Thursday, December 19, 2013

Try Spicy Coconut Sugar In Holiday Beverages

Kiwi cocktail and Kiwi Christmas Tree
Try Kiwi for Christmas

Hot chocolate made with coconut sugar is a Heavenly taste sensation.    Here are some other Winter Holiday beverages that are supremely enhanced by just a dash of the hearty sweetness of coconut sugar:
  • Mulled Wine

  • Spiced Tea
  • Sherbet Punch Drinks
  • Egg Nog

  • Latte

  • Coco Mocha

Cup Hot Chocolate with cake and cookies
Traditional Hot Chocolate

Serve-up a new, different taste sensation for your Holiday guests with the sublime sweet flavor of coconut sugar, along with the sweetner you normally use.

Try A Gentler Coconut Oil Scalp Massage

If you are prone to winter scalp itch, like me,   a coconut oil massage spells relief.   
 But I lighten-up on the essential oils I use with the massage during winter. 
I try never to further irritate a mildly itchy scalp with heavy duty essential oils like Tea Tree,  Mint or  Eucalyptus  during really cold spells.  

I use these milder essential oils during winter to soothe my scalp:

  • Lavender

  • Chamomile

  • Ylang-Ylang

  • Rosemary

I wait until cold temperatures moderate a little, before using strong essential oils, like lime, in my massage.



How To Avoid Winter Scalp Itch

Also I wear a warm but breathable hat during winter. I usually avoid wool. Or I wear a light scarf beneath wool or other natural fiber caps. 
Blow Dryer Too Hot???
You can also save your scalp by lightening-up on winter hair care, like dialing down the heat on your blowdryer. 
Either change hair products or space-out the timing for doing your hair. Hair sprays formulated with alcohol really irritate my scalp year round.

Also I cover my head with a light silk scarve INDOORS, to shield my scalp and hair from  the furnace’s dry heated air.

In any case as soon as the humidity drops in winter, along with cold temperatures outdoors, I get dry ALL OVER my body.  I usually realize this when I start scratching my scalp.

 How I Saved My Scalp With Coconut Oil

So then I do a light massage:  1 teaspoon of coconut oil plus 1 drop of essential oil … I only use, maybe,  ½ of this mixture for my scalp massage.  I use the rest on my feet and hands.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Walmart VS. Whole Foods For Coconut

My receipts with coconut purchases in Nov and Dec 2013

Which store is the best place to buy fresh young coconuts? Who is the winner?

 The Whole Foods store I shop at is near affluent Dearborn Park, on Roosevelt Road in South Loop, Chicago.   I shop at the new Walmart in Pullman next to the Ford (Calumet) Expressway on Chicago's  southside.

The good news is that coconut oil, coconut water as well as fresh coconuts are now widely available in the  Chicago metro area at BOTH grocers.  And both stores’ prices are sensible and reasonable.

Of course, Whole Foods was the pioneer in making coconut products available to metro Chicago residents and stocks more fresh coconut in it’s stores. Walmart, the new entry into the city,  has more locations thus actually may provide  more coconut products to a wider swath of metropolitan residents.

The winner for the cheapest fresh coconut prices is Whole Foods, by 0.99 cents per coconut.  The winner for the making more coconut products available closer to more city’s residents is Walmart.

We all win by making coconut a part of our  lifestyle for cuisine, health and beauty rituals.

(Disclaimer – I have no affiliation with either Whole Foods or Walmart.  I purchased the fresh young coconuts with my own money solely for my own use.  I did not make the purchases for the purposes of comparing prices or the stores – I noticed the difference afterwards, while reviewing my recent purchases.)


Thursday, December 5, 2013

5 Christmas Gifts For Your Coconut Lover

Christmas lights on palm trees in Miami, Florida
Christmas in Miami,  Florida, USA

Here are 5 tips for Christmas presents for that Coconut Lover in your life:

  • Fresh coconuts from Whole Foods that can yield over a cup of fresh coconut water... the price is much cheaper than at online stores.

  • Heavyweight Zwilling Butcher Knife by J.A. Henckels to hack open fresh coconuts

  • Carol’s Daughter’s Monoi Oil for hair moisturizing

  • A bag of spicy-tasting Coconut Sugar

  • The original, authentic Monoi Tiki Tahiti oil in Sandalwood,  a surprising fragrance flavor twist for skincare.

Your Coconut Lover will really appreciate finding any of these gifts under the Christmas tree.

How To Protect Yourself In A Purple Chemical World

Chemicals, Chemicals! Everywhere!

