4 Gluten Free Treats & Exotic Fruit Trees From A Week In Review

Aaaaand were off!

It’s the last family gathering of the summer, but first, we’re playing a little catchup from open houses to family parties to filming, as last week was stuffed with tasty treats and inspiration.

 

filming

This post serves up 3 simple purposes:

  1. To introduce you to a “sweet” cookbook that you can check out at home or your local library with healthier entertaining recipes for oatmeal cookies, marshmallow squares and chocolate cupcakes.
  2. To  plant the idea of ordering exotic trees that can survive in most Canadian climates such as gogi berry trees, asian pears and chums (a cross between an apple and a plum!).
  3. To fill you up on loads of tempting food pictures along the way (But of course!).

 

apple a day

Sunday’s Apple A Day

  • Business cards tied to 60 apples, 80 recipe cards designed and printed, 80 Raw Chocolate Cranberry Macaroons later and we were packed and ready for the road trip to Cambridge. My aunt, a naturopathic doctor whom I collaborate with, was transferring her Kitchener office to her home in Cambridge, commencing with an open house. It was a chance to meet and greet with many of my clients one on one for the first time and to share refreshing watermelon popsicles, unsweetened iced brewed tea and lots of tasty treats!

open house

Our inevitable first stop upon our arrival? The kitchen! Armed with the excuse to help prepare the food I nibbled on the outer edges of the freshly baked banana loaf. As Anna Olsen always said: “the outer edges are zero calories”, but you didn’t hear that from me ūüėČ
  • Through all of the sweetness, these apples were a light and juicy treat. Naturally sweet and loaded with pectin and antioxidants, apples are a superfood and the perfect pairing for a refreshing snack in the mid afternoon’s heat.

 The Tempting Treats

 

Raw Cranberry Chocolate Macaroons

  • No books needed, you can find my recipe for these right here:

https://lifeofeden.com/2014/07/11/raw-cranberry-chocolate-macaroons/

raw macaroons

 

The rest of these recipes were baked by my aunt from the cookbook series:¬†Nourishing Meals¬†and¬†The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook . I have both of these books and love them. Filled with desserts to main courses and helpful nutritional guides, some recipes I rework for proper food combing etc. but I have found them to be wonderfully handy books to have in the kitchen. Here’s what was made from them:

oatmeal cookies

Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies

  • The shape says it all. We loved them! ¬†And so did the other guests. Golden, crunchy and tasted just like an oatmeal cookie should. They were the favourite of the three cookies shared.
 rice squares
Marshmallow Squares
  • These were my personal treat of choice. What’s used instead of marshmallows? Nutbutter! The crisp comes from an all natural puffed brown rice.

chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • One cousin’s favourite and the other cousin’s least favourite. My personal opinion; the frosting was delicious but the cupcakes were on the drier side. For me the frosting was a keeper.
  • Tip: Making them bite sized in miniature pans to create a good proportion of cupcake to frosting which will help to moisten it up.

 

rice bars

Birthdays & Exotic Fruit Trees

 

Every week I teach yoga classes in my backyard and every week gives way to talk of the vegetation that surrounds our mats. It’s a small property but plentiful with apple and cherry trees, vegetable gardens overrun with ripe tomatoes, Echinacea flowers and grape vines that scale the neighbouring fence. With our family birthday party celebrations came talk of my uncle’s Asian pear tree ripe with fruit and the flavour of pear and the crisp, juicy texture of an apple (one of my favourites come Christmas time).

asian pears

We are ordering in these exotic trees NOW to come in for the spring and I highly suggest you do as well. This means that you are on the distributor’s radar come spring so you are more likely to get first pickings and avoid the trees selling out.

 

Here’s where to look: http://www.greenbarnnursery.ca/

baking

Behind The Lens

 

Last week concluded behind the lens with a project that will be released in the next couple of weeks! Can you guess? We filmed one of my favourite go-to recipes in there too and hint? It may or may not be featured above) . . .

