Making the Perfect coconut Porridge — February 15, 2021

Making the Perfect coconut Porridge

It’s snowed several inches this weekend…a rare thing here in the DFW metroplex (Texas)…and so we’ve switched many of our typical diet staples—such as iced tea, cold cereal, and yogurt—to warmer and more “wholesome” foods such as this hot cereal, or porridge, which is healthy, filling, and stocked with healthy ingredients—such as quinoa, oats, and coconut milk.

So let’s talk about how to make a bowl of this satisfying coconut comfort food that is not only true breakfast bliss, but also a keto delight

 

 

 

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Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2Tbsp coconut flour
  • 2tsp butter 
  • 1/2C coconut milk
  • 1/2C quinoa
  • 1 -1/2C rolled oats
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 3/4C water
  • Sweetener—coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup, brown sugar,…
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2C unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Optional Toppings—apple slices, peanut butter, honey, fresh chopped fruit, berries, nuts, seeds,…

 

 

 

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Instructions

Combine egg, coconut flour, and salt in a small bowl. Melt the butter and coconut cream over low heat. Slowly whisk in the egg mixture, combining until you achieve a creamy, thick texture. When it begins to simmer, turn it down to medium-low and whisk until it begins to thicken. Add water, quinoa, oats, and salt. Cook for 15 minutes…until the grains are soft to the bite and no longer gritty or hard. Add more water if needed to reach your desired state of thickness/soupiness. Garnish with your favorite toppings. Serve hot with coconut milk or cream.

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    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.

    Let’s All Get Naked Together — September 9, 2020

    Let’s All Get Naked Together

    I’m from the deepest part of the Deep South…a part of the United States quite famous for fried foods and excellent homemade desserts consisting of the Holy Trinity of Southern cooking—cream cheese, Cool Whip, and heavy cream—and big huge breakfasts consisting of lots of bacon and pancakes smothered with lots and lots of syrup.

    But my husband was recently diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic…and then had to spend a week in the hospital for congestive heart failure.

    Needless to say, his doctors are now recommending that he start eating a plant-based diet.

    So in the days ahead, I want to study and share what I learn about embracing this now-dreaded meal planning and new eating habits that come from eating  more of the  unprocessed and possibly even uncooked foods that we should have been eating all along.

    Since this is such a drastic change in our eating habits, I am going to focus on the total opposite of what we eat now—instead of the crispy crunchy diet that we now eat, I will begin our journey to a raw food or plant-based diet…a diet where about eighty percent of what we eat each day are plant-based…and mostly foods that were never heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

    I plan to also start cutting out any and all foods that are refined, pasteurized,  homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives…foods such as breads, bottled condiments, cereals, crackers, cheese, refined oils and processed meats.

    Making the Perfect Avocado Salad — June 9, 2020

    Making the Perfect Avocado Salad

     

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    The Ingredients

    Avocado...4 large, ripe avocados…about 2C cubed…peeled, pitted, and  cubed or chopped about the same shape and size of the cucumbers

     

     

    Cilantro and Other Herbs.…Any tender fresh herbs are great additions to your avocado salad—such as cilantro, dill, oregano, cumin, parsley, chives, and basil. If using fresh herbs—such as  fresh cilantro, parsley, basil, dill or a combination—use 1/2C chopped. If using dried herbs, use 2Tbsp chopped

     

    Cucumber...1 cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise and then slicedChoose thin-skinned, seedless cucumbers—such as English, hothouse, or Persian cucumbers—instead of regular garden cucumbers. If you are using garden cucumbers, peel off some or all of the tough skin and scoop out some of the seeds before adding to the salad.

     

    Garlic…Garlic is an optional ingredients, but if you do decide to use garlic, use either a small garlic clove or 1/2tsp minced.

     

    Jalapeño…This is another optional ingredient, but will add some zip to your salad. If you are going to use jalapenos in your salad, make sure to first remove the seeds and white membrane from the pepper.

