Baking with Coconut Flour — February 13, 2021

Baking with Coconut Flour

coconut bread recipe

The perfect coconut flour bread is the perfect answer to those starting a keto diet or those who are allergic to wheat, dairy, most grains, starches, and nuts. And switching to coconut flour means that you yourself don’t have to give up your favorite foods because of the other person. But baking with coconut flour is a whole different ballgame than baking with any other flour. One of the easiest recipes to learn how to bake with coconut flour is coconut flour bread. The perfect coconut flour bread is quick and easy to prepare, contains healthy all-natural ingredients, and has unbelievable taste. So let’s stop talking and start baking instead.

Making the Perfect Coconut Tea — February 7, 2021

Making the Perfect Coconut Tea

Coconut tea is a caffeinated beverage that is relatively new to America and parts of Europe, but has actually been enjoyed for generations in tropical regions where coconuts commonly grow.

Coconut tea combines coconut flakes and milk into green or black tea to create both a wonderful flavor and a wealth of health benefits.

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The Why

Coconut milk contans a high level of healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and many important minerals—such as magnesiumiron, and potassium.

Coconut has been proven to have many health benefits. Coconut and coconut-related groceries such as coconut oil and shredded coconut can help prevent cancer, improve heart health, boosting the immune system, and protect the skin.

Green and black tea can give the immune system a major boost.

Both of these two main ingredients can h ve an effect on the metabolism, boost passive fat-burning. aid weight loss efforts, help protect you from high blood pressure and coronary heart disease…

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Coconut Tea

  • 2Tbsp heavy milk
  • 1C coconut milk
  • 4 green or black tea bags
  • 4C water
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • cloves
  • 2Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1Tbsp peppercorn

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Instructions 

Bring 4 cups of water to boil, At this point you can choose between making chai coconut tea or green tea coconut tea.

To make chai coconut tea, add 8 cardamom pods, 8 cloves, and 1Tbsp to saucepan. Then add four black tea bags. Remove from heat. Steep for 5min. In a second saucepan, bring 1C coconut milk and 2Tbsp brown sugar to a simmer. Mix the milk into the tea. Heat for 2min. Whisk the entire mixture.

To make coconut green tea, add three green tea bags. Remove from heat. Let the tea steep 5min. Pour in 1/4 cup of coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Stir thoroughly. Remove the tea bag. Regardless which tea you are making, you can either serve the tea warm or refrigerate and serve cold.  

Nature’s Own Sports Drink — February 3, 2021

Nature’s Own Sports Drink

Dubbed by marketers as “Mother Nature’s sports drink,” coconut water has become a “trendy” beverage in recent years…a beverage that is had said to not only hydrate the body, but also to help with a whole host of conditions—including hangovers,  cancer and kidney stones.

Coconut water is a tasty refreshing beverage that is also good for you because it is loaded with several important nutrients, including minerals that most people don’t get enough of.

Coconut water is the clear liquid naturally found in the center of a young, green coconut.

Coconuts take about a year to fully mature. As the coconut matures, the water is replaced by coconut meat…but if the coconut is being grown to make coconut water, the coconut is harvested when the coconut is  about seven months old. The younger the fruit, the more water it contains.

Coconut water is different from coconut milk. Coconut water comes straight from the coconut…whereas coconut milk is coconut meat that has been ground up and mixed with water.

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Nutrition

  • So many of us are trying to steer clear of processed, artificially-sweetend or flavored foods these days…including fortified cereals, unhealthy snacks, and energy drinks that contain caffeine and artificial ingredients. Coconut water may be a great alternative.
  • Coconut water is low in calories…naturally free of fat…a good source of fiber…low in carbohydrates and sodium…rich in potassium…a great source of several vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and vitamin C.
  • All without artificial ingredients or additives that may be unhealthy.
  • And not to mention super hydrating.
  • Calories…An 8-ounce serving of coconut water contains 45 calories…about the same found in the same amount of Gatorade.
  • Sugar…Most unflavored coconut water contains 1.3 grams of sugar per ounce…less sugar than many sports drinks and much less sugar.
  • Vitamins…Coconut water is a great source of vitamin C…a single eight ounce serving contains 10%RDI.
  • Minerals…One cup coconut water has more potassium than four bananas…61mg potassium17% of the RDI.

