coconut

Captures of Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop

What a wonderful weekend. We were so happy to share smoothies and knowledge with everyone at the Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop on Saturday. There was some great Q & A and hopefully everyone is trying out their new recipes this week! We're grateful for Dave Ford's yoga practice, our amazing helper, Maddy Smith, the beautiful well-lit space (aMuse Art Gallery & Meeting Place) in the Mission, and everyone who brought their good energy. It was pretty cool to do yoga in an art gallery. Let us know if you'd like to see a similar event, we'd be happy to host if there's interest - contact Regina at reginafelice@apurifiedlife.com

xx

Homemade Coconut Milk + Coconut Milk Kefir

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You've probably heard me talk about probiotics already. Perhaps here. In my opinion, most health problems and symptoms are due to poor digestive system (gut) health. Since 70% of our immune system is located in our gut, when one system is compromised, so is the other. This is why I highly recommend eating fermented foods daily that contain probiotics to heal and repair imbalances in the gut. Examples of these foods include: coconut kefir, coconut yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, and coconut water kefir.

One way I get my probiotics is from delicious homemade coconut milk kefir. It's tart and perfect to drink by itself, blended in smoothies, or added to a bowl of fresh fruit and seeds.

Here I will show you how to make the coconut milk first, then the kefir using the milk. I hope you enjoy this easy but healing process.

coconut kefir

Homemade Coconut Milk

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 cups filtered or spring water

Vanilla flavor (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract

Pinch of stevia or raw honey

Procedure

  1. Blend ingredients in blender until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Strain with a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer. Squeeze solids to get all liquid out.
  3. Blend coconut milk with vanilla and sweetener if flavoring.
  4. Place in a glass bottle/jar and store in refrigerator.
Coconut Milk Kefir

Ingredients

3 cups homemade coconut milk (or 2 cans 'Native Forest' full-fat coconut milk - BPA free)

2 probiotic capsules

Procedure

  1. Blend coconut milk to get rid of any solid pieces.
  2. Place in a jar large enough to fit all of the milk and have some space at the top (you may also separate milk into two smaller jars). Mix in probiotics (open capsule and only use powder) with a wooden spoon. Avoid using metal because it kills probiotic bacteria, and avoid blending at high speed.
  3. Cover loosely and place in oven with pilot light on (do not turn on the oven!). Let sit for 24-48 hours, until it has reached your desired tartness. Taste it at 24 hours with a wooden or plastic spoon.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Good for up to 3 weeks.

Makes 3 cups 

I would love to hear in the comments from you about how your coconut milk & kefir turned out.

xo,

Giovanna

 

Plum & Coconut-Maca Popsicles

Plum & coconut popsicles featured image

There is lots of plum and coconut going on in my house these days. It's stone fruit season here in California and plums are just too good to pass up at the farmers market every week. This is a very simple recipe and perfect for an afternoon craving on a hot day. You can substitute any stone fruit for plums. Peaches would also taste amazing.

Besides the great taste and vitamin benefits of plums, an added health benefit to this recipe is the maca powder. Maca is an adaptogenic root full of super powers. Adaptogenic means that it works to balance any system that is unstable/unbalanced in the body (nervous system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, musculature). It also provides energy, enhances stamina and libido, increases endurance and strength, boosts mood, and balances hormones (aids with PMS). It has a nutty and delicious flavor. Make sure to purchase a raw and organic maca powder to get the full benefits and added chemicals.

Ingredients

Plum Layer:

3 fresh plums

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or vanilla extract to taste)

Pinch of sea salt

Coconut-Maca Layer:

1 cup full-fat coconut milk (homemade or Native Forest Classic Coconut Milk - BPA free and organic)

1-2 Tablespoons coconut nectar, raw honey, or pure maple syrup (to taste)

1 Tablespoon raw maca powder

Pinch of sea salt

Plum & coconut popsicles

Procedure:

  1. Make plum layer: blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes for it to begin setting before you pour the next layer.
  2. Make coconut-maca layer: Blend all ingredients until smooth. Once plum layer has nearly set, pour coconut mixture over it to fill molds. Place in freezer for another 15 minutes.
  3. Insert popsicle sticks and return to freezer until fully frozen. To take out popsicles, run molds under cold water for about 10 seconds. Enjoy!

Makes 6 popsicles

For another delicious plum recipe, check out my previous treat: coconut-lavender pie with plum sauce.

Tell me, what's your favorite stone fruit?