 

Until then, give these cookbooks a try and consider planting an exotic fruit tree, sure to attract the attention of your friends and family.¬† Just be prepared to share ūüôā

Off to savour more holistic family gatherings,

Suzanne Eden

 

 

 

 

Restaurant In Review // Kelly’s Bake Shoppe; Burlington, ON

This is love at first bite.

It’s not everyday that you stumble upon a bakery brimming with your holistic morals. So in the name of bringing you the most intimate reviews, I had to savour as many goodies as possible… for quality assurance purposes of course!

Kellys bake shop

Located in downtown Burlington, these tasty creations are designed to be dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, butter-free, casein-free, preservative-free, peanut-free, vegan and composed of organic, fair-trade ingredients, with natural colours sourced from flower petals.

Here is where you realise that real ingredients are cause for real flavour!

hiking

This Saturday marked my third trip to the bakery after reading that they served chocolate vanilla swirl soft serve! Something that I haven’t had since my days of dairy cones and summer road trips. So we made our own excursion to scout out Burlington boutiques, stroll the pier with our dairy-free ice cream and steal a few treats for our late night hike up the escarpment to catch the sunset (and a few mosquito bites in the process).

From decadent brownies to rich raspberry squares, wether or not you are near the area to be tempted into this adorable cafe, or looking for inspiration to whip yourself up a deliciously wholesome treat tonight,¬† allow me to give you a sneak peek into the whimsical world of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe!

kellys

The Bakery

  • ¬†Surrounded by charming boutiques and outdoor gardens, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is hard to miss from the swarms of health food and dessert enthusiasts alike. Created by a dynamic mother-daughter duo, it is evident the ingredients of love and passion are infused in every nook and cranny. From witty puns of sweet desserts, decorated with fragrant flowers, and the inviting and inspirational atmosphere begging to be every bloggers second home.
happiness
  • Stepping inside, you are welcomed to the smiles of exuberant employees (the sign of a passionate business), and the sounds of chatting customers and steaming of coconut milk cappuccinos. And then you feast your eyes on the line up of freshly baked goods scattered neatly along the countertops…
Muffins

The Decadent Desserts

You will be uprooted in a swirl of tempting treats, gawking at all of the possibilities and lost in a sea of frosting and donuts and soft serve but this is my MUST have for you: Snag yourself a triple fudge brownie! Rich, indulgent¬† and layered with a ¬†creamy spread of chocolate frosting, their brownies crept their way into my dreams after my first stop here last year. If you love chocolate (and who doesn’t!) make this your go to.

triple fudge brownie

Now this Saturday, as any chocolate enthusiast would understand, it was a daring decision to trade in my usual brownie for a Raspberry Coconut Square, but this treat could make ANY chocoholic question their loyalty. It’s sweet, fruity, filled with raspberry jam and topped with golden toasted coconut. It is heavenly.

I have also had the pleasure of indulging in their Skinny Cookie which we bought to split over our soft serve. This one being geared as a breakfast cookie as it is entirely flour free and based with roasted bananas, oats and sunflower butter. The World Peace Cookie was also tasty when savoured with a coconut milk latte back when I first visited in the fall.
raspberry bar

What To Watch Out For

  • ¬†In all of my chocolate-vanilla-swirl-soft-serve excitement, I failed to notice that it was based in soy. So though, yes, they do have soy-free options here, that does not mean that everything is soy-free. They do have binders to check all ingredients for you and are more than happy to answer any of your questions about your personal dietary needs.
soft serve
  • Though they are renowned for their cupcakes, many of these are extremely indulgent with some sporting their own donuts on top of a mountain of frosting. Though too much for me, they would make a good treat to split if you wanted to try one. Their award-winning Mile High Brownie is also something that I have not tried as that, too, is far too much for me, but I have a funny feeling that nobody would mind sharing ūüôā
muriel

A Place For Non-Health Nuts?

