I'm going to be experiencing some culture shock this weekend.
Brett and I are currently in Dayton, Ohio for Brett's cousin's wedding and this city is nothing like NYC, that's for sure! There's lots of grass, corn fields, Wal-marts, and people actually have yards, driveways, and privacy. It's so crazy to me how accustomed I've become to city life. The smell of urine in the subways, the lack of personal space, the honking throughout the night, and the constant walking from place to place are now all normals things in my life.
It's always a little odd to be back in a car when Brett and I travel outside of the city. I'm actually scared to drive a car now that I've been without one for a year, because I'm pretty sure I've forgotten how! I didn't know how I would feel about public transportation before moving to NYC, but I quickly fell in love. I love being able to read as I commute or look the person I'm talking to in the eye. Yes, sometimes the subway cars are putrid and overcrowded, but usually I can find a seat and relax as the subway does the work.
Being away from NYC and thinking about how I've adjusted to city life makes me think about ways that I've adjusted to a plant-based diet too. Brett and I were just talking about how we both thought vegans were so weird not too long ago. I personally had sworn to myself during my younger years that I could never go vegan! But now it's coming up on two years without meat, eggs or dairy, and I could not envision eating any other way!
When I first went vegan, I would literally have mini anxiety attacks at night thinking about what I would eat the next day. Meatless meals were somewhat foreign to me and not having the option of an egg sandwich for a quick weeknight meal petrified me. But as days, weeks, months and now years have passed, plant-based eating is a cinch. In fact, I think it's easier to prepare and eat a plant-based diet in comparison to the Standard American Diet. So many plants such as fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds don't even need to be cooked or prepared. They're fast food on their own! For breakfast, it's so simple for me to throw some frozen fruit, greens and liquid into a blender, whiz everything up, and slurp down a smoothie. I can prepare meals like my Southwestern Vegan Power Bowl for the week for both Brett and I by cooking up a batch of quinoa, rinsing some black beans, and having salsa on hand. Lunches could easily be salads, frozen veggie burgers, PB&Js, or baked sweet potatoes and hummus. And we love these sweet and spicy roasted cashews as a snack!
Another thing that first intimidated me when I went vegan, but now doesn't, is homemade nut milk. I vividly remember the first time I learned I could blend soaked almonds with water to make almond milk. My jaw must have dropped when I saw the clear water turn milky white right in front of my eyes. How. Cool. Since then, I've tried out all kinds of homemade non-dairy milks including Almond Milk, Oat Milk, Chocolate Oat Milk, Walnut Milk, and now...Homemade Cashew Milk!
This Homemade Cashew Milk is made in just the same way as any other nut milk. All you have to do is soak some cashews overnight, blend them with water, and strain until smooth! Simple as that. I love this Homemade Cashew Milk because it's extra creamy. It's perfect for the base of a more decadent smoothie or a vegan cheese sauce. In fact, on Monday I'll be sharing the recipe for this Simple Low-Fat Vegan Mac and Cheese which uses Homemade Cashew Milk as a base. It's so creamy, cheesy, and comforting!
I hope this post inspires you to try out a new plant-based meal that you've had on your list to make. It's probably easier than it seems!
And until then, enjoy this cold, frothy goodness.
Homemade Cashew Milk
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked for 4-8 hours
- 3-4 cups filtered water
- maple syrup
- vanilla extract
- Drain and rinse your soaked cashews. Place them in a blender with 3-4 cups of filtered water and blend until as smooth as possible.
- Strain the milk through a nut milk bag, squeezing the bag until all of the cashew milk comes out and your left with a ball of ground cashews.
- If you desire a sweetened vanilla cashew milk, place the fresh cashew milk back into your rinsed out blender and add in 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Blend briefly to combine.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
**preparation time doesn't include soaking the cashews