Sunday, March 26, 2023

Cashew Milk

In the previous blog about our St. Patrick celebration 2023 (, I briefly wrote about Cashew Milk. I am writing this blog so the recipes can be searched easily without reading all the other details of the celebration. Even though I make this often, I want a reference for myself as well. It is easier than digging through all my unorganized recipes in a drawer.

Real dairy milk has been around since there were cows. Everyone thought it was the perfect food and for much of the population this is probably true, but my family is very intolerant of dairy products. We like the butter, yogurt and milk but it doesn't like us. When my youngest daughter was a newborn baby we discovered she couldn't tolerate cow's milk. We found out for sure when she ended up in the hospital for a week when she was eight months old. In her growing up years we bought fresh Goat's milk from a local goat farmer. Gradually through her teenage years and young adulthood, she let some dairy into her life. She didn't overeat it and somehow was able to tolerate it in moderation.  Then as she grew older it became evident that it wasn't worth the side effects. This is true for others in the family also. Fortunately in this day and age substitutions are readily available. The trouble with some of these products are the additives to make it to look more pleasing and to maintain its shelf life. If you ever check the label for Almond or Cashew milk, the expiration date is a long time from purchase. That fact in itself tells a lot. 

I have learned to make my own Cashew Milk from raw cashews and water. Raw cashews can be purchased in a lot of places. I recently bought a bag from Walmart for $9.99 for 14 ounces.  That is equivalent to almost $11.50 per pound.  I began a search for a more affordable product of a similar quality and was able to find them for $6 per pound but I had to buy five pounds.  That isn't a problem because I use them regularly.

Cashew Milk

1 cup raw cashews (pieces are fine)

4 cups water

Soak the cashews for two hours and drain off the water.  

In a high power blender add the soaked cashews to two cups of water.  Blend for 2 minutes.

Then add the rest of the water (another 2 cups) and blend for another minute.

It's ready, no straining necessary.  As you can see, it's a white creamy milk that can be interchanged with dairy milk in most recipes.  

Cashews have a good heart healthy fat.  It has magnesium which most people need more of especially if you have muscle spasms. it has a low glycemic index for anyone with diabetes, its a good source of phosphorus for strong teeth, provides 10% of your recommend iron and provide antioxidants for the eyes, skin and hair.  It seems to be a healthy alternative to dairy.

With the milk I make Greek yogurt the exact same way I made it with cow's milk.  Cashew yogurt in the grocery store is very expensive.  A 1/2 cup container can cost $2 or more.

Cashew Yogurt

4 cups of Cashew Milk

1 heaping Tablespoon (or up to 1/3 cup) of starter (I bought a container of cashew yogurt that had live cultures)

After the first batch with purchased starter, just save back enough to use in subsequent batches. 

Heat your milk to 180 degrees.  You can use a saucepan or the microwave.  Use a digital thermometer to make sure the milk is hot enough.  Then let it cool to 110 degrees.  Stir in the yogurt starter.  I usually put the yogurt starter in a small dish and add some warm milk just to get it mixed.  I then add it to the cooled milk. Now just incubate it for 10-12 hours. Those with an instant pot just make it in the cooker on the yogurt setting. I have an old yogurt maker which keeps the mixture at the proper warmth. Just keep it warm any way you can. When the time is up, I drain off the excess liquid. You can use cheesecloth or a fine sieve like a nut bag.  Just put in the refrigerator and let it drain for a few hours. The excess whey drains and leaves a very thick Greek yogurt. The whey can be used in bread or soups. It has beneficial bacteria in it as well.

Cashew Milk Pudding

Pudding can be made with Cashew milk.  Either use the box mix or make it from scratch.  Be careful with the box mix because some of them have non fat dry milk in the ingredients.  Jello brand does not.

To make cooked pudding you will need:

3 1/4 cups of Cashew milk

3 T. cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar 

Pinch of salt

3 egg yolks (mixed together)

1 t. vanilla

In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of milk

In a saucepan, whisk the remaining milk, salt and sugar and begin heating until it's steamy and not boiling.  Slowly add some of the warm milk to the egg yolks.  This is called tempering and the eggs won't curdle this way.  Slowly add the egg yolks back into the saucepan with the cornstarch mixture. Cook whisking constantly until the mixture starts to thicken.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.  Put in dishes covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat. 

I also make overnight oats with this milk.  My favorite is Apple Pie Oats.

1 apple (granny smith preferred but gala or other varieties work well)

1/2 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup Cashew milk

1 T. pure maple syrup

1/2 t. cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate in a jar or sealed container overnight. I can't eat all of this recipe at one sitting so I scoop some out in a dish, add a little more milk and heat for a minute in the microwave. 

