Sunday, November 15, 2015

Coco Loco

I cannot tell you how LONG I've been wanting to post this particular blog. You know why? Because it's pure awesome....and delicious.

It's no surprise that I'm thrifty. And anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE all things COCONUT! I always have. But when coconut milk came on the market, I was less than thrilled. First, it never tasted like coconut to me. Second, it was missing a ton of flavor and was FULL of gut damaging fillers (carrageenan and gums? No thank you!). So, I set out on a quest to make my own that tasted like actual coconuts should.

At first I was making coconut milk from cans of coconut milk. Remember this blog post? Well, I never was quite comfortable with that method because I don't like to consume anything from cans. And, while that version was better than the garbage they sell next to the soy milks, it still lacked substance. So, I decided to buy a good old brown fuzzy coconut and go to town. What I found is that I could get coconut water, coconut milk, coconut flour and then coconut flour pastries, all from one single $2 coconut. Holla!

Without further adieu, here's what you'll need (all available via Amazon.com):
Your tools: Brown coconut, coconut tapping tool, meat separator and nut milk bag.
You'll need a coconut tapping tool & a meat separator (available as a bundle here), a brown coconut (available at asian stores, Whole Foods, Earthfare, etc.) and a nut milk bag.

Three eyes.
Once you have those tools, grab your coconut and look at the top with the three eyes. One of these eyes is a "soft spot" (only one, the other two are hard as rocks), where you will push your coconut tapping tool into.

Tap the soft eye. 
Once you've tapped the eye, remove the tool and either insert a straw and drink, or tip it over into a glass to drain all the delicious coconut water out of it.

Drink up!

Or save for later.
Once the water is drained, it's safe for cracking in half. I use a hammer, but I've also been known to just throw it down on concrete and watch it shatter open. It's a good way to get out aggression. Once it's open, you can see all the nummy white meat inside. This is what you'll use to make your milk.
Blessings from the tropics!
Now, that meat doesn't just fall out. It takes a little work to peel it away from the shell. This is where your separator tool comes in handy. Just work the tool in-between the meat and the shell and wiggle back and forth until the meat pops out. (Don't worry about the brown "rind" on the meat. You can eat that and leave it on!)

Separate meat from the shell.
Take all the meat and place in your vitamix (or similar) blender. I usually fill the water up a couple inches above the meat. Usually this will take the total mixture up to the 7-8 cup mark on my blender container. Put the lid on and blend on high for a good 30-60 seconds. In the colder months, I have to blend longer to get the coconut oils in the meat to really melt. You want it to be a bit warm so it's easier to strain. If it's not slightly warm, blend longer.

Meat and water. Don't worry about the brown fragments. They are edible!
Once it's good and blended, you'll want to strain the pulp from the milk through a nut milk bag. Don't forget to squeeze the bag to get all the delicious milk out!

Pour the blended mixture into your nut milk bag. 

Squeeze the bag to get all the yummy milk out.
After you've squeezed all the milk out, put the strained milk back into the blender with a pinch of real salt, sweetener of choice, vanilla, cinnamon, etc. (whatever you like!). Blend until mixed.
Add ins!

Make sure to rinse the blender container before adding the strained milk back in.
Once you have it blended, pour into mason jars. I usually get 1.5 -2.5 quarts of milk that I use for drinking, smoothies, creamer (for my chaga tea!), etc.

Milk!

I love fresh coconut milk in my morning chaga tea. I top with cinnamon! Yum!
Once the milk sets in the fridge, it will separate. The cream will rise to the top. You can scrape this and make coconut whipped cream and use the remaining liquid for smoothies. Or simply stir or blend it back together. I found that a pour lid works really well with my milk. You can find that on Amazon.

Now that your milk is finished, it's time to do something with all that pulp.

Coconut pulp. 
If you have a dehydrator, place in a tray of your dehydrator. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use your oven on the lowest setting, or even dry in the sun!