     

    Lemons or Limes…The lime dressing is what makes or breaks this simple salad. You can use either limes or lemon. If using limes, use 3Tbsplime juice or squish a couple of small limes. If using lemons, use 2Tbsp lemon juice or the juice of one medium lemon.

     

    Olive Oil…Using 1Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil makes the salad dressing well-rounded and luxurious.

     

    Onion...1/2C red onion…could also use ½Vidalia onion, if available…very thinly sliced…Soak the sliced onion in water for a few minutes before adding to the salad. This will preserves the flavor but get rid of the harsh, lingering aftertaste.

     

    Tomatoes...You can use either a pint of cherry tomatoes that have been cut in half, a large ripe beefsteak tomato that has been chopped, or 1# Roma tomatoes that have been seeded and chopped. Cherry or grape tomatoes will probably be the best choice because they are almost always sweet—even when out of season. The important thing is that the tomatoes you choose are juicy and ripe.

     

    Other Options...Along with these “expected” ingredients, feel free to experiment with other veggies and cheeses also…such as bell peppera oe feta.

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    The Instructions

    Combine avocados, tomatoes, cucumber, and whatever produce or cheese that you have decided to use in a large serving bowl.

     

    Whisk together the dressing ingredients—lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, herbs or spices—in a small bowl.

     

    Pour the dressing over the top.

     

    Toss everything together gently until the  avocado and cucumber are well coated in the dressing.

     

    Sprinkle feta on top.

     

    Taste to see if you need to season the salad even more…by drizzling more olive oil or lime juice on top of it, sprinkling salt and pepper on top, or adding your favorite hot sauce.

     

    Since avocados brown so quickly, it is best to serve the salad immediately.

     

    You could also cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day.

     

    In fact, you may want to wait and add the avocado right before serving the salad.

     

    Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one day. Even though the avocado will brown slightly and the vegetables will become more liquidy, the salad will still taste delicious.

    Raspberries…The Which — March 5, 2020

    Raspberries…The Which

     

    Raspberries are another food that is high in antioxidants.
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    Buying Raspberries

    Buy certified organically grown raspberries because these have less likelihood to have been exposure to contaminants—such as pesticides and heavy metals. Look for the USDA organic logo on the container to make sure that they are “cerified organic.”.

    Buy raspberries in their peak period—which is mid-summer through early fall…if any other season, opt for frozen raspberries instead.

    Look for berries that are firm, plump, and deep in color….and avoid berries that are soft, mushy, or moldy.

    Make sure that the raspberries are not packed too tightly whenever you are buying raspberries that are in a prepackaged container. The container should have no signs of stains or moisture because this  indicates that they might already be spoiled.

    You will get the most nutritional value—including antioxidants and flavanoids—by choosing raspberries that are fully ripe.

     

     

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    Storing Raspberries

    Keep your berries, either in their original container or a glass or plastic container that has a sealable lid in the fridge…because they can mold quite easily at room temperature.

    But before sticking them in the fridge first remove any molded or spoiled berriesso that they won’t quickly ruin the other berries.

     

     

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    Freezing Raspberries

    Fresh raspberries freeze very well. Wash them gently, using the low pressure of the sink sprayer. If you use more force when washing the raspberries, they won’ so that they won’t maintain their delicate shape.

    After you finish washing them, pat them dry with a paper towel. Now “flash freeze” them. This means to arrange the raspberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and stick the cooking sheet in the freezer until the berries are frozen,

    After the berries are frozen, put them either in a Ziploc bag or a sealable plastic freezer container and stick them in the freezer.

    The frozen raspberries will stay good for up to one year.

     

     

     

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    Using Raspberries

    Consume them within a couple of days after buying them because raspberries are highly perishable,

    Here are a few suggestions…

     

     

    For breakfast, try raspberries…

    • Added to cereal, oatmeal, or porridge
    • Blended as a smoothie
    • On top of pancakes or waffles
    • With yogurt and granola

    A few more ideas are to use raspberries for…

    • Herbal teas
    • Jams and jellies
    • Salads
    • Sauces for chicken or fish

    And last but not least, use raspberries for desserts such as Raspberry Crumble.

