Recipes

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!

 

Gut Healing Chicken Soup and Bone Broth

You know that feeling when you didn't quite get those 7-9 hours of sleep your body begged for, or your stress and anxiety level was a bit too high for a bit too long?  Then it happens, either out of no where (stomach flu) or a slow onset (scratchy throat and swollen glands), you get sick.  

Way back when I constantly abused my body through overexercising, under eating, and placing far too high of expectations on myself, I was sick often:  My poor gut was in shambles.  All the talk we hear today about gut health and the immune system is absolutely true, I am living proof.  Thankfully, I heard about Juice Plus and the research proving the power of whole food nutrition, before suffering more.  3 months into eating the fruits and veggies in capsules 7 years ago, a very bright light bulb went on in my head due to my immune system balancing, digestion improving and energy skyrocketing.  The one simple change led eventually to my passion and becoming a holistic health coach.  I traded dieting, antibiotics, steroids, inhalers and OTC meds for fruits and veggies.  No looking back!

It turns out, there is far more that goes into healing a damaged gut like I had. My training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and working alongside Naturopathic Drs. has taught me, a healthy lifestyle, along with specific whole foods that rebuild and restore, help heal what was lost and damaged. One of those foods happens to be delicious, cheap and easy to make: Chicken soup with homemade bone broth!  If you don't have 40 minutes to spare to sit down and watch my live Facebook video, pull up this recipe and give it a try before illness strikes (and yes, it works for prevention too!).

Gut Healing Chicken Soup

by Audrey Byker, Health Coach

Serves a large crowd and a sick neighbor or two

For the broth:

1 3-4lb Chicken, humanely raised**

Salt and pepper

1 splash of apple cider vinegar

1 handful of various veggies scraps and peels (optional-save from the following)

For the soup:

1-2Tbls avocado or olive oil. Cold pressed.

1 large onion, finely chopped 

4 large stalks of celery, finely chopped

3 Jumbo carrots, peeled and chopped 

A few pinches of sea salt and pepper

4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

Chicken leftover from broth or 2-3 cups cooked(boneless/skinless or rotisserie from the store)

6 cups of bone broth (or organic chicken/veggie stock)

1 1/2 cups of brown rice*

2 tsp. all purpose, salt-free seasoning (optional, my favorite is Kirkland brand)

1 day before making the soup, sprinkle salt and pepper on and roast the chicken in a large roasting pan or dutch oven, covered, at 350 for 2 hours.  Don't forget to empty the cavity!  Cool/chill then take all the meat off the bones.  Toss skin and bones/pieces and juices into a large stockpot.  Cover with water, about 6 cups.  Add the splash of apple cider vinegar and vegetable scraps and pieces.  Cover. Add pot to the stove and bring to a boil on high.  Once boiling turn to low and simmer for 2-4 hours.  Pour into a large pot through a fine mesh strainer.  Discard the chicken bones and pieces.  Reserve bone broth for soup:

Chop all veggies.  Add oil to bottom of large stockpot/saucepan and turn heat to med-high.  Add onion, celery salt, pepper and carrot.  Saute' until onion is translucent and soft.  Add garlic and saute' a bit more until fragrant, like 1-2 min.  Turn heat to med-low.  Add chicken, brown rice, seasoning, and cover well with broth.  Add lid and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer and continue to simmer on low, covered for 45 min. to cook the rice.  Serve immediately or leftover for a week. Freeze in wide-mouth mason jars leaving a few inches from lid to allow for expansion.  

*For a Paleo, SCD, GAPS and grain-free option, sub brown rice for peeled, chopped parsnips and cook until fork tender, around 15-20 min.

**If a conventional chicken is the only option, skim off the fat once broth cools