Amaretto Strawberry Pudding

Make that Amaretto Strawberry Coconut Pudding.

Don’t you love simple and fast recipes?  These days, where it seems like I need to schedule time to breathe, they are precisely what I need.  This recipe is simple, fast, healthy, and delicious.

What you need:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (I suggest you buy a few cans, put them in the fridge unopened, and forget about them for while.  When you decide to use them, the liquid will be separated from the cream.  All you have to do is drain and you are left with the thick, rich, drool-worthy coconut cream)
  • 1 package firm silken tofu (I use organic Mori-Nu)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • Strawberries (you decide the amount, I used about a cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • Shredded coconut (I don’t consider this optional, but it’s to put on top so you decide)
  • Food processor

Step 1:  Blend all the ingredients in your food processor.

Step 2: Put in a pretty glass.

Step 4: Top with coconut.

Step 3: Take pretty pictures.

Step 4: Put it all away.

Step 5: Oh, who am I kidding?  EAT IT!

On another note, I have to say a special thank you to my dearest and darling-est (it’s a word now) friend, Becky, for keeping Skinnyfat Girls alive while I have been MIA.  I especially love her post for Skinnyfat’s birthday, as she summarizes perfectly our health journey this past year. 

Have a happy week!

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Vegan Chocolate Truffles

I’m a girl who worships chocolate, enjoys fancy dinners, and is head-over-heels in love. Funny thing is, I couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day.

No, really!

When I want chocolate, I eat it. When I want a fancy dinner, I make it. And when I want to celebrate love, well…I do. Every day of my life is a celebration of love in one way or another.

However, this Valentine’s Day is different. Special. Because this year I have a new love: you! That’s right, I wanted to make you guys something really special this year to show you how much I appreciate you as readers. Something chocolate. And creamy.

Fine, I’m totally lying. It sounded nice and everything, but who am I kidding? This is my Valentine’s Day gift to me! Sure, you guys get a recipe, but it’s really only a couple of pictures and words on a page; I’m the one with truffles in my freezer! Twelve of them, to be exact (originally 14), and I’m going to eat every single one all by myself. The hubs will never know they’re in there. In his experience, the freezer only holds boring things like vegetable stock and edamame beans. He’s got no need for those things, meaning he won’t open the freezer, meaning these smooth, silky, chocolately, melt-in-your-mouth truffles are all mine!

I love Valentine’s Day.

Vegan Chocolate Truffles
Makes 12 – 14 2-inch truffles

4 squares (4 ounces) unsweetened baker’s chocolate
The thick top half of a can of full-fat coconut milk
3 T agave (or more if desired)
1/2 t vanilla
1 T coconut oil
Few grinds of sea salt, to tase
Shredded coconut/chopped nuts/cocoa powder

Important Note: Only use full-fat canned coconut milk that has been sitting, unmoved, untouched, and unshaken for several days. I recommend a week or so. I had great results with this recipe, but two friends both ended up with super melty chocolate that never hardened. The difference was that they had just bought theirs, while mine had been sitting in the cabinet for 2 weeks! This time allows the thick cream to separate from thin milk. When adding the cream to the recipe, scoop it out of the can, do NOT pour (you don’t want to mix in any of the thin milk).

Other note: You can use 4 ounces of semi-sweet or 60% chocolate chips, though the chocolate flavor will not be as intense as the unsweetened baking squares and there will also be added sugar, so keep that in mind. As written, the chocolate taste is quite strong, so if you’re not a fan of strong chocolate you may even want to use milk chocolate.

1. Melt the chocolate squares in a pan on the stovetop on very low heat. When the chocolate is completely melted, scoop out the top half of the can of coconut milk into the pan and stir gently until completely mixed.

2. Add the agave, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt and stir thoroughly. Continue to stir over low heat until completely smooth. Scrape the chocolate into a bowl and put in the freezer for 3o minutes.

