Coconut Ceam Pie

First off let me tell you this is not a five-minute recipe,   this will take some time.  But please trust me when I tell you it is so worth

I had been craving a coconut cream pie for months, but most of the recipes I came across called for stabilizers that I don’t like to use in my cooking, especially if I’m not making bread, just my preference.   Some also contained soy in the form of tofu, because of my problems with ovarian cysts that was not gonna work for me either.  I also didn’t wanna use any dairy and it had to be gluten-free. I tried 3 times before getting it just right.  Here is the recipe. Please remember to read the notes as there are some things I learned along the way that would have really saved me some time and money.

Coconut Cream Pie

Crust
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup almond flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Crust
Melt butter in large bowl.
Add almond flour, eggs, sugar , and salt to butter mix well.
Stir in coconut flour and shredded coconut until a dough forms.
Roll out dough between parchment or wax paper.
Take top sheet of paper off dough and invert into a pie pan.
Press to fix any cracked areas.
Using a fork, poke small holes throughout the crust.
Bake crust at 400°F for 10 minutes. Allow crust to cool. See notes.

Filling:
1 box instant vanilla pudding
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup  cornstarch
2 1/2  cup coconut cream, full fat
4 egg yolks, well beaten

Mix the sugar, cornstarch and pudding powder together. Gradually add the milk to the sugar whisking constantly. Cook in heavy bottomed pan over medium heat  and then add the yolks, cook until mixture begins to boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add:

3 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoon coconut extract

In a separate bowl add:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water

Pour one tablespoon water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Once gelatin has softened, stir in 1 tablespoon hot water until all gelatin has dissolved. Add the pudding mixture and the gelatin to a blender or food processor and run through until you have a smooth consistency.

Return to bowl and fold in:

1 cup shredded coconut

Pour filling in prepared crust, smooth op and place plastic wrap over the top.  Refrigerate until set,  about 2 hours.

Whipped cream topping:
2 cups coconut cream (refrigerated overnight, canned) See notes.
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

With an electric mixer, whip the cream with the 1 teaspoon extract and 3 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Top cooled pie.

When pie has set, top w whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes and chill 2 hours before serving.

NOTES:

For the crust I also just put the dough in a sringform  pan and pressed it thin and up the sides. Make sure to wet your fingertips so the dough won’t stick.

For the filing, I used Jell-O brand instant pudding mix.  Royal and Jell-O are both gluten-free and dairy free in their powder form. It’s what you add to them that makes them have dairy or gluten.  In this case we use coconut milk and the crust is gluten-free so it remains dairy and gluten-free.

I will also most likely use more extract next time because I really love coconut, but that’s my preference.

For whipped cream, make sure you coconut cream has no stabilizers otherwise it will not solidify when exposed to cold temps.  Your can should say on the ingredients list: coconut, water.

Anything else and it won’t harden and you won’t be able to whip it, no matter how hard you try (and believe me I tried!)

For the toasted coconut, a lot of people place coconut on a cookie sheet and put under a broiler until browned.  I do not….because I will burn it.  Instead I like to cook the coconut in a dry pan over medium heat stirring frequently.   When it reaches the desired color I immediately transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool.

Enjoy!

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Fresh Start

Ok, so I know it has been a while since I wrote a post, but things have changed.  For one, I have really started to put my health first,  and two, I am really enjoying the new recipes that have helped me not feel deprived. 

For the past three weeks I have been on a juicing and clean eating regimen which has left me 17 pounds lighter and feeling great. So I decided why not help out my fellowman/woman by posting the wonderful recipes that I have found and come up with. 

More about my new lifestyle.  I juice every morning. My style of juicing is a little different.  I juice the fruit and veggies and blend it with the greens.  Yes, this does require a little work, but it leaves me feeling great.  For lunch I have a salad or whatever leftovers there may be.  Now if it is the weekend then I can cheat, a little.  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, my usual workdays, I  only juice, with a few bites of whatever the hubs is having. This really works for me. For dinner I cook super healthy and even my “cheats” are really not that bad.  So I hope you enjoy.

Juice Fast

I realized that I have not posted in a while, and that will change.  Today I am starting a juice fast.  I’m not sure how long it will last, but I know that it will last at least 30 days.  At that point I will decide if I will continue.  Why now?  Well my daughter just left for an extended visit with her family in NY and without having to cook and run around after her I feel this is the best time for me.  Thankfully I have a supportive husband who will join me for the first 2 weeks of my fast.  After that he has agreed to only eat outside the home, and only healthful meals.  My mother is also joining me.

