Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So Delicious Coconut Milk

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and So Delicious.



In my never-ending quest to feed my family fresh, healthy, organic foods, I've found a new secret ingredient. Coconut milk! Actually, I have used coconut milk before, but I had never realized that there are so many uses for it and that it even tastes good as a substitute for regular milk.

Several years ago, my oldest son went on a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet. At the time, it was extremely difficult to find alternatives to dairy products that my son would actually eat. These days, we don't have the restrictive diet but we still limit dairy for various reasons. The problem is that many of the dairy-free products just don't taste that great.

I am so excited to have found So Delicious Coconut Milk! Coconut milk is naturally gluten-free and cholesterol-free. It's also a good source of calcium and Vitamin B12. It can be used in place of milk, but it is completely dairy-free. Many dairy-free products use soy (and we avoid soy) so I was very happy to see that coconut milk is a healthy alternative to soy milk as well. So Delicious Coconut Milk is Kosher, vegan and it's made from verified non-GMO organic coconuts. Coconut milk is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are good fats that your body can easily burn and turn into energy instead of storing as fat in the body. (A natural energy boost? I am sure I'm not the only person who could use some of that!)



In the past I have used coconut milk for cooking. It's perfect for making Thai stir-fry or for drizzling over oatmeal in the morning. But, until now, I'd never thought of using coconut milk as a replacement for cow's milk. So Delicious Coconut Milk is light and creamy and has the same consistency of cow's milk-it's not thick like the canned coconut milk I usually use. I decided to do a little experiment and see if I could completely eliminate regular milk from our diet for a week.

Here's how I used So Delicious Coconut Milk 7 ways in 7 days...

When I have my morning coffee (or should I say coffees) I always use a bit of milk. If I make an espresso drink, I use even more milk. Instead of regular milk, I have now been using coconut milk. I chose the So Delicious Coconut Milk's vanilla flavor for my coffee and it is perfect. It tastes just like regular milk but adds a slight hint of vanilla that makes my coffee taste even better! So Delicious also makes an Original and Unsweetened version of their coconut milk.
For breakfast, my children often have oatmeal (made on the stove or in the slow cooker) or cereal. Yesterday I made a huge pot of oatmeal on the stove and switched up my usual recipe. Instead of using water, I used coconut milk in place of 1/2 of the water. It made the oatmeal deliciously creamy and (in all seriousness) my oldest son declared that it was the best oatmeal EVER. That extra bit of creaminess from the milk was just right.

I often use milk in baking recipes and our family usually has pancakes one morning on the weekend. Again, I substituted So Delicious Coconut Milk for regular milk and ended up with perfect pancakes. They looked and tasted just like regular pancakes but were dairy-free thanks to the coconut milk.
Although we don't drink milk, we do use milk on cold cereal. The ultimate test was to see if I could swap out regular milk for coconut milk in the cereal bowls. It worked. My kids actually preferred the coconut milk over the regular milk. I am really happy about this because I've often considered going completely dairy-free again but knew it would be tough. We do such a good job of limiting it already that I know I could make the switch to coconut milk and feel better about the health benefits.

When warmer weather rolls around I am going to try making smoothies with So Delicious Coconut Milk. Once the berries are in season I can mix up some sweet frozen treats! In the meantime, we are embracing the cold weather and enjoying hot chocolate instead. I made an entire batch of homemade hot chocolate on the stove, using organic cocoa powder, organic sugar, water, and coconut milk. For an even richer taste, I tried the vanilla flavored coconut milk and the hot chocolate was even more creamy and delicious.


One of my favorite dinners (and the first to introduce me to coconut milk) is a Thai-inspired stir-fry. I use some combination of fresh ingredients from my CSA produce box-onions, cabbage, sunchokes, broccoli-whatever I have on hand. I chop the onions and cabbage into thin slices and cook them in oil until they're soft. Sometimes I add some chicken. I mix in a few tablespoons of organic peanut butter and a cup of coconut milk. Then I toss in whatever other vegetables I'm using and cook until they're soft. I serve the whole mixture over noodles. My kids even like it!

So Delicious Coconut Milk makes it easy to enjoy milk and be dairy-free at the same time. You can find more recipe ideas and coupons at SoDeliciousDairyFree.com.

