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

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

Pumpkin Pie Oats with Cinnamon Ice Cream

Just what the holistic nutritionist ordered: pumpkin pie & ice cream for breakfast!
Whether you are still in the spirit of Thanksgiving or just in love with the season of pumpkins, this sweet breakfast will banish cravings, reduce inflammation, and awaken your inner dessert-for=breakfast rebel to supercharge your morning.
pumpkin pie oats
Pumpkin as a superfood:
  • Fountain of youth
    • Potent in beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant to combat toxins and aging!
  • Immunity
    • Vitamins A, C, and K  coupled with beta carotene amp the immune boosting effect of pumpkin
  • Get the skinny
    • High in fibre and low in calories, this holiday staple will help to manage weight (Just not in your conventional pie)
Pump up the Nutrition!
  • This recipe calls for real pumpkin. At my house, we cook them up and bag the extras to put into the freezer and thaw later. This way you are super packing your breakfast with nutrition and avoiding the potential toxins of canned pumpkin.
  • Having used up my stores of chia seeds, this is a basic overnight oat recipe but the addition of  chia will charge this into a high fibre breakfast perfect for a post Thanksgiving gobble down .
oats
 Recipe
Adventure Level: 2/5
Pumpkin Pie Oats:
1/2 cup rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup almond milk
4 tbsp pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8th tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp alcohol free vanilla
1/8th – 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
pinch of cloves
pinch of Himalayan salt
Liquid Stevia to taste (I like Sweet Leaf alcohol free)
Ice cream:
1 Frozen Banana
Cinnamon to taste
Instructions:
Combine all oat pie ingredients and put in a glass jar to refrigerate overnight. In the morning, set the oats out and blend the frozen banana until creamy. The more powerful the blender, the faster and easier this will be. Add cinnamon until satisfied, top your oats and enjoy!
The Tasty Switch Up:
What you see above is topped with raw cacao nibs for a little crunch. I later added an organic apple from our tree, simply dicing it up and layering it between the pie and the ice cream for a sweet and juicing contrast of fall flavours.
With full permission to indulge your inner rebel with dessert for breakfast,
Suzanne Eden