     

     

    Making the Perfect Ratatouille — January 16, 2020

    Making the Perfect Ratatouille

     

    Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie — June 17, 2018

    Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

    Now that my husband has been officially declared as a type 2 diabetic, one of my priorities as far as our family meals has been to start cooking healthier than my Mississippi ancestry and love for foods such as Paula Dean’s Sour Cream Pound Cake have always taught me.

    I have started exploring options to ordinary cane sugar, such as agave nectar and coconut sugar. Lately I have starting experimenting with date sugar.

    But how do you use date sugar to make an awesome dessert…especially on holidays such as Father’s Day and the 4th of July?

    So I have started my quest for new desserts to put in my recipe box to replace my recipe repertoire…such as this chocolate mousse pie made with a homemade vegan pie crust and coconut whipped cream.

    Vegan Pie Crust

    • 1-3/4C flour
    • 3/4tsp salt
    • 3/4tsp sugar
    • 6Tbsp cold vegan butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    • 6 Tbsp shortening
    • 5 Tbsp ice water

    Instructions

    • Fill a small bowl with water and a couple of ice cubes.
    • Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
    • Add the cold butter. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dough.
    • Add the shortening to the bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dough until the butter and shortening pieces are about the size of peas.
    • Incorporate tablespoons of additional water as required for the crust to stick together when pressed between your fingers.
    • Dump the pie dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap.
    • Refrigerate at least thirty minutes.
    • Place the wrapped disk on a large smooth surface. Unwrap. Sandwich the dough between two pieces of Saran wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 13″ diameter circle.
    • Generously grease a 9″ pie dish. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap. Invert the crust into the pie dish. Carefully remove the other piece of plastic wrap. Fit the crust into the pie dish. Lightly press the dough around the edge of the pie pan. Use scissors to cut excess dough from the edge, following the edge of the pan. Fold the dough over to make a double-thick rim of the crust. Use a fork to crimp the edges.

    Chocolate and Date Mousse…This chocolate mousse has a delicate sweetness, an incredibly smooth texture, and best of all—it’s healthy for you.

    • 1/2C Hershey’s Cocoa…(Cocoa can actually be good for you because, depending on how the cocoa has been processed, it often contains a high concentration of antioxidants)
    • 1/2C Sunsweet pitted dates…(In a previous post, I shared the health benefits of dates and date sugar…so not going to reiterate…look here at this post instead).
    • 1-1/4C coconut cream
    • Optional ingredients…(use one or more of the following if desired)…a pinch of sea salt, vanilla extract, some cinnamon, more cocoa, cayenne pepper, a few drops of peppermint extract or fresh mint, finely chopped pineapple, rum, orange zest or extract, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coffee, Kahlúa, raspberries

    Instructions

    1. Refrigerate the can of coconut cream overnight. This allows the cream to solidify and separate at the top of the can, leaving a clear liquid at the bottom. Once you are able to shake the can and no longer feel liquid moving, the coconut cream is ready.
    2. Carefully turn the can upside down. Open and discard the transparent liquid.
    3. Stir the dates with 1Tbsp water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave one minute. Drain. This allows the dates to not be as dry and helps your mousse to have a smooth consistency.
    4. Blend ingredients together until smooth.
    5. Taste and add any optional ingredients until you get the “flavor of the day.”
    6. Spread the mousse into a pie crust.
    7. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

    Coconut Whipped Cream

    • 14oz can coconut cream
    • 1Tbsp sugar substitute
    • 1tsp vanilla

      Chill the can of coconut cream for at least one day to allow it to separate and harden. Refrigerate your mixing bowl and beaters for thirty minutes.

    Take the can of coconut cream out of the refrigerator. Scoop out only the hard coconut cream that should has settled at the top of the can.

    Whip ingredients together until fluffy. Add any additional extracts, spices, and/or cocoa powder as desired.