Absolutely! These desserts taste far better than any gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar and artificial baked goods. Truly. And the best part is that these treats, savoured in moderation, won’t leave your stomach in an uproar and your head in a fog. Bring your unassuming guinea pigs here, while shielding their eyes from the health food signs, and I guarantee you, they would never suspect a thing!

Want to try these for yourself?

Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and I are teaming up to give one of you a free cupcake and $25 gift card! Follow @lifeofeden and @kellysbake on Instagram to find out how you could win!
cupcakes
I can just image more of these health conscious cafés cropping up in towns and cities over the years, with many more of my reviews to inevitably follow in their footsteps, but those footsteps will have some big shoes to fill!
A sweet, gracious thank you to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe for your exceptional service, inviting atmosphere and dream inducing desserts. I’m sure I will be paying your bakery another visit very soon!
Sweet dreams of decadent desserts,
Suzanne Eden

Grills Gone Wild // Burger Bistros To Dining Rooms, How To Holistically Beef Up Your Dinner 

Measuring cups of water, witty puns, gluten-free buns… The works! 

No holistic diet is equipt without a girls’ night out and a juicy burger here and there… one of my favourites! Diets that may restrict these things are for temporary healing but are not sustainable long-term and a holistic lifestyle is about enriching your life, not restricting it. So when my girlfriends asked me to dinner at The Works Burger Bistro, I was instantly on board. Besides, I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of scouring menus and creating a holistic and healthy spin on what’s at hand!

From the witty puns beefing up the menus, the water served in measuring cups, the alternative rock music as the ultimate side dish to a good meal or the loaded burgers themselves, all of it combined “mustard” up a delicious dinning experience. Whether in a diner or your own dining room, this is your guide to get game with red meat!

Burger

Red meat and health

  • Meat products can be incredibly wholesome. They provide a rich source of B vitamins (including B12), iron, healthy fats and are a fantastic source of protein. What’s more, it is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino aids required to manufacture proteins within the body.
  • Optimal portion sizes of meat are about the size of your palm, with the showcase of your meal being a focus on non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens to provide balance. The key to reaping the full health benefits of red meat is both moderation and quality.

As Micheal Pollan once said:

“You are what what you eat eats”

If your beef is injected with antibiotics and hormones and eating food contaminated with pesticides, you are consequently ingesting those too. Excessive antibiotic use in agriculture is significantly contributing to the rise in antibiotic resistance in humans and meat is one of the highest sources of pesticide contamination beyond fruits and vegetables, although those are high as well.

Consuming quality meat products will not only ensure that these concerns are reduced but will  also provide you the must bang for your buck when it comes to nutrient density.

Always look for :

  • Certified grass fed
  • Antibiotic and hormone free
  • Free range (though visiting the farms yourself to review living conditions will always be most beneficial)
  • Organic (it is illegal for it to be genetically modified or irradiated)
  • Local when possible

 

 

the works

 

For a small downtown nook in the city, it is always packed and as we waited for our seats in the rustic booths, we scoured the menus and all of the options at our disposal. Bonus: As a person who has a difficult time deciding between all of the options on the menu, being a health nut makes the job marginally easier and with that, this is your 4 step path to building a holistic burger at The Works:

Step One: The bun

 

  • Steer clear of the gluten. Not only are these buns highly processed but they are also very difficult to digest. Beef in itself is difficult to digest and made increasingly hard with the addition of a wheat bun as carbohydrates and proteins require different digestive enzymes to breakdown. This will leave you feeling tired and stuffed by the end of the meal. 

 

  • The best choice? The naked wrap. Quite simply, this is a lettuce wrap and received my ginormous stamp of approval that this is offered on the menu! However, I decided to treat myself and opted for the  second best option: the gluten-free bun. Though highly processed and far from the optimal choice, it is a definite step up from the gluten.

 

Step 2: Got beef? 

