Coconut Cream Pie

A couple of weeks ago Mike brought home a coconut from the grocery store. This is not an everyday occurrence, in fact, it's the first time we've ever had a fresh coconut since we've been married (over twelve years now).

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Why did my husband just decide to bring a coconut home out of the blue?

It's actually a sweet reason. He and Hayley watch a lot of the survival shows together. It's their 'thing' and has been for years. They stay up all night, munching on assorted junk food while watching people near starve on things like grubs and the occasional coconut. So, when he saw the coconuts on sale for $2 a pop he decided he and Hayley just had to try one to see what it was like. They'd heard the people on tv just rave about how good they were and how sweet the juice and meat tasted. So home it came. It was already shucked and all they had to do was crack it, drain the juice, and remove the meat. *this is a great step-by-step guide that shows a few ways to do just that*

Now if you've never had fresh coconut or tasted unsweetened coconut you might be expecting it to be really sweet. It's not. There's a slightly sweet taste but in our over sugerized world, the sweetness is often lost because our tastebuds are used to explosive sweetness.  Which is why when people who have been stranded in the wilderness or wherever come across one after having very little to eat for days they think it's the best thing since sliced bread.

Hayley and Mike, however, were less than impressed.

Which left me with about half a pound of raw coconut meat that needed something done with it.  I just couldn't throw it out. It would have been such a waste.  Instead, I turned to google to see what I could do with it outside of the standard coconut cake. I decided on making a homemade coconut cream pie (recipe is below).

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First I figured out how to shred it. Let's just say I'm so thankful for my food processor it made what could have been a tedious activity simple, loud but simple. The recipe called for one cup of unsweetened shredded coconut and I knew I'd want at least one cup of sweetened coconut to toast as a topping.  Which left me with a lot of shredded coconut meat. I decided the best course of action was to dry it out so I could freeze it for future use.  While it dried in the oven I took one cup of the unsweetened shredded coconut added some sugar water to it (recipe for it below too) and left it to dry on the counter so it could be toasted later.

Once all that was done I set to the task of making my pies. It took altogether about an hour to make. I should have made them the night before so the pie had enough time to properly set but that's not how I roll. Instead, the pie went in the fridge about five hours before we sat down to eat our Fourth of July meal with the family. Thankfully no one was in a rush for desert and by the time we did eat it was nearly set.  It was so good no one cared and there was just enough pie left to send Granny home a couple of pieces.  I think coconut cream pie may become a Fourth of July tradition now and it's all thanks to Mike and Hayley's bonding over survival shows.

Now for the recipes!

How to sweeten unsweetened coconut.

In a small pot bring 1/4 cup of water to a boil. Stir in 4 tsp of sugar until dissolved then stir in 1 cup of unsweetened coconut stirring until all the coconut is thoroughly wet. At first, it will seem like there is no way that that small amount of water is going to work but keep stirring. I promise it will! Once it's all nice and coated spread the coconut out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let air dry. Once dried you can use as-is or you can toast it in the oven at 325 for about 5-10 minutes. Remember that toasting sweetened coconut requires a close eye because the sugar on it will cause the coconut to brown faster and it can go from just right to uh-oh in a matter of seconds. Not like I know or anything *averts eyes*

And now the moment you have all been waiting for how to make...

Homemade Coconut Cream Pie


Ingredients:
(This will make two pies, with a tall whipped cream on top of the custard. If you like less whipped cream cut the ingredients in half for that part of the recipe and make just one pie instead. You can just freeze the other pie shell for use later.)

Pie Crust:

1 cup very cold butter cut into small cubes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp of sugar
2-4 tbs of ice-cold water. *this is to make the dough firm, YMWV*

Coconut Cream Filling:

2 cups coconut milk
1 cup milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut *if you don't want to go through the process of using a fresh coconut store-bought is just fine*
3 lightly beaten egg yolks
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract

Vanilla Whipped Cream Topping:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 tbsps powdered sugar

Directions:

Pie Crusts:
  1. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl or into a food processor.
  2. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender or a food processor until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. Add 2 tbs of the ice-cold water and using just your fingers work into the dough until it holds together with squeezed with fingers. If it's not doughy enough add up to 2 more tbs of ice-cold water, 1 tbs at a time. Work the dough as little as possible, the less you work it the flakier it will be. You can also use the food processor for this, just use the pulse once or twice and test by squeezing the dough together.
  4. Once the dough is ready, lightly flour your counter (or use a nonstick baking mat) and turn the dough out onto the surface. Separate into equal balls and form each into a 3/4 inch disk then wrap tightly in plastic wrap for at least one hour. You want the dough to feel firm to the touch. 
  5. Unwrap the dough one at a time and place on to a floured work service (I like to use wax paper under my flour to help keep the dough from sticking and it helps with cleanup) and roll each dough disk into a 14-inch round. Gently lift and place into a 9-inch pie plate (do not grease pie pan). Trim and crimp edge to your liking. Then place back into the fridge until chilled, about an hour
  6. Beings this is pre-baked filled crust, poke holes liberally on bottom and sides of crust. 
  7. Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is just golden brown. 
  8. Let cool completely before adding the cream filling. 

Coconut Cream Filling:
  1. Scald the milk in the microwave. (This helps prevent scorching) Using a microwave-safe dish microwave the milk for 30seconds, then whisk and repeat until milk is near-boiling. Takes about 2-3 minutes
  2. In a medium saucepan combine the flour, sugar, salt, and coconut and mix. 
  3. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks and set to the side
  4. Over medium heat slowly add 1 cup of the scalded milk to the coconut mixture, whisking constantly. 
  5. When the mixture starts to thicken, slowly add another cup of the milk, whisking constantly until it thickens again, then add in the last cup of milk and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the mixture begins to lightly thicken. Remove from heat.
  6. Take 1/2 cup of heated milk and coconut mixture and slowly but steadily add it into the egg yolks, whisking the entire time. (this prevents the eggs from cooking ...no one wants scrambled eggs in their pudding). Pour the egg mixture immediately back into the pot, whisking constantly.
  7. Place saucepan back onto medium-low heat and continue to cook for another two to three minutes until it reaches a pudding consistency. This should be just before it starts to boil. 
  8. Stir in the butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract. 
  9. Let the pudding cool for about 20 minutes, then pour into the two pies shells. Cover the pie shells and place in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours but overnight is best. 

Vanilla Whipped Cream Topping:
  1. Combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract into a bowl or mixer and beat to soft peaks. 
  2. Spread onto top of the cream pies and garnish with toasted coconut if desired. Serve immediately. 

This pie will stay good in the refrigerator for two to three days. 
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Flowerbeds, Weeds, and Bipolar Disorder... Oh My

I have an appointment today with my psychiatrist, for now, I go every three to four months so she can stay apprised of how I'm doing in dealing with my bipolar disorder. It's been almost a year since I was diagnosed with this crazy mental disorder and we nearly have it under control. I still have moments, days and sometimes weeks when my hypomania takes over but those moments are less and less. 

This last few weeks have been a little rough though. I've been more easily irritated lately. It's the little things like voices, phone dings for messages, music on the radio, and such that just... it's like nails on chalkboards.  Add in the fact that I'm dropping, spilling and breaking nearly everything I touch and well I'm ready to just call it quits. 

But...

I was reminded today why I can't quit. 

I was walking around the yard taking in the fresh air and enjoying my flowers. 



As I walked around the yard I saw some flower beds on the side of the house that were in desperate need of weeding.  One thing led to another and the next thing I know within 30 minutes I'd weeded the flower beds on one side of the house and in the front yard, the other side is just to darn muddy to get to right now. 

A daffodil in need of some tender care 

As I weeded I realized I haven't done this particular yard chore in over three years. 

My bipolarism stole the pleasure of gardening away from me and I quit doing it. I've always loved flowers, the beauty and the peace that they bring but in the depths of my depression and my mania, I couldn't be bothered with doing the things that I love. That realization saddens me. I lost so much of my time, my life, moments with my family, 

That's the worst thing about dealing with bipolar disorder and the accompanying depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that pop up. It steals away your life bit by bit and unless you're vigilant you never notice until it's too late. I came close to losing way more than I ever thought a few years ago. Mike was wonderful and supportive and championed me while I regained my senses. Thanks to him I found a doctor that is really helping me and for the first time in years, I am present.

After I came to my senses I promised myself I wouldn't check out, I wouldn't quit again. Sometimes though, when in the midst of a hypomania mood, it's hard to remember that promise. It's hard to see past all the weeds to the good. 