Coconut pulp ready for dehydrating into coconut flour.
Once it's dehydrated, you'll want to blend it again to break up the chunks and then store it in the freezer. Coconut flour is EXTREMELY absorbent and will pull moisture from the air and get yucky fast in your cupboard.

Place in freezer bag and freeze the dehydrated flour.

You can toast the flour before use to give your baked goods a more "nutty" flavor. Or you can use it as is. I use as is and make so many yummy goodies for me and the kids, like these fantastic gluten free/paleo blueberry muffins. Or my favorite zucchini banana bread. Or even paleo sandwich bread. And for the vegans, remember my 3 ingredient coconut flour cookies?

I'm loving this zucchini bread with sun butter. Drool.

The kids go gaga over these paleo coconut flour blueberry muffins!
There you have it, folks! That's a lot of stuff for $2! And you can rest easy knowing that it's free of gut disturbing fillers, preservatives, etc. If you have a favorite coconut flour recipe, leave it in the comments! I'd love to try your family favorites.

I hope you love the results as much as I do. Cheers!

Stephanie

Monday, August 24, 2015

Love. True Love. Hate. Divinity.

Sometimes I get stuck on a thought that plagues me for weeks on end. This is the case with the contents of this blog post today.

c Tantric Transformation, by Osho
I've been thinking a heck of a lot about love lately. What does love mean? Can it change? How do we define it? It all started when a friend of mine mentioned something about "true love" vs. just plain old "love". And this got my mind rolling. What is true love? And how is it different from "love"? I've come to this conclusion:

There is ONLY true love.

Love cannot be created nor destroyed. It's unwavering and unchangeable. It is fathomless and infinite. But it is also a choice. You cannot fall in and out of love. And this is where there are gray areas.

I think a lot of people get confused between "love" and "passion". I think that both take chemistry between two people. I do believe that, many times, we feel this chemistry because we are threaded beyond this current body and into our past bodies. Passion almost always dies. It can come back, but it will die again. Passion is something that you have to keep reviving. Passion is the "spark" that many confuse as "love". Passion is also what can easily lead to "hate". Hate is not the opposite of love. Indifference is the opposite of love. Hate is passion turned ugly. Love is always love.

I've had a couple starter relationships where I was "sure" I was in love, but I was actually just "in passion". And I've had other relationships where I was actually "in love". And, in fact, I still am. Every real ex I have, I still consider a friend, and I still love them. Maybe it's because I'm not capable of killing off my love for others. Whether it's a romantic love or a platonic love, every person I've ever loved, I still love to this day. And I will love them infinitely. That might make some uncomfortable to hear. But it's who I am and how I practice love. When a committed relationship dies, it doesn't kill the love. It just means that it wasn't the kind of love that can commit to a live-in relationship "till death do us part". True love always wants what is best for the other person, as well as what's best for themselves.

Our wedding, 2009, USVI
I waited until I was 33 before I decided to marry my husband and love him forever. I knew full well that passion would come and go, but we would have to work on it to keep it alive. I knew that there were going to be times when I wanted to leave, and that piece of paper signified a choice I made that would make me stay. I knew that one does not "fall in love" but, rather, "rises in love". I knew that love was a CHOICE. And that I choose, every day, to love my husband. There is not one thing that can break that. When you realize and worship what love truly is and means, then you will no longer fall "in and out" of it. You can't. You can't because that's not what love is. You can't just turn it off.

It's really that simple.

I went to a wedding officiated by the Troubadours of Divine Bliss, who I love dearly. Something they said struck a chord, and I realized this is something that's missing from every other wedding ceremony I've ever witnessed. They said that you don't marry someone to complete a part of yourself that's missing. You marry someone to share your best assets with that person. They said it much more eloquently, but, if we all went into relationships knowing this truth, practicing this truth, then the foundation of the relationships would be of incredible strength.

