White Chocolate Key Lime Pie with Coconut Crust

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This luscious White Chocolate Key Lime Pie is as good as it sounds. It’s sweet and tart at the same time, with the creamy texture of cheesecake. Best of all, there’s no baking required, so it’s perfect for summer!

White Chocolate Key Lime Pie with Coconut Crust

It’s really easy to put together too . . . well, except for squeezing the juice from all of those @#$% tiny key limes. The key lime flavor really is worth the effort, but I won’t judge if you choose to use regular limes instead. My grocery store sells bags of key limes that happen to yield exactly the amount of juice need to make this pie. I neglected to count the number of key limes in the bag, but I’m guessing it was around 15 or so.

I’ve been on a coconut kick lately, so I decided to jazz up the standard graham cracker crust with some unsweetened shredded coconut, which was a perfect complement to the tangy lime flavor of the pie.

I made this pie for Easter, but it would also be perfect for Mother’s Day (hint-hint dads). It is very rich, so plan to serve small slices. We had 8 adults tackle this pie (some of whom had seconds), and still only made it through ¾ of the pie (I have the rest of the pie in the freezer, but haven’t had an excuse thaw it out yet. I’ll be sure to let you know if it freezes well or not).

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup heavy whipping cream
11 ounces white chocolate chips*
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/3 cup key lime juice
Optional: additional white chocolate for garnish

To make the crust, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and sugar in a medium bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling.

To make the filling, add the cream and white chocolate chips to a small saucepan over low heat. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream, lime zest, and lime juice.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight. Before serving, garnish with white chocolate, if desired. Enjoy!

* Note: some chocolate chips contain fillers that help them keep their shape, but can result in a grainy texture when melted. I had good results with Ghirardelli White Baking Chips. You can also use baking bars, but they are generally more expensive than chocolate chips.

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Maple Coconut Quinoa Granola

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This maple coconut quinoa (yes, I said quinoa) granola is so good! The maple and coconut flavors pair really well together and the quinoa adds a great crunch.

I created this recipe out of desperation. I’ve had tummy trouble for as long as I can remember, so I’ve recently started the low FODMAP diet to see if I can pinpoint the cause. You can read more about the low FODMAP diet here if you’re interested, but in a nutshell, I have to eliminate a number of “problem” foods for several weeks and then slowly add them back to determine which foods are triggering my symptoms. That means some of my favorite foods are now off-limits (cereal with milk, apples with peanut butter, avocados, bread, ice cream (gasp!), etc).

Desperate to find a low FODMAP snack that I could enjoy (gluten-free, dairy-free, etc), I came up with this recipe, and boy am I glad that I did! I would eat this over wheat cereal any day. Even my kids and husband loved it.

Maple Coconut Quinoa Granola

My favorite way to eat this granola is sprinkled over yogurt (lactose-free for me) with some frozen raspberries. Yum!

Maple Coconut Quinoa Granola with Yogurt

Keep in mind that raisins, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are considered low FODMAP as long as they are kept in small quantities (2 tablespoons or less), so keep your portions small if you are following a low FODMAP diet.

I also recommend soaking the nuts and seeds prior to making this recipe, especially if you have trouble digesting them. The soaking/drying process will take about 24 hours, so be sure to start the day before you want to make the granola. Or you can skip the soaking process if you’re short on time.

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup pre-soaked nut/seed mix (instructions below)
1/2 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse well under cold water to remove the bitter coating. Add the rinsed quinoa, nuts/seeds, oats, shredded coconut, and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. (Note: if you are using pre-soaked nuts/seeds (instructions below) they will be lightly salted, so you may want to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.) Pour in the melted coconut oil and maple syrup and mix together until evenly coated.

Spread the granola out on a large cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring a few times during baking. Remove from the oven and stir in the golden raisins, then let cool for at least 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container on the counter.

Nut/Seed Soaking Instructions:

  1. Fill a large bowl with warm water and mix in a tablespoon of salt.
  2. Add raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, chopped walnuts and chopped almonds to the bowl (or your favorite nuts and seeds).
  3. Soak nuts in the salt water overnight for 10 – 12 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 125 degrees.
  5. Drain the nuts and spread onto a large baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 hours (this will dry out the nuts and prevent them from getting moldy).
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Coconut Macaroons

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I’m a sucker for those big, beautiful, perfectly mounded coconut macaroons that you find in fancy bakeries (extra points if they’re dipped in chocolate!). I’ve tried making coconut macaroons before, but I ended up with flat, sticky things that tasted pretty good, but did not live up to my vision of a perfect macaroon.

