Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recipe: Make Your Own Rice Milk

Perhaps you heard in today's news that trace amounts of radiation have been found in milk samples taken in Washington and California.  The FDA reports these amounts are minuscule and harmless compared to what we are normally exposed to daily.  Gee, that sounds reassuring.  I opt for no radiation please.

I actually switched to milk alternatives a few years ago due to a dairy sensitivity.  I started with soy milk, moved onto almond milk (until a nut allergy stopped that), loved coconut milk (but not the 5 grams of saturated fat per cup) and have lastly landed on rice milk.

Yes, most stores now carry rice milk as a staple, but I wanted to try making it for myself (it's super easy).  So, I started my adventure in milk making, here are my results:

Attempt How Results
Batch 1 Cooked instant brown rice Skim milk consistency, light beige color, slightly sweet taste
Batch 2 Cooked long grain white rice Super thick cream consistency, pristine white, no taste
Batch 3 Soaked long grain white rice Gritty consistency, pristine white, no taste
Batch 4 Soaked instant brown rice Skim milk consistency, light beige color, slightly sweet taste
Batch 5 Soaked long grain brown rice Gritty consistency, light beige color, no taste

My fifth batch will be made with long grain brown rice soaked overnight and I will post the results later.  But for those of you who can't wait to get started, here's the recipe that has worked the best so far:

Homemade Rice Milk
Yields: 6 cups of milk

Preparing the Rice:

Option 1: Soak 1 cup of rice over night in about 5 cups of water (enough to cover once rice puffs), rinse rice
Option 2: Cook 1 cup of rice per instructions (I use a rice cooker)

  • 2 cups rice (1 cup dried rice, soaked or cooked = 2 cups)
  • 5 cups water
  • Sweetener to taste (I use 2 packets of Stevia)
  • Optional 1 teaspoon vanilla (great for cereal, not so great for cooking)
    1.  Place all ingredients into blender (I use a Vitamix)
    2. Start low, then up to high quickly
    3. Blend for 2-3 minutes
    4. Store in refrigerator
    5. Shake before using
    Milk will be warm so don't plan on immediate consumption (unless for hot cocoa).

    With a Vitamix there is no need to strain the milk, I do not know what the results are with a regular blender, you may want to strain through a wire sieve the first time, just in case.

    I like to store my rice milk in glass canning  jars.

    Milk will separate, don't worry a quick shake fixes that.

    Happy Milking! (that doesn't sound right)
    The Hoff

    Update 4.3.2011:

    Batch number five has been made and tasted and well it's gritty - long grain rice simply will not puff up from soaking.

    The bottom line, if you want to save effort by not cooking the rice, you'll need to use instant rice. For you ambitious folks go for the organic long grain brown rice and get the ultimate in satisfaction.

    Break it Down:

    A 14oz box of Minute Brown Rice costs around $2.39, you can get 4 cups of rice from each box. That means that a potential weeks worth of milk (6 cups) will cost you $.60.  Lets say that a 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of store brand milk costs $1.99 - that's a savings of $1.39 and over a course of a year that's a savings of $72.

    Ok, not a huge savings, but the satisfaction of making your own milk is priceless!

    Update 4.24.2011:

    I had a breakthrough this morning.  I noticed that my store bought rice milk, that I had on hand (just in case) had expired and I did not panic!  In fact, it hadn't even occurred to me to buy any type of milk during this weeks food hunt.  And at that moment, it hit me; I had successfully made the transition to homemade rice milk - a proud moment indeed.  I take comfort in knowing that I shall never again make an emergency run to the store for milk, for I can at any given time whip up my own milk!  I just need to keep the pantry stocked with rice...

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Snack Attack: Cucumbers & Salsa!

    Not sure who passed this one onto me, but I finally got the guts to try it and it's awesome!

    Just chop up some cucumbers, top with any type of salsa (I used Lime & Garlic, I was going to try Peach, but chickened out) - and enjoy!

    I'm always on the look out for quick, healthy snacks to bring to work and this one fits the bill.

    Happy Snacking!
    The Hoff

    Update: If preparing ahead of time, I would remove the seeds or use a seedless cucumber.  The water from the seeds thins out the salsa if allowed to sit too long.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Awesome Blog Alert: Fooducate

    I just stumbled upon one entertaining and informative blog, Fooducate!

    Written by Hemi Weingarten from San Francisco, this blog is published daily and breaks down the nutritional labels of popular foods, marketing tricks and "health claims" so you know what you're really eating.

    Hemi is very entertaining and gets right to the point, so these blogs are generally a quick read.  He also holds no punches, if something is bull shit he calls it, gotta love that.

    Fooducate just launched an iPhone app, that enables you to scan the UPC code of a food item and get a nutrition summary of that product and potential alternatives.  An Android app is in the works and should be out very soon.  I can't wait to use it!
    Happy Reading!
    The Hoff

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Cleveland Event: Learn the art of Canning, you know you wanna!

    Hey Cleveland Peeps!

    CSA season is starting up and you never know what or how much you're going to get.

    If you've ever toyed with the notion of canning, but wished you knew how - here's your chance!

    Event Description

    The Community Kitchen at St. Paul's is preparing for canning season.  If you are interested in using the kitchen for canning this growing season, we have a canning workshop series coming up.

