Chow?  Really? I know, my creative brain is on fire!

Anyway, earlier this summer I posted this on Instagram: 

Shortly after the post, and then dozens of times following that, I've been contacted to share this recipe.  Since I am a holistic health coach I found myself in the middle of a moral dilemma.  You see, the base of this recipe is not a whole food. It's not brown rice covered in real nutrient dense goodness; it's a processed, stripped, mashed up, molded form of fake food.  It's white rice squares.

Then, I thought about real life.  Real people and real problems.  If I find joy and comfort in knowing I took an addictive childhood treat and added nutrition to it in a way that I can justify feeding it not only to my family, but also myself, then this needs to be shared!  It's the truth and like all circumstances in life involving the release of secrets, once they are out you are FREE!!

So, the secrets out.  I am not perfect. Actually, I hate perfectionism and am a self proclaimed recovering perfectionist.  Here is my "Chow" recipe.  My kids beg for it and I love it as an occasional treat occasionally justified as a snack on the go or upon occasion on the beach.  Ok, ok, sometimes it's a lunch box staple--ahh, another slip up!  Either way, join me in the journey of striving for better, not perfect, and clean up Betty Crocker's oh so addictive version of this treat.


By Audrey Byker Health Coach

9 cups Corn rice or wheat squares cereal*

1 cup dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life ideal, Ghiradelli 60% cocoa or more)

1/2 cup natural nut or seed butter, unsweetened 

2 Tbls coconut oil**

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar (organic if possible)

1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut***


Measure cereal into a large bowl (do not talk or think about anything else or you will have to start over).  Melt chocolate chips, coconut oil and nut butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave or on the stove in a double broiler (my favorite method).  Add vanilla.  Pour over cereal once smooth and stir well until cereal absorbs mixture, set aside.  Mix coconut with powdered sugar then add to cereal mixture.  Add to large airtight container and cover with lid.  Shake like crazy and have a dance party.  Open and enjoy!  Store in fridge or on the counter for up to 6 days.  If you're looking to keep it clean keep chilled.

*Use rice or corn for gluten free

**For coconut free use ghee or vegan butter(earth balance)

***For coconut free get creative and use ground roasted nuts or seeds. Yum!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Dip

Every.  Single.  Summer day the kids are shuffling around, in and out of the house, searching for the ipad, unloading landscaping stones from cargo pockets, poking and prodding at their sister, screaming from the toilet for a bum to be wiped, and then, exactly 1.25 hours after their last meal, it happens.  Every single day.  "Mom, I'm hungry!  I want some chocolate!  May I have some yogurt?  Can we go get ice cream?  I want a treat!"  Before I get a chance to breathe let alone answer the first question, the voices turn from a gentle whine to more of a screechy  "I'm staaaaarving!!"

Now, while patience is a virtue, I can openly admit, it is not one of mine.  Not with 3 kids cackling and screeching all at the exact same time!  Baby, you are not starving!  

It was about 3 years ago the experimentation with hummus began in my kitchen.  It was pretty clear we needed a diary-