Last night, at the end of my son's first day as a 5 year old, he told me that he would still love me when he was 99 years old. And I told him that my body wouldn't be here then, but I would love him just the same. He was confused. And I explained that our soul lives in our body. And that the soul lives forever, but the body cannot. And that the body will die, but when mine dies, my soul will still be with him, and he can tell my soul that he loves me. I explained that, since he chose me as his mommy, that our souls are now entwined forever and ever. And that bond can never be broken. And he said, "mommy, you're my soul love." And I knew that he got it. And I know that he will love forever, just as I do. Just as we all should. And this reminded me of a quote from one of the Troubadours of Divine Bliss' songs,
"You're sewn seamlessly as strands of stars into my soul. I will never search near or far, wish upon anything because you are."
Love is the divine, seeking to share their divinity.

-Steph

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shamrock Cakes


Happy St Patrick's Day! What once was my favorite holiday due to my old habits of passionately drinking, had to be reinvented once I had kids and changed the direction my life was going in. 

Enter new traditions (aka, what to do instead of guzzling green beers and eggs at 5am). I traded beer for chaga tea and eggs for these scrumptious green pancakes. Best part? These are gluten free and vegan! 

Buckwheat is not wheat. It's not even a grain. It's a flower bud. And it's one of the most protein dense "grain" flours out there. So, you don't need the eggs to get protein. 

Spirilina is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Full of aminos, vitamins and minerals (iron, iodine, vitamin k, b vitamins vitamin a, etc). This powerhouse is a staple in our everyday foods. I don't typically cook with it, because it's better ingested raw. But this ingredient really pumps up the deep green that turns these pancakes into shamrocks. 

I'm a big fan of the nutrient dense kale plant. BIG FAN. And my kids have no idea there is kale on these. I don't think I need to tour the benefits of kale. But cruciferous veggies help sweep the system of excess sugars and salts and hormones. Top that off with the mega dose of vitamins and minerals in kale, and you have a super good to grow super humans. 

Enough of my blabbing, here's the recipe!

Shamrock Pancakes

Ingredients
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon 

    • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or 20+ drops liquid stevia)
    • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
    • 2 Tbsp potato starch (this replaces the need for egg)
    • 1.5-2 cups coconut milk
    • 1 cup spinach
    • 1 cup kale

      1 Tbsp spirilina powder

    • 2 Tbsp coconut oiL
    • Steps:
    • 1. Combine dry ingredients. 
    • 2. Add wet ingredients and mix well (you need to melt the coconut oil, or it won't blend in).
    • 3. Oil pancake skillet and pour 3 circles for the shamrock and a little drizzle for the tail. 
    • We top with raw honey and homemade raw sprouted sunflower seed butter and "sprinkles" (bee pollen). 
    Enjoy!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

I shop, therefore I am.


There's something that's been weighing on my mind so heavily for many many years now. I'm hoping that sharing it with all of you will lighten the burden on my soul a bit. If nothing else, perhaps it will allow some to think about our world and environment a little differently.

I love this earth. I love it more than myself. I'm in tune with it and very sensitive to it. I feel the need to defend it and be its voice. I can't help that I was born a deeply sensitive person. I feel things on another level, and they can really affect me and the way I live my life. Phew. With that said, here goes. Please bear with me.

I need to speak out against the fashion industry. (And consumerism, in general.)

America is a very wasteful country. Nobody wastes like we do. We have a "throw it out" mentality when we are done with things and don't want them anymore. We also have such a fear of "germs" that we are afraid to wear something a stranger wore or let our kids play with used toys ... you get the drift. Most countries in the world would never throw out perfectly good shoes or clothes or a bag, just because it was "last season". In fact, most of the world's population wears clothes or shoes with holes or stains on them. They are not judged for the stains. They are not lesser people. They simply don't have the luxury of being wasteful.

Guess what? ... neither does the richest American.

