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« A Sweet Gift For Smelly Friends | Main | No Kid Hungry | Share Our Holiday Table »
Tuesday
Dec072010

Cashew Horchata & Sharing Our Strength

Cashew Horchata | A simple but festive beverage for your holiday table!Welcome to Day Two of Share Our Holiday Table—a virtual, progressive fundraising dinner designed to raise awareness of child hunger in the U.S. This event is being hosted by Share Our Strength®—a national organization that works hard to make sure no child in America grows up hungry.

Yesterday a dynamite food blogger line-up treated us to nine tasty appetizers. Today we move on to drinks. But before we make our festive toast to good health and prosperity, I have something to ask and something to share.

Have you been missing the signs of child hunger in your town?

I had.

There is a route through downtown Cheyenne that I drive a couple of times a week. It was last fall, at the corner of Lincolnway and Pioneer, that I first noticed the brown bags. Most Wednesdays I would pass by and see hundreds of them filled and neatly lined up on the floor of the vacant Dineen building. It wasn't until July of this year that I made the connection when an article ran in the Wyoming Tribune Herald. The article was about Cheyenne's Friday Food Bags program and the number of school children in Cheyenne living in food insecure households. I had been missing a sign. I had been driving past one for over a year.

Turns out, over 300 food sacks are handed out to Cheyenne school kids every Friday with the intent to ensure these children, who normally get free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at school, don't go hungry over weekends. Having had my eyes opened, I was shocked and ashamed for being oblivious to the hardship some of the children in my own town were facing.

I have come to applaud the efforts of organizations like Share Our Strength and grass roots programs like Friday Food Bags. When you read the statistics, they are pretty mind blowing. In 2008 (and this was before the U.S. fell deeper into recession) the USDA reported that 22% of the children in the U.S. were living in food insecure households [read more about that here]. They were experiencing hunger—"hunger" defined as an uneasy or painful sensation caused by lack of food.

Now most will argue that children going hungry is just a symptom of deeper-rooted problems in our society—ones that need to be addressed. I agree. However, the ability to obtain enough food for an active, healthy life is the most basic of human needs. The idea of any child going hungry troubles me. Why? 1) Obtaining food is something a child has little control over, 2) it should not be their responsibility to do so and 3) there are mental and physical changes that accompany inadequate food intake which directly affect learning, development, productivity, physical and psychological health and family life.

Okay, I am hopping off my soapbox (thanks for hanging in there with me).

Now, shall we toast?

Here is to health, prosperity and no child going hungry this holiday season! Please consider making a contribution [click here] to the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry™ campaign. Then as you gather around your holiday table, know that you have extended it beyond your circle of family and friends. You have shared it with a needy child—and very likely, one in your own town. Thank you.

The recipe I bring to Share Our Holiday Table is one for simple horchata. Popular in Mexico and with origins dating back to ancient Egypt, horchata can be made with three basic ingredients—rice, cinnamon and sweetener—and costs just pennies to make. Nuts may be added for extra creaminess as can vanilla. Serve it over ice or warm and blend it with melted chocolate for a decadent hot cocoa. Place a pitcher at the kids' holiday table and they're sure to feel extra special.

Happy Holidays to all!

Cashew Horchata

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Easily Tree Nut-Free | Sesame-Free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Easily Vegan

Makes: Approximately 5-6 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Soak Time: 4-6 hours

Ingredients:

1/2 cup WHITE RICE
4 cups boiling WATER
1 CINNAMON STICK (2 if you love cinnamon!)
2 teaspoons VANILLA EXTRACT
1/2 cup raw CASHEW NUTS
1/4 cup, or to taste, RUNNY HONEY (see Notes for sugar-free version)
Dash SEA SALT
1-2 cups COLD WATER

Directions:

1. Using a blender, coffee grinder or food processor, grind rice to fine meal. Transfer to medium bowl along with cinnamon stick and vanilla. Pour boiling water over rice meal mixture. Allow to stand at room temperature 4-6 hours.

2. Add cashews to a separate bowl. Cover with water and allow to soak 4-6 hours. Rinse well.

3. Transfer cashews and rice mixture (including the cinnamon stick) to high-powered blender.

3. Blend on high 1-2 minutes or until smooth.

4. Strain mixture into large bowl using cheesecloth or nut milk bag.

5. Return liquid to rinsed blender carafe. Add honey, pinch of salt and 1-2 cups additional water to achieve the consistency of milk.

6. Blend on low 10 seconds.

7. Chill and stir before serving over ice.

8. Optional: Dust with cinnamon and garnish with a star anise pod for a festive touch (pictured above).

Notes:

Cashews may be replaced with an additional 1/2 cup soaked rice or 1/2 cup almonds that have been soaked for 8-10 hours and rinsed well. Cinnamon stick may be replaced with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. For a subtle licorice "twist", throw one star anise pod in with the rice/water mixture. Blend with the rest of the mixture. Easily sugar-free: Sweeten to taste with SweetLeaf Liquid Vanilla Creme Stevia instead of honey.