3. Remove the chocolate from the freezer – it will be hard enough to form into a ball and soft enough to, well, form into a ball! If you leave it out for too long it may start to stick to your hands, in which case you can put it back in the freezer for a few minutes. Form the chocolate into balls, approximately 2 inches in diameter.

 4. Fill a bowl with shredded coconut, nuts, or cocoa powder. Roll the balls of chocolate in the coconut or other toppings until completely covered.

You’re done! Store the truffles in the freezer – I promise they will stay soft and creamy! And despite all of the coconut ingredients, the chocolate itselft has no coconut flavor whatsoever, so you can cover your truffles with whatever toppings you like. I chose shredded coconut because a. I’m an addict, and b. that’s pretty much all I had in the house.

Enjoy an intense chocolate experience! You may even feel generous enough to share these with a loved one. I definitely encourage the truffle-sharing; these are made with whole, healthy ingredients but they SHO AIN’T low calorie. Indulge in one or two but don’t get carried away. I am all about love on Valentines Day, but not love handles.

Have a great holiday, folks! Don’t forget to share the love!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Coconut Curry with Seitan

I haven’t always been a fan of curry. Until recently, my thoughts on curry were “this is tolerable” at best and “I’ve gotta spit this out or barf” at worst. I don’t know what in heaven’s name possessed me to make my own batch of curry, but I think it was the combination of happening upon a recipe that called for a full can of coconut milk (which I’m completely obsessed with) and the fact that Elesha left curry powder at my house randomly (which I have conveniently forgotten to remind her of since May). Besides that, I’d never experimented with Indian food and thought it was time to expand my horizons.

I made this recipe for the first time about six months ago and fell in l-o-v-e. Coconut milk tends to do that to me. What really puts this curry over the top is the long list of vegetables and herbs; it’s a vitamin jackpot! Did I mention the cilantro? Lots of it. YES. Add garlic, basil, and ginger and it’s one giant blast of flavor after another!

So much freshness goin’ on.

Coconut Curry with Seitan
Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

2 T coconut oil (or olive)
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 T finely minced ginger
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 bay leaf
1 lb seitan (or meat of choice), cut into strips
1 cup white wine
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 t salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 t curry powder
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion

Note: If you’re a seitan newbie, you can follow this recipe for a very soft texture, or use my current favorite seitan recipe, which is kneaded to create a wonderful meaty texture (that’s the secret: kneading activates the gluten!). I plan on posting the updated seitan recipe in the future. Also, don’t hesitate to use another meat substitute, chicken, fish, or whatever type of meat suits your fancy. Whatever it is, it will be smothered in curry in the end and entirely unrecognizable!

Instructions:

1. Sautee garlic, ginger, onions, carrots, peppers, and bay leaf in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the white wine and coconut milk and cook for 5 more minutes. While this is cooking, get your seitan or meat ready. Cut into thin strips and grill in a separate pan until thoroughly cooked and browned.

3. Add the cilantro, basil, salt, cayenne, curry powder, and chives and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and set aside to cool. Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Return to pan and heat just until hot.

4. Add seitan or meat of choice to the curry and mix well. Serve immediately over rice or with other great Indian fare! Don’t forget to sprinkle extra cilantro on top. Extra cilantro, always. Another dash of cayenne wouldn’t hurt, either.

If you prefer, you can leave the curry chunky rather than blending it at the end. That’s actually how I made it the first time and served it over salmon and potatoes. I love it both ways! The blended version is thick and more traditional with a deep curry flavor, while the chunky version is rather thin and light and retains some of the individual vegetable flavors.

I suggest serving immediately after adding the seitan. I let it sit for a while so it would absorb some of the flavor, but after just a few minutes it had absorbed almost all of the curry! Look out, seitan is a sponge. Nevertheless, it was delicious!

Whether you’ve never tried Indian food or have loved it all your life, put this curry on your “to-make” list! You won’t regret it!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Coconut Chai Cupcakes

I love chai.  I love cupcakes.  I love coconut.

