Vanilla Maple Cashew Milk

Sunday, January 12, 2014

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My memories of my mom are sparse, but they’re vivid. I remember that she loved black licorice, something likely born out of being the baby of three girls and learning to adore the leftover things, black jelly beans among them. I remember that she always put on Lubriderm lotion after taking a bath, but I have no recollection of what kind of perfume she wore, if at all. Her legs always felt prickly if I rubbed my hand in one directly, smooth if I reversed, and as a kid, I was pretty confused by this. If John and I fought, she’d yell, make us sit in the bedroom we shared until she cooled off, then come in and say she was sorry for yelling and that she loved us. Besides that, I can remember exactly two occasions when she got upset. The first time was when I brought home a boy in first grade without giving her a warning. She was taking an afternoon bubble bath when we bounced through the front door, unannounced (surprise!). This boy was the new kid at school and kind of a bully, and he decided pretty quickly that I was the perfect target. I don’t remember what he said or did, but I remember feeling anxious in the mornings about going to school and seeing him and not liking that feeling, and knowing that I had to do something to fix it myself. The way to win him over, I determined, was to invite him back to our apartment to listen to the latest Beach Boys album, Still Cruisin. This was 1989. And it worked.

The other time was when our neighbor Rebecca, a girl my age, came over and ate all the cashews from the canister of Planters mixed nuts. My mom loved cashews, and so do I.

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Vanilla Maple Cashew Milk
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
*Soak cashews in water overnight.
4 cups filtered water
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
*Empty vanilla pods will make vanilla extract, vanilla sugar, or vanilla salt!
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
maple syrup

Drain and rinse cashews. Add them to a blender with water. Blend until smooth. Add vanilla seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pulse until fully incorporated. Strain with a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth, coffee filter, or a few layers of paper towels. Sweeten to taste with maple syrup. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for four days, five days tops. After that, things’ll start to get funky.