Chocolate. Thursday was my birthday. I’m not big on celebrations, but (as you may know) I am big on food. These long, summery days and beautiful sunsets call for something sweet. I don’t know about you, but I am a huge chocolate fan. This in itself is not a problem. The problem is when you factor in being a vegan and the fact that I love milk chocolate. Well, The Chocolate Shoe Box on 7410 Greenwood Ave N has solved this problem.
I have yet to visit their store in person, but I can tell you that their chocolate is amazing- regardless of whether you are vegan. They have everything from gluten-free cookies to peppermint truffles. A big THANK YOU to a co-worker of mine who organized an entire vegan chocolate tasting for our office on my birthday. I could not have been more thrilled!
Coconuts. Coconut water, huh? Yep, coconut water. The first time I tried coconut water was about five years ago and I thought it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever tasted. Well, let me assure you that tastes evolve. It’s taken me several years to learn to like it, but now I love it. In fact, instead of having late-night sugar cravings, I have late-night coconut water cravings. It’s that good.
What’s the big deal about coconut water? I’ve read many times that it is the closest thing there is to blood plasma. During WWII, coconut water was used in the Pacific to give emergency transfusions. It’s also an amazing source of electrolytes and minerals and is great for hydrating your body.
You can find coconut water packaged at most health food stores and some Whole Foods locations even carry the young coconuts already cut open. It is important to use a young coconut because as the coconuts ripen, the water will turn to flesh. Last night on my late-night coconut water craving run, I was unable to find coconuts that were already cut open, so I embraced my fears and did it myself. In case you’ve never embarked on opening a young coconut, let me tell you 1.) once it is open, you will be glad and proud that you did it and 2.) it is #*You can find coconut water packaged at most health food stores and some Whole Foods locations even carry the young coconuts already cut open. It is important to use a young coconut because as the coconuts ripen, the water will turn to flesh. Last night on my late-night coconut water craving run, I was unable to find coconuts that were already cut open, so I embraced my fears and did it myself. In case you’ve never embarked on opening a young coconut, let me tell you 1.) once it is open, you will be glad and proud that you did it and 2.) it is f*$#7% hard to open without a cleaver.
The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose is where I first learned how to cut open a young coconut. Here’s how in case you ever want to try it yourself:
Choose a preshaved, young coconut with a white exterior. Set the coconut on a firm, steady surface. Place your non-cleaver hand behind your back and leave it there no matter what happens. Place the cleaver on the upper third of the coconut (about 4 inches from the peak of the coconut), and mark where you will strike it. Lift the cleaver to about shoulder height, and, keeping your eye on the mark, come down on it with force. Work your way around the peak of the coconut such that, once you’ve made four or five cleaver marks, the top of the coconut will lift off like a little hat. Inside, it should look crisp and white. Enjoy the water or set it aside for later use, and then use a spoon to enjoy the coconut “flesh.”
*Please note that if you ever open a coconut and it is even slightly pink, it’s gone bad and needs to be thrown out.
Self-care. On my birthday, someone asked me what was the most important lesson that I learned this year. I’ve spent a couple of days thinking about the answer and realized that this year I learned the importance of taking care of myself and putting my needs first. I am by no means a self-care expert, but I am getting better.
If you are interested in self-care, I highly recommend reading Cheryl Richardson’s The Art of Extreme Self-Care. I believe that every person needs to read this book because it will transform your life. I also think it is particularly important for women because of the way that we are socialized to be caretakers for others and put ourselves last. Cheryl Richardson is a life coach and has written many different books on creating changes in your life.
I love all of the lessons that I have learned this past year and how many, many more I know are to come in my life. I love that as I have gotten older, I have learned how to create more meaningful relationships and friendships. I love that my makeup bag has gotten smaller and smaller. (True beauty is on the inside anyway, right?) And I love all of the amazing things I have learned to cook and getting to share them with you.