Saturday, September 24, 2011

Coconut Oil Butter

Before I put this recipe up (which is super easy btw), I wanted to share some of the health benefits of coconut oil that I found. Many people think because there is a high amount of saturated fat (about 92%) that coconut oil is something to avoid. But there are many health benefits to coconut oil, including "hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits can be attributed to the lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.." ( That's a lot of benefits!!
Coconut oil is a nice choice for those looking to lose weight, because it has less calories than other oils, it's fat content is easily converted to energy, and it does not lead to an accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. It also tastes good! :)
Enough of that now, here it is:

Coconut Oil Butter
(for 10oz of butter, by weight)

8oz** Coconut Oil, soft but not liquid *note, it is easier to use when it is not in it's liquid state, though if you store the coconut oil in the fridge it turns hard as a rock, which is less than desirable :)
2oz** Coconut cream

We used coconut oil that was liquid
1) Use a scale and measure 8oz of coconut oil in a bowl,
2) Add 2oz coconut cream (Kara brand is good and inexpensive)
3) Mix thoroughly,
4) Salt to taste

**If you do not have a scale, you can just use the ratio 80% oil to 20% cream, and salt is always to taste

<--while mixing, don't be alarmed if you are also using coconut oil that is liquid at the time and it looks kind of chunky..

<-- because after about 10 minutes (of resting, not mixing) it starts to emulsify

Now that you've made it yourself, where do you store it?
Like I mentioned above keeping it in the fridge makes it rock hard, which would be inconvenient for quick use. The reverse is true, if it is kept near heat (by the stove/oven) then it will keep liquid. I suggest keeping it in a cool cupboard, keeping it soft.

You might be thinking, why should I take the time to make this myself?
First of all, the benefits of using coconut oil are numerous! But also, it is less expensive than buying dairy butter.
We bought our 31.5oz jar of pure coconut oil for $6 (19cents/oz), not on sale, the Kara brand coconut cream are less than $1 for the 6.8oz pack (about 1cent/oz). At this price, it makes 1lb of coconut butter about $3.2
I price checked some dairy butters, and they are a little less than $5/lb or 31cents/oz.

As a side note, tried it on toast, and I couldn't tell the difference between dairy butter and the coconut butter.
Also, don't get frantic if you can't find coconut cream, you can use coconut milk or even go without it completely. The cream is just to reduce the amount of saturated fat per serving, to a level similar to dairy butter.

I rule in flavor of coconut butter ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Okay, so this is just a little update on how I've been doing not eating meat, dairy or eggs. My husband, Evan, and I started about the 1st of September ridding our kitchen of animal products and not purchasing more products that contain it. Not necessarily 100% avoiding it, because we're still newbies and didn't want to discourage ourselves by thinking we have to eat 100% animal free from the start. We're taking it one step at a time. Though we've generally been doing well, I slipped up at the grocery store this past weekend, totally and completely absent minded, picked up a sample of a new ice cream flavor, and when Evan pointed out that it was dairy I still ate it.. and you know, I didn't beat myself up for it. But next time, I probably won't choose to eat it.
Since starting this new lifestyle, I've lost 11lbs (and this is with ZERO exercise.. that's the next thing on my list of things to tackle) and on my way home from work today, I was thinking that I haven't really been having any food cravings, which I used to get daily. No extreme cravings for salty french fries, or ice cream and cookies.. nothing. Strange for me. But I LOVE it! And not only that, but I've been trying foods that I never thought I would and they are delicious.
And, I feel good too! I feel like my joints don't ache as much, I don't feel as tired, like I need my daily coffee, I can totally go without it and feel fine. At 21 years of age I don't think I can remember a time when I've felt this way, and that's sad. I should be in my prime, best shape, and soon hopefully I will be. :)
So that's enough about that for now.
Tomorrow (hopefully), I'll be putting up a recipe for coconut butter, a replacement for your dairy butter, and it's fabulous! It doesn't even have a strong coconut taste to it, so it's versatile. So, stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quinoa and Black Beans

I've heard about quinoa for years, but never had the courage to try to cook it myself. And to my surprise it is super easy! Pretty much the same concept as cooking rice. Who knew?? I purchased my quinoa from Whole Foods in the bulk bins, $3.99/lb. The recipe I'm using came from, and if you don't have an account with them (it's free!), then you should! (Seriously.)

Quinoa and Black Beans
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.
 4. Enjoy!

