Canada Day’s Strawberry Maple Panna Cotta

Happy 150th birthday Canada!

You remain proof that the best things get better with age, and through all the years have remained sweet to your maple syrup core. So to honor you.. we EAT!

Indulgent, simple and 150% Canadian-approved, this patriotic dessert features fresh seasonal strawberries and sweet local syrup.

Canada day.jpg

~*~

No matter where in the world you are, Canada is likely infused into your daily cuisine.

Supplying around 91% of the world’s population of Maple syrup that drizzles its way over your sizzling Sunday pancakes and 90% of the world’s blueberries which boost your daily antioxidant intake. And then, from the humble origins of coastal P.E.I., comes Canada’s own “Lentil Hunter”chef Micheal Smith (yes, truly! ūüôā ), who travels the globe scouting the most delicious lentil dishes knowing that Saskatchewan is the largest exporter of lentils in the world.

From breakfast to dinner, all across the globe, there is reason to LOVE this country (and every excuse to celebrate!).

Strawberry picking

 

Currently in Canada.. it’s strawberry season! And the inspiration for this bright, light and creamy panna cotta.

HOLISTIC HIGHLIGHTS [Canadian edition]

  • Seasonal Strawberries – June-July.
  • Local maple syrup
  • Vegan
  • Paleo
  • Refined sugar-free (with syrup-free option :: see notes)

Most strawberry varieties will only be harvested to the end of the weekend. It’s the optimal time to make use of this vibrant red berry. But as blueberries come into their peak in July (and the need to replicate the Canadian flag is no longer a necessity) blueberries will make for a great topping too!

strawberry panna cotta

RECIPE

~ CANADIAN STRAWBERRY MAPLE PANNA COTTA ~

Strawberry Layer

*** Note : this recipe represents the bottom layer. Double the recipe for a top layer of strawberries or simply slice fresh berries for presentation.

  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries

Strawberry layer.jpg

Creamy Vanilla Panna Cotta

  • 1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 ¬Ĺ tsp grass fed gelatin
  • 1-2 TBSP maple syrup (or setvia to taste)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Strawberry layer ::
    • In a saucepan over low heat, warm the water and sliced strawberries until they soften and form a “sauce”. Remove from heat, stir in gelatin until dissolved. Add to the base of your ramekins and let sit one hour.
  • Panna Cotta ::
    • Whisk together coconut milk +¬† gelatin and let sit (to “bloom”) for five minutes.
    • Add vanilla, syrup, sea salt and whisk on medium heat until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Note: do not boil here.
    • Allow to cool (about 10-15 mins), pour over the set strawberry mixture and leave it to set in the fridge. This should take a minimum3-4 hours.
    • Add an additional strawberry layer or top with freshly sliced berries.

panna cotta

Notes:

  • Coconut milk is quite sweet on its own. If you wish to make a sugar-free version, simply add a pinch or a few drops of stevia to taste in place of the maple syrup.

Here’s to a new month, new post (the first of the year!) and a brand new favourite “go-to”.

While we take off for strawberry picking (the last of the season) and tonight’s vineyard festivities of food and fireworks, one thing’s for sure: today will be a day dedicated to ALL the red & white foods. Cue on the strawberries, coconut and panna cotta ūüôā

In our truly Canadian way, happy Canada d[EH] !
Suzanne Eden

Rich & Creamy Chocolate Avocado Pudding

From last night’s Leonardo Oscar triumph to today’s leap day, we have a lot to celebrate!

 Dairy-free desserts

Rich and decadent, this chocolate pudding is brilliant and comes with a twist: it’s based with creamy, anti-oxidant rich avocado… but no-one ever has to know!

As the next installment to the Jesse Lane E-book series comes the collaborative cookbook : Healthy Dairy Free Desserts. Do note that not all the recipes are gluten-free and may need to be adapted to suit your dietary needs, but it is filled with decadent goodies, including this quick and easy, creamy chocolate pudding.

Holistic Highlights

Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, allergen friendly, cacao-free option (for those who are sensitive), whole food based.

