Six Weeks of Bowl Meals: Harvest Burger Bowl

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Everyone is overwhelmed. Laundry, responsibility, work, a million school papers flying out of kid’s backpacks. The garage. Voicemails. Emails.

Then there’s meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking healthy meals.

The difference between those who can handle the overwhelm and those who allow it to paralyze them is basic: Healthy-striving people prioritize and plan. Successful people prioritize and plan. Less stressed people prioritize and plan. They listen to their intuition and trust it. They ignore that which is not important and focus on all that is to them.

What does it even mean to prioritize and plan? For some it’s a detailed planner, for others it’s utilizing Apple technology, google calendar or an app. For my grandpa it was always a notepad and golf pencil stashed in the breast pocket of every shirt he wore. It means saying “no” more than “yes” even if it hurts someone’s feelings, makes the kids cry or the neighbor annoyed. It’s taking action, one priority at a time.

Yup, without disclaimer or explanation. It’s a “no”.

Week four of six weeks of bowl meals is the perfect salad to add to next week’s meal plan. It follows all the balanced nutrition guidelines for ideal blood sugar control—a high healthy eating priority. It just so happens eating balanced, nutrient dense meals aids in the effort to feel less overwhelm. Blood sugar control is related to hormone regulation. Hormone regulation is responsible for balanced cortisol which aids in calm, clear, focused thinking, sleeping, and moving. It’s crazy how everything is connected.

Suddenly the emails and garage have bumped to the bottom of the list.

Harvest Burger Bowl

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

serves 4-6

FOR THE VEGGIES FAT AND PROTEIN

-2-3 head of romaine lettuce, chopped, washed and spun in the salad spinner

-1lb ground beef (know your farmer)

-1-2 Tbls. non chili spice blend(burger blend). I can’t get enough of this

-1/2 medium onion, chopped

-1 cup pecans, roasted and salted

for the carbs and flavor

-4 med/lg sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1in. pieces

-1-2 Tbls avocado oil

-salt

-pepper

-1 apple sliced or diced(optional for garnish)

Creamy Avocado Dressing(or this):

-1/2 large avocado

-1/4 tsp sea salt

-One lime, juiced

-1/4 cup olive or avocado oil

-1/2 Tbls raw honey(optional)

-1 clove garlic, minced

-1/4-1/3 cup water, as needed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add sweet potato to a large bowl and stir to coat with oil then sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbls spice blend. Add salt if spice does not contain it. Add to parchment paper covered sheet pan and add to oven to roast for 30 min or desired doneness, stirring 1/2 way. Set aside to cool slightly before adding to bowl.

While sweet potatoes roast add ground beef and onion to pan over med. heat. Add 1/2 Tbls spice blend. Cook through and brown. Remove from heat until sweet potatoes are ready.

Prepare bowl and dressing. Layer romaine coated in dressing, sweet potato, ground beef and pecans. Drizzle a bit more dressing on top as desired.

Six weeks of bowl meals: Roasted Comfort Bowl

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With temps in Michigan hovering in the 80s, forcing me to spend extra hours in the sun, water and everywhere else I can take it all in, the kitchen and the creation of a bowl meal for this week was successfully avoided at-all-costs. Mainly, the family, along with myself, has been surviving off salads, burgers on the griddle, avocado toast, apples with drippy nut butter or hummus with raw veggies and organic tortilla chips: All of our favorite staples for a busy life. By Friday I was feeling over it[bloated and uncomfortable] and craving something grounding that would keep my kitchen clean with friends, fun and all the paddle boarding calling my name for as far as the weekend would stretch.

Holistic health and nutrition says[rule of thumb] to eat locally grown seasonal produce as much as possible. When it’s hot outside bodies tend to crave light, watery and cooling foods. I agree with all the things and consider each one, but real life argues raw veggies everyday are boring while also tough on my pure bred Dutch gut. When your body and all it’s cells were literally created and duplicated from boiled root vegetables, roasted meats and all the variations, the rules of the seasons are a fleeting expectation. Also, there are rules and then there are facts. Facts are not rules.

Fun fact: Friday, Saturday and Sunday kicked ass.

Minutes before the kids were released from the school bus to start the weekend, this roasted chicken with root veggies was tossed in the oven. My favorite cold weather ingredients, with the exception of the potatoes—just harvested in August—were inhaled all weekend long with a simple gravy ladled on top. I’m not really sure why I hesitated to share this when the truth is living a healthy lifestyle by dedicating as little effort as possible is one way to make it sustainable for the long-term which is everything I stand for.