My sister, the biochemist, told me one day ‘Chemistry isn’t poetry.’

Back in the day, I never used Dippity Do.  I used the purple hair setting lotion that’s been ubiquitous in salons and sold at drugstores all over Chicago for years.  I used it often at home and every hair stylist I ever went to used the purple stuff.

I used the purple stuff from my teenage years until about 10 years ago – many, many decades.

I Like Reading Labels

Funny, every time I picked-up the bottle of purple stuff I was drawn to read the ingredients list and one word in particular ALWAYS stuck-out to  me.  It’s such a pleasant sounding word, so melodious – not frightening at all.

 I love words, I love English.

But the purple lotion ingredient sounded like Japanese Haiku - futuristic Haiku.

The purple stuff made my scalp itch horribly. I regularly yanked-out hairs from inflamed follicles. But my relaxed hair had firm curls no matter the weather or how high the humidity climbed.

My sister told me that chemical and scientific words have to be treated differently-every suffix and prefix has to be carefully considered to completely understand the chemical’s function. And so I looked-up the lovely sounding chemical term on the purple lotion’s bottle. 

The term is “q-u-a-t-e-r-n-i-u-m 15”

 Cosmetic Ingredient Research

I discovered that Quaternium-15 is a preservative that releases formaldehyde. Apparently, I had been having an allergic reaction to it for years.

The resource I used is “Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me” by Paula Begoun. Paula first published this book in 1991.  I used the 2000 edition.

I stopped using the purple stuff immediately.  (Note-it’s still sold in stores and still has the formaldehyde forming ingredient Quaternium-15).

Nowadays, I use Paula’s book and  internet resources to look up each and every unfamiliar chemical that I come across on cosmetics’ labels.

Cosmetic Ingredient Research Case Study

I had to do this recently for a hair coloring product.

I have 10% gray hair, but it ALL seems to be at my temples and along my front hairline. I was so tired of wearing headbands all the time.

I used some lightweight color products without ammonia or peroxide with great success for a few years.  But after a time, the color treatments just didn’t seem to cover or even “camouflage” the gray.

I knew that it was time for stronger coloring products.  But just having gotten on the highway to leave relaxers behind and go ‘au natural’, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I figured I might mess-up the natural texture of my hair with stronger coloring products before I could really appreciate my true hair type.

Then the girl at the hair products store told me I could buy a product to make the temporary color stronger and last longer. It was the tiniest little packet of chemicals, the size and thickness of a sticky note. And it only cost $5.

 I looked at the ingredients list and one word in particular dredged-up something in my distant memory – something about severe allergic reactions and deaths.  I declined to buy the little chemical packet!

Phenylenediamine or Paraphenylenediamine or PPD are the terms for this particular chemical.

Who’s Responsible for Your Safety?

I decided to use a gray-covering hair powder that I saw on a TV shopping network.

When it was delivered, I noticed many chemical terms on the label that I had never seen before.  I pondered whether ‘the shopping channel would sell something with dangerous chemicals.’ And, ‘Surely their quality department has examined the chemical list for dangerous stuff.’


I looked-up each and every long, complex chemical word on the hair powder’s ingredients list.  All the chemicals seem OK for cosmetic use. I used Paula Begoun’s "Cosmetic Cop" website at to check-out the terms.

Today, there are many, many internet websites that are available for use by ordinary women not just biochemists, to research cosmetic chemical terms. But Paula Begoun was a pioneer with her book 25 years ago.

 I am responsible for taking steps to keep myself safe. What about you and your children?

Thank you Paula Begoun for keeping me informed and for helping me to protect myself all these years.


Merry Christmas All

Here's a  truly spirit stirring acappella version of "Carol of the Bells" by Beyonce and Destiny's Child from back in the day. Enjoy the Christmas Music!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Easy Thai Coconut Milk, Homemade, Step-by-Step

Make your own fresh coconut milk and you won't have to worry about the preservatives  in the canned stuff.  Here's a video demonstration from You Tube:

The great thing about making fresh coconut milk in your own kitchen is that you can add ingredients according to your own family's likening, for example:

  • Sweeteners like coconut sugar
  • Flavorings like vanilla extract
  • Fruits like mango 

Try the fresh coconut milk in fruit smoothies and frozen like whipped cream.