  • Avocados are loaded with healthy fats and fibre to slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream to keep you feeling energized after enjoying dessert.
  • It is dairy-free to avoid unwanted bloating and congestion.
  • White, refined sugar is swapped for its superfood counterpart: maple syrup containing the minerals manganese, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
  • Being a raw dessert, all nutrients are preserved and readily available.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding from Jesse Lane Wellness Cookbook Healthy Dairy Free Desserts

Creamy Chocolate Avocado Pudding

ADVENTURE LEVEL: 2/5

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp milk alternative (either almond, coconut or brown rice)
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend well until smooth and enjoy!

Switch Ups

  • Maple syrup -> Stevia for a sugar-free dessert (may need to add more dairy-free “milk” for consistency).
  • Cacao powder -> carob powder for those who are sensitive to chocolate.
  • Cayenne pepper for a spicy kick, my favourite!
  • Additional Toppings: Gogi berries, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, fresh berries, etc.

 Like this recipe? Jesse’s e-book features over 30 delicious desserts free of soy, dairy, white flour or processed sugar and you can check it out HERE.

Whether you are celebrating Leo’s well deserved win or are taking in every last moment of our extra day of the year, enjoy pudding this new recipe to the taste test!

Suzanne Eden

Valentines Day’s Salted Chocolate Banana Love Bites

With a day practically coated in chocolate.. what’s not to love!

 

love bites

Happy (post) Valentines day readers!

This day has always hit a bit of a “sweet spot” for me (I love¬†it), and though every year is a little different there is always one thing guaranteed to be dished up on the menu: chocolate! Usually baked in the form of gluten-free, dairy-free molten lava cakes, this year I took a simpler, but equally indulgent approach…

These bites will make the perfect addition to your family day affairs being rich, salty, chocolaty, dangerously simple to make and entirely family approved from mom-on-the-run to teething toddler.

 

salted chocolate

 Holistic Highlights

Sunflower Seed Butter

  • You can also use a traditional almond butter here but I have a slight love affair with this seed butter. Be sure to purchase one that is pure (I used Nuts To You), with no additives, sugars etc. that sneak into many conventional brands. Only the good stuff!
  • Loaded with heart healthy fats, vitamin E (shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks when abundant in the diet), and magnesium which regulates heart rhythms to prevent irregular heart beats.

Chocolate

  • I recommend Giddy Yoyo chocolate bars as these are raw, maintaining the nutrient value of the cacao bean. Chocolate should always be warmed in a double boiler (in a pan over a boiling pot of water) so that these nutrients are not exposed to direct contact with heat.
  • Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which is released in your brain when you fall in love and also stimulates the release of dopamine, the “feel good”, euphoric neurotransmitter.

Bananas

  • Use spotted bananas here as they will be sweeter, riper and more nutritious!
  • Rich in bromelain, bananas are known to boost male libido and due to their high potassium content, they are recognised for lowering blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart attacks.

valentines

Salted Chocolate Banana Love Bites

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Bananas
  • 1/3 Cup Almond or sunflower seed butter
  • 1 Bar of Giddy Yoyo chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Course sea salt

Directions

  • Slice bananas approximately 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
  • Spread a dollop of sunflower butter onto half the slices and lay flat on a baking sheet with wax paper.
  • Sprinkle a good dusting of cinnamon over top and sandwich with the other half of your sliced bananas.
  • Pop these into the freezer for 2-3 hours, or until solid.
  • Melt your chocolate slowly over a double boiler. Remove the bananas from the freezer and spoon, drizzle or dunk the chocolate to coat them, sprinkling the course salt overtop before the chocolate hardens (this will happen quickly).
  • Place back in the freezer for another 1-2 hours to harden back up. Remove from the freezer when you’re ready to take a bite!

Warning: the making of these love bites may be messy, libido inducing and may trigger excessive trips to the freezer for “just – one – more – bite.”¬†

Wishing you all a love-ly extended holiday,

Suzanne Eden

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

 

 

 

 

Seven Ingredient Chunky Monkey Superfood Cookies

Craving a cookie after all of the sweet treat teasing we’ve been through this week?

In the name of guilt free and bakery’s, these cookies can be whipped up in minutes, are soft, chewy and naturally sweet.

  • With cookies, chocolate chip in particular, being one of the all time most popular desserts, these Chunky Monkey Cookies forego all of the classic wheat, sugars, corn starch and dairy so that I can give you full, nutritionist approved permission to go right ahead and even eat the batter!

