Recipes

Homemade Coconut Milk

Homemade Coconut Milk

 

QUICK & EASY HOMEMADE ORGANIC COCONUT MILK

Why did I decide to make my own coconut milk?  While doing a little research on the ingredient list of a previous favorite brand of organic, unsweetened coconut milk, I discovered questionable ingredients I didn’t want to ingest. Many of the filler ingredients in packaged nut-milks contain ingredients causing people digestive disturbances, and some even causing inflammation leading to aches and pains, bloated bellies, and gas.  If your system is sensitive, or your trying to heal your gut or are embarking on a detox, you are best to avoid hard to digest foods.  The more time the liver has to work to clean up the toxins from digesting our food, the more time it has to do other important tasks, such as making those hormones necessary for us to feel happy and healthy.

Consumer awareness is on the rise, pushing manufactures to find healthier alternatives to processed foods. We still have a long way to go.  For example, we know that BPA is a chemical used in packaging of many things. Companies are coming out with BPA free alternatives.  But are the alternatives used less harmful, or just another toxic substitute?

Our bodies are made to filter out toxins, and some individuals have a more efficient system for doing so. Unfortunately, we are bombarded with exposure to toxins in our environment and processed food supply.  Our bodies haven’t evolved as quickly to be able to handle the toxic stress.  Many of these toxins we can’t avoid, so the best course of action is to limit our exposure where we can and find ways to help the body detoxify more efficiently.

If making your own coconut milk doesn’t turn you on, be sure to read your ingredient list on the coconut milk brand you buy. Natural Value Coconut Milk is my favorite choice of processed coconut milk, BPA free container and free of fillers or other additives.  http://naturalvalue.com/product/organic-coconut-milk/

Did you know that most store brands of almond milk contain only 2% real almonds?  I haven’t found a brand I would be comfortable buying.  Recipe for Homemade Almond Milk is on the way!

This recipe requires no cracking of a shell.  Requiring less time with preparation and clean up. this short cut version using organic coconut flakes, allows keeping up with the supply you need easier and cheaper than store bought versions.

If you want to make the best coconut milk, the way nature intended, by all means do it from scratch!  Crack the shell, remove all parts, remove skin of flesh, and blend together with the coconut water.  Strain and blend as described below.   Best tasting coconut milk ever!

BUT LETS FACE IT…you know this process isn’t likely to become part of your regular routine. I know I wouldn’t keep up with supply and demand, so for me and others like me, using unsweetened organic coconut flakes, without sulfates is the way to go.  This homemade version, lacks the fillers to make it a thicker consistency, but the taste is so delicious.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I wonder if flax seeds, or  cashews or both could thicken it a little. Of course, it wouldn’t be straight coconut milk, but if you were wanting to drink straight. Here’s an idea, Blend coconut milk, cashews and vanilla extract together, add ice if preferred. Numerous combinations of seasonings, and healthy combinations could work!  For me, I generally use coconut milk in addition to other foods or beverages.  Like in my coffee, (yes, I admit, I love the stuff) and in casserole type dishes, soups and smoothies.  So, I just use mine plain, but feel free to experiment.  Smoothies are delicious with this homemade coconut milk!

EASY PEEZY COCONUT MILK

What you will need:

Hi-speed blender                                Fine mesh strainer

Glass Jar and glass or stainless steel bowl                       Nut-Milk bag or cheesecloth

2 cups Organic shredded coconut flakes or chips

4 cups filtered, room temperature water

1 ¼ to 1 ½ cup room temperature water (second press)

Set up your work space by placing fine mesh strainer over a large stainless steel or glass bowl. My strainer has a lip on the edge to attach to a bowl.  If you don’t have one, just set it inside the bowl while being careful not to have nut bag contents to empty into bowl.  Open milk bag and line it inside the mesh strainer. The mesh strainer just makes it easier to pour into bag.  If you are using cheesecloth, fold it into quarters to create a finer mesh.  I’ve done it both ways and the nut-milk bag does a better job of filtering and is easier to clean up. You can pick one up from Whole Foods for $3.00.  Measure out your filtered water and coconut flakes.  (Wilderness Family Natures supplies high quality coconut products at a reasonable price.)

Using a nut back to strain and squeeze out the coconut milk

Using a nut bag to strain and squeeze out the coconut milk

http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/mm5/merchant.mvc

If you are lucky enough to have a large capacity hi-speed blender like the Vitamix, or Ninja or similar high powered machine, you can make this batch all at once.   I use a Nutri-bullet, and need to break the recipe into two batches. (I cup flakes to 2 cups water) Some recipes on the internet advise using heated water, which makes sense in extracting the nutrients, but be careful not to use water that is too hot, because heat destroys the precious minerals and enzymes.  If you use warm water, gently warm filtered water to a temperature under 105 degrees. Put the water and coconut flakes or chips in blender. Blend for 2 – 3 minutes on high speed.

Pour into nut bag, draining the delicious coconut milk into the bowl.  Take a few minutes to squeeze the nut milk bag to get all of the milk from the pulp.  Pour strained milk in a glass container. This batch is considered the first press.  It will be of a thicker consistency, with more potency of flavor. But second press works just fine in smoothies, casseroles, saute’s etc.

