All Coconut Everything Plus a Recipe

ImageThis summer has featured a large supply of coconuty goodness mixed with delightful flavors. Summer, not surprisingly, is coconut season, and you can find just about any product–from coffee creamers, to chocolate, caramel and caramel candies and fun flavored iced coffee. Below is a short list of fun coconut inspired products that are worth a try.

  • Dunkin Donuts’ new coconut mocha iced coffee. This fun treat is a great way to cool off as the tropical coconut flavor balanced well with the mocha overtones that create a well- balanced flavor roundness. Also available are: Coconut caramel and Coconut almond.
  • Betty Crocker’s Almond Joy Icing. This I have not yet tried, but I can imagine that if the flavors of chocolate, coconut and almond compliment each other, it should taste no differently than the International Delight creamer of the same flavor.

    Taken by Shinai

    Almond Joy Icing

  • Caramel, Chocolate and Coconut Ice Cream by Edy’s: This is very close to the Girl Scout Samoas flavor, and was once named as such. This ice cream begins with a caramel flavored ice cream and chocolate ribbons, and chunks of the Samoas cookies are nestled in. The mix-ins make this ice cream a hit run. Make your own Samoas cookies and bars here.
  • Nestle Crunch Samoas (Chocolate & Coconut) Bars. This is easily an addiction of mine. I can’t decide whether or not it’s due to the intoxicating balance of coconut and caramel, or the crispy and airy cookie texture. These bars come in three popular Girl Scout flavors: Coconut and Chocolate, Thin Mint and Peanut Butter Creme. Worth a try.
  • Coffee Mate’s Coconut and Chocolate (Samoas) Creamer. This is a smooth, fun and indulgent creamer that features a soft, but noticeable coconut appearance, with a muted caramel finish. The smell is fantastic–your nose will pick up on the sweet coconut flavor with the lingering hint of sweet caramel. Perfect for a cozy cup of joe.
  • Haagen-Dazs Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream. This by far has been the best ice cream I’ve tried. The base of the ice cream is a sweet coconut flavoring with coconut flakes. The ice cream features bits of coconut macaroon–chewy little bits of coconut flakes and cookies pieces. Exquisite and may be available in select stores.

These items won’t be in stores forever, so be sure to try them before the spicy tones of autumn roll around.

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Almond Joy Flavored COFFEE (not just creamer) vs Almond Joy CREAMER

I was at Home Goods (I love that place) and was shopping when I scoped out a bag of Almond Joy Flavored Coffee (the brand is Grande Kaffe Collection). The coffee smells rich of coconut and chocolate, and upon sipping its smooth flavor, I tasted  well balanced undertones of chocolate, coconut AND almond (which was a complaint of mine in tasting the Almond Joy Creamer) Not only do you get stronger flavors in the coffee, you also save time in not having to add creamer to your coffee, let alone having to find the creamer in the first place.  (NOTE: It may help if you read my blog reviewing the Almond Joy Creamer https://thetalkingspoon.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/coffee-creamer-review-new-international-delights-almond-joy/)

Pretty blue packaging!

If I had to compare it to the creamer, I’d say this is a better deal.  The only challenge may be not being able to locate this at Home Gods, T.J. Maxx, or Marshalls stores as it may be a seasonal flavor, however, I cannot say for sure, so be on the look out! I paid $6.99 for a 160z bag of coffee.  The fragrance has velvety top notes of chocolate, and the rich, tropical intensity of flaky coconut, and the warmth of almonds. Again, well balanced in all three flavors. Perfect with vanilla creamer, which in its subtlety brings out the flavors.  The coffee itself is an Arabica blend, which tends to be your standard coffee used in these types of flavored varieties. This blend may or may not be strong enough for some, but you can always amp up the coffee in your coffee maker.

Almond Joy Coffee Yumfacotor: 4 tongues. (4 out of 5 stars) I love the even textures of all three flavors that I felt lacked in the creamer. This flavor is exotic, fun and makes for an alive cup of coffee. Vanilla accentuates the almond flavor, as well as defines the coconut and the chocolate characteristics. A must try. Gourmet indeed. May even make a great gift for foodies!

Have you tried this before? What are your thoughts? Think I’m bashing the creamer a little too much? Rate. Comment. Subscribe.