The day is coming, sooner than later, that water will be the most precious commodity on the planet. Rivers and lakes are drying up faster than you'd ever thought possible. The precious water the earth has left is being used to make plastics and textiles, and all that is left is a toxic cesspool of unusable liquid. And where does that go? There is no such thing as "throwing something away". It all goes into our soil and/or ground water. This eventually seeps into our fields and food and back into our bodies. How's that for junk food?

What most people see. 
What I see.


If we're not afraid of the threat of water being taken from us by these industries, then at least we can consider the landfill burden of our addiction to consumerism. When I walk into a store (I won't name any in fear of being sued), I don't see what I want to "buy". I instead see the burden it has on the earth. Someone might see rows of toothbrushes, toys, clothes, etc. But I see those aisles times the thousands. I picture every store and department store in the whole nation and imagine everything they are selling in a landfill. Then I picture the earth and wonder how long it will be until we use up every bit of beautiful earth by turning it into one big landfill.

Wow, I'm a downer. But I want to urge others to start thinking of things differently. Our kids are coming home from school, crying, because they don't "fit in". They get made fun of for wearing square toed shoes when pointy is in. Or pointy when round is in. They can't possibly be seen driving their parent's old car, because their friends at school all were gifted brand new cars when they turned 16.

We are creating the very existence that is harming the social structure of our childrens' lives. Instead of sitting our kids down and learning about the environmental damage we are doing just to "keep up with the Joneses", we are allowing this never-ending loop of consumerism to own us. These kids (and most adults, if I'm being honest) are completely owned by what they "own". It becomes the definition of who they are. It becomes the drive that pushes them to work in jobs they might hate, just so they can afford the very things that are keeping us in prison. Consumerism is prison. It's poisoning our land, stealing our water, creating battles between kids, stress for adults, and it's all for NOTHING.

We are not the things we own.

We are not our clothes, our cars, our toys, our shoes. We are not our jobs or even our thoughts. Who we truly are, is the being quietly sitting behind all of it, watching it, observing it and doing nothing about it. Why are we so crazy? I'm guilty of it. Most of us are. But we don't have to be. We have the choice to change.

I find myself daily having to remind myself of these facts. I see something cute and "want" it. But I have to tell myself what I tell my 4 year old son ... "We don't need that to live. What we need to live is water, air, food and love. These things might look shiny and desirable, but the cost is way too high. The earth is paying a big price." We talk daily about the rain forests, ground water and landfills. I smile proudly as he says "The Earth is going to get mad at you for letting that water run, mommy". And I rest assured knowing that the more toys my kids have, the more they want to stay inside. And there is some major mental and physical therapy that happen when we get our kids OUTSIDE instead.

For some facts about the fashion industry and the imprint it is leaving on the planet, please visit:
http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/25-shocking-fashion-industry-statistics.html

Consider gifting memories instead of toys for your kids. Trips to the zoo, aquarium or science center; art or music classes; exploring a new city ... are all good alternatives to the typical birthday gift.

I don't think we can talk about consumerism without talking about what makes us feel the need to consume so much. Please stay tuned for grounding posts regarding getting back to our core purpose and being. There's a lot of change happening in our world, and I'm excited to be a part of it and see where it takes us all.

In love for all,
Stephanie

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday goody

I am in desperate need of a detox ... Specifically a chocolate detox. (Honestly, a regular detox too, but that will have to wait until I'm finished breast-feeding my daughter). Whenever the holidays come around, I get on a chocolate kick that is so hard to get off of. Somehow I get to a point where I need chocolate every day in order to survive. At least this is what I tell myself. If I don't have it in the house, I start to get anxious. Two days without it, and I'm freaking out. (Picture me frantically searching cupboards, knowing there is no chocolate in them, only to confirm my disappointment by again finding nothing. All the while wondering to myself why I didn't pick up that bag of chocolate chips at the grocery store last week). It's pathetic really. Whenever I get to this point, I know I need to detox. Nothing should have a hold of my sanity like that. Time to put chocolate back in its cage and leave it there for good. (Well at least until next holiday season).