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Health Benefits

  • Coconut water has become a popular sports drink for those of us seeking energy, hydration, and endurance.
  • But let’s look at some of the other benefits that coconut water provides.

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Bloating

Many people experience uncomfortable swelling after meals that are high in sodium. Coconut water contains the potassium needed to counteract these high levels of sodium and keep your belly from swelling.

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Blood Pressure

Coconut water is effective in keeping your blood sugar levels down because of the amounts of magnesium and potassium that it contains. Potassium is often given to heart patients to strengthen their hearts.

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Energy

If you want to avoid that tired, draggy feeling in the early afternoon, drink some coconut water. Coconut water contains carbohydrates and electrolytes that rehydrate the body and are great for a quick energy boost…that’s why athletes swear by it.

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Hangover Remedy

If you drank too much alcohol the night before and are now enjoying the headache and hazy feeling of a good old-fashioned hangover, try starting the day with coconut water.  The electrolytes in coconut water replenish the body with the minerals and nutrients needed for you to function effectively and rehydrates your parched system.

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Immune System

Coconut water has a healthy supply of vitamin C which is important for…

  • boosting your immune system
  • eliminating impurities
  • fighting illness and infection
  • killing germs
  • preventing colds and flu

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Kidney Stones

Thank goodness I’ve never had a kidney stone, but I hear that they really, really hurt…and sometimes require surgery.

Whar are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are crystals formed from whenever your body has too so much calcium and oxalate that these adhere to your kidneys to form kidney stones.

Whenever you have kidney stones, doctors often recommend that you drink plenty of water, but coconut water is actually more effective than plain water in preventing the development of these crystals.

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Muscle Cramps

Cramps that are a result of such thibs as pre-menstrual syndrome, a long run or weightlifting, or potassium deficiency can be painful and debilitating, Coconut water nourishes muscles and prevents cramps because it is rich in potassium and muscle-nourishing.

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Obesity

Sodas…or as we say in the Deep South…typically contain tons of sugar…and even when you buy sugar-free soda, it still contains chemicals and preservatives that are unhealthy for you.

Coconut water on the other hand, contains no calories, provides more nutritional value, is naturally free of additives and artificial sweeteners….making it a healthier alternative.

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Skin

In order for your skin to look its best, it is essential that you consume a steady supply of water, vitamins, and minerals.

Cuckoo Over Coconuts — January 22, 2021

Cuckoo Over Coconuts

 

When you think of tropical fruit, one of the first things that comes into mind is the coconut…one of the most important crops of the tropics.

 

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The Tree

Coconut trees can grow up to almost one hundred feet tall with leaves that can be as long as twenty feet each.

Coconut trees can typically be found anywhere along the coast…wherever the average daily temperature stays above 55°F and the average annual rainfall is above 40 inches.

Each tree can yield as many as a hundred actual coconuts, but most trees grow about fifty.

 

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The Fruit

Your typical coconut is an oval shape that is about fifteen inches long and seven inches round…weighing about three pounds…with a hard shell containing both coconut meat and liquid.

 

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More Facts

The name coconut comes from the Spanish word coco, which means ‘head’ or ‘skull.’ The coconut probably got this name from the fact that the coconut looks like a face…with three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facaaial features.

There are several varieties of coconut…which you probably wouldn’t know if you walk into your typical grocery store.

These include the Maypan coconut, the King coconut, and Macapuno….each varying in such factors as taste of the coconut water, color of the fruit. For more about the different types of coconut, check out this article by Home Stratosphere.

Breadfruit….The How — January 19, 2021

Breadfruit….The How

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
Breadfruit is probably not one of those fruits that you simply wanna grab and take a big bite of… Try if it you want, but most people will find the taste and texture of uncooked breakfast more than a little unpleasant. However, if the unripened breadfruit is boiled until tender, the breadfruit will have a more potato-ish texture…similar to freshly baked bread. In fact, the best way to think about uses for breadfruit is to treat it as if it were a potato of sorts and cook it accordingly—mashed, in salads, made into fries and chips, etc. In fact, breadfruit can be used as a delicious substitute for any starchy root crop, rice, pasta, vegetable, or potato. But breadfruit is actually better than potatoes because they are actually more nutritious. So like the potatoes, breadfruit can be prepared in many ways—steamed, baked, sauteed, boiled, fried… And like potatoes, breadfruit can be used in a variety of dishes—casseroles, curries, stews and chowders, salads, and chips.

