Saturday, July 31, 2010

Homemade Rice Milk

So, it has been about a month since I last blogged, and those of you who actually follow my blog are probably wondering what's up. Well, our summer has just been cram packed with fun stuff, so I have had NO time to even think about writing. We have been to church camp, three Vacation Bible Schools, a self defense lesson every week, swimming with lots of different friends, and so much more that I can't even remember it all! It has been a summer unlike any other. Normally, we do school during the summer months, because there just isn't much else for us to do, and it is entirely too hot in the Deep South to do anything outside. But this summer, we have not stopped or even slowed down! School has been the last thing on anyone's mind around here. I say that just to say, that's where I've been! RUNNING!

But I wanted to stop for a minute and share a recipe I tried today. A few years ago, I had terrible tummy troubles - pain all the time. I FINALLY narrowed it down to two things - meat and the protein found in milk. So I have given up most meat, and I now buy milk alternatives, such as rice milk and almond milk. Well, a few nights ago, if finally hit me (as my poor Little Man was almost in tears because of tummy pains) that Little Man is probably having the same milk protein allergy that I have. What that meant to me was $$$$$$. Buying commercial rice or almond milk for me isn't too bad. I only have it occasionally on cereal, but I don't really drink a lot of it. But Little Man, on the other hand, has milk on his cereal and every night as a bedtime snack. So he like a LOT of milk! So my first thought was of an idea I had awhile back but never really put into action - make my own rice milk!! The Internet is loaded with recipes (mostly the same recipe over and over) to make your own rice milk. So I looked up the recipe on Vegan Reader, and Little Man and I went to work this morning. Here is the recipe I used.

Ingredients and Supplies:
1 cup uncooked organic long grain brown rice
8 cups water for cooking
More water for diluting
1 teaspoon salt
Glass mason jars for storage
A Blender
Mesh strainer

Thoroughly wash the rice.
Put 8 cups of water in a big pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.
Pour in the rice.
Cover the pot and lower the heat to let the water simmer.
Cook for 3 hours.

You will end up with something that looks a bit like a soupy rice pudding. Add the salt.
In batches, fill your blender halfway with the rice mixture and halfway with water. Blend until very smooth. Strain twice through a fine mesh strainer into a mason jar. Continue on with the rest of the milk until you’re finished, filling jars and screwing the lids on good and tight.

Even with the extra water, the homemade rice milk ends up thicker than the product you might be used to if you’ve always purchased Rice Dream Rice Milk. It’s more like rice cream! You may want to dilute it further at the time of serving it. Just add a bit more water until it’s the desired consistency.

Little Man and I decided this would taste really good with some vanilla, cinnamon, and sweetener. We added Stevia (because it has no glycemic index and won't raise his blood sugar) and some Agave Nectar. We added some of each and did a taste test. It needed a little more sweetener, and when we tasted it again, it was just right. (Commercial rice milk has added sweetener, too.)

This recipe would have made 4 quarts, except for the fact that Little Man wanted to eat some of the rice "pudding" that was left in the pot. So some of it went to him, instead of being turned into milk. The 3 quarts that we do have are a little thicker consistency than regular milk or even commercial rice milk, so as we use it, I will probably add a little water to get it to the consistency I want. Which means, I will probably still end up with an entire gallon of homemade rice milk.

It's important here to note that the only cost of homemade rice milk is the cost for a cup of rice, which will run between twenty cents and fifty cents. And then there is the very small cost of your flavorings and sweetener. The cost of commercial rice milk is roughly $3.00 for a half gallon. So I saved a grand total of about $5.50. Now, that doesn't seem like much at first glance. But, think about this. I buy about a gallon of milk every week, because Little Man and his sisters drink a LOT of milk. There are 52 weeks in a year. A gallon of regular milk costs roughly $3.50, depending on where you buy. So if I make my own rice milk, I will be saving about $170 a year!! Now THAT looks like a lot! And that's just comparing swapping regular milk for homemade rice milk. What if we're figuring swapping store bought rice milk for homemade rice milk? Well, my savings then would be closer to $300! WOW! But what if my girls don't like rice milk? Then I just buy half a gallon of regular milk for them and make rice milk for Little Man and myself. My savings will still be BIG! And since he is going to be drinking it with me now, I just can't afford the commercially prepared rice milk for the both of us. BINGO! Making my own saves me a trip to the store anyways!

Here is our finished product. It tastes really good! We will be using this on our cereal or just as a glass of milk. It doesn't taste like cow milk, so if you try it, don't expect it to taste the same. It is fantastic as chocolate milk, too! It can be used in any recipe that calls for milk. If you want a nice, rich, creamy consistency, just don't add any extra water. If it's a little too thick for you (like in my cereal!!), just dilute it until you get the consistency you want. I hope you'll give this recipe a try! We really had fun making it, and we are REALLY going to enjoy drinking it!!

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