But first you've got to crack open the coconut to get started on making the milk.    Personally, I've never been able to crack open a coconut as easily as the lady in the video.   I've got to practice more!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Could Inhale This Food - Edible Perfume Notes

Saffron Rice Cake with carrots, squash on plate
Saffron Rice with Veggies

Coconut is my favorite gourmand perfume note -- those fragrance notes are based on foods, especially spicy foods.    What a nexus,   it's the best of both worlds!!
Here are a few more popular gourmand perfume notes:

  • Honey 

  • Cumin
  • Saffron

  • Cardamom

  • Sugar or Caramel

  • Orange, Lime, Lemon
  • Almond
  • Butter
  • Mint

  • Chocolate

Rose petals with Glass of rose petal jam
Rose Petal Jam

Of course, I can’t forget about edible flower fragrance notes, like 

  • Violet

  • Lavender

  • Rose

 But I just luv, luv, luv the smell of fresh coconut and toasted coconut fragrances that remind me of Holiday desserts. Nothing beats eating coconut cake and sweet potato pie topped with toasted coconut for the Holidays.  
But the best are creamy coconut perfumes blended with everybody’s favorite flavor:  Orchid!!!  Huh?    You know… vanilla flavoring!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How To Hydrate Skin In Winter… Inside-Out

Winter white hat and scarf
"Baby, it's cold outside.... Are you sweating too?"

By increasing your daily gulps of coconut water, you can reduce the chances of getting dried-out skin and dehydration in fall and winter.  Coconut water is not just for hot summer days.
Drinking even more coconut water in winter is a skin care secret for great looking skin all year around.

 Dehydrating Winter Conditions

  • Increased sweating while wearing extra clothing like sweaters and coats,

  • Irritating low humidity in fall and winter that's a major cause of winter skin itching,

  • Indoor forced air heating that literally bakes skin.

  • Icy winds that swipe moisture from  hands and face.  

Red chunky knit hat and scarf for winter
Bundled-up like a baby

A massage with coconut oil goes a long way towards keeping my skin supple and moisturized in winter.
But I swig more coconut water, however, to insure that my  skin and the rest of my body never suffer from dehydration, even when it’s cold outside.

My Getaway Plans With Palm Print Resort Wear

Green palm print skirt
Mychael was the winning designer on the ‘Creepy-Crawlers’ episode of Project Runway: All Stars.  And, he gave me the inspiration to go somewhere warm on the globe this winter. How?!  Well, early in the episode, Mychael wore a palm print shirt.

 I got an immediate flash:  ‘That’s it!!! I’ll go shopping for resort wear!’

Palm print Hawaiian shirt
Hawaiian shirt with a palm print
Yelp!  I’m going shopping for resort wear especially a dress, shirt or bikini with a palm print.

Once I buy the resort looks, I really have to go on the winter vacation... Right?!

Usually, shopping for a vacation never fails to get me into the mood of actually booking the trip.

Sad, ain't it?!

Winter's  Sooo...  Sad in Chicago

 Most years, I escape winter’s lockdown by driving through icy streets and trudging through several inches of snow to get to Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory.  It's a botanical house in a city park.

Garfield Park Conservatory

This is where I usually go to actually see, touch and feel Cocos nucifera  the  coconut palm tree.   Sad, ain’t it. 

But not this year!  I'll be walking in  my palm print sarong on warm sands somewhere far away.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coconut Oil Makes Your Hair Worse...Really?!!!

Mommy and baby with lush hair
More time to play instead of fretting about hair

I started to post over 500 words on hair care today because some women have complained online that coconut oil makes their hair’s condition worse. Come on!  Both You and I got better things to read and write about.

Just Remember, three-quarters of the world’s women use coconut oil in their hair care routines.  There is no reason why you can’t get the same long, lovely, lush, soft and touchable hair.

Quick Tips for Using Coconut Oil on Your Hair

Here is the short version of my origin treatise, if you are not getting the hair results you desire from using coconut oil. Look, see if you need to change how you are actually using coconut oil on your hair.

  • Only use Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil (EVOC) manufactured by a reliable company.

  • Use Coconut Oil sparingly…don’t use globs…too much is not a good thing and it’s a waste.  You will never need more than 1/2 teaspoon of EVOC for medium length hair.
  • Rarely use traditional shampoos , if at all, to cleanse hair.

  • Avoid all petroleum and silicones products and their derivatives, they are not compatible with human hair and scalps and create the very dryness they were purported to remedy. Don’t use Coconut Oil hair products that have petroleum on the ingredients list.

  • Upgrade your blow dryer and other styling tools to ionic technology…this produces a dramatic improvement in hair softness and manageability.

