Coconut Yogurt Recipe

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Coconuts have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and may be used to treat a range of problems ranging from abscesses and asthma to nausea, skin infections, ulcers, weakness and toothaches. Much of the healing properties in young coconut meat is due to the high amount of lauric acid contained in it. The fat in young coconut meat can help improve the body’s immune system and anti-inflammatory responses. This recipe has a wonderful amount of happy tummy probiotics too!

I wish I could take credit for this recipe but I was introduced to it by my friend Lauren who posted it from Kristen’s Raw. I want you to watch the video and see just how easy it is to make. Below, to make it a bit easier for you, I wrote out all the measurements and ingredients with pictures. 

Raw Coconut Yogurt
meat from 2 young thai coconuts
1 – 1 1/2 cups coconut water
2-3 probiotic pills or 1/4 tsp of probiotic powder
3/4 soaked nuts, soaked at least 2 hours to overnight 
(you can do any mixture of your favorite nuts)

If opening a coconut is daunting to you, here are some places to buy coconut meat:
(these are making their way into Whole Foods)

How to open a coconut:
(don’t fear – it’s easy once you get the hang of it!!!)
or 

So now that you have opened your coconut and poured out your coconut water into a reserved jar or bowl, scrape the meat out the best you can. Sometimes you get coconuts that have meat that slide on out and others you have to sit and scrape a bit. Either way it shouldn’t take long, and it is WELL worth the work. (Make sure you scrape away any brown shell that’s attached to the meat, you don’t want this in the yogurt)
I used 1/4 c. brazil nuts, 1/4 c. cashews, 1/4 c almonds
Now take the coconut meat, one cup of coconut water, and the soaked nuts and add to blender. Blend until very smooth. You can add more coconut water if you need it to become a smoother consistency. 

reserved coconut water from 2 coconuts
Next, open up your probiotic pills and add the powder to coconut mixture and blend on low to incorporate. 
Pour out the scrumptious coconut yogurt into a slightly cracked sealed container and let chill out on the counter for 4-24 hours. The longer you leave out, the tangier & fermented it will become. I left mine out for close to 10 hours and was happy with the results. It’s all preference. You can also put the yogurt in a bowl in the dehydrator and set the dehydrator at 100 degrees F. The yogurt should incubate for about 3-6 hours. You know it’s ready when it has a fluffy consistency. It will store in the refrigerator for at least 10 days. The yogurt should be white, if it turns pink or purple discard it.
From here you can add sweetener or flavorings such as vanilla extract, agave… I like it plain and natural. It gives a beautiful hint of sweetness to my smoothies just as is. 
Add this to your smoothies and you will be heaven! Its super super delicious and brings the smoothie taste to a whole other level. Or eat plain with granola for breakfast or on top of a raw brownie for dessert!




I’m just Dandy, thanks for asking!

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Do you want to add something really healthy to your daily regimen? 
Something that could prevent or cure liver diseases; act as a tonic and gently diuretic to purify your blood; cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and improve gastro-intestinal health; assist in weight reduction; cleanse your skin and eliminate acne; improve your bowel function, working equally well to relieve both constipation and diarrhea; prevent or lower high blood pressure; prevent or cure anemia; lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half; eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods; prevent or cure various forms of cancer; prevent or control diabetes mellitus; and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you?

Those pesky flowers in your yard should 
be seen with a different eye. 

The botanical name for the common dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, which means the “Official Remedy for Disorders.” In fact it is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.

According to data, dandelions are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.

There are studies in Russia and Eastern Europe that indicate that dandelion is also rich in micronutrients such as copper, cobalt, zinc, boron, and molybdenum, as well as Vitamin D.


Beyond nutritional richness however, there are the active chemical components present in dandelions which may have specific therapeutic effects on the body.

* Inulin, which converts to fructose in the presence of cold or hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Fructose forms glycogen in the liver without requiring insulin, resulting in a slower blood sugar rise, which makes it good for diabetics and hypoglycemics;



* Tof-CFr, a glucose polymer similar to lentinan, which Japanese researchers have found to act against cancer cells in laboratory mice;

* Pectin, which is anti-diarrheal and also forms ionic complexes with metal ions, which probably contributes to dandelion’s reputation as a blood and gastrointestinal detoxifying herb. Pectin is prescribed regularly in Russia to remove heavy metals and radioactive elements from body tissues. Pectin can also lower cholesterol and, combined with Vitamin C, can lower it even more.