In  conclusion to a week of sweet talking, these are your bite sized, guilt free indulgences to treat yourself to today.

 chunky monkey

3 Reasons To Go Banana’s

1. Flour free & refined sugar-free
  • Completely free of refined flours and sugars which are devoid of nutrients and spike our blood sugar with a subsequent crash. Ever felt the sudden rise of energy directly after eating sweets, only to be caught snoozing with you head on the table the next? That’s your blood sugar talking!
  • Instead of refined sugars, we owe this cookies sweetness to the whole food; bananas. Where 12 grams of of sugar are in just one tablespoon of table sugar, a quarter cup of mashed banana contains less than 7 grams!
  • Quick tip: making sure they are brown and spotted is to ensure that they are more alkaline to the body and make a sweeter cookie.
2) Makes just 4 a batch
  • Portion control at its finest! Most cookie recipes make around 2-3 dozen cookies, a lot of temptation to have hanging around in reuseable food containers on the countertops. 4 cookies makes just enough for you to enjoy without going overboard.
3) 7 Wholefood ingredients
  • All of which you are more than likely to have as staples in your holistic cabinet. With just seven, wholesome ingredients and minimal time to make, these are easy to whip up whenever you have a craving for a sweet treat.

Chunky Monkey Superfood Cookies

Adventure level: 2/5

Yields 4 cookies per batch

Ingredients:

  • 1 mashed banana
    • Making sure its ripe and spotted brown to ensure sweetness!
  • 1/4 C gluten-free rolled oats (I like Bob Redmills)
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened coconut flakes
    • Also look for sulphite free
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Sprinkling of sea salt
  • Handful of gogi berries, dark chocolate chips or crushed pecans (I used a combo of all three!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Combine all ingredients together, mixing well
  • Spoon onto a baking sheet forming cookie shapes and gently flatten the top
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, let cool 10 minutes

Cookies that aren’t monkeying around on taste or nutrition, enjoy!

Suzanne Eden

Three Ways To Get Lucky With The Rock Your Shamrock Shake

Happy St. Patrick’s day readers! ūüôā

There is no shame, just shamrocks when you get lucky with this entirely holistic, St. Patties inspired shake!

A cooling blend of fresh mint, creamy bananas, crunchy cacao and a vibrant green shade, it is the glass of gold at the end of this rainy days rainbow, the lucky charm to your St. Patrick’s day and every wellness junkies drink of choice for the occasion!

With today being dedicated to all things green, this shake is sure to satisfy any indulgent craving with no shame to our diets and decked in shiny, detoxifying benefits. No matter how you choose to celebrate on the occasion, this is a blend to rock your shamrocks!

St. Patties

Holistic Highlights – How This Detoxifying Beverage Puts All Other Shakes To Shame

Natural Hue

  • Absent of artificial dyes and colourings, the vibrant green of the shake is courtesy of the sea algae Spirulina and the taste is masked entirely by peppermint. This sea algae is known for its chelating benefits by binding to toxins and heavy medals to help excrete them from our bodies.

 

The Power Of Peppermint

  • In the summer months I use handfuls of mint leaves plucked fresh from the garden but in the winter, the minty flavour is obtained with pure peppermint. Note: for optimal taste and wellness use pure peppermint as regular extracts will have both a strong taste of alcohol and a more potent flavour.
  • Mint is a natural stimulant and detoxifier. The scent alone can be enough to relieve anxiety and increase energy, the opposite of alcohol which is a depressant and will have you feeling run down and sluggish by the end of the night.

 

Sham “Rocks”¬†

  • The rocks of the smoothie are raw cacao nibs. Slightly bitter and a perfect pairing in this shake. Alternatively, you can use some Giddy Yoyo chocolate chunks.¬†
  • Cacao nibs are a rich source of antioxidants which help to neutralize and eliminate free radical toxins from our bodies.

 

Shamrock

 

The Rock Your Shamrock Shake!

 

Recipe: 

1 frozen banana 

1/2 tsp Spirulina 

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract 

1/4 cup coconut milk 

Pure peppermint extract to taste (alternative: fresh mint leaves) 

Liquid stevia to taste 

1 Tablespoon raw cacao nibs 

 

Instructions:

Simply blend all ingredients together, except the cacao nibs, and adjust flavours as desired. Stir in cacao nibs and enjoy!

