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      Christmas Treats That Conveniently Involve Coconut

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           Although it isn’t typically considered a Christmas food, we’d argue that this time of year is one of the best to be consuming coconut in as many ways as possible. We’ll admit we’re a bit biased; we’ve never been ones to moderate the use of our all-time favorite fruit (after all, we have been known to stir coconut oil into our coffee). But we also think that there’s no better way to counteract all the overindulging that ensues during the holidays than with a food that’s filled with fiber and healthy fats, is rich in vitamins C and E, and contains zero cholesterol. We know what you’re thinking—finding fresh coconuts in the dead of winter is no easy feat. Fortunately, we’ve found three Christmas treats that conveniently contain coconut in one form or another.

      Coconut Oil Peppermint Bark
           One of the easiest ways to impress friends, family and coworkers is with homemade peppermint bark. This year, take it a step further by incorporating heart-healthy coconut oil. We prefer using unrefined coconut oil versus refined, as the former is full of coconut flavor (refined oil loses much of its flavor due to processing).

      Coconut Oil Peppermint Bark
      Ingredients:
      1/2 cup cocoa powder
      1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
      2 teaspoons maple syrup, honey or agave
      1 drop peppermint oil
      2-3 crushed candy canes

           Mix together cocoa powder, coconut oil and maple syrup. Add one drop of peppermint oil (trust us, a little goes a long way). Lightly coat cookie sheet with coconut oil, then pour mixture onto the sheet and spread evenly. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top, then chill in the freezer until set—roughly 20 minutes. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.
      (Source: Peanut Butter Fingers)

      Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate
           Few things are better on a chilly winter night than a cup of hot chocolate. This version is dairy free, making it perfect for those who are lactose intolerant. If you want a richer cup of hot chocolate, opt for full-fat coconut milk. For a lighter version, try low fat coconut milk.

      Coconut Milk Hot Coco
      Ingredients:
      2 cans 13.5 fl. oz. coconut milk
      2 cups almond milk
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
      Candy canes and marshmallows (optional)

           Heat coconut and almond milk together in a sauce pan for five minutes. Melt in chocolate chips, then stir in vanilla. Garnish with marshmallows and/or candy canes if desired.
      (Source: A Cup Of Jo)

      Coconut Pecan Sweet Potatoes
           A little sweet, a little savory, and an all-around perfect side dish for Christmas dinner. If you’ve got time, make these in a slow cooker—the flavors meld together amazingly when cooked over low heat for a longer amount of time.

      Coconut Sweet Potato
      Ingredients:
      6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
      1/2 cup pecans
      1/2 cup shredded coconut
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted
      1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      Salt to taste

           Place potatoes in a baking dish or slow cooker that has been lightly coated with coconut oil. In a small bowl, mix together all other ingredients fully.

      If using an oven, roast potatoes at 350F for 30 minutes (or until soft). Pour mixture over the top of the potatoes, and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

      If using a slow cooker, pour mixture over potatoes and cook on high for 3-4 hours.

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