Roasted Comfort Bowl

By Audrey Byker, Health Coach

Serves 6-8

For the veggies fat and protein

-1 3-4lb whole chicken, organs and gizzards removed

-6-8 carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped(large pieces)

-Drizzle of olive oil

-Sea salt

-Fresh ground black pepper

For the carbs and flavor

-6-8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

-2 Tbls Stubbs BBQ seasoning or preferred seasoning—sugar and preservative free

-1/2 cup chicken stock or homemade bone broth

-2 Tbls corn starch(non GMO) or arrowroot

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large dutch oven or ceramic crock pot insert, add potatoes and carrots. Drizzle with olive oil then toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add whole chicken on top of veggies then sprinkle seasoning onto chicken then massage into with both hands. Be sure to rub seasoning into chicken cavity and under skin as much as possible for the best flavor. Add a little salt and pepper. Add lid to dutch oven or cover crock pot insert with foil then put in oven. Roast for 2-2 1/2 hours or until chicken leg is easily pulled off the bone.

Remove chicken, potatoes and carrots from the pan. Add remaining juices to a medium saucepan. Place on a burner on medium heat. Meanwhile mix chicken broth and cornstarch in a mug or liquid measuring cup. Stir well. Slowly whisk corn starch mixture into the chicken juices and turn heat to med-high. Whisk until liquid comes to a gentle simmer. Turn to low and simmer for a few minutes until desired gravy consistency is reached. Add more chicken broth and corn starch if more gravy is needed. Serve in a bowl, layering potatoes, carrots, chicken, then gravy.

Six Weeks of Bowl Meals: Italian Broth Bowl

Um, what the heck is a broth bowl and how is it not soup? is the question I asked myself around a year ago at this time.  It seems the foodie term is trending at the moment—thanks to Panera Bread, but likely existed long ago and was derived from asian cuisine or soup containing mainly flavor-intense broth. Regardless of where it truly came from, and what sets it apart from soup, this week I chose to create my own version in hopes to improve upon the lack-luster dining experience I’ve had with it thus far. A broth bowl appears to be a balanced plate of food added to a bowl with broth ladled over top. I’ll go with it!

One of the core concepts of holistic health is the need to feed the human desire to be creatively expressive. I can’t help but applaud the individual who came up with the term “broth bowl”, which gets me thinking…As children we develop an internal belief system based on our experiences and influences in our lives. Much like many of the clients I work with, at the age of five, I can remember adding “not an artist”, “not creative” to my exponentially long and growing list of beliefs. My mom went to art school and my sister was following in her footsteps. Based on comparison, I wasn’t an artist or creative.

So what do you do when you crave creativity but believe you are not creative?

Just about a decade ago, I wrote down all the beliefs I had about myself—the limiting ones holding me back from living a joy-filled and authentic life. I burned the list then stepped into the kitchen. Yup, burned it. To hell with “I’m not creative” and the crap that followed…

It took four trials of creative expression to share this recipe today. Six if you count writing about it. It’s really good. My version of a broth bowl is not soup, but you may call it that or something different—whatever makes the most sense. My husband, Levi, has become my go-to judge for the majority of the dishes I come up with. His opinion serves to spark my creative process even when it’s what he calls “constructive criticism”. He loved the final two versions pictured, which happen to be extremely quick and simple to prepare—a balanced meal with broth ladled over top—or not if you haven’t embraced the trend quite yet.

My hope is mass amounts of people hit the kitchen to create this recipe all while burning the limiting beliefs on their list. By the time the cauliflower is done steaming, the whole process could be finished[write. burn. release. start over].

Italian Broth Bowl

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

Serves 4-6

For the veggies fat and protein

-1 pound Italian sausage(know your farmer)

-1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

-2 heads cauliflower florets, sliced

-2 cups kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped

-1/2 Tbls avocado oil or ghee

-Kalamata olives, sliced (optional garnish)

for the carbs and flavor

-1 tsp Italian seasoning

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-Sea salt, a few pinches

-Fresh ground black pepper to taste

-2 cups cooked rice noodles, potatoes or brown rice (optional)

-1 batch chicken bone broth or two cartons chicken broth heated

-Green onion, sliced(optional garnish)

In a large non-stick saute pan with a lid add sausage and begin to brown over med. heat. Add oil, peppers, and cauliflower after a few minutes. Stir frequently and brown over med. heat. Add the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Stir together then add lid. Turn heat to low then simmer and steam for 10-15 min.(preferred doneness). Heat chicken broth. Remove lid from large saute pan then add kale and garlic. Turn heat to med-high and stir and saute until garlic is fragrant—1-2 min. Remove from heat and dish into bowls. Pour warmed broth over each serving and garnish with olives and green onion(optional).