This is usually when I find my best recipes. Today was no exception. I have hardly anything in the house. But sometimes having nothing can create the most simple (and I like simple) recipes, which are also extremely delicious. 

Make these immediately. My kids and I just devoured one batch in a matter of two minutes, which is about how long they took to make. In fact, better make two just so that you have some for later. 

Typically, coconut recipes require a lot of eggs to keep them together. But these cookies are different. They hold together just fine with the few ingredients that are required. In fact, keeping the eggs out of this recipe allows the coconut to get super crispy. Best of all, these cookies are completely allergen free. No gluten, soy, eggs, corn, sugar, dairy. Winner winner cookies for dinner!



Easy Peasy Coconut Flour Cookies
3 Tbsp Coconut Flour (I use Trader Joes Brand because it's fantastically tasty and easy and cheap ... 3 things I'm notorious for).
2 Tbsp Cold Coconut Oil (cold meaning in solid form ... Not melted).
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/4-1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Pinch Sea Salt

• Smoosh ingredients together with a fork until blended and evenly consistent. 
• Roll into tiny bite-size balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet (don't skip the parchment).
• Flatten with finger, then make cross-hatch marks with fork.
• Bake at 365 for 10 minutes max. These burn easily, so keep a close watch. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Children of Men

"Children of Men".  Have you seen this movie? It's a story about future mankind's inability to reproduce due to gene mutation. In the movie, one woman gets pregnant and has to be brought to a safe space to bear her child. It's an eerie movie with a seemingly unrealistic plot. Or is it?

What if I told you this is where mankind is heading, faster than we every thought ... or haven't thought of at all.

When our first child was born with a severe heart defect, we were told it was not our fault. We were told that sometimes flukes happen and there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. Of course, that answer wasn't good enough for me. Humans don't "fluke" when absorbing the right nutrients. Something in me or my husband was off and created a child with a heart defect big enough to take her life. And I have never rested in search of this answer.

One of our last "good" days with Kaia before her open heart surgery.
My quest for health has exploded into a completely different me. It had to. How could I ever stay the same, when my first born didn't make it into her second month of life?

Me holding Kaia several weeks after open heart surgery and a few days before she passed.
In the 5 years since Kaia's passing, I've done almost one year straight of cleansing, had two more children, cut out top allergen foods (such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, etc.) and began a huge spiritual journey that has brought some really amazing people into my life.

Finn & Nova, Kaia's "little" siblings and the reason for my intense passion for a healthier life and planet.

This journey has been tough. When I started, I was considered a bit of an odd ball. "Normal" people didn't eat the way I do, and they certainly didn't meditate. Over time, the people that surrounded me got replaced by people walking a similar lifestyle to mine. People searching for truth in their food, body products, environment, spirit and life path. With my new teachers in place, information started flowing into me at an overwhelming rate.

And here I sit with my newest nugget of information "MTHFR gene mutation". What is it? Why is it being brought to my attention? Even after my diet changes and spiritual growth, I live with an extremely slow heartrate, metabolism, bvitamin malabsorption, mental fog, and food sensitivities. My gluten and dairy intolerances are directly linked to MTHFR. I've spent the last 3 months in intense medical testing with 5 different specialists, ranging from neurologists, to hematologists to allergists to gastrointerologists to endocrinologists, etc. Not one has had an answer for me. But not one has brought up this gene mutation that affects up to 60% of the population either. With this mutation, you are unable to utilize certain b vitamins correctly. This results in the entire body being "off" in countless ways. Ways in which I was able to check my way all the way down the extensive list. It takes a simple supplement to correct your system. Yet not one doctor brought it up. Not only that, but if most of the population has it, shouldn't we all be genetically tested? Wouldn't that save us all countless prescriptions, mental health disorders, physical problems, digestive problems, reproductive problems? Oh but where's the money in that? There is no money in health management for our corrupt medical system. So, I'm always about getting to the core issue yourself. Empower yourself to do so. Had I known of this mutation, Kaia might still be here. Heart defects in babies are a pretty good sign that mom or dad or both carry that gene mutation.

