coffee thinking it was healthier. now i cringe just thinking about it because i know better and do my very best to avoid all soy that's not fermented. even so, i know my diet is not completely soy-free. it sneaks in despite my efforts to eat whole, unprocessed foods – it still lurks in ingredients lists but i do my best.

finding the perfect milk to accompany my morning cup of coffee has been a doozy, let me tell you. when i dropped soy milk, i went to coconut milk feeling pretty great about that decision – it tasted amazing and was infinitely healthier. then i started hearing about carrageenan, how it's in practically every non-dairy milk in the grocery store (even at whole foods. sigh.) and how it's not good for you. it's a thickener that's added to numerous products and it's derived from red seaweed. it may make you think it would be okay to ingest since it's from a natural source but it's so highly processed by the time it's in foods and can cause inflammation and is generally no bueno for one's digestive system. so i started looking for alternative brands of store-bought milk that would be a healthier alternative – which wasn't the easiest task. it felt like i was trading one issue for another. no carrageenan for other iffy ingredients, including synthetic vitamins.

then i started making my own nut-milks to avoid the whole issue altogether. it's easy to do and of course is the healthiest way to go, but as easy as it is, somehow it just wasn't shaping up to be sustainable to have it on hand all the time. proving that, yes, i am addicted to my morning cup of coffee (and i like it like a latte: mostly milk with a splash of espresso) and am not the happiest camper if i'm not good to go at 7 o'clock with what i need.

so i've been alternating between a store bought (and not nutritionally ideal) almond milk, and making my own nut-milks. sometimes i'd go a couple weeks without making my own, sometimes i'd go a couple weeks without buying it. and it was working. then i stumbled across a little tid-bit on instagram and had a serious ah-ha moment: a partially-homemade coconut milk but one that you can take to the bank – no shitty ingredients, no hassle of soaking and straining almonds, but rich, creamy milk you can drink by the glass, make a smoothie with or, ahem, fuel your morning addiction with.

and hello, it's so easy it's not even funny. all you need is a can of organic coconut milk and water. well, and a blender and maybe a few other additions if you please.

you take a can of organic coconut milk, dump it into your blender, add 2 cups of water then blend to combine. it'll last in the fridge for a couple of days.

i doubled it to make a little extra – here's what i did:

2 cans of organic coconut milk
3.5 cups filtered water (this makes a thick milk, almost half-n-halfy. use more water to thin)
dash of sea salt
splash of grade b maple syrup (raw honey would be rad, too)
splash of vanilla extract

all into the blender, whiz to combine, pour into a pitcher and into the fridge it goes. done and done.

 photo IMG_1048_zpsda21ee8c.jpg

 photo IMG_1059_zpsaaf5db23.jpg so simple and easy and healthy. and so nice to have another milk to add to my repertoire – i may never buy a milk from the grocery store again.

full credit for this delicious idea goes to madeline of madeline nutrition – a holistic nutritionist who just so happens to be based in my home town! her instagram is so totally worth a follow, friends.

and here's a handy guide for spotting – and avoiding – carrageenan in foods. oh and i'm leaning more towards native forest organic coconut milk because their cans are bpa free. it's always something, ain't it?


Jamie and Alissa said...

hey Sara,
have you tried making cashew milk yet? i was doing the homemade almond milk thing for a while but it became a bit brutal with all the straining required and almonds are expensive here in madagascar as they're imported... but cashews-- these are found locally and i picked up a massive amount for a great price. the cashew milk is nice and creamy, delish, and no straining required! it's great in my morning tea and afternoon iced coffee! :) ps. seems like junior high days on the bus to La Cumbre were just yesterday and then again, a lifetime ago! :)

sara said...

alissa!! hi!! i love that you read this from madagascar – so rad!!

i made cashew milk once or twice a while back but didn't love it. i need to try again! xx

blake said...

oh this is so great! I think I need to make some, as coconut milk is my main ingredient in saturday pancakes, plus overnight oatmeal, courtesy you know who :). I haven't checked, but there's probably carageenan in the milk I buy. Which makes me laugh, because I have this awesome, legit old-school Irish cooking book which talks about harvesting your own carageenan from The Ocean to thicken things. I've always thought that was so romantic… I guess processed carageenan is a far cry from that. Oh dear… OK, side bar over. :) Going to try this! xo

Jen said...

Got my canned coconut milk to make this with and I just had a couple of questions.
1) Once it's made, do I need to shake it up each time I use it? Does it separate?

2) You say it lasts for a couple of case we I don't go though it that fast would a week be ok?

sara said...


yes, i always give homemade milks a good shake because they do separate. but that's good — no weird additives (like carrageenan!) to keep it from separating. plus shaking it makes it extra frothy.

i've never had a batch last more than maybe four days tops so i can't speak from experience about how long it'd last but if you're worried just use one can of coconut milk (plus 2 cups water) to make a smaller portion.


Jen said...

Thanks Sara! Super excited to make this milk! The more I can do on my own the better. :)

Jen said...

Who was I kidding that this would last longer than a few days?! We are going through it pretty fast making delicious iced coffee, smoothies and all sorts of other things. Tastes much better than store bought! Can't thank you enough