dairy free

Spring Soup and Bone Broth - Part 2!

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Homemade bone broth is just plain good. It’s also one of the most popular food inquiries from clients, friends, family, followers, fans, class participants...Parents.  The moment cold weather hits us midwesterners, messages and texts come blasting in like the polar vortex in January:

“Audrey, what the easiest way to make bone broth?”

I’d like to take a moment to sort out every reader into two separate categories:

  1. Have made bone broth

  2. Have not made bone broth

If you fall under category #1, scroll ahead to this week’s tasty white bean and sausage potato soup recipe--ideally to utilize your homemade bone broth and improve your healthy culinary skills! Temps are slowly climbing yet cold still lingering along with illnesses: Gut health is always needing more TLC.  I promised to share more about bone broth, but can’t help but want to move forward with an exciting new recipe along with it…

If you have not made bone broth you fall under category #2--Should you choose to finally take the raw, whole chicken plunge, I’m here to reassure you it’s really quite simple! The trauma is more than made up for with the juicy, flavorful meat and healing broth.  While preparing it can be high in disgust, it’s low on time and takes care of itself once the oven temp is reached and timer set. Over the past four years I’ve written two blog posts and one recipe ebook explaining the simplest way in detail. Check it out and plan on reading the recipe first, writing the grocery list second, then committing to some kitchen time.  Similar to all healthy habit changes, practice makes perfect. It takes practice to get it exactly how you prefer it. And I am cheering for you! For additional support in increasing your culinary skills, here is a helpful checklist:

Kitchen tools needed:

-Dutch oven, crock pot or instant pot(must have a lid)

-Large food storage container if chicken will not be consumed immediately

-Large fine mesh strainer

-Large bowl

-Large mason jars with lids

-Large food funnel

Bone Broth:

See previous blog post - Gut Healing Chicken Soup and Bone Broth

There’s something about creamy soups. The temptation to indulge in a diary based soup left me years a go after discovering diary=sick. However, warm, creamy, and filling comfort food will never get old and does not have to contain dairy to taste incredible!  This soup is awesome with a spoonful of cashew sour cream (I like this one) stirred in, yet also good on it’s own. I like to add a splash of apple cider vinegar just before serving to boost the flavor a bit and improve digestion and gut health. Smashing some of the beans and potatoes with a potato masher creates the thick and creamy affect my taste buds crave the most.  When it comes to texture, it passed the 3-selective-eaters and one diary-addict test in my home! While bacon, sausage, ground pork, leftover pork tenderloin or even chopped up pork chops would work well in this soup, no pork at all is an equally tasty option for the meat or penny-less striving for great health! Chicken breakfast sausage would also not disappoint.

In an effort to ease the pain and discomfort of adding in new cooking skills for better health, here are the kitchen tools needed for this soup(more on skills yet to come. Stay connected!).

Kitchen Tools needed:

-Stock pot

-Cutting board

-Potato peeler

-Potato masher

-Fine mesh strainer

-Chef’s knife

-Favorite apron (optional but strongly suggested)

You matter to me so whether you are a #1, #2 or anything in-between, you are worth the extra effort it takes to look and feel amazing. In most circumstances, healthy sustainability requires time logged in the kitchen. Why not start by swapping french fries for potato while indulging in this soup?

White Bean and Sausage Potato Soup:

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

For the Protein Fat and Flavor

1 lb. Pork (optional, preservative and added junk free)

3 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced

2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary leaves, stemmed and minced or 1/2 Tbls. dried

1 pinch of Marjoram seasoning(optional)

4+ cups Broth

Sea salt to taste (a lot)

1 tsp white pepper

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the Veggies and Carbs

1 med. onion, chopped

1 16oz jar white beans

3 Lbs. Russet Potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces

3 cups Kale leaves, stemmed and chopped

In a large stockpot with a lid, add meat and onion. Sautés on med-high until fragrant and translucent about 5 min. Add sea salt, pepper, garlic, and marjoram. Saute 2 min. more then add all remaining ingredients except for kale. Add lid. Bring pot to a boil and turn to a simmer for 20 min. or until potatoes are cooked through. Add kale for the last few minutes to soften. Salt to taste.

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.

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.