A Country Bound Food Diary & Raw Superfood Clusters

This week I packed my things, namely piles of textbooks & notebooks and a few warm sweaters and made for the tranquility of the countryside. My grandparents own a hobby farm along the escarpment with a yellow pine house my grandfather constructed, flower gardens, trails, and my favourite of course; vegetable gardens(!) all blanketed under the winter’s snow.

into the wild

Every new year I find my way here for a couple of days to recharge. It is a time to retreat into the expanse and solitude of their property, to work a few hours with warm tea and spend the evenings chopping salads in my grandparents’ kitchen, hiking the back trails, burying myself in the snow and learning to make a fire to keep warm while teaching my grandfather how to culture sauerkraut. And in the midst of it all was a surplus of fresh produce from their garden, chopped for salads or sliced with nutbutters and a whole slew of delicious food to spoil their guest. If there’s one thing you can rely on with grandparents, it’s that you will never go hungry! And here is a taste of what became of our plates:

With the sunrise: 
  • Each morning we awoke as the sun broke across the horizon of naked trees. The fire having long died out in the night lied peacefully of ash. We first set the kettle to enjoy warm lemon water as we waited for our oats to cook over the stove top. We had set these out the night before to soak which makes them easier to digest and makes the nutrients more available to the body. We topped this with a blend of ground seeds (pumpkin, flax, chia) and spices (cayenne, turmeric, curry, ginger etc.), a splash of flax oil and basmati brown rice milk and this, to my request, was the breakfast to energize us each morning.
In solitude and left to a delicious kitchen…
  • While my grandparents were out at Tai Chi or chiropractic appointments, I would get hungry and scour their kitchen for food, of which there is plenty! Nuts and seeds, vegetables and sprouts, it’s a holistic foodies haven!
Every day I had a protein drink with MSM, L-glutamine, and so forth and mixed in detoxifying beet crystals which turn the vanilla drink a bright pink.
Others:
  • nuts and seeds
  • sprouts
  • banana
  • crackers slathered with coconut oil and nutbutter
  • Raw superfood clusters

 

raw superfood clusters

Raw Superfood Clusters

There is no exact recipe, simply mix ingredients until desired:

  • Almond butter
  • Apple sauce (for sweetness)
  • Coconut oil (to make them solid)
  • Cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt

Mix together almond butter, apple sauce and oil until the coconut oil is well mixed in. Then add the bulk ingredients to form clusters. You can use any nuts or seeds here, I used:

  • Unsalted, raw Pumpkin seeds (which we dried out ourselves)
  • Sprouts (my grandfather had sprouted mung beans and green lentils)

Once in little clusters, pop them in the freezer to harden, then enjoy! The healthy fats help to stabilize blood sugar, provide a fantastic source of energy and will assist in keeping you satiated to lunchtime.

Upon their return: 
Lunch time and large appetites where synonymous with my grandparents arrival home. We would set to work in the kitchen right away to prepare vegetable plates served with nut and seed butters.
veggie plate
 
Possible accompaniments:
  • Poached eggs
  • Chicken
  • Sardines (my favourite! A treat we picked up when my grandmother brought me on a special trip for my first time to Goodness Me)
  • Gluten free, dairy free, sugar-free pancakes topped with nutbutters, apple sauce, red currants and a little maple syrup (high quality)
Midday snacks:

 

dates

Dinner 
  • We usually made salads of my grandparents’ vegetables. The root veggies we had were harvested in October and stored to eat through the winter as they do not spoil when kept properly. We shredded these finely which aids digestion and used olive oil and apple cider vinegar as a dressing, topped with sprouts and served with the rest of the meal:
  • Chicken two days
  • One day we ate lightly steamed veggies with rosemary & humus as we sat around the fire

chopping salads

Post dinner: 
  • Green tea which was brewed continuously throughout the day
  • Chia seed cereal pudding from Earthly Choice
  • sprouts
  • a small dried fruit platter

I was sent home with dried apples juuuust in case I should find myself feeling a bit famished on the voyage home and was greeted with a warm hug from mom and a furry little animal (Aussie) who shared a dried apple or two with me before bed. My road trip playlist? A mix of Eddie Vedder and Matthew Good! Though I infinitely love the peace, tranquility, and rather more primitive life of the countryside, it has been wonderful to be reunited with my family, Aussie and my Vitamix once more!