    Date Sugar—What?! Why?! How?! — June 8, 2018

    Date Sugar—What?! Why?! How?!

    The What?!

    • Another natural sugar substitute that’s popular among raw food enthusiasts.
    • Date sugar is simply made by dehydrating and finely grinding whole dates into a granular powder and requires no processing whatsoever.
    • Date sugar has a lightly sweet, caramel-like flavor and the consistency of brown sugar.

     

    The Why?!

    • Even though dates contain tons of fructose by ratio to their weight…about six times more sugar and calories than most other fruits….for example, five small apples have the same amount of sugar as four dates….dates also contain many important nutrients—especially fiber and potassium.
    • As far as sugar substitutes, date sugar has the highest nutritional value.
    • Fiber…Fiber is important for slowing down the absorption of sugar to your liver and regulating insulin. Fiber also fills you up faster.
    • Potassium…Potassium is important for flushing out toxins and balancing electrolytes.

    The How?!

    • Date sugar is not a good substitute for sweetening beverages because it remains grainy and does not dissolve well just placed in hot liquids, such as coffee or tea.
    • Even though date sugar doesn’t dissolve in hot liquids or baked goods, date sugar can still be a great one-to-one replacement for granulated or brown sugar in baking recipes.
    • Dates can be used as a binder for cookies and bars, turned into caramel, and also used as a sweetener for smoothies and salad dressings as long as the ingredients are blended well.
    • Date Syrup…You can also turn raw dates into a date syrup by boiling the dates and reducing the liquid until it’s the consistency of honey. This is actually a much better option than using date sugar when baking.
    • When using date syrup to replace granulated sugar in a baking recipe, be sure to use less date syrup than the amount of granulated sugar that the recipe calls for—about 2/3 cup date syrup for every one cup of sugar called for in the original recipe…as well as making sure than you reduce the amount of liquids called for in the original recipe.
    • Because dates have a low glycemic index, dates are actually a great sugar substitute for diabetics and for prediabetics who hope to keep their blood sugar in check….so, yes, adding this to my upcoming grocery list.
    Coconut Sugar — June 4, 2018

    Coconut Sugar

    Okay, so now that I’ve started shopping at stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods, I think that I’ve seen every product imaginable made from coconut and learned several really good reasons to keep a good supply of castile soap and coconut oil on hand, so why does it surprise me that the almighty coconut can also be used as a sugar substitute.

    Coconut sugar, made by drying out the sugary sap of coconut trees, has been used for centuries in many countries, including Indonesia and Cambodia.

    This syrupy liquid has a taste much like brown sugar…and though coconut sugar

    may often be more expensive than regular granulated sugar, coconut sugar is a much better option than many other sweeteners currently found on the market.

    Coconut juice, which is where a lot of coconut sugar comes from, is full of potassium, electrolytes and nutrients…coconut sugar has many benefits that you will not find in regular table sugar, it may require large amounts to really make a positive affect.

    Like plain white sugar, coconut sugar contains vitamins, minerals, trace elements—such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium—as well as short-chain fatty acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, and phytonutrients—such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidins—that help reduce blood sugar, inflammation, and cholesterol.

    Coconut sugar also contains about twice as much iron and zinc as the same amount of granulated table sugar…as well as 25% DV of potassium per four ounces…(okay, when you sit down to eat 1/2C of coconut sugar at one sitting, please call me…right?!)

    Another reason that coconut sugar is better for diabetics than regular table sugar is the fact that it contains inulin, a fiber that helps slow glucose absorption and keep glucose levels in check.

    Just like coconut oil and coconut water, coconut sugar is becoming a very popular item at health food stores across America. Coconut sugar is being used to sweeten everything from coffee and tea…to cookies, cakes, and pies.

    The American Diabetes Association states that even though coconut sugar is a great alternative sweetener for those with diabetes to use, coconut sugar has the same calories as regular sugar and should be used in moderation.