IN FACT, when using in cooked recipes, you will want to use a second press version, because the first press can curdle easily when heated.

coco_milk_2nd Press

Coconut Milk Second Press

Now, to make your second press; place coconut pulp back into the blender, add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ more room temperature water.  Blend and strain again.  Now you have a version you can use for cooking.  It will not have as strong of a coconut flavor, but still contains a distinct coconut flavor.  It will last 5-10 days in the refrigerator, but it never lasts that long around my house!  So, easy and delicious, you will never want to go back to store bought again.

 

 

coconut_apricot_facial_scrub

Ingredients in Homemade Coconut Facial Scrub

But, wait!  Don’t throw out the pulp!  You can use the pulp in smoothies and homemade granola and other recipes to add fiber and nutrients.   The pulp also makes an amazing facial scrub, combined with a few other ingredients. After all, you felt how amazingly smooth your hands were after squeezing the nut bag! Well, as you can imagine, it feels great on your face as well. I made one using both almond pulp and coconut milk pulp, aloe Vera, avocado oil, ground apricot kernels, olive oil and a little finely ground sea salt. (all organic ingredients, of course!)  I massaged the ingredients in circular motions to my face, and then let my skin soak up the healthy ingredients for 20 minutes.  A little messy, so do it over the sink, but when I rinsed, my face felt soft as a babies butt, and so worth a little messy.

APRICOT KERNEL SCRUB/MASK

6 tbsp apricot Kernel seed powder                              2.5 tbsp Baking Soda

3 tbsp organic raw cane sugar                                      *vanilla bean shell, ground (optional)

2 tbsp Rhassoul clay                                                       Coconut oil as needed for consistency

Mix ingredients together, keep in an airtight container.  For your face, place 1/2 teaspoon apricot kernel seed mixture in bowl.  Add double to triple the amount of coconut oil.  If the mixture is to dry it will make much more mess.  The trick is to add enough oil so the mixture adheres to the skin, but not so much that it diminishes the exfoliation and detoxifying effects.   Starting with small amounts and adding oil a little at a time helps.  For me I like to us 3/4 tsp apricot kernel seed mixture to 2 tsp coconut oil.  This combination feels like a gentle, stimulating scrub on my face, and is enough to have extra leftover to use on my neck and chest. You can also make up more for a body scrub in the shower, best left on the skin for at least 15 minutes before rinsing.

DIRECTIONS:  Take a teaspoon sized amount of blended mixture, apply in gentle circular motions. Leave on the skin for 15 minutes.  Massage in circular motions for a minute or two, adding a little water if necessary. Rinse. Using a warm wet washcloth helps.  No need for moisturizer.  Just add what you need around the eyes or lips. Skin smoothing, brightening and moisturizing all in one.  Great for drawing toxins out of the skin!

CHAI TEA- DAIRY-FREE, CAFFEIN-FREE RECIPE

(Recipe from Elana’s Pantry)

Use organic ingredients when possible:

6 cups filtered water

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

1 inch ginger

6 whole peppercorns

1 bag peppermint tea or 1 tbsp loose peppermint tea

Combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Strain into mugs.  Serve hot.  Sweeten with stevia or ½ tsp raw honey to taste.

Best dairy-free choices are home-made or Natural Value Organic BPA-free Coconut Milk, home-made almond milk or other organic, non-dairy, filler and preservative free nut milk as a dairy alternative.

*Some processed versions of nut milks contain additives that don’t agree with sensitive digestion and can cause severe to moderate allergic responses.  Guar Gum, locust bean gum and carrageenan are two that come to mind.

 

BROWN RICE AND VEGETABLE MEDLEY

By Denise Wilson

www.HealthyHabitRescue.com

 3 cups organic brown rice (rinsed)

2 tablespoons organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil

1 large bunch of organic Kale torn or cut into bite size portions

2 large handfuls of organic baby spinach (about 1/3 lb)

4 medium sized organic zucchini

3 medium organic yellow squash

1 organic onion chopped finely

1 organic red pepper chopped

1 ½  cups finely chopped organic shitake mushrooms

6-8 cloves organic garlic cloves, minced

A couple sprigs of fresh organic rosemary

¼ oz  fresh organic thyme

1 cup fresh organic basil

2 cups organic, gluten-free vegetable stock,

A couple pinches of sea salt

 

If you have a food processor or similar machine, it will make the process easier.  I use a rice cooker for the brown rice.  While that is cooking, wash and chop all the veggies to have them ready to go.  In a large skillet, I used a cast iron one, liquefy the coconut oil on low heat, add garlic, onion, red pepper, shitake mushrooms to soften about 10 minutes add in kale, cooking an additional 5 minutes, add in  remaining veggies, continue cooking on a low setting, occasionally stirring, every 4-5 minutes or so.  Cook an additional 5-10 minutes.  Transfer Vegetable medley into crock pot, could use a large pan on the stove cooked on simmer, or could cook on low setting in a pan in the oven.  Add vegetable stock, basil, thyme, rosemary and sea salt.  Let simmer for several hours.  I used a crock pot and cooked for about 6 hours on low heat setting.  When the veggie medley is done, combine the rice and veggie mixture and keep on a low setting.  Great dish for holiday pot lucks.  I made this for a recent  Halloween gathering, I thought I would have leftovers, no such luck.  Success!    Makes about 4 quarts serving.     Great to freeze leftovers for the busy  holiday,  hustle and bustle.   I failed on capturing a photo before serving. Next time I make this dish, I’ll try to remember to get a photo to share.