Creamy Orange Coconut Smoothie

The best part of making homemade coconut milk, in my opinion, is definitely using it toĀ make smoothies! We’ve tried several different smoothie flavor combinations in the past few months, but the boys’ very favorite recipe is what I usually call our Orange Creamsicle Smoothie. When we made our first batch of homemade coconut milk yesterday, Zander immediately wanted to try it in that recipe. The results were fantastic! In fact, I only got half of a glass because the boys slurped down their own before descending on mine when I wasn’t looking! I wish their mother had taught them better manners… Oh wait. šŸ˜‰

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Ingredients:

3 frozen bananas (I had these already peeled, but I often just toss the whole banana in the freezer and use a knife to peel it when I’m ready to use…either way works!)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh, homemade coconut milk (or whatever milk you prefer, but coconut is AWESOME in this)
1/2-3/4 cup cottage cheese (I use this to add a kick of protein and additional creaminess–processed dairy likeĀ cheeses and yogurts don’t botherĀ theĀ milk-sensitive tummies in ourĀ family likeĀ plain milk does)
Optional additions:
Sweetener to taste (our milk was sweetened, so I didn’t use any additional sweetener)
Ground flax seed (I often toss 2T or so into smoothies for the nutrition bonus, but I didn’t think about it for this batch)

Put all ingredients besides bananas into blender. Cut up bananas and add them to blender. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

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Creamy, fruity, delicious! No single flavor overpowers the others, and it was just the right level of sweet. Yum!

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Homemade Coconut Milk

The boys and I made a sad, sad trip yesterday. One of my favorite local grocery stores is going out of business.

We stopped by to see the reality with our own eyes during yesterday’s errand run, and it is undeniable–the bakery, deli, meat, seafood, and freezer sections are completely vacant. The produce section is apparently the next target, because the prices in that area were SLASHED. While I’m totally bummed about the store closing, I’m NOT bummed about getting a ton of apples for $0.99/lb, a 3lb bag of oranges for $1.99, a nice pineapple for $1.50, and two coconuts for $1 each!

Wait…two coconuts? How did those end up in my basket?

What in the world was I thinking? Oh…right…I was channeling my inner homeschool mom.

“Won’t this be a fun and educational thing to do?!? The kids will be fascinated to see the processing ofĀ a fresh coconut!”

I also had read on Spartan Race’s Food of the Day email about using fresh coconuts…so I guess it was just all working together to cause my impulse buy. šŸ™‚

Regardless of HOW I made it home with two coconuts, the fact remains that they were sittingĀ on my table.

First, we used a CLEAN screwdriver and a hammer to open the coconuts, and then we collected the coconut water from inside.

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Then we usedĀ the hammer to crack them open. A quick taste of the coconut meat and coconut water sent the boys running for a glass of water to get rid of the taste! Hmmm….that could be a problem.

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Naturally…I consulted Google, and came across this site which gave instructions for making coconut milk! Three out of four members of our family are sensitive to cow’s milk and usually drink almond milk instead, so coconut milk is certainly something that I was interested in trying.

Simplified instructions: Process the meat of one coconut, the coconut water from that same coconut, and two cups of boiling water for about 5 minutes. If desired, add sweetener to taste in the last minute of processing. I had to split this into two batches in my 7 cup food processor.Ā 

I knew that we would only be using the coconut milk for drinking and in sweet recipes (like smoothies), so I added a bit of sweetener to make it more tasty. One coconut produced almost a full quart of milk.

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Of course, it didn’tĀ ALL make it into the jar because the boys kept sneaking sips from the bowl with their straws while it was still warm from the processing… šŸ™‚ Sounds like success to me!

After squeezing out the milk, we wereĀ left with a bowl full of finely ground, slightly sweetened coconut meat. I’m going to use some of it in muffins, and I’ll freeze the rest for later use. You can also apparently dry it to make coconut flour, but since I had sweetened it I chose not to go that route.

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Overall, I’m thrilled with the results! I still have one more coconut to process, but I may try freezing the meat and coconut water until we’ve used up the first batch sinceĀ the milkĀ only lasts a few days in the fridge (no preservatives!). You can’t beat getting a quart of preservative-free coconut milk and about two cups of minimally processed coconut meat for $1!

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Check back tomorrow, when I’ll post my delicious new smoothie recipe featuring our fresh coconut milk!