Blending an end to another delicious week,

Suzanne Eden

A Festive Food Diary // What A Holistic Nutritionist Eats On Christmas

Good morning readers!
Ever wonder what a holistic nutritionist eats on Christmas? Do we secretly stuff stuffing into our mouths when no one’s looking or do we come equipped with celery in our purse and chia seeds for dessert?
This is your little sneak peek into my holiday eats to see just what it was that I treated myself to and how I go about the holidays in the most holistic way possible with loads of insights and tips and tricks to keeping both happy and healthy with the food on your plate! But first and foremost; what is my philosophy behind such occasions?
I absolutely agree, holidays are a time of indulgence! But thankfully, you don’t have to stray from your diet to do so. I believe in moderation not deprivation. So I come prepared with healthy alternatives to staples such as dips and spreads that are dairy, gluten, soy and refined sugar-free. However, if I see something I really want that includes these things, I enjoy, just in moderation.
  • Breakfast
It was two years ago that, in true Suzanne fashion, I awoke Christmas morning and, forgetting about gifts entirely, I sprang from my bed and leapt down the stairs thinking souly of one thing: food! Christmas breakfast! And luckily, as I drew closer, the lack of mouth-watering aromas sparked the reminder that there were gifts crowded beneath the tree that I was not yet intended to see and so back up the stairs it was!

 

 This year’s  breakfast was sweet, light and wholesome.
Our Christmas breakfasts always begin with half a grapefruit that we recieve in our stockings every year.
grapefruit
This was followed by a small buffet of exotic fruit bowls & platters. We always mix in some fruit that we don’t normally purchase for a special treat such as this Pitya (dragon fruit) and Asian pears. We also had clementines, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple and fresh figs.
pitya
Turns out my cutest little gift this year, Aussie, loves Asian pears too!
aussie
You could say I “pigged” out on Christmas, but did manage to enjoy and savour the food in moderation. Muffins and yogurt are present at the table as well but I opted out of those and ate my weight in alkalinizing, juicy, fresh fruit which left me satisfied but with plenty of room by the time lunch had taken over the table.
  • Lunch
My lunch plate included a good helping of fresh-cut veggies with almond butter instead of the sour cream based dips.
Holistic life hacks: nut and seed butters are easy to carry, need no preparation, and are fantastic as dips. Add a little apple cider vinegar or olive oil and they become great salad dressings too!
lunch
I also had some gluten-free crackers and decided to treat myself to a bit of cheese. This cheese I know to be high quality and I opted for the aged goats cheese which is much easier for the body to digest than cows milk. I also took a digest dairy pill to further assist my body in breaking down the lactose.
We are so spoiled in that my grandparents’ garden supplies most of our vegetables including bizarre ones (which are always the most fun) such as:
  • Mangel
  • Rutabaga
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Spanish radish
  • Turnip
  • Beets in all different varieties
  • Two-toned purple carrots with orange inside

There was also a bowl of grapes present. Normally I would leave fruit completely alone when eating other food as this could lead to poor digestion and bloating but in this case, grapes are harder on your body to digest, taking it longer and making them acceptable in small portions. Bedside, I love grapes!

 