* Coumestrol, an estrogen mimic which possibly is responsible, at least in part, for stimulating milk flow and altering hormones;



* Apigenin and Luteolin, two flavonoid glycosides which have been demonstrated to have diuretic, anti-spasmodic, anti-oxidant and liver protecting actions and properties, and also to strengthen the heart and blood vessels.

* Gallic Acid, which is anti-diarrheal and anti-bacterial;



* Linoleic and Linolenic Acid, which are essential fatty acids required by the body to regulate blood pressure and such body processes as immune responses which suppress inflammation. These fatty acids can lower chronic inflammation, such as proliferative arthritis, regulate blood pressure and the menstrual cycle, and prevent platelet aggregation;



* Choline, which has been shown to help improve memory;



*Several Sesquiterpene compounds which are what make dandelions bitter. These may partly account for dandelions tonic effects on digestion, liver, spleen and gall bladder, and are highly anti-fungal;



* Several Triterpenes, which may contribute to bile or liver stimulation;



*Taraxasterol, which may contribute to liver and gall bladder health or to hormone altering.

Note to all: Neither herbs nor synthetic remedies work for everyone in the same way. Different bodies respond differently to medicines, and what works incredibly well for one person may not work at all, or work less well, for someone else. Bottom line is this is an easily attainable herb that may help your ailments. I say it never hurts to try!

To incorporate dandelions into your diet, there are a few options:

1. You can find the leaves at the grocery store (make sure to buy organic) and eat raw in a salad or lightly steam. 





2. You can dry the leaves in the sun or in a dehydrator until dry and grind into a powder (in blender) to make tea.  I add the dandelion powder to my Nettle Tea mix. 




3. There is Dandelion tea you can buy at your grocery or health food store.

4. Dandy Blend (Currently my favorite coffee alternative!!!!) Its made with non-GMO Dandelion root, roasted Chicory, roasted beetroot, barley and rye. Don’t fear – it is GLUTEN FREE! I’ve tried a few coffee alternative drinks to help me quit coffee for good and this is the one that did it for me. Its a powder you just add to hot water. Easy peasy. This is info from their website: 

* Dandelion is loaded with trace minerals and potassium, iron and calcium. Dandelion is reputed historically to be an excellent liver tonic and blood purifier, and one of the best diuretics, complete with its own potassium source. It is reported also to regulate the gastro-intestinal system, and is a good cure for anemia and acne. It also has the reputation for lowering serum cholesterol and blood pressure, eliminating gas and acid indigestion, aiding in weight loss,and counteracting certain cancerous tumors.

* Roasted Chicory promotes healthy digestion. It is food for the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract, and is reported to increase both digestion and nutrient absorption into the blood stream. Chicory also is rich in potassium, provides support to the immune system and promotes synthesis of B vitamins.

* Roasted beetroot detoxifies and builds blood. It also renews old blood with minerals and natural sugars. Beetroot contains betaine, which stimulates liver cells and protects the liver and bile ducts. It also is reputed to build red corpuscles and add tone to the blood. It is rich in phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A and C and other nutrients. Beetroot also has a significant tumor-inhibiting effect. According to an article in the Feb 27 1996 issue of Cancer Letters. “The combined findings suggest that beetroot ingestion can be one of the useful means for preventing cancer.”

* Barley and rye are very nutritious grains and a rich source of protein and B complex vitamins. Barley is good for urinary tract disorders as well, and is very useful in fevers and all inflammatory conditions because of its soothing properties. It helps heal the digestive system and digest starchy foods, and is also good for treating urinary disorders like nephritis and cystitis. Possibly most important, because the ingredient is the water soluble extracts free from gluten, and not the whole grains of barley and rye, those who normally couldn’t benefit from the nutrients in barley and rye can by drinking Dandy Blend.

Another great thing about this company is that they will send you a free sample if you ask. So what are you waiting for? Contact them here


Good Eats!