I was one of those women that stylists always said 'you have to relax your hair - it's so coarse'.  My regrowth  was like a brillo pad.

Well, I'm going afro now and thanks to coconut oil, I won't be going back to relaxers. My hair is not straighter, just softer and easier to comb.
I’ll say it again: three-quarters of the world’s women use coconut or other palm oils in their hair care rituals. They have done so in many, many cultures - for hundreds of years in Africa, Asia, Pacifica, the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thai Food Recipe Ingredients: DA LIST

plate of Pad Thai with shrimp
Run Out and Get Some Pad Thai...Now!

Do you love  tasty Thai food sooo… much that you tried to cook it at home?  But after all that cooking, you were left pondering ‘What’s missing from MY Pad Thai?”  I know I have!  

Thai Recipe Ingredients List

Well here’s an online link to the most comprehensive and straightforward list of Thai food recipe ingredients that I’ve ever seen:  Thai Food

Thai Tum Yum Soup
Hot Peppery Tum Yum Soup

Where to Find Thai Food Ingredients

Most of the essential Thai recipes ingredients like Galangal ginger and Thai Bird Eye Chilies can be found at organic grocery stores. Some ingredients like canned coconut milk and lemongrass stalks are available at most big grocery stores.  
You might have to order other critical ingredients like Kaffir lime leaves from an online Thai grocery website.

Kaffire lime leaves and fruit
Kaffir lime fruit and leaves


And, nooo… I haven’t bought any of those $60 Thai food recipe books…. Yet.


Learn About and Experience Thai Culture

Years ago I was lucky enough to work for a Thai couple.  Our office pot luck lunches and parties always featured sumptuous tasting Thai dishes. 
Thai carved food flowers
Flowers carved out of food - A Thai cultural specialty
So your best bet to learn authentic Thai cooking might be to make some Thai friends.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Use Coconut Oil For Sweater Weather Skincare

Coconut oil keeps skin moisturized in dry indoor air
Use Coconut Oil Skincare To Fight Dry Indoor Air

I’ve powered-on the furnace because it’s October, there’s a north wind a blowin’ off Lake Michigan in Chicago, frost advisories in nearby counties and the living room is just too darn chilly. All this also means that I got to now start using a bit more coconut oil apr├Ęs showering to keep winter dry skin at bay.
 Then I'm ready for 'sweater weather.'

Best Amounts of Coconut Oil for Skincare

Coconut Oil Skincare Protects From Chilly Winds
Lakefront Chicago's  Aon Tower in Autumn
There’s  simply no better product to stop itchy, flaky dry skin from occurring than coconut oil.

I simply massage in a teaspoon or two all over my body, with or without my favorite skin cream.  I also add  exactly 1 drop to my daytime face cream.

Best Oil  for Dry Skin

Forced  dry air from the furnace, icy winds, scratchy woolens and drafty rooms all cause the problem of severely dry and irritated skin in fall and winter.   

Coconut Oil heals itchy skin caused by woolens
Coconut Oil can soothe itchy skin caused by scratchy woolens

Solution: Use extra virgin, organic coconut oil in your skincare rituals during fall and winter.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Donatella Versace’s Coconut Visions

Who can ever forget a coy Jennifer Lopez on stage at the 2000 Grammys in a flowing green palm print Versace couture designer dress?

The Versace green silk chiffon dress at the 2000 Grammys was a stellar moment in television broadcasting.  I know I will never forget it.

Coconut is for Sensuous Women

That’s why I was surprised that the ‘Green Dress’ wasn’t mentioned in the Lifetime Channel’s recent well done biopic on the Versace family,  "House of Versace".  I was really looking forward to a dramatization of the Grammys moment.

 It’s clear that Donatella Versace has her finger (or fist)  on the pulse of sensuous femininity for ALL women.

Coconut Fragrance Notes

Nothing reveals that more, than the coconut perfume note of Versace Crystal Noir. It’s a subdued yet lush fragrance combination of coconut and gardenia.  It’s a posh scent for daytime wear and coy with some spice for evening.

Globally, three-quarters of the world’s women use coconut products in their beauty rituals, mostly those living in tropical latitudes.

 I think that Versace understands the woman who knows what coconut can do for a woman.  We can all learn a lot from Donatella Versace. Learn more here online about the Versace type of woman

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sylvia’s Coconut Cakes

Post Polio Syndrome
Sylvia giving Lil' Loren the inside scoop on  coconut cake baking

Sylvia, my Mom, often told us about cracking open coconuts and grating off flakes as a young girl along side her Grandma during the 1930s and 1940s in rural Mississippi.  Mom told us how lucky we were that we could just go to the store and buy bags of coconut already grated.

