It’s a Tropical Day in the Neighborhood

Rural midwest never feels like the tropics. But how would I know? I’ve ever been to the tropics. I have been to California and Florida–once each, mostly inside at conferences. But I have seen real live palm trees!  But a girl can dream. And a girl can enjoy the tastes of the tropics without going there, in these times. Blessings indeed. And it is even a blessing to be able to get them frozen when fresh is not available.

pina colada green smoothie

Today’s Green Smoothie is straight from the tropics, with a flavor many love, even if they’ve never tasted the real, fresh fruits. Pina Colada–Pineapple and Coconut.

Pina Colada Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh young coconut meat (no they don’t cost near this much locally or through Azure Standard)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach or other greens
  • water kefir (or fresh coconut water or purified water)
  • 1 Tbl. fresh ground flax seed (optional)

As always ingredients should all be organic, as much as you are able to find.

Blend till smooth, in a high performance blender. Enjoy!

What was in your Green Smoothie today? Comment below!


 

Food Happens

Food happens with you start throwing things together. Good food.

Put my blueberries in before cooking my steel cut oats in my Instant Pot, because they were frozen. Had some homemade coconut yogurt I wanted to eat up. Have been experimenting with date paste as sweetener in more recipes, so had a bit of that left to use. And, as always, a sprinkle of a Tbl. of ground Flax Seed always boosts the goodness.

Result? FANTASTIC tasting Breakfast!

Blueberry SC Oats

 

What did you fuel your day with today?

 


 

 

Green Smoothies

What else for today but Green Smoothies? No Luck o’ the Irish needed, just the proven science of biology. These are good stuff for your body.

green smoothie duo

Green Goodness ~ Freedom & Simplicity™ Guide to Green Smoothies ~ http://gfy.frommeandmyhouse.comIt’s no secret that a primary secret to health is dark green leafy vegetables, the most nutrient dense foods available, and low in calories too. In addition to all the known and explored vitamins and minerals in them, they are also packed with hundreds of phytonutrients and antioxidants that promote healthy bodies and minds.

It’s also no secret that most people don’t get enough of these powerhouse foods. Very few eat these dark leafy greens daily, and many that do eat only small amounts, not big bowls full.

What also is not a secret, but may not be well known is that it is easy to get what you need in a way that won’t have you chewing on them all day long. Green Smoothies!

green smoothie2Green Smoothies are a combination of dark leafy greens and fruits and/or other vegetables, and water, blended into a delicious “shake”. Although you can find plenty of Green Smoothie recipes out there, no recipe is needed. Just use what you have on hand and like.
You want to shoot for at least 60% or more dark leafy greens to 40% or less fresh or frozen fruit (no additives). To start you may need to reverse those percentages and gradually increase your greens and reduce your fruits. This isn’t just a few leaves of spinach and a couple of strawberries. We’re talking 3 cups greens to 2 cups fresh fruit.

Savory Green Smoothies can be made with vegetables. Tomatoes (really a fruit), carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, avocados (another fruit) are all good to start with. Then branch out to whatever you’d like. Get adventurous and try new veggies.

green smoothie1For fruits, include berries (another health super food). A banana is a great addition especially in the beginning to make it nice and creamy and help cover the “green” taste. Add common apples, oranges, and lemons; tropical pineapple, young coconut, mango, kiwi, and limes; and all the other varieties of fruit available.

Baby spinach is very mild and a great place to start with your greens. Move on to baby kale and chard, then get adventurous with other dark leafy greens. Rotate your greens, using different ones either daily or weekly.

Blend it smooth with purified water, or fresh coconut water, fresh coconut water kefir, or homemade Raw Almond (or other) Milk. Use enough to get it to the consistency you like. You can add a dash of vanilla too, if you’d like.

Other health boosters you can add in are (organic, raw): fresh ground flax seed, hemp seed, chia seed. For an occasional treat, add a bit of raw carob or cacao powder.

Throw this all in your blender. Blend till smooth. And drink up!

BlendTec Total Blender - http://gfy.frommeandmyhouse.comhigh performance blender will do 2 things for your Green Smoothies. 1) blend them smoother. 2) break open the cell structure of your greens to get more of their nutrients available to you. But if you don’t have a high performance blender yet, use the blender you have. (Pick one up at your local thrift store if you don’t have one.) In a less powerful blender, blend your greens and water first, then add your fruit (especially frozen) and blend, then blend again with any softer ingredients and add ins. These little rests for your blender will blend it smoother and keep it from heating up destroying nutrients and burning out your blender.

Green Smoothies are a great way to start every day. They pack a powerful nutrition punch for energy, weight loss, and good overall health. Get more info in Green Goodness, a beginners guide to Green Smoothies.

green smoothie3

One of my favorite combos is a Tropical Green Smoothie with fresh young Coconut Meat and Water, Pineapple, Mango, Pomegranate seeds, and Spinach. Sometimes I add some Banana, and a bit of ground Flax seed to0.

My other go-to is Berry Good; Baby Kale, Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Banana, Coconut Water Kefir,  and Hemp Seeds.

Do you drink fresh Green Smoothies daily? What is your favorite combo? Comment below!

