Tag Archives: coconut

Creamy, Dreamy Tropical Smoothie

I got back from a work trip on Saturday morning and after flying all night and enduring a three hour layover in Atlanta on no sleep, I finally made it home only to be sick the entire weekend with food poisoning. For someone who likes to cook and eat, food poisoning is brutal. I already had no food in my fridge because I was gone all week which is just as well because the only thing I’ve been willing to get down is water. I still haven’t been able to get to the store or think about food yet and am going on my third day of little to no food. But as I’m starting to feel a little bit better, I’m considering (maybe) a smoothie. This is reminding me of this Creamy, Dreamy Tropical Smoothie I made before I left on my work trip. When I was feeling 100%, this was a perfectly cool summertime treat for these dog days of summer.

Frozen pineapple, Greek yogurt, coconut milk, and honey are blended together until smooth and creamy. A little topping of toasted unsweetened coconut finishes off this smoothie which really is like a drinking a sip of the tropics. Since I used frozen pineapple, I didn’t use ice but if using fresh pineapple, you’ll need the ice to thicken it up. Thinking about this smoothie, I’m dreaming of the days when I will be lakeside next week listening to the waves instead of home laying in my bed under the weather.

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Place pineapple, yogurt, coconut milk, ice, and honey in a blender. Process on high speed for 60 seconds or until smooth or desired consistency.

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Pour into tall glasses. Garnish each serving with 1 teaspoon toasted shredded coconut, if desired. Serve smoothies immediately.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love it

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Gooey Pretzel Caramel Bars

I’ve already given away dozens of the cookies and treats I’ve featured this week but I still have so many left in my house. It’s killing me. I’m trying sooooooo hard not to eat them and for the most part, I’m doing pretty good. Or at least I was. But these Gooey Pretzel Caramel Bars are evil little magic waves of sweetness and they are torturing me. They appear in my dreams, whisper my name when I’m standing strong, and wrap their sweet scent around me everywhere I go. My knees are getting weak.

Inspired by traditional Hello Dollys, I changed things up by using pretzel crumbs in place of graham crackers, caramel topping instead of butterscotch, peanut butter filled morsels in place of plain chocolate, and almonds instead of pecans. The result is basically…well…crack. I was doing so good on watching my sugar and this week it’s all down hill. I know that’s what happens during the holidays but I thought I could keep it under control. This is the problem with working from home. I no longer have an office to take all these leftover cookies to so instead they sit in my kitchen. They taunt me. Make fun of me. Call me names. This weekend may turn into a real battle. Me against them. I have a feeling these layer bars will be the victor.

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Gooey Pretzel Caramel Bars (adapted from Hello Dollys)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 ground pretzels
  • 1 9-oz package Nestlé Toll House Milk Chocolate Morsels with Peanut Butter Filled DelightFulls(or 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips and 3/4 cup peanut butter chips)
  • 1 12.25-oz jar caramel topping
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place butter in 13 x 9 inch pan and melt in oven. Swirl to coat bottom and sides with butter. Spread pretzel crumbs evenly over bottom of pan. Layer morsels over pretzels crumbs followed by caramel topping and almonds. 

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Pour condensed milk over almonds. Sprinkle coconut over condensed milk.

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Bake 25 minutes until edges are golden brown and bubbly.

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Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Just about every January or February, right when I think I might snap from the cold winter weather, I find myself driving to the nearest candle store to buy the biggest coconut candle I can find.  The scent of coconut takes me to back to summertime when it was warm and suntan lotion filled the air.  It’s something I do to try to trick my brain into thinking it’s not so cold out.  Well, we are in Spring now and the temperature outside is 80 one day and 30 the next so when I went to Target the other day, I didn’t realize until I got home that nearly everything I bought had coconut involved somehow: coffee creamer, air freshener, instant iced tea, chocolate, and coffee (see my Instagram picture of this collection here). Obsessed with coconut much? Well, it just seemed like an appropriate time to breakout the actual coconut and make this Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze.

Sweetened coconut flakes are mixed with basic banana bread batter, which is made with low-fat yogurt and pumped up with some dark rum. A little extra sprinkling of coconut tops the batter which is then baked until golden brown.  Once cooled slightly, the bread is given a little extra sweetness with a simple lime juice/powdered sugar glaze which adds a whole other layer of flavor.  I almost left off the glaze because the bread was so perfectly beautiful without it but I’m glad I added it.  The citrus flavor really complements the coconut making this a real island-y banana bread.  Coconut is one of those things that people either love or hate. I don’t think I could live without it.