But the bagged coconut was always and still is too, too sweet…pure cane sugar that always obscures the coconut flavor.

My Mom had the magic touch when it came to making coconut cakes.  Somehow she tamed the bagged flakes and made moist flavorful cakes with true coconut flavor, that were never too sugary.

Frankly, the frosting and coconut toppings on my own cakes always seem to be a disappointing sugar overload even though everyone tells me that  they love  eating them.

Sylvia…we love you and your coconut cakes…forever. God is love, God is forever and love is forever.
Please support Easter Seals' efforts to help physicians recognize  elderly US citizens with symptoms of Post Polio Syndrome.  Please support Bill and Melissa Gates' efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis in improvished nations.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Everybody Likes Coconut

Even doggies like coconut... see here:

This is sort of relaxing to watch, isn't it?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Taste-Test Infuser Mango Coconut Water

Mango coconut water homemade with an infuser

Ok, here are the results of my second try with the fruit infuser-this time with mangoes and coconut water.  After 4 hours, I got  a rich mango liqueur-like flavored beverage with very little coconut water taste.
 It’s so syrupy and fruity sweet, I only imbibe a little at a time.

Fruit Infuser Recipe

For this taste test, I filled the infuser core with 3 sliced mangoes plus the pits (to extract all the flavor) and a short stalk of spearmint leaves. Then I filled the pitcher with 2-one liter containers of coconut water. Next, I placed the pitcher in the refrigerator for the fruit and herb flavors to infuse into the coconut water.

A Coconut Cocktail Of Flavors

What I got is a flavored drink so heavenly sweet  with the essence of mango, I wondered  if I should I add it to  a shot of rum or vodka for a cocktail.
Wait a minute!  That should be an oxymoron: coconut water and vodka? Hmmm….

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Taste-Test Of Fruit Infuser Lemon Water

The lemon drink I made with my new fruit infuser pitcher has a liqueur-like refreshing flavor. The infuser pleasantly flavored the water: The lemon drink was not tart or sour like lemonade made with juiced lemons. My next homemade beverage try will be coconut water flavored with fresh mangoes.

Lemon Water Fruit Infuser Recipe

For the lemon beverage I added a couple of chopped spearmint leaves in the pitcher’s core along with sliced lemons. First, I washed the lemons to remove any petroleum-based coating. Next, I added ¾ cup of sugar to 4 cups of water in the pitcher. 
Then, I put the jug in the refrigerator and let it sit overnight while the fruit and herb flavors were infused into the water.

The result was exotically flavored water, slightly sweet with the very refreshing taste of lemons.

No More Wasted Fruit – More Flavors To Be Made

I’m in nooooo hurry to make the mango coconut water. I can wait until we finish-up the lemon water. The fruit infuser pitcher makes a huge, tasty difference.
The $30 I paid for the fruit infuser will be paid back numerous times. Hopefully, I will be able to reduce wasted fruit and money with my new infuser. 

I always have oranges on hand.  And, usually, I have about ½ a watermelon left-over. I also always have more than enough granny smith apples in my refrigerator’s crisper.  
 But next, I’ll slice up those mangoes.  For once, I hope to be able to get out ALL of the sweetness trapped around the mango pits.  I hope that my homemade mango coconut water will be tasty. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Get Sexy Puffy Lips With Coconut

Use coconut water plus coconut oil to get lush, fleshy lips for this summer. Your lips will look realistically larger but not like clown lips from bad plastic surgery.

Here’s how to get better looking lips for this summer:
First, drink coconut water throughout the day to stay hydrated and to avoid shrived-up lips.  “Shrived” is not sexy.

When you are fully hydrated, tissues like lips actually puff-out. The effect is more obvious when you drink coconut water, in my opinion.
Next, seal-out the drying effects of summer sun and hot winds with a little dab of coconut oil, especially around the edges.
Then use a little coconut oil under shimmery summer colored lipsticks and glosses to avoid the irritating and drying effects of mica and other makeup ingredients.

Lastly, moisturize your lips at bedtime with coconut oil for smooth lips the next morning. Use plain extra virgin organic coconut oil. Or use a dedicated lip product that's formulated with coconut oil.

Coconut’s benefits give big lip cosmetic effects that are dramatically natural-looking and very sexy.