Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


Berry Good Baked Goods

I’m heading into the last few weeks of my pregnancy.  I’ve loved every moment of being pregnant, but I’m also looking forward to meeting the little one!  And I’m finally done with work, so I have some time to myself at the moment!

Keeping Busy

I’m not one to sit around with my feet up, so I’ve embarked on a baking extravaganza, all in preparation for baby’s arrival and my anticipated lack of time.  My goal has been to bake something every few days and then toss it in the freezer. My baking has largely been limited to berry-based recipes due to the 72 baggies of berries that I had in my freezer until quite recently.  I’ve also been trying to choose healthier ingredients where I can so that I have somewhat healthy midnight snacks.  To do that, I’ve used oatmeal as a partial substitute for flour, apple sauce and yogurt to moisten the muffins and, for the non-berry recipes, I’ve used veggies.  In all of my experiments, I’ve used coconut oil which worked out really well in all of them.

Here’s how it has turned out so far:

Berry Good Baked Goods

Lemon-Blueberry Loaf

This was the first lemon loaf I ever made.  I liked it so much that I made a second batch the next day.  It incorporates yogurt in the recipe which really kept the loaf moist.  It froze well and I’d definitely make it again!

Lemon Blueberry Loaf with Yogurt

Lemon Blueberry Loaf with Yogurt

Blueberry Muffins

I tried a couple of different recipes for my blueberry recipes.  Ultimately, this one was my favorite.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Strawberry Lemon Muffins

Not only do I have lots of blueberries to use up, I also have strawberries!  I loved this recipe for strawberry and lemon muffins, two of my favorite flavours.  These were a cinch to make and they taste great!

Strawberry Lemon Muffins

Strawberry Lemon Muffins

Non-Berry Based Baking

I also dabbled in some non-berry baking, mainly because I couldn’t resist the temptation.   It’s been squash and pumpkin season and here’s what I made with those:

Butternut Squash Muffins

I was inspired to make these after reading Heidi’s post about them on her blog Lightly Crunchy.  I used homemade squash puree, homemade apple sauce and I even made my own pumpkin spice for this recipe.  Heidi’s recipe and tips both worked great. I only tasted one of these before putting the rest in the freezer.  I really enjoyed that muffin!

Butternut Squash Muffins

Butternut Squash Muffins

Apple Zucchini Muffins

I also tried some apple zucchini muffins.  Unfortunately, these didn’t turn out so great.  Maybe I got the proportions wrong, but they came out tasting pretty bland and a wee bit tough.  They won’t go to waste, but I don’t think these are up to standard for serving to others!

Carrot Scones
Carrot Scones

Carrot Scones

I was lucky enough to receive a bag full of fresh carrots from a friend’s garden.  The carrots were so sweet!  I used a few of them to try out a carrot scone recipe I found on Pinterest.  If you check out the recipe, you’ll see that two of the key ingredients are carrots and cheese.  How could you go wrong?  Truly, they turned out well!

More Baking to Come?

To date, I’ve made 3 loaves of bread and 12 batches of muffins (that includes a couple batches of scones).  My freezer doesn’t have any more room than before. Rather, I’ve just replaced the bags of berries with baked goods.  I have no doubt that we’ll go through them quickly and soon enough, there will be room in the freezer for other goodies.

If you’re interested in any one of these recipes, just about all of them are pinned on one of my Pinterest boards called Yummy Food and Treats.


My Favorite Beauty Foods

There are lots of ways to take great care of your skin.  In addition to using all-natural skin care products that are free from unnecessary chemicals, you can also do your skin a favour by eating the best foods for your skin.  Some of my favorite beauty  food are:

Dark, Leafy Greens

I’m a big fan of dark, leafy greens.  Dandelion greens, kale, and chard are all great examples.  These vegetables are high in fiber, full of vitamin C, and offer a high dose of antioxidants.   The Vitamin A in dark, leafy greens is great for clearing up acne and keeping your skin clear.

I either steam them lightly or I use them in a juice.  Either way, it’s a great idea to incorporate dark leafy greens in your diet.


Avocados are full healthy fats.  They are a great snack, in small portions.  TheyAvocado and rasberries also go well in smoothies and soup.  I also love sharing a good bowl of guacamole.

Avocados are full of Vitamins A, C, E, and K.  One of the best things about avocados is that this fruit is also great when used in skin care!  Its moisturizing properties are great in a hair mask or a face mask.


Berries are full of antioxidants.  Try including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or acai berries into your daily regime.  I include a handful of strawberries in my morning smoothie.  Berries are touted as having anti-aging, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory qualities.  Berries can also be used in skin care products for your face and skin.


Lemons are an integral part of my daily routine.  I start my day with a cup of hot water with lemon juice.  As with avocados, lemons are also great in Salmonskin care.  Lemon juice can be used in shampoos, skin care.  Lemon juice can even be used in homemade household cleaning products.  Be sure to use fresh lemon juice!


Salmon is a great source of protein and healthy fats.  This fish helps improve the production of collagen in your skin.  Eating fish once a week is a great way to get a good source of omega 3’s.  I’ve tried cooking salmon in a few different ways.  At the moment, my favorite is to bake it in the oven with a bit of coconut oil.

NutsNuts - Beauty food

Nuts are full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Their anti-inflammatory qualities help address inflammation and other skin disorders.  My favorite nuts to snack on are almonds, walnuts, cashews and pecans.  While I snack on nuts every day, I’m careful to limit that quantity to a handful throughout the day to ensure that I’m not overdoing it.

What are your favorite beauty foods?