Tag Archives: Coconut

Half the Truth Can Be a Lie

The other night my husband and I were at Costco and were just about to get in the check-out line. I noticed a woman looking at the coconut (the same coconut featured in my Toasted Coconut for Recipe Friday post), and I overheard her say to her daughters, “Oh, the second ingredient is sugar. There’s nothing good in that.”

For some reason I felt compelled to correct the error in her conclusion. I went over and pointed out that although sugar is indeed the second ingredient listed on the package, the nutrition information revealed that there is only 1 gram of sugar per serving but that there are also 14 grams of fiber. I was able to convince her that overall this was a pretty healthy snack, either right out of the bag or toasted. She did ultimately purchase a bag to try it.

(I think subconsciously my motive was to make sure people buy this coconut from Costco so they keep carrying it. But I digress.)

This woman looked only at the ingredients list on the coconut and not at the nutrition information panel. The ingredient list was accurate and true. Coconut was the first ingredient and sugar was the second, with a freshening agent being the third and last ingredient. But the list of ingredients was only half the truth because it didn’t reveal the proportion of each ingredient in a serving. Nor did the ingredient list reveal that this food is an excellent source of fiber, which is greatly lacking in the typical American diet.

I was thinking about this encounter the next day and it occurred to me that it is a great illustration both for life in general and for Biblical interpretation.

Quite often in life people make decisions or reach conclusions based on only part of the available information. We might look at how a person is dressed and reach conclusions about their values or intelligence without finding anything out about their personality or character. We might read the dust jacket of a book, or maybe even just the title, and conclude that it is not worth reading, missing out on the wisdom contained within its pages. We might learn that a company makes a huge profit in their business and conclude that the CEO and other officers are greedy and ruthless, without ever finding out that the company gives millions to help the needy each year.

When it comes to Biblical interpretation, people often take a single verse or passage as evidence that God is vengeful and full of hate, without ever having read the entire Bible to see the whole character of God. Others read a single verse or passage and determine that another person is a sinner and destined to perish in Hell, without considering the many passages that reveal that we are all sinners but that Christ came to save sinners and redeem us all. Others read a single verse or passage and determine that they are free to do whatever they please and that what they are doing is not sin, without considering the verses that reveal the holiness of God and that the purpose of the law is to reveal our need for a Savior.

Biblical interpretation that is based on only half the truth can be a lie.

Each verse and passage in the Bible is true and right, but can be construed in a way that ends in a lie if not considered in the whole of the Bible’s great story of mercy and grace. From creation to fall, from exile to restoration, from death to resurrected life, from beginning to end, the Bible reveals a coherent and complete truth of God’s relationship with and love for His creation.

The whole truth of the Bible is so much greater than any half-truth that you may have heard or read. Seek the whole truth and you will be blessed.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:12-14a (NIV).

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Toasted Coconut for Recipe Friday

Now that I am eating both dairy and wheat free, I keep thinking of all the desserts I love that have one or both of these ingredients. The other night my husband and I went out to dinner. After we were done eating we talked about whether to get dessert. I said that most, if not all, of the desserts probably had either dairy or wheat so there was no point in even looking at the dessert menu. He joked, “That’s because all the good things to eat have those two ingredients in them.” Thankfully that is not true.

The next day we went to Costco and while looking in the snack aisle for dried fruits to put in my oatmeal in the morning, I found dried young coconut. Rather than being shredded it is chunks of coconut. Knowing that shredded coconut tastes better toasted, I decided to try toasting this coconut. It turned out delicious, just a little sweet, and serves as a simple dessert as far as I’m concerned.

Rather than formatting this like my usual recipes, since this recipe only has one ingredient, I thought I would just include pictures and directions.

I placed the coconut pieces on a homemade aluminum tray. I used our toaster oven and set it to 300°. After a few experiments, I discovered that 15 minutes is the perfect length of time to toast the coconut. Allow to cool before eating.

I think I’m going to try to develop some other dessert recipes that incorporate this toasted coconut, like maybe drizzling it with melted dark chocolate and combining it with toasted almonds or other nuts.

