Vanilla Coconut Milk Recipe

Posted March 20th, 2014 by Danielle Alex


Welcome to one of the most simple recipes ever, raw vanilla coconut milk. This dairy-free milk, is great for everyone! If you are a carnivore, vegan, or vegan-raw you’ll this recipe, and its great for hydrating the body. It only takes two ingredients and the hardest part is cracking the coconut. Some people are a little intimidated by a whole young coconut, but don’t be. Once you get the hang of how to crack the coconut, the recipe really becomes a breeze and you’ll be making this all the time. Trust me when I say, the beverage that awaits you at the end of the journey is literally a taste of paradise!  So without further ado, let me show you how it is done.

Vanilla Coconut Milk

Yield: 1 Serving


1 young coconut

1/2 vanilla bean



Chef Knife



Cracking the Coconut

1. It is important when cracking the coconut not to simply cut it in half machete style, because we want to keep the water and the meat. So you start by cutting an opening at the top of the coconut with the heel of a chef knife. I hold the bottom/ flat part of the coconut in one hand and my knife in the other. I make 3 cuts, in the shape of a triangle, into the top of the coconut with the heal of my knife. If it’s easier for you to make 4 cuts, in the shape of a square, this works as well.

2. With the tip of the knife, pry open the top of the coconut and set aside.


3. Pour the coconut water into blender. Please note, if you hacked the heck out of the coconut and the outer shell is coming apart, place a stainer over the blender before pouring the coconut water into the blender. You don’t want gritting coconut milk.


4. Cut the coconut in half to remove the meat, the white flesh.

When I cut the coconut in half, I hold the coconut in one hand from the back, rounded side and start cutting from the top opening, down the front. Then I turn the coconut 180 degrees and start down the other side . I give the coconut a test to see if it easily comes apart. Place your fingers in the top opening, thumbs outside, and pull.


5. Remove the meat and add to the blender. Be sure not to scrape too hard that you are getting a lot of the brown from the coconut shell.

6. Since you are only using half of a vanilla bean for this recipe, store the other half back in the airtight container it came in. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out all of the beans and add it to the blender.

Pictures left to right: before blending, after blendingVanillaCoconutMilk5

***Fun Tip: Make Vanilla Sugar. Once you remove the beans out of the vanilla pod, do not throw the pod away. Place the empty vanilla pod into a small container with granular sugar. Give it a shake and keep it for future baking needs.


7. Blend it until smooth, then taste it. If you feel like your taste buds need a little more sugar, you can try adding a touch of agave.

8. Serve and enjoy!


Healthy Snacks: Organic, Gluten Free, & Vegan Options

Posted March 12th, 2014 by Danielle Alex


Here’s the scene..

It’s late afternoon, you’re doing heavy “research” on social media,  your’re wishing you were already at home,  and then it hits you. Your stomachs starts growling and it’s official.  You are hungry. Energy levels start to drop and you know you have to do something fast or you might just snap at your boss. Snack time! What do you normally go for? Vending machine mayhem? Sour sugary shoe string candy? Counselor Krispy Kreme? Or chastising cheesy chips?

Summer is right around the corner, so let’s turn over a new leaf and start making some better habits. Going for whole foods and foods that are minimally processed are always a great start. Snack time is the perfect time to sneak some healthier ingredients into our diet, no matter if it’s mid-morning snack or afternoon snack!

A few tips to making better choice.

1. Número uno: be sure to read labels! If there is a lot of stuff you cannot pronounce and don’t really have a clue what it is….NEXT! Move on to something else. You want to be be able to recognize the foods that are being listed.

2. Try to stay away from tons of refined sugar. Soda, super sweet drinks, and candy are loaded with calories and empty of nutritional value. These will give you a huge boost of energy but send you crashing shortly thereafter.

3. Go for foods that are nutrient dense. Fruits and veggies are great. Sometimes we are a just tired because our bodies haven’t received the proper vitamins and minerals it needs to keep running on full steam.

4. Try to find foods that have a little protein in them. Protein keeps you fuller longer, so it should sustain you until you make it to lunch or dinner.

Below you will find a few of my favorite snacks.

