Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Healthy Candy Bars

Yeah, you read that right. I said "healthy" and "candy bars" together.

We recently got a new shipment of coconut oil, we had been "almost out" for a while. I'm one of those people who stretches and stretches the last little bit to make it last a long time... to a point of ridiculousness.

So when we got some more coconut oil, I had to make these "Mounds" Candy Bars from The Nourishing Gourmet's blog. I've made them before, and they're a great way to help us get more coconut oil into ourselves. Sometimes I don't always feel up to just eating a big spoonful of coconut oil--although my boys would eat it by the spoonful if I let them!

Here's the recipe copied from her blog, with my comments in italics.


“Mounds” Candy Bars-makes 12, large; or 24 mini, which is what I like to do

1 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes 1/2 cup of coconut oil 1/4 cup of honey (raw is nice) 1 teaspoon almond extract 36 almonds, left whole or chopped (your choice) --I had cashews, so that's what I used instead this time around

1-Melt the coconut oil and honey over low heat until just melted. Whisk to combine. Add the almond extract and coconut flakes.

2-Now take out your muffin tins (you will need a 12 compartment muffin tin). In each compartment, place three almonds, or divide the chopped almonds. I wasn't so exacting, just dumped some nut pieces in the bottom of each of the 24 cups. Then, divide the coconut mixture, making sure you get an even mixture of coconut flakes and coconut oil. Place in a freezer (make sure it’s on a flat surface), and freeze until hard (about 30 minutes)

Now it’s time for the chocolate! You will need:

3/4 cup cocoa powder (not dutch cocoa) 1/4 cup of honey (I used a scant 1/4 of a cup) 1 cup coconut oil 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3-Combine these ingredients in a 2 cup glass measuring glass and place in a pot of simmering water. Heat until everything is just melted, and remove from heat. Either whisk briskly, or use a hand blender to combine well (the hand blender is the easiest way to do this).

4-Take out the frozen coconut flakes mixture, and divide your chocolate mixture over it (about two tablespoons per muffin compartment).

5-Put back into your freezer, and freeze until hard (again, about 30 minutes). To get them out, simply slide a butter knife down one side, and pop it out. This is very easy to do, as long as you do it directly from your freezer.

Then, enjoy! (and keep them frozen, they melt fairly quickly)


When I was popping these out of the pan today, it was probably a bit silly to watch me clean up. It was so good, I didn't want to have any go to waste, so I was practically licking out the compartments. That might be thrifty to the extreme....

Also, a note on why coconut oil is so good for you. It's hard for me to quickly sum up its benefits, so I recommend reading some books like "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" by Sallon Fallon and Mary Enig, or "The Coconut Oil Miracle" by Bruce Fife. Those really explain why a saturated fat like coconut oil is so healthy for us. But a cursory list would include such benefits as: promotes weight loss, improves digestion, helps boost the immune system, and helps prevent against degenerative diseases. I encourage you do to some research and you will be amazed at the benefits of coconut oil.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lots of news

I've been sitting on some information for a while, biding my time until I felt like I could share.

First, we're going to be closing on a house this Friday, March 25. Yes, our time in the log cabin is coming to an end. It's been fun, but I must say, the novelty is wearing off. The holes between the logs, the days when the wind blows down the fireplace and smokes up the house so we can't use the fireplace, the two levels that constantly need policing with two busy boys... we are ready to call some place our "own". It has three acres, not as much as we'd like, but we have big plans for those acres, which I'll share with you as we progress into summer. There are three bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen with lots of storage, small dining room and a nice big living room. There are two entryway closets, big basement, two door detached garage. The house is a bit dated, old wallpaper and flooring, but easily and quickly fixable. We have until end of April to be out of the log cabin and all moved in.

Second piece of news, we have a permanent location for church. Instead of floating around from restaurant to restaurant, we have a month-to-month lease for a room in the basement of the old courthouse in Roseau. It's not free, but $25/week is about as good as we'll get to have a place to call our "own".

Third, we'll have a third baby to call our "own" beginning of October. I am 13 weeks along as of March 28. I don't think the reality of it has sunk in yet, but there's a reason it takes nine months! I had much stronger morning sickness with this baby than with my two boys, so I'm wondering if it's a girl...? Well, we'll all be surprised together when he/she arrives. But now I'm finally feeling "normal".

I think that's about all the news for now. I think I should be packing or something.... ;-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tapioca Pudding

Here's one of my favorite desserts out of Nourishing Traditions. I usually 1.5 the recipe, but here's the original measurements. I also change up the sweetener, usually using honey or maple syrup, and I rarely use the full amount, usually halving it. I think I've become accustomed to things tasting less sweet, so keep that in mind.

Tapioca Pudding
Serves 8
1 c. medium or small pearl tapioca
4 cups whole milk
3 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 t. sea salt
3/4 c. Rapadura
grated rind of 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt

Soak tapioca in milk overnight in the refrigerator. In a separate bowl, blend egg yolks, salt, rapadura and lemon rind. Cook tapioca about 45 minutes in a double boiler over simmering water until very thick, stirring almost constantly with a whisk toward the end of thickening. (I don't have a double boiler that big, so I will either fit one of my smaller pots into a bigger pot with water in it, OR just use a pot straight on the stove-top but keep the temperature very low.) Add a spoonful of hot tapioca to egg yolk mixture and then add warmed egg yolk mixture to the tapioca. Cook about 5 minutes more over simmering water, stirring constantly. Beat egg whites with sea salt until softly stiff and fold into tapioca mixture. Serve well chilled.

Note: I grate the rind off my lemons whenever I use them, and keep the grated rind in the freezer for such a recipe as this!

Citrus Extract

We received a great book at Christmas called The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 10th ed. This book is "the original manual for living off the land and doing it yourself." 'Nough said.

One of the recipes in it was for making citrus extract. At the time that I started this project, I believe it was end of January, early February, and we had some oranges left from a bulk purchase made in December. And I thought, perfect! Between this recipe, and citrus vinegar, I'll be able to squeeze the life out of these oranges yet!

Citrus Extract (p. 382)
  1. Peel away the fruit's outermost skin, called the zest. (There's a special tool for this at kitchen stores.) Don't use any of the white pith.
  2. Fill a wide-mouthed bottle one-third of the way up with zest.
  3. Pour in vodka for the other two-thirds. Soak 2 weeks, shaking twice daily.
  4. Strain and bottle your extract.
My notes:
  • On zesting your citrus--I have a shredder that has three different sizes of holes. I had been using the smallest zesting holes, which took me forever. An actual zesting tool probably would work better than my awkward stand, I'd guess. I zested a couple oranges a day, then had to stop and rest, and did a few more the next day, just refrigerating my zest in between. And I kept zesting until I had filled my jar 1/3 full. I think I used 10 oranges, maybe? Later, my husband informed me as he zested a lemon, that the next size up of holes worked much easier. Lesson learned!
  • Citrus to use--I only used oranges, but you could probably use lemons and limes, too. I don't think I'd use grapefruit, as I'm guessing it's probably too bitter. But I could be wrong, I haven't tried it!
  • I was not religious about shaking the bottle, and I only recently strained the zest off, and it's been nearly two months. It smells good, and I'm looking forward to using it in... something. I'll figure something out.
  • You could probably save up zest for a long time. We juice lemons often to make our kefir soda, and we started washing the skins well then zesting the lemons and putting the zest in the freezer. Then, whenever a recipe calls for it, I can pull zest out of the freezer. Lemon zest really adds a lot of flavor, by the way!