I've always loved everything coconutty -- so I'm lucky that pretty much everything coconuts happens to be in favor with eco-foodies and nutritionists alike right now, which means lots of delicious coconut products are popping up on store shelves. Even coconut oil, much maligned in the past due to the over-processed, hydrogenated stuff that appeared as trans fats in cheap processed foods, has been resurrected as a healthier oil
-- if enjoyed in its delicious, unrefined form.
So almost every day, I've been enjoying a little Kelapo
virgin coconut oil -- My go-to oil since the company sent me a sample to try a while back. Kelapo's coconut oil's not only pure and unrefined but also certified organic and fair trade -- and packaged in glass jars, unlike most of the plastic-wrapped coconut oils you'll find in stores.
I know a lot of health foodies like to cook and bake with coconut oil, since it has a higher burning point than more common cooking oils like canola or olive oil. But I actually like to just eat coconut oil raw -- in my morning green smoothies. The mellow nutty and creamy flavor makes the entire drink more decadent and delicious.
I'm not sure whether it's due to the glass container or the oil itself, but Kelapo virgin coconut oil seems to have a lower melting point than other coconut oil brands I've tried. Now that the weather's warm, my jar of coconut oil's often an almost clear liquid! This actually makes smoothifying the oil better for me, since the liquid oil blends easier than solid chunks of coconut oil, which sometimes don't always blend smooth if you're using a regular blender (versus a Vitamix or other high-speed blender).
Here's my favorite recipe for coconut oil, which I came up with to stay healthy and cool with this summer:
Cool Tropical Green Smoothie
1/2 - 1 c. coconut water, to taste
1 - 2 c. pineapple chunks (I like the fair trade ones from Whole Foods)
4 or so romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 to 1 cucumber, depending on size
2 tsp. coconut oil
Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend and enjoy! Okay -- The photo of my smoothie looks kind of boring, but the green drink actually is packed with tropical flavor. Use more coconut water for a juicier drink, more fruits and veggies for a more filling smoothie.
The one downside of Kelapo virgin coconut oil? The stuff isn't in a lot of stores yet (closest to L.A. is Pacific Ranch Market in Orange). But you can get the oil online
-- or try your chance at winning a Kelapo prize pack by sharing your best kitchen klutz story on the company's blog