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Ripeness

The riper the breadfruit, the softer and creamier and sweeter it becomes…similar to a banana…with a custardy, bread-like taste…meaning that riper breadfruit are great for can be used for fritters, pancakes, bread, beverages, and other baked goods

Breadfruit is a staple ingredient in many cuisines—especially Caribbean, Latin America, and Polynesian…for making both sweet and savory dishes. Here are a few recipes worth trying… Philippinesginataang langka Sri Lankacurry Indiafritters Jamaicasoup Breadfruit flour can be used a good gluten-free substitute for panko or breadcrumbs…and actually has a much better taste and greater nutritional value than any other gluten-free flour alternative available. Breadfruit seeds can also be cooked an eaten…making them a a nutritious, savory snack with a crunch.

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Where to Find

If you don’t live in the back of the backwoods like Middle of Nowhere, Mississippi… where I’m from…you might be able to go to your closest Caribbean specialty food store…

If you happen to live in Hawaii or be there even in the midst of all this corona crap, you will find breadfruit readily available…probably labeled as “ulu”…In fact, breadfruit is so common in Hawaii that there is even a National Breadfruit Institute of Hawai’i.  For the rest of us, you could also try your local farmers’ market or wait until your next box of ugly produce comes in and you luck out and get breadfruit in your assortment.

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Choosing and Storing

If you are choosing your breadfruit yourself, make sure that the breadfruit is firm. You want the skin to be greenish-yellow with only a little brown cracking.

The fruit bruises easily so check for bruises or soft spots. Some brown cracking is okay, but not too much. Store breadfruit in your fridge…(future post on which fruits and veggies to store in fridge and which not to…as well as how to organize your fridge coming soon…maybe four years from now)… In conclusion, hopefully you also will be checking breadfruit off your list of foods on the Raw Foods Pyramid  yet to try…as you join me in this quest to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Breadfruit…The What and the Why — January 17, 2021

Breadfruit…The What and the Why

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
Honestly before starting our quest to switch from the typical Southern meal regimen—chicken fried steak, fried chicken, fried whatever…after all, isn’t the Texas State Fair notorious for frying anything and everything… I had never heard of many of the fruits and veggies that I am including in this blog about raw foods and clean eating. But recently I joined a food co-op that delivered breadfruit. At first I was kinda scared of the interesting little green things in my basket, but I am not one to waste ingredients and also someone who dares to try new recipes, so I started figuring out what to do with the darn thing….what recipes I could use it in and what nutritional goodness it had to offer.

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The Where

Breadfruit are another tropical fruit…native to the South Pacific and very popular throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

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The Breadfruit Tree

As far as how it’s grown, the breadfruit grows on trees that can grow as tall as eighty-five feet high. The breadfruit tree is a member of the fig family and one tree alone can produce a massive 450 pounds of breadfruit each year for decades. One single breadfruit tree is capable of yielding up to two hundred breadfruits per season. The leaves of the breadfruit tree are large ovals that are long and skinny, and glossy green.

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The Fruit

One breadfruit can weigh up to twelve pounds in weight and have a diameter of twelve inches. The breadfruit is typically round, oval or oblong The skin of the breadfruit is a green and prickly. The flesh is hard and green. The flesh of a fully ripe breadfruit will be creamy yellow with oval seeds or a cylindrical core, depending on which particular variety of breadfruit you have purchased. A single breadfruit can weigh as much as twelve pounds and is capable of feeding a family of four.

