The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks mom!
I was making a curry using coconut milk as a base and the recipe called for quite a bit of oil. I thought coconut oil would be better for us and would perfectly complement the dish. And it did. What I hadn’t realized is how wonderful it is to cook with. And absolutely delicious. That’s when I decided it was time to educate myself about its uses, benefits, and how to incorporate it into my cooking. After a little bit of research, I quickly learned that coconut oil IS a wonder food. It lowers your blood sugar, makes you loose weight (this is the weirdest statistic since it is pure fat), lowers cholesterol, is good for the immune system, keeps you from getting heart disease, is a natural antibiotic, is good for the skin and hair, helps you absorb minerals such as calcium and magnesium….I could keep on going but you can look here and here for more information.
I grew up believing that coconuts are high in saturated fat and therefore aren’t good for you. This was during the time when we were told that margarine was the cure for heart disease and high cholesterol. We now know how wrong that is and as it turns out, the type of saturated fat contained in a coconut is good for you and, surprisingly beneficial to our arteries and heart. Make sure to buy organic coconut oil. Also, you can buy coconut oil that is stripped of the flavor, but it also has some of the health benefits taken out, so it’s best to stick to the pure stuff. That being said, it does have a mild coconut taste, so you probably wouldn’t want to use it in dishes where the coconut flavor would conflict with other flavors.
Coconut oil is a great substitute for oil or shortening and can be used in baking, pastries, waffles and pancakes, and curries. I spread it on toast instead of butter (coconut oil is solid at room temp but spreads easily). Especially now that I can’t have any sugar, it’s a treat to eat a piece of gluten free toast oozing with delicious coconut oil. Coconut oil tolerates high heat so it is a great oil to use for frying or high flame cooking. You can add some to your smoothies to aid in digestion and to reap some of the health benefits. Of course I still use my olive oil on a daily basis, but I have replaced butter and vegetable oil (safflower or canola) with coconut oil in most of my recipes that call for them.
One of my favorite uses of coconut oil is on popcorn. Either plop the corn kernels in heated coconut oil and cook on the stove traditionally, or pop the corn in an air popper and toss with a couple of tablespoons of the oil. Salt lightly and add either cinnamon and sugar or my favorite, nutritional yeast (or any other flavors that you like—it’s yummy with cayenne pepper). This is no-guilt popcorn that is rich and decadent tasting. I made it for Archer and Fable two weekends ago and they loved it! What a great and healthy snack!
No-guilt Coconut Oil Popcorn
½ cup organic, non GMO, popcorn
4 tablespoons coconut oil
-cinnamon and sugar
-cayenne (or chili powder) and cumin
-curry powder and pepper
-onion salt and oregano with parmesan cheese
-lemon zest and dill weed
-taco flavoring and nutritional yeast
...Or experiment with your own favorite flavorings!
***1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy bottomed large pot.
2. When oil is hot, put a kernel or two of corn in it and wait until it pops.
3. When it pops, add the rest of the corn, cover the pot, and gently shake over burner until the corn stops popping for 5 seconds.
4. Take pot off of the heat and lift lid, being careful of the hot steam and random kernels that might still be popping.