5 Uses for Butterscotch Pudding Mix~Low Budget Gourmet Ideas

Butterscotch is a classic candy flavor with buttery overtones that add richness to a lot of recipes.  Here are a few idea to kick start using this ingredient, which is perfect for the fall. Butterscotch pudding mix will add both flavor and moisture to the some of the following items
  • Butterscotch Cake. Simply add butterscotch pudding mix to cake mix (I’d say 1/4 of the package) to add flavor, rich color and moistness. I made a butterscotch cake by adding pudding mix to a box cake to experiment.  I also added coconut and topped it of with a chocolate glaze.
  • Butterscotch Milkshake.This is an amazing, and easy way to go gourmet. I added a teaspoon (this can change according to taste preference), soy milk or regular milk (about 1/2 a cup) vanilla (optional) and a cup of ice cream.  This will create a thick and indulgent shake!

    Homemade Butterscotch Milkshake with Whipped Cream and Cinnamon Sugar for a garnish.

  • Butterscotch based cheesecake. (Butterscotch and chocolate, butterscotch and rum cheesecake, butterscotch cheesecake with caramel, chocolate and pecans for the fancy folks out there)
  • Butterscotch Pudding (of course) Pie with coconut, or chocolate, or nuts. This is an alternative for those who want the butterscotch pie without the density of cheesecake.
  • Butterscotch and Walnut/ Butterscotch ad Chocolate Chip cookies. Adding pudding mix to any flour based recipe should give it a nice change of flavor while creating a  chewy texture.

Sure, there are butterscotch chips out there, but they don’t have the same influence on the flavor and moisture of a cake that pudding mix would have. Why not experiment with other flavors like pumpkin, vanilla,white chocolate, chocolate or even pistachio to see what ideas you can come up with! Or if you have already tied this,what items did you make and how did it taste? Don’t forget to rate, comment and/or subscribe!

Must Try Food: Publix Low Fat Yogurt (Cuban Edition)

Publix has launched a few new and exiting flavors of low fat yogurt. It seems that it may be  a limited edition release, however, one cannot be sure if these exotic new flavors of yogurt are here to stay. At roughly $0.40 to $0.50 per 6oz container, you can pick and choose from a wide range of Hispanic influenced flavors like Coco Rico (Rich Coconut), Mango, Passion Fruit, Churro, Spicy Pineapple, Prickly Pear,Limonida Fresca (lemon and lime-which I have not tried) and Guava Pastry (Guava Pastelitos). I got excited, because as a child of Miami, Florida, I remember growing up eating hot, fresh, chewy churros from vendors who sold them in brown paper bags on the sides of the busy streets. I also remember going to Cuban bakeries in my town, and getting fresh, flaky pastelitos (little pastries)  in a variety of flavors. I knew I had to try this.

Pictured from (l) to (r): Passion Fruit, Spicy Pineapple and Mango

The containers have a festive and fun band of orange around the top of the container that makes one think about summertime in Miami. The fact that it was low fat didn’t stop me at all.

The First one I tried was Coco Rico, or Rich Coconut in English.  I was expecting a standard yogurt experience coconut flavoring, coconut flakes, and that tangy undertone of active bacteria (probably not, but I always think that,lol!) that’s so typical. Well, firstly, the texture itself seemed is thicker and creamier. There were no coconut flakes, but a strong,smooth coconut taste that tasted rich, and satisfying. This was not like any yogurt I’ve had before. And I loved it!

  • Coco Rico Yumfactor- 5 tongues (5 out of 5 stars). The flavor was fun, full and fierce! No coconut flakes, not that it’s a problem, but the lack there of adds to the richness of the yogurt. Sweet enough for me, and low in fat!

Next, I tried Churro. I was not sure if there were going to be pieces of churros, or just a plain old cinnamon and sugar thing going on. Again, the texture was rich and delicate, and did nothing to remind me it was low in fat. The exotic, and warm spices of cinnamon, and the sweetness of the sugar dances blissfully as I found myself satisfied with this one.

