Hemp Milk and other things I’ve been making in my Vitamix

I had a Vitamix on my wish list for a few years. Every year when I didn’t get it for my birthday or Christmas, I’d spend the rest of the year telling myself that if I’ve lived this long without one, obviously I don’t NEED one. Then I finally got one this year (thanks, Smark!) and it turns out I DID need it. I use it several times a day. I’ve only had it a month and I don’t know what I’d do without it.

One thing I’ve been doing is making myself a smoothie as soon as I get home from work every day, which is great because it keeps me from binge snacking while I prepare dinner, which I’m prone to do because I come home hungry. And the neurologist I’m seeing for my headaches gave me what I consider the most awesome medical advice in the world: “don’t get hungry”. Hunger is a huge headache trigger, especially for me, so basically she just wants me to avoid the situation. So now I go around shouting, “MUST EAT, DOCTOR’S ORDERS!” whenever I’m even remotely hungry. I’m trying not to gain a million pounds while following those orders, though, so a late afternoon green smoothie is super-awesome for me.

Spinach-Pear Smoothie

3 large handfuls baby spinach
about 1 Tbsp flax seeds
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use homemade hemp milk, recipe below)
1 or 2 dates, pitted OR a sweetener like maple or coconut syrup, to taste
1 pear, stem removed
a few pieces of frozen banana
a couple of ice cubes
contents of a probiotic capsule (optional)

Put it all in a Vitamix and blend on high just until completely smooth.

My other current favorite smoothie I call the “Omega Elvis” because it’s full of omega 3s. What I adore about the Vitamix is I don’t even need to have peanut butter on hand. I just use whole peanuts!

Omega Elvis Smoothie

a handful or two of unsalted roasted peanuts
about 1 Tbsp flax seeds
sweetener to taste; for this one I usually use coconut or maple syrup
about 1 cup hemp milk
1 frozen banana
pinch of salt

Again, put it all in the Vitamix and mix on high until thoroughly blended.

If I didn’t have a constant supply of hemp milk on hand, I’d just put some hemp seeds and water in the blender when making the smoothies. We’ve been through many phases of non-dairy milk. I’ve gone through periods of making my own soy milk and almond milk, but I’ve fallen out of those because they are too much effort and require forethought. So I’ve been buying milk, first almond and lately coconut milk for Mark, and hemp milk for myself. I’ll probably never be able to stop buying Mark milk because he doesn’t actually LIKE milk and homemade milk grosses him out for some reason. And he likes it sweeter than I do, and also vanilla-flavored. But I hate all the packaging we are wasting, and hemp milk is pretty expensive. I actually tried to make hemp milk once before I had a Vitamix and it wasn’t very good. It had to be strained and even afterwards, I just didn’t like it. The Vitamix is amazing because there is no need to strain hemp milk! It’s completely smooth without straining. Check it out:

Hemp Milk

1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds
2 1/2 cups water
1 date, pitted
generous pinch of salt

What hemp seeds look like:

Put it all in the Vitamix.

Blend on high until smooth; 30 seconds is probably enough. It will get frothy.

Refrigerate the milk. High-speed blenders add a lot of air to mixtures, so in order to fit the milk into the jar I use, I actually blend in 2 cups of water. Later after it’s settled back down, I’ll add the additional 1/2 cup of water in and shake it up. I guess I’m obsessed with jars, but something about this jar, with fresh homemade hemp milk in it, makes me very happy. It’s one of my many vintage mason jars, which by the way, Vegenaise lids fit perfectly, so if you have a hard time finding screw-on, non-canning lids, save ’em up. (In fact, Vegenaise jars in general are really nice; that’s what I’m drinking the green smoothie above out of.)

Just shake your hemp milk before using; it does separate (another reason I can’t get Mark to drink homemade milks). This is barely sweet, which is how I like it. Add additional sweetener if you must. Sometimes I omit the date entirely. It also tastes kinda hempy, I won’t lie. If your favorite non-dairy milk is chocolate Silk, this may not be the milk for you. I don’t know that I would relish drinking it straight, but I wouldn’t relish drinking ANY milk straight. I only use it on cereal, in smoothies, and occasionally in cooking (though not often because I don’t like milky things any more than Mark does).

