Happy Herbivore Blog

Teaching Tuesday: Non-Dairy Milks

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Cooking101

By popular demand, this week's Teaching Tuesday is all about non-dairy milks!

Fun fact: Did you know non-dairy milks can't be labeled as "milk" in Europe? The word "milk" is actually a protected dominion reserved only for mammary secretions. (Source) Instead, they're labeled as "drinks" (i.e. soy drink).

There are a lot of non-dairy milks on the market today, but rather than focusing on all of them, here is a breakdown of the most popular (and common) ones and how they're made:

Soy milk is made from soaking dry soybeans and grinding them in water.

Almond milk is made from ground almonds and water. I use unsweetened almond milk for cooking and baking.

Rice milk is a grain milk made by processing rice. You can also make your own rice milk very easily.

Coconut milk the beverage is not the same as coconut milk in a can. The beverage is lower in fat and comparable to its non-dairy milk cousins. (Note: whenever my recipes call for lite coconut milk, I'm referring to the one that comes in a can)

Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds, which are soaked and ground into water. It has a nutty taste.

When people ask me which one they should purchase, my general answer is to find a plant-based milk you like and use it. If you don't like soy milk, that's fine. Try almond or rice or oat milk. Try different brands, too. There is a reason there are so many brands — they taste different. You might also prefer sweetened over unsweetened. The only milks I suggest avoiding are the coconut milk-based ones because they are so high in saturated fat (and they don't always work well in cooking and baking) and hemp milk because the earthy hemp flavor can be strong and not complementary to the flavors in your recipes.

What to look for when buying your non-dairy milk:

1. Make sure the plant-based milk you are using doesn't contain oil. Refrigerated milks tend to, but shelf-stable do not. The shelf-stable ones also tend to be cheaper, and the great thing about them is you can stock up so you never run out in the middle of the recipe.

2. If you trying to eat a low-fat diet, you might want pick the brand with the lowest amount of fat per serving. This tends to be rice or oat milk, as soy and almonds both are fairly rich in fat naturally. You can, however, find low-fat and fat-free soy milks. We like WestSoy's non fat soy milk, but tend to buy unsweetened almond milk.

3. Pick the brand with the least number of ingredients.

4. Buy unsweetened if you can. If you need your plant-based milk sweetened, that's fine. Sugar is a scapegoat, not the biggest concern. A little sweetener in your plant-based milk is nothing to worry about — just make sure you're buying sweetened plain or vanilla, not chocolate or another flavor, which is basically a candy bar in a glass.

And finally, because I know it'll probably come up in the comments ;), I want to briefly touch on carrageenan and GMO.

Carrageenan is a seaweed. It's also used in many foods, not just soy milk. I think because it is used in soy milk, and the dairy counsel is always looking for ways to smear their competitor (especially now as dairy sales are down and soy milk sales are up) it's been getting more attention and hot air than it would if it was only in, say, jelly beans.

That said, if you someone has concerns (I find the science to be slightly suspect), there are plenty of brands of non-dairy milk (including soy milk) that do not use carrageenan.

As for GMO, I previously blogged about GMO (and soy) for the Herbie 101 series, and it includes plenty of links to scientific studies.

But just in case that doesn't answer your questions, here are some informative links on both topics:

Is carrageenan safe? (video)

Jeff Novick: Carrageenan

Dr McDougall: GMO Foods: A Potentially Disastrous Distraction

Which non-dairy milk do you prefer?

Minimalist Monday: Wallet Clean Out

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

You don't always have to take on a big project to kick off your minimalist journey. The important thing is to just start, even if it's something small.

It's also the small projects that are overlooked the most -- when was the last time you looked in your wallet!?

I find it's almost always a place of clutter, chaos, and unnecessary "trash", which is why I recently cleaned mine out.

After a few minutes of sorting (really, that's all it takes!), you should be left with the essentials: driver license/ID card, debit/credit cards, insurance card(s), and a little cash.

But what about the other "stuff" that no longer has a home? Here are some tips on what to do with it:

Receipts:See this post on which receipts to keep (and for how long).

Business cards: Don't store them in your wallet and let them take up space! Take a picture of it with your phone or enter the info into your contacts right away and then toss it.

Gift cards: How many times have you had a gift card and couldn't remember how much money was left? There are a couple of phone apps out there, like Gyft and Go Wallet, that can help you keep track of that info. A lot of these apps also allow you to get rid of the card completely by generating a bar code (if using in-store), but double check with each retailer before doing this.

For more decluttering projects (both big and small), check out my minimalist book Minimalist Monday: Declutter Your Way to a Zen Home (You can order it in all electronic forms (PDF, Kindle, Nook, etc) here.)

25+ Plant-Based (Vegan) Spring Holidays & Brunch Ideas

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Holiday

Whether it's for a holiday celebration or to simply enjoy the warm weather, spring is the perfect time to invite friends and family over for brunch.

Here are few easy and healthy brunch ideas that are sure to be crowd pleasers!

P.S. I have an entire section dedicated to Easter and Passover in my new cookbook, Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings, which comes out in November!

We'll also have a special spring-themed meal plan next week! Check back on Wednesday for details!

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

Muffins

Spiced Carrot Muffins (HHC, p. 43)

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins (HHLL, p. 48)

Pineapple-Carrot Muffins (HHLL, p. 47)

Blueberry Muffins (HHLL, p. 50)

Frittata

Main Dishes

Tofu Scramble

Seitan Pot Roast (HHC, p. 133)

Migas (HHA, p. 54)

Frittata (HHC, p. 15)

Spinach & Mushroom Quiche

Quiche with Greens

Spinach Artichoke Frittata (EHH, p. 32)

Lentil & Pear Salad

Soups & Salads

Creamy Carrot Soup (HHC, p. 62)

Carrot Soup (HHLL, p. 105)

Lentil & Pear Salad (HHLL, p. 128)

Waldorf Salad (HHLL, p. 130)

Pear & Arugula Salad (EHH, p. 118)

Maple Glazed Vegetables

Sides

Maple Glazed Vegetables or Savory Glazed Carrots (HHA, p. 74)

Cheesy Cauliflower Hash (EHH, p. 233)

Herbed Home Fries (HHC, p. 30)

Vegan Deviled Eggs

Baked Vegan Latkes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Sweets

French Toast

Crepes, (HHA, p. 158)

Blueberry Bundt Cake (HHA, p. 151)

Apple Fritters (EHH, p. 258)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Drinks

Bloody Mary Mix (HHLL, p. 251)