    To use the canning equipment and kitchen, there is a requirement that all who are scheduled either go through the training, if you are experienced in canning, an interview is required by our Kitchen Coordinator, Harlan.  He can be contacted at

    Canning Classes Schedule:

    April 6   Wednesday 6:30 – 8:30
    Home Canning Basics
    Canning Tomatoes
    Canning Vegetables
    Canning Fruit

    April 27  Wednesday 6:30 – 8:30
    Freezing Food
    Jams and Jellies

    May 15 Sunday 12 noon – 3 pm
    Hands on Canning
    Chili Salsa
    Mango Chutney
    Spicy Jicama Relish

    The last session will include a 20 minute video featuring the preparation of the above recipes.  We will then prepare and can them as a group.  Each participant will take home at least one of each item.

    Attendance to all three workshops is required to use the kitchen.  On May 8 if you have kitchen knives that you would like to bring, please do so and if they need sharpening, Harlan will be there to help and instruct participants on proper sharpening techniques.  We suggest you bring an apron and kitchen towels as well.

    The cost of $10 is required to participate and is due the first night.  Checks can be made out to St. Paul’s Community Church.

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

    Cleveland Event: EarthFest 2011 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

    Hey Cleveland Peeps!

    Do you love the zoo?  Are you excited about Earth Day?  Well, combine those two loves and volunteer for the Cleveland Earth Day Coalition's 2011 EarthFest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

    When: Sunday, April 17, 2011
    Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
    Where: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109

    Make up your mind soon, you'll need to attend a training class:
    Saturday, April 9th from 10-11am at the Carnegie West Library, 1900 Fulton Road, Cleveland 44113

    Call 216-281-6468 to register for the training class.

    I have volunteered in past years and my friend (Hi Miss Wendy!) currently sits on the Board of Directors, so I can personally attest that these are great people and you will have a great time giving back to the community and the earth.

    Oh yeah, you get into the zoo for free for volunteering.  :)

    Not your thing? You can still get into the zoo for free by being a registered participant in the Walk for the Earth (a six-mile educational walk starting at 9 a.m. through Brookside Park Reservation that leads to the entrance of EarthFest) or riding the free RTA shuttle from Public Square. Shuttle bus riders need to get an RTA transfer which can then be exchanged for a Zoo ticket at the box office.

    Still not your thing?  You can just pay the regular zoo admission at the door.  :)

    Besides the animals you can visit 175 "go green" exhibits and enjoy interactive fun for the whole family in areas such as renewable energy, green home improvement, local and organic food, clean transportation, eco-family, environmental science, health and fitness, live music and more!

    See you at the Zoo!!!!
    The Hoff

    The Splendid Table

    I'm addicted to NPR, so it was no surprise that when I got into the Ipod era that I would fall in love with Podcasts at well.

    One particular Podcast that I follow regularly, is The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, which just happens to broadcast on Public Radio.  :)

    Now the entire show is not healthy, it's a show about eating and eating well.  And we all deserve a treat now and again.  However, the show will get you excited to cook, explore local food and at times deliver some healthy tidbits.  Lynne is very entertaining, as are her guests and she delivers a lot of info in the span of about 50 minutes.  My favorite portion of the show is Jane and Michael Stern and their adventures across America looking for the best food in town - they've even been to Cleveland!

                                                                           The Hoff

    Got the facts on Milk?

    I'm so excited!  I just took my first step in being active in the food movement by pledging money to help get funding to a documentary about Milk!  The project, featured on KickStarter, needed $25K in order to get the movie distributed and due to public interest raised over $50K in one week!

    So why the excitement?  Well, creator Shira Lane has spent the past five years making this film (which has already won numerous festival awards) that takes a comical approach to questioning the well advertised benefits of milk.  I myself have questioned the consumption of cow's milk for many years as originally humans did not have the tolerance to digest it. Ahem, entire cultures (Japan and China) are still lactose intolerant.

    Funding of the project has closed, so you can't donate to get your own DVD, but look for this documentary to be released soon, hopefully on Netflix!  I'll keep you posted.

    The Hoff

    Cleveland Event: River's Edge Renew Our Environment/Renew Ourselves Lectures

    My friend Miss Wendy passed the following info onto me.  If you're interested in gardening, local food or learning about a CSA, check out the following lectures being offered by River's Edge. 

    Cost: $10 per person
    Time: 7:00 - 8:30
    Where: River's Edge 3430 Rocky River Drive, Cleveland, Ohio 44111 216-688-1111

    March 29, 2011 Tending Your Garden

     Presentations on Composting, Rain Barrels & Water Runoff, and what to plant, when and where by guest speakers Kathleen Rocco, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, Jared Bartley from Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District and Paul Bilyk, Owner of Lakewood Garden Center

    April 12, 2011Know Your Food?
    What is in the food we eat?  Representatives from local farmers markets and community supported agriculture organizations will share their knowledge and answer our questions.

    April 26, 2011Discover Your Food Community!
    What is happening locally to enhance your eating experience?  Cleveland area chefs, restaurants and food activists will join us to explain their efforts and the role we can play as consumers
    To learn more go to the River's Edge website:
    River's Edge: Renew Our Environment/Renew Ourselves Lectures