I’ve also been making fermented cashew cheese in the Vitamix, but I’m perfecting that, so that’s coming soon to an I Eat Food post near you.

And now for my latest completely off-topic update. Other than Vitamixing it up every day, I haven’t been cooking anything all that amazing because I have a new hobby I’ve been obsessing over. I know I’ve posted a few sewing tutorials over the years, but I’ve always prefaced them by saying I’m a terrible sewer. Which I am. I don’t even LIKE sewing. I usually only do it because there is something I want that I can’t find to buy. So sewing is kind of a chore for me. Also, sewing machines break around me, which subsequently enrages me. Just over a year ago, I mentioned here that during my annual gift bag-making blitz, my sewing machine broke and I had to buy a new one. Well, guess what happened last month while making gift bags? My year-old machine broke. And it would have cost as much as I paid for it to repair it. Now, since I hate sewing, buying a new sewing machine, especially during the holiday season, is NOT fun for me. Buying a new camera: fun. New sewing machine: NOT fun. Who wants to spend a bunch of money on something they don’t like?

So I decided to do something different this time: buy a sewing machine I DO like. One that won’t break, and if it does, won’t cost a fortune to repair, as computerized machines do. I think I’ve stated here before that I don’t trust new things, that I much prefer old things, and therefore do almost all my shopping in antique and thrift stores. It seemed natural to me, then, to buy an old sewing machine instead of a crappy new one. A mechanical sewing machine. One I can open up and see the parts working. One that’s proven its worth over many years. One that is so beautiful to look at I’ve put it on display in my living room instead of cooping it up in the spare room. THIS sewing machine:

It’s a Singer 15-91; it’s cast iron (my favorite substance!), has all-metal parts, and is completely gear driven. It’s from 1949, fully restored, and complete with table it cost me about the same price I would have paid for yet another piece of crap modern sewing machine that would break in a year. You can actually get them for $50 and under – sometimes free – if you’re willing to put some work into it (they almost always require a re-wiring as the original wiring is unsafe today). It’s a thing of beauty. I’m in love with this sewing machine. Which is a weird thing for someone who hates sewing.

But I’m trying to NOT hate sewing, and this baby makes that task MUCH easier, believe me. I trust it far more than my old machines. It will stitch ANYTHING. It’s amazing in action! I’ve made a couple of rag quilts on it and it stitched through 8 layers of fabric – without me changing from a standard 11 needle – without the slightest hesitation. THIS is a sewing machine meant for Renae! Finally! [Funny: I just read the post I linked to above where I mentioned I’d bought a new sewing machine just before Christmas 2010 – I state in that post that my “dream sewing machine” has “long been an antique Singer”…why didn’t I just follow my dream then?!]

Anyway, THAT’s what I’ve been doing. Sewing, of all things! I’m even more surprised than you are. And here is a fat squirrel:


  1. Josiane Said,

    January 23, 2012 @ 1:34 am

    Your smoothies sound awesome! And hemp milk in 30 seconds? I think my soymilk maker would quickly end up gathering dust…

    I love your new(-to-you) sewing machine! It reminds me of my grandma’s sewing machine: a gorgeous Pfaff she’s bought around 1951-1952 to sew my dad’s diapers… and so much more over the years! A few years ago, she asked me if I wanted it when she wouldn’t be able to sew anymore; she added that a Pfaff sales rep had offered her a hefty sum for it when he saw how well it had been maintained and how well it still worked, to which her answer was that she wouldn’t sell it, as she was keeping it for her granddaughter. She’s the sweetest! Anyway, I’m glad you’ve found the machine for you and you’re enjoying making friends with it!

  2. radioactivegan Said,

    January 23, 2012 @ 2:29 am

    I really like your sewing machine. I feel the same way about sewing – I want to love it, but it’s just a chore. My machine gets jammed up all the time and I invariable sew at least one part on backwards and have to take it off to do over.

    Also, thank you for that fat squirrel. Fantastic!

  3. kittee Said,

    January 23, 2012 @ 6:23 am

    from green smoothies, to sewing to fat squirrels, this was a great read. i shall try the hemp milk thang in the ol ‘ VM tomorrow. thanks! my standard smoothie is 1 frozen banana, some frozen berries, some almond milk, a barrel of greens and a scoop of Vegan. besides the added protein, which i need in my diet right now, i love using the vega because it sweetens the whole job up for me with stevia. which sounds gross, but you can’t tell by the taste that’s it’s steviad at all!


