Sunday, August 14, 2011

Protein Shakes, Homemade Coconut Butter, So Delicious Ice Cream, and more!

Discovering fun, delicious, and healthy new products is always a highlight in my day.  After several weeks of researching protein powders, I finally settled on Jay Robb Whey Protein Powder.  Many other blogs had mentioned his products, and I really did my research.  I wanted something with no sugar, but also no artificial sweeteners, and a huge protein punch.  Taste was also incredibly important, as was calories, and the quality of ingredients.  I wanted an isolate powder, with as few ingredients as possible.  Jay Robb really is exceptional stuff.  25 grams of protein per serving and no artificial sweeteners.  I prefer the vanilla flavor, chocolate wasn't my thing- I felt you could taste the licorice-y stevia flavor a bit more.  Mixed with some flax, frozen berries, and a bit of almond milk and ice in the blender, and you've got an incredibly filling and healthy breakfast.  It actually kept me full for over 4 hours!  That is insane.  I also did a lot of price comparing, and it was cheapest at my local Vitamin Shoppe

Next up on my list of items to try was So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream.  OMG!  An ice-cream type dessert that I can actually eat?????  It is sweetened with erythritol, and has an amazing and smooth coconut taste.  It is packed with fiber, and only 100 calories per serving, or 200 if you eat an entire cup!  The chocolate flavor is awesome!  But yikes, expensive!  $5.99 at my WF.  Although I suppose that's cheaper than getting yogurt at your local yogurt shop.  But this got me thinking- you can make coconut milk ice cream with only a few ingredients.  I need an ice cream maker!  And so the list of small kitchen appliances on my list grows longer.  Cuisinart makes one that a ton of people on Amazon really like. 

Another fabulous weekend discovery was a small Indian market close to my house.  Among other things, I've also been desperately searching for cheaper Artisana Coconut Butter, and/or a good homemade replica.  It is just so darn expensive!  As the blogosphere very often laments.  I stumbled across a comment on some low-carb forum that recommended buying Coconut Powder, not shredded coconut, but powder, from an Indian Market.  Wow- I am so glad I decided to go this route!  Not only did this market have enormous quantities of coconut oil, nuts, dates, and chickpea flour for half the price of WF, it had a huge 28 ounce bag of coconut powder (basically just shredded coconut more finely chopped) for $4.99.  That is wild!  This meant I had to get on home and try homemade coconut butter in the food processor that everyone and their moms seems to be making.  It took wayyyyy longer than anticipated.  From reading posts on HEAB and CCK I had expected it to take a couple minutes.  Well, after 30 minutes of processing and a steady stream of smoke/steam coming out of the machine, all I had was an incredibly gritty and pale imitation of the exalted stuff.  Not fun.  I resigned myself to spending $11.99 a jar for Artisana and put the concoction in a tupperware and left it on the counter.  BUT!  Reading a bit later some posts on Oh May, she recommends to put it in the blender for another 5 minutes or so to finish it and smooth out the grittiness.  What an enormous difference that made!  It's now so smooth, and almost indistinguishable from the jarred stuff.  Right now it's still a bit soupy, which I think is due to the fact that my house usually hovers right around 80 degrees. 

Here is why I think I had problems.  1) God knows how long that bag had been sitting on the shelf at the Indian market.  I'm not complaining, it was super cheap, but I don't think that helped matters.  2) I didn't measure how much coconut I threw in the processor.  But I absolutely put way too much.  This next time I'll stick with 2 cups (which sadly only yields about 1/2 cup of butter). 

I am so thrilled about this!  I've already made some yummy chocolate hazelnut freezer fudge with it, with my homemade nutella, and am going to be using it to make some strawberry frosting for my vanilla almond flour cupcakes I'm trying out in preparation for Baby S's first birthday party!  Next up, chocolate coconut butter, and cashew coconut freezer fudge!  Can't wait. 

I know I haven't posted too much this past week.  That's because one, I've been super ridiculous busy with work and SMG, but two, I've been compiling a huge list of fun recipes to try out in the next few weeks.  I don't think I'll ever have "nothing to make", ever again.  I need to do some formatting and tweaking to these, so stay tuned. 

Tonight's Sunday night dinner is going to be super simple.  Grilled spice-rubbed chicken thighs, with grilled veggies (Yellow Squash, grape tomatoes, red onion, mushrooms) and Skillet Socca with green onions. 


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