  •  Churro Yumactor- 3 tongues and a tastebud (3.5 stars out of 5).   Although it’s great, I usually tend to prefer yogurt with a light and fruity flavor. I like it, but probably would not get it again, as it’s warm and doesn’t contain any fun fruit. Better than I expected, though.
I am currently eating the mango, and I have had Publix’s mango “Fruit on the bottom” before, so I had an expectation. This mango flavor was explosive, bold and more strong than the fruit on the bottom variety. There are chunks of mangoes and the color is vibrant. I love mango!
  • Mango Yogurt Yumfactor- 5 tongues!  (5 out of 5 stars) I love anything mango, and though some of these flavors may be too sweet for a diabetic, or not sweet enough, I must say this one and the coconut are my favorite.
***UPDATE!! I have also tried “Guava Pastry” and “Passion Fruit” since my last post.
Guava Pastry seemed pretty straight forward, based on my experience with trying pastelitos in Miami. Although i didn’t expect to get much of the flaky crust from the yogurt, the guava flavoring was sure to be strong. I ended up tasting a cinnamon and guava interpretation of the pastry, and was somewhat disappointed. I don’t recall tasting much or any cinnamon for that matter in the pastelitos I frequently ate. There were small pieces of guava fruit, which tasted good, but not in combination with the cinnamon.
  • Guava Pastry Yumfactor: 2 tongues and a tastebud (2.5 out of 5 stars) It was all because of the strong cinnamon flavor, which I felt overpowered the sweet guava. This was more warm, and spicy. Not my favorite.
And then there is passion fruit. I knew this would be good as it’s pretty straight forward. Not much to say here, outside of the flavors being bold, combining the tangy and sweet exotic richness of passion fruit with the velvety smooth texture of the low fat yogurt.
  • Passion Fruit Yumfactor- 4 tongues (4 out of 5 stars) Summery, fun, and a great intrepretation of the bold fruit.
  • Prickly Pear, I figured would be a tangier pear laced flavor, and it ended up being a bit more mi in flavor. Sweet, and juicy, this yogurt tasted more bland in terms of its exotic name. I give it 3 tongues (3 out of 5) it was just blah compared to the others, but was not a bad pear yogurt.
  • Spicy Pineapple, I was hesitant to try, but ended up being one of my favorites. Vaguely familiar, the pineapple flavor was sweet with bits of sweet pineapple pieces, and the spicy did not over power it.They balanced each other out to create a harmonious flavor explosion. I give it a 4 tongues and a tastebud (4.5 out of 5 stars)
All of these yogurts range in the 30’s as far as sugar content is concerned, just so you know.
NOTE:I will include an *update* when I eat the other flavors, just to review all of the ones I purchased.
Not only does Publix have an assortment of fun and cool yogurt flavors for less than $1, but yogurt itself packs a punch to infection, and strengths the body. Eating yogurt fills the body with probiotics (or good bacteria) like Bifidum,Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophilus ” Which basically reduce gastrointestinal inflammation, fight infection in the body, fight yeasts, and food infection and reduces food allergies in people who have internal discomfort in their bowels. Click here for more info Streptococcus thermophilus which will take you to the page I obtained this info from (here, you can click on the link “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic” including a break down of all the bacteria I listed). I got it from wikipedia, but there are cited sources, along with a list of how the probiotic effect your body. Yogurt can also prevent indigestion associated with lactose intolerance.
The Talking Spoon Challenges YOU! 
Why not practice taking probiotic tablets daily, or making yogurt apart of your daily food regimen? all you need is 1 6 oz serving, and your white blood count will be increased, which helps to fight off infection, your inflammation,  decreased, you get both calcium and a serving of fruit, and get yourself closer to living a healthier life! Also, this yogurt is only $0.50 at the most saving you money.

Coconut Water, FTW!!!!! (Tropical Edition) Reviewing It’s Amazing Health Benefits + Product Review

I am indulging in mango flavored coconut water, and not only is it amazing in taste, tropical, exotic and refreshing, but its also a power house of healthy. Chock full of 5  electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, and is even said to aid in anti-aging and fights off high blood pressure and even cancer.

Coconut Water in Pink Guava, Mango Peach and Pineapple by two brands.

Perfect for a post sport drink, this drink is all natural, light and low in sugar. Many people in tropical countries drink this to quench their thirst, but now many in the U.S. are indulging in it after hearing about its benefits. I briefly stated a few of its benefits above, but lets go into more detail. (*NOTE: I am obviously not a doctor, nor am I saying that drinking coconut water will cure any serious health aliment you may currently have. If you are suffering from certain serious symptoms and have not had them checked, please call your doctor.) Coconut Water, already full of electrolytes and great light flavor also is said to:

  • Eliminate viruses, act as an anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation in the G.I. tract, bladder, and even reduces infections from candida
  • Helps keep skin smooth (by putting directly on skin) and keeps skin hydrated when consumed.
  • Regulated blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Enables digestive health by promoting healthy colon function, and promotes bowel movements.
  • Helps treat bladder issues and conditions like cholera, intestinal worms, diarrhea, stomach flues/viruses, dry skin/ itchy skin,and malfunctioning kidneys.
  • Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Promoted T sells, and beneficial immunity to fight infection from serious conditions, or infections.
  • Promotes energy as antioxidants carry oxygen to blood cells.

