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The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Anyone who has been to my classes, uses my recipes or follows me on Facebook knows of my love affair with coconut oil. One might even call it an obsession. Why you ask? Read on for a basic overview and also check out the links included for a more in-depth and comprehensive look at why coconut oil has taken me- and this country by storm.

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” as it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness, and it has increasingly being recognized in our culture as tonic for everything, from weight loss, heath care, hair & skin care and much more! read more…

Day Class Success & New Schedule

I have had many requests for day classes…before the kiddies get out of school for most I presume. Well today was the first day time class that started at 10am…sans wine of course. I was a bit worried that people would be bored and not as excited about the food (we all know that food tastes better with a little vino) but it seemed to be a success. Good sign is that I have requests for more day classes…horray! Perhaps next one will include mimosas…

Kale Salad with Toasted Almonds and Lemon Vinaigrette

So friends I have added another, of course still keeping out faithful evening classes where the wine abounds. Take a look and let me know if you are interested. Stay tuned, I will be posting the May schedule soon!

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12 Amazing Uses For Olive Oil

I found this post early this morning- a bit too early in my opinion, I would have much preferred to be sleeping. However it seems that it was worth it for me to rise as I find this tips so awesome and useful. It came through the Food Matters site…a MUST follow…a wealth need-to-know info. They are also the producers of “Hungry for Change”…a MUST see movie. Our trip to Italy last Fall and our tour of the Lucini Olive Oil Estate was delicious and eye opening…these tips are a bit late but good nonetheless!

Fresh pressed oil right out of the Lucini Olive Oil groves...most incredible olive oil I have ever tasted...ever.

Carol Firenze, author of The Passionate Olive – 101 Things You Can Do with Olive Oil, about some creative ways to use this versatile product around the house.
Olive oil is ecologically friendly and can be more cost-effective than commercial products, and she’s especially fond of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), although she does have a caution for consumers: “Since the US doesn’t have truth in labeling laws, many people buy what they think is EVOO only to find out that it is not good, fresh, tasty, etc., and it is refined.”

Furniture Conditioner and Polishing Agent

Olive oil makes a great wood furniture polish and conditioner and you can also use it on leather shoes to help bring back their shine, restore suppleness, and protect the leather. In both cases, start by wiping the surface down with a sponge or towel to remove dust and grime. Allow it to dry, and apply a light coat of olive oil, rubbing to allow the oil to soak in fully.

Lubricant and Protectant for Tools

It also makes a great lubricant and protectant for metal, which means you can use it on hinges, gardening tools, and kitchen knives. Make sure to remove rust and grime before applying the olive oil, to ensure the surface is as clean as possible. You can also use olive oil as a lubricant while sharpening knives; just wipe the blade down afterwards to remove any metal fragments!

Skin Moisturiser, Nourishing Hair Oil, Exfoliating Scrub and Diaper Rash Treatment

Olive oil has a lot of body care uses as well, for both adults and babies. She recommends using EVOO for olive oil taken internally or applied to the body. It’s gentle and natural, which makes it good for people with sensitive skin or environmental concerns.

Olive oil can make a great hair and skin oil, and it can also be combined with salt, sugar, or ground coffee to make an exfoliating scrub. 
The olive oil will smooth the skin while the exfoliants clean out the pores and remove debris.  It’s also a great treatment for diaper rash and can be applied topically to the affected area, providing instant relief.

Make Up and Paint Remover

Olive oil is gentle enough to remove make up effortlessly and can also be used to remove makeup as well as paint, chewing gum, and other sticky substances.

Massage Oil

Colwell says that flavored olive oils can also be used for massage and bodywork, where people may enjoy the pleasant aroma of added ingredients like lemons, Mandarin oranges and lavender.

Pet Care

People aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a little more olive oil in their lives, Carol told me. It can also be used for some basic pet care, including hairball prevention; a few drops of olive oil on pet food can act as a lubricant, and both cats and dogs can develop lush, healthy coats with a little more oil in their diets. Olive oil can also relieve skin irritation caused by fleas or dry skin, and it’s a great lubricant for sore, cracked paws; a common problem for dogs walking on sidewalks in the summer heat.

Home Made Soap

Enterprising crafters can also give olive oil soap a try. Store-bought soaps can be expensive, and may contain unwanted additives. At home, soap makers can control all the ingredients and the production conditions for a bar of soap perfectly tailored to their needs.

Lots of tutorials are available and a local crafts store may offer soap making classes to allow people to learn how to make their own olive oil soap. In addition to being useful at home, it makes a great gift for friends and family.

Shelf Life and Storage of Olive Oil

How can you tell when it’s time to rotate a bottle of olive oil from the pantry shelf to the cleaning closet? Remember that: “the four enemies of olive oil are heat, light, air and time, which all contribute to rancidity.”

Olive oil should always be stored in glass, tin, or stainless steel, not plastic, so products sold or stored in plastic bottles shouldn’t be used for cooking or personal care. Dark containers are better, because they prevent light damage, and that olive oil should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent damage. Furthermore, approximately 60-90 days after a bottle is opened, it can start to go rancid, which means it’s not usable for conventional purposes—but it still makes a perfectly serviceable lubricant and cleaning product!