Chips and Dip

When that salty and crunchy craving comes on, I grabs for for these chips/crackers. Sami’s bakery, although it’s not officially labeled gluten free is pretty much gluten free. These millet flax chips are one of my favorite products from them. They also make a killer millet flax bread that actually taste good and like regular bread.  For those trying to avoid gluten, but are not severe celiac, Sami’s bakery is for you.  These products are loaded with not only fiber but with flavor. The millet flax chips come in 3 flavors: plain, Italian herb, and garlic. If you have a hot date or don’t want to smell like garlic all day, then I would suggest the plain or Italian herb. You can find them online at Sami’s Bakery.

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Do you know why these  Almond Nut-Thin crackers are great? Allow me. I’ve given these crackers to people who think anything gluten free is terrible. I don’t tell them they are gluten free of course. I just put the crackers out there for the taking. They enjoy one, I wait. Then enjoy a few more, I wait. Then when they have had their fill, that’s when I so kindly inform my friends, “I’m so glad you enjoyed the gluten free almond crackers.” I love the look on their face. Plus 17 crackers is only 130 calories, and 17 is a lot!


Oh sesame how I love you so. Another salty crunch treat that makes my heart sing. There are many great brands, it just so happened that Annie Chun’s brand can be found easily. I really prefer the seaweed snacks that are made with olive oil, simply because olive oil is a healthier fat. Seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some add it to their diets because some experts says it helps with weight loss. Sesame snacks come in many flavor: plain, wasabi, spicy chipotle, honey Dijon and more.


Hummus, it’s quite easy to make but some of you are thinking, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” And that’s fine, because hummus can easy to find these days. Humus is great to be dipped with carrots, peppers the chips listed from above. The chickpeas add protein, this helping to tide you over until your next meal.  They are many flavor from roasted garlic to roasted red pepper, some companies even make spicy pepper and tabouli hummus. Just try to steer clear of the hummus with tons of preservatives.



Never underestimate the power of a peanut, almond, pistachio or cashew nuts! I have acquired a taste for unsalted nuts. I had to kind of ween myself off of the super, overly salted nuts that are quite often found in the cans. Start by switching over to the lightly salted and then you can add in some unsalted. Don’t get me wrong I love salt, but like all good things, take in moderation. I’m sure you get plenty of salt elsewhere.  I would also suggest portioning them out as well because they do have a high fat content. Nuts can have a healthy fat, helping to lower cholesterol but here there can be too much of a good thing. You don’t want to eat a whole bag of nuts daily and eventually realize that you have been gaining weight, so portion control is key. Please don’t let this scare you because nuts are also filled with protein and fiber, which help to make you feel nice and full.



As I mature, aka get older, I realize that dairy doesn’t always agree with me. So for those of you who cannot or choose not to eat regular dairy yogurt I present coconut yogurt. This particular brand is only available in New York City, sorry rest of the world. Organic Avenue makes this non dairy yogurt made with coconut, this is 100% pure coconut. there are some other dairy free yogurts. I personally don’t care much for the flavor and they have tons of additives. As you can see in the picture below there are only a few ingredients.



It’s so easy to grab for the soda, because is everywhere! And soda cheap, most are cheaper than all other beverages in the store. Just like the old adage says, “you get what you pay for.” And with soda you most definitely do if you drink it all the time. Unfortunately soda is a sly devil, because it creeps up on you. A matter of fact, you might not be able to see it right away but it could very well be the difference between 5/10+ pounds every year. That’s why years ago I made the choice to look for a better beverage. Don’t get me wrong, I love water, please drink plenty of it, but sometimes you just want something with flavor. I love tea, another antioxidant all star, hot and cold. There are some great bottled teas. ItoEn is one of my favorites. They make some that light sweetened but most are unstweetened. If you want it sweetened I suggest getting the unsweetened and try adding a touch of agave or stevia.

Coconut water, they are not all created equally. Let’s be very clear on that! I guarantee once you try this fresh, raw, young, organic coconut water you will not want to drink anything else. Harmless Harvest is the closest thing to drinking the coconut water straight out of the coconut. Where do I begin singing the praises of this coconut nectar from heaven? It is NOT a calorie bomb! Loaded with vitamins and minerals, and tons of electrolytes. This is nature’s Gatorade. This is my beverage of choice after an hour and a half in a 105 degree Bikram Yoga studio sweating it out. It helps hydrate me quickly and naturally and it taste so much better than those sugary dyed sports drinks. I can drink this all day, every day!