**We also topped ours with a chilled medium salsa.
Total time: about 50 minutes (15 minutes to prep, 35 minutes to cook)

This is definitely a recipe we'll be holding on to. Next time we're going to try it in burritos! Maybe with some grilled red peppers. Let me know if you make this, what variations you experiment with :)
Happy healthy cooking!

PDX VegFest

This past weekend was the NW Veg Fest at the Portland Convention Center. It was super fun and very informative as someone trying to get started as a vegan. Tons of products to try out and demos to watch. I've got to say that my husband and I (and two of our close friends) are completely sold on the VITAMIX!!  Some of the products that I will be purchasing in the near future to experiment with are:
Earth Balance Soy milk (probably the best tasting soy milk I've tasted) -- (will send you coupons if you contact them)
So Delicious Ice cream bars,
Tempt protein powder (made with hemp seeds, rich in omegas 3 and 6, with 10 essential amino acids) --
Upton's Naturals faux meats, made with Seitan, (wheat gluten) great flavor, we bought some at Whole Foods already --
Genesis Organics Juice, Amazing flavor, never heated/pasteurized, they use a high pressure method which gives you a fresh squeezed taste that you just can't get from other juices. We tried the strawberry lemonade, ginger lemonade and a cranberry lemonade. Get a coupon sent to you from their website
Also tried gardein's meatless mandarin orange crispy chick'n YUM, Equal Exchange very dark chocolate and Orange dark chocolate, and Chia Seeds!
Got a list of some vegan restaurants in and around Portland, can't wait to check them out!
Leave a comment with your favorite veg products for me to try!
Thanks for reading :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Comfort Food (minus the guilt)

My go to comfort food would have to be a nice big bowl of garlic and cheese mashed potatoes. But who needs all those calories? Not very comforting. My recipe for today is Guilt Free Mashed Cauliflower.
About 6 cups of boiled cauliflower
1 med head cauliflower, washed, trimmed and chopped roughly
1/4 salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp almond or rice milk (original or unsweetened)
2 tbsp Earth Balance
Dash black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic salt (optional)
After blending, about 4 cups cauliflower
1/4 cup daiya soy cheese cheddar style (optional)

Bring pot of water to boil and add salt
Either steam or boil cauliflower until soft (should take abot 20 minutes)
Strain cauliflower and transfer to food processor or blender.
Pulse a few times
Add in garlic, salt, and earth balance,
with blender on add your 2 tbsp of almond milk
If it isn't blending try scraping the bowl and starting a few times, 
if still not blending, add a touch more almond milk.
Add a dash of pepper and the thyme, (garlic salt, if using)
and pulse until incorporated.
Top with Soy Cheddar cheese (if using)
Serve hot, and enjoy:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My fave thing right now

Okay, so I've been on a kick lately. Steel cut oatmeal with brown sugar (only a little so it's still healthy), blueberries, with a splash of so delicous vanilla coconut milk (you can use your favorite milk). YUM! Only thing about the steel cut oats is that they take longer to cook if you're in a time crunch, but they are so worth it.
Okay so here's how to make it at home:
Cook steel cut oats as directed on package, add 1/4 cup (fresh or frozen) blueberries, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon milk.

Nutrition Facts: 1/4 cup oats (Quaker brand) 150 cal, 2.5 fat, 27g carbs, 4g fiber, 1g sugar, 5 protein
1/4 cup frozen blueberries 24 cal
2 teaspoons brown sugar 30 cal
1 tablespoon (So Delicous) vanilla coconut milk 6 cal

Overall a very healthy and delicious breakfast!
Check out this websites to get coupons sent to your email for their products: -- So Delicious brand

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hello and Welcome!

Welcome, I'm so excited to start this journey to being a healthy individual, I hope you find this blog inspiring and helpful in your life also. Over the years I've tried many diets, fad diets to be exact, and none of them worked for me personally because I only saw it as a diet, a short term deal, a four letter word, and definitely a restriction. I would "cheat" on the diet but what I didn't realize was I was cheating myself. But I've changed my mind set. I'm no longer going to consider what I'm doing a "diet". It is a lifestyle, a "norm" if you will. One definition of the word diet is "a selection or limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight". I don't want what I'm going to eat to be about limitation or "I can't have that, I'm on a diet". It is a choice and it should be treated as such. I want this to be about opening up new and exciting possibilities and trying recipes that would have been daunting in the past, and making healthier versions of old favorites. You might notice that the recipes I share won't include and animal products or their secretions (for the most part), but instead will be mostly food that is from the ground, with as little processed junk as possible.
So, with that in mind, let's move forward and choose to be healthy and happy. :)