Sometimes I just have to combine things I love (i.e. cheesecake and hot chocolate, spinach and mint chocolate chip) and sometimes you just have to trust me on it. 

Coconut Chai Cupcakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (just blend rolled oats into powder – easy peasy!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup concentrated chai tea (1 cup hot water, 4 tea bags)
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 350 and then mix all of your dry ingredients together. 

You will, of course, need to have chai.

Steep your four chai tea bags in hot water for about 2-3 minutes.

It should be a nice dark brown when it’s done.

Now you can add the chai and the rest of your liquid ingredients into your dry mixture.

Line your muffin tin with liners and pour your batter.  I like to put my batter into my liquid measuring cup so it’s easier to pour.

Place your cupcakes in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Then you can remove, brush with agave nectar or maples syrup, and top with more shredded coconut, then bake for about 5 more minutes.

Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and enjoy!

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Kookoo for Coconut

Because the days of being kookoo for Cocoa Puffs are long gone.  In fact, most breakfast cereals offer the body a whole lotta nothin’ to be crazy about. Enriched flour? Check. Multiple forms of corn? Check. Giant list of chemicals, preservatives, and additives? Check, check, check. Oh yeah, don’t forget sugar – lots of it. Obviously going kookoo for coconut makes a whole lot more sense (it being a superfood and all). Clearly it’s not a cereal substitute, but it IS a marvelous milk substitute.

I will do my best to contain my over-the-top enthusiasm for homemade coconut milk and spare you an abundance of capital letters and exclamation points  going on in my brain when I think about it. Besides, any attempt at a description is futile because it is quite simply TOO DELICIOUS FOR WORDS. I could tell you all kinds of good ways to use it, but who am I kidding? The best thing to do with coconut milk is drink it in it’s pure and perfect form. In my humble opinion, pouring it over cereal or adding it to a recipe would be a waste of the most delectable nectar known to mankind. I have never been one to drink a glass of milk by itself, but now I’m a complete addict. I’m hooked on the stuff. My name is Becky and I’m a milkaholic. Cocoholic?

Apparently my over-the-top enthusiam cannot be silenced.

The recipe is simple, as you only need 2 – 3 ingredients: coconut, water, and sweetener, if desired. But simple does not mean easy, and this simple recipe takes me over an hour to make, but it’s totally worth it. I realize there are plenty of coconut milk options out there. I tried the So Delicious brand and it straight up tasted like water. Silk coconut milk is tasty, but also contains many foreign, hard-to-pronounce ingredients. As you know, I really try to avoid those.

So, if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with the most incredible coconut milk you’ve ever tasted.

Homemade Coconut Milk (of the gods)

Ingredients:
2 coconuts
Water
Sweetener of choice (optional)

Tools:
Hole-poking device
Hammer
Sharp Spoon
Blender
Mesh Strainer
Pitchers/Containers/Bowls (to strain the milk into)
Cheesecloth or Paper Towel (optional)

Step 1 (and quite possibly the most important step): Choose two of the heaviest and lightest-colored coconuts you can find. Shake them; the more juice you hear sploshing about, the better. Coconut selection is a tricky business because it can look perfectly fine on the outside and be completely rotten on the inside. Coconuts are not a commonly purchased grocery item, meaning they can easily sit on the shelf for months without anyone realizing they’re bad. Case in point:

They just LOOK innocent. Upon cracking them, I found one to be orange and gooey, another black and moldy, and the last one was pure white...and pure alcohol.

Step 2: Drain the coconut water into a container. There are three little spots at the top of the coconut; one of them is softer than the others and you can easily poke a hole through it. Cool, right? I never knew this until my Colombian husband informed me of it. Americans need to get more familiar with coconuts. The hole-poking may take some creativity on your part. I’ve been using a kabob skewer! Oh, and it’s okay if the water has little bits and pieces of stuff in it because you’re going to strain it later.

