I know there are a lot of coconut haters out there. That’s understandable, if the only coconut you’re considering is the cloying, flaky stuff inside the chocolate you just bit into hoping it would be a caramel one. That stuff isn’t very good, I’ll admit, but the coconut has so much more to offer! Just this week, my friends, I sauteed with it, hydrated with it, and used it to make my hair really shiny. Allow me to explain….
1) Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is one of my favorite ingredients. You can use it in crock-pot stews like I did here, lettuce wraps like so, or in this flan recipe that I have made a million times. You can use it, along with almond milk, to make lactose-free, vegan ice cream! (I plan to investigate this ice cream thing further and promise to report back when I come up with a winner of a recipe.) I usually buy the “A Taste of Thai” brand, and almost always go for the light version (except when I make the flan, because that’s a Paula Deen recipe, and I feel that buying “light” anything doesn’t jive with Paula Deen recipes).
2) Coconut Water
I first learned about this nifty product when I went to a hot yoga class and passed out within the first 15 minutes. (Lesson: when they say “come to class hydrated” they really mean it.) When I regained consciousness, a very nice yogi ushered me out into the cooler lobby and gave me a coconut water to drink. I was feeling better in no time. Since then, I’ve been trying to keep a few of these in my fridge for after really sweaty workouts. Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes and potassium–think of it as Mother Nature’s Gatorade–and it’s really refreshing. Bonus: if you chug a box of it in the wee hours of the morning after a few adult beverages, your odds of waking up in Hangover City will be slim to none. See–I told you the coconut is your friend!
3) Coconut Oil
This is my latest and greatest coconut find. You can use it in lieu of other forms of fat in baked goods, or sautee vegetables with it. It’s good for you because it creates fewer harmful byproducts (e.g. carcinogens and other science-y stuff I don’t really understand) when exposed to heat.
You can also use coconut oil as an all-natural moisturzer, lotion, lip balm, and conditioner. I’m trying to use more natural, chemical-free cosmetics these days, so this was a good find. The other day, before I went to the gym, I worked a bunch of it into my hair, left it on while I ran, and washed it out afterwards. My fellow gym-goers now probably think I’m a total greaseball, but I don’t really care because my hair is super soft and shiny. I didn’t take before-and-after hair shininess comparison photos, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
No actual recipes this week…I apologize. I made some soup and some brownies out of chickpeas (I don’t know where these ideas come from…), but nothing was quite good enough to share with you lovely people. I’ll try to get my act together for next time. Happy weekend!