These got rave reviews from people who aren't even gluten free or dairy free! And they really couldn't be easier to make. This  recipe is also fully customizable- don't have green tea powder, leave it out. Add a tsp of fresh orange zest instead. Add extra vanilla, add a pinch of cayenne pepper, add some toasted nut pieces.
Plus, look at that list of power-house ingredients. These are the very definition of a healthy treat!

Matcha tea is a fine ground green tea leaf (a special kind, I think) and is available at many natural food stores. I have even seen it sold in individual serving packs at some tea shops (if you don't want to commit to a $10+ jar of it). I used Republic of Tea Brand Matcha Powder, which I found at Fresh and Natural Foods in Hudson, WI. It is grassy and adds a unique and interesting hint of earthiness to an otherwise ordinary chocolate. 

GREEN TEA CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
1 can of full fat coconut milk
3 tsp matcha green tea powder, divided
5oz unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbs coconut oil
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup natural cocoa powder

Be careful not to shake or jostle the can of coconut milk (in fact, I often put mine in the fridge overnight just to ensure that it will harden up nice); open the can and measure out ¾ cup of the thick cream from the top. Place the coconut cream in a small saucepan along with 1 tsp of the green tea powder; heat over low-medium, gently stirring, until it starts to just boil around the edges.  

Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat-safe bowl along with the coconut oil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the bowl, let sit for one minute, and then stir with a fork until well combined. Add in the honey and vanilla and stir again until very uniform. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan (like a bread pan), cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

To make the truffles, use a tablespoon to measure out a portion of the chocolate, quickly roll it between your palms to form a ball and then roll it around in the cocoa powder to cover. Or if you aren't feeling so fancy that day, just scoop out a spoonful of chocolate and put it right into the cocoa powder, no need to make them into balls....they will just look, well: rustic. 

Place the finished truffles close together and use the reserved two teaspoons of matcha powder to sprinkle over top of them. 

Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, these will keep for over a week. 
 
 
Shredded coconut and coconut oil are both great products, but when was the last time you had freshly cracked coconut?! If you never have, you must try it! Fresh coconut makes a really great snack; it is meaty and contains a fair amount of healthy fat, which makes it very satisfying. 

I can’t say enough about coconut and it’s great health benefits. And I think that fresh coconut might be one of the most overlooked foods available. Why? Well, it takes a little work to get into one….

The length of this coconut instruction manual may make it seem difficult but please know that it really is not. If you are like me you want to know every detail possible, so that is what I am giving you.

After reading this you will be considered somewhat of a coconut expert!
Feel free to comment with any additional tips or tricks you use if you are already a coconut expert!

1. Picking Your Coconut:
Most major grocery stores will have conventional ones. If possible go organic (usually at natural/health food stores).

Be choosy, not all coconuts are created equal. First look at the three dark “eyes” at the end of the coconut. We are looking for two things here: there should be no white/blue discoloration on or near the eyes- if there is that means it is moldy and you don’t want that one. (I almost always find several at the store that are moldy, so watch out.) Use your finger and press on the eyes. My perfect coconut usually has a little “give” to one of the eyes and will cave in a little with more pressure, but it is not mushy. 

Next give it a good shake, you should hear water sloshing around on the inside. No sloshing = bad coconut.

Now if you are faced with a stack of good, fresh, sloshy, non-moldy coconuts, of course go for the biggest and heaviest one (they usually charge per coconut, occasionally some stores charge per pound- so do be conscious of this).

Also note that despite taking all these cautions in picking out a good coconut, if you crack it open to find that it is moldy or sour, TAKE IT BACK- get a refund or a new coconut.
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2. Draining the Water
The water inside is wonderful. It is pure, it is lightly sweet and full of vitamins- use it in a smoothie, as a cooking water to make coconut quinoa, or just drink it straight up. 

You will need to puncture the eyes to get the water out first so you don’t have a coconut water balloon explosion when you crack it. I like to use a wine corkscrew or a Phillips head screwdriver for this. 


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Two easy methods of draining the water:
A. One hole then shake method
I use this when only one of the eyes is soft enough to puncture easily.  Making only one hole creates a sort of vacuum in the coconut and you have to gently keep shaking it over your glass to get the water out. It isn’t difficult, but you do have to aim a little. 

B. Two hole then drain method
If two of the eyes are soft enough to easily puncture the water will drain right out in a nice stream when you tip it upside down.

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3. Crack that Baby Open!
Fresh coconut is not only nutritious, but also doubles as a stress reliever! And again there are two good methods to do this, both require a striking device; I prefer a simple hammer. 

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Two methods of cracking the coconut:
A. The man method: 
This is the way my dad always did it, and it is quite effective and quick. Put the coconut in a towel in your hand. Strike the coconut hard several times right in the center and then give it a quarter turn and strike several times again…keep doing this and once you get all the way around it should have cracked right in the middle (if it didn’t you probably are not hitting it hard enough and you might want to move on to method B).

B. The woman method: 
Wrap the coconut up in a hearty towel, take it outside to the concrete driveway, set it down, and give it a couple good hits with the hammer. This should do it. 

After it is broken in half, I usually then take each halve, wrap it up again and hit it more to break it apart further. The more you break it up now, the easier it is to get the meat out. I usually aim to break it into four pieces.  

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4. Releasing the Meat
Take the coconut shell pieces and place them in a towel in your hand and use a butter knife to pry between the meat and the shell to loosen the meat. Be careful. It should come fairly easy once you have loosened it.



That’s it! I like to reserve the previously drained coconut water to store the coconut pieces in. After I use all of the coconut, then I use the juice. If you want to use the juice right away, store the coconut in enough water just to cover it; otherwise it dries out fast. It will usually last about 4-5 days in the refrigerator. If I know I won’t use/eat it all, I wrap it up (not in water) and throw it in the freezer, or else I shave it and dehydrate it.