Why am I talking about all of this? Well, with this mutation, the liver can't function at full effectiveness.

"I believe the MTHFR gene mutation is a highly significant public health problem that is completely ignored. Yet, millions are suffering from pulmonary embolisms, addictions, fibromyalgia, miscarriages, schizophrenia, severe depression, cancer and autism to name a few."  -http://mthfr.net

When the liver can't detox toxins and heavy metals properly, you have multiple gene mutations that can form from it. These get passed onto your children. Our children are only as healthy as we are when we are carrying them. With that knowledge, and the American diet of processed foods, toxic laden toothpastes and body products, poisonous cleaning products, pollution filled air, no free time to meditate or relax the mind, substance abuse and addiction, over stressing, social media addiction, the need for constant verification of ourselves through others, mindless tv watching and zero attention left to discover and live our true self and most divine purpose ... well, are we so far off from "Children of Men"? Probably not. Each generation is getting weaker with more gene mutations, autism, cancer rates, mental health disorders, etc. And are we are sometimes too busy eating processed food and filtering our selfies to pay attention to it? We have a world of knowledge at our fingertips now, and sometimes our paths open up our minds to learning things we never could fathom. I'm glad to share my lessons with you and hope that some of you resonate with them.

Maybe we can all take a moment today and look within. Take some time away from the distractions that pull us away from the core purpose of our individual lives. Lay down the resentment, anger, stress, and replace with gratitude and acceptance. Some days I put my phone in a place I can't get to it, so I'm not tempted to even look at social media. This is my journey to get to the core of it all. MTHFR is just a part of the HUGE picture. And the  less distractions I allow, the closer I get to the truth that sets this woman free. After all, if my mind and body are not free, then how can I be completely happy? And if I'm not completely happy, how can I give my children the gift of happiness?

Lots of love to you all today, wherever you are in your own journies. We are all in this together. I got your backs!

To be tested for the MTHFR gene mutation, please visit the most accurate and informative testing site and order from there at https://www.23andme.com

Monday, November 10, 2014

What to do with your butts

I think every post I ever write unveils just how deep my frugality goes. Is frugality even a word? It is today. I'll make this one quick, because I now a ton of you are waiting for this cauliflower alfredo recipe. But I had to share this one to get to that one. You'll see why soon enough.

So, you know I'm always telling you to save all parts of your veggies. I love giving you all sorts of ways to use them, throwing very little away. I'm like the Native Americans ... only with veggies instead of buffalo. I can say that, being as I am part Native American. Maybe that's where I get this need to use every bit of everything? Any schnitzel, I specifically remember mentioning to keep a bag in your freezer in which you throw all your bits and pieces, day after day. Kind of like this.
My current stash of frozen bits
If you forget me telling you that (or if I forgot to tell you that but think that I did), then here's what I mean. When you have bits of veggie stuff that you'd typically throw out or compost, toss it in a freezer bag instead. Here's some examples:
Cauliflower leaves? ... throw them in the bag.

Onion skins? ... Yep, they are super full of nutrition and add a fab flavor to any veggie stock.

Garlic skins? ... Just like onions, they are perfect for this!
Don't forget to keep and freeze parsley/herb stems, carrot tips, etc! Once your bag is full, it might look a little like this.
Ready for stock!
Now, toss all those frozen bits and pieces in a soup/stock pot. Cover it with filtered water. Bring it to a boil. Let simmer for a few hours. I like to add some salt and spices (salt, cayenne, herbs). Drain through a nut milk bag or just a colander. Now you have veggie stock for rice, soups, etc. I freeze in one cup portions in my deep freeze, so they are always measured and ready for any recipe! This comes in super handy ... like tonight when I made curry and needed some stock on-hand!

So, go make some stock so you can create this amazeballs alfredo I'm going to share with you.

Namasté!
Steph