 

  • I upgraded the burger to the lean, local, domestic elk burger which is grass-fed and hormone free, free of fillers and well worth the $1.02 extra. 

 

  • Another fantastic and meat-free option: the Portobello mushroom cap!

 

Step 3 : Fixing overload

  •  My burger of choice? The pesto piazza! A pattie slathered with garlicy pesto, olives and sundried tomato.
  • With the flavour packed pesto and loaded with toppings, you can skip the ketchup and mustard which are heavily processed and high in sugars, food colourings and additives.
  • There is more than enough “cheese” dished out in the menu’s puns to last you the meal. Go dairy free by opting out of the cheese.

 

Step 4; The side 

 

  • This is an easy choice, opt for the weeds! The simple salad with romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, red peppers and cukes and olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette as the dressing. Opting for greens will assist in buffering the acidic state of the body which occurs as a byproduct of digesting meat. Meat should ALWAYS be paired with greens for this reason. 
  • There is also the choice of celery sticks and cucumbers as non starchy vegetables that will also assist in alkalinizing and balancing the body (potato fries not included)

 

Four seasons

 

Holistic Life Hacks:

 

  • I always sneak in a stack of digestive enzymes in my purse which wil ease the digestive load off your body so that the only thing that will feel stuffed is the loaded burger!

 

Whether sliding into a rustic booth at The Works Burger Bistro or flipping a pattie over at home, with the right quality, moderation and perfect pairings, red meat can be a wholesome dinner 1-2 times a week.

With a holistic burger under gluten-free wraps,

Suzanne Eden

A Blended Review – Your New Smoothie Go-To-Guide

Want to dip a green leaf into your blender but are scared about what will come out? See delicious smoothie blends sipping through your instagram page but not sure where to begin? There’s a perfect e-book waiting just for you, it’s bright, it’s vibrant, and it’s packed with epic smoothies to have you blending for days!

I am so thrilled to be a part of Jesse Lane’s upcoming cookbook and this opportunity opened the way for me to be a part of her current book tour for Holistic In The City; 21 Day Smoothie Guide. From this self-confessed smoothie foodie to you, let me assure you that this book is a delicious blend of juicy information and smooth recipes with pictures that will have you dusting off your blender to give them a go. Here’s your quick and dirty sneak peek into your new smoothie go-to guide.

21 Day Smoothie Guide Cover by @jesselwellness

Judging a Book by its Cover

Lets face it, when it comes to a book, the cover is everything. Especially when it comes to a cookbook. We want the cover to entice us, to make us hungry and be running to the grocery store to have that smoothie in our blender. The cover features a delectably golden smoothie topped with a gogi berries and each recipe is accompanied by these  photographs to keep you hungry the whole way through.

Not Just a Pretty Picture

The pictures may be delicious but the blend of information and recipes will live up to its tempting standards.

The start of this e-book quickly and simply summarizes the main points you need to know to be a smoothie making machine. A taste of what’s covered? The difference between juices and smoothies, the formula to build a smoothie, and how to pick a quality protein powder. I was pleased with how basic, yet informative the information section is, easy to read and will leave you more knowledgeable with what goes into your blender.

Each recipe is simple to make, requires minimal time and effort and is incredibly tasty (child proof tasty!). Some are everyday smoothies like the Green monkey, Peaches and cream, or the Vibrant liver detox smoothie. Others are treats including the Gingerbread smoothie  or the Chocolate raspberry crave smoothie and all feature wholesome ingredients, vitamins, minerals and fibre for holistic wellness.

The Juicy Details

A great book is all in the juicy details. Each recipe features a tempting synopsis of its flavours and health benefits so you know how each one is nourishing your body and your taste buds. Each practitioner whose recipe is featured has a page about them so that you can identify them with their recipes and by the end of the book, you’ll have more people to follow and be inspired by.

So whether you are just beginning or are an experienced blender on the search for new and creative recipes, this e-book comes highly recommended from one smoothie addict to another.

