Welcome to day 11 of 30 Days to a Food Revolution. Our guest blogger today is Alisa from One Frugal Foodie, Dairy Free & Fit, and Go Dairy Free. Like so many people, Alisa grew up thinking that those processed foods with “lean” and “healthy” stamped on the package were somehow providing real food and nutrition. It wasn’t until she strictly transitioned to a dairy-free lifestyle that she discovered what she was really eating. Forced to read every food label in great detail, Alisa was shocked at what she saw. Dyes, additives, “modified” ingredients, highly processed sugars and grains, and completely unrecognizable chemicals, with ingredients like tomatoes, bananas, and whole grains sadly pushed to the bottom of the list (if present at all). She bought her last loaf of store bought bread, her last frozen meal, her last box of cookies, and her last can of conventional soup in 2005, and has never looked back.
Though she tries to support the dairy-free community as a whole and accommodate the variety of requests via her website, Go Dairy Free, her focus has truly shifted to helping people transition to a whole food lifestyle. She created One Frugal Foodie to share her own whole food recipes with the concept that eating real food will actually save you money. She just recently launched Dairy-Free & Fit, also a foodie focus, but to discuss everyday food, health, and fitness topics too.
Alisa’s Recipes: Strawberry Mylk and Fruit ‘n Fiber Breakfast Shake
Alisa’s Tip: Enjoy the Seasons
Though I grew up in the fertile northwest, I still related “seasonal eating” exclusively to garden-growing hippies. I had no idea how much goodness could be found within this single concept. What you eat and when can have a tremendous impact on:
Nutrition: Produce is richest in nutrients when it is ripe, and as it is picked. Seasonal produce doesn’t need to travel as far, so it can reach your table while still rich in vitamins (oh how we love those antioxidants). Produce that must travel great distances is often picked before it is ripe AND it loses nutritional value with every day of travel.
Taste: Have you ever had an out-of-season strawberry? Enjoy the May/June season of this beautiful berry with abandon. While you’re at it, stock up and freeze some for your baking and smoothie needs. Flash freezing does preserve most of those wonderful nutrients.
The Environment: Yes, I do think those hippies were actually ahead of their time in logic. In fact, eating out-of-season produce can do a double-whammy on the environment. In many cases, a greater amount of pesticides, fertilizers, and resources must be used to produce market-worthy produce outside of its natural growing season, and much of our out-of-season produce comes from other countries (where it is in season). A lot of extra resources must be used in packaging and transit to deliver that worldwide food to our local stores.
Price: Hmm, have you ever noticed how beautiful, firm, cherry-red tomatoes go on sale for $.69 a lb in summer and early fall, but often look less than stellar and shoot up to $3.99 per lb in winter. That extra transit time, the difficulty of harvest … it is all placed in your grocery basket. Yep, just when you thought healthy eating was “too expensive,” I throw you this curve ball. Eating seasonally is actually a good economic choice for your pocketbook. Watch the sales; the value produce will often be seasonal and relatively local.
Is this to say that you should never buy dark leafy greens in summer and you must forgo all but citrus fruits in winter? I don’t think so. We are human, and have cravings and recipes for foods we want here and now. But, by shifting the core of your meals with the seasons, you will be doing body, your taste buds, your wallet, and the environment a big favor on so many levels.
The recipes below are quite simple and easy to modify to your own tastes. Keeping with the mantra above, your results will vary wildly depending on how in-season and ripe your produce is. Strawberries are just hitting their sweetest time of year in the coming months, and will be perfect in the recipe below with just a bit of sweetener. However, if making either recipe with less than ripe and/or under-sweet produce the result may require more of the sweet stuff for a tasty end result.
This recipe is adapted from the Effortless Overnight Oat Milk and Strawberry Milk recipes in my book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. It will create a very light, refreshing, and sweet beverage (if using ripe / in-season strawberries. The ones pictured are from my CSA last week). For a richer and creamier strawberry “milk,” see my “whole milk” option below. The following recipes are Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and optionally Vegan and Gluten-Free.
- 1 Cup Rolled Oats (for gluten-free use certified gluten-free oats if you can tolerate them)
- 2 Cups Water
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Fresh or Frozen Halved Strawberries (I recommend the full 3/4 cup of course!)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Alcohol-Free Vanilla Extract (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Honey (or agave), or more to taste
Place the oats and water in a sealed container (like a recycled glass jar), give it a quick shake, and place in the refrigerator. You can leave it for several hours, or do like I do, and just place the jar in the fridge at night to use the next day.