As i mentioned before this homemade Cashew milk can be used in most recipes that use dairy milk.  It can be used for coffee creamer.  I have blogged about making Almond milk and Oat milk but this is by far the easiest and best. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

St. Patrick's Day Celebration 2023

I debated if I should write another blog about our annual St. Patrick's Day celebration this year. We have celebrated for more than 45 years, but I have written a blog about this family celebration for ten years. I either write about the celebration, our resident Leprechaun named Shamus or a new recipe. As you see, I just had to write about it again. Every year it's just a little different. The grandkids were ages 2 to 12 when we discovered a leprechaun lived in our woods. They now range in age from almost 13 to 22. They still play along searching for the elusive Shamus the Leprechaun. This year it appears that Shamus has relocated once again.  It looked like Spring was coming early to Wisconsin, so he left wherever he winters and came back to get ready for summer.  Then the snow started coming. I'm not sure how or when he accomplished it, but he left his spot in the woods with a view of the water.  It is a mystery.  All the kids went outside to look for him, even my daughter’s dog Piper. Suddenly Piper bolted for the old garage/storage shed. There was a hole in the door and Piper went right on in. Investigating further the kids discovered tiny foot prints in the snow.  They lead from a tiny outdoor privy right into the garage.  


Dylan, age 21, lifted the garage door and lo and behold there was the leprechaun house right under the workbench! It looked like he was setting up his homestead under cover this year. Since Wisconsin weather is so unpredictable, it was a perfect choice. This garage is seldom used and was really quite comfortable.  Of course Shamus was no where to be seen, but he had been very busy. He has flower pots, dirt and seeds ready to go. He has a new rug and some new decorations. He even has a hammock ready to be hung on a frame. We aren't sure if he put the hole in the door or something else did it, but being an opportunistic little fella, he took advantage.  I hope he's comfortable.  The door makes a lot of noise when it gets opened but the garage has plenty of hiding places and exit points.  I'm sure he feels quite safe.

This year we had the celebration a week early.  Scheduling with my adult daughters and their adult children is getting hard.  I am just amazed that they all showed up. Everyone is very busy doing all good things.

I won't bore everyone with pictures of corned beef and ribs, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, rutabaga and dinner rolls.  I made the usual fare, but my grandson Ewan made his delicious cake and secret icing. If you haven't seen his famous youtube video from last year, it's a must see. Leprechaun Cake  He helped his mom with an amazing rainbow jello and my other daughter made a colorful salad. I made a dairy free and gluten free desert resembling Dirt Cake without the Gummy worms.  I will put the recipe at the bottom of this blog.


It was another successful day even with a snowstorm the day before.  Many years we are outside in our shirt sleeves for this day.  Maybe it's a blessing because Shamus would have been harder to find without the snow trail. 

A Dairy and Gluten Free Variation on Dirt Cake

A smaller version could be made in a pie pan, but I made it for a 9 x 13 cake pan

2 Pkg. of Gluten Free Mint Oreos (these are gluten free and dairy free)

4 small packages of Chocolate pudding mix  (Use Jello brand or read the label, off brands have dry milk, Jello does not)

7 cups of Homemade Cashew milk*


To make cashew milk take 1 cup of raw cashews and soak them for 2 hours in 2 cups of water.  Then rinse them and add them to a high speed blender with 2 cups of fresh water.  Blend for two minutes.  Then add 2 more cups of water.  Blend for another minute. That's all there is to it. Cashew milk does not need to be  strained. It's ready to use after blending. I have even made Cashew Greek yogurt out of it using dairy free starter. It is made with the very same process as Dairy yogurt. Save a small amount from the batch to use as starter for the next batch. I drain the yogurt when it is finished to make a product resembling Greek yogurt. Cashew yogurt is very expensive in the store. This method saves a lot of money and is delicious.

 *I shouldn't call it Milk. Milk comes from lactating animals.  I am using the term milk for lack of a better word.  Cashew water doesn't sound very appetizing.

Crush 1 1/2 packages of Oreos with the frosting and press into a 9 x 13 pan.  Save some of the crumbs for sprinkling on top. At this point you can choose to bake for 5 minutes or just use as is.  Next mix the chocolate pudding mix with the cold milk and pour onto the crust.  Sprinkle with more crushed crumbs.  Chill for a few hours or overnight. You can serve with whipped topping or without.  I forgot to put it out and no one complained.  It doesn't look great, but it's really good.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Easy Method For Cleaning Bakeware

When I first started this blog I wrote a lot about household things, recipes and DIY projects as opposed to my recent thoughts and insights. I have to say the latter was a lot more popular. My ideas don't always mesh with others, so I'm here with a helpful hint.

