Almond Macadamia Nut Milk -- 5 Ways

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)!! How'd everyone end the year / start the new year? We spent the last day of 2016 noshing on sushi, caviar, and drinking champs with friends, then kicked off 2017 with homemade soba noodles! We also decided to skip the big resolutions like "I'm going to go to the gym every day this year" or "I'm never eating french fries ever again" and instead focus simply being more mindful of what we're eating, not eating, doing, not doing, etc. Moses and I are kicking this all off with 10 days at "home" in Hawaii, where we'll be hanging with family and friends, hiking, beaching, eating, and definitely relaxing. And don't worry, Vienna will be hanging with her "woof pack" back in LA, getting in her daily walks, sunbathing sessions, and chilling with her pals. :)

Before we headed out of town, I gave this new Vitamix Ascent 3300 a whirl, making one of my all-time favorite things, almond macadamia nut milk! Pretty sure you already know this about me, but I'm a coffee or don't talk to me in the morning kind of gal, and I'm very partial to my almond macadamia nut milk lattes. I'm all about macadamia nuts and when blended up with almonds and water, they make the best nut milk imho (in my honest opinion). After whipping up my first batch of vanilla almond macadamia nut milk for my lattes, I got really excited about the new timer function on my Vitamix Ascent 3330. Yes, there's timer function now, which means multi-tasking and blending's actually a possibility, so I blended up a few more flavors for the fun of it! I turned my vanilla into strawberry, matcha, golden aka turmeric, and even chocolate milk! Pssst -- be sure to check out the video for some almond milk making action! 

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VANILLA ALMOND MACADAMIA NUT MILK

Makes 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 c. blanched almonds, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 c. raw macadamia nuts, soaked for 2 hours
  • 3 c. filtered water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • Pinch Himalayan sea salt

TOOLS

  • Vitamix Ascent 3300 Blender or another high speed blender
  • Cheesecloth or nut milk bag

FIX

  1. Rinse the soaked almonds and macadamia nuts clean before adding to the blender container with all ingredients. 
  2. Set timer to 1:45 minutes and blend, starting from the lowest speed and raising to the highest speed. 
  3. Strain through cheesecloth or nut milk bag and chill until ready to serve and enjoy!
  4. Last up to 3 days in the fridge.

VARIATIONS

STRAWBERRY

  • Blend 4 cups vanilla almond macadamia nut milk with 20 frozen strawberries for 30-45 seconds or until smooth.

CHOCOLATE

  • Blend 4 cups vanilla almond macadamia nut milk with 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder for 30-45 seconds or until smooth.

MATCHA

  • Blend 4 cups vanilla almond macadamia nut milk with 4 teaspoons matcha powder for 30-45 seconds or until smooth.

GOLDEN AKA TURMERIC

  • Blend 4 cups vanilla almond macadamia nut milk with 4 teaspoons turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom for 30-45 seconds or until smooth.

This post was sponsored by Vitamix, but as always all opinions are all my own. I'm obsessed with the clear lid and timer functions of this new blender and cannot wait to blend up all the things!

Hawaiian Style Portuguese Bean Soup

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So far, this week's jam has been: Christmas lights on first thing, plaid pajamas till noon, Christmas music (Moses is still indulging me), and all the cozy things. Like socks and hot cocoa and matcha lattes and soups. Also, pumpkin pie and ice cream in the middle of the day just because. And I get it, today's only Tuesday, so maybe this won't be an all week thing, but I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that all this goodness didn't end yesterday. How have the holidays been treating all of you?

Did you get a lot of presents? Maybe one of those egg hatching things I've been seeing all over social media, gah, I felt like I was about 60 saying that just now but what are they really called?! Moses and I opened exactly two presents each on Christmas, Vienna opened one, and we called it a really good day. We feasted on homemade cinnamon rolls and giant, overstuffed (we got greedy) breakfast burritos, and almond-mac nut milk lattes. We debated what the ultimate Christmas movie is, Miracle on 34th Street got my vote, with Love Actually coming in a close second--I mean I did watch it three times this year, while Moses insisted that A Christmas Story is the be-all-end-all. Guys, end this for us, what is THE Christmas movie? In between burritos and debates, we snacked on pumpkin pie and this (!!!) soup before heading over to our friend's Christmas dinner! Pretty much the best day ever.  

And because maybe you're not familiar with Portuguese bean soup, is it a thing everywhere else, not just Hawaii?, I'll give you the lowdown. This soup is the bomb dot com. It really is. It's such a cozy comforting soup, packed with all sorts of goodness. Typically it's loaded with lots of Portuguese sausage (called linguica on the mainland), meat from a ham hock, spices and aromatics, kidney beans, taters, lots of tomatoey goodness, and cabbage.