A now tended and happy daffodil
Over the last year, I've learned some coping techniques for my irritability and hypomania. I've learned to recognize my triggers, to speak out when feeling that way so my family understands why I'm 'checking out' for the moment, how to redirect that energy into something else that isn't destructive and more importantly, how to recognize the moments I'm crossing a line. It' s not always easy. Sometimes it's hard to tell when I'm behaving in a normal way or I'm letting my disorder get the best of me. 

Still unsure if the sprouted grass is weeds in my hedge grass or if it's a part of the hedge grass.
I'm reaching out for help on this issue today so I can clear this bed if needed.  
At times like that, when I'm unsure and confused, I have to rely on outside sources to help guide me. I have to listen and register when Mike tells me I'm being irrational and not get angry because he's pointing it out. There's strength in turning to others for help. 


A weed-free flower bed
So there's no quitting for me. Never again. There is stepping back, taking deep breaths, regaining my sense of direction, and there's leaning on those I hold dear for support. There's turning to someone who knows how to deal with my issues in a professional manner.  I know that these steps, these lifelines, will help weed out (pun so intended) the things that are threatening to take over again and that in doing so I'll be able to see the beauty in life (and in my flower beds) without hesitation. 





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Happy Homemaker Monday ~ July 15

Afternoon!

I meant to get this post up early this morning but I slept in a bit. Then Mike swept us all out the door for lunch at a favorite local diner, I know I'm supposed to be encouraging us to eat out less but y'all they have this Bayou Burger that I can't resist. And Mike knows this, he uses it against me.


After lunch, I came home, took advantage of some cloud induced shade and weeded some flower beds, made Mike some peanut butter bombs, and finally spent the last two hours working on my new blog template.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below if you think something's not working or looking right, please. Mucho thanks.

I liked the last theme because of the colors and simplicity but after a week of banging my head against javascript and HTML and getting my sweet husband (who works with this crap nearly every day) to look at it, the threaded reply comment function still wasn't working. And without it functioning right I couldn't respond to anyone's comments. It was driving me bonkers so I threw in the towel and swapped things up. I think I like this one though I may fiddle with the slider images on the top by making them a touch smaller, I'm not sure yet.

Anyways.... my weekend. We survived Hurrican/Tropical Storm/Tropical Depression Barry without much fuss. Northeast Louisiana was on the west side of the system, which means we got a lot of the wind long before the storm even made landfall and most of the rain after it landed. Thankfully we are located in an area that didn't get as much as some others did. And if y'all saw the weather channel report about graves floating... y'all ...*sighs*. I can' t decided if the woman who gave that report was really that clueless or if it was typical Weather Channel false reporting to up their ratings. But needless to say, no graves were floating, that's why we that far south we bury our dead above ground in cement tombs.

Okay, enough rambling, let me get on with this week's Happy Homemaker Monday hosted by the ever sweet Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.



The Weather...

Today's pretty miserable even though the sun is hiding behind the cloud, the humidity is pretty high. You can start sweating buckets if you stand outside for more than a few minutes. 


The rest of the week looks like it's going to be pretty much the same as today, miserable.  We may take advantage of the partly cloudy day on Friday and head to the local state park pool.

Right Now I Am...

Sitting on the couch enjoying the peace and quiet. I've been pretty on edge lately (think I'm needing a med change) so the quietness is soothing.

On My Reading Pile...

I have to finish three more books this month to stay on track for my 2019 reading goal. Hoping I can knock out these three over the next couple of weeks.

The Scions of  Shannara by Terry Brooks

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Goodbye Summer by Patrica Gaffney

Movies or Shows I Watched this Weekend...

Mike and I watched a couple of episodes of the new Jessica Jones season and I started watching Bates Motel.

On My TV this Week...

Bates Motel
SG-1 season 9 and 10
Pandora
I Am Mother (I'm not sure we will get to this but it's on my 'we need to watch together' list)

On the Menu For this Week...

It's hot and humid and I'm not going to do a lot of heavy cooking this week, so easy meals that don't heat up the house are a must

Monday~ leftovers
Tuesday~ fired fish dinner at inlaws
Wednesday~ ham cheese po-boys, fruit
Thursday~ chicken strips, veggies, salad
Friday~ steaks, salad, baked potatoes
Saturday~ not sure yet

On My to-do List...