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Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.  Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

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Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended.

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Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut.

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Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan.

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Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely on wire rack.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat flour for half of the white flour

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Pink-a-Colada

Today is officially my last day at my job.  I wish I could tell you that I’m going to be able to work full-time on this blog which would make me so happy but that’s not the case.  Here’s the short of it: my office was relocated from Philadelphia to Connecticut and I didn’t want to make the move.   Fortunately, I’m taking a new job starting Monday.  The past year and nine months since we’ve known about the move have been stressful, gut wrenching and tiring.  Watching friends and co-workers leave to go to other jobs was sad.  Watching everyone getting packed up and spending the last week in an empty office was even sadder.  So because of our “end” and because the summer heat is in full force, why not celebrate it all with a fruity, coconuty cocktail like these Pink-a-Coladas?

Cranberry juice, coconut water, pineapple juice and coconut rum are mixed together for a perfectly summery sweet warm weather cocktail.  I’m not the biggest fan of coconut water and since the rum is already strong enough, I’m not really sure it’s necessary.  Don’t worry if you don’t have some.  Coconut rum and pineapple juice is already so good together but adding in some tart cranberry juice cuts down some of the sweetness which makes these cocktails go down waaaaaay too easily.  As bittersweet as my job’s move has been, I don’t know what else to do but just raise my glass and say…Cheers!  Here’s to new beginnings.

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The ingredients:

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Combine first 4 ingredients in a large pitcher.

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Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Coastal Living Magazine

Easy Granola

Spur of the moment trips are always the best.  I was at work on Thursday when I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and take Friday off.  When I talked to my friend who lives close by, she said she was headed to Chicago over the weekend for a meeting.  “Take me with you!” I exclaimed.  Next thing I know, I booked a flight and jetted off to my favorite city for an impromptu weekend trip.  After I’d packed and was killing time before heading to the airport, I decided to make a quick snack that would not only be great for the flight but could easily be tossed in our bags as we roamed the Second City.  

Easy Granola is nutty, slightly sweet, slightly salty and well, easy!  Oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and coconut are mixed together with syrup and a little canola oil and baked until golden brown.  Dried fruit added at the end provides a sweet, tart, and chewy delicious touch.  I used a combination of almonds and pecans since I had them on hand so feel free to use any combination of nuts like walnuts, macadamia, cashews, etc.  I also used less coconut since I only had sweetened coconut on hand and didn’t want this too sweet.  I used dried cherries but any dried fruit – cranberries, blueberries, apricots – would be delicious.  And lastly, I substituted blue agave syrup for the maple syrup since I had that on hand also.  This is such a versatile recipe that any combination of nuts, fruit and syrup with make this a delicious snack.  Keep this stored in an airtight container to eat as a snack or toss in with yogurt or over ice cream.  This kept us going all weekend!

The ingredients:

Combine all of the ingredients, except dried fruit, in a pan or bowl and toss until well combined.  (I didn’t read the directions correctly and added the dried fruit here.  It worked out okay but try to add the fruit at the end.)

Spread mixture onto a large baking sheet and bake in a 350° F oven for 25 minutes.

Toss the mixture once during baking so the edges don’t burn.

Add in the dried fruit and allow mixture to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Pecans and almonds
  • Blue agave syrup
  • Sunflower seeds

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Real Simple Magazine

Hello Dollys

I’m sure you’ve had these before but maybe you don’t know them by the name Hello Dollys. These are nothing more than seven-layer bars but my mom always called them Hello Dollys so I can’t call them anything else. There is nothing different here than your normal seven layer bars but they are a holiday favorite of mine and the only time of year I make these. It’s nothing more than layers of butter, graham crackers, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut baked until lightly browned. While I make these with the traditional ingredients, one thing I love is that you can mix it up with whatever suits your fancy. Don’t like butterscotch? Try peanut butter chips or white chocolate. Don’t like walnuts? Try almonds or pecans. These are decadent, rich, gooey little pieces of heaven so enjoy every bite.

The ingredients:

Melt butter in the oven and top with graham cracker crumbs.

Begin layering other ingredients: chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut.

Bake in a 350ºF oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Fat-free sweetened condensed milk (I have NO idea why!)

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Allrecipes.com

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