So today is the start of Day 1.  I begin the morning with a saltwater flush.  2tsp of sea salt with 2 quarts of warm purified water drank within 20 mins.  This will help to clean me out.  If you decide to do this I have some advice.  Make sure you have an available bathroom and plenty of toilet paper. If you feel like you just need to pass some gas after drinking the saltwater, sit on the toilet anyway (I learned that the hard way).  I always feel good after a saltwater flush and since I am doing a fast, I will try to flush every 3 days and as needed to remove any toxins.

This first week will be about juicing and eating vegan and then beginning next week just juicing.

Here we go!

Zucchini “Alfredo”

Let me just start by saying, I love cheese, I mean I LOVE CHEESE.  For this reason alone I will most likely never become a vegan. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can beat a bold red and a double cream brie, in my humble opinion anyway.  With that having been said, I do know that cheese is not the best thing in the world for our digestive system so if I can cut back here on there on the dairy intake I’m all for it.

I’ve been trying really hard to make healthy dinners for my family without losing out on taste.  One thing my mother really enjoys is pasta.  And lets face it, no vegetarian or vegan recipe is gonna taste like good ol’ starchy pasta.  I tried my hardest to come up with a reasonable tasty compromise.  I think I found it.  My Mom said “Wow” three times while eating so I think I passed her test at least.  And my sister who would never even think about eating vegan was tricked when I gave her taste. After her third bite she said “The zucchini noodles are ok, but I really love this sauce!”

So, I made Zucchini “Alfredo” last night for dinner and it was fab!! My hubby went back for a second, and then third serving.  I think he was looking to get that full heavy feeling, but it won’t come with this dish.  You can serve yourself a  generous portion and not feel the guilt that comes with a full belly and probably some bloating.   As you can guess “Alfredo” being in quotation marks means it contains no cheese at all.  amazing I know, but true.  I was a skeptic myself, but after last nights dinner, I’ll still be eating cheese, but I at least have a new tool called. . . CASHEW CREAM.

I know, I know, sounds too good to be true, but it is!!! You soak cashews overnight in water, like this:105_0976

Then blend then with enough water to cover them by one inch until you have this:

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Creamy goodness with no flavor just waiting for you to work your magic. . .

So now, here is your recipe for Zucchini “Alfredo.”  First, use a mandolin to shred your zucchini:

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 If you don’t have a mandolin, use a veggie peeler and then a knife to make ribbons.  You only want the meat of the zucchini, NO SEEDS.  So your shreds will look like this:

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Stop shredding as soon as you reach seeds, it will look like this:

105_0943You can barely see the seeds, but stop and rotate the zucchini until you have something along the lines of this:

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I discarded the core, but if you can come up with a nifty little way to use it, please let me know.  Ok, so now, toss the noodles with salt, and let sit.  This will draw out any moisture preventing them from becoming to mushy and falling apart.

Now, work on your “alfredo” sauce. It is slightly grainy, and let’s face it, this isn’t real cheese, but it is just as tasty so, get over it.  Ok, now here are your ingredients:105_0953

  • garlic
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • salt
  • sliced baby portabellas

you’ll notice I didn’t give any measurements, that’s because this is all about taste and everyone is different.  You may like it less garlicy than I do.  So start with about a tsp of each, but add more as you need to suit your taste.

Ok, use a large saute pan and add about 3 tble olive oil.  When it’s nice and hot and the surface ripples, add your mushrooms and cook until they look like this:

105_0958Then add your spices and cook until fragrant, like this:

105_0963Then remove from heat and pour in your “cream” like this:

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The cashew cream will thicken as it cooks but wait until you add your zucchini before you add liquid because the zucchini will give off its own liquid as it cooks.  So, now, return to your zucchini.  Press it against the sides of your colander to get out the excess water, like this:

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Then add to your pan and return to medium heat, like this:

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If you do need to add liquid you can be creative.  I used plain ol’ water, but white wine, red wine, chicken stock, veggie stock, you get the picture, will all work just fine and add depth of flavor.  Cook your zucchini until you reach you desired tenderness.  I left mine with a little crunch left, but if you cook it longer, you can get a noodle texture.  Then you will be left with this:

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Pretty amazing huh!?!?!