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One night I made 
Quinoa with Ginger Garlic Bok Choy, 
Carrot Ribbons & Green Onions 
with a Miso Sesame Soy Sauce
To get carrot ribbons, I shave a whole carrot with a vegetable peeler. I sauteed diced bok choy with minced garlic, sesame oil, minced ginger, tamari and sesame seeds. 
To make the sauce I mixed Tamari with Miso paste, sesame oil and sesame seeds. 
Served over fresh steamed Quinoa. 
Did you know?
Bok choy is a low-calorie (only nine calories per serving), high-nutrient food.
One cup of raw bok choy provides 63 percent daily value of vitamin A, 52 percent of vitamin C and 40 percent of vitamin K. It also has 7 percent DV of calcium, 5 percent of potassium and 6 percent of manganese.
Consuming Chinese white cabbage, such as bok choy helps to aid in healthy digestion.
Studies have shown that bok choy can reduce the risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers by 30 percent and in smokers by 69 percent!
Bok choy is a good source of calcium, a nutrient needed to keep our bones, teeth, and joints healthy.
This vegetable has been shown to promote good heart health and optimal brain function.
Worried about aging? Bok choy is full of beta-carotene that can be converted to vitamin A to help reduce the signs of aging.
Bok choy is a good source of vitamin C, a nutrient needed to keep our immune system strong.
Detoxing? Bok choy helps the liver in detoxification and protects it from the effects of stress, pollution, and aging factors in our modern environment.

To celebrate Taco Tuesday,  I made 
Raw Taco Bowls
I was inspired by this post at My New Roots.
I made raw walnut taco “meat”, raw cashew cheeze sauce, and a fresh salsa. 
Walnut Taco Meat
1 cup raw walnuts
1 Tbsp. Tamari
1/8 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (more if you like it spicy!)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
juice from half of a lemon
Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just to mix. 
Make sure not to over-blend! You want it to have a soft crumbly texture.
Raw Salsa
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1 bell pepper, chopped finely (you can do 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red for more color)
4 green onions, minced
1 tsp. honey or agave
¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
½ clove garlic, minced
juice of ½ lime 
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
Whisk the garlic, lime juice, honey, olive oil and sea salt in the bottom of a bowl and set aside.
 Add everything else to the bowl. Fold to combine and let sit for at least 10 minutes to let the flavors marry together.
Savory Cashew Cheese Sauce
1 C. Raw Cashews
1/2 a orange or red pepper
1/4 C. water
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. Nutritional Yeast
1 T. Tahini
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 garlic clove
2 tsp. onion powder
 Soak the Cashews in fresh water for 2 hours. 
Drain and place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor. 
Blend until smooth & creamy.
This sauce is not only great in tacos, but as a dip with pretzels or vegetables and even on raw burgers!

I’ve been enjoying Reed’s Ginger Ale lately…sooo good! 
Back in my old diet I drank a lot of the popular brand ginger ale that was filled with unnecessary sugars and syrups. I’ve been trying to find a brand to help with my ginger ale cravings and this is it!

There are two kinds – you have to study the label. The one I prefer is Premium brew, because this is sweetened with a touch of honey and pineapple juice.
Ok, you’ve got to try this one!!!
Fresh green juice topped with Reed’s.
Such a nice treat! I would assume this is a good thing to serve to a picky boyfriend, child or someone who can’t stomach the taste of a green juice yet. It is a perfect compliment to the greens believe it or not and sweetens it just so and makes it a little bubbly – green juice fizzy anyone? 
This weekend I made homemade pizza. One regular for my honey and one gluten free brown rice crust for me. I topped mine with fresh sliced baby bella mushrooms…Yum!
As always, I’ve been drinking lots of green juices. I like to stick to this one recipe:
2-3 large kale stalks
3-4 stalks of celery
one inch of fresh ginger root
one lemon
3 apples (I like it sweet!)
one cucumber
large handful of romaine leaves
To mix things up I tried out a new recipe that made juice in the vitamix instead of the juicer. All the fiber still remains so its like drinking a green juice with all the pulp. You might think the texture is yukky but it’s quite nice when you mix it with lots of ice and frozen banana. Its like a green slushy! 
Here’s the yummy Kale Shake recipe I tried:
Now that the weather is warmer, the grill is being used more often. I wish I took a picture of the kebobs assembled but they were too good that they disappeared fast!
Instead of onions I sliced up fennel, along with cherry tomatoes,
baby bella mushrooms, yellow peppers, zucchini and sliced lemon to flavor everything.
Alongside I made a refreshing cucumber and tomato salad with chopped up basil, fennel fronds, and dressed it with olive oil, vinegar, lemon and salt & pepper. I mixed it with Quinoa pasta for a yummy and light pasta salad. 
Last but not least, Ive been craving blueberry smoothies the last few days. They are chock-filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.  
Here’s my recipe:
Blueberry Smoothie
8 oz. almond milk
one frozen banana
1/4 -1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries 
(I use Trader Joe’s Wild Blueberries)
Scoop of Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein Powder
one teaspoon Maca powder
one teaspoon of vanilla extract
Blend until smooth 
enjoy!