 

Share Our Holiday Table Progressive Dinner

Day 1: Appetizers

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

Day 2: Drinks

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

Day 3: Salads

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

 Day 3: Soups

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

 

 Day 4: Entrees

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

 

Day 5: Sides

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

Day 6: Desserts

Gourmet

Family Friendly

Vegetarian

Gluten Free

Reader Comments (20)

I had my first horchata last month from a taco truck. It was surprising. I didn't realize it was so easy to make and the cashews will make it extra creamy and delicious. Beautifully written and moving post from atop your soap box.

Lexie, I've never had horchata. Had never even heard of it frankly, but how lovely and appealing your version is. Would love to have a cup!

And, thank you for your moving post. So often, we don't mean to overlook these needs. I'll be on the lookout for such needs and programs in my area. I know one thing that always troubles me is the big push and awareness during the holidays. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm for it, it's just that the needs are all year long. I often wonder what life is like after the holidays for those in need. Organizations like SOS work hard to keep the supplies balanced I believe. Thanks so much for sharing your heartful post. I suspect that folks will be compelled to act differently after reading it; I know I will.

Hugs,
Shirley

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShirley @ gfe

Lexie - lovely post. I think the horchata sounds amazing...never heard of it. What a great alternative to egg nog for the holidays. BTW - the photo is gorgeous!

My husband just introduced me to horchata a few weeks ago. It is absolutely delicious. I've never really been an eggnog fan, so this one will be the preferred Christmas drink for us.

Stay on your soapbox - it's a good one!

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I've never had horchata Ive heard its like a rice pudding taste. I loveeee rice pudding. I must try this sometime your picture is so beautiful too!

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercat

This looks absolutely delicious. Had never heard of Horchata before today, but now I must try it! Sounds like it could be a good breakfast.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaggy@threemanycooks

Lexie, our family LOVES horchata! It is pretty easy to come by here in Arizona, and my hubby is the one who actually introduced it to me when i first moved here years ago. This recipe looks fabulous since I have never even thought to make my own! What a beautiful post, by the way!
xo

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim @ Cook It Allergy Free

Oh my gosh Lexie, I am making this TONIGHT!!!

Have I told you lately how much I love you, it is a blessing to have you on this journey with me!

Gorgeous photo by the way. :-D

xo,
Heidi
__________________________

Awwww, Heidi. ditto ditto ditto!!! let's catch up soon.

xo
Lexie

This recipe might be above my cooking talent, but I sure wouldn't turn down one if you made it for me! :) Thanks for sharing. It's great to meet you and work with you for Share Our Strength!

What a gorgeous drink and beautiful post. I've never made horchata before and can't wait to give it a try.

_______________

Hi Carol. I love your site! Don't let me loose with that shopping basket ;) www.tablefare.com

xo
-Lexie

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Peterman/TableFare

Man oh man, the blogging community rocks. Thank you for sharing such a powerful message Lexie. And your recipe! There's a song that says "drinking horchata" and all this time I thought he was singing hot chocolate, just so it would rhyme because it didn't really sound like hot chocolate. Now I know it's horchata. Are you still following me :) Here's the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkUQ-OBazbc Didn't even know it existed! It sounds delish.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

The statistics are staggering! It is so awesome to see events like this.

I make a similar horchata but use almonds. Love it!

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa Cooks

What a great event! Good for you for taking this on and being part of the solution. Increasing awareness and caring. Wow, that's lovely.

And so is your photo. I'm so impressed with your photography skills. You must have really paid attention to Penny at IFBC. Nice angle shot. I do remember she said no overheads (gosh, that's about all I do).

Anyway, I had never heard of horchata, but it sounds delicious. Plus, it's such a good word! =)

Melissa
xo

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterglutenfreeforgood

Hi Melissa! Thanks for the nice words. When I go to sites like Cannelle et Vanille or Tartlette or Roost I feel my photos lack so much. I've always wanted to be a good photographer. Compared to those gals I have a long way to go. :) Yeah, I think of Penny when I am shooting now. "Explore your subject! All angles." Good memories.

December 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterLexie

I. LOVE. Horchata! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. And yes. "CLINK" I'll raise a glass with you and toast the end of childhood hunger. I am so glad to have met you (virtually, at least!) and to be sharing this journey together! xo

I made this tonight. It is very good. My only tweak was that I did half almond-half cashew. We would get horchata once in a while in the days when I could go to a taco shop. Great recipe Lexie and easy to follow.

December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeri

I've never tried horchata, but this sounds delicious. Wonder if it works with brown rice. Do you know?

______________________

Hi Jeanette ... I think it would work just fine ... and add a bit more vitamins and minerals to the mix, too. Try it out and let me know. ;) Thanks again for letting me borrow the pear pic. It is so very pretty!

December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeanette

You have an outstanding good and well structured site. I enjoyed browsing through it.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertatil

This has become a staple in our house. Ava even insists on it if we are out. I have a surplus of mochiko rice flour so I've been using that in the recipe.

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCassie Q

Cassie, I sure appreciate your taking the time to comment : ) Keeps me inspired. Good idea on the mochiko flour, especially when you have an abundance of it!

xoLexie

June 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterLexie

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