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And so delicious!

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Try this recipe tonight, and let me know how your endeavors turn out!!!

The Tree of Life

Those of you who know me personally know that I have come down with the Shingles virus.  Not a very pleasant experience. I won’t post pictures of the area, but it was not pretty.  In my quest to become a healthier person I have done some research on various fruits, vegetables, and spices and their medicinal benefits on the body.  In my research I learned that the coconut is one of the most renowned fruits.  It is known in many parts of the world as “The Tree of Life” not only for the health benefits to the body, but that virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used.  From the brown fibers on the mature (brown) coconut being used for rope, to the water of the young (white) coconut having enormous protein and fibre in its sweet clear liquid.

“What does this have to do with  shingles?” you may be asking yourself.  Well,  the other day I saw a young  coconut at my local farmers market.   I remember a friend of mine had written on my “almond milk” post that she wanted coconut milk.  How hard could it be?  So i purchased the young coconut and brought it home.  I gave my friend a text on the way home and she was at my door within minutes.  We decided to embark on this little journey together.  So with a few you tube look ups, it was fairly easy.  After the “milk” was strained, we drank, and it was AH-MAZING!! You could just taste the healthiness running through your body.  We sipped this decadent treat slowly as we talked about how healthy we were being.

As I was cleaning up, I looked at the cup that I had discarded the coconut pulp into.  I smelled it, wonderful.  I swirled it around the glass, very gelatinous.  I touched it, felt like a lychee.  Then I had a thought, “What if I put this on my affected area?”  And so, with no other explanation than “why not?”  I applied a gauze bandage with the coconut pulp.  The results?  After one day the swelling went down and there were no signs of blisters.  So I tried again with a mature coconut.  The pulp remains were like whipped cream and very oily.  I applied that to the affected area.  The result?  My skin is soft and the rash is nearly gone.  I have not taken a pain-killer in about 24 hours and I felt itchy only once in the past two days.

Now you may think that this is crazy, and I agree with you.  But I decided that I should have a control with this little experiment, so I only applied the pulp to a portion of the rash to see if there would be a difference.  The affected area that was not treated with the pulp has raised blisters and is very itchy and somewhat painful.

I’m sold.

I will use coconut pulp with any skin issues I have.  You, can judge for yourself.  However, here is a recipe for amazing coconut milk.

For this recipe you will need:

  • a mature of young coconut
  • distilled water
  • sweetener or dates (fresh not dried, pitted)

And you will need:

  • a mallet or strong cleaver
  • blender
  • fine mesh sieve (or new pair of pantyhose, see: Almond Milk recipe)
  • clean containers

Here goes,

To pick your coconut, lift it and shake, if you hear water that’s great, if you don’t, move on.  Coconuts with no water have cracked and leaked their water exposing the flesh inside to air and bacteria.  Find a coconut that seems heavier than it should be, this means it has a lot of water. Next examine the three “eyes” for any mold.  Mold means that the water inside is contaminated.

Once you have your coconut, take a small knife or the end of a vegetable peeler and press it into the eye holes.  One of the holes will be soft, when you find it, dig in.  You want to scrape around until you reach in inside, like this:

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Pour the water into your clean container, like this:

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Isn’t that cool!!!  Ok, so now you need to open it.  Coconuts have a natural line around the middle that will crack.  So take a small hammer, I used the back of a cleaver, and whack the coconut around the middle until you hear a hollow crack, like this:

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I then took a butter knife and ran in around the the coconut between the meat and the shell going further and further in each time, like this:

105_0898This may take some time so be patient. Eventually the meat popped out, like this:

105_0899Then I used me veggie peeler to remove the brown fibre of the shell until the flesh was nice and white.  Like this:

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Take the meat and water and add it to your blender and blend away, like this:

105_0906Get your workspace ready for the straining process, mine looks like this:

105_0907As you can see, this is where the foot from the pantyhose comes in handy.    Take a look in your blender,  you probably need to add more water.  Use filtered water.  My coconut gave me about 1 1/2 cups water and I added another 3 cups of filtered water.  This is entirely up to your taste.  So once I added the water and blended for a few more minutes it’s ready to be strained. Like this:

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Then I squeezed the bag until I was satisfied most of the liquid was out.  Now, you need to clean your blender.  The white thick cream around the blender is coconut oil:

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I saved this to use on my skin and hair.