  • Doctor's appointment tomorrow with my psychiatrist, hoping to figure out what's going on with my irritability
  • Return movies to the video store
  • Work on designing and pricing t-shirts for our local homeschool group
  • Look into what it'll take to do a yearbook for local homeschool group
  • finish the baby blanket (I didn't work on it all last week and I've got to get it done)
  • get in touch with a friend of Hayley's mother about arranging a weekend she can come over
  • go swimming
  • find DSLR camera battery charger (weird item on a list I know but I seriously need to remember to find it)
  • keep working on scanning photos for family
Those are all pictures yet to be scanned. Well, minus what's in the box, those I've done.


What I'm Crocheting...

The baby blanket... nothing else. I have to get it done this week. HAVE. TO.

Same image from last week.
By the way, the mistake y'all couldn't find is the seventh row from the top. Instead of two lines of purple, it should be two lines of blue to keep the pattern in going. Beings it is a gift I couldn't leave it as is. Who am I kidding I'd of ripped it out and fixed it anyways, my OCD would have demanded it.

Looking Forward to...

Seeing my doctor tomorrow. 

The last few weeks have found me getting testier. I've found things that normally don't bother me are setting my teeth on edge. Voices, conversations that last more than 30 seconds, certain tunes or beats in music, notifications/calls/texts/ on my phone, and I'm sure there are others I'm not remembering.

Looking Around the House...

It's pretty clean. I did a small pick up earlier.  It's rather peaceful right now.

From the Camera...

Hayley enjoys the Kinder Surprises, they are a type of candy that comes with little mini toys in them. I add each new one to my collection above my desk. They make me smile.
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One of My Simple Pleasures...

Relaxing on the couch while my tens unit works on the sore muscles in my neck and back. Seriously best thing ever.

From the Blog this Week...

I didn't get a lot of blogging done this last week. My back hurting added to my mood being really off equaled a me that didn't feel like doing anything.

The only post I did write was Six Things: An Exercise in Randomness. Hoping to do better this week.
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SixThings: An Exercise in Randomness

It's been a slow but peaceful week here. We went and played at the waterpark all day Monday with the family. Lots of fun was had but y'all I was sure glad to get home. I haven't done much this week at all. Mike's been in charge of the cooking and chores have been put off.  I haven't felt much like doing anything this week due in part to the muscle relaxers I've been on trying to get back to feel better. 

Thank goodness for quiet days at home, a husband who totally gets my introverted ways and the freedom to get away with doing a whole lot of nothing.

So with that in mind here are six random things that have happened over my week. 

1.) I sorted through my nail polish and did my nails. I had a ton of old nail polish that had dried up and there was no hope of saving.  Happily, I still have a lot of polish left. 



2.) I spent 48 hours working on CSS/HTML code for the blog and I'm still no closer to figuring out why I can't reply to your comments like I should be able too. Mike's promised to take a look at it this weekend. Thank goodness that coding is his actual job. 

3.) I ordered and received a tens unit. If you have back pain, or muscle pains, on a regular occurrence and have never tried a tens unit then you are missing out on one of the most amazing inventions of our time period. It uses small electrical impulses delivered through electrodes in sticky pads that are attached different points on the body to help relieve pain. In laymen's terms, it makes your back feel freaking amazing. 

 

4.) I started watching Bates Motel and spent the first three or four episodes thinking that the young Norman Bates, played by Freddie Highmore looked like someone I 'knew'. I finally realized that the way he portrays his character's personality reminded me a lot of Dexter, played by Michael C. Hall. Maybe it's just the crazy in both of the character's eyes?

5.) A few months ago I ordered the Delta set from Demma's Math-U-See but it got lost in the mail due to a mix up in my address on their end.  After calling and talking to them they replaced the book set for free and it came in the mail this week. Hayley is just thrilled that her math books did arrive in time for the school year. 

6.) Tropical Storm Barry is growing and surging off the coast of southern Louisiana and the flooding has been borderline severe even hours before the storm actually hits land. It looks like it will track through our part of the state, thankfully at a less intense level. Now, I am hoping that there is no real damage done and no one loses their life through this but I have to be honest and say I'm looking forward to the storm. I love them, they always tend to relax me. 


I'm sure if I tried I could come up with more randomness but it's late and I'm tired. Tomorrow brings an end to my lazy days as I have chores to do that can no longer be put off.


What about you? Any randomness you want to share?
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