I'm a little ashamed to admit this, because it probably makes me a bad Maui girl, but I don't love the Portuguese sausage in Portuguese bean soup, so I've eliminated it in my own personal batch, but will include it below in case you'd like to get the proper, traditional, Hawaiian style experience. And I'm also super into kale in my soups vs. cabbage, so I've swapped it in for the typical cabbage, but again, if you're going for authentic, try the cabbage! Please note, this is the way we make our soup, but like most recipes in Hawaii, every family has their own secret recipe. What else do you need to know... hmmm. Always, always, always serve this up with piping hot white rice, and don't try to scale down the recipe because it's so good, you're gonna want leftovers. Oh and this soup is totally perfect for the holidays, so if you wanted to make it today, or tomorrow, or the day after that, I'd fully support and high five that decision. :D

HAWAIIAN STYLE PORTUGUESE BEAN SOUP

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. dried kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 lb. uncured, smoked ham hock
  • 1 lb. Portuguese (liguica) sausage
  • 8 - 10 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole dried star anise
  • 3 whole dried cloves
  • 1 sweet or white onion, cubed
  • 1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 c. crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 5 small carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 - 2 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 bunch dino (Tuscan) kale, destemmed and cut into bite sized pieces or 1/2 a medium green cabbage, cored and chopped

TOOLS

  • Large french/dutch oven or heavy bottomed with lid
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Spider or skimmer
  • Sharp knife

FIX

  1. The night before you make this soup, rinse then soak kidney beans in cold water (aka overnight soak), making sure there's at least 2 inches over water covering the beans.
  2. Place ham hock, Portuguese (linguica) sausage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves in a large french or dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot (make sure it has a lid) and add enough water to cover the hock (I used 5 cups of water). Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to low, place lid on the pot, and simmer for an hour or until the meat on the hock is tender.
  3. Next remove the ham hock and place on a cutting board (lined with paper towels to absorb water), and skim out everything with a spider or a skimmer, except the Portuguese sausage, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Add the onion, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, and kidney beans (rinsed and drained) and continue simmering. Remove the meat from the hock and cut into bite-sized pieces before adding back to pot. 
  4. Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, and simmer, uncovered, for 1-2 hours or until the beans are tender. If you feel like you need more liquid, add in boiling hot water, as necessary. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then add in kale or cabbage and simmer, with the lid on, for 5-10 minutes or until the kale or cabbage is tender. 
  5. Serve and enjoy over hot white rice!

PS - If you're as obsessed as I am with the beautiful Staub Essential French Oven featured above, you should probably pop over to Food52. It's currently on sale and is exclusive to them! Happy holidays to YOU!

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Toast

Festive update: we strung up some lights and added the mini wreath I made with Lily and Adrianna the other night at Rolling Greens to the mix! I've been "polluting" as Moses puts it, the new Google Home Moses got for his birthday from my mom like it's my job. However, I'd hardly call it pollution though--all I've been saying is,"Okay Google, play Mariah Carey's Christmas Album" and such. In fact, I'd actually call it spreading Christmas cheer. :D Meanwhile, Vienna's been hunting around the house, trying to sniff out her holiday treats, and should be feeling super lucky that I didn't pick up a Christmas sweater for her this year. And since today marks the midway mark to Christmas, ahhh don't freak, that wasn't supposed to be a scary statement, I thought I'd bake up something extra holiday spicey!

I'm not really sure how this all came about, but somehow MollyStephMichelleLily, and I decided that cake toast should be, can be, and is, a thing. A glorious thing in fact! So today we're all sharing our renditions on what cake toast is to us. The beauty of cake toast is that there are no rules, or not really anyway. All you need is cake, it could be a loaf, or simply a slice, and whatever toppings your heart desires. Lily made grapefruit and earl grey cake toast (gahhh, it's so pretty), Michelle made yellow cake toast (yummm, I'll take two), Steph made angel food cake toast (cute, light, fluffffffy, and so much nom), and Molly made ras el hanout loaf cake toast with yogurt and sesame sprinkles! And then to really round it all out, I went the festive route and turned my chocolate gingerbread loaf into cake toast by slathering some good old fashioned cream cheese frosting on it. Pretty sure between the five of us, we've got a cake toast option you might be into. Happy halfway to Christmas and cake toast day!! 

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CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD CAKE TOAST

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Makes 1 9 x 5-inch loaf

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. dark molasses
  • 1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cream cheese frosting (see notes)
  • Sprinkles, chopped nuts, etc.

TOOLS

  • 9 x 5-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Stand mixer
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board

FIX

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, making sure there's overhang on both of the long side. Grease shorter sides with cooking spray or butter and set pan aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Adjust speed to medium-low and add vanilla. Once incorporated, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, and scraping down sides as necessary. Next add molasses and beat until throughly incorporated. 
  4. Reduce speed to low and add buttermilk and flour mixture in three parts each, alternating between wet and dry. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in chocolate chips. 
  5. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove from pan, using parchment wings, and let cool completely. 
  6. Slice into thick 1-inch slices, lightly toast, and top with desired toast toppings (see notes below for a quick cream cheese frosting). Serve and enjoy!

