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The Beauty of Coconut Milk Products!

[ These ladies are cuckoo for coconut milks! ]

Anyone who lives with food allergies and is dairy free (and not allergic) is set free with the varied possibilities of coconut milk products! Coconut milk comes from the coconut ( of course LOL ), and its extracted [blended with water] from 'meat' of matured coconuts, and strained through a fine mesh or cheese cloth. What makes this milk so creamy is the amount of coconut oils present in the coconut. Mmm-mmm!

Coconut milk is available in cartons like almond and other plant based milks in most stores but it's not the same as CANNED coconut milk, and (some store bought milks)may have other ingredients and flavorings added. ( I do like Silk Brand and Califia Farms occasionally) However, canned coconut milk can be made drinkable by simply diluting it ( to your preferred consistency) with water. The thickness of the canned coconut milk depends on the brand; some brands contain added gums as a thickener.

( I occasionally don't mind the 'supa' thick 'gummy' kind depending on what I'm doing with it, but I usually steer clear of most 'gums' for digestive reasons. Trader Joe's brand contains pure coconut milk)

It's super easy to just make your own coconut milk, simply add 1 part unsweetened shredded coconut (without nitrites/sulfites) to a blender ( I soak the coconut overnight sometimes just to soften and make easier to blend), and add 2-3 parts pure water and blend on high until all the coconut is 'milked' LOL! Strain through a fine mesh or cheesecloth. If you like flavors you can add what your heart's desire like vanilla, chocolate etc.. Voila, pure clean coconut milk for you and your family to enjoy! Consume within a few days as home made plant milks go bad quickly! It probably wont be a problem as these plant milks taste delicious!!

[ Your taste buds will thank you for coconut milk based dishes like these above; A Chia Pudding made with coconut milk * A homemade Coconut yoghurt * and an amazing banana smoothie made with coconut cream! ]

Coconut Cream is made from the coconut meat that's been simmered in water, 4 parts coconut to 1 part coconut resulting in a thicker even creamier product. The thick dense cream ( sort of like soft butter ) at the top of the cans of (canned) coconut milk is coconut cream. I absolutely love this stuff! It's fantastic for dairy free and or vegan cooking. Curries come to life, and cream soups are rich and full of flavor with only a light coconut taste in my opinion. :) Want to add an extra richness and creaminess to your smoothie drop in a spoonful (or two he he!) of this cream in and sit back and enjoy! Basically any recipe that requires a cream can be subbed with coconut cream, it's good being dairy free in this age!!

[ Pure deliciousness! ]

[ Look at that foam! Woot Woot! ]

[ See how dense the foam is, just using an inexpensive hand frother! ]

[ Lemon stopped by to have a cuppa' with me, but of course I did all the work because well, Lemon's above that! LOL!! ]

I've stopped buying coffee creamers and make my own using:

1 cup Almond Milk and 1/2 cup coconut cream ( I like the mix ) and it's rich and makes my coffee sing!!! This creamer also whips up into a coffee house worthy foam topper, even with my little 2 dollar milk frother!!! This mixture and my favorite Brazilian coffee has freed me from the chains of Starbucks and is easier on my wallet!

[ I found these at my local market, however in the future I will be making my OWN Condensed milk so that I can control the sugars! ]

Now we're getting to the canned 'make a rich dessert' coconut milks! :() Yep, I feel a dairy free key lime pie coming this holiday!! Sweetened Condensed coconut milk, is made by simmering CANNED coconut milk and a sweetener until nice and thick, ( if making your own this can take up to a half an hour or less.) Using condensed coconut milk will impart a more nutty-coconut flavor to your food so keep it in mind if you don't like the taste of coconut. However, you can make this with dairy milk and a sweetener as well. Grab some of this dairy free treat (or make some!) and get to making those holiday desserts!!

Condensed Milk:

1 can FULL FAT coconut milk

1/4 or less depending on your needs of sweetener like maple syrup or honey...

In a pan set on medium bring milk to a boil while stirring

Reduce heat to simmer, add your sweetener and stir to dissolve well

Simmer for 1/2 an hour or more until you get a nice thick milk

Keep in the fridge

[ Just as thick and creamy as traditional dairy Condensed Milk! It look's like Clawdie went in for a taste! :() In my next post the Crew ladies will demo my delicious ' Mistake Cookies made with evaporated milk, find out why I call them that soon! ]

[ Looks just like dairy based Evaporated Milk! ]

[ Clawd's and Willow show off our Coconut Evaporated milk. We haven't figured out what we'd like to do with it just yet LOL! Thai Coffee anyone?!]

Evaporated coconut milk has up to 60% of the water removed or 'evaporated' LOL! Both condensed and evaporated (store bought usually contain stabilizers, but your homemade versions won't so they must be refrigerated ) milks are shelf stable.

( after opened all of these milks should be refrigerated )

The main difference between the two is evaporated milk doesn't have added sugars or sweeteners, ( this brand however does contain guar gums) in fact if you add back in pure water (1-2 cups depending on thickness) you'll end up with a substitute milk for baking and cooking and perhaps a drinkable milk (although I'm not sure how it would taste, meaning fresh made or bought coconut milk for drinking will taste much better, but in a pinch, hey why not?!). This milk too, has a slight coconut-y flavor. I can't wait to make an attempt at a homemade ice cream soon!! :{}

[ Interesting fact; the Coconut isn't a fruit or a nut it's actually a seed! ]

I can't wait to make my own caramel made from this canned 'sweet' heart! I usually make dairy free caramel using Medjool Dates soaked and blended with the soak water and combined with sea salt and almond butter and it too is delicious! I sense a Thai Iced Coffee coming soon!! We have options now so let's take full advantage of them for rich and tasty dishes that rival their dairy based counter parts!

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