Life hacks… How to make Coconut oil, Coconut Milk, and Coconut Butter!!

You put the lime it the coconut and drink ’em both up. Ah, I love that song, it makes me want to dance. My love for coconut is just as strong… and it doesn’t have to be in a Pina Colada for me to enjoy it! But that is one of my fav ways! 😉

Just yesterday I found a video that will give me an even greater love for this sweet treat! I am seriously giddy and I can not wait to go out and buy a coconut or two!!

What is stopping me you ask? Well, for the third, or maybe the fourth day in a row is raining cats and dogs and I am feeling a bit achy with a sore throat.  Who knows. Maybe I will venture out in just a bit when the rain lets up.

Oil pulling the strong come of an ancient Ayurvedic practice is all the rage right now. I admit I have become a follower. The Hindu people are really savvy, what proof do I have of that? The Kama Sutra is actually a part of their Bible! HELLLOOO!

I have made oil pulling a part of my morning routine for over a month. My teeth are slightly and I mean just slightly whiter. But I continue to do it because it is improving my gum health.  My gums used to bleed every time I brushed. I noticed a few days ago, they hadn’t been bleeding at all for a week or more.

For the last six months or more I have been reading about the benefits of coconut oil on hair and skin, and of course in food! While I was home at Christmas, I bought a large jar of it. It is impossible to find here in Serbia as far as I have heard. It is an hours drive to find coconut milk, and I had never even heard of coconut butter before. But!!! I just found a video on how to make it. I am thrilled.

I can’t wait to buy a coconut and give it a go. Especially since the oil I  have been using is really poor quality. There is no coconut aroma or taste, and I wonder what process it went through to lose all that yumminess. I am sure it wasn’t the healthiest way to go. But it was my first time buying it.

Now, I can do it all myself and I know it will be healthy!

If you can find a coconut you can make the oil or butter or milk! Get to it. No more excuses friends!

Bonus Classic Coconutty Music!

Ah, a slumber party like that would be awesome! Of course a long lie in the next day would be key as well. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

I made some yummy soup today. This is the second time and I love it! The only thing that could make it better is Jasmine rice. One of the down falls of shopping small town Serbia.

I am one of those people who uses recipes as a guide line. As an expat, that sort of fluidity is an asset as not all ingredients are at my reach in this town or country!

I found the recipe on Pinterest here, my go to for recipes nowadays.

First, I unthawed the 2+ cups of pumpkin I had gotten from Deda’s garden last fall.  The recipe called for a cup and a half.  For the rest of the ingredients I upped the  amount called for.

The pumpkin or tikva as it is called in Serbian was left over from  last falls garden harvest here in Knjazevac. The first half was used to make this soup the first time and a nice pumpkin bread. Yum! Fresh pumpkin is great for cooking and freezing later. I prefer freshly thawed to freshly cooked. It is smoother less fibrous and needs less blending.

The recipe on pinterest calls for 2 minced cloves of garlic minced. I used four. I like garlic a lot.

It also calls for  1 to 2 teaspoons of grated ginger. I used about two thumbs of fresh ginger/dzumbir and diced before sauteing.

I don’t have sirachi or cayenne pepper. I used two of the tiny super spicy peppers they call mouse poops in Thailand. The proper name is Bird’s eye chili. This made my soup super spicy. Last time I only used one. I felt like living on the wild side today.

No broth to be found here so I used the spice here used in all soups and lots of other dishes. Zacin C or Vegeta will do. It is the same as throwing bouillon cubes into some water to create a nice broth.

I sauteed the minced garlic, The finely diced spicy mini peppers, and the tiny bits of ginger in 2 table spoons of coconut oil with a bit of the coconut flour. Then I added 2 cups of water and the seasoning to the frying pan.

Then added the mix to the rest of the pumpkin and coconut flour in the blender.

That filled the blender to the brim. With the lid tightly attached, I mixed it all up. Then it went into a big pot to simmer on the stove. After 30 minutes, we ate. A couple spoons of rice in a bowl with a few ladles of soup. Bon Appetit or Pijatno as they say here.

Snow January 14

Snow has finally come to Knjazevac! Today we venture out for a walk. I am happy to share some fun pics.

Sometimes I see things here that are just out of the last century. or out of Norman Rockwell prints. I am in love with this sled. And I wonder if cool sleds like this are still found all over Europe? or is it just in my neck of the woods?

We have been inside for the majority of the last few days. On the first day of snow I reveled in the look of the snow with dove tracks.

We have been feeding the birds on our porch daily. Munchkin loves to watch them eat.

Like I said we went for a walk today.

Dressing munchkins for snow is a serious process! layers and keeping hold of them before they run away in between layers. Finding boots and gloves. Fun times!

The walk was nice, little M wanted to walk in only the fresh snow on the side walkway and dip her mittens in the snow. She chased birdies, and wanted to carried a lot.  I got a workout on top of the T25 I did in the AM.