Notes: For a quick cream cheese frosting, cream 8 ounces of room temperature cream cheese with 4 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter together in a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat on medium-low, increasing speed as sugar is incorporated, until light and smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and beat until fully combined.

Chocolate-Caramel Macadamia Nut Tart

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DIY sushi parties are so much fun! I grew up making hand rolls with my family and haven't done it in a while, but this year Moses requested a sushi party for his birthday. So we invited a few friends over, got lots of Japanese beer, sake, and really good fish and did it up. I got a bunch of Calpico, which nobody drank :( and splurged on some really good sushi rice. It was loads of fun and super yummy and at the end of the night, our friend Jackie put a bunch of candles in the gorgeous chocolate matcha cake she baked for Moses and I lit them all up with a butane torch. :) And because a birthday isn't quite enough when you're super awesome, the next day, Moses and I celebrated more with another birthday treat--this chocolate-caramel macadamia nut tart. 

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Moses told me that this tart is like a candy bar, specifically a Kit Kat, which is totally false (sorry birthday boy). It's a lot like a super lux macadamia nut Snickers + Twix. It's got a yummy cookie crust, that's not too sweet, like a Twix, and then loads of buttery caramel, toasted macadamia nuts, and silky smooth ganache. And there's a hint of tang, thanks to the Vermont Creamery crème fraîche in both the caramel and ganache, cause when it's Vermont Creamery, why not!! That stuff's way too good not to put in everything possible. And because I'm calling it a super lux macadamia nut Snickers + Twix, it's got to have Vermont Creamery mascarpone whipped cream on top! This tart is such a sweet treat for the holidays or a birthday (weekend), and while we didn't torch a second set of candles, I kinda wish we did 'cuz eating this felt like a real celebration!!

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CHOCOLATE-CARAMEL MACADAMIA NUT TART

Makes one 9-inch tart; serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

TART DOUGH

  • 1/2 c. unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 large egg yolk, cold
  • 1 Tbsp. water, cold

CARAMEL + NUTS

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. golden syrup or corn syrup
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. crème fraîche
  • 4 Tbsp. salted butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 c. unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted* and divided

GANACHE 

  • 1/4 c. crème fraîche
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 10 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract

MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM (optional)

  • 1/2  c. mascarpone
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract

TOOLS

  • Food processor
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom
  • Rolling pin
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Foil 
  • Pie weights, pennies, or dried beans
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Medium saucepan
  • Baking thermometer
  • Whisk
  • Toothpick
  • Small saucepan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Offset spatula
  • Stand mixer, optional

FIX

TART DOUGH

  1. Grease a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom and set aside.
  2. Combine macadamia nuts and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse until nuts are just finely ground. Add flour, salt and butter and pulse until texture resembles a coarse cornmeal. Add vanilla bean paste or extract, egg yolk, and water and pulse until dough comes together.
  3. Turn out dough onto a work surface and work into a ball. Press dough into the greased tart pan. Preheat oven to 350°F. Chill the tart in the freezer for 20 minutes then punch holes with a fork to allow steam to vent while baking. Cover with foil and fill with pie weights.
  4. Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool at room temperature on a wire rack. 

CARAMEL + NUTS

  1. Combine granulated sugar, golden syrup or corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan, making sure that the sugar is evenly moistened. Heat on medium-low heat until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and let boil for 5-7 minutes or until mixture is golden to amber colored. Remove from heat and carefully and quickly whisk in crème fraîche and butter. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and bring back to a boil over medium heat. Heat until temperature reaches 235°F then promptly remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla bean paste or extract. 
  2. Place 1 3/4 cup macadamia nuts in the cooled tart shell, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup, then pour caramel evenly over nuts. Use a toothpick to get out any big bubbles/move nuts around to make sure there aren't any gaps in the caramel filling. Let cool at room temperature.

GANACHE

  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together crème fraîche and heavy cream and heat on low until just simmering. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate (in a glass mixing bowl). Whisk together until smooth. If you've been mixing for a while and all the chocolate hasn't melted, place in microwave for 20 seconds, then continue whisking until smooth.
  2. Pour over caramel filling and smooth with an offset spatula.
  3. Coarsely chop reserved macadamia nuts and sprinkle on top. 
  4. Serve with mascarpone whipped cream (optional, see below) and enjoy!

MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer, fitted with whisk, and beat on high until soft but firm peaks form.

A huge thanks to Vermont Creamery for sponsoring this post. They make the absolute best crème fraîche and mascarpone, oh and cultured butter, and I honestly use all their stuff in everything I possibly can. And obviously, they make some of the best goat cheese I've ever had, and pretty much every cheese board we make has at least one Vermont Creamery cheese on it!