Just before Christmas I was visiting with a friend. She had an old cookie sheet sitting on the table. She wanted to ask me how I would clean it or should she just toss it. I told her to toss it if she didn't want to use it that way. It was perfectly good for baking, it just didn't look new anymore. I had tried for a long time to get that brown baked on grease off oven racks and baking sheets. I tried ammonia, razor blades, steel wool and various cleaning solutions. Some of them worked but it required a lot of elbow grease and energy.  

Lo and behold I found the solution on Tik Toc. All it takes is a pumice stone stick. I ordered some and started cleaning up my bakeware.  You can easily get them online and probably in most home improvement stores.

The first thing I tried was my small sheet pans. I use these often in the toaster oven for roasting veggies. They just didn't clean up well. 

This sheet had baked on grease as well as discoloration from water. First I wet the pan and the pumice stone. Then I started erasing the gunk.  

Next I did some muffin tins. I timed this one. I always hear from people that they don't have time to do certain things. If you actually time how long something takes, it never takes as long as you think it will. I cleaned this muffin tin in two minutes. Pumice may scratch a little depending on what you are cleaning.  Aluminum will scratch more than iron. It might be a good idea to test an area first.

 There are tons of ideas and remedies on social media apps that don't work, but in this one is great.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Growing Up In The 1960's

This is going to be a quick blog. I just want to put my thoughts on paper before they leave my mind.  Sometimes I feel like a fax machine (this probably dates me too). My brain throws out information faster than I can grasp it. If I don't write it down, it's gone. Sometimes the thought leaves before I can even write it down. I guess having an active mind is good for a person 75 years old, but sometimes it's a curse. I can create problems that aren't there and stress that doesn't even matter in the long run. I can also create very happy enjoyable moments from almost nothing. Simple things like seeing a bird or animal travel through my yard brings me joy. 

Today is Martin Luther King day. Today started me thinking about growing up in the 1960's. I was thirteen in 1960 and was married before the decade ended. Living through it was sad at times but looking back now they were pretty traumatic times. We listened to the radio more than television.  I can still hear the news announcements in my mind. I also remember the television coverage of JFK's funeral. Young people these days have their own stress and issues, but we lived through so many assassinations in the 1960's. I am sure I am forgetting a few but these are the ones I remember clearly. It started in 1963 with civil rights leader Medgar Evers, then in November of 1963 President John F. Kennedy, 1965 was Malcolm X and in 1968 Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were killed. All of them were shot. President Kennedy was 46, Robert Kennedy was 42 and the others were under 40 years old. I didn't realize at the time how young that was. 

Has the human race learned anything from these tragedies more than 50 years ago?  I'm not so sure.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Sugared Pecans and Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Every Christmas season I host a cookie making day.  Usually it's just my youngest daughter, her youngest son and me.  Some years we have more people but this year it was just the three of us.  We try to make some new recipes each year. Sometimes they are great and sometimes they are not.  Mostly we stick to the old standby's.

This year we had two successful treats to add to our Christmas plate.

The first is Sugared Pecans.  I had posted a recipe for these a few years ago but these are much easier to make.

Sugared Pecans ( or any nut)


⅓ cup water 

1-2 t. vanilla

1 cup sugar

2 cups whole nuts (pecan, almond, cashew)


Add 1/3 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar* to a heavy duty saucepan or skillet

Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.

Once boiling, add the nuts and stir constantly until the water is boiled away. 

The sugar will begin to dry out and start to stick to the nut. Keep stirring them around, so they don’t have a chance to burn to the bottom of the pan.
 Keep stirring until the sugar is dry and sticking to the nut.

Let them cool completely.  These are so good, I will making them at other times of the year.

If they seem less crunchy than you want, put them in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
*If you want a flavor like cinnamon, add to the sugar

 I have only done this with Cashews and Pecans, the process is the same.  The above picture is finished sugared pecans.  The pictures below are cashews.

The second cookie we made for the first time and really liked are Chocolate Chip Cookie and Rolo cups.

Rolo Cookie Cups

These chocolate chip cookie cups are baked in a mini muffin pan, and are topped with a Rolo. They are good with a little sprinkle of salt. 

Makes 24 cookies


1 package 24 count chocolate chip cookie dough*
24 unwrapped Rolo candies
Sea salt 


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. and Grease a mini muffin pan generously with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place one cookie dough piece (or about 1 tablespoon chocolate chip cookie dough) into each mini muffin cavity.

3. Bake until cookies are golden brown, about 12-14 minutes
4. Press the Rolo candy into the cookie. 
Let the cookies cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. If you try to remove the cookies too soon, they can break. Remove cookies from the pan and finish cooling. 

*Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
If using chocolate chip cookie dough, place 1 tablespoon of dough into each mini-muffin cavity.