lots of ota.related stuff

This is going to be a long but fun [hopefully] post!

Any ideas where this photo was taken?

Any better ideas now? It is at Mt.Fuji, in Japan. Are you curious what the relevance to ota.bars is here? Well, a friend and co-worker, took her ota.bars to Japan and snacked on them with her sister at the top! Pretty amazing stuff. Ota.bars are more traveled than I am! The only thing she forgot was to get a pic snacking on the bar. =)

2nd order of business : ota.bars are going to a wedding! One of my favorite. girls. ever, is getting married over labor day weekend. As a gift to her guests she is putting triple berry almond ota.bars in her hotel gift bags! Heather - Good luck and congrats!! I can't wait to see you on your big day! We thought of a more wedding appropriate name for them so I gussied up the labels and shipped them off to Heather today. Here are some photos --->

triple berry almond as the berry wedded bliss bar

double stacked ota.bars

off to Heather + Penn at the beach

topic #3 - I decided to make almond milk! I was pretttty excited about this after I discovered how delicious and easy it is to make. I wanted to feature almonds, one of the ota.ingredients, and thought this was a really unique recipe to share with everyone. Not what you would typically expect for an almond recipe. Almonds are an amazing nut! They are packed with many essential vitamins [mostly vitamin E] and minerals [magnesium, potassium, etc.] These nuts have the healthy fats [like in olive oil] and have been shown [in some medical studies] to keep your glycemic index levels more balanced.

I eat almonds for their slew of health benefits and because they seem to fill me up with just a small about [about 1/4c.] They really do the trick! mmmm

I switch back and forth between my point and shoot and Chris's [the husband] digital SLR. When I have time and some natural daylight I use the SLR. I really like this photo, but I'm sure there are 50 things wrong with it =)

The recipe I used:

1c. almonds
4c. water
2t. pure organic vanilla extract
1T sucanat

-Soak the almonds in water + vanilla + sucanat for about 8hrs.
-Blend everything together until frothy and smooth
-Drape cheesecloth over a bowl and rubberband it to secure, or drape it over a wire mesh strainer. You don't want any of the almond pulp to get through.
-Let drain for about 2hrs.
-Store in the fridge for about 2-4 days. When it goes bad it will taste sour. You can also keep the almond pulp that was collected in the cheesecloth and use it in raw cookie recipes, and many other things I'm sure.

You can play around w/the flavor add-ins as much as you want. It is really basic and easy and if you buy bulk nuts, it is pretty darn cheap! It's a great alternative to cow's milk and really easy on your gut, if you are sensitive.

I know this looks kind of gross, but it is just from the vanilla extract I added.

[cheesecloth] They also make netted bags specifically for this that you can buy online or maybe at a Whole Foods?

Blended almond milk about to be poured into the pitcher. This method failed as the rubberband did not stay secure around the pitcher because the handle and the spout were in the way. Be sure to leave enough room to be able to pour all of the mixture into the cheesecloth in 1 shot. [so you don't have to pour, wait wait to drain, repeat]

This over the bowl method, with the cheesecloth draped in the wire mesh strainer was MUCH more effective!! Look at all that awesome almond pulp!! It's in my fridge waiting to be put to good use.

And now a recipe using 5 ota.ingredients [highlighted in red]!! If you want to see a pictures of the finished project go here! The photos are about half-way into the post thanks to Kelsey!

Ashley's French Toast Bake:

*For best results plan to prepare the night before you want to serve it

Night before ingredients:
1 whole-loaf crusty bread [ie: ciabatta or french] NOT pre-sliced [unless they can slice 1" thick]
4 eggs
almond milk
3/4c. sucanat
2t. vanilla
1-2t. cinnamon [depends on your love for cinnamon]
few dashes of nutmeg [optional]

Morning of ingredients:
.5-1c. chopped nuts [walnuts or pecans]
1/4c. melted coconut oil
1/4c. sucanat
1-2c. fresh berries [strawberries/blueberries/raspberries/etc]
process to assemble:

1] arrange 1" thick slices of bread in a greased 13x9" pan
notes: -I usually have enough bread and batter to fill up [1] 13"x9" and [1] 8"x8"
-do not stack bread slices - make a single layer
-I like to cut the bread in chunks, not use the full slices

2] in a bowl combine and whisk together: eggs + milk + 3/4c sucanat + vanilla + cinn + nutmeg

3] pour mixture over bread - flip pieces so both sides are coated

4] refrigerate appx. 8hrs

5] let sit out 30min prior to baking - set oven to 400*

6] flip pieces over before baking [important to avoid sogginess!]
notes: if there is more than thin layer of liquid coverhing the bottom of the pan try to drain some of it out with a spoon or turkey baster.

7] bake 20min

8] while baking melt coconut oil and combine with 1/4c. sucanat [you can always add more/less of this]

9] after 20 min take pan out ---> spread nuts + fruits + butter/sugar on top [be creative with your toppings]

10] bake for another 20-25min. +/- [keep an eye on it so your nutZ don't burn] you want it nice and brown on top

11] for a little extra crisp turn your broiler on HIGH for a few minutes [realllly watch it though]

12] let sit 10min + ENJOYYYYY

Of course if you don't have coconut oil, sucanat, or almond milk you can substitute butter + brown sugar + milk at a 1:1 ratio.

Okay...that was officially my longest post ever. I will be back soon with some info. on the wonderfood, Wheat Germ!

Have a great weekend + keep the comments coming!



skinner.h said...

Thanks so much for the bars! I can't wait to see them. I'm hoping I have some extra to have for myself. You. are. the. best! The label looks great and I LOVE the pic of the almonds. Such a smart girl, Ashley is.

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