Cooperative Home Care is committed to being a resource for seniors, beyond those we serve through our home care business. Our monthly newsletter, Health At Home by Cooperative Home Care, is one example. Recently we wondered if our regular recipe feature includes realistic recipes. Would an aging parent actually make them? Would YOU make them? Why, or why not? Our judging criteria (each on a scale of one to five):
Convenience (would an aging parent, possibly working in a modified kitchen, be able to make this recipe without purchasing any additional supplies? Are the ingredients versatile, or more one-use only?)
Taste Test (simple-is it good? Will they eat it again?)
Family-friendly (because many of us are adult children, who are caring for both our aging parent and our own child(ren). Ideally, the recipes are as versatile as possible.)
We are starting with our most recent, Coconut Oil Fruit Smoothie recipe featured in our March/April issue. Here is the excerpt:
Coconut oil is attracting a lot of attention in the news! You should always do your own research, and consult with your doctor as needed. Smoothies are a great breakfast option for our aging friends who don’t have a morning appetite, but for whom breakfast is essential for nutrition, energy, and health reasons. This smoothie recipe incorporates coconut oil, but is just as delicious prepared without it! Let’s get blending!
1/2 cup plain yogurt (organic Greek yogurt is preferable)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or, omit and use vanilla-flavored yogurt)
8 large strawberries, fresh or frozen (if using fresh add ice cubes to taste)
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (the oil is solid at room temperature)
Blend everything except the coconut oil. Slowly pour the melted coconut oil (only heated enough to liquefy; don’t overheat) into the blender while it is running. Pour into a glass, garnish with some dried coconut (optional), and a fresh strawberry. This is a generous one-person serving. Serve immediately after blending and enjoy the health benefits!
Convenience score: 4.5
This recipe requires only a blender, and includes really basic, versatile ingredients: milk (use rice/almond milk if you are lactose intolerant), greek yogurt (a great, natural probiotic), real vanilla extract, and fresh/frozen fruit. Even coconut oil is available at most grocery stores (we went to Trader Joe’s and got ours for $2.99). Bonus: you don’t need to measure carefully and can adjust, using more or less milk, to your desired thickness.
Smoothies are an easy, tasty summer breakfast. I call my Mom many mornings just to ensure she has eaten something. She doesn’t have much of an appetite in the morning, but she definitely needs something to balance her medication effects. She likes coconut and expressed that she would have this as a morning meal. I predict this is more likely if I pre-blend a batch while I am visiting, leaving the blender glass in the refrigerator for her to re-blend in the morning. Caution: if you’re going to do this, plan to heat and add your coconut oil right before serving to avoid clumps of oil (room temp coconut oil is the texture of shortening; microwave it for about 20 seconds to soften). This is the main reason for the half point deduction.
Taste Test score: 3
The main reason for this lower score is that coconut oil tastes like coconut. So, if you like coconut, you are likely to enjoy this smoothie but if you don’t, you won’t. Everyone who joined me in this experiment either LOVED coconut or HATED coconut. Of our friends visiting us from Chicago, one liked it one and one refused to taste it. My husband refused to taste it. My girls tasted it because I didn’t tell them it had coconut in it; they drink smoothies all of the time but did not like the coconut oil smoothie. My Mom and my Dad both enjoyed it. I enjoyed it, it tastes like a creamy version of whatever fruit you use with a hint of pina colada. In mixing different versions I learned that to minimize the coconut flavor, use plain yogurt (not vanilla-flavored) and add less vanilla extract-the less sweet it is, the less the coconut flavor is highlighted. Omit the coconut oil (while not the point of the recipe), and everyone agreed it was delicious.
Family-friendly score: 5
My girls can make this, I can make a to-go batch at home to bring to my aging parents’ home, or make a quick grocery store stop on the way to their house. We made an outing out of our trip and had fun taste testing.
Our newsletter isn’t the only resource we offer. We are pleased to help you! Begin by calling 1-800-HOMECARE (in MO) or 1-618-HOMECARE (in IL) today to learn more.