An Attempt At Coconut Milk Yogurt

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Last week I found this yogurt maker on Amazon for $24.99.

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There’s all kinds of ways to make your own yogurt at home, you don’t necessarily have to have a yogurt maker. You can use your oven light or a cooler with a heating pad. But both of those methods didn’t appeal to me and when I realized I could purchase a yogurt maker for such an inexpensive price, I figured, why not.

Good, dairy free grocery store yogurt is difficult to come by. There are do-able brands like the So Delicious Greek Style Yogurt made with coconut milk and the Amande brand made with almond milk. While both of those are tasty, neither one of them have a real yogurt consistency and they are loaded with refined sugar and additives.

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It’s definitely worth it to make your own organic yogurt where you control the sugar and additive content. Making yogurt out of non-dairy milks can be a challenge though. I did the research and there are several methods and all kinds of advice. I wanted it to be as pure as possible so I just added the coconut milk, medicinal honey, and one and a half very high quality probiotic capsules. I take that probiotic daily, so it was convenient to use. If you need to purchase a probiotic for yogurt making (I think that’s the easiest way) make sure you do your research and choose high quality.

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The milk needs bacteria to ferment and the bacteria needs sugar to eat and grow.

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 I read the simple directions to figure out the quantity of milk I needed, did some research on the internet to try to figure out a good balance between honey and probiotics and I was off to a good start.

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You just mix all the ingredients together, pour them in the glass jars (after washing them of course), put the lid on, turn the machine on, and let it sit for 8-12 hours. I let mine sit for 12.

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The first thing I noticed after the 12 hours was that the cream had separated to the top.

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I could tell that even if I shook it that the cream on top wasn’t thick enough to compensate for all of the liquid on bottom.

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So I did a bit more research on “coconut milk separation” and decided to add a bit of gelatin, which I probably should have added at the beginning of the process. Not knowing how much was too much, I just added a little pinch to each jar, gave it a very good shake (1 minute each to dissolve the gelatin), and placed them in the fridge overnight.

By the way, gelatin is excellent for the gut, joints, hair, and nails.

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Looked promising when I put them in the fridge…

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By mid day the next day they had solidified more than the night before, but still not enough to become yogurt. I shook them again a few times and left them for one more day.

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A little improvement but not much. I should have been more generous with the gelatin, but was afraid it would end up too gelantinous.

But all was not lost!

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I ended up with a batch of fabulous fermented coconut milk to drink and use in smoothies. Whether it’s solidified in the form of yogurt or not, it’s still excellent for your health. We made vegetable fruit smoothies with some of the fermented milk this morning and they were delicious.

This weekend I’ll try a different brand of organic coconut milk and also increase the gelatin amount.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Green Tea Golden Milk

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Have you tried golden milk? It’s an amazing gut healer and anti-inflammatory.

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Lately, I’ve been drinking green tea with half a lemon and medicinal honey first thing every morning. It’s a fantastic liver tonic (gets things flushing through your liver) and a refreshing way to start the day. I neglected to grab lemons at the store yesterday so decided to switch it up a bit this morning.

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I’ve just recently started using hemp milk. It took me a long time to embrace anything other than almond milk for drinking. I’m a creature of habit, what can I say? The great thing about hemp milk is that it’s thick and rich, unlike almond or rice milk. So when you make this wonderful green tea golden milk, you’ll feel like you’re having something dessert-ish and special, when you’re really not because you’re loading up on the perfect ratio of omega 3’s and 6’s, plant-based protein, SDA, GLA, and amino acids. And that’s just in the hemp.

The cinnamon’s scent alone boosts brain function (a good thing at the beginning of your day) and ingesting ground cinnamon balances blood sugar. Turmeric is absolutely packed with incredible health benefits. It’s a major anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, lowers your risk of brain diseases, heart disease, and cancer when consumed on a regular basis. 

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Manuka honey is a medicinal honey from New Zealand and naturally fights bacteria. It also stimulates your immune system, promotes digestive health, and is also a proven anti-inflammatory.

