Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Making Coconut Cream/Milk

I've gone coconuts and I don't intend on ever coming back!

I use coconut meat, oil, milk and cream on my hair, body and in my cuisine daily.

The health benefits of coconuts are astonishing! Yes coconut milk is high in saturated fat, but it's a naturally occurring fat and is easily metabolized by the body. Coconuts contain lauric acid which is the same type of saturated fat found in breast milk. The powerful antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties of lauric acid helps your body fight off a myriad of viruses and bacteria.

Coconut cream/milk is surprisingly easy to make at home. The best part is you are left with pure cream and none of that extra stuff used in commercial cans of coconut cream and milk.

For this you will need:

strainer, cheese cloth or nut milk bag
hammer and nail (or other way of getting into the coconut)
brown coconut
filtered water

Begin by using the hammer and nail to poke a hole in the "eyes" of the coconut. drain all of the coconut water into a cup. Enjoy this immediately or you can freeze to use later. If the water smells or tastes rancid you will need to use another coconut.

Next crack the coconut open using the hammer. Get it into small enough pieces for you to handle and extract the meat from the shell. Once it's cracked open, I use a spoon and/or knife to pry the flesh from the shell.

Don't worry about taking off the brown skin. Put your pieces into a blender and cover with warm filtered water.

Blend until coconut is finely broken down.

Strain. Squeeze or push down on coconut to extract all of the liquid.

Use right away as coconut milk or let it sit until the cream rises to the top.

Chocolate Festival and Dessert Competition

Last weekend I participated in the 5th annual Belmont Shores Chocolate Dessert Competition. This was my first time competing and it turned out to be alot of fun!

The competition was filled with all types of deserts. From bon bons to layer cakes to ice cold hot chocolate. With the addition of my vegan and raw treats, there was something there for everyone.

I baked vegan coconut cream cookies for the cookie/brownie category and prepared raw super food chocolates for the unique treats category. If I had it to do over again, I would have entered just one category. It was a bit too stressful running back in forth between sections to try and speak with the judges and serve my desserts.

No, I didn't win or even place, but it sure was a wonderful experience. I will definitely compete in a cooking competition again.

Chocolate Festival 2010, here I come!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Corazon de Vida Fundraiser

My husband and I were blessed enough to spend our Valentines day with the wonderful people of the Corazon de Vida Foundation. This foundation helps to fund orphanges throughout Mexico. The fundraiser was held at Vegan Village in Los Angeles.

The night was filled with beautiful stories, beautiful music and beautiful people! One of my favorite musical performances of the night was by Elephants with guns. They use musical instruments from around the world to create a wonderfully eclectic sound that you have to hear to beleive.

There were many smiles and the evenings tone was light, although the message was a very serious one. After a recent trip to Casa de Paz orphange in Baja, they learned that the orphanage would be closing soon. The orphanage doesn't have the funding to sustain all of the children and remain operational. A disheartening message indeed, but one that can be turned around. To learn how you could help please visit their website.

Green Chips

Kale chips are a favorite of raw newbies and veterans alike. They are nutritious, fairly quick and very easy to prepare. Collard greens are also excellent in chip form. You can purchase these from many stores that sell raw foods, but they are pricey. Whenever I get a good deal on greens, I grab a few extra bunches and then prepare them at home for a fraction of the cost.
These can also be stored, but mine never make it that far. We enjoy them fresh from the dehydrator!

Basic Recipe

any of your favorite greens- Vit A, K, phytonutrients
extra virgin olive oil- rich in oleic acid, regulates cholesterol levels
sea salt

Remove stems and break the greens up into chip size pieces. Toss in evoo and salt. Dehydrate on 110 degrees until crispy (about 5 hours).

You can use all kinds of combinations to flavor your greens. Here are some of my favorites.

evoo, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, sea salt

apple cider vinegar, agave syrup, sea salt

evoo, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, sea salt

tahini, apple cider vinegar, sea salt

These are really fun to eat. I feel like I'm snacking on fall leaves!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Indian inspired Spinach and Corn

This dish would be excellent with Quinoa or Brown rice. I limit the amount of cooked grains that I eat, so I had it alone and it was delish!

Serves 2
1/4 of an onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1 clove garlic minced
1/2tsp ginger minced
kernels from 2 ears of corn
2 bunches of spinach
1tbl coconut oil
1tsp turmeric
1/2tsp cumin
dash cayenne pepper
1/2tsp sea salt
1/4tsp black pepper
juice of 1/2 a lime

Saute first 4 ingredients in coconut oil until softened.
Add turmeric and cumin and mix well.
Add corn and saute about 1 minute.
Next add spinach and cook until wilted.
Mix in coconut milk, cayenne and s and p.
Cook until corn is tender and everything is well combined.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Avo Hummus Salad

So simple, yet so delicious and very filling.
The flavor combination of the peas, swiss chard and hummus is dynamite!

Makes 1 large salad or 3 side salads

1 carrot thinly sliced- high in fiber, Vit A
1 roma tomato chopped- vit C and lycopene
1/2 of green bell pepper chopped- Vit C
2c sugar snap peas- Vit C, A
3 leaves swiss chard sliced- high in fiber Vit A, K
back pepper
Avo Hummus http://andeverything-in-between.blogspot.com/2009/02/avocado-hummus.html

Toss everything together with the hummus and enjoy!

Avocado Hummus

I am quite a hummus aficionado. I will eat hummus with just about anything. Falafel of course, but then there's on salad, with fruit, atop raw breads and crackers, rolled up in any green and even right off of the spoon.
When I started eating raw I tried out various methods of making a tasty raw hummus. I found that I was not fond of using soaked garbanzo beans, but I was very fond of using zucchini.
I came across this wonderful recipe and have been spring boarding off of it ever since. http://goneraw.com/recipe/hummus

My avocado version has become a favorite because the avo provides a wonderful creamy texture that you miss without the use of beans. Avo also adds a pleasant background flavor to the tahini and spices.

Avo Hummus

2 large peeled zucchini- Vit A, folate(Vit B9), potassium
1 medium avocado- oleic acid, folate(Vit B9), potassium
1c raw tahini- rich in minerals and high in lignans
juice of 2 lemons- Vit C, potassium, bioflavonoids
1/3c extra virgin olive oil- rich in oleic acid, regulates cholesterol levels
3 cloves garlic- can regulate blood pressure and increase immune system
handful of cilantro- Vit A, lutein, stimulates digestion
1tsp ground cumin- aids in digestion, high in iron
dash of cayenne pepper- Vit A, capsaicin
sea salt to taste

Place all ingredients in high speed blender or food processor and mix until creamy. Experiment with different add ins. Red peppers, olives and sun drieds are some of my favorites.