Sweet sipping,
Suzanne Eden

Walk This Way: 14 Reasons to Strut Your Stuff

Another one bites the dust

Thursday morning began with a phone call explaining that my car had bit the dust. By the end of the day, I had bought my first official car and in that spirit, I decided to do a blog post on the power of, well… walking. Fitting, no?

In truth, I’m the first to understand that a car can be extremely useful. Our bus systems here are unreliable and an hour and a half clocked on before and after work just isn’t practical, leaving me incredibly blessed to have my hands on a new steering wheel. That being said, it’s all too easy to become dependent and so I try to get out and walk or bike places as much as possible.

The Sedentary Facts

  • A 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey on Canadian’s activity levels showed, at 48%, that almost half of Canadians twelve or older spent less than half an hour walking a day with 25% admitting to sitting the majority of the day. 41% reported spending less than an hour to walk to work or for errands.

It seems walking is in our nature, but not in our routine.

Alexander bridge

Do you fall under the common misconception that a workout needs to be strenuous to be effective? Think again! We spent all day Wednesday touring the grounds of the Toronto Zoo and by the end, we were all feeling the day’s work and were sprawled out on a picnic blanket with empty water bottles, waiting for refreshments and a wholesome meal. Simple walking is an easy and accessible way to incorporate working out into our daily routine. The goal being to make it less of a workout and more of a lifestyle. We should take a cue from the European lifestyle of walking everywhere and implement this into our daily life for weight loss and general health and wellness. After all, these legs were made for walking and this is what they’ll do:

  1. Walk your way to health
  • Regular movement protects us from disease through many mechanisms including reducing inflammation, regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing obesity rates.

      2.  Steps to an ecological footprint

  • No equipment needs to be manufactured and operated, no facility needed beyond the great outdoors, no gas emissions to get you there, this is the environment’s finest of workouts.

     3. Walk off excess fat

  • Any exercise will assist in weight loss, yet walking may burn a higher percentage of fat than will high intensity exercises. It’s important to note that true weight loss is derived from more than just body fat percentage yet low intensity exercise has also been shown to have higher compliance rates, meaning you’re more likely to stick with it!

     4. Refreshing but not exhausting

  • Walking uses less energy resources than do higher intensity workouts. Even after a long day’s work, a gentle walk is enough to rejuvenate and relax the body.

    5. How we are designed

  • Rule of thumb for your health: live as you were designed to live!

     6. Happiness is just a step away

  • Studies have shown that regular exercise such as a brisk walk may be as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression!

      7. Brain fuel

  • Walking can stimulate the brain, improve memory, increase cognitive performance, and may even boost creativity! All heightened when coupled with the clean oxygen provided by a walk in nature.

     8. Productivity

  • Studies show an increase in workplace productivity when walking was incorporated into the workday routine. Some of these studies used “treadmill desks” as the source of walking. There’s no excuse NOT to walk with that one!

     9. Stress reduction

  • There are many ways this happens but an interesting one: it boosts your feel-good endorphins and kicks your stress hormones to the curb!

    10. Calm mind

  • Many studies show that walking can put us in a meditative state. Om on.

    11. Immunity boosting

  • Studies have shown positive effects on the immune system when walking for 30 minute periods. This is once again strengthened in the outdoors when you reap the benefits of fresh air, vitamin D and the soothing effects of nature.

     12. Digest this

  • Gentle walking 40-60 minutes after a meal is a great way to improve digestion by stimulating the internal organs allowing food to pass through the system faster.

     13. Free to a good roam

  • No equipment, no money needed!

     14. Conveniently located

  • Whenever, wherever, a walk is a step away.