 


 

 

 

Raw Coconut Milk Yogurt

If you’ve been a reader of my ‘from me’ blog long-term, you know I have several yogurt making posts there. I’ve also written a Beginner’s Handbook for Yogurt Making. But it’s time to experiment again.

Dairy-free yogurts tend to not set up as well without additives. I don’t really like my yogurt texture to be jello-like. Homemade soy milk yogurt does better and we’ve liked it. I prefer a raw yogurt if possible though. So I began looking again for options.

A “raw milk” I’ve made in the last few years that wasn’t on my radar back when I made my original yogurt posts and book is Coconut Milk. Now, I’ve never bought coconut milk; I don’t like the list of ingredients in it, same with other commercially made “not milks”. But I have made fresh Coconut Milk. Raw Almond Milk, our usual, is made quickly and easily at home, and we love it. But it doesn’t make a great yogurt on its own. A couple ideas got my brain re-thinking on successfully making not milk yogurts, and it’s time to experiment with the first.

Coconut Yogurt 1

I love young Thai coconuts. (Find them locally at a Asian grocer, Whole Foods, HyVee, or order through Azure Standard–all much cheaper than this link.) My favorite thing to do with them is to make fresh Coconut Water Kefir. (I’ll add an updated post on this blog and link it here.) Yummy, probiotic drink, great for the gut. I put it in smoothies a lot, and you can make fizzy fruit “pop” with it.  We also love to just drink the raw coconut water fresh. The younger boys love to drink straight from the coconut itself. Sometimes (not often) make fresh coconut milk.

Generally, I use the meat in green smoothies or recipes. But the daily (or every other) making of coconut kefir water goes through more water than we use of the meat. That, having extra in the freezer, can be great for the occasional recipe that calls for larger amounts of coconut meat. But … What else could I do, on a more regular basis?

What is needed for yogurt, especially thicker yogurt? I knew the natural sweetness and fat content in the coconut would both be helpful. The key would be to make my own coconut milk so I could control the consistency of the yogurt, since I knew it wasn’t going to get much thicker than when I put it in.

Coconut Yogurt 2

3 young coconuts provided 2 cups of coconut meat for me to experiment with, and way more coconut water than I knew I’d use in the yogurt. (Of course, the rest is for Coconut Water Kefir.) I decided to add a bit of my homemade Vanilla. And used probiotic capsules for my culture; as they were all I had on hand at 11 at night.

Coconut Yogurt 5

 I culture yogurt in many ways. My dehydrator is my favorite because it’s the easiest and it’s always on my counter and usually running. But, since I started using an Instant Pot, and it has a Yogurt feature and I hadn’t tried it yet, I decided to go that way this time.

Coconut Yogurt 3

Here’s how I did it–and my notes.

  • 2 cups young coconut meat
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh coconut water
  • 1/2 Tbl. homemade vanilla extract
  • 2 PB8 probiotic capsules — opened and only the powder inside used, not the capsule itself
  • Blend all together till creamy. Start with the smaller amount of coconut water, add as needed until desired consistency. (May take more than 1 cup.) I added the PB after the rest was creamy and just pulsed it in.
  • Pour into serving size jars or these (that have lids) and culture at approx. 105° for 8-10 hours. Do not fill jars completely full, as it will expand as it cultures.
  • Cap and refrigerate.

Coconut Yogurt 7

Notes:

  • My coconut meat was pretty firm in 2 of my coconuts and very soft (and scant) in 1. I used 3/4 cup coconut water and will use more next time. (I was a bit afraid of getting it too runny.)
  • I’m not real happy with the other ingredients in the PB8, and will look for a better option before I do this again. But don’t know if there is a better or not.
  • As noted, the yogurt does expand and get a bit bubbly. (You know the culture is working and creating goodies for your gut.)

Coconut Yogurt 6

  • To culture in the Instant Pot, you really do just set your jars in and hit the Yogurt button, and put the lid on. I did put my jars on a trivet, just in case the bottom of the pan may get a bit too warm. It doesn’t matter if you use the pressure lid, or a glass lid. It doesn’t matter if the vent is open or closed. You don’t have to put water in the bottom. The yogurt function will not get to the high temp to create pressure.
  • You can culture yogurt anywhere that you can maintain a steady temp of approx. 105° for the tire needed to culture. Under 95° and the cultures won’t grow to create yogurt. Over 115° and the cultures will be killed, and not make yogurt. If where you are culturing your yogurt doesn’t have a thermostat, be sure to get a thermometer (that measures the right range–a yogurt or aquarium thermometer) to monitor the temp.

Here are some other ways you can culture yogurt:

  • On a folded towel on top of a heating pad turned onto low and covered with another towel. Or in a covered box on top of the heating pad.
  • In a box (or styrofoam cooler) with a small light bulb in it.
  • In a gas oven with a pilot light (turned off).
  • In a ceramic crock, wrapped in a blanket or placed in an insulated cooler.
  • In a water bath in an electric skillet on low. If you do this be sure to test it out with a thermometer in a jar of water (instead of yogurt) to make sure it holds the correct temperature over that length of time. It used to be recommended to use a slow cooker/crock pot on low. I have not found newer crock pots to hold the proper temp. Perhaps getting it to the right temp, turn off crock pot and wrap in a blanket to hold temp.
  • A yogurt maker. 🙂

 

Do you make non-dairy yogurt? What method do you use? Comment below!