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Nutritional Value

Breadfruit is an excellent source of the following nutrients…
  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • carotenoids
  • copper
  • fiber…½C provides 25%RDA
  • iron
  • magnesium…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • niacin
  • omega 3
  • omega 6
  • phosphorus
  • potassium…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • protein…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • thiamin…10%DV
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B
  • vitamin C…35%DV

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Health Benefits

Breadfruit can be beneficial to your health in many ways, especially for fighting or preventing…
  • asthma
  • blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • heart diseases and heart attacks
  • risk of developing colon cancer
So now that we’ve gotten the facts about breadfruit and its nutritional/health benefits, let’s get to the fun part—what to do with it the next time the local co-op or one of those imperfect food subscription boxes sends it your way…(because if you’re like me, you probably wouldn’t have ever put it into your grocery cart or instacart order yourself)…
Develop a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit — January 11, 2021

Develop a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit

Before starting this series on tropical fruits, I had honestly never even heard of banana passion fruit…and I still honestly haven’t figured out where the closest place to buy it is…but since it is a tropical fruit, I’m gonna go ahead and include here in this chapter…(think once I finish crawling up the Raw Foods Pyramid, I may try to put it all together into a book…probably too lofty of a goal, but hey we are all making New Year’s resolutions right now anyway)…

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Banana Passion Fruit…The What

Banana passion fruit are native to many areas of South America—particularly Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru.

Banana passion fruit grows on vines that can be as tall…or long, not sure which word would be correct here…as twenty-two feet….and that have attractive, deep pink blossoms. The vines are commonly used in landscaping to cover trellises.

plant is known to live for up to twenty years. A mature banana passion fruit vine can produce up to three hundred banana passion fruits. 

The fruit itself is oblong and about four inches long. The orange-scented fruit has a  thick, leathery skin that changes from green to bright yellow as the fruit ripens…and juicy, sweet pulp that is studded with black seeds.

The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a tart bite and hints of banana. Although the seeds are edible, they can be somewhat bitter…

Banana passion fruit is available year-round in the tropics, with a peak season in the spring and fall months.

However…interestingly enough…it is illegal to sell and distribute the plant in New Zealand and Hawaii because it is considered to be an invasive species that can quickly take over and deprive other native plants from the sun.

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

Banana passionfruit are a good source of the following nutrients…

  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • protein
  • vitamins A and C

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

As long as you store ripe banana passion fruit in an open paper bag in the fridge, they will last for around a week.

Although banana passion fruit is best eaten as it is instead of trying to cook or make something else out of it, here are some more ideas as far as using banana passion fruit…

  • desserts such as cakes, cheesecake and pies
  • fruit salads
  • ice cream
  • juices
  • parfaits
  • relishes, jams and other preserves
  • smoothies
  • yogurt 

So let’s take a look in the following posts at a few of these ideas…shall we?!

Let’s Go Ape Over Bananas — November 23, 2020

Let’s Go Ape Over Bananas

Bananas chopped up in a bowl

Of course we all know what a banana is…

In fact, we all seem to go apes over bananas…so much so that in the United States, each person eats about eleven pounds of bananas per year…making it Americans’ favorite fresh fruit.

Bananas in fact are a favorite fruit worldwide…having first been grown in Southeast Asia, they are now grown in many warm parts of the world.

The perfect banana is wonderfully sweet with firm and creamy flesh.

Contrary to your grocery store produce aisle may have you to believe, there are actually several different types of bananas—varying in color, size and shape.

The most common type is the Cavendish, a type of dessert banana. These bananas are green when unripe…and then yellow as they mature.

Banana plants vary in height…anywhere from ten to twenty-six feet. The leaves are arranged spirally and may grow to be about nine feet long and two feet wide. The leaves of the banana tree are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

Bananas can also vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy…depending on what variety you choose and how ripe the bananas are.

Greener, less ripe bananas are more starchy…whereas yellow bananas taste sweeter because they contain more sugar.

The actual bananas are gathered into bunches…made up of anywhere from three to twenty tiers. The bunch itself can weigh anywhere from sixty-five to one hundred pounds.