Source: www.care2.com/greenliving…

Many of you know of my passion for virgin coconut oil. I use it in many applications throughout the home. I LOVE olive oil but I have mainly used it for cooking…until now!

Warm Quinoa & Zucchini Salad

This is such a quick recipe that is a perfect weeknight addition to any meal. Make it a meal in itself and add some cooked garbanzos or lentils right at the end. It is good eaten warm or cold and is great the next day for lunch or under a fried egg for breakfast!
Warm Quinoa & Zucchini Salad

Ingredients:

2-3 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-1/3 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup dried raisins or currants, chopped
3 medium green onions, ends removed and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 medium zucchini, grated on a cheese grater
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, basil, dill, mint, parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Makes 4 servings

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What Should You Eat?

Are you confused about what to eat anymore? Cause I sure am. Perhaps it is a mistake for me to announce this to the world given the fact that I am somewhat of a “food/health role model”…for lack of a better term. But dammit this sh*t is confusing these days!

Just when you think that vegetarian/vegan is the best health choice, they go and come out with this paleo business….huh? So now your not supposed to eat beans or nuts? And fruit is ill advised as well? Organic from New Zealand or conventional from down the street? Gluten free, soy free, grain free…sheesh…it makes you just want to crawl under a rock and hide. Or better yet escape to a country that it not so hung up on all this nonsense. Every time I have lived in a far away land, I eat what I want, I do not obsess about my weight, I am healthy and never get sick and I magically lose weight. Hummmm…maybe I am on to something?

The truth of the matter is that there are arguments for just about any diet out there (when I say “diet” I am talking lifestyle not weight loss). So who is right? I have no clue. What I do know however, is how I am approaching this conundrum. I am gathering data and educating myself on the goings on in the food industry. I am reading, watching films and subscribing to blogs that support this quest.

I am mostly vegetarian airing on the of side vegan 75% of the time. I have bites of animal protein every now and again when I know that it has been responsibly sourced. I love beans, nuts, seeds, grains, whole grain bread, fruit and of course TONS of veggies. I add many super foods such as coconut oil, chia seeds, macca powder etc. I start most days with this green smoothie. I eat as little processed food as possible (remember folks even organic quinoa pasta is processed as it is not it’s given form). I do not eat anything I cannot pronounce and I stay away from artificial (ok well maybe I had 1 or 2 jelly beans a few weeks ago). My friend Julie calls me a qualitarian, I like it, it works for me.

I feel healthy and have not been sick or on any medication in as long as I can remember. Sure my love of all things sweet gets the better of me sometimes and I do like my vino, nobodies perfect. I see my eating habits as a lifestyle not a “diet” and pay attention to my stress level.

So do what works for you. But be smart about it. Read labels. Start your shopping in the produce section. If you are a meat eater pay close attention to where it comes from, what is in it and don’t eat so damn much of it. Cut down the amount of boxed things you buy, remember even though it might be from Whole Foods, chips are still chips, and Newmans Own “Oreo” wannabes are still cookies with a conscience and have no nutritional value whatsoever. Add a green smoothie or if you have a juicer, a green juice. EAT VEGGIES and lots of them and you will move mountains for the health of your body. If they are organic great, if they are local even better. If not, at least you are filling yourself with valuable fuel and not empty calories. Chew slowly, drink plenty of clean water and keep the sugar and white flour at bay.

Remember folks, you can eat as clean as a whistle but if your emotional life is a mess, so is your health, no question. As one of my fabulous health gurus Kris Carr says “Health is in what you eat, what you drink and what you think”. Buy her new book Crazy Sexy Kitchen and read the beginning…it is a revelation!

Apple Kale Ginger Smoothie

When I am in a groove I start just about every day with this smoothie, or some variation thereof. It jump starts my energy and I feel more virtuous knowing that I have already consumed a good amount of veggies before 10am. Oh, and it tastes good! Feel free to play around a bit with the flavors and change the apple for an orange or toss in a cucumber skin and all of you have one.

Apple Kale Ginger Smoothie

Ingredients:

1+ cups cold water, or as needed
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium green apple, quartered (you may leave the core intact)
1 quarter of a medium lemon, peel and all (more if you like it more tart)
1 medium leaf of kale
1/4-1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 medium stalk of celery, rough chopped
A few sprigs of parsley or cilantro
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 Tablespoon flax or chia seeds
a drizzle of honey or a few dates (optional)

Makes 1 large serving

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Chocolate Almond Butter Cherry Bombs

These chocolate almond butter cherry bombs are SUPER easy and YUMMY treats that I adapted from the food blog Oh She Glows. They are vegan and gluten free and absolutely dee-lish! They are a fast and fun treat that is a great project for kids and mostly refined sugar-free, except for the little bit of chocolate chips depending on the brand. Their are several ways to get creative with the flavors and change them up a bit (see notes at the bottom). Make ’em, they take 15 minutes and are sure to please!

Chocolate Almond Butter Bombs  (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
2 Tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (you can also use regular)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder (you can use cocoa powder as well but cacao has more nutrients)
2 cups Crisp Brown Rice cereal (be sure that it is gluten free)
3/4 dried cherries, chopped
pinch of salt

Makes about 16 small balls

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