grapes

In between lunch and dinner, I brewed a mug of tea for the gift opening. It was an herbal blend with peppermint which aids digestion.
  • Dinner
Dinner was a plump roasted turkey that was free range; anti biotic and hormone free, organic and grass-fed. Quite the mouth full! There was no gobbling down though, we ate slowly once everyone had sat down and served their own portions. This was after I had stolen hunks of turkey off the plate in the kitchen… to make sure it wasn’t poisoned of course!
The succulent turkey was served with Brussels sprouts, a turnip and potato mash and gluten-free rice stuffing that was surprising delicious! Of course gravy and cranberry sauce are staples but not on my plate, with cranberry sauce laden with sugars and gravy rich in fat that has been heated beyond its limits and dosed in corn starch as a thickener. The best is to leave both of them out. I, myself, love them both and so served up a very small taste of each to have my fill. The food was certainly flavourful enough as it was.
For dessert I skipped the ice cream and opted for a few medjool dates and a slice of my fudge. Got some leftover almond butter? Stuff it in the dates for a delicious treat!
tea
After family dinners, we leave time to sit and digest before dessert and brew coffee and tea in the meantime. I skip the caffeine which hinders digestion and opt for herbal teas with peppermint which boosts digestion. Having this alkalinizing and rehydrating tea after your meal will also help you to reduce sugar cravings so you can go easy on the sweets!
So there you have it wellness junkies! So simple to indulge without overstuffing and with keeping your body as grateful as your taste buds, a nice little gift to yourself on these occasions and you can keep these in mind as we head towards the New Year!
Wishing you all the merriest of holidays,
Suzanne Eden

Twas the Night Before Christmas // Festive Cranberry Pistachio Fudge

fudge

With Christmas festivities just around the corner, I’ve been busy in the kitchen in swirls of chocolate, sticky with dates and adorned in a Santa apron to bring you a very special treat. Before navigating my way to health, my specialty at our annual Christmas buffet was a fudge that took 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to make. And though smooth and rich and delightful, it was a decadent swirl of insulin spiking sugar & bodily congesting dairy, straight from a BPA laden can.

Naturally, I had to revamp this recipe and created a healthy version! One that not only takes minimal time and effort to make, but is made with only the BEST ingredients and one you would never know is secretly good for you! (In moderation of course). And ahhh, this effortless fudge delivers and is sure to be an annual staple at your holiday treat table!
What’s more: 
  • It is rich in healthy fats which signal fullness and satisfaction to the brain so that you will feel satisfied after only a few sweets
  • It is sweetened with dates: a whole food with natural fibre to reduce blood sugar spikes.
  • Raw cacao is the less processed form of cocoa and therefore retains the most nutrients found in only your highest quality dark chocolate! Among them:
    • Antioxidants
    • Magnesium
    • Iron
    • Potassium
    • Calcium
      • Bonus: since it is raw, we are not losing any of these beautifying nutrients as we would if cooking with it.
  • This fudge is:
    • Dairy free
    • Gluten free
    • Soy free
    • Refined sugar-free
    • Raw
Top Notch Ingredients: 
Here’s what to look for: 
  • Medjool dates should be soft and moist! This is critical in this recipe that is raw and needs a smooth, rich base.
  • Raw cacao can be found at a health food store and sometimes in your local grocery store in the organic section, although I always like to support small local stores whenever possible. My favourite is quality sourced Giddy Yoyo.
  • Pistachios: look for unsalted and raw.
  • Cranberries: look for sulphate and soybean oil free
  • Coconut oil: Virgin, unrefined, organic and in a glass container if possible
Festive Cranberry Pistachio Fudge
Ingredients
  • 1 C Medjool Dates
  • 3-4 tsp Coconut milk
  • 1/4 C Nut Butter (I used the mix of cashew and almond)
  • 1/2 C + 2 TBSP Raw cacao
  • 1 tsp Alcohol free vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 C Pistachios
How I make it
(Please read through the instructions first, especially the note at the bottom)
  1. Blend dates with coconut milk until smooth.
  2. Add nut butter, cacao, vanilla, salt and cinnamon and blend to desired consistency. Do not blend on high if you have a powerful blender as this could cause you to heat the mixture and the cacao to curdle. The mixture should be smooth and silky but still hold firmly.
  3. Stir in your cranberries and pistachios.
  4. Pour into a small pan lined with parchment (the size depends on how thick you want the slices of fudge to be)
  5. Pop into the fridge at least 1 hour to set before serving
Notes:
  • Now there is one issue I’ve had; sometimes the milk separates from the mixture, however it is necessary for getting that smooth, fudgy texture. So if this happens to you, don’t freak out. Simply remove the excess with a spoon and you should be just fine! Being a raw dessert, it leaves a lot of room for playing around, so don’t be discouraged. Once in the fridge, it has always worked out!
  • I used a mortor and pestle to crush some pistachios to garnish the top.
  • Holistic life hacks:
    • Whenever baking, especially with something as gooey and tempting as this fudge, it can be easy to get carried away taste testing. You have to be sure it’s juuust right, right? But here’s my trick to avoid going overboard on your bowl licking skills: keep a healthy treat at hand. Mine is a kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea with ginger. Refreshing, balancing and satisfying.
I can’t get enough of this fudge and your guests won’t be able to either! Rich, decadent and sneakily healthy, you can enjoy all of the indulgences of Christmas and still feel energized and light at the end of the night,
Wishing you a sweet, gooey, chocolatey Christmas Eve,
Suzanne Eden

