Making Coconut Flour

Since embarking on this mostly grain-free diet, I have done some experimenting with different types of flours. I made some almond flour a few weeks ago, and it worked well. I made some almond flour waffles and some very tasty almond bars.
Then one afternoon, I happened a recipe for these gorgeous looking cookies using both almond and coconut flour. I figured I would run to the store and buy some, but at $5.99/lb I thought I better figure out if I could make it instead!  Well, it turns out that its actually pretty easy to make coconut flour and along the way I got some pretty tasty coconut milk out of the deal.

I recently lost my phone. Sadly, the pictures of my coconut flour experiment were on that phone ::sniffle:: So, you will just have to imagine that I have posted, within this blog, some brilliantly composed photography that will make you all want to go and try to make your own coconut flour, ok? Its all about imagination, folks.

  • I began with 2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes in a large bowl.
    To find unsweetened coconut you will likely have to go online or find a health food store like Whole Foods. Most grocery stores carry only the sweetened coconut flakes.
  • I used a 4:1 ratio of water and coconut.
    So, I poured 8 cups of water into the bowl with the coconut.
  • I allowed the coconut to soak in the water overnight.
    You don’t have to wait that long, but I wanted to give it extra time.
  • In the morning I strained out the water (which was now coconut milk), using my cheesecloth and wire rack.
    So if you want to make coconut milk, just follow the above steps. Super easy! I actually wasnt a huge fan of the taste and consistency of the coconut milk so I used it in baking/cooking rather than for drinking.
  •  After the water had been completely strained out, I spread the soaked coconut onto a baking tin and put it in the oven on 200 degrees F until it was completely dry.
    You could also use a dehydrator if you wanted to. 
  • Once it was dried out, I put it into my chopper (since I dont have a processor) and ground it as finely as possible.
     I tried using my coffee grinder as well but…I killed it in the process. ::moment of silence::
  • I had to grind the coconut in small batches since my chopper is small, but such is life.In the end I had some nice coconut flour and I made those cookies I mentioned above! They were very tasty.

    The truth is, I wish I had something that ground the flour a lot finer. The stuff I made was definitely useable but not as fine as I would have liked.  However, if you have a food processor or a high quality blender, you would probably get some great results.

So there you have it. Making coconut flour is actually a very easy endeavor and it saves a lot of money. If you are looking for a grain free alternative, or just a more delicate flavor in your baked goods, this is worth a shot.

 

Health Benefits of Oil of Oregano

I have always enjoyed oregano. It adds a nice light spicy flavor doesn’t it? Especially to mediterranean dishes like homemade greek pizza! Yum! I have a nice big oregano plant in my herbin garden and was trying to think of a way to harvest and use it.

Then I was diagnosed with Candida and my whole outlook on oregano changed.

Candida Albicans is a type of internal yeast/fingus that is necessary to a healthy digestive system and gut flora. However, when that healthy balance is compromised (whether through a food intolerance, leaky gut issue, or strong medications) candida often gets out of control and takes over the gut and eventually proliferates throughout the body. It can cause numerous health issues and is often left undiscovered for years. See, I started getting this weird rash on my hand and arms. I chalked it up to eczema or some type of allergy.  But after a few months of no progress I knew something internal needed to be dealt with. Through a LOT of reading and research I diagnosed myself with an candida overgrowth.  And yes, I also went to our family doctor for a more professional diagnosis. He confirmed my suspicions. I have 22 out of a possible 34 strains of this stuff! can you say YUCK!?

So, I continued reading and researching. I literally spent hours finding articles, websites, and books on candida, the anti-candida diet, the cause of candida, treating candida…etc etc.   I started taking a number of anti-fungal herbs like garlic, grapefruit seed extract, coconut oil, and caprylic acid. I found some good probiotics and eliminated all diary, starch, grains, and sugars from my diet. Trying to starve out these suckers.

As I researched I kept running into oil of oregano and its healing properties. I found a lot of information on its ability to help rid the body of candida, so naturally I was curious.

Here are some of the health benefits of oil of oregano:

  • Anti Bacterial
  • Anti Viral
  • Anti Fungal
  • Anti Oxidant
  • Anti Inflammatory
  • Anti Parasitic
  • Anti Allergenic
  • Helpful for digestion
  • Aids in balancing hormones in women
  • Can help in healing skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, and athlete’s foot. Assists the body in fighting the flu and colds. It can be used to treat bacterial infections like E Coli, Giardiasis and food poisoning.
  • Many studies have found that it is a very effective pain killer and many use it to treat migraines and other chronic pain.

Essential oils a.k.a. “oil of ___” have been used medicinally throughout history. Today many people use a variety of essential oils for their cooking, beauty, fragrance and health benefits. Most common essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus are distilled with hot water, steam, and condensation. You can also use ethyl alcohol or a carrier oil to extract the oils.

I decided that this would be a perfect way to use up some of that oregano that was staring me in the face!! It was time for an herbin experiement!

I found a number of recipes online for how to make your own oil of oregano. I decided to use olive oil as my carrier oil because I had it on hand and it seemed simple enough.

Here is the method I used to make my Oil of Oregano, or OoO. :)

  • I picked about 1/2 cup of oregano leaves from my herbin garden. I put it in a little jar so you can see how much I picked. Pretty huh?

Fresh Oregano

  • I then washed the oregano and put it into a large plastic bag. I used a large wooden spoon and my rolling pin to crush and beat the leaves in the bag. Bruising the leaves causes the oil to bleed out a bit.
  • I then warmed some olive oil in a pan of boiling water (not on the stove) until the oil was warmed thoroughly.
  • I poured the warmed oil into the bag with the crushed oregano leaves, mixed it all up together, and then poured it the oregano/oil mix into a small mason jar. I covered the jar and then set it in a cool dark place for 2 weeks to “steep”.

Helping to extract the oils

  • I shook the oil up every 3 days or so just to make sure there was no settling and to peek in on my project.

After 2 weeks I took the jar out and strained the mixture through a cheese cloth. Well actually it was a mesh-like pink favor bag. But that’s beside the point. I poured the oil through the cloth and then squeezed every last ounce of oil from the leaves.

Leaves after oil is strained out

  • I then put the light green oil into a clean jar for use. And there you have it. Oil of Oregano!

    Oil of Oregano, folks!

 

Keep in mind that this stuff is rather potent so its best to take only 2-4 drops per day in a glass of water, juice or another beverage. You can also purchase capsules if you wish. It can also cause skin irritation if used topically (remember this is an extract so its very concentrated) so test a small area of skin before applying to a larger area. If you dont want to make your own Oil of Oregano, but are interested in its many health benefits you can purchase it online here.

**Pregnant women should not take oil of oregano as it is a uterine stimulant. If you are breastfeeding please discuss it with your care provider. Many women have seen a drop in their milk supply from taking Oil of Oregano. **