Tag Archives: coconut oil

Quick Chocolate Treat

30 Jan

I admit, I have a HUGE sweet tooth…probably sweet teeth!  However, I also know that eating sugar is not healthy.  There’s been plenty of information lately about sugar and its ties to obesity–too many calories in and not enough out leads to excess energy in storage which equals fat.  But, sometimes a little treat is worth some extra exercise. (Here’s an article about different types of sugar cravings.  Which one or more do you get?)

Customizable Chocolate Treat

Melted coconut oil

Cocoa (unsweetened highest quality you can get)

Grade B Maple syrup or raw honey

Mix-Ins such as dried fruit, chopped soaked and dried nuts and/or seeds, nut/seed butters, ginger, cinnamon, get creative

Stir the melted coconut oil, cocoa, and maple syrup together. (I know there are no measurements here.  You can start small by doing a couple tablespoons of coconut oil, cocoa to taste, and a couple of teaspoons of sweetener.  You want a liquidy and pourable consistency.)

Give it a quick taste and adjust if necessary.

If you want just chocolate, skip the mix ins and go to the next step.  Stir in your desired mix ins.  (Today, Penelope and I used dried cranberries and some walnuts.)

Pour the mixture (or enjoy now)  on to some wax paper laid on a plate or small cookie sheet.

Place the chocolate in to the freezer for 20-30 minutes to harden.

Remove from freezer and break in to pieces.

Enjoy!

Other combinations that taste great are apricots and almonds, cinnamon and cherries, cherries and pistachios, walnuts and finely diced ginger.

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The Flu and Maintaining Health

11 Jan

There’s quite a bit of talk about how bad the flu is this year.  Everywhere you go you hear people talking about the flu and the flu vaccine.  I urge you to make sure you make an informed decision prior to getting the flu vaccine.  Getting sick is no fun, but getting sick usually is not the end either.  Here are some pretty informative sites regarding the flu vaccine: Food Babe, Real Food Forager, and this one about Tamiflu, and here’s an older article, but it has some good information.

Edited to add this timely article by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

If staying healthy and trying to prevent the flu either with or without the vaccine is high on your priority list, I suggest trying a few things.  First is apple cider vinegar tea.  I first saw this recipe posted by Catherine Slezinger, but have since seen it in many different places.  To make this tea you need 4 ingredients: Unpasteurized, raw apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg brand, it’s available in many stores), raw honey, cinnamon, and hot water.  This is a tea that you can customize to your liking, within reason–don’t add too much honey.  We like about 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, a half to 1 teaspoon raw honey, and a couple dashes of cinnamon all added in to a steaming hot mug of water.  Stir it up and enjoy daily.  Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits such as promoting a healthy immune system and boosting digestion.  Second, I recommend eating coconut oil.  Coconut oil is antiviral and antibacterial (and has a tremendous amount of other health benefits).  Coconut oil can be used in baking and cooking like butter.  One quick, easy, and delicious way to start eating more coconut oil is to melt some oil along with some cocoa, vanilla, dried fruit of choice, some chopped nuts, and either some maple syrup (invest in the real syrup, not Aunt Jemima!) or raw honey. Mix it all up, then spread it on some wax paper and chill it in the freezer.  You just made yourself a candy bar! 🙂  Another simple way to eat coconut oil is to use it to scramble your eggs or saute vegetables.  Lastly, increase the amount of organic vegetables and fruits you eat.  Have a smoothie, eat a salad, quickly saute some spinach or kale with some onion then serve along side an egg, enjoy kale chips.  There are many quick ways to eat more vegetables and fruit.  Fruits and vegetables have many nutrients that the body needs to maintain and regain health as well as fight inflammation.  A delicious smoothie that we’ve been enjoying lately is this Kick the Cough smoothie.  It is sweet with a bit of a kick.  The smoothie is made with pineapple (I buy it fresh, cut it up, and freeze it), orange juice, lemon juice, fresh ginger (buy a large ginger root and keep it in the freezer, just cut off what you need when you need it), apple cider vinegar, raw honey, and a dash or 2 of cayenne pepper.

Also, did you know that when you exercise in your target heart rate (getting that heart rate elevated while working out) for 30-60 minutes your immune system gets a 3 hour natural boost?  Pretty awesome!

Altering Recipes

8 Jan

There are so many wonderful recipes out there!  Good news for those with food intollerances or allergies, many recipes can be altered some to fit your needs.  For example, the blog, Our Best Bites, often has some pretty delicious sounding and looking recipes but many times the ingredient list contains items that don’t work for my family–gluten and dairy.  Tonight’s dinner calls for some butter.  Instead of butter I can use either ghee (I buy this one at Whole Foods) or coconut oil.  Ghee is clarified butter.  Yes, it is lactose and casein free and therefore safe for those who need to be dairy free.  Ghee has a rich flavor and can be used in place of butter.  However, I choose not to bake with it because it is expensive.  I use it more to saute vegetables or to add a little bit to savory dishes.  When I bake I use coconut oil.  For tonight’s dinner, I will add some ghee because it will enhance the rich flavor of the bean dish.

For recipes that call for flour, doing direct substitutions can be tricky depending on the recipe and what is being used as the substitute.  If I’m making a roux or just need a tablespoon or so of flour, I will use either a rice or sorghum flour.  For baked goods I’ve been using coconut flour and almond flour much more.  With that said, know that you can NOT just substitute one of these flours in a gluten based recipe.  Most likely you would be very unhappy at the results.

If you have a favorite recipe that you are trying to convert but would like some help, I’d be happy to take a look at it for you.