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

Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

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Ever since I moved to Korea about a month ago, I’ve been craving all the things I can’t have – typical, right? Don’t worry, I’ve still been celebrating the fact that I’m living in Korea by eating lots of bibimbap, drinking soju on my nights out and embracing what appears to be the Korean motto: “put an egg on it”. But sometimes a girl just wants (among other things) a homemade chocolate chip cookie, you know? Unfortunately, Korean kitchens don’t come equipped with an oven (though they do come with a glorious gas stove!)  so I was stuck with a baking dilemma. My dilemma, of course, is that baking things is out of the question for now. So I turned to my favourite vegan blog, Oh She Glows, for wisdom and guidance, and did not come away empty handed. That woman has a whole category of raw/no-bake goodies for the hapless ex-pat.. or anyone else who wants to make raw treats!

Even though I’m still building up my kitchen and pantry with the help of iHerb.com and Daiso, the local dollar store chain, I miraculously had almost everything I needed to make Angela’s Raw Almond Butter Cups. I tweaked the recipe to suit my purposes and was soon licking the bowl like a heathen in the privacy of my little Korean home. These are positively delicious, and I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that they’re healthy too! Just lots of good quality ingredients, natural sugar and healthy fats. Nothing with an ingredient list I don’t recognize. I love that!

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Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients

For the peanut butter base:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (I used Earth Balance with flaxseed, it’s oustanding)
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

For the chocolate topping:

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp chocolate protein powder (this is the one I used)
  • pinch of salt

Directions

Using a hand blender or food processor, blend the oats and almonds into a fine flour powder.

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In a bowl, mix the blended flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, peanut butter, cinnamon and salt. It should form a thick, sticky dough.

You have a few choices for the mold! I used an empty plastic egg carton because I don’t have a muffin tin. But you could use a muffin tin, or just mold the dough using your hands and place them onto a flat baking sheet.

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Mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt and protein powder. Funny story: I don’t have cocoa powder right now so I thought I’d try using this chocolate protein powder instead and it actually worked out great! Feel free to substitute the protein powder for 2 tbsp of cocoa powder. I heated the coconut oil slightly in order to blend this chocolate sauce into a smooth liquid. I think that technically makes these not totally raw, so if you are strict about that then just blend it together as best as you can. When I make these again, I probably won’t melt the coconut oil because when it froze, it separated from the chocolate and made a little white layer on top. The coconut oil layer doesn’t change the taste at all, but they might be prettier without it.

Spoon the chocolate sauce on top of the peanut butter base. Put the tray into the freezer for about 45 minutes.

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Take them out and pop them out of the mold. Sprinkle them with cinnamon or cocoa powder! They melt pretty quickly so they’re best to eat right away and they should be kept in the freezer until they’ve all been eaten (approximately 35 minutes, by my estimations). Just stand there with the freezer door open, shoving them into your mouth, that oughta do it. These are creamy, and taste like Reese’s peanut butter cups. They’re salty and sweet and have a great texture – despite being kept in the freezer, they don’t really freeze, they stay chewy. Enjoy!

-Steph

Home-Brewed Kombucha

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There’s something so rewarding in reaching goals, re-skilling, and realizing your ability to complete tasks that I’m totally addicted to. I’ve been a fan of kombucha for a while now, but had been putting off brewing my own because it sounded pretty intimidating (I’m partial to RISE ginger kombucha when I buy it bottled).

Why drink it?
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that is full of probiotics that your intestines love (you’ve heard of those from yogurt commercials)! It’s good for your gut and a lot of people experience a boost in energy. Since it’s fermented, you need a yeast and bacteria colony to do most of the work.

What’s a SCOBY?
A SCOBY is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that looks like a gelatinous mushroom-jellyfish. The culture eats up all the sugar in the tea and produces a secondary baby culture that can be used in future brewing! Knowing this, I’ve left the brewing to professionals in the past, put-off by the unfounded fear that I would poison myself.

The opportunity to be a SCOBY-owner fell into my lap when a friend of mine left on vacation with her boyfriend. As the three of us share a love for things like blenders and, apparently, bacteria cultures, she dropped off their SCOBY at my place with a scribbly list of brewing instructions. All I had to do was brew some kombucha and I’d have my own little SCOBY baby.

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Love at first sight! I texted a lot of pictures of the SCOBY mamma to my friends and loved ones…

What You’ll Need

  • 1 SCOBY (They come in all different shapes and sizes… And size doesn’t matter)
  • Any tea you want (But try to stick to natural teas without additives. I used about 5 tablespoons of Zingiber Ginger Coconut from Teavana)
  • 1 cup of kombucha (either from an existing brew or store-bought)
  • 3 litres of distilled water
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • A glass 1 gallon container (Don’t use plastics or ceramics! Plastics can leach into your drink and ceramics are often coated with lead)
  • Something to cover it with – I used the lid, others will use a cheesecloth with a rubberband. Just make sure some air can get in.
  • A wooden spoon for stirring

Make sure everything you are using is clean as you don’t want anything you use to harm the living bacteria.

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Let’s do it!

  1. Steep your tea in the water. You can either cold-brew overnight or boil and steep for the recommended amount of time (depending on which tea you use) but you must make sure your tea is completely room temperature before adding it to your SCOBY (hot water will kill it).
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To steep the tea i used a big glass bowl and a regular tea infuser that fits in your coffee mug.

2. Stir in the cool tea with the existing kombucha, the sugar, and the SCOBY

3. Cover. You can start tasting your kombucha after 7 days but may choose to leave it longer if your prefer a more bitter drink. I left mine for about 9 before getting too eager, but some people prefer to leave it for 30!

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I spent a lot of time google-imaging to make sure that everything was going right with my brew. You’ll notice some clowdy-yeasty brown bits floating around, which is totally normal! What you need to be weary of is an extremely rare case of mold, which will look very clearly like the mold you find on bread. If you see this, everything needs to be disposed of, including the SCOBYs. But again, this is unlikely to happen

4. Carefully remove your mamma and (new!) baby SCOBY and put them in jars with some of the kombucha they just made. My brother Ian and I named the new baby Simba, which is short for symbiotic, clearly.

5. Divide your kombucha into clean glass jars and refrigerate.

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from left to right: kombucha, momma SCOBY, baby SCOBY, kombucha, kombucha

Some people love to mix in teas and juices with the finished product, but I really enjoyed the taste of the tea I chose! I’m looking forward to making kombucha again this summer. It was much easier than I anticipated—And isn’t the colour beautiful?

If you’re interested in getting started, you can buy starter kits online (for example, here) or you can go the cheaper route of getting a SCOBY from a friend or off of Craigslist.

Questions? Hit us up on Twitter @GreenGuineaPigs or in the comments below!

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