Spring Chicken Power Bowl

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Gosh I love fat. And mayo. And full-fat mayo with lemon. It was like my sister moved back and my best life began when I slowly made the discovery eating fat and the higher calories--9 per gram to be exact--that come with it, does not make me fat. Ironically, the low-calorie, nutrient depleted, chemically concocted fake foods from the 90's not only left me hungry ALL THE TIME, but were to blame for the constant shrinking and expanding of my jeans in my 20's.  It makes a heck of a lot more sense to me now and especially when I stop to think about how humans are made and connected to the earth--the source of life and food's existence.

Most bowl recipes are thought up on the fly while managing three kids, leftovers and a cluttered kitchen. This Spring Chicken Power Bowl is no exception. I started with the raw chicken tenders from Costco sprinkled with lemon rosemary seasoning, salt and pepper. They sat on a plate while I asked the neighbor to help me light the grill then scoured the fridge and pantry for leftover "dump ins" which always include:

1) Mainly light, nutrient-laden veggies

2) Some fiber and filling, dense carbs

3) Added healthy fats

4) A sprinkle of flavor

5) A portion of protein

Once the kids were settled and eating, I rinsed and tossed green beans into a pan of water--no time for trimming. When the water came to a boil, gluten free rotini noodles were added, along with the lid. After a quick check on the flames, I was back inside chopping green beans and baby spinach.  

With every ingredient scattered across the counter, this power bowl came together . I had one last dump-in to create: The dressing, which is also the added fats for flavor, satiety and overall goodness.  Creamy mayo always makes me happy and especially when it's homemade or has clean ingredients.  Not all fats are good--for disease prevention, inflammation reduction and nutrient absorption. Processed fats need to be crowded out with as-close-to-natural as possible sources. A whole egg contains a yolk which is natural. A sunflower, almond, olive and the cold-pressed(not chemically processed) oil from it can also be included. Anything heated at high temperatures and extracted with chemicals changes dramatically from it's natural state which in turn becomes foreign and harmful to the body--not natural. Again: Nature, not science.  Mystery not definite.  Praise God mayo is not the enemy!! Nothing sounded better to me than a mayo based dressing and lemon to pair with the chicken seasoning. Oh. My. Thank. You. To my jeans, for not altering and the most delicious flavor combinations to keep it that way.

Spring Chicken Power Bowl

By Audrey Byker, Health Coach

Serves One

For the Bowl:

-3 small raw chicken tenders

-2 tsp. lemon rosemary seasoning(I use Wildtree)

-1 cup fresh green beans

-1/2 cup gluten free noodles

-1 cup baby spinach, chopped

-1/4 cup roasted, salted almonds, crushed

-Sea salt, to taste

-Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

For the Dressing:

-1/4 cup mayonnaise, organic without soybean, canola, safflower or other processed oils(I like Sir Kensingtons or homemade)

-2 Tbls. lemon balsamic vinegar(Fustinis) or 1 Tbls. white wine vinegar and 1 Tbls. Fresh squeezed lemon juice

-1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced

Sprinkle seasoning on chicken with salt and pepper. Preheat grill and cook chicken, turning half way. In a large saucepan add green beans and cover well with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add gluten free noodles. Turn to low and simmer per noodle directions. Strain and rinse with cold water.

Add to a bowl the spinach, green beans, noodles, chicken, almonds and sea salt and pepper.

In a small bowl or dressing jar, whisk dressing ingredients together.  Drizzle over ingredients in bowl and enjoy!

 

Creamy Cold Craving Vanilla Shake

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Today was beautiful on so many levels.  My baby, now five, spent all the hours after preschool as my sidekick in the yard. We assembled patio furniture, analyzed dead plant matter, cut fresh green landscaping grasses with a paper scissors, argued about who loved who more, and carried the "heaviest" dirty storage items together down the hill because mom's muscles weren't quite strong enough without her big man.  