I think I discovered the secret: ditch the sweetened condensed milk. This recipe, from Baker’s, uses egg whites instead and it produces macaroons that are similar to those bakery beauties that I covet. Click here to see the original recipe.

Like most things, coconut becomes glorious when it’s toasted, so I pop the macaroons under the broiler for a few minutes after they are finished baking, to give them a tasty, toasted exterior.

1 14-ounce package flaked coconut
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites (unbeaten)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper (or you can grease and flour them instead).

Combine the coconut, sugar, flour and salt in large bowl. Stir in egg whites, vanilla extract and almond extract until well blended.

Drop coconut mixture into mounds, 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. I like my macaroons big and tall, so before I put them in the oven, I’ll reshape them using my fingers (it helps if you wet your fingers first) to make sure they hold their shape.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the bottom edges are golden brown. Turn on the broiler and crack open the oven door. Broil for a minute or two, or until the macaroons are light brown on top. Watch carefully because they will burn easily.

Remove from the oven, move to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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Blueberry Banana Coconut Smoothie

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The weather is warming up and it’s finally berry season! I love making healthy smoothies with ripe berries for a refreshing snack or a quick breakfast. I’ve been trying to cut back on sugar, so I don’t usually add any sweetener (the fruit is usually sweet enough). You may want to add a bit of honey if you like your smoothies a bit sweeter. I also add some fresh spinach to all of my smoothies now – you won’t even know it’s there!

1 cup of crushed ice
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 banana, sliced
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Small handful of baby spinach
1-2 tablespoons milk

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You can also use a stick blender to blend your smoothie together (I got one for Christmas and it makes my smoothie prep a breeze!).

Pour your smoothie into a tall glass, add a straw and enjoy the refreshing goodness.

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Sticky Grilled Coconut Chicken with Chili Glaze

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As soon as the weather warms up, I always get a hankering for this chicken. One bite of the tender coconut chicken topped with a spicy chili glaze, and I’m temporarily transported to an exotic tropical island. Unfortunately, my daydream doesn’t last long with two noisy children at the table, but at least I have a plate of delicious chicken to look forward to. The chicken will need to marinate for several hours, so be sure to start this in advance.

Coconut Chicken Ingredients:
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon ground ginger (or use fresh ginger, if you have it)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 to 5 green onions, sliced

In a large bowl or zip-top plastic bag, mix together the coconut milk, ginger, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Add the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Preheat the grill.

When the grill is hot, place the chicken on the grill, reserving the marinade. Cook, turning the chicken several times until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, basting frequently with the reserved marinade (use it all).

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the chili glaze (see recipe below).

Remove the cooked chicken from the grill to a platter and pour the hot chili glaze over the chicken. Garnish with the chopped green onions and serve hot over rice.

Chili Glaze Ingredients:
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture is reduced, about 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to use this while it’s still hot, otherwise you might end up with chewy caramel instead.

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Almond Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These chocolate chip cookies get an extra dose of bliss with the addition of almonds and coconut. The almonds add a nice crunch and the coconut gives the cookies a nice chewy texture. I love the flavor of chocolate, almonds, and coconut together too . . . kind of like an Almond Joy in a cookie!

2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar (I use organic sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the butter, white and brown sugars, and the vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixture until the butter looks lighter in color and has fluffy texture. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Using a big wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the coconut, chocolate chips, and almonds.

Use a tablespoon to drop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, making sure to leave about 2 inches of space between each cookie. (Note: I baked some of my cookies on a light-colored baking sheet, and some on a dark-coated baking sheet covered with foil. The cookies on the dark-coating baking sheet had a higher-rise and were more golden brown in color than those on the light-colored baking sheet. I think this recipe is more suited to a dark-coated baking sheet. Just food for thought!)

Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving cookies to a wire rack to cool completely (or at least until your family discovers them!).

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Almond Butter Balls

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My kids love peanut butter and almond butter. They would eat it right out of the jar, if I let them. These no-bake balls are ready to eat in minutes and make a perfect after-school snack. The oats provide fiber and energy, and the almond butter adds protein and healthy fats. Just what tired kids (and moms!) need after a long day. This makes a small batch; just enough for a day or two.

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons honey (use less if your coconut is sweetened)
Coconut flakes, unsweetened cocoa, and finely chopped almonds for coating

Combine the oats, almond butter, 1/2 cup flaked coconut, and honey in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. It may take a few minutes of stirring to completely combine the ingredients.

Using your hands, press the mixture into 1-inch balls and roll them in the coating (coconut, cocoa, or almonds).

The balls can be stored at room temperature, but I prefer to store them in the fridge to help them keep their shape (less messy to eat too).

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