The best thing about this simple dessert treat is that it is good for you! It is low in sugar and fat, and high in fiber. But it won’t feel like you are eating healthy.

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Seven “Layer” Bars for Recipe Friday

The recipe I want to share today is not one I made up or new by any means. But it is special to me and so I want to share the recipe and a few stories about it.

My last two years of college I lived off campus with three other women. We called ourselves “the Hug House” because no one could get in the front door without a hug. One of our favorite recipes at the Hug House was Seven Layer Bars. We made them frequently and a batch would seldom last more than 24 hours, with or without company around (partly because we were all so concerned about the edge being perfectly straight, we had to keep re-cutting the edge). They were perfect for busy college women because they are so easy to make.

I’ve often wondered at the name, though, because in order to actually have seven “layers” you have to count the melted butter. A more accurate name would be Seven Ingredient Bars, but that’s not quite a catchy. But whatever the name, it has chocolate, nuts, and coconut, so how can you go wrong?

One of my earliest blog posts even mentions Seven Layer Bars and two of these three roommates. You can read about it in my post titled Love as an Action Verb. After the incident recounted in that post, I came home and discovered in talking with my son that he had never had Seven Layer Bars! I couldn’t believe I had never made them for him, and so the next week we made some together.

We hadn’t had them in quite a while, though, until this past weekend. My father-in-law and I were talking about what I was going to make for our big family gathering. He said he had recently learned of these great new bars, which he proceeded to describe. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was describing Seven Layer Bars. So I decided that is the dessert I would make for our gathering. I figured if there were leftovers that would be fine because I would gladly eat them. I didn’t need to think about that at all because every last Seven Layer Bar was gone before everyone left on Saturday evening!

Seven Layer Bars

Ingredients (aka layers):

½ cup butter
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Slice butter into several pieces and place in a 13″ x 9″ pan. Melt butter in the oven. Remove from the oven and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Spread graham cracker crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Sprinkle coconut all over the top. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until coconut is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares.

Note: To make graham cracker crumbs, place several graham crackers at a time in a large zip-lock back and use a rolling pin to crush into crumbs.

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Lemon Coconut Cake for Recipe Friday

This cake recipe is not an original, but it is special at our house. It comes from the essential baking cookbook by Murdoch Books, and it has become my son’s signature cake. He has made it at least 5 times, most recently for our anniversary.

I am generally not a big fan of cake. I usually prefer cheesecake or cookies. But this cake is so delicious. Its lemony sweetness and moist texture have made it a big hit with everyone who has had the pleasure of eating a piece. (I’ve had 3 pieces just this week, but thankfully my son took half of it to share with friends on the first day of school).

I still remember the first time my son made this cake. The recipes in this cookbook are geared towards countries where metric measurement and Celsius temperatures are the norm. He didn’t read carefully enough and set the oven at the first temperature indicated, which was 180° – at that time he was not experienced enough of a baker to know that most cakes bake at 350°. Once we figured out why it was setting up and turned the temperature up, it turned out just fine. In fact, I think that first cake was moister than any of the ones he has made since.

Anyway, if you are looking for an elegant but delicious cake for a party or potluck, I highly recommend this one. But be prepared to not bring home any leftovers!

 

Lemon Coconut Cake

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ cup coconut
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup caster or baker’s sugar (very fine sugar)
4 oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk

For coconut icing:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup coconut
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
¼ cup lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8 inch spring form pan (or a regular round cake pan). Line the bottom with baking paper.

Sift flour into a large bowl and add the coconut, lemon rind, sugar, butter, eggs and milk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour into the cake pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.

Leave the cake in the pan for 5 minutes before releasing the spring form side of the pan, or turning out of the cake pan, and setting on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the coconut icing, combine the powdered sugar and coconut in a bowl, then add the lemon rind and enough lemon juice to make a stiff but spreadable icing. Spread the icing over the cold cake.

Note about the coconut: The original recipe calls for desiccated coconut, which I think is unsweetened, but we can never find it and have always used sweetened angel flake coconut.

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