Ok, so then after your blender is clean, pour your strained coconut milk back in and add your sweetener.  I added one date.  You need to remove the seed first.  Just cut in half, when you reach the seed fold it back with your hands, like this:

105_0919And the seed will come right out.  Add this to the blender and let it run for a few minutes.  Then strain it again.  Then YOU ARE DONE!  Make sure you drink this in a pretty glass, like this:

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Here are some things you should know.

If you are using a young coconut, do not cut it on you cutting board.  In order to keep the fibres nice and white, they are dipped in formaldehyde so as not to mold.  If you put this on your cutting board it could leech in and to other foods.

When using mature coconuts, the meat that is strained out, can be dehydrated in the oven and  processed again to extract more oil, or you can use it for coconut flour.

Well, that’s all I got for now.  Remember to enjoy this with someone you love, and please, let me know how your endeavours turn out!!

Pulp Muffins

Now, I know the name of these muffins is not too appetizing. But, I assure you, these muffins are absolutely amazing. They are soft and moist and do not taste one bit like you are eating health food. So I made these today with two very cute little girls. No pictures were taken because well, we just did not have the time. But the recipe is so easy you will not need any. Here goes…

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt, milk, or juice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbl honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup leftover juicer pulp (veggies are fine) optional

For this recipe you will need:

  • mixer
  • muffin, mini muffin, bunt, loaf, or cake tins

Ok so really this is simple.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Combine eggs, yogurt (or whichever wet ingredient you choose to use) honey, and vanilla in a bowl and beat with the mixer until blended well.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together then add to the egg batter and mix until there are NO LUMPS, then add in your oil and blend. If you are adding pulp from you juicer do it now, and I totally suggest you do, and blend again until well incorporated.  Grease your tins with coconut oil and pour in your batter. Bake for about 25-35 minutes depending on what you are making. Just check it with a skewer and if it comes out clean, it’s done.  I make these all the time.  So the next time I do I will be sure to add some photos.

So as were sitting down to enjoy these still warm out of the oven with a fresh batch of almond milk, I gave my guests a warning which I will now give you,

“You will be farting for the rest of the day”

to which I was told that this certain young girl says whenever she passes gas

“O, excuse me, I’m going green.”

Almond Milk

When doing some figuring it turns out that “name brand” almond milk runs anywhere from $3-5 per quart.  Making homemade almond milk cost roughly $1.24 per quart. Amazing!!! Not only that, it’s better for you. Even though it seems easier to buy almond milk, the additives mixed in to prolong shelf life are, for lack of a better term, no good. After all, my “name brand” almond milk says it’s good for about 6 weeks in my fridge. But the homemade version is good for about 4 days. . . very interesting, and by “interesting” I mean scary!!!

With how easy it turned out to be just make it (or pay me to make it for you)!

So here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup raw organic almonds
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 tbl organic vanilla extract or other flavored extract (optional)
  • 2 tbl organic agave nectar (optional)

For this recipe you will need:

  • high-powered blender
  • New pair of pantyhose (trust me)

Let your almonds sit in water, enough to cover them by 1 inch, overnight covered.  They will grow in size.  So here you have a decision to make, skins or no skins?

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For the sake of this blog, I stood and peeled half the almonds to see what, if any, difference in taste or texture there would be.  The results:  THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE.  So, my advice: Don’t waste you’re time peeling, because it does take a lot of time.

Basically, put your almonds and water in the blender:

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Let it go for a few minutes.  I let mine run for 5 minutes.

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Get your pantyhose and cut at about the ankle.  Now, the reason I used a new pair of pantyhose was because it was a much finer sieve then a cheese cloth.  Also, I was storing my milk in jars and it made it easier.  This picture explains it:

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So use your “sieve” to drain out the almond pulp.  Squeeze dry the pulp.  This is what it will look like:

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TIP: Save the pulp, spread on a baking sheet  and bake at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes and you have almond flour.  So there is no waste in making almond milk. Pretty cool huh?!?!

Here you can add any sweeteners and extract you like, and shake.

These are the two milk, skins and no skins. Could you tell the difference?:

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Really, it’s that easy.  Can you believe it?!?

Ok try this, and let me know how your endeavours turn out!