After a few hours of working outside, the ice cream craving hit.  Good thing there are always better options--nutrient dense and plant rich--while also balanced enough to stabilize blood sugar.  This shake was thought of for it's icy cold, creamy AND satisfying treat-like qualities, but easily justified as a healthy snack with all it's real, food-as-medicine tasty ingredients!

The two of us did our best to dig out the mini chocolate chips before allowing them to get caught in the straw. He gave up after slurping the shake glass dry, which, no complaints here--I may have snuck a few more with my spoon.

Creamy Cold Craving Vanilla Shake

By Audrey Byker, Health Coach

Serves 2

In a high speed blender, throw together:

-1/2 frozen banana(peel first, then freeze)

-2 dates

-2 cups unsweetened soy milk(non-GMO)

-1/2 c vegan vanilla nutritional shake mix ( I love Complete by Juice Plus)

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1 pinch sea salt

-Two heaping Tbls unsweetened sunflower seed butter

Blend on high until thick and creamy then pour into two glasses -A sprinkle of the darkest chocolate chips you can find(optional, depending on individual health goals) 

Smokey Bites and the Power of your Vibe

You know how you meet someone and they simply get you? He or she is "on the same page", laughs at your jokes, shares the way you share and connects on the same level.  There's this draw to be in the same room and a massive sense of relief knowing you don't have to care, try, or put any effort into pleasing her/him.  The way you look, speak, act, sing, dress, eat, or what you talk about is not only expected, but accepted. The best part of all, is the ability of this specific human to make you feel loved. It's the power of your vibe.  You found your tribe.

After MANY conflicting thoughts and all-consuming doubts, I'll never forget the day my therapist gave it to me straight: "Audrey, not everyone is going to like you".  While I knew this, absolutely, it broadsided me like the day my brother missed the baseball conveniently pitched inches from my head.  My heart hurt in the same way my brain felt the blow from the bat.  His words are truth, my truth, and it took way too long for me to embrace it.  

Always needing and seeking validation is life-draining--It will never be possible to please the masses.  These bites came alive after 3 years of coaching and hearing there's a great demand for savory snacks--similar to a desire the majority of my clients have to feel accepted as they are.  The same concept Brene Brown describes as "love and belonging".  When I went into coaching I could not have predicted either one which is actually quite funny given my life story...Haha, always learning over here.  All people can be kind, open-minded, driven by empathy and compassion, yet it's realistic to conclude not everyone is going to understand your vibe. IT'S OK. NEXT!  Keep working on loving yourself in the same way and your tribe will come along.

If you are stuck, constantly prying yourself away from the salty treats at the store[you bought and are in the pantry] I think you might want to give these a try!  You may have to think "outside the box" and be open to the textures and flavor.  If you can't, I'd still love your feedback!

 Smokey Fiesta Power Bites by Audrey Byker

Smokey Fiesta Power Bites by Audrey Byker

Smokey Fiesta Power Bites

By Audrey Byker, Health Coach inspired by Minimalist Baker's "Everyday Cooking"

1 Cup roasted walnuts

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp granulated garlic

3/4 Tbls chili powder

1 Tbls nutritional yeast(optional)

1 Tbls cocoa powder(optional)

1/2 Tbls cumin powder

Sea salt, two pinches

Black pepper, fresh ground to taste

1 Tbls pure maple syrup

1 Cup cooked quinoa

1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 Tbls dried chives

Add walnuts, onion powder, granulate garlic, chili powder, nutritional yeast, cumin, salt, pepper and pure maple syrup to a food processor.  Process until paste forms.  In a large bowl add drained and rinsed black beans and smash with a fork, leaving a small amount whole.  Next add quinoa, chives and nut paste to the bowl then stir together to form a dough.  Roll into 1 inch balls and serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.  Good at room temp for many hours!

Bonus: These bites have multiple uses!  Use dough to make veggie burgers or sprinkle on a salad after pan frying in olive oil.  Use as a meat replacement.  They make an excellent post workout recovery food, high in protein, fat and nutrients.