How will you use So Delicious Coconut Milk? Tell me your favorite recipes or uses for coconut milk by leaving a comment below and you could win a $100 Visa gift card.

Giveaway Rules:

-No duplicate comments.

-You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this
post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw and will be notified by e-mail. You will have 72 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be selected. Giveaway ends 3/20. Visit the Official Rules for more information and visit BlogHer for more chances to win.

You can also visit So Delicious on Facebook and enter to win their surprise-a-day giveaway "100 Days of Change." It's a 100 day sweepstakes with a prize each day, leading up to a grand prize 14-day trip for two to the Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa in Thailand. The giveaway ends on May 10, 2011 but you can enter daily for a chance to win.















Tuesday, February 15, 2011

GE ecomagination Challenge

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and GE.


In my continuing effort to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, one challenge is to reduce our energy consumption and look for ways to conserve energy. This is not easy, particularly in a large family and with the huge amount of technology that relies on electricity to work.
In my area, we are very fortunate that our electrical provider offers a "Green Power Program." This program uses renewable energy from wind, biomass, low impact hydro, and solar energy sources. By signing up for this (optional) program, consumers can put their energy dollars to work and support the effort to move to greener power sources.

The biggest energy challenges in my home mostly stem from the use of household appliances and electronics. While we can take small steps toward conserving energy (like hanging laundry to dry, washing clothes in cold water, unplugging appliances that aren't being used, baking more than one thing at a time when using the oven, or using energy-efficient LED light bulbs) there is much left to be done when it comes to improving energy use at home. These small things that our family does can have a big impact when every household does them. GE believes that the widespread use of clean energy starts in the home. What changes have you made in your home to make it more energy-efficient? How do you optimize your home energy use?

The effort to move toward smarter energy consumption benefits us all. Do you have even bigger ideas about saving energy? GE’s ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home is an open call for ideas from businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, students and every day people with breakthrough ideas for home energy creation, management and use. The ecomagination Challenge is GE's way of reaching out to entrepreneurs, innovators, students, and anyone with big ideas about home energy technology. The first phase of this challenge generated more than 3,800 ideas from all around the world and GE and their partners have committed to investing $200 million dollars into supporting these new ideas. There is still $100 million dollars up for grabs in the second phase of this challenge and it ends on March 15, 2011 so submit your ideas now!

Share with me what your energy use challenges are at home or share an idea that you submitted to the GE ecomagination challenge, for a chance to win a GE energy smart light bulb. The GE energy smart LED light bulb lasts for more than 20 years and ultimately saves you $85 in energy costs. Now that's smart!

Giveaway Rules:

-No duplicate comments.

-You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this
post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw and will be notified by e-mail. You will have 72 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.

Find more discussion about the GE ecomagination Challenge at BlogHer and at the ecomagination Challenge blog.

You can also check out the ecomagination Challenge on Facebook, Foursquare, and YouTube.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cheerios Blogger Circle: Breakfast Bar Recipe from The Kitchen of Twinsanity

Here's a simple, easy recipe that is healthy and fun! You can mix it up by using different fruits as well. It's still winter here in the Pacific Northwest, so I used raisins in our breakfast bars but dried cranberries, blueberries, or strawberries would be delicious too.
Ingredients:
2 cups Cheerios
1 cup instant oats
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup shredded coconut



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking pan with cooking spray. (I use an olive oil sprayer.)
2. In food processor (or blender) combine 1 cup of Cheerios, oats, nuts, and cinnamon. Blend until mixture is smooth.
3. In large bowl, whisk eggs and mix in honey, vanilla, and sugar.

4. In small bowl, combine flax meal, wheat germ, and remaining 1 cup of Cheerios. Stir until blended.
5. Add cereal mixture and nut mixture to egg mixture. Mix well.
6. Add raisins and stir to combine.
7. Pour mixture into baking pan, spread flat, and sprinkle with coconut.
8. Bake for about 20 min.
9. Allow bars to cool and then cut into bars.

10. Enjoy!



I am part of the Cheerios Blogger Circle and did receive a gift pack for participating. No other compensation was received.