Give the jar a vigorous shake for 30 to 60 seconds. The liquid should start to turn oat colored. Strain the liquid, pressing as much as you can from the oats. Enjoy the oats for breakfast (they are now softened and ready to eat!), reserve them for another recipe, or see below for a quick breakfast shake option.
Place ¾ cup of the fresh oat milk in your blender along with 1/2 cup of the strawberries, and vanilla, if using. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, drizzle in the honey (or agave) through that top portal. Honey can chunk in cooler liquids, so it is best to drizzle it in while the beverage is whizzing away to help emulsify it. Taste test, and add more sweetener and/or strawberries to taste.
Quick “Whole Milk” Option: Use the Instant Nut Milk in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook in place of the oat milk for a quick and rich strawberry “milk.”
Yields 1 serving
Lean Fruit ‘n Fiber Breakfast Shake
- 1 Batch Strawberry Mylk (recipe above)
- 1/4 Cup of the Leftover Soaked Oats
- 3/4 to 1 Cup Ripe Frozen Mango Chunks (preferred) or Frozen Ripe Banana Chunks (about 1 medium to large ripe banana)
- ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- Ice (optional)
Place all in your blender, and process until smooth.
Omega-Me: For some healthy fats, blend in 1 to 3 teaspoons of Omega-3 rich plant oil, like flaxseed oil or grind some whole flaxseeds in a spice grinder and blend them in (pre-grinding helps since less powerful blenders may miss some seeds).
Yields 1 fruity breakfast or snack
For more from Alisa you can read here and here.
In order to be entered to win one of 7 cookbooks, here’s what you need to do to gather entries into the drawing. The more you do, the more chances you have to win!
- Leave a comment on this blog on as many of the 30 guest food bloggers as you like. Each comment is an entry.
- Sign up for The W.H.O.L.E. Gang newsletter.
- Visit that guest blogger’s site and leave a comment there too.
- Tweet about this project using both of these in your tweet so I’ll find you #30days2 #foodrevolution
When the initial 30 days of guest posts are over on June 4th, we’ll pick the winners.
Wow! This is a great recipe. I think my husband will love it – he's a big fan of oats. We've never made oat milk before but will definitely give it a try. Can you use this in recipes to replace cow's milk? Thanks Alisa.
I have been very curious about going dairy free for a while. I am trying slowly to decrease the amount of dairy in our diets but we are not all the way there yet. I will try this recipe!
yum! can't wait to make this. thanks for the recipe and tips.
We drink lots of smoothies in the summer especially when fruit is fresh. I've never had or made oat milk, so I might try that too.
Hi Alisa. I am a HUGE fan of your Go Dairy Free book. It's one of the top ten go-to cookbooks in my library. Thank you for the reminder about trying to eat locally and seasonally. It makes so much sense. Yesterday, I went to Costco and was astonished at the produce they sell in HUGE plastic boxes. We are really trying to avoid the temptation to buy any produce in plastic boxes or bags. I will confess that sometimes it's hard not to do so, since it's so easy. But we're trying our best to break that habit.
We have a local CSA that I just looked into joining. Turns out that 3/4 of their produce, while organic, comes from quite a distance (Florida, Georgia). It seems to defeat the purpose of joining a CSA (if one of your goals is to buy locally grown and in season produce). I'm wondering if you could weigh in on this.
I bet your smoothie recipes would be good with any kind of alternative milk, whether it be almond or coconut or rice or soy or hemp (what am I missing??!!). Thank you for sharing.
I didn't know that making oak milk was that easy! I'll give it a try!
Thanks for the recipe! My kids may go for this more than the plain cashew milk I've been making.
These recipes sound amazing. I've been trying to find a good dairy free milk that won't break the bank. Oats are so cheap and now that these fruits are in season, I welcome the change from my normal chocolate almond butter/banana smoothie.
Michelle – Yes, you can use it in recipes. I would liken it though to skim milk. There is virtually no fat, so it is light like rice milk. If you need a heavier milk in the recipes, add a wee bit of fat to the recipe or use a richer "milk."
Sarah – I am not one to drink milk straight (never have) so I can't vouch on it for sipping straight, but with strawberries, in smoothies, or over top of cereal, I really enjoy oat milk.
Very good tips, and these recipes sound great!
