Natural Remedies – Coconut Oil to soften skin and other beauty purposes

24 Apr

I am a fan of natural remedies. I have not used a Tylenol or any other analgesic to take care of a headache in over 15 years. I have shared already some of the natural remedies I use to treat a cold, coughs, sleepless nights and even nausea.

We were discussing over on FaceBook some of our experiences with natural remedies and my friend Robin shared her new found appreciation for coconut oil. To her, it’s a miracle on a jar.

coconut_oil

I asked her to please share her experience and this is what she wrote for me and you all:

“I’ve used coconut oil in the past, but I’ve never been regular with it. Skin super dry, slather it on, forget about it until the next major emergency. A couple of weeks ago I decided to be regular, vigilant. It goes on my lips instead of lip balm, it gets rubbed in after the shower, still dripping wet, patting, not rubbing skin dry.

Oh my God, it is amazing. I am a 55 year old woman. My skin is as soft and smooth as a 20 year old. I have a patch of psoriasis on my calf. No, I don’t, not anymore. It’s gone, smooth, silky skin in its place. Also, my upper arms were bumpy. Kind of like teeny, tiny pimples, but not pimples. I’ve had them since my early 30′s. Gone.

And this, okay, it’s going to sound weird, but I have allergies. I rub a little of the oil inside my nose. The sneezing is down by half. Apparently, the oil traps the particles. Way less marauders get by to torture me.

I’m using organic, cold pressed, cooking grade coconut oil. It’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way. I really wish I’d done this earlier. I smell great all the time now. I find myself at work, sniffing my forearms.

I think I shall make a lip balm, using coco butter, coconut oil, and maybe a dash of peppermint (which I understand does not have the drying effects that camphor or menthol). My lips are the only part that haven’t reverted to youth. They’re still dry, but they’re not still crackly. I’m hopeful the oil will have the same effect it did on my skin, just that it will be a slower process. It’s helped a great deal, just not as much as it’s done on my skin, at least this far.

Today, it’s cold and dry out. I rubbed a tiny bit of oil on my palms, rubbed it into my hair. Shiny, not staticky hair resulted. Let me stress – tiny bit. I have thin, fine hair. If I’d used more, it have been weighted down like a helmet. The tiny bit though, it did good things.”

coconut-oil-DSC_1718
After this testimonial, I am giving coconut oil a try too. I was reading on the internet from trusted sources like WebMD, Dr. Oz and Body & Soul Magazine that coconut oil does have a positive anti-oxidant action on the body as it contains Vitamin E, which helps to reduce the effects of oxidation on the body. And even though it’s a saturated fat and should be consumed in moderation, it’s from a vegetable source.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, the higher the fruit/crop grows from the ground, the better it is for us… and coconuts grow real high atop palm trees. So don’t be discouraged to try coconut oil either for cosmetic uses like Robin has or for consumption. I’ve had great experience using coconut water to hydrate myself while training for marathons, to aid in constipation and I have also used coconut oil in cooking. Coconut oil has a high smoking point so it’s great for sautéing and cooking at high temperatures. I have even used it in place of melted butter in a vegan version of my bread budín recipe and a vegan version of crepes. Just be careful, always cut down a bit when using coconut oil to replace melted butter. If a recipe calls for X amount of melted butter, use about ¼ less coconut oil than what the recipe calls for butter. I do not know the logic for it, but it is a rule of thumb that has worked well for me.

I want to thank Robin for candidly sharing her experience with coconut oil with us… and to encourage you to always strive to go as natural as possible. It’s good for your body and spirit.

 

Raw Yuca Casserole

21 Apr

In Spanish there’s a saying that goes…  “lo prometido es deuda…” meaning that what you promise is a debt you need to repay.  And I promised you ever since our first ever KarmaFree Cooking Class I was going to give you the recipe for the Raw Yuca Casserole or Pastelón de Yuca Cruda and I had failed to do so… until now.

This recipe comes from Mai, Angie’s grandma.  And Mai, may she rest in peace, was who taught us all to make this delicious pastelón.  We were going to perform a tribute to her yesterday at the end of our Easter Retreat, but rain prevented us from it.  So instead, I am honoring her by publishing her recipe for posterity and for all to enjoy.

Mai Clemente

Mai Clemente – Angie’s Grandma

We chose this recipe for our 1st ever cooking class for several reasons: 1) it’s different, 2) it includes typical flavors of Puerto Rico and 3) this is very similar to tasting the flavors of a yuca pastel, very typical during Xmas time, but without the effort of making into individual pasteles.

Don’t get discouraged by the name of the dish…  the cool think about this pastelón, different from other pastelones or other yuca recipes I have shared with you in the past is that you do not need to cook the yuca in advance to make this recipe.  The yuca is prepared raw and then cooked after it’s assembled as a casserole.  Check it out…

First Ever KarmaFree Cooking Class Menu

RAW YUCA CASSEROLE

7 lbs raw yuca
Annato Oil
2 tbs canola oil for sautéing
2 tbs salt, divided
1 can of coconut milk
2 cups of textured soy protein
1 jar of green olives and capers, pitted
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 packets of tomato sauce
½ cup of sofrito or recaíto
2 tbs Dry scallions
2 Bay leaves
 
  1. First you need to re-hydrate the textured soy protein in about 2 cups of water. For approximately 30 minutes.  After the soy has plumped, drain it and squeeze it dry well. And keep to the side.
  2. While the soy rehydrates, we prepare the yuca…
  3. Peel the yuca and take off the center hard vein that runs thru it.  Cut it into long pieces that are not too skinny.  Wash it well and grind it using either one of these implements – a Champion grinder, a hand grinder or the grinder attachment on a KitchenAid mixer.  Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible using a large colander or even a clean cotton towel, because this yuca liquid makes the masa bitter.
  4. When the yuca is ground and squeezed dry, season it with the annatto oil, 1 ½ tbs of salt and the coconut milk.  Mix it all well so it has a beautiful yellowy color.  Set aside.
Photo provided by Adriana from GreatFood 360

Photo thanks to Adriana from GreatFood 360

Yuca Cruda, Casserole

Photo thanks to Adriana from Great Food 360.