Step 3: Break open the coconuts. This is the most fun part of the milk-making process. I like to tie each of them in a plastic bag and throw it at the sidewalk with all the strength I can muster. After it’s broken, go at the pieces with a hammer until they’re all smaller and more manageable.

Step 4: Remove the meat from the shell. This is harder than it sounds. I take a sharp spoon, dig, and pry. I’ve read online that you can steam the coconut and it will separate from the shell, but I’ve yet to try it out. I used to peel off the light brown skin but found that it lengthened the process and didn’t make a difference in the flavor.

Step 5: Put half of the coconut pieces in the blender and cover with the reserved coconut water. Blend very, VERY thoroughly. Be patient, your ultimate goal here is a liquid. And remember that the longer you blend, the more flavor will be extracted from the coconut meat. Then, strain the coconut mixture into a bowl. Press with a spoon to get all of the liquid out, leaving the coconut fluffy and dry.

Step 6: Put the fluffy meat back in the blender and cover with drinking water. Add sweetener, to taste, if you like. I use a little bit of Stevia. Blend thoroughly a second time and repeat the straining process. Repeat the blend, strain, blend, strain process with the other half of your coconut pieces.

Step 7 (optional): Transfer the dry coconut meat to a cheesecloth or strong paper towel, wrap tightly, and squeeze out every last drop of milk. This is not necessary, but I like to get the most milk that I possibly can.


You can use the leftover coconut in pancakes, muffins, or other baked goods, but it usually ends up sitting in my fridge unused, so I’ve stopped saving it.



I made a little over half a gallon with two coconuts. Remember that because this milk contains no strange additives or preservatives, it will separate and small clumps will form. Stir before drinking and enjoy the clumps – they’re smooth, buttery, and my very favorite part. Chill before serving and sip to your heart’s content. Or guzzle. Either way, embrace your new addiction.

Enjoy!

~Becky, a coconutty skinnyfat girl

Ode to My Freezer

To celebrate 28 days in a row of triple digit weather here in North Texas, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to my freezer, which bringeth forth all cold things. My current goal is to get skinny enough to actually climb up inside of my freezer and take a nap comfortably. Only 95 pounds to go and I’m IN. So far only my head can fit, but the best moments of the summer have been when my head is in that cold, cold freezer.

I’ve always preferred to eat fruit at room temperature. Lately, however, room temperature fruit slowly makes its way into the fridge and, inevitably, into my beloved freezer. Then into a smoothie. Then my mouth. After it’s all swallowed, it sits in a beautiful, cold lump in my belly until it melts and I have to start the process all over again. Sometimes I get too full for another smoothie, and that’s when my head goes in the freezer for a bit, usually until my eyes are good and dry. Then I shut my eyes and let my lips dry out. Then freezer time is over.

But somehow, the hot always comes back. It’s always there, waiting. If it wasn’t for my blessed freezer I would have no escape, no refuge. So here’s to you, freezer. Keep doin’ yo thang.

DELICIOUS STUFF MY FREEZER MAKES
(starting with my favorite and ending with my most favorite, recipes included)

Banana Soft Serve

Ingredients: Banana
Instructions: Freeze, blend.

Freezy Mango Delight

That's coconut on top, but I like to pretend it's snow.

Ingredients: Mango, coconut milk
Instructions: Freeze, blend.

VirgiVegan Pina Colada

Ingredients: Pineapple, coconut milk
Instructions: Blend the heck out of it. Die and go to heaven.

Okay, I realize I’m being kind of a smart aleck calling these “recipes”, but it’s literally impossible to make this difficult. Freeze your favorite fruits and blend them with your favorite milk. Sweetener is optional, straws are NOT. Smoothies make summer a little more bearable and a LOT more delicious. And don’t forget to thank your freezer for all of its hard work!

~Becky, a skinnyfat girl

DISCLAIMER: I’m not actually trying to lose 95 pounds. That was sarcasm.

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