A quick online search will lead you to about a million and a half different ways of toasting coconut. Since we often want to incorporate this into our meals, I really wanted to learn how to do it properly. Well, I tried quite a few of the methods I found online and found that none of them worked to my satisfaction. So, through some trial and error, I was able to come up with my own way of doing it and it works great. I wanted to share this with you guys so you don’t have to go through all the mistakes and mess that I did.
First, you are going to make sure you prep your coconut. Once you have cracked the coconut and have pulled away the meat, get out your old fashioned kitchen grater. You know, that bulky metal thing that always happened to just be in the kitchen? It always looked so scary to me as a kid, but I love how many things I can use it for now! But, back to business… Take your chunks of coconut and start grating them on the grater. Tip: Only grate as much as you’ll need for your recipe and maybe a bit extra for snacking later… coconut keeps longer in larger chunks than after it has been grated.
Once you have your small pieces of grated coconut, you’ll have to decide how toasted you want it. It really depends on your preferences and what kind of crunch you want it to have. If you are mixing in the coconut, or prefer slightly less crunchy toasted coconut, then use the frying pan method.
To do this, take a medium sized frying pan and spread your coconut out in a single layer. Turn your heat to high. As soon as you see the coconut begin to tan (about a minute), turn your heat down to medium low and stir the coconut around while continuing to toast until it reaches desired color/texture. Note: this method does not toast coconut evenly, so I would not recommend this method where the presentation of the toasted coconut will be visible. The advantage to this method, is you get the great coconut flavor without tons of crunch as soon of the coconut stays a bit on the softer side. This is great for those who have issues with texture differences.
However, if you are looking for either more crunchy or more uniformly toasted coconut, use the oven method.
To do this, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread your coconut in an even layer on a cookie sheet and place into the oven. Let it roast for about 5-7 minutes and give it a good shake and stir to ensure even toasting. Continue toasting until desired level of color and crunch is achieved.
Store your toasted coconut in an air tight container. If you happen to have any left that is! I hope this helps out those who are looking for a better way to toast their own.
If you haven’t tried toasted coconut, I highly recommend it! Its a great addition to salads, main dishes, and desserts. Its also great to have on hand as a quick snack!
Making the Switch to Paleo!!
As you know, we are gluten free. We have been for awhile now, due to necessity. However, we still have not seen the health improvements that we were hoping. Bear still had an enlarged lymph node in his neck that he has had for years, and Bee was still very moody and bloated. No matter what we did, we could not get the weight off of Bee and onto Bear.
So, I started doing more research. About health, about nutrition, about our history as humans, and about how our eating practices have evolved over time. All of this information, lead me to the Paleo diet.
For those of you that do not know, the Paleo diet mimics the way our ancestors ate thousands of years ago. The diet is simple really. Its all whole foods, fresh, not processed. There are no grains, no corn ( its actually a grain!), no peanuts or other legumes, no processed sugars or added sugars, no dairy ( with the exception of the grass fed butter). Its a diet high in proteins and good fats. For those of you that would like to know more, please let me know. I can get you pointed in the right direction
While it is not hard to follow, as far as knowing what is okay to eat and not okay to eat, there are some more challenging aspects of this type of lifestyle. There is a lot more time put into meal planning and preparation. This is because everything we eat is fresh. Nothing comes out of a package. So, this means making sure that we have enough veggies, seeds, and nuts. This means taking the time to make extra portions at dinner so that we can use them as a base for our lunches the next day. And, because our local farmers market does not open until June, this means lots of regular trips to the grocery store.
However, all of the new challenges that we have faced have been nothing compared to all of the benefits we are already seeing, and it has not even been a full 30 days yet! Bear’s lymph node has almost completely gone back down to normal. None of us are bloated anymore. Bee is visibly thinner. Our skin and hair is noticeably healthier. The kids both have much better moods and sleep much better. I’ve lost 6 pounds. Not to mention all of the fun we have preparing the food we eat. For me, cooking had previously become a chore, and we were stuck in so many ruts, eating the same types of things over and over and over. But with Paleo, we all get involved. We chose foods together at the store, and have a great time discovering new foods at small local stores. We have had a great time experimenting with new flavors and textures ( one of the latest was masked sweet potatoes with toasted coconut…try them, you will NOT be disappointed!). We do not have to fight as much to get Bear to eat. We all just FEEL better. Not to mention that it has really helped my husband and I become even closer.
It feels so good to know that we our nourishing ourselves and our children with healthy, whole, fresh foods. We are also much more adept at handling our stress. We now participate in exercise as a family, and have the ability to give ourselves alone time without feeling guilty. This has been the most positive lifestyle change that we have ever made, and my only regret is that we did not do it sooner.
I am going to be starting to experiment with some new Paleo recipes soon. Look for new ideas coming soon. And please, if there is something that you would like to see Paleofied, let me know and I will do my best to make it happen!
Bonus: The right kind of bacon (uncured, minimally processed, nitrate free, etc) is totally okay with this lifestyle!! Now, what can be better than that??