Spring!

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To everyone who celebrated this past weekend, I hope you each had a wonderful holiday. This is one of my favorite times of year…yellow daffodils popping up out of nowhere, yummy fruits are coming into season, carrot cake, light jackets, bunnies in the yard, the chickadees making new homes in the birdhouses…and the idea that summer is just around the corner. This past weekend brought us beautiful weather here on the Jersey Shore. It was a perfect time to start seedlings, plant some colorful flowers, bake goodies and spend time with family.

I finally was able to get to my seedlings. (I’m a little behind!) I’ve got quite a lot going into my patio garden this year. Maybe a little too ambitious, by hey, I’m going to try. So far in the line up: cucumbers, peppers, kale, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, lots of herbs including chamomile and lemon balm and catnip for Bowie, broccoli rabe, and a few flowers I started from seed as well.
It was a great Saturday to drive down Ocean Ave. We stopped to see the waves and soak up a little sun.
Sunday morning we had a lovely brunch with my parents. 
Afterwards, they wanted to buy me a Easter plant from our local flower farm, so we all went flower shopping together after brunch. I was like a kid in a candy shop…I couldn’t decide on what to get – I wanted it all!
These were some of the mini plants I picked out. Aren’t they cute? I could never have enough houseplants!
Later on that night we had dinner at my boyfriend’s mother’s house. I was in charge of dessert. Since his mom has Celiac I wanted to make things her and I could eat. I made my traditional tropical carrot cake with coconut cream cheese frosting that I have been making for years.  This time around I made them into cupcakes that were gluten free! They came out soooo yummy. I also cut the sugar a bit. Next time I want to make a dairy free frosting for these. If you want a good carrot cake recipe I highly recommend this one!!!
I also made a full size raw lemon raspberry cheesecake
This was the best raw dessert I’ve made so far. It was super easy and it got devoured by all. It’s best stored in the freezer and served cold. 
There was only one piece left that I confiscated at the end of the night to take home!
Blog coming this week with all my good eats!


Milk & Cookies

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I don’t get a sweet tooth too often. If I do, I head right for a piece of raw chocolate. Only a bite can satisfy my sweet tooth but sometimes a girl just has to indulge in a little cookie time. I don’t do it too often because sugar is a big no-no in my diet. I get the sugar tummy ache seconds after I consume too much, so once in a blue moon I will consume just a teeny bit. Everything in moderation!!

Ok, so even though its not part of my diet I was pretty darn excited to see ready made cookie dough that was gluten free and vegan at my local health food store. Too bad it isn’t sugar free but I guess it can’t be free of everything. I think this is a good thing to have on hand, if guests unexpectedly come over, if your husband or boyfriend wants warm cookies on a whim, or if you want your house to smell warm and cozy…heck even if you just want one cookie, you can do that with this handy tub o’ dough. Oh, and as a little tip, since these are Vegan, you can eat it raw right out of the container…mmmm. Just a little though. We don’t want you turning into a ball of dough now, do we?

I’ve got to admit. These cookies were AMAZING. Chewy and not a hint of gluten free taste to be found.  Tasted better then regular if you ask me. Take that tollhouse. 

Homemade Water Kefir

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So I’m sure you have heard or seen milk kefir on the shelves of the grocery store near the yogurt. Have you ever heard of water kefir? I hadn’t until recently and I was quite fascinated with this non-dairy form of kefir. You are probably wondering what the heck kefir is? Well kefir, my friends is so good for you. Within the last few years I’m sure you have heard about probiotics in some form or another. There are even commercials nowadays advertising probiotics to help digestive problems. Probiotics are made up of bacteria – the good kind! These little guys are what help your digestive system get back on track. They are very good at kicking out the bad bacteria that causes, gas, toxicity and immune system imbalances. The good guys set up shop and grow their colonies that in turn helps to rebuild your inner eco-system. You want these guys residing in you – trust me.

What is water kefir?