Thanks for the recipe. I'm so excited to go try this out! It sounds delicious.
THANK YOU for this. Being off so many foods while nursing my very food intolerant infant has left me with very little to eat as far as breakfast. I'm so excited to try this tomorrow!! Off to look for more yummy recipes 🙂
Making oatmilk looks good and easy. Thank you for the info.
While eating locally and seasonally in the midwest in the winter is hard, the spring, summer, and fall make it oh so worth it. I love exploring the bounty of seasonal offerings.
And, I'm right there with you on strawberries being one thing that really must, must, must be local and seasonal. There's nothing like eating them straight from the vine!
What a great tip! I love the flavor of really FRESH produce – now I just need to learn some canning so that I can preserve it throughout the year!
Either recipe looks wonderful to me! I've actually been using some leftover oats in my smoothies of late, but have never tried making oat milk. Seems easy enough. 😉 I love the alternative milk ideas. They make me feel so much better than dairy milk.
Eating in season just makes the most sense and besides the benefits to our environment and the other benefits you listed, it makes sense for our bodies, too. The lighter, cooler fruits and veggies are available in the summer. The heavier, "warmer" fruits and veggies in the fall for fall onward. Eating seasonally sure makes us savor our foods more, too.
Thanks for the tips and recipes! Oat milk sounds yummy! I used to be oblivious to which veggies and fruits were in season. In the past year, I've started eating lots more veggies and buying produce from local organic farms and produce stands when they're open. It is so much fun, anticipating the veggies that will soon be at the farmer's market and produce stands at different times! I look forward to the things I can make at different times throughout the year, based on what's in season!
We're on our second "year" with our CSA, they do a 14 to 16 week season and we love it. Ours is veggie only but we look forward to local apples, citrus, figs, strawberries, blueberries , and more! from the farmer's market. I think the other lovely thing, at least with our CSA, is that we get a lot of heirloom and non grocery store standard varieties of veggie. It has broadened our dietary horizons so much.
I had commented on FB and I am still super excited to try this recipe. YUM!
Anyone have any ideas for not using bananas in the smoothies? My 3 year old does not eat bananas, never has (actually I think there may be a food intolerance involved). There is no hiding them for her… but I don't know what to use for that creamy factor. Maybe a blob of coconut cream or milk?
These look great. My daughter would love making these.
Ellen – I didn’t see your note before, thank you for the wonderfully kind words! And seriously, I had no idea that some CSA’s weren’t actually local. Ours does travel about 60 miles to get to us, but that is as local as it gets in the mountains. 🙂
Christa – I am right there with you, very new to discovering local produce, but seriously loving it!
What beautiful recipes. The oat mylk sounds fabulous!
I agree that eating seasonally would truly help the planet..thank you for all your suggestions:)
I'm going to try this with frozen bluberries that I've got on hand, I'll let you all know how it turns out, thanks so much! I've also gotten the book (Kindle Edition) and plan to use it often, since I''m severely lactose-intolerant (born that way). So glad to find books on this and now don't have to always refer to vegan books.
This is such a great idea….thanks! I love the Food Revolution too and hope it keeps spreading. I have to follow the anti-candida diet and sugar, gluten/yeast and dairy are out for now, so I'll have to adapt it a little. Can't wait to try it!
Christina – For banana-free smoothies, I often use mango (surprisingly creamy) or some avocado (a little goes a long way in thickening and adding creaminess). Coconut cream would also be a nice touch. If nuts aren't a problem, you could also blend in some of the creamier / softer nuts, like cashews.
wow, milk started from oats. I would have never guessed it was possible. Thanks for the great tip, as soon as strawberries are in season I will try this. We are just starting to become dairy free so I love the new ideas.
Thanks so much for your post and recipe (I love smoothie/milk recipes)! We are involved with a CSA group and although we do have to get our produce from Washington to Alaska, it has been a great alternative to getting the overpriced, out-of-season produce at the store 🙂
I didn't know that you could make milk like that!
Sounds like a great way to drink my breakfast 🙂
Thank you for your message about eating seasonally, and especially for focusing on manageable changes– I think that many of us are intimidated by the “all or nothing” mentality that is so often espoused.
These beverages look incredibly delicious! I am also planning to use your instructions to make plain oat milk. I recently tried the product from Pacific Foods, and was impressed with its thickness and natural sweetness– and homemade is undoubtably even better!