Superfood Cranberry Chocolate Macaroons

Ever wonder what to make to delight the taste buds of the shamelessly picky eaters and health nuts alike? This, right here, is your fix!  I have made this treat for just about every occasion this year from house parties to Christmas gatherings and they are always an instant hit. The best part? They take about 15minutes to make, have minimal ingredients, require zero baking, and have some superfood benefits! What originally began as Kimberly Snyder’s recipe from her book became a smash hit with my friends and family alike and lead me to create my own spin and thus: the delectable cranberry chocolate macaroon was born!

raw macaroons
Just yesterday I demoed these treats for a class of fellow holistic-practitioners-in-the-making and for Joy McCarthy from http://www.joyoushealth.ca/. Today I brought another batch to share with the rest of campus which were gone in a chocolatey flash and received requests for more. So I will once again be getting chocolate covered in my kitchen with more macaroon making to share this upcoming week!
These are:
  • Dairy free
  • Soy free
  • Refined sugar free
  • Flour free
  • Gluten and wheat free
  • Nut free
  • Egg free
  • Pretty much anything but sheer goodness free!
Your quick guide to super packing these bites with nutrition:
  • Raw cacao is less processed than cocoa, high in antioxidants for anti-aging, and has energizing and mood enhancing effects.
  • Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, stabilizes blood sugar and boosts brain function! This is my secret ingredient for anything chocolate to enhance and add depth to the rich flavours.
  • Maple syrup – may I take a moment to redirect you to my article on the 8 facts about maple syrup that make it just plain sweet, here: https://lifeofeden.com/2014/07/02/8-facts-about-maple-syrup-that-make-it-just-plain-sweet/
    But as wonderful as it is, please remember that this is also a treat and not an everyday staple and that  buying real, high quality syrup is the only way to go to reap its beneficial properties.
  • Vanilla – If opting for the vanilla extract, look for one that is organic and alcohol free.
  • Himalayan salt can be replaced with a high quality sea salt. I like Himalayan because it adds depth to the rich flavours of the macaroon.
  • Dried cranberries and coconut – for both of these you want to be aware of what is in them. Sneaky things such as sulfites and unwanted oils or soy may find their way in, so be sure to check the labels.

 

Warning: Though a raw macaroon may make a room full of nutritionists swoon, those not so nutrition savvy may be high tailing it in the opposite direction. I am constantly reminded of this by the look on my families face when I say that I’ve made something “healthy”! They are not quite so enthusiastic, sporting an expression that says they think I’ve made a macaroon from kale and sauerkraut rather than chocolatey goodness. The trick ? Think as though you’re mischievously sneaking brussels sprouts into your child’s dinner and omit the fact that they are relatively healthy until after your guests are gushing for more. They would never know 😉
Ingredients:
Dry:

  • 2 Cups coconut flakes
  • ½ Cup Raw cacao powder
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp Powdered stevia
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon

Wet:

  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ Cup Maple syrup
  • 1/3 Cup Dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  2. Add in wet ingredients and stir until fully combined. Add the dried cranberries in last.
  3. Scoop into small, macaroon sized balls and place on parchment, putting them in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours before serving or in the fridge overnight.
  • Best served the next day but can be stored in the fridge after that.

So there you have it! I am so excited for you to give these a try and, if you’re anything like me in the kitchen; become a sweet, gooey, chocolate covered macaroon making machine from here on out!

Suzanne Eden