But don’t take my word for it. You can read more about the benefits of this amazing beverage at the two links I recovered the information from: http://www.drinkpura.com/articles-what-is-coconut-water.php

http://www.zerbos.com/common/news/store_news.asp?task=store_news&sid_store_news=1&storeID=5DDC50E796734E49AEDE162FFC8CABF9

Now for the review, This brand is ONE made in Indonesia. The brand offers a variety of refreshing coconut water, in mango (pictured), pink guava, original

Coconut Milk with a Splash of Mango Juice

and pineapple. I purchased it at Publix for $1.49, in the 8.5 ounce size.

Firstly, the splash of mango juice is a noticeable feature as it gives an interesting and sweet depth to the juice. Not too sweet, I noticed a light consistency(unlike some drinks that have strong syrupy undertones) and noticed that in drinking  nearly 4 ounces, I felt an increase in energy. This flavor is more compelling than the original (which is a plus to me) coconut water flavor, and was finished in short of 10 minutes (I wanted to savor the flavor)

One Coconut Water Yumfactor (Both Mango and Pineapple): 5 tongues! (5 out of 5) I give this drink a 5 out of 5 not only because its healthy and refreshing, but also because this brand offers a dynamic selection for those of us who like variety.

I also tried the pineapple flavor, and once again, I tasted a strong burst of fresh pineapple, noting the increase in energy and mood. I’d say that these flavored goodies have great flavor options, are easy to enjoy, and are not too bad to pay for.   Again, 5 out of 5 for the pineapple. Sure, Gatorade is cheaper, but if often full of sugar and is mainly food for electrolyte restoration. Think of this coconut water as a low budget, fun and exotic homemade sports, and vitality drink.

Cooking Goals: What I’ve Accomplished and not yet accomplished

I love challenging myself and testing my willingness to step out of my comfort zone by assigning myself daring, fun and daily goals. I have a list of many items I have been wanting to cook, and will include them on here. So far, I’d say my progress has been pretty steady. I think cooking goals is a great way to break free of cooking the same dishes over again, and obviously a wonderful method to increase one’s cooking confidence! What cooking goals do you have for yourself? What are your general opinions on goals for success? Have you reached many of your cooking goals? What do you think of making a cooking goals list? (Restricting or innovative) If you has a list, what type of things would you include on it?

I’d love to hear your input, and if you like my posts, please comment, rate and subscribe! Thanks!!! 🙂

This is NOT my comprehensive list. These are just some of the more interesting items I have decided to include.  ENJOY! and feel free to add yours!

  • Peach Cobbler (with fresh peaches and brandy)
  • Chinese Orange Chicken

    Goodness this was divine! Original Photo

  • Thai Tea 
  • Naan
  • Curry Chicken (Jamaican Style)
  • A Breakfast Stratta (with herb sauteed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, feta cheese, and artichokes)
  • Kimchee
  • Zabaglione Cupcakes

    Grilled Tandoori Chicken- a spicy Indian dish

  • Hummus
  • Crab Cakes (jerked flavored?) from scratch with some kind of an interesting pineapple and jalapeno relish/salsa.
  • Baklava
  • Bhakri
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Banana-Pineapple Upside down cake
  • Stir Fry the way my mom makes it
  • Pancit

    The popular and delicious Filipino dish Pancit

  • Korean BBQ Chicken
  • Spring Rolls
  • Sweet Potato Wedges with a savory garlic and chipotle mayo.
  • Asparagus cooked in a dry white wine, then topped with a garlic and herb hollandaise sauce OR topped with Italian seasoned panko break crumbs, still cooked in a garlic, butter white wine.
  • Thai Chicken in both light and dark soy sauces, fish sauce, spices, and oyster sauces, with sweet Asian chili sauce.
  • Green Tea and Coconut Cake with a Coconut Glaze
  • Falafel
  • At least 5 frostings from scratch (3 down 2 to go: buttercream, cream cheese, and a glaze so far)
  • Enchiladas
  • Mochi

    Mochi-A traditional Japanese dessert. A Similar delicacy is called "ttoek or Ddoek" in South Korea