Coconut-Lavender Pie with Plum Sauce (Raw & Vegan)

coconut lavender pie feature

This has to be the best raw dessert I've ever made. My sister has attested to it as well. She gets spoiled by me once a year. Actually, most days, but on her birthday she gets to request any dessert she wants. This year, she left it up to me, so I let the summer flavors guide me.

Enter this insanely good Coconut-Lavender Pie with Plum Sauce.

I know you'll love this one also. Every bite is perfect.

Ingredients

Crust

1/4 cup raw hemp seeds

2 1/2 cups fresh medjool dates

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Coconut-Lavender Filling

4 cups fresh coconut meat or thick coconut cream (To get coconut cream, place canned coconut milk in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Use the thick layer that separates at top.)

1 cup coconut milk

4 Tablespoons raw honey or grade B maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons fresh lavender

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanilla powder)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch of sea salt, to taste

Plum Sauce

2 fresh plums + a few extra to garnish

1 teaspoon raw honey

Note: I used an 11-inch springform pan. You might want to cut the recipe in half if you're using a smaller pan, or you can leave it and have thicker layers. 

coconut lavender pie

Procedure

Crust

  1. Place hemp seeds in food processor and process until ground. Add remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated and mixture holds together when pressed with fingers.
  2. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of a springform pan (I used an 11-inch size pan). You might want to line it with parchment paper so it doesn't stick to the bottom.
  3. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare filling.

Coconut-Lavender Filling

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust if needed.
  2. Pour over crust and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours, until it has set completely. Store in freezer.

Plum Sauce

  1. Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. I chose to leave the skins of the plums on, but you may take them off if you don't want pieces of skin left.

Serve

  1. To serve, remove pie from freezer and let sit out 20-30 minutes before serving for it to thaw out and be the perfect consistency.
  2. Decorate with sliced plums and drizzle with plum sauce.

coconut lavender pie 3

Enjoy and savor every bite!

Xo

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

Chocolate macaroons featured image

The best things come when you least expect them. I wasn't even thinking or craving chocolate, but these sweet things snook up on me as I was standing in front of my pantry in search for something to do. These raw chocolate macaroons pack a punch of vitamins and minerals and are gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free. They're a quick little treat to boost mood and energy. Honestly addicting.

Enjoy!

chocolate macaroons 1

Ingredients

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 cup melted coconut oil (measure after you have melted it)

3 Tablespoons coconut nectar (I use Coconut Secret)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Tightly pack mixture into a Tablespoon measuring spoon and gently drop it over a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the batch.
  2. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Let sit for a few minutes out of the freezer before serving, but don't leave out for too long or they will melt.

Makes ~20

These would be better if dehydrated with a dehydrator, but I don't own one. I encourage you to use it if you do.

Tell me, how do you relieve stress? What methods do you use to keep your focus? 

 

Dairy Alternatives + Cashew Cream Recipe

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Like most foods, dairy has it's controversies. Is it good or bad? If you Google 'dairy and health' you will find thousands of articles supporting why it's good, and thousands supporting why it's bad. We grew up believing that milk is essential for bone health. Truth is, you don't need milk to be healthy nor to get these important nutrients that you would get from milk - calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. There are various reasons why one might omit dairy from their diet: being vegan, lactose-intolerant, paleo, casein sensitivity. Everyone has their own opinion on dairy, but my advice is: If you're going to have it, make sure it's good quality. Dairy isn't how it used to be anymore. It now comes packed with hormones and antibiotics. Reading the label is crucial when selecting dairy products. Learn what's in it and where it's coming from. Whatever it contains will be ingested into your body.

I personally don't include dairy in my diet because I am lactose intolerant. I may have it every now and then (about once a month), and when I do, I choose organic and local goat or sheep as they are easier to digest.

Aside from being a discomfort for those with lactose intolerance, dairy is acidic and can cause inflammation for anyone. This is why I suggest to consume in moderation, about 1-2 times per week, and get calcium from other nourishing and anti-inflammatory foods.