5.  Now we move on to making the filling…  In a large skillet, add the canola oil and cook all together the olives and capers, sofrito, recaíto, the 2 bouillon cubes, the tomato sauce, dried scallions, bay leaves and ½ tbs of salt.  In the end, add the drained soy and mix everything together.  Allow to cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Stir every once in a while to avoid the soy mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

6.  Now we put it all together to make it look like a pastelón…  Divide the yuca mixture in 2 halves.  Spread one half on the bottom of a 9”x 13” baking dish.  You won’t need to pre-grease it because the yuca masa has annatto oil in it.  But you can if you prefer.

Pastelon Yuca 2

Photo thanks to Adriana from GreatFood360

7.  Spread the soy mixture over the first layer of ground yuca as evenly as possible.

8.  Cover the soy mixture with the second half of the ground yuca.

Photo thanks to Adriana from GreatFood360.

 

9.  Cover the baking dish using a piece of parchment paper secured on top with a layer of aluminum foil.  Bake in a 350F over for approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven.  Start checking the pastelón at the 30 minute mark and uncover it to make sure the consistency is cooked and the top dries and browns a bit.

10.  Let is rest for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven so that the yuca sets and it’s easier to portion and serve into pieces.

 

This is one of my favorite pastelones.  You can make the filling with anything you would like.  I personally like to substitute part of the soy protein with mixed vegetables.  It’s a way to give variety to the recipe.

I hope you like it as much as Angie and I we like it too… and thanks Mai for leaving us with a little piece of you though your cooking.

KarmaFree Cooking’s 3rd Vegetarian Cooking Class

12 Apr

Celebrate the moms in your life with a delicious breakfast in bed feast, filled with lots of love and great vibes.  This will be KarmaFree Cooking’s 3rd vegetarian class…  we are so excited you keep us asking for more!!!!

Come over to our kitchen and learn some easy-to-make vegetarian recipes that are all delicious.  You’ll learn also some new techniques and ingredients you can integrate into your daily vegetarian lifestyle.

 

KarmaFree Cooking's Vegetarian Class

 

The menu for this cooking class will be:

  • Tofu Scramble with Mixed Vegetables
  • Mustard Roasted Breakfast Potatoes
  • Fruit Salad and some ideas on how to best combine fruits for maximum nutrition
  • Breakfast Smoothie and some information on add-ins you can incorporate to boost the power of that breakfast drink
  • Carrot Muffins with Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting

Class will be held in Spanish, but if you are not fluent, we can certainly accommodate any English-speaking students.  Just let us know in advance to be prepared with recipe handouts, etc.

When:  Saturday, April 26       9AM – 12:30PM

Where: Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand,  824 Calle 13 SO, Caparra Terrace, San Juan, PR

Instructors:  Madelyn Rodríguez and Angie Cruz

Donation: $35

Bring your apron, pen, paper and lots of interest to learn something new… and impress your mom on Mother’s Day or any other day with your new vegetarian cooking skills.

Spaces are limited… so please visit the event in FaceBook and click GOING so we know how many people are interested.

For more information, please call 787-273-0236 or email me at karmafreecooking{at}yahoo{dot}com.

Vote for KarmaFree Cooking @ The Kitchn!!!!!

20 Feb

Yep…  we’ve been nominated again.

For second year in a row, KarmaFree Cooking has been nominated by a fan for The Homies Awards.  These awards are organized by the website The Kitchn and they want to recognize cooking/lifestyle blogs in different categories.

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We’ve been nominated in three of those categories:

Best Daily Read Cooking Blog

Best Blog from Abroad

Best Health Diet Blog

 

All you need to do is click on the links above, register at The Kitchn website using your Facebook or Twitter account and scroll down to find KarmaFree Cooking.  Click on the +1 button so you can vote for KarmaFree Cooking.  I don’t have lots of votes yet…  so I NEED YOUR HELP.  Let’s bring some recognition to vegetarian blogs!!!

I appreciate your help… and appreciate if you help us spread the word.  Tell your friends how much you enjoy KarmaFree Cooking.  Voting closes on Saturday morning so time is of the essence.

Gracias mil!!!!

A new Salad to start 2014

18 Feb

This was a post I should have written to publish early in January. Well, it’s already early in February and this will have to do.

This salad was part of our first KarmaFree Cooking class last December. And what’s different about a salad you should ask… well, besides trying to instill into people’s minds the importance of eating a large green raw salad every day, we wanted to introduce some new and different ingredients people might not use raw in a salad. Can you pick them out in this picture here???

A New Salad

Scroll down to see if you guessed right…

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Raw pumpkin and raw beets… They’re usually eaten cooked, but these are sweet and delicious additions to any salad.

I know that all you folks who are going thru winter might not crave something cold and raw like salad when it’s cold outside… but eating a healthy portion of raw veggies each day will certainly keep the cold and doctors away.

Here are the components of our Salad:

Green leaf lettuce
Baby Spinach
Alfalfa Sprouts
Yellow Bell Pepper
Shredded Pumpkin
Shredded Carrots
Shredded Beet
Sliced Red Onion

Toss all the ingredients in your desired proportions together in a salad bowl. Dress with your favorite dressing. May we suggest a healthy serving of our Parsley Garlic Dressing.

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Parsley Dressing…. GONE!!!!!

May your winter be pleasant and your salad bowl is always full.

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