Sexy Spring Salad

Oh my oh my do I love feeling sexy.  How does a wife and mom of 3 feel sexy you ask?  It's a loaded question, but one about which I feel extremely passionate!  When I am my best me, body, mind and spirit, I feel amazing.  My entire family benefits from the momma with the sexy shorts on if you know what I mean?  Kids screaming, fighting, whining and crying for food at 4pm on a Monday?  It's ok, momma feels sexy.  The husband is busy while I'm at home organizing and packing for a family trip?  It's all good, momma's got her sexy.  Ok, so what about when it's the middle of the holiday season and stress and overwhelm creeps in from an overloaded schedule and there's comfort food all around? YUP!  Momma's got this because she feels sexy!  Now, don't get me wrong, I have many insecure, self-critical moments, but when I am taking the time and energy to take care for this one unique and intricately designed body (I mean, just THINK about what a woman's body can do!) I am able to find a positive far sooner than when I feel less than sexy.

This can be a touchy subject with women or in a conservative town, but not talking about it only makes us females feel worse.  Sexy is a feeling, a state of mind, an expression or even a simple decision--we were created to feel it!  While It's not an ideal or set of measurements, it IS acceptance of your unique body in your mind and spirit.  When you make the decision to fuel your best you are also choosing to feel your best--which lends itself to self love and acceptance.  Women are strong.  We are brave, bold, unique, sensual, emotional, sensitive, compassionate, and absolutely sexy.  We are capable of turning ordinary chaos into life-giving joy and the most complex and complicated situations into peace and calm.  Awesome, real food nutrition such as this spring salad is one of the most pleasurable ways we can feed our inner sexy.  What are you waiting for?

Sexy Spring Salad

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

1 Large bowl

Baby spinach and arugula

Sauteed mushrooms, onions and garlic (leftover)

Cold, roasted sweet potatoes (leftover)

Cold protein of choice (you guessed it, beans, chicken or bacon, leftover)

Balsamic vinaigrette (My family could drink this one)

Raw sunflower seeds

Assemble salad with desired amount of every ingredient in order.  You are uniquely you and there are no set measurements for that reason.  Sit down, breathe, chew, preferably in the spring sunshine, and enjoy every bite!  

Cleaned up Scotcharoos


Way back, when I started feeding my sweet little Savannah solid foods, I can oh-so-clearly remember really questioning the package labels like I never had before.  Sure, if you read my story you know I definitely read food labels, but it wasn't until my innocent baby sat in my arms I, then, started looking at them differently.  The pediatrician prescribed baby rice cereal, but when I read the label on the box recommended to me, I could not help but wonder if it was truly rice I was forcing down her.  Shortly after a few successful attempts, it was no surprise that after many months of no issues on breast milk, she now developed constipation.  The next prescription was to then administer prune juice or a stool softener (or both) after the rice cereal.

Now, call me crazy, but my mommy radar went a little nuts.  We love our pediatrician. We love Drs.(and nurses, hospitals, surgeons...Of course), but this just simply did not compute. My baby was now suffering and I created every bit of it.  Instead of me pounding myself to the ground with mom guilt, anxiety and panic, I trusted my creator and started making my own baby food (and feeding her after she nursed if she was still hungry).  I cooked brown rice.  I mashed it up.  I thinned it with breast milk.  My baby girl thrived.  

Fast forward 7 years and we're still eating brown rice together (and thriving)!  The only difference now is we are making treats instead of mashed up breast milk (can you even imagine?!)  When I asked Savannah if I could dedicate my next recipe post to her she didn't even hesitate and squealed "Scotcharoos!!!!".  This puffed brown rice dessert-looking goodness offers nutrition and health in every bite.  The raw honey and nut/seed butters' benefits are far too expansive to even begin to list.  As the two chocolate-loving ladies in the house, this treat is our staple.  Consider yourself warned: when you add-in more real food, your guts will feel soothed, your tastebuds alive and a little bit will satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooths.  

Cleaned Up Scotcharoos

by Audrey Byker Health Coach

1 cup raw honey(local, even better!) 

1 cup natural peanut butter(or natural nut or seed butter of choice)

7 cups brown rice puffs

1 cup raw or roasted seeds(we use hemp and sunflower)

1 cup dark chocolate chips(Enjoy Life, Ghirardelli, or Costco, in that order) 

1 tsp coconut oil. 

In small saucepan bring honey to low boil then boil for 1 min.  Remove from heat. Add PB, stir well. Add warm mixture to rice puffs and stir well. Press into a 9x13 pan, press down to flatten with silicone spatula or damp fingers.
Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in double broiler or microwave, in 30 sec. increments. Stir well until smooth.  Drizzle and/or spread over bars. Cover and freeze briefly to set. Store at room temp or fridge, cut into squares.


Cashew Cheese

Ok friends. This is it. It's finally time to reveal my #1 whole food indulgence.  Is it still an indulgence if you eat it every day?  Cast all your cares away--or shall we say--your past understanding of counting calories or restricting fat.  I coach everyone to listen to their body, like when they were a baby, and pretty much every day our baby body says to eat cashew cheese.  I love how my babies do that.  I have a few whole food idols I absolutely adore, and Angela Lidden is #1.  It's not because I'm a vegan or because I'm a cow lover, but because my love for real food alternatives to processed food indulgences brings me pleasure.  Angela created cashew cheese and I tweaked it to accommodate my family's taste buds.  My 3 year old will use this as dip for just about anything, and I am personally obsessed with cashew cheese served hot on my pasta with bacon and peas.  While I encourage everyone to know their farmer for their bacon, what's most important to me is that you sit down, breathe, and enjoy every bite.  

Cashew “Cheese"

¾ c raw cashews(soaked in water for 3 to 4 hours or more.  If you have a Vitamix 1 hour in boiling water will do)

¼ tsp garlic powder

½ c unsweetened, unflavored non-dairy milk

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1½ tsps Dijon mustard

1tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice

¼ tsp onion powder

½ tsp fine-grain sea salt

Strain and rinse cashews then place in blender with all additional ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  If using a high-speed blender, blend until hot.

Use as a cheese sauce for anything you can think of.  Add to cooked pasta, quinoa, rice, veggies, meat, beans, soup, etc.