The bakery with snow and icicles.

We came home and I realized we hadn’t eaten. I had leftovers from last night whilst baking a new cookie recipe.

Home made chicken tenders with home-made honey mustard. YUM and the most amazing cabbage salad.

And for dessert… Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies with walnuts.

I think I like them better than the regular Toll House recipe!

I think I will have to an Extra T25 workout today, I plan to eat a few more of these sweet morsels!

It has been a pretty good day! I hope you are having a good one too.  🙂

In case you are interested in the recipe for the cookies you can find it here.

The cabbage salad is my favorite salad and so easy to make. I often eat it as a late night snack. I don’t feel guilty at all.

The recipe for the Cabbage Salad is below.

Cut a head of cabbage into half and then a fourth. Then, slice it like bread into thin strips. Put that in a bowl and add a table-spoon of veg oil and a table-spoon of apple cider vinegar. then add about a teaspoon of salt and mix it up well. Add more if you think it needs it. You can eat it right away, or put it in the fridge for the cabbage to absorb the O&V. I like it best after about an hour of soaking. you can add diced garlic for a bit more flavor. Dr. Oz says the cider vinegar will boost metabolism. I think he is right from a bit of testing.

Happy Wednesday 🙂

Dobar dan y’all!

 

Foreigner Follies~ Adventures in Baking internationally, Serbian edition * Bonus brownie recipe that works in Serbia

I was reading one of my favorite and funny blogs, Expat Eye on Latvia about her cake making abilities. They turned out to be delicious of course. As I was leaving a comment on her hilarious prose I thought I would share the agony joy of cooking internationally. For me that of course is in Serbia.

The hubby and I had been craving brownies, but no such thing exists here, and I have only ever made them from a box mix. Let the adventure begin. I got the idea to look for a recipe in a peace corp cook book from an ex-peace corp guy.

Thank you Google Search for making that possible! I found one in just a couple of minutes.

That was the easy part.

Next began the mad scientist experiments. You think I kid… nope. You have a recipe, you think will give you a desired product, but what you don’t know is the ingredients are not standard all over the world. Who knew?

I made it once and found that the cocoa is weaker here, and it turned out more like a cake.  😦 SO I reduced it from two eggs to one and changed the 1/4 cup oil or butter to 1/2.

Still not right. With more tweaking I finally got something that we can enjoy, though not 100% like home.  YUM!

One thing that my fellow  gal pal blogger has taught me to do from now on is to cook with wine. I have heard of this concept .

I don’t believe I have ever tried it. Of course I have cooked with whine most recently, toddler at my feet arms up stretched and wanting to be held as I try to create a tasty treat. That is not as fun as you may think.

I try to focus without getting to angry and stare at the recipe  blankly as I think to myself… “Why wasn’t I on birth control?” Yep, just give me the worst mom of the year award or punishment right now.  It is no surprise to me!

With a little wine the little whiner may be less distracting. Then again, maybe not.

The brownie recipe I settled on is below:

I use English measurements…. but here is the untested  metric measurements as well… good luck with that! 😉

American Brownie Recipe

1 cup sugar ~ 250 ML

1 egg… no translation needed!! 🙂

1 teaspoon Baking Soda ~ 5 ml

1/4 cup oil  ~ 50 ml

1/4 butter or margarine 50 ml

2/3 cup flour~ 150 ml

1/4 teaspoon salt~ 1ml

1/2 cup cocoa~ 125 ml

Optional: 1 cup or 250 ml of chopped walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts. or Chocolate bar! YUMMY

1 bottle of wine your choice to drink as you cross your fingers and hope for the best!

Grease a small baking pan 8″x8″ or a small round cake pan. Preheat the oven for 350 F or 175 C. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until not gooey in the middle. They will be soft and yummy if this turned out well.

If they didn’t it is because’
A. You were using British English measurements instead of American English Measurements or European metric instead of Canadian. How is this even possible!! What the French Toast?

B. You drank too much wine and fouled it up.

C. Other ________________________________

Good luck with the Brownies. Enjoy the wine!

Turkish coffee~ Foreigner Follies

our red jezva with bubbling Turkish coffee

Today, while making the daily Turkish coffee, I made a mess…. again. Usually while making it, I am juggling a newly diapered munchkin, the kitchen mess left by the muz, and trying to wake up at the same time. Filter coffee is much “safer”, I must say.

When I make Turkish style coffee, I let the water boil, take it off the burner, add the coffee/stir, put it back on the burner to boil. When the coffee starts to bubble you pour it into the cup/s. Sometimes when I put it back on to boil, I turn away for more than a second. That is when the coffee volcano makes a mess all over the stove top.  😦

I got a bonus blister while cleaning up the coffee lava as the water on the cloth turned a super conductor of heat. Freakin A!!  The tip of my middle finger was the victim of my morning haze stupor. Clearly, I should really have a cup of coffee before I make myself some. That’s a catch 22 if I ever heard one.