Kefir is made from grains that are made up of strains of living bacteria and yeast. To make the kefir grains grow, you put them into an environment that they thrive in – sugar water. They live and grow on sugar and as they eat the sugar, they produce lactic acid, alcohol, and carbon dioxide, which yields a fermented carbonated beverage. Think of it as a healthy good-for-you soda! It has a pleasant, champagne-like taste and can be compared to kombucha, but a little lighter.

Why drink it? 

It kills all the bad stuff that can make you sick! Bad bacteria can cause bacterial overgrowth that can lead to many illnesses some of which include fungi, yeast infections, indigestion, obesity, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, skin disorders, etc. By drinking water kefir you will bring balance to your internal microflora.

Water kefir is anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-cholestrol, anti-ulcer and pro-immune system.

Easily digested, it cleanses the intestines, provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, vitamins and minerals, and complete proteins. Because kefir is such a balanced and nourishing food, it contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer. Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD.

The regular use of kefir can help relieve all intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, reduce flatulence and create a healthier digestive system. In addition, its cleansing effect on the whole body helps to establish a balanced inner ecosystem for optimum health, clearer skin, longevity and a better feeling overall.

Kefir can also help eliminate unhealthy food cravings by making the body more nourished and balanced. Its excellent nutritional content offers healing and health-maintenance benefits to people in every type of condition.

How do you make it?

Well first you need some live grains. They run about $10-$15 and will last a lifetime. They are very easily attainable on the internet. Just type in water kefir grains for sale and I’m sure you will find a number of sources. I am a big fan of Zoe from Rawbundant, so for now I’m going to link you up to her site – http://zoevblog.com/kefir-grains/

She demonstrates how to make water kefir at my local health food store and sells fresh bottled water kefir in many stores in the Tri-state area. You will be guaranteed to get a fresh healthy batch from her 🙂

How often do I drink it?
Everyday if you’d like! As with anything new,  you want to start slow and let your body adjust. You should start with just a tablespoon a day and work up from there.


Ingredients needed:

Filtered or spring water
Water kefir grains
Organic cane sugar
Sucanat, raw sugar or coconut palm sugar
Unsweetened, unsulfured dried fruit (apricots, figs or raisins)
Organic lemon (optional)
Tools needed:
Plastic strainer 
Plastic measuring spoons
Plastic spoon
Measuring cup
8-cup (1/2 gallon) Ball Mason jar
*(do not use metal utensils, the grains will not be happy if you do)

ratios are 1-1-1
1 cup filtered or bottled water
1 tablespoon kefir grains
1 tablespoon sugar
For one quart size jar:
6 Cups of water
6-8 Tbsp. kefir grains
4 Tbsp. organic cane sugar
2 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar
4 pieces of dried apricots and figs
2 lemon wedges
1. First dissolve sugar in your jarred water by stirring with a plastic spoon. 
2. Add your kefir grains.
3. Add the fruit and lemon slices. Make sure if not using organic lemons, to peel outer skin!
4. Cover the jar with a paper towel and secure with a rubber band. This will allow the grains to breathe. 
5. Leave on counter for 24 hours. 
Before fermenting                                    After 24 hours
*A good indication that the fermentation process is taking place, is when the fruit floats to the top. 
6. Strain and remove kefir grains from jar.
7. Flavor your water kefir with whatever fruits you want. If using dried, make sure they are unsulphured! 
8. Allow to ferment on counter covered with a paper towel for another 24 hours. 
For this batch I used dried cherries. I added just a small handful. 
….and 24 hours later it turned into a beautiful cherry red soda! Look at the bubbles from the carbonation!
If it’s not sweet enough for your taste buds or too alcohol-tasting, you can add fruit juice or even a small amount of sugar to it. Add lid and store in fridge. 
Many people say that they tolerate drinking the kefir best in the mornings.  This mini mug is a perfect amount for me until I can work up to a full glass! 

What to do with your kefir grains that you strained:
You can keep them alive by storing them in fridge in a small baggie filled with sugar water – using the same ration as above (1-1-1). They will stay alive on this mixture for one week, then its time to change out the sugar water to keep them fresh. 
If this at all is confusing in any way please watch these informative videos 🙂
Part 1 Making the water kefir
Part 2 Flavoring the water kefir
With this information, I hope you can start making your own water kefir very soon – I highly recommend it for attaining good health and happy intestines!

xo