Wellness

6 Weeks of Bowl Meals: Brussels, Bacon and Brown Rice

This summer has been the most challenging for me to get in the kitchen and create! If you've followed closely, you witnessed first, a torn rib muscle, then, shortly after that, a fall that resulted in a very messed up--still not diagnosed--left middle finger with additional wrist pain. I always laugh out loud when people ask how on earth I managed to get these injuries! Surly, I had to be pushing my mental and physical limits at the gym, on the field, or lets say, showing off in the water? Nope. While I love all the things and am guilty of every one, including attempting "tricks" on the paddle board, my kitchen set backs during my favorite cooking season have all been related to carelessness and slightly bad luck.  A forceful reach in a hurry and a fall, in my closet, while "skillfully" removing my skinny jeans, have resulted in a lot of pain, making chopping, typing, and dish washing quite the challenge! Thank you for sticking with me!  

A giant stalk of brussel sprouts was on sale at Meijer last week which sparked the very basic and simple creation of this stick-to-your-ribs meal--the first of my 6 weeks of bowl meals! My cashew cheese recipe adds an additional layer of healthy fat decadence and is optional, as always with sauces(even though sauteing then steaming typically provides plenty of flavor all on it's own).  When planning to prepare this bowl be sure to make time to chop the onion, bacon and brussels. With my finger slowing down the entire process, I cooked this in two shifts--the first steps before soccer practice, and the last, once I returned home.  As it turns out, tossing perfection out the window--once again--made it possible to cook and enjoy another satisfying, plant rich meal.

It brings me intense joy to have a platform and the physical health to share this tasty creation! Thank goodness all this real-food eating is proven to speed up healing time!

Brussel-Bacon, Brown Rice Bowl

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

Serves 4-6

for The veggies fat and protein

-1 pound clean bacon, chopped

-1/2 large onion, chopped

-1 large stalk or two bags brussel sprouts, quartered 

-Sea salt

-Black pepper, fresh ground

For the carbs and flavor

-8oz dry brown rice noodles(or three cups cooked potatoes or grains)

-1 batch Cashew Cheese(optional)*

*If planning to use cashew cheese, refer to recipe 1 day to 2 hours before planning to eat.

Fill a large saucepan with water and cook noodles per package directions. At the same time, in a large, non-stick skillet with a lid, add onions and bacon then saute on med. heat until cooked through.  Remove from pan leaving remaining bacon grease.  Add chopped brussel sprouts, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook on med-high, watching carefully and tossing frequently--just enough to create a brown crust.  When crust is achieved, turn heat to low, add bacon and onions back into the pan, then add lid. Steam until desired consistency is reached: 10-15 min.

Prepare cashew cheese(optional), then add to noodles and stir together.  Add to a bowl(choose the best size for each appetite): brussels mixture and noodles.  

 

 

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!

 

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.