So, a while back, Blueprint--the company that really spearheaded the juice cleanse madness with those trendy bottles prominently listing their ingredients down the front--sent me a sample cleanse. Now, this was an all-liquid cleanse that packed around 700 calories for an entire day...and needless to say, I failed miserably (and realized that I REALLY love chewing). I did, however, become obsessed with their subtly sweet and deliciously creamy cashew milk featuring water, cashews, vanilla, cinnamon, and agave. It was the nearly perfect on-the-go light meal or hearty snack (with about 300 calories), containing healthy fats and a bit of protein, thanks to the cashews.
The problem: When I spotted a bottle at my local Wegman's a few weeks ago, my initial excitement quickly faded when I saw the price: ELEVEN freakin' dollars! For nuts, water, and a little sweet and spice? That's insanity, folks. I also noticed that the sugar content was a tad higher than I remembered--21 grams, or 6 grams more than a jelly donut from Dunkin Donuts. Honestly, if I'm going for sweet, I'd prefer the donut.
So I got creative. Below is my lower sugar, more economical version of Blueprint's cashew milk that tastes just as good, if not better. Each 8-oz cup clocks in at about 70 cents worth of ingredients, and contains 7 g of sugar. Even if you doubled that and drank 16 oz (what you'd get in a Blueprint bottle) it would still only set you back $1.40 and 14 g of sugar. Bonus: With each cup, you're getting a hefty dose of magnesium, a mineral that most of us could use more of, and that helps regulate more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and blood sugar control (fun fact: many people who are low in magnesium actually experience more intense sugar cravings!)
DIY Blender Cashew Milk
Yields about 5 cups
1 cup cashews
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1) Soak cashews in a jar overnight (or for at least 6 hours) in the fridge.
2) Drain and rinse cashews, then add them to blender along with the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and two cups cold water. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes, depending on your blender. Add 2 cups more water and blend for an additional 30 seconds.
3) Pour into a glass and drink, or store cashew milk in a jar with a lid for up to a week in the fridge. Cashew milk is delicious in iced coffee and blended into smoothies. One of my favorite combos: 1/2 cup cashew milk, 1 cup iced coffee, 1 frozen banana :)
Nutrition (per 8-oz cup): 152 cal, 4 g pro, 13 g carb, 1 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 10 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 33 mg sodium