Tips and tricks: 

  • The banana makes all the difference! Make sure it is spotted brown and completely frozen for a sweet, creamy blend.¬†
  • Use pure extracts to avoid the bitter alcoholic flavours of conventional brands and to reap the most health benefits
  • Adjust flavours as needed. This smoothie is simple to alter depending on how large your bananas are and how you like the texture and flavour, you can play around to get your perfect shake.

 

Settling in from a brisk mornings walk along the water with this shake, chlorophyll kombuchas, and nothing but green things the whole(some) day through!

Wishing you all the luckiest and greenest of St. Patties days, 

Suzanne Eden 

Your Holistic Guide to Healthy Snacking at the Theatre & my Chocolate, Cashew Drizzled Popcorn

“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”

~ The Imitation Game

These past few days have found me enchanted by elves and hobbits and mystified by the mind of Alan Turing as all good movies seemed to pop their way into theatres just in time for the winter chill (in which I rather fittingly become much like a hobbit myself).
~*~
Now just think: movie theatre food, and what is likely the first thing to pop into your mind? The beloved popcorn of course! But what is lurking in that seemingly bottomless bag of buttery kernels? I did a little digging and found some sticky facts on one of Canada’s favourite movie treats and created a better than butter alternative to satisfy all of your popcorn popping indulgences.

 

Popping up some facts:
  • Popcorn MUST be purchased organic. Non-organic corn is heavily sprayed in pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers which wreak havoc on our health and the health of our environment.
According to the Globe and Mail published in 2011:
  • a large Cineplex popcorn unbuttered is the calorie and fat content equivalent of two McDonald‚Äôs Big Macs
  • The same bag having nearly a day’s worth of sodium intake

 

and that’s without butter.

According to Cineplex Entertainment’s Nutrition and Allergen guide, their liquid margarine contains these ingredients (plus a few others):

  • Soybean Oil
  • Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
  • Salt
  • Soy Protein,
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Mono & Diglycerides
  • Artificial Flavour

 

This ingredient list is high in processed soy and oils which alters their chemical composition causing them to be toxic to our bodies. Also present are artificial flavourings, preservatives and, once again, salt. Its shelf life: a minimum of three months! Real food rots. If it does not go bad, what exactly are we eating?

 

A few tips to snacking during a flick:
  • Eat when you are hungry

A movie snack is a cultural habit. Food is meant to be enjoyed when we are hungry. If you are not hungry, skip the snack and just enjoy the film.

 
  • Be a delinquent and bring your own food & drinks
  • Eat mindfully : if eating, eat BEFORE the movies

Eat during the opening credits and pay attention to the taste and flavour. You’ll be satisfied faster, longer and enjoy your food more.

  • Don’t eat during or even before a suspense, thriller or horror film.

The stress you feel in these movies actually puts our body into the “fight or flight” mode. This state activates our
sympathetic nervous system which tells the body to stop digesting so that you have more energy to flee. Of course, you’re not going anywhere but your body doesn’t know that and your digestion is compromised as a result.

  • Make healthier versions.

¬†A¬†better than butter¬†alternative popped up in my kitchen for Monday night’s movie ventures, though it was admittingly gone before I had even left for the theatre!

popcorn

 
  • Better Than Butter Popcorn:
Organic homepopped Popcorn (NOT microwaveable!)
Coconut oil
Sprinkling of Himalayan salt
Simply mix some coconut oil into your warm popcorn, tossing it around so that it melts and coats your popcorn as would butter. Sprinkle a little sea salt in and enjoy!
~*~
  • Chocolate, Cashew Drizzled Popcorn

Organic, homepopped Popcorn (again, NEVER microwaveable)

Raw, vegan dark chocolate

Raw cashews

Himalayan salt

Simply melt your chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. This will prevent it from burning and keep the delicate cocoa oils from denaturing. Lay popcorn flat on a sheet of wax paper and drizzle the warm chocolate over top, sprinkle with sea salt and pop into the fridge before enjoying. Keep cool.

Popping out of the hobbit hole for a movie date treat,

Suzanne Eden