I’ve been wildly obsessed with coconuts lately. My fridge is constantly stocked with coconut water. Coconut oil is an essential component to my beauty routine (and I cook with it too). So when AVEENO® asked me if I wanted to share some of my healthy winter skin tips I was so excited to learn that coconut is an active natural ingredient in their Skin Relief Gentle Scent products. Clearly, I’m crazy for coconuts. So without further ado, a few fun recipes and ideas for how to bring this fruit into a healthful winter.
The most simple way to enjoy a coconut is drinking it. Packed with potassium and electrolytes, I love the light, sweet, refreshing taste of this this drink du jour — especially when sipping it right out of the shell. Coconut water helps me to stay hydrated, especially in the winter time when I often forget to drink enough water, and it’s just so dang delicious!
And when you’re done drinking that coconut, don’t toss the shell! Why not make a plant-a-colada? Just follow these easy steps. These make fun hostess gifts too!
Next up? My mom’s famous Coconut Milk Pumpkin Soup. My mom has made this soup every year at Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. It’s insanely yummy and also easy to make. It’s hearty and healthy and it makes a perfect first course for a holiday meal. I’ve added my own spin to the recipe here by serving the soup in a coconut! Delicious, nutritious, and jungalicious ;)
Here’s my mom’s recipe:
1 medium-sized pumpkin (about 6″ across)
1 russet potato, peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes
4 cups coconut milk
Pinch of Nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped Ginger
2 teaspoons of curry powder
One yellow onion, chopped medium
2 cups of vegetable (or chicken) broth
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pumpkin chunks skin side down on a baking pan, Brush with olive oil; roast the pieces for about 20-30 minutes until they smell good and start to caramelize. Turn the pieces over halfway through the cooking.
Meantime, in a heavy soup pot, sauté the chopped onion in olive oil until translucent, add curry, nutmeg and chopped ginger, stir carefully 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
When the squash starts to color up and glaze, remove it from the oven. Wait for it to cool enough to remove the skins. I use a butter knife and soup spoon technique to loosen the flesh and then scrape it off the skin, and toss it right in the soup pot, with the onions and spices. Add cut up potato and water and/ or broth to nearly cover the vegetables. Cover tightly and simmer together over medium heat until the pumpkin and potato are soft, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
When the pumpkin and potato are soft, mix them up in a blender or juicer. Use a little of the liquid to blend, reserving the rest. Return the blended soup to the pot, and add 1 cup of coconut milk and bring back to a warm temperature, but not to boiling. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, more curry or nutmeg if needed. Add reserved liquid to bring it to your preferred thickness.
Just before serving, stir in the remaining coconut milk. Serve in a coconut shell with a dollop of crème fraiche, a spot of pumpkin seed oil, roasted pumpkin seeds and a sprig of rosemary or chopped chives.
Next up? Enjoying the scent (and moisturizing benefits!) of coconuts with AVEENO® Skin Relief Gentle Scent Nourishing Coconut lotion. It’s as gentle as fragrance-free products, so those with sensitive skin (like me!) can finally enjoy the coconut scent along with me. It contains coconut oil and smells so good. I’ve been using this lotion non-stop for the past couple of weeks — it’s super light, but is doing such a good job of taking care of my skin, which gets really dry this time of year. And I love smelling like a coconutty beach vacation in the wintertime :)
What’s next? An easy DIY that makes the perfect little holiday gift: DIY coconut-mint lip balm.
Mint essential oil
Natural, filtered beeswax
Glass measuring cup
Small grater or vegetable peeler
Stirring stick (choose something disposable, like a wooden stir stick)
Little lip balm containers (you can find them at your local crafts store)
Make as much as you want following this ratio: 2 parts coconut oil to every 1 part beeswax and 10-12 drops of the mint essential oil per container of lip balm. Two teaspoons of coconut oil makes about one small container full of lip balm.
Grate the beeswax. Combine the coconut oil and grated beeswax in the glass measuring cup. Bring small pan of water to a boil, place measuring cup with coconut oil and beeswax in the hot water. Reduce heat to low. Stir until coconut oil and beeswax are melted and combined. Once melted, remove from pan. Add essential oil and stir again until mixed. Let cool slightly (~30 sec). Pour the mixture into your container. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes until it hardens into lip balm!
(Pro tip: to clean the beeswax from your grater/peeler and measuring cup, wipe as much off as possible with a paper towel, then use the water you already boiled to clean away the remaining residue).