  4. Zoa Said,

    January 23, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

    Love this post! Well, I’m dead jealous of your Vitamix, but if I had one I wouldn’t use it as much as you do yours, so more power (ahem) to you! I just drink wine when I get hungry before dinner…on second thought, maybe someone *should* get me a Vitamix. The sewing machine, I totally get, and wish you my heartfelt congratulations on finding something that so obviously suits you so well! Your Singer is truly a thing of beauty, and constructed in the days when machines were made to last. And the squirrel…well, it just kind of matches the happy tone of the rest of your post and is a lovely photograph as well.

  5. Danielle Said,

    January 24, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    I love Mason jars, and it’s true I’m always losing the lids because I don’t actually can anything… I just get gifts of home-canned stuff. My friend recently created this doohick that turns a Mason jar into a sippy cup and I am bizarrely tempted by it.

  6. Jain Said,

    January 25, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    I’ll look for hemp seeds; I had no idea how quick and easy the milk is. I’m still just making simple smoothies with my old VM but I have my eye on a vintage cookbook at eBay.

    I’ve collected old canning jars over the years and have that very Atlas Mason!

    We’re on the exact same page wrt sewing: I only do it as a last resort (straight lines only, pillows and curtains) and don’t enjoy it a bit. I bought a small Husqvarna a few years ago, thinking it was a good brand. It’s as evil as all the rest. I like your thinking on the old model and would probably enjoy it more. I’ll keep my eyes open, but I don’t ever expect to find one as beautiful and functional as yours. Ah well, there’s a reasonably-priced seamstress in the nearest town.

  7. delona Said,

    January 27, 2012 @ 12:13 am

    I’ve been saving for a Vitamix by selling appliances it will replace (regular blender, soymilk maker ) and other unused items. Did you get the dry container, too?

  8. Jes Said,

    January 29, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

    Your sewing machine is so gorgeous!!! I loved sewing on my mom’s vintage Singer–can’t wait to see what projects you cook up with it. AND holy Vitamix! You lucky duck! Can’t wait to get the fermented cashew cheese recipe–and that green smoothie? Super yummy looking. Oh, and I have a bottle issue as well–the hemp milk bottle is perfect with the cheery blue top!

  9. ambisinistral Said,

    February 1, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

    I can’t find contact information on your blog so I’ll just drop a comment here. Sorry to be so off topic.

    I swiped one of your pictures of your husband Mark for a blog post of mine, Listening to the voices in your head. I hope that neither you nor he mind.

  10. Carolyn Said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

    You had me at Vitamix, although after hemming and hawing and ruminating for a few years myself, I ended up with a Blendtec, and am very happy with it. But if the Vitamix had been on special instead of the Blendtec, who knows.

    Then you throw in vintage sewing machines and squirrels. As someone who loves both, let me say Good Job! We are having a very mild winter here, being just a bit north of I Eat Food, and my squirrels are lookin’ pretty ample as well.

    I adore sewing, although I haven’t done much lately, and perhaps the reason is that I grew up with two vintage sewing machines (my Mom’s) that ALWAYS worked. They are both still operational, one at my Dad’ house, and one at my sister’s, but I personally am on my second “modern” sewing machine. The next purchase will likely be a vintage model, to avoid repeat purchases in the future.

  11. Kylie Said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 2:51 am

    Squirrel!! That green smoothie looks amazing. I really want a Vitamix, saving up my dough!

  12. Jolice Bonnick Said,

    September 19, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

    Your story sounded like mine!! Oh my!! I wanted a vitamix, so bad!!!
    Birthday and Christmas. I droll and dream for one!
    So I continued using my cusinart, for about 5 years…until it broke! 🙁
    Then my boyfriend surprise me with a vitamix!!!
    My eyes, almost fell from my head! I use it twice a day. I realized I really needed one.
    And it’s being 2 months now sense I got mine.
    Now I make every kind of milk possible, hummus, soups, dips etc!
    I just in love with it! 🙂 I love your story!
    Keep enjoying your vitamix! It’s the best!!

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