Posts Tagged ‘Coconut’

You guys are amazing. I loved reading all of your favorite doughnut flavors. They left me craving some doughnuts myself. I didn’t realize apple cider doughnuts were such a thing. The winner of Ashley’s Baked Doughnuts for Everyone cookbook is Lauren Marie. Congrats girl! Your copy should be on its way soon!

As cold and flu season rolls around with cooler temperatures, it is important to nourish our bodies with a variety of foods and spices to keep ourselves healthy and our immune system strong. It is equally as important to remember to take time for ourselves to relax, spend time with friends and family, and exercise in order to relieve stress. Cooking ourselves nutritious foods can provide our bodies with an array of beneficial nutrients, relieving stress by taking time for ourselves in the kitchen, while also helping us feel good about taking care of ourselves and others. A few key foods and spices that contribute to a healthy immune system among other things include:

  • Sweet Potatoes: rich in beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), vitamin C, and vitamin E, sweet potatoes are a significant source of anti-oxidants that can benefit our immune system, prevent disease and cancer, aid in recovery from sickness or surgery, and improve our skin, hair, and eyes. In addition, vitamin A and vitamin C are anti-inflammatory, making sweet potatoes beneficial for those suffering from arthritis or asthma. They also contain a significant amount of fiber, contributing to the health of our digestive tracts, a first line defense mechanism for our immune system.
  • Cooked Cauliflower: as an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, and a good source of vitamins B5 and B6, cooked cauliflower contributes to healthy immune function.
  • Coconut: by providing a bit of fat, coconut aids in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A and E.
  • Ginger: as a warming spice, ginger can promote healthy sweating during a cold or flu, promoting recovery and fighting off infections. While ginger is commonly used to calm the digestive system, it also possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can beneficial for those suffering from arthritis or recovering from heavy exercise.
  • Cinnamon: the essential oils found in cinnamon are considered to be anti-microbial, helping stop the growth of bacteria. In addition, by slowing the rate at which food empties from the stomach, cinnamon can aid in blood sugar control, particularly when combined with a high glycemic food. Traditional Chinese Medicine mixes cinnamon in tea with fresh ginger to provide cold and flu relief.
  • Turmeric: getting its bright yellow color from curcumin, turmeric provides anti-inflammatory benefits at the level of Motrin and other NSAIDs. It has been used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), relief for rheumatoid arthritis, helping those with cystic fibrosis, and cancer prevention, just to name a few.

Reference: http://whfoods.com

Next time you are feeling undernourished or under the weather, warm up with a bowl of this flavorful and fragrant Curried Vegetable Dahl with Coconut Basmati Rice. By featuring all of the foods and spices listed above, it provides benefits for your immune system and is anti-inflammatory.


Curried Vegetable Dahl with Coconut Basmati Rice

Serves 6 | Print here! | Inspired by Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

Coconut Basmati Rice

2 cups brown basmati rice

3 cups water

1 cup canned coconut milk

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon salt

1 large cinnamon stick

¼ cup raisins

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan or rice cooker. Cook according to rice package directions. Remove cinnamon stick before serving.


Curried Vegetable Dahl

1 ½ cups red lentils, rinsed well

4 cups water

1 medium onion, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon butter or ghee

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly ¼” dice

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon mild curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups water

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets

2 red or green bell peppers, diced

1 bunch fresh spinach, cleaned and roughly chopped

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

  1. Combine rinsed lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, uncover, and cook until tender; about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent; about 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, ginger, curry powder, cumin. Continue to sauté for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add 2 cups of water, cauliflower, and bell peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered until sweet potato and cauliflower are tender; about 10-15 minutes.
  4. When lentils are done, puree them with an immersion blender or carefully transfer them along with their cooking water to an upright blender and blend for 2 minutes. Transfer to simmering vegetables along with chopped spinach and lemon juice, stir well. Simmer until spinach is just wilted; about 1-2 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve over Coconut Basmati Rice.