    When shopping for coconut sugar, remember that many products that are available on the shelf combine both regular sugar and coconhttps://www.texanerin.com/perfect-paleo-chocolate-chip-cookies/ut sugar…so remember to take time to check the label before tossing the coconut sugar into your cart. Avoid these brands.

    Also take the time to look for organic coconut sugar that is unrefined, vegan, non-GMO.

    So  I AM adding coconut sugar to my routine grocery list or tossing it out the window as another “What Not to Eat Now That You’re a Diabetic” item?

    As far as the following Chocolate Chip Cookies made from coconut sugar, not sure if they’re really healthy or not…

    But they taste great!!!

     

    Fiber–The How-Nots — May 18, 2018

    Fiber–The How-Nots

    So now that we have looked at exactly what fiber is, why we need it, and some of the best sources for getting the fiber that we all need, let’s finish this series of posts by looking at a few ways NOT to try to get the fiber that you need.

     

    Taking a fiber supplement

    Many people think that taking a fiber supplement is a quick way to reach your recommended fiber amount each day, but this is not the best solution. Sure a supplement can be used to start gettomg the fiber that you need, but fiber supplements will never take the place of real foods.

    Fiber supplements come in a variety of forms—including powders you that are dissolved in water or added to food, chewable tablets, and wafers.

    More drawbacks to getting your fiber from supplements instead of actual fiber-rich foods include…

    • not getting the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients offered by high-fiber foods….
    • not helping you manage your weight because they don’t offer the same feeling of being full as  high-fiber foods\
    • possible interactaction with certain medications—such as certain antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering medications, and warfarin, as anticoagulation drug

     

    Fast Food

    Fast food may seem like a cheap and convenient way to eat (and not have to cook), but most fast food meals are packed with calories, sodium, and unhealthy fat with little or no dietary fiber.

    Even a seemingly healthy salad from a fast food restaurant is often light on fiber. In fact, iceberg lettuce provides less than one gram of fiber per cup. (Remember always choose the darker greens).

    Here is some advice to making a “healthy” fast food run…

    1. Choose a veggie burger if available. Veggie burgers usually contain two or three times more fiber than a beef patty
    2. Choose nuts or salad instead of fries or potato chips.
    3. Choose whole wheat breads or buns
    4. Look for salads that include other vegetables, nuts, and legumes
    5. Select beans as a side dish

     

    Processed Foods

    Many manufacturers, no, make that most manufacturers are way more interest in profit margin instead of the health of their customers. These food companies try to project a healthier image for their products, even though the foods themselves are actually not healthy at all.

    For example, just how healthy to you think that foods marketed as high-fiber alternatives—such as a Kellogg’s To Go Milk Chocolate Breakfast Shake, FiberPlus Antioxidants Chocolatey Peanut Butter Chewy Bar, Fiber One Double Chocolate Cookie or 90 Calorie Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Weight Watchers Chocolate Crème Cake, or a Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle ice cream bar—really are…especially when compared to clean food alternatives.

    Many food items that claim to contain high amounts of fiber—such as Fiber One bars, cereals, instant oatmeal, pasta, and English muffins—actually have added fiber in them that aren’t good fiber sources at all.

    The food industry claims that these additives are beneficial for getting the fiber that each of us needs, but these additives will never replace the nutritional value of fiber-rich foods.

    And we all know that simply adding one of the following fiber doesn’t exactly turn cookies, brownies, bars, and shakes into beans, bran, berries, and broccoli.

    A few of the additives that the Food and Drug Administration is currently studying that are commonly added to processed foods that are available on grocery store shelves include…

    • Bamboo Fiber
    • Calcium Polycarbophil
    • Gum Acacia
    • Inulin
    • Litesse
    • Maltodextrin
    • Methylcellulose
    • Modified Starches
    • Polydextrose
    • Resistant Wheat Starch
    • Retrograded Corn Starch
    • Soluble Corn Fiber
    • Wheat Dextrin
    • Xylooligosaccharides