Organic Coconut Oil also has a large list of benefits. It’s great for gut health, it’s a healthy fat, it kills bacteria, viruses, and fungus. It can improve your cholesterol levels and lower your risk for heart disease.

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Have you ever watched the video of the doctor whose husband has Alzheimer’s Disease? She started him on coconut oil and tracked his progress. It’s amazing. It’s an absolute must watch.

And of course, last but not least, green tea. I use decaf because caffeine and I don’t get along. It still has just as many benefits without making me feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin. Green tea burns fat, improves brain function, kills bacteria, lowers your risk of diabetes, and lowers your risk of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

So there you have it.

A simple, amazingly healthy, naturally medicinal, positive, start to your day.

And when you start your day off on such a positive note, it makes it perfectly acceptable to have leftover gluten free, dairy free, pizza for breakfast.

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Green Tea Golden Milk

* Makes 1 Serving

1 1/2 Cups of Hemp Milk

1 teaspoon of Organic Ground Turmeric

1 teaspoon of Organic Ground Cinnamon

1 Organic Green Tea Bag (I use decaf)

1 – 1/2 teaspoons of Manuka Honey 400+

1/2 teaspoon of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Bring the milk, turmeric, and cinnamon almost to a boil while whisking until fully incorporated. Once the sides of the pan begin to bubble, reduce the heat to keep a consistent tiny simmer, but do not boil. Add the tea bag. Gently stir for about 5 minutes allowing the tea bag to steep.

Remove from heat, remove the tea bag and squeeze. Add the honey and coconut oil and stir until incorporated.

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Vegetable Hash with Eggs

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Good morning!

What did you have for breakfast this morning? Anything exciting, or are your week day breakfasts always the same?

Or maybe you do the big no-no and skip breakfast altogether?

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I’m getting burned out on breakfast. I try to switch it up like I did today, but otherwise, I have a few things I rotate.

Saute diced sweet potato and onion, sliced mushrooms, and chopped kale in olive oil.

Saute diced sweet potato and onion, sliced mushrooms, and chopped kale in olive oil. Of course, you can add any vegetable or potato you like.

Vegetable & fruit smoothies, buckwheat & coconut flour pancakes with bacon, leftover dinner, scrambled eggs with maybe a piece of fruit or sausage, and hot buckwheat cereal with walnuts, cinnamon and chopped apple. Sometimes muffins or a sweet bread but I rarely make those. I miss the days of just peanut butter toast and tea. Simple and satisfying. I’ve been on a trial run of no grains, which has not been fun. And peanut butter is a major inflammatory so I try not to eat it very often.

Season with dried thyme and add a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach.

Season with dried thyme and add a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach.

I need to come up with some other options because lately I’ve been walking into the kitchen completely bored with even the thought of breakfast, or any meal for that matter.

Once the spinach is wilted, season with salt, pepper, and a grated clove of garlic.

Once the spinach is wilted, season with salt, pepper, and a grated clove of garlic.

So if you have some fantastic and fresh dairy free and gluten free ideas for me, I would love to hear them!

Scoot everything to the side, drizzle the open space with olive oil and add a couple of eggs.

Scoot everything to the side, drizzle the open space with olive oil and add a couple of eggs.

If you’re a blogger, leave me the link, if you’re not a blogger, leave me your recipe in the comment section.

Swirl them around a bit.

Swirl them around a bit.

When they start to cook, slowly add in the vegetable hash.

When they start to cook, slowly add in the vegetable hash.

When I try your recipes, I’ll feature you and your recipe on the blog. That way, we can share with everyone.

Toss until the egg is cooked.

Toss until the egg is cooked.

Well, off I go to start my Monday. Cleaning and laundry are on the agenda today.

And hopefully a good bread or two. We’ll see!

Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of fresh or dried parsley.

Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of fresh or dried parsley.

Have a great week and remember to share your favorite breakfast recipes!

A Recovered Bread Fail

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Yesterday I told you I’ve been trying to find the “Best” gluten free, grain free, bread. I’m working on my own creations as well as trying other blogger’s recipes.