  • Samosa (Veggie)
  • Tabbouleh
  • Paella (Seafood)
  • Chicken Patty Jamaican Style
  • Lox
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Chinese Donuts (made during the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit 🙂
  • Bagels from scratch
  • Strawberry Chocolate Layer Cake
  • Veggie Lasagna
  • Orange Cranberry Scones
  • S’mores Cupcakes
  • Strawberry Chocolate Champagne Truffles
  • Pink Grapefruit Yogurt Layer Cake
  • Croissants
  • Layer Cake
  • Danishes
  • Red Lobster Biscuits
  • Guacamole
  • Sweet Mango Sticky Rice

    Add sweeteners to cheesecake, whip and dish it. Easy.

  • Berry Cheesecake (everything from scratch except crust)
  • Chai coffee cake
  • Seafood gumbo
  • Bruschetta 
  • Caramel
  • Pear Brandy Custard Galette with vanilla bean (and a caramel drizzle?)
  • Ginger Coconut Blondies
  • Flavored Frozen Yogurt
  • Nectarine Ice Cream (from scratch)
  • Fun Salads
  • Miso Soup
  • Carrot Cake (with a homemade cream cheese buttercream frosting)


Where Have I Been? Recipes and New Cooking Ventures

The last blog (aside) that I wrote was nearly two weeks ago. Instead of blogging, I have been using some time to get some things done, but most of all, I have been cooking more!!!! I have made scones from scratch, biscuits, dinners, a peach cobbler with fresh sliced peaches, cakes, and interesting drinks! I have a few pictures of them prepared items and will try my best to share the recipes. (Some are from an app on my phone, so I’m not sure if you all will be able to access the same recipes I have used.) (Actually, the app is powered by allthecooks.com) Although I use recipes, I also get creative and add my own ingredients to it to give the dishes originality. So the way they come out will be a tad different from the ways your may if you do follow the directions very closely. Let me know if you are interested in anything else I have listed. I plan on doing a smoothie blog full of recipes and drink ideas I frequently use. Enjoy the 4 or 5 recipes!!!

  • Fun smoothies (like Green tea, mango, orange juice and lime an original- Heavenly!!!) and classic ones, like mango strawberry yogurt smoothies.
  • As of late, I have made three cakes from scratch (green tea and coconut with a glaze, and a pink grapefruit yogurt cake, which I covered previously, and layered  carrot cake with a cream cheese icing), however I decided to make a box cake. This is a French Vanilla Box cake, (with a homemade buttercream icing), but baked in as a layer cake, adding fresh strawberries (which I soaked in sugar and vanilla extract for 2 days). I then assembled the berried in between the layers, and frosted the cake, adding fresh sliced strawberries atop the cake for a pretty garnish. The cake was great, but the recipe I used for the buttercream icing was too sweet!  I will NOT use that recipe again! There is no other recipe to link, so I will just post a pic, and say that you can make layered cakes from the box, and add whatever flavoring, fruits, or icing you want to make it more creative. So think of this as more if an idea, not a recipe.
  • The lovely inside. See the itty, bitty berries?

French vanilla layered cake with homemade buttercream icing and fresh strawberries.

  • Tropical French Toast with bananas and coconut (with a hint of rum which I incorporated in the french toast egg/milk wash) This recipe calls for flour to be used, which makes the french toast more decadent. I also added approx.1 teaspoon of vanilla pudding mix to made the toast more creamy (which I got from another recipe) I did not have any thick bread on hand, so I used plain old wheat. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/fluffy-french-toast/Detail.aspx For the fruit, I simply took some banana pieces, added butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cook it until it got soft to my preferred desire. I then took some shredded coconuts, and sprinkled it over the banana.

Tropical French Toast with slightly caramelized bananas. They weren't super ripe, and I probably didn't use enough brown sugar. Still good,though.

  • Peach Cobbler with fresh peaches, and a “special ingredient” not listed. I again made it my own by using 3/4 cup of vanilla soy milk, less than 1/4 cup of half and half (to make it a tad fluffy), water (I do that sometimes) and 1 service which is a teaspoon of french vanilla creamer. I added an ingredient that gave the sweet peaches depth, and also some apple pie spice to round the spicy and sweet flavors out. The crust was a bit more dense that other cobblers I have had, and slightly cakey, but I actually liked its richness.

Goodness this was divine!

Cobbler before I tore into it like an animal.