Nuts about anything COCONUT!

Ok, finally I decided to write about my obsession with anything coconut. Have always really liked coconut, but about few years ago got more serious as I learned more about the healthy benefits of coconut.

Coconut is another miracle of nature that is yummy and smells amazing. So many uses for this amazing nut – hard not to love it.

Coconut Juice and Flesh
Best way to experience this is to have fresh coconuts. I will never forget the coconuts in Thailand. Last year, during our trip to Thailand coconut juice became our official drink. We were delighted to also discover we could scrape and eat the flesh. Coconut juice is more hydrating than water.
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Coconut Flakes
Coconut flakes come in various shapes and sizes. Most common use is in baking. I love the large hefty flakes that I can crunch and taste the coconut flavor. I use them in the mornings: little yogurt, blueberries, and coconut flakes!
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Coconut Butter
Warning – if you read beyond this section we will not be responsible for your coconut addiction.

Coconut butter is great for cooking, baking, or just as a spread on a piece of good bread. BUT mixing couple spoonfuls mixed with dark cocoa powder makes the best impromptu desert!!
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Coconut Oil
Yes, you can cook with it. BUT even more importantly you can use it for your skin and hair. I am close to ditching my body lotion altogether and completely switch over to coconut oil. It is important to emphasize you should use organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil. If your hair is too fine you may not want to use it besides as a mask to nourish the hair. But if you are sporting a bushy lush head of hair – your hair will love you for using coconut oil.
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Btw – if you live in a cold climate the coconut oil will naturally solidify, that does not mean it is bad. This is normal, it will easily turn liquid with a bit of warmth.

How do you enjoy your coconut ??

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Thai Massage Guide

20130130-135400.jpgAmong top 5 things we will miss from Thailand is the massages we had almost daily. We tried various types and places. Given how cheap it is compared to USA/Europe, it would be a shame to come here and not indulge fully. We have not encountered male massage therapist in this area, they are all female. Here is our take on what we have tried…

Beach Massage:
500 baht for 1hour massage for two people. This is the cheapest option, done by locals on roofed platforms. Outdoors by the beach; nice to hear the soothing ocean, but passerby traffic could be distracting. Also products they use are not the best, but still great technique and you leave refreshed and feeling better.

Silk Spa:
600 baht per person for 1hour body and half an hour head massage. Indoors, slightly upper scale than a complete dive. I had a near medical experience during my coconut head and body massage; think she almost cured my back problems. G’s shoulder and neck felt better than ever. J was regretful that she did not try Silk Spa. We just need to go again!

Sukko Spa:
4,800 baht for an hour and fifty minute package of body wrap, aromatherapy massage, and a facial. We think it is a great deal. Tried Aloe, Spirulina, and Coconut variety; all great. They had a buy 1 get 1 free — needless to say we have been great customers. J had an after sun package today; it was so good, she is still in trans — we like her even more like that. A Spa though pricier than the other options will guarantee higher quality and cleanliness, quiet contemplative atmosphere.

We feel lucky to have tried them all and can now testify to the medical and psychological benefits of Thai massage techniques. Our thighs also agree… Only problem is that our vacation is nearing the end and we are not sure how we will cope with not doing this almost every day.

Herbal Steam:
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Takuapa Afternoon Market

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You can’t visit Thailand and not check out the local markets. We have specifically found out the area local markets to get a better flavor of how people live, eat, and shop here.

Half an hour from our resort, Takuapa market beckoned… The main street is converted to a local market, lined by stands on both sides. The market is visited by as many locals as tourists. The entrance is dominated by fruit and food stands….

Locals helped us decipher some of the food — they are really gracious and kind. However some of the foods still remained a mystery such as the ‘angry birds’ skewers.
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We don’t know the name of this amazing desert but we decided to call it ‘fluffy coconut pillows’ after eating 3 plates of it. Watching how they were made was as good as eating them, a must have!
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Another coconut desert:
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Grape like fruits, perfect for the hot weather:
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There was some serious deep frying action of pork, duck, and chicken — the chicken was delicious.
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These large terra-cotta jars held some type of a drink. And people drank them with the cups shown in front or in nylon bags. Our regret is that we did not try it. Don’t do what we did – go for it.
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Latter part of the market is stalls, stands and little shops for all sorts of clothing. Majority of which I geared towards locals, but you might surprise yourself and find something as well. G and I found fisherman’s cotton pants at a stall for 100 baht; delighted to find something cultural that we can wear too.

Bargaining Tips: paying the first price will ensure you overpaying. So even if you are not the bargaining type, offer a lesser price. Do not insult the merchant by offering a ridiculous price e.g. for 400 baht do not offer 100, starting at 250 is a better route. And keep remembering that what you are paying is a fraction of your currency, you are still saving a lot.

Local markets are a delight and a great way to see and learn about the culture. Get out there and explore!

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