DIY Homemade Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

It’s no secret that here on Guinea Pigging Green we adore DIY things. We’ve talked about how to make your own deodorant (weird, but it works!), how to make some beauty products at home, and more recently how to start your own podcast! We love to DIY because it’s fun, it’s usually healthier and more natural, and it’s often cheaper.

Take this DIY homemade coconut milk, for example. I’m living in Ecuador now, where coconuts abound. My boyfriend’s uncle actually has a farm with a bunch of coconut trees (insert stunned-face emoji here) so for us, the coconuts were actually free. You might not be so lucky with the prices in Canada (sorry, Laura) but if you can get your hands on some I can promise the results are so worth it.

We’ve made this milk twice so far, and it has always been absolutely delicious. It’s creamy, it’s so delicious and it’s so fresh and healthy. It takes a lot of work, but that’s half the fun!

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

We used this recipe from Always Order Dessert for making coconut milk from fresh coconuts. I have a natural hemp nut milk bag similar to this one (I bought mine at Goodness Me in Burlington, Ontario) that we use to make milks like this one silky smooth. We used the leftover coconut pulp to make a delicious toasted coconut almond granola – recipe coming soon!

The first step is to split open your coconuts. This was accomplished by my boyfriend, a large kitchen knife and an old rolling pin. First, slice off the top part of the coconut (the knobbly bit). Then, you cut a triangle into the top of the coconut until you get inside the inner shell, and then drain the liquid into another container. Use the rolling pin to kind of hammer the knife through the coconut shell until it splits open. This takes a whole lot of trial and error, but there are also great videos you can watch to help you out.

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

Then, use a butter knife to pry the white meat away from the shell. I find it easiest to kind of go around the whole perimeter of the coconut using the knife to dig in between the shell and the meat, and often if the coconut is pretty fresh it will pop out whole.

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

Next, wash off your coconut. Boil 2 cups of water for every coconut you have (successfully) opened. Cut the coconut meat into small bite-size pieces – eat a couple of them! Into your blender go the coconut meat, the reserved coconut water, and the boiling water. Blend on high for at least 5 minutes and don’t be alarmed if your blender gets really hot. We need the heat in there to emulsify the fat from the coconut meat.

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

Then pour your mixture into your nut milk bag and squeeze the heck out of it! Alternatively you could use a very fine sieve. The resulting milk will be warm and delicious so just try to stop yourself from having a glass of it right away. Save the (relatively) dry coconut pulp to use in granola, cookies, or myriad other delicious things!

We usually freeze about half the coconut milk into ice cubes and then store in a plastic bag in the freezer for smoothies! The milk only stays good for a few days in the fridge, so drink it in a timely manner. I’m currently eating a sad, dry bowl of granola because we drank all our coconut milk… So enjoy it while it lasts! It’s awesome.

-Steph

How to Start a Free Podcast

At the risk of stating the obvious, we absolutely adore podcasts. Not only do we have our own, we have so many favourite shows that we spend a lot of our spare time listening to. We really believe in the medium of radio, and think that so much quality content is broadcast across the airwaves to share great information and perspectives with people. We also believe that there is so much room in the podcast world for new voices.

Our podcast is 100% DIY. And while we have spent some money on the show over the years (details below), it’s totally possible to make a podcast without spending a dime. If you think you have something to say, it should be easy for you to get your voice out there, which is why we’re writing this post. Here’s what we know about how to start a free podcast today!

1. Record Your Show

How To Start a Podcast For Free >> Guinea Pigging Green
We use the Samson Go Mic

Microphone: This is where spending some money might come in, as your show should have the highest-quality audio that you can afford. But don’t let this stop you from starting a podcast! When we started, we used the built-in microphone on our computers.

If you have a smartphone, you probably have a built-in audio recorder – on an iPhone, this is in an app called Voice Memos. If you’re in a quiet place, the audio quality on these apps can be really good, and better than on your computer. Podcasters are notorious for recording in closets, where the audio environment is especially good.

If you want to invest in your show, there are a few great microphones on the market at very reasonable price points. We both use a Samson Go Mic and absolutely adore them. They’re tiny enough to bring anywhere and deliver an absolutely awesome audio file. The Blue Microphones Snowball mic is also a great option, though a little bulkier. Both these microphones are plug-and-play, so you just hook them up to a USB port on your computer and hit record.

Content: Generally, it’s a good strategy to have an idea of the structure of your episode before you start recording. We usually each have a notebook page filled out with notes, ideas and sources before we record, and we discuss the loose structure of the show beforehand. When things are rolling live, it’s easy to get tongue-tied or awkward, so having a plan is helpful, even if it’s a flexible one.

We also have one theme or major idea per episode. Not only does this make it easier to title the episodes, it also makes it easier to share them and build enthusiasm. If your podcast is going to be answering questions, group the questions together by theme or just answer one question per episode. You want to make it easy for your listeners to get interested in your show, and to be able to go back and re-listen to the episodes that resonated with them.

Length: This is totally your choice! We try to make our episodes 30 minutes long, give or take ten minutes. While we have a few favourite podcasts that make hour-long episodes, 30-40 minutes has always felt like the perfect amount of time for our show. Pay attention to the length of your favourite shows, as well as the content of your show. But remember, there’s no magic number of minutes for a successful podcast – currently the #1 show on iTunes, Question of the Day, is about 11 minutes a show.