What foods do you nourish yourself with during cold and flu season?

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This past weekend I made my first attempt at making macaroons to bring to a dinner party. While there is still some room for improvement, they turned out pretty good. I made two varieties because someone in the group doesn’t like chocolate.


Chocolate Orange Macaroons

  • 1 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1/3 cup carob (or cocoa) powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, or more to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (through salt) in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Heat honey and coconut oil on low heat until melted. Stir in vanilla extract and orange zest. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine.
  5. Scoop by the tablespoon full onto parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Check to see if the edges are lightly browned. If so, remove from oven, if not continue to cook in 5 minute increments until edges are lightly browned.*

*This is where I messed up. I cooked them at 325F for about 15 minutes and the temperature was too hot and the time was too long. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. However, that is quite difficult with the chocolate ones, because you can’t quite tell when their golden brown. Use your best judgment.

Before cooking:


After cooking (yes, I ate half of the one in the lower right hand corner):


Orange Vanilla Macaroons

  • 1 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, or more to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (through salt) in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Heat honey and coconut oil on low heat until melted. Stir in vanilla extract and orange zest. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine.
  5. Scoop by the tablespoon full onto parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Check to see if the edges are lightly browned. If so, remove from oven, if not continue to cook in 5 minute increments until edges are lightly browned.*

*I cooked these ones for 10 minutes at 325F and they were a bit more edible than the chocolate variation, but would be better of they were cooked at a lower temperature until golden brown. Just keep an eye on them.

Before cooking:


After cooking (a little too golden brown):


Now for a fun little activity…thanks to Elise at Hungry Hungry Hippie for tagging me. Here is the deal…I list 11 random things about myself, answer the 11 questions Elise asked me, and propose 11 more questions to the next round of 11 people I tag.

11 random things about myself:

  1. I am really really good at hula hooping. I literally could go on for hours. My sister also has this same talent, so I think it runs in the family.
  2. I am a certified yoga teacher.
  3. I hung out with 50 Cent when I was a freshmen in college.
  4. Because I have a nose with the profile of a ski jump, I can hang a spoon from the end of my nose indefinitely.
  5. I am 50% Scottish and 50% Swedish. That’s it.
  6. I refused to read books in high school. The only books I remember reading where “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “The Color Purple”, and “The Red Tent”. I remember “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Lord of the Flies” being read to me, but otherwise I got by without reading. However, I deeply regret this, because it resulted in a poor vocabulary and missing out on so many classics. This makes me horrible and word games and unable to join some conversations with my literary friends.
  7. I lost 25 pounds after graduating college, and have since kept it off.
  8. I am desperately awaiting the day the fiancé and I get our first house, so I can get a chocolate lab and name him/her Hadley after the meteorologist who discovered the overturning of the atmosphere as a result of heating at the equator and cooling at the poles.
  9. I have NEVER eaten, or even tasted, a Twinkie.
  10. I have never broken a bone in my body. *Knock on wood*
  11. I absolutely love grocery shopping. I could spend hours in the grocery store and it is the first thing I want to do when I am upset or stressed out. I would do it for a living if I could.

Questions I answer from Elise:

  1. Do you have any nicknames? Not really, but my parents will shorten my name to “Laur” sometimes.
  2. Chocolate or vanilla? I LOVE dark chocolate, especially with a glass of red wine. However, I am finding I don’t feel too well after eating chocolate, so I think it is time for me to start becoming a vanilla girl.
  3. Guilty pleasure TV show? Gossip Girl.
  4. Alcoholic drink of choice? A deep, full bodied, spicy Cabernet Sauvignon.
  5. Favorite dessert? A cannoli! I fell in love with them as a little girl, and now they’re just nostalgic. Too bad they contain gluten…
  6. Where were you born? in Longmont, CO just north of Boulder, CO.
  7. How old were you when you joined facebook? Good question, I think it was in 2004 or 2005, so that would make me 20 or 21.
  8. Favorite meal you ate as a kid? Spanish Rice from The Rio.
  9. Last vacation you went on? The fiancé and I went to Steamboat Springs, CO for 10 days where I did an Olympic Triathlon the fiancé did a 3 day bike race.
  10. Something you hated as a child but eat now? I absolutely hated raw tomatoes. I loved them cooked into a marinara sauce, but couldn’t stand them raw. Even if a restaurant had put them on my meal by accident, and I attempted to take them off, I still couldn’t stand it. In 2007 I went to Italy where you really can’t specially order sandwiches without tomatoes, so I gave in. By the end of the trip I was eating tomatoes like apples. And even though the tomatoes in the States aren’t as good as authentic Italian tomatoes, I still continued to put them on something on a daily basis.
  11. Favorite holiday? This is a toss up between 4th of July and Thanksgiving. Both occur during some of my favorite times of the year, aren’t as corporate and about spending money as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, and are more about getting together with family over a delicious meal.

Questions for next round of people:

  1. Where were you when you had your first kiss?
  2. If you could have lunch with any author, who would you choose? Why?
  3. If you changed careers, what would you do?
  4. What is your favorite ride at a theme park or carnival?
  5. What is the last thing that made you laugh?
  6. What was your favorite meal your Mom used to make when you were growing up?
  7. What was/is your favorite board game?
  8. How do you like your coffee/tea?
  9. What is your favorite sport to watch?
  10. When it comes to anything baked, do you prefer the ends or the middle?
  11. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Tag, you’re it!

  1. Katie at She Rocks Fitness
  2. Jess at Shiso Fresh!
  3. Whitney at Starts With Wedges
  4. Brittany at Studio B Blog
  5. Lauren at The Off Beat Report
  6. Jess at Make and Do Girl
  7. Victoria at The Pursuit of Hippieness
  8. Dana at My Little Celebration
  9. Jen at Food, Family, Fitness
  10. Lauren at A Cup of Bliss
  11. YOU! Leave a comment below answering one or all of the 11 questions listed above.

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I woke up with a serious appetite this morning and ready to run. Before heading out for my run I snacked on a brown rice cake, some cashew butter and grapes.

This was the perfect amount of fuel to get me through my 4.6 mile endurance run. Afterwards I made a classic Newest Obsession breakfast scramble–I am so happy to have eggs back in my diet. For this one I heated up 1 teaspoon coconut oil (Food Of The Day!!), added some diced carrot, put the lid on while I chopped up some green bell pepper, added the green pepper, some sea salt and put the lid back on again for another 3 minutes or so. I then added a few sliced black olives, another teaspoon of coconut oil and 2 whole eggs. Scrambled them up, sprinkled them with sesame seeds and served them along side some re-fried pinto beans. Beautiful.

If you have not tried cooking your eggs in coconut oil, I highly recommend it. The flavor of the coconut oil just adds a new dimension to the eggs.

And as if I did not have enough on my to-do-before-work-list this morning I decided to make some new energy balls, or “aprinut balls” as I am calling them. These are a great option for an on the go snack, for pre or post exercise, a little after dinner treat or as a topping on yogurt. They provide quick digesting carbohydrates, healthy fats and a little protein. I like having a batch in the fridge at all times to grab before early morning swims or when I just need something sweet.

Aprinut Balls (Makes about 16-18 balls)

  • 1 cup unsweetened dried apricots
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews (toasted would be yummy, if you have time)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted in the oven at 300 degrees for 4 minutes
  • 1/4 cup brown rice protein powder (or any other type you prefer)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  1. Add all ingredients, except water to the food processor. Process until smooth. Be careful, your food processor might try to jump right off the counter.
  2. Add warm water and process until the mixture comes together.
  3. Form in to ~1 inch balls and refrigerate.

I thoroughly enjoyed a few for my afternoon snack.

Do you eat before morning workouts? What are your go-to pre exercise snacks?

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