Some of the edible varieties, ranging in color from yellow to red, pink, purple and black…varying in both flavor and texture…include… 

  • Blue Java Banana…Blue Java bananas are also known as the ice cream banana due to their sweet vanilla flavor and extreme creaminess. They feature a beautiful blue peel and a white flesh. They’re actually pretty hardy and can grow in colder regions….
  • Blue Java. Also called “ice cream” bananas because they’re said to taste like vanilla ice cream, these have a bluish-silvery peel that turns pale yellow when ripe.
  • Cavendish. The most widely exported banana in the world, the Cavendish has a sturdy peel that travels well. Almost all bananas sold in the United States and Europe are this variety.
  • Goldfinger. This newer variety from Honduras has a sweet and slightly apple-like flavor.
  • Gros Michel. Also known as Big Mike, this was the top-exported banana until much of the crop was wiped out by a fungus in the 1950s. It’s similar in taste and size to Cavendish and still available in some places.
  • Lady Finger Banana…Lady Finger bananas, also known as baby bananas, are sweeter and smaller than Cavendish bananas. They’re usually around three inches in length and feature a creamy texture and sweet flavor with notes of honey.
  • Manzano. Also called “apple bananas,” these short, chubby fruits have a hint of apple and strawberry. They’re fully ripe and taste best when the skin turns black. Manzano is the most popular dessert variety in the tropics.
  • Mysore. This small fruit is the most important banana crop in India. It has a thin skin and a hint of tartness.
  • Praying Hands. You’ll recognize this variety by the two adjacent “hands” that grow fused together, giving the fruit its name. It’s less sweet than other types and has a subtle vanilla flavor.
  • Red. The thick skin of red bananas starts red or maroon but turns yellow-orange when ripe. The flesh is sweet and tinged with pink or orange.      
All About Avocado Oil — November 20, 2020

All About Avocado Oil

Salad made with avocado oil

 

 

 

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Nutrition

  • Calories: 124
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Avocado oil is a good source of:

  • HDL Cholesterol
  • Lutein…a type of vitamin found as the yellow, orange, and red pigments in certain plants which gives these fruits and vegetables their colors…
  • Oleic Acid
  • Vitamin E…1Tbsp avocado oil contains about 23% of the DV of vitamin E.

 

 

 

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Health  Benefits

Antioxidant…If you’ve been following my blog at all…or if you have any interest in nutrition in the first place…you should know by now that antioxidants are important for fighting off free radicals. Antioxidants are important for preventing diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Arthritis…Arthritis, painful inflammation of the joints, is very common… and in fact affects millions of people worldwide. Studies have shown that avocado oil may reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis…especially arthritis in the hips and knees.

Heart…Avocado oil may be helpful to the health of your heart because of the oleic acid that it contains. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that can help lower blood triglycerides, LDL cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Skin…Avocados and avocado oil both contain fatty acids, vitamin E, and lutein contained in avocado oil can provide the following benefits…

  • helping soothe dry, chapped, or damaged skin if used topically 
  • improving symptoms of psoriasis
  • increasing collagen production 
  • decreasing inflammation
  • promoting skin health
  • helping wounds heal faster

In the next post we will look at how avocados can be used to make “bathroom beauty recipes” that might come in handy if there is another coronavirus shutdown.

 

 

 

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Uses

Mastering Ministrone — November 19, 2020

Mastering Ministrone

So now that we’ve bought the perfect pot, found the perfect recie, bought the best veggies, sliced and diced, and so forth…

Now what?

1.Constantly keep an eye on your soup while it is cooking. This will allow you to  adjust the spices and cooking temperature as needed.

2. Cook on low heat. Don’t think that cooking your soup at a higher temperature will ensure that everything will actually get cooked instead of being raw or hard when you are ready to serve the soup.

Doing this will instead turn your meat into tough, hard-to-chew pieces…not to mention possibly ruining the bottom of that expensive soup pot that we all went out and bought after reading a previous article, right?

Instead bring your soup slowly to a boil and then allow the soup to simmer for the rest of the cooking time.

This will allow the ingredients to maintain their structure and integrity, while at the same time combining all of the ingredients into a flavorful soup.

3. Cover or not?…Depending on the finished product that you want,  leaving the soup uncovered or covering the soup with the lid is a matter of personal  reference. Leaving the lid off will make the soup base evaporate faster, creating a thicker and more flavorful soup.

4, Dig in Deep…There are many soup recipes out there that  require taking some of the soup as it is cooking and blending it and then adding it back into the soup in order to thicken the soup. Using an immersion blender will reduce the risk of your getting burned and make this job easier and neater.

Here is a list from Good Housekeeping of some of the most highly recommended immersion blenders available…

5. Use your brain when using grains…Pasta and grains that are called for as ingredients will often overcook. Avoid this by cooking them separately and then adding them into the soup just before serving.