Intro + Outro: It’s a good idea to have the same introduction for every episode of your show. The audio on this should be especially clean and the speech should be consistent. We start every episode with our tagline, and then introduce the specific episode. Most successful shows follow a similar format. As an example, The Lively Show has a particularly great intro.

We usually work our outro into the end of our interview or conversation by shouting out to our social media handles and asking for comments and feedback.

2. Edit Your Show

Program: We use Garageband, a built-in Mac application that came with Steph’s computer. If you don’t have a Mac, there are many other free programs you can download to edit audio files, some examples are here.

Theme Music: Laura’s brother Ian was kind enough to compose and record our music, which we use at the beginning and end of our show. We have it saved as a mp3 file, which can easily be dragged and dropped into our Garageband project for each episode. If you’re not lucky enough to have theme music written for your show, there are lots of free jingles built into Garageband itself or tons available as a free download online.

Editing: You can see a detailed video screencast tutorial of how to edit a podcast in Garageband, and how to export a podcast as an mp3 on Steph’s blog right here or by watching the video above.

3. Upload Your Episode

How To Start a Podcast For Free >> Guinea Pigging Green
This is the File Manager on Bluehost

Hosting: Our website is self-hosted, which means we don’t use a service like wordpress.com or Blogger to run our blog. This is another place where spending money might come into the picture, if you want to do the same and host your blog with a hosting service. We have always used Bluehost to host this website and Steph’s blog, and she pays about $10 per month for the service. But you can have your website hosted for as little as $4 per month! Without a doubt, Bluehost comes highly recommended by us: we get unlimited uploads, have never once had a problem with our hosting, and don’t foresee ever switching hosts.

Dropbox: An alternative to paying for hosting is to get a free Dropbox account and upload your finished episode as an mp3 to your Dropbox folder. We have never used this method, but it’s free and this blog explains how to do it successfully right here.

Podcast Photo: You’ll also need to create a square image or graphic. Steph made ours in Photoshop Elements, but you could also just crop down a photo. Just make sure it’s the right dimensions and upload it to your preferred location, ie. your website or Dropbox. Try to make your photo bright and colourful, and make sure your podcast’s name is readable in the photo.

4. Make Your Podcast Feed

How To Start a Podcast For Free >> Guinea Pigging Green

Feed: The best, easiest way to actually make your mp3 files into a podcast feed is to use Podcast Blaster Feed Generator. It’s free and incredible simple to use, with a lot of customization options. Just create an account, fill in each of the fields, and once you’re finished you can download a custom RSS feed with all your podcast’s information. Upload the feed, called podcastblaster.xml by default, either to your Dropbox folder or on your self-hosted site’s file manager.

How To Start a Podcast For Free >> Guinea Pigging Green
Our iTunes photo and our podcast feed links

Tracking: Using FeedBurner is a great way to have statistics of your show for free. Make an account and enter the link of the feed you uploaded to your site (the link will end in /podcastblaster.xml), and Feedburner will give you another feed link that will look something like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/GuineapiggingGreen/. For more information on this process, check out this article. This will be the link that you submit to iTunes, and you’ll be able to see statistics for your show.

5. Submit Your Show to iTunes

This is the easy part! When you want to add a new podcast to iTunes, the only thing they need is the link to your XML file (RSS feed). If you’ve done it properly, all the information the database needs is in that file, so it only requires the one link, which will be the link Feedburner gave you.

Just go onto the iTunes store and click the Podcasts link at the top of the page. On the right hand side of the podcast page, there is a small menu called Podcast Quick Links, just click on Submit a Podcast. Once you’ve entered your feed link, it’ll process the application for a couple of days, and then your show will be live and people can subscribe! 

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This is a lot of information, and it might seem complicated at first glance. But let us assure you, creating a podcast is not hard, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to do it. Of course, there are also great and inexpensive services like Libsyn that will take care of all the feed creation and statistics for you, so you have lots of options!

Do you have any questions? If so, leave them in the comments below or ask away on Twitter or even on Instagram! We would love to help in any way we can. #podcastersunite!

-Steph

The Ridiculously Easy Trick to Removing Labels

The Easiest Way To Remove Labels

By the end of this page, you will be a label-removal WIZARD.

I’m about to share with you the easiest method to get those labels off without having to resort to scrubbing off wet sticky bits of paper!

I love re-purposing jars. I use them for storing things like hemp, goji berries, cacao, and lentils — or I use them to carry around leftovers and green smoothies.

The Easiest Way To Remove Labels

What you’ll need

  • a jar!
  • boiled water (enough to fill the jar above the label)
  • baking soda
  • white vinegar

Step 1: Carefully pour the boiling water into your jar, making sure to keep the label dry. Make sure to fill your jar above the label and wait a few seconds for the water to melt the adhesive from the inside.

The Easiest Way To Remove Labels

Step 2: Holding on to a corner of the label, peel the label off your jar. It should peel right off!

The Easiest Way To Remove Labels

Some labels will leave behind more glue than others. If your label leaves behind a residue, you’ll need to use your baking soda and vinegar.

Step 3: Holding the jar over the sink, sprinkle some baking soda on top and give it a squirt of vinegar. Having your vinegar in a spray bottle will make this really easy (you can even use it to clean the rest of your kitchen). Scrub everything off with a sponge or cloth that you wouldn’t mind getting a little gluey.

The Easiest Way To Remove Labels

Rinse off your jar aaaaand you’re done!

The Easiest Way To Remove Labels

Perfect right?

What are you going to use your new-found label wizardry for? Let us know here or on twitter @GreenGuineaPigs

–Laura