Non-dairy foods rich in calcium:

  • Sesame seeds (more than milk)
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Sardines
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Beet greens
  • Turnip greens

Here are some healthy alternatives to dairy products:

  • Milk: coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, oat milk, flax milk - homemade milk is best to avoid preservatives and additives. Recipe for almond milk here.
  • Yogurt: coconut yogurt, chia pudding
  • Butter: coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter - free of dairy)
  • Ice cream: coconut ice cream, rice milk ice cream, blended frozen banana, thick smoothie. Try my vegan chocolate-coconut ice cream, it's delicious.
  • Cheese: cashew cream/cheese, nutritional yeast (sprinkle it on food for a cheesy taste)

One of my favorite dairy alternatives is cashew cream. It's simple to make and so delicious. Cashew cream can be used as a dip, spread, dressing, pasta sauce, pizza sauce/cheese, burger topping, and anything else you can think of.

Cashew cream

Ingredients

1 cup cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours

1 clove garlic

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup water or vegetable broth (or less for thicker 'cheese')*

juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Optional flavorings: fresh rosemary, red chili flakes, fresh thyme leaves, dried herbs, nutritional yeast

Procedure

  1. Soak cashews anywhere from 2-4 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Place in blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

*The amount of water or broth you use will determine the consistency. Only use about 1/2 cup of water to get a more cheese-like consistency. Play around with liquid measurements and see what you like best.

What's your favorite dairy alternative? Please share in the comment section below. 

 

 

Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Ice Cream

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It's not summer yet, but I'm already craving (and testing) all the amazing treats I want to create on those sunny days to come. My first test was this delicious and ridiculously simple chocolate-coconut ice cream. I always thought of ice cream as something that was impossible to make at home. Even using an ice cream maker seemed like a lot of work for me, and I never felt the need to try to make it at home since ice cream is not usually my go-to treat. Then I visited Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco and had their chocolate vegan ice cream and life was different. That ice cream is always worth the 30 minute wait. Since trying Bi-Rite Creamery, I knew I had to come up with my own healthy version to avoid indulging again. And that I did.

I still don't have an ice cream maker, but that is not necessary for this recipe. Making vegan ice cream turned out to be very easy. All I used was a blender and a glass container to freeze the ice cream in. The best part is that I only used 4 ingredients and the ice cream is gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. It couldn't be better if you ask me. It's a perfect guilt-free treat or snack for adults and kids.

Please try this recipe and share below how yours turned out. Feel free to substitute pistachios with any type of nut.

Choc coconut ice cream

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk (make sure to use full-fat, otherwise, ice cream won't be creamy)

3 Tablespoons raw cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut nectar or raw honey

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour in glass container or dish and place in freezer for 6-8 hours, until completely firm.
  3. Serve scoops using ice cream scooper (or eat straight from container, which I may or may not have done)

Enjoy!

3 Minute Green Curry Sauce + Vegetable Curry Dish

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There are many many types of curry sauces out there. I like to keep mine simple, but flavorful. This sauce took me 3 minutes to make and goes great on vegetables, meats, whole grain, and on salads as dressing. I like to make a batch and use it different ways throughout the week. It keeps for about 5 days in the refrigerator. Below is a recipe for my curry sauce and a very simple and delicious vegetable curry side dish (or main dish with the addition of a good quality protein: raw nuts or seeds, grass-fed chicken, pasture-raised eggs, goat cheese).

Curry Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 can coconut milk

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 garlic clove

2 T organic curry powder

handful spinach or basil

sea salt and black pepper

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. The more greens you add, the greener the sauce will turn out and the flavor might change a bit. Play around with it and season to your liking.

vegetable curry dish

Vegetable Curry Dish

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces

1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed and halved

1 yellow squash, sliced and halved

sea salt

1/2 cup curry sauce, or more to coat all vegetables

Note: you can use any vegetables you'd like for this dish (carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, mushrooms)

Procedure

  1. Heat coconut oil in a medium-size pan. Add vegetables and a pinch of sea salt and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally. Add curry sauce to pan and continue cooking for a few extra minutes until vegetables are cooked through and sauce heats up.

Serves 4-6 

 

 

Coconut Buckwheat Pancakes

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IMG_6990 I've been experimenting with pancakes lately. It's my new weekend thing. Of course they are always gluten and dairy free, so I like to get creative with different ingredients and flavors. They're not always a success, but this one I had to share. Simple ingredients and simply delicious.

Ingredients

Serves 1 

1/2 large banana

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1 egg

2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon coconut oil (for cooking)

Procedure

  1. Blend all ingredients together
  2. Heat coconut oil on pan over medium heat
  3. Pour batter into pan and cook for a few minutes on each side (covered).
  4. Stack and top with toppings of your choice. I topped mine with organic raw honey and raw cacao nibs.

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