Kombucha. The first time I had kombucha, it didn’t have any chia seeds, like my now favorite flavor below. I must say it took me a minute to even get used to the taste. I would be lying if I said Kombucha some fruity tea, depending on which flavor you buy.  This fermented tea has a tangy, slightly sour after taste. It’s loaded  with lots of  vitamins, amino acids, and probiotics for digestive and immune health.  Synergy brand is great because they have all different flavors and some have chia seeds.  withThe raspberry with chia is my favorite not only because I like the flavor the most but  I love the  texture. This beverage is packed with nutrients, vitamins and fiber for the chia seeds.


Kombucha not your thing? You tried it, been there, done that and it’s still not for you? That’s ok. You can still add these lovely chia shot packs to any beverage. Fresh juice, smoothies, almond milk, they are perfectly designed so you never have to leave home without it. Chia seeds were dubbed the nickname “runner’s food” because they help sustain you with tons of energy. They are loaded with protein and fiber. The Chia Co. understand that we are a community always on the go, so let make that snack time a little less stressful. Ladies and gentlemen these are perfect to keep in your purse, man bag or pocket.  Once you had a packet to your beverage, I recommend shaking/stirring it and letting it sit for at least 10 minutes, so the seeds soften up a little.


Fresh Fruit and Berries

Please never underestimate the power of fruit. Fruit and berries have many health benefits and considering most of us don’t eat enough, why not add it into snack time? When we are feeling sluggish in the afternoon sometimes our bodies just need real nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  If you keep some fruit at your desk or near you, instead of that bag of sugary candy, you won’t put your body through the roller coaster of  a quick sugar high and a disastrous crash and burn.



First and foremost, just like I said about coconut waster, all bars are NOT created equal! It’s overwhelming now going into the grocery store and seeing a wall full of protein, energy, granola, and “healthy” bars. But let’s face it, a lot of those bars we love are loaded with more sugar than nutrients. If I’m going to eat a bar with 200-300 calories, it better be nutrient dense! I love Greens+ brand! They make these chia, greens bars covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate, that I just cannot get enough of. The chia seeds add a slight pop of texture to the bar’s smooth greens. This bar is also made without chocolate, so if you are looking for fewer calories or don’t like chocolate, voila. As I mentioned before chia seeds are great for energy. They weren’t give the the nickname “runner’s food” for nothing.


Organic Food Bar makes a variety of bars that are all organic. I think they got the name right because we should be eating whole foods and not just some protein powder bound together with sugar in the form of a bar. Their bars are also made with greens. I like it because more companies are starting to use sweeteners like dates, agave, and real maple syrup. To all my vegan-raw friends, they even make bars for you! Give them a try, I think you might like them. I know they give me a boost when I need it.



Guilty Pleasure Made Not So Guilty: Chocolate

If your like me, I LOVE chocolate! So when it comes to snack time and cravings, chocolate is one of the first things I tend to go for. Today, unfortunately chocolate bars and treats are usually loaded with fillers, chemicals and tons of sugar. I found these two products that make enjoying a piece of chocolate a little less guilty.

Attune makes these great chocolate bars that have probiotics in them. The probiotics are flavorless so no worries there folks. Probiotics are great for digestive and immune health.  They come in 3 flavored, dark chocolate, mint chocolate, and milk chocolate crisp (it’s like eating a crunch bar). They are even tested, making sure that each bar is gluten free.DanielleAlexSnackAttack22

Gnosis Chocolate is great for dark chocolate lovers and those follow raw Lifestyle. The brand is free from all the chemicals, additives and other junk quite often found in chocolate bars today. They are also amazing because they use coconut palm sugar. You will not find any refined garbage in these puppies. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. And please allow me to mention the following, there is fiber and a touch of protein their bars.All bars are gluten free, organic, vegan, kosher, GMO and peanut free.



I hope this was helpful and here is to healthy snacking!