 

Walk this way: guidelines to increase the benefits of your daily walk:

  • Take it outdoors away from big cities for air quality and immerse yourself in as many natural surroundings as possible
  • Aim for 30 mins. or more brisk walking per day and focus on engaging your muscles
  • Make it your top mode of transportation, whether through errands, going to walk, walking at your lunch break, whatever it is,¬† make it a routine.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”

– Lao Tzu

Walking the way to health,

Suzanne Eden

20.5 Reasons Coconut oil is the New Windex (and Weatherman)

I knew something was up when I came downstairs to find my tub of coconut oil solidified in my cabinet. What is normally a runny pool of clear oil in summer becomes a white, solid brick when there’s a temperature drop. Ah yes, it seems October was a little too eager to arrive this year and before August comes along to set it in its rightful place, we decided to roll with it. There is now a large, organic, grass-fed, free range turkey in our oven wafting remnants of Thanksgiving through our house as we prepare to have a family gathering. No dairy free pumpkin pie, however. (We do have our limits).
Though eagerly anticipating the return of summer, I will admit that the oil is far easier to use for many of its functions when it isn’t dripping all over you. Food aside, I’m talking about the benefits you probably haven’t thought to use it for. Like the dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is with Windex, I am with coconut oil. Point blank: whatever it is, put some coconut oil on it!
Dry, summer skin? Brittle, ocean kissed hair? Stubborn makeup? No problem! Here are 20.5 reasons to make this your new cabinet staple and all-purpose fixer upper no matter what season the weather claims to be in!
coconut
  1. Makeup remover Simply rub over face, leave about 3 minutes and wipe off
  2. Put coconut oil on cuts or burns to speed up healing
  3. Whole body moiturizer – Rule of thumb: don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t put into your mouth
  4. Chapstick
  5. Helps to prevent stretch marks
  6. An all natural SPF – The SPF is not overly high but it is there and will also help to build the body’s natural defense against the sun. It’s the SPF that just keeps going!
  7. Not just for protection, it can help to heal sunburns quicker
  8. Anti-frizz cream – Just a drop massaged through hair (Not too much or it will make your hair greasy)
  9. All natural leave in conditioner (see point above)
  10. Deep conditioning treatment Рleave in hair overnight and wash out in the morning for silky smooth, shiny hair. You will need to sleep on an easily washable pillow case or sleep in a shower cap as it will get greasy and be sure to wash hair thoroughly  to get all of the oil out.
  11. As your nighttime facial moisturizer (Mine contains a mixture of coconut oil, vitamin E, Calendula, lavender and a few other natural ingredients)
  12. Coupled with apple cider vinegar it is a natural cure for LICE! – This one I’ve been fortunate enough to never have experienced but have read about and it claims to actually work
  13. Antibacterial skin cream to reduce acne – a little goes a long way, you don’t want the skin to be excessively oily
  14. After shave lotion – No red bumps and reduced ingrown hairs!
  15. Put on arthritic joints, its anti-inflammatory properties can help to alleviate the pain
  16. A natural tanning oil – while performing the double duty of protecting you while you tan – this works! And prevents your skin from drying out in the heat
  17. Effective way to sooth the itch of mosquito bites/poison ivy and prevent scaring
  18. Rubbing it on the inside of your nose can be an effective way to alleviate allergy symptoms
  19. A natural lubricant … just saying
  20. An effective way to get gum out of your hair! Not that I advise eating gum but if you ever found yourself in that sticky situation or one similar, this is the way to slid yourself out of it… naturally.

     20.5: Evidently: a temperature gauge 

Solid = cold
Solid/liquid = warm
Liquid = hot
And probably far more accurate than your local weather station.
So as I patiently wait, bundled in sweaters in July, for summer to return from its summer vacation, I will enjoy tonight’s faux Thanksgiving dinner with the family and continue using my coconut oil to tell me what attire to wear in the upcoming weeks.
What can you look forward to come August? August will be ACTIVE-ist month on the blog! From what to eat pre and post workout, to the recipe for my electrolyte elixir, what activities are best for your body type, to the important topics I don’t find many people know, all will be covered throughout this upcoming month!
In a (coco)nutty state of affairs,
Suzanne Eden