If you have never made Turkish coffee and want to see how it is made here is a youtube video.He makes it a little differently but it works.  The guy has a nice accent ta boot! 🙂

Dobar Dan Y’all!

Munchkin Tuesday Little Rock

Perfection~ an old Turkish style Serbian house. I am in LOVE!

Sunday we went to a friend’s village for a Slava. (One of those Big Thanksgiving type dinners that are related to a saint.) We went to a village I had only previously driven through before. Gore Kamenica or Upper Little Rock is the name of the town, like Little Rock, Arkansas. It reminds me of the country song, “RockyTop” and it as just as country as the song!

The food was nothing less than spectacular, Fresh from the garden veggies, Home made  cheese from the cow and the sheep’s milk! YUM! Roasted lamb and of course, Rakija!

The Munchkin didn’t allow me to eat much, soon we were off to play with the other kids and eventually took a walk.

Just down the road we ran into some other familiar children and soon out the front door comes a friend of mine. How Fun to run into friends in a town half an hour from home!

Mosquitoes and rain drops drove us back home after seeing some gorgeous fairy-tale village scenes.

Old Serbian Home

Old Serbian Home

This old house was just the tip of the iceberg. So much to great stuff to see. I could walk around these old villages for eternity. Ideally with the good camera and no Munchkin. 😉 Chasing after the Speedy toddler impairs the view. Here are a few more phone pics for the road!

Check out this chicken walk!

 

Doesn’t this look like something you would see in a movie?

End of the blurry pics.
Happy Tuesday! Dobar dan.

 

Photography Friday~ Thessalonika

my first (not really) jumping pic

Thanks to my awesome travel buddy who thought of the idea!

She looks really graceful!

No time to day for writing much so here are some fun pics of the city.

The White Tower

Random folks family time in Aristotle Square

yummy Easter bread and other scrumptious baked treats.

The sign on the red canopy below says, “pop corn”.

One guy holding at least three lamb carcasses. Ya don’t see that everyday… well, I don’t.

One more pic for the road. Happy Weekend.

A beautiful Easter display with lots of eggs colored red. The most common color for eggs in this part of the world.

Hope to be writing again in a day or two. Busy time of year here.
Dobar Dan!

Happy Birthday Munchkin

this was just the tip of the iceberg!

This is a continuation of the Blog Yesterday that began the epic story of the Birthday party.

No babies drank any alcohol in the making of this photo

There was a ton of food to be had. The men wasted no time beginning to partake. The girls took their time but eventually caved. Thank God, because I wanted to eat and didn’t want to look like the pig I am. No time for that anyway. Little Munchkin duties call way to often for  a real binge to take place.

I can’t get over how cute these little piglet breads are!

I finally made a Ginger Bread Train for the Munchkin to enjoy looking at. She hasn’t got enough teeth yet to munch on the candy. Thank you, Nicole for sending it! It was a hit. Not something you see here in Serbia! Great gift!

The Ginger Bread Train

Just as I was about to snap the picture, the Munchkin reached for the train. She’s a quick one!

The traditional Birthday song was sang with a lit candle. I don’t know it yet, but give me time. Here is a link to the song on youtube.

The party moved from the kitchen to the living room and then to our bedroom. I missed the photo-op, but at one point a bunch of kids were jumping on our bed. I would call the party a success since the kids felt so at home.

The Big Cousin fishing of the bed with a jump rope and Munchkin looking for the fish.

I think everyone had a great time. I am super glad it is over, now I can sit back and relax a bit. Though today is the actual BDay, so I will light the candle again on top of a cupcake and sing Happy Birthday in English this time. And skype with family at home. 🙂

Tomorrow the festivities will be concluded with the last birthday hurrah. We will go to the village for a small family celebration. There is still that roasted piglet Papa wanted to bring to the party that needs to be eaten. I am not a fan, but it will be a good opportunity to get some fun cultural pics! The Munchkin’s first roasted pig will be about the same size as her! LOL

I can’t believe one year ago today I was in the hospital “enjoying” the effects of an epidural as I pushed the Munchkin out. If you are interested in that story you can click on the link below. The U.S. experience is far different from the Serbian one. And for those of you who think you cannot feel the contractions during an epidural, I could. I just didn’t have pain. No brainer there! Thank you Epidural! Hello Munchkin. 🙂 There are no gory pics. and I think it is a rather tame account if you are wondering.

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2012/03/millies-labor-and-birth.html

If you are curious what it is like to stay in a Hospital in the U.S. you can check out my blog post about that here:

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2012/03/american-hospital-stay.html

Thanks for stopping by.

Dobar Dan