Three Days in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canals

Amsterdam Canals

The first time I visited Amsterdam was about 6 years ago... ouch, that makes me feel really old. It was during my Christmas break, the year I taught English in Madrid, and it was one of the coldest winters in Amsterdam, or that's what people told me or maybe what I told myself?! All I know is that it was so, so lovely and magical because it was snowy and bright and I stayed right by the Christmas market. I honestly didn't venture much further than that immediate area and the museum area because it was cold and that's where all the mulled wine, poffertjes, yummy pastries, and art was. Side note, I def worked hard on adding that extra winter "layer" that year. Anyway, this time around, I really didn't know what to expect other than lots of bikers and gorgeous canals. And guess what, I wasn't disappointed!!

Day 1

I was immediately reminded of how small and walkable Amsterdam center is and how wonderful that is. And after I almost got run over by a biker and Moses almost got run over by a couple more, sorry biker men and women of Amsterdam!, I also remembered that the bikers have the right of way! We started our first day down the street from our Airbnb in the Nine Streets, at Pancakes! Amsterdam, and loved every last bite of my thin, savory, Dutch pancake. Post pancakes, we hit up Rijksmuseum (don't miss that library, it's epic) and Moco Museum before grabbing freshly made stroopwafels and fries covered in piccalilli sauce. The stroopwafel guy told us how his family's the only one making stroopwafels from scratch, so we felt like we went to the right spot (Original Stroopwafels). All fueled up, we shopped our hearts out on the Nine Streets and ended our night at an Indonesian restaurant called Tempo Doeloe (get the rice tables!!). 

Original Stroopwafels at Albert Cuyp Market

Original Stroopwafels at Albert Cuyp Market

Back view of Bloemenmarkt

Back view of Bloemenmarkt

Library in Rijksmuseum

Library in Rijksmuseum

Library in Rijksmuseum

Library in Rijksmuseum

Deep dish Dutch apple pie from Winkel 43

Deep dish Dutch apple pie from Winkel 43

Fresh baked bread at Noorder Farmer's Market

Fresh baked bread at Noorder Farmer's Market

Rooftop of the NEMO building

Rooftop of the NEMO building

Day 2

Another thing we learned was how good the coffee was in all the little in store coffee shops versus actual cafes (not smoke-smoke puff-puff coffee shops) . Our favorite was the coffee shop in Rapha (the bike shop) and they actually had almond milk!! The guys in there were so rad and warm and made a really good latte! After grabbing our morning cup, we walked over to Winkel 43 for their epic deep dish Dutch apple pie and more coffee. Holy mother is that pie good and it's really good for breakfast too! Post "breakfast" we shopped around Noorder Farmer's Market for ingredients to make dinner and then headed back to our Airbnb. We also stopped by the best little grocery store nearby our flat called Marqt. Make sure you stop in when you're in town cause it's awesome. In the afternoon, we visited the Anne Frank Museum, which was a very emotional experience. Staying in and making dinner together felt like the best choice after that, so that's what we did. :)

taken from the canal cruise

taken from the canal cruise

Moses taking in the city view atop NEMO

Moses taking in the city view atop NEMO

Canal view

Canal view

Lunch at Baut & Dreesmann

Lunch at Baut & Dreesmann

DAY 3

On our last day in Amsterdam, we checked out Aussie eatery, Bakers and Roasters. What's rad about Amsterdam is that there's a lot of diversity when it comes to food. You can find everything from Indonesian, to Japanese, to Italian, to everything in between, including Aussie style breakfasts! After breakfast we walked up to the top of the NEMO Science Museum for coffee and a great view. Random awesome fact, it's the highest city square in the Netherlands! And to even it out, we hopped on a boat for a different perspective! I can't remember how many canals there are in Amsterdam, but I know it's a lot, and a canal cruise is a great way to see the city and to get around. We got off our boat right around Bloemanmarkt (the floating flower market) and grabbed lunch at a cute popup called Baut & Dreesmann. Post lunch, we shopped around nearby before hopping back on the boat and heading home to our Airbnb for leftovers. The original plan had been to go to Restaurant de Kas, but we waited too long to snag a reservation, so that gorgeous greenhouse dinner will have to happen next time we get back! 

*Would have been on our list but was booked, so we stayed in and ate leftovers

NEMO Science Museum

NEMO Science Museum

Canal view

Canal view

Pancakes at Pancakes! Amsterdam

Pancakes at Pancakes! Amsterdam

Channeling my inner Harry Potter at Pancakes! Amsterdam

Channeling my inner Harry Potter at Pancakes! Amsterdam

Sun setting over the canals

Sun setting over the canals

Moses capturing a canal scene

Moses capturing a canal scene

Biker riding home

Biker riding home

PS - You can download a copy of our itinerary here