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Have you visited the gluten free, dairy free, paleo blog, The Spunky Coconut?

Almond milk, eggs, cinnamon, & pure almond extract.

Almond milk, eggs, cinnamon, & pure almond extract.

Kelly’s recipes are gorgeous and exciting, the blog itself is beautiful, but the best part is that her recipes are creative and fun. Something you don’t experience very often when leading an allergen free life.

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I tried her Coconut Milk Bread recipe a few days ago, but didn’t follow it exactly… Remember yesterday when I discussed how frustrated people get when they say they followed a recipe “exactly” and didn’t get the same results as the person sharing the recipe?

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Exactly means exactly. I knew full well that because I wasn’t following it exactly, I more than likely wouldn’t get the same results she did. And I was right.

Here’s what the Spunky Coconut’s Bread looked like:

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And below is what mine looked like.

I didn’t have the psyllium husk powder her recipe called for. After a little research on how to substitute, I used ground flax instead. The result was something that didn’t look anything liker her bread. Go figure…ha! But, that’s how we learn, right? Ground flax is not a good substitute for psyllium husk powder.

Now we know.

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She also uses a special 5 Cup glass bread pan to get the shape and rise. You can find the link for ordering within her recipe link above.

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However, all was not lost.

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This slightly adjusted bread recipe didn’t turn out how I had hoped, but it made for some excellent French toast.

Fry in dairy free butter and a bit of coconut oil until golden.

Fry in dairy free butter and a bit of coconut oil until golden.

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Anti Inflammatory Smoothie

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“There are literally hundreds of illnesses caused by chronic inflammation that modern medicine has classified as unique and unrelated, when in fact they are all products of the same underlying imbalances inside the body. When the root causes of these imbalances are properly addressed, chronic illness in general stands a far less chance of taking hold than if left to run its natural course. Persistent, systemic inflammation is at the root of practically all known chronic health conditions, including everything from rheumatoid arthritis and high cholesterol to dementia and cancer. These conditions are not necessarily inevitable, and neither is chronic inflammation, but you have to know what lifestyle and dietary steps to take in order to avoid them, many of which are fairly simple and straightforward.” ~ from Natural News-Natural Health News & Scientific Discoveries

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Basically, what I’ve learned from extensive research of inflammation, how it damages the body, and how to get rid of it is this: Inflammation is the root of almost all evil in the body. A little inflammation is a good thing because it’s helpful in fighting off sickness that doesn’t belong, but for most of us, we are overloaded with inflammation because of diet issues, stress, and environmental hazards. This overload of inflammation does the exact opposite of what inflammation was created to do. The good news? There’s all kinds of things YOU can do to work with the amazing disease fighting system you were given, rather than work against it.

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Figuring out your food sensitivities and allergies, eating whole organic foods, reducing chemicals in your daily products, drinking filtered water (half of your body weight in ounces every day), and adding fermented foods as well as anti inflammatory spices and herbs to your diet will go a long way to helping you fight the overload of inflammation and the ugly side effects it brings along with it.

A morning smoothie is an excellent way for you to start off on the right foot. But if you can’t fit a smoothie into your morning routine, you can have it for any meal or snack. I aim for 5 days a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But I definitely notice the difference in how I feel if I slack off for several days. If you’re not used to buying organic ingredients there may be a little sticker shock involved. The way I look at it; I would rather spend more on whole, organic, items that are excellent for my health and then tighten the budget elsewhere to compensate.

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This smoothie is packed with nutrients and anti inflammatory benefits. It’s a cinch to whip up. Pour it in a BPA free cup (mine is 24 ounces) and it will go anywhere with you.

Love Your Body Smoothie

*makes one 24-26 ounce serving (383 calories/ 13 grams protein)

9.5 oz of Coconut Water (or nut milk, hemp milk, coconut milk)

1/2 Cup Organic Spinach and/or Kale, packed

1/2 Cup Fresh Organic Pineapple

1/2 of a Medium Organic Apple

Juice of 1 Small Organic Lemon

3/4 Cup Frozen Organic Blueberries (or fresh)

1 Medium Organic Carrot

1 Stick of Organic Celery

1 Tablespoon of Raw Organic Pumpkin Seeds

1 Tablespoon of Organic Chia Seeds

2 teaspoons of Manuka Honey 400+

1/2 teaspoon of Organic Ginger (fresh or powdered)

1/2 teaspoon of Organic Cinnamon, heaping

1 1/2 teaspoons of Organic Turmeric

2 teaspoons of Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil

1 Cup of Ice

Place all ingredients (except the ice) in a heavy-duty blender until smooth. Add the ice, blend until smooth.

*I switch it up and add other items occasionally: 1/2 Organic Avocado, Banana (not too often!), Beet Greens, Chard, Fresh Beets, Mango, Non-Dairy Protein Powder, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut, Almonds, Walnuts, Ground Flax. You can also do all vegetables and no fruit. Be mindful of too much fruit and not enough protein and healthy fats.

Organic Breakfast Salad

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Good Morning!

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We are up to our ear lobes in boxes around the house and looking forward to the moving company’s arrival next week. We’re leaving a month before our house sale closes and praying that everything goes smoothly. 

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I’ve been trying to adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet at least 5 days a week. Breakfast is a tough one. I’m lowering my intake of eggs, grains, and heavy animal protein as much as possible.  Easter threw me for a loop with turkey, stuffing with bacon, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, and berry crisp with coconut ice cream (all of my favorites!). Then of course, we had to have leftovers last night for dinner because it was just so delicious on Easter. Lots of salt, sugar, and other foods that inflame.

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So this morning I’m back to healthier eating. Since the whole Lyme Disease thing started in October I’ve been having increasing issues with major joint pain and arthritis. The doctor prescribed the anti inflammatories Diclofenac and Celebrex for me to try. Although I hate taking any type of medication and prefer to go with natural remedies, the pain from this arthritis and the swelling of joints doesn’t always make that possible. I prefer the Diclofenac. The Celebrex made me feel weird and didn’t work at all for the pain. I try to only take the Diclofenac for 3-4 days and then go off for a week or as long as I can stand it because it can be very hard on your stomach. But the key is to not allow the arthritis pain to get too bad because then it takes more medication to get it under control.

Along with trying to stay away from foods that cause inflammation and lessening my intake of animal protein, I’m also doing other natural remedies that are known to be helpful for arthritis. In the mornings I drink Organic Lemon Verbena Tea with medicinal honey to boost my immune system and fight bad bacteria. I made a fresh batch of turkey bone broth yesterday, and I also take high quality supplements daily. A multi vitamin/mineral, 8,000 IU’s of Vitamin D3, a probiotic, and a supplement for adrenal support.

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 I try my hardest to drink 90 ounces of filtered water every day, and every night I take two Tablespoons of Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate before bed. Tart cherries also have the added benefit of natural melatonin which aids in sleep. And it tastes delicious, which is a nice change from most supplements.

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That’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. More packing to be done today. Hope you all have a wonderful day and if you have any arthritis remedies that work well for you, please share!

Organic Breakfast Salad

Organic Spinach

Organic Apple

Organic Strawberries

Organic Blueberries

Small Portion of Organic Turkey Breast

Organic Walnuts

Organic Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Blueberry Pancakes with Cinnamon Maple Syrup

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Gluten Free & Dairy Free Blueberry Pancakes

2 Cups of  Artisan Flour Blend

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

4 teaspoons of Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

4 Eggs, separated

2 Cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

4 Tablespoons of Melted Non-Dairy Butter

Frozen or Fresh Blueberries

Measure dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk. Measure almond milk, melt butter, crack and separate eggs. Beat eggs to stiff peak. Add the milk, vanilla, butter, and egg yolks to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold in egg whites carefully until fully incorporated. Fold in blueberries.

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Heat a large skillet on medium, butter the skillet, and ladle batter onto skillet. Flip when bubbles have formed on the surface.

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Cinnamon Maple Syrup

1 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup

2 teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon

Heat syrup and whisk in cinnamon.

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