Tag Archives | coconut

[Video] How to open a can of coconut milk

Coconut Milk Image

“What is that thick stuff at the top of the can???”

I get this question all the time from clients and students when they open their first can of coconut milk.

My response, “that’s the good stuff!”

Coconut milk is essential when stocking a whole foods pantry.

Coconuts are rich in fiber, vitamin C, E and most of your B vitamins as well as minerals such as iron, selenium and magnesium.

In certain parts of India, especially coastal areas, the coconut tree is referred to as kalpavrisksha which is Sanskrit for, “tree which gives all that is necessary for living” because all parts can be used – the water, milk, sugar and oil.

Check out the video to find out how I open and store my coconut milk.

I recommend buying full fat canned coconut milk rather than the kind found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

The canned version has very few ingredients – coconut, milk and guar gum (a safe stabilizer) whereas the refrigerated version has a laundry list of ingredients, additives and sugar. Ick!

Coconut milk is a great substitute if you’re dairy free or are wanting to experiment going without dairy for a while.

I use coconut milk in curries, veggies soups, smoothies, chia pudding, chocolate milk, and as a substitute in baking recipes.

Recently, I learned you can make whipping cream with it.

I see a fruit crumble in my future…..

Do you have a delicious coconut milk recipe? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Comments { 2 } · Posted on May 18, 2015 in General

Tasty trail mix with toasted coconut

Food….I never leave home without it!

No matter where I go I always have some sort of snack stashed in my purse. If I’m on the run all day I pack a whole grocery bag of goodies. Yes, it might seem a little much but it certainly saves me from scrounging for something while I’m out and about and my blood sugar start going dangerously low.

I used to not be this prepared. In the past I wouldn’t eat until my blood sugar was dangerously low – I would feel tired, my heart would start beating faster and I would get the worst case of hangry (hungry AND angry). My friends and family knew that when my eyes started to glaze over and my sense of humor disappeared it was time to feed Tanya. NOW!

hangry

When you’re constantly fighting that blood sugar roller coaster you will always default to the worst choice possible – chocolate bars, blueberry muffins, coffee cake and ice cream will be your defaults. These were my regular snacks and meals for a long time. Nearly 10 years ago when Mr. Wes and I first met he wooed me with candy gummies, lollipops, candy bars and scooter crunch ice cream. I kid you not! He put boxes of candy in the interoffice mail to me when we worked together and met me in my college parking lot after class with a cooler full of ice cream. We laugh now that my standards are much higher now so he has to work a little harder!

My favorite snack to keep on hand is trail mix. Sure, there are plenty of ready made trail mixes to buy and some stores even have “trail mix bars” where you can mix your own. However, those nuts are usually salted and roasted in low quality oils. Some even have sugar, preservatives and other funky ingredients in them. I say, save your money and mix your own!

The secret ingredient to my trail mix is toasted coconut. Coconut contains lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid which increases HDL (good) cholesterol and is utilized as a source of energy instead of being stored as fat. Plus, it’s delicious!

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So, before you get hangry, get these ingredients and make your own totally tasty trail mix! These are the ingredients I like to use but you can certainly experiment and make your own. In the comments below tell me what you like to add to your trail mix.

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Tasty Trail Mix with Toasted Coconut

Ingredients 

Handful of each of the following:
large coconut flakes (make sure they are unsweetened)
cashews and almonds
pumpkin seeds
raw cacao nibs or chocolate chips (I like The Good Life brand)
Raisins and chopped dried apricots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5-6 minutes. It will brown VERY quickly so keep a close eye on it. You want it to brown very slightly.
  2. Mix the nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs or chocolate chips, raisins and dried apricots in a large bowl. Add the toasted coconut and mix until well combined.
  3. Store your trail mix in jars or divide up into baggies for easy grab and go. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on November 7, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

Kick Out Cancer with Cabbage

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this weeks fall soup recipe is packed with a food that can help us kick cancer in the kitchen. By cooking and eating whole, unprocessed foods you are taking a huge step towards preventing and recovering from cancer and many other diseases. True health really begins in your kitchen!

The American Cancer Society’s key recommendation to reduce the risk of cancer is to eat cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. This group of vegetables contains more phytochemicals (mostly in the form of glucocsinolates) with demonstrable anticancer properties than any other vegetable family. Popular studies have shown that the higher the intake of these vegetables the lower the rates of cancer, particularly colon, prostate, lung and breast cancer.

Cabbage is “king” of the cruciferous vegetable family because of its extra-special health powers. The glucocsinolates in cabbage work primarily by increasing antioxidant mechanisms and improving the body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate harmful chemicals and hormones. That means keeping cancer out and inviting health in!

If that wasn’t enough, cabbage also has more vitamin C than oranges. A weakened immune system doesn’t just open you up for the common cold but also creates a more hospitable environment for cancer.

Fall is a great time to fill up on cabbage and all its amazing nutritional benefits. The market has beautiful tender cabbage that is sweet, crisp and perfect for a warming soup. Stop by the demonstration tent between 3-5 pm this afternoon to see how this delicious soup is made and get the first taste. You’ll never look at cabbage the same way again!

Curried Cabbage and Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

½ head green cabbage (about 16-20 ounces)
1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
4-5 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into smaller than bite sized cubes
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste (you can also use Indian powdered curry)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups of water or vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove any ragged leaves from the cabbage. Halve the cabbage (so you have two quarters) and remove the core. Slice the cabbage into thin strips about as thick as a pencil. You can do this with a knife or on a mandolin. Cut the long strips in half once.
  2. Warm the coconut oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes until they start to become tender and brown a bit. They may stick a bit but don’t worry. The water will help get those stuck bits off the bottom. Stir in the curry paste (or powder), garlic and onion. Cook for another minute or so.
  3. Add the water and chickpeas. Raise the heat and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the cabbage and cook for another 3-4 minutes until it begins to soften. Don’t worry if it looks like there’s a lot of cabbage. It will collapse quite a bit.
  4. Taste your broth and add salt and pepper as needed. If you want a stronger flavor you can add more curry paste or a few shots of tamari. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestion: This soup is delicious on it’s own but I really love it with a splash of coconut milk which gives it a very distinct Thai flavor. Or, you can add less water and put in a whole can of coconut milk – also delicious! You can also add a cup of cooked brown rice or millet to make it even heartier and filling.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Thai Coconut Curry – Boost your health and your taste buds

 Oh curry, how I love thee! Let me count the ways!

You are flexible. You’ll accommodate everything from green beans to butternut squash and everyone from meat eaters to vegetarians.
You are reliable. Whether summer or winter, you’re a dependable dish that is delicious any time of year.
You are forgiving. With just a few pantry staples you’re a sure thing. It’s virtually impossible to mess you up.
You are simple and straightforward. You might seem hard and tough on the outside, but you’re actually a cinch to make. Busted!
You are exciting and adventurous! Your flavor is complex, exotic and it lights up my taste buds!

Ok, ok. I’ll stop there. You get the idea. Curry is amazing! When I’m waxing poetic about my craziness for curry I often encounter people who tell me how much they dislike it. Here’s the thing. There are so many different kinds of curry, from different regions around the world, all with different flavors. If you’ve had a crippling curry experience, don’t give up! There is a curry dish out there that I know you will love. Perhaps it’s today’s recipe?!

So what is curry exactly?

I like to compare it to chili. There are an infinite number of chili recipes out there. You can have hot chili and mild chili. Chili with beef, turkey or only beans. Some people use ketchup, while others use tomato sauce. And, the type and amount of herbs and spices can be wildly different from recipe to recipe. The same goes for curry.

The two biggest distinctions are Indian versus Thai curry. Indian curry uses curry powder, a powder mix of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, red pepper and other spices. Most Thai curry dishes use either a green or red curry paste in which the base is made up of red or green chili’s, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and other fragrant herbs and spices. Thai curry typically uses coconut milk where Indian curry does not. These are just the basics. As with chili, each region and family has their own unique spin on this adaptable dish.

Today’s Thai curry recipe packs a nutritional punch while being a very satisfying and fulfilling meal. Coconut oil and coconut milk are some of the few plant sources of lauric acid, also found in human breast milk, that enhance brain function and the immune system. They are also an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids, the kind that the body metabolizes into energy rather than storing as fat. Gotta love that! Don’t fall for the “reduce fat coconut milk.” It’s just thinned with water. Instead, buy the full fat kind and cut it with water yourself.

You can even take your curry up a notch on the nutritional scale by loading it up with a variety of veggies. Substituting a can of chickpeas for the meat is an easy way to turn this dish into the perfect vegetarian meal. Plus, this recipe is food allergy! It’s free of dairy, gluten, corn and nuts some of the more common food allergens. But, be warned! If you are eating curry in a restaurant chances are it’s not gluten free. Many places use soy sauce, which contains wheat. Ask your server before ordering!

So, have I convinced you that you must give curry a chance?

Great! Come see me at the farmers market today from 3-5 pm. I’ll be demonstrating this recipe and you can get a delicious bite. I promise you’ll be filling your bags with zucchini and running home to make this. I’ll see you there!

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Zucchini

Ingredients

½ tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons green curry paste
1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon tamari
handful fresh Asian or Italian basil leaves, sliced
salt to taste
1 cup water, optional 

Instructions

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a large glass measuring pitcher or bowl. Add a can of water and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir until well combined and let the onion soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and stir until it is coated in the oil and onion. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the zucchini begins to soften a bit. Add the curry paste and stir until the zucchini is well coated. Continue to cook for about a minute until the curry paste becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken, coconut milk, fish sauce and tamari. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the zucchini is tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves. Give it a taste! You can add more curry paste, tamari or a pinch of salt if it needs more flavor. If adding more curry paste, be sure to squish it on the side of the pot with a spoon so it dissolves into the broth. Otherwise, someone will get a curry paste surprise! Serve over brown basmati rice and a side of cooled cucumber salad. Enjoy!

Cooking tip: If you prefer a thinner, more soup-like curry feel free to add some more water with the coconut milk. You can use eggplant in place of the zucchini or add shredded cabbage towards the end for an added crunch. If you want to reduce the cook-time even more pick up a whole roasted chicken instead of the raw chicken. Shred the meat and toss it in during step 4.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on August 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Let them eat truffles!

“Do You Eat Brownies???”

Last week I attended a women’s business conference and this question came up when the person learned that I work in the nutrition field. I get this question pretty regularly in different forms….”do you eat chocolate? Do your clients have to give up sweets? Can you tell me how to say no to chocolate chip cookies? Please tell me you eat dessert!”

So, I’m going to declare it right here. I, Tanya McCausland eat dessert!

Sweets and treats are part of exploring and savoring amazing food. When we deprive ourselves of the occasional piece of chocolate we’re setting ourselves up to inhale the entire bar. Yeah, we’ve all been there!

This week I’ve been in San Francisco visiting with some of my dearest friends. One of our favorite things to do is cook and enjoy a meal together. There is something absolutely magical about roasting potatoes, chopping herbs and grilling fresh sausages and is amazingly heartwarming and soothing – especially when you’re doing it in a tiny but bright San Francisco apartment kitchen! Alas, no meal is complete without a sweet treat at the end. The other evening we shared some amazing dark chocolate with almonds and dried cherries while we finished our wine and laughed late into the night. It was fantastic in every way possible!

So yes, this girl DOES eat dessert. But, I have standards that make eating it enjoyable instead of totally shameful.

How to Eat Dessert

1) Spot Cravings: How do you feel when you go scouting out the office candy bowl? Are you angry, frustrated, stressed, sad, tired? We tend to reach for the treats when things aren’t going our way. But, guess what? After you inhale the Snickers Bar you’ll still be angry, frustrated, sad and tired. Weird how that works, right? Instead, address your feelings with an appropriate action like taking a 10 minute walk outside, talking it out with a colleague, taking three cleansing breaths or even looking up cute kitty pictures on Pinterest. Or, do all three!

2) Splurge: There is a ton of cheap, crappy candy out there. Don’t fall for $2 bags of mini chocolate bars or 2 for 1 deal. Your body is not a garbage disposal so don’t treat it like one by feeding it junk. Your body deserves only the best and that includes the best chocolate you can find! Go for quality, not quantity. Spend the extra couple bucks on the “fancy” organic dark chocolate bar or the macaroon from a local coffee shop. Then, move on to step 3.

3) Savor: Now with your treat in hand take time to really enjoy it instead of inhaling it in mere seconds. That little piece of luxury deserves full attention! Sit down, and deeply inhale the deliciousness you’re about to eat (yes, I said smell your food!) and then take a bite. Close your eyes and thoroughly enjoy the taste and texture of this amazing treat you just took the time to savor.

4) Share: Eating is a communal activity and that includes dessert! It’s much more satisfying, enjoyable and profoundly feeds the soul when we can share food with another person. Cut your muffin in half and offer it to your office mate, share dessert with your love (one spoon only!) and crack open that bar of chocolate when the girls come over for dinner.

5) Stir up Your Own: While I have a serious weakness for a good bar of dark chocolate, I do love stirring up my own sweet treats. Unfortunately (well, fortunately) I’m not much of a baker so my oven doesn’t see much cookie or cake action. But, I do make one tasty truffle! My Chocolate Chia Truffles are delicious and super simple. If you can push the button on your food processor you’ve got what it takes to make truffles. By the way, this recipe presents a great opportunity to invite your kids into the kitchen with you. Just beware of those messy fingers!

Chocolate Chia Seed Truffles

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
½ cup whole chia seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1 cup raw slivered almonds (can also use raw cashews, pistachios or walnuts)
½ cup shredded coconut for dusting

Instructions:

  • Soak chopped dates in hot water for about 10 minutes
  • Strain dates (reserve water) and puree in food processor until thick paste forms
  • Add cocoa powder, chia seeds and vanilla extract. Pulse until combined.
  • Add reserved liquid if needed. Add only a very small amount at a time so mixture doesn’t get too soft
  • Add almonds; pulse until well distributed throughout mixture
  • Form mixture into small balls and roll in shredded coconut
  • Place on wax paper in single layer and chill in refrigerator for about one hour. Place them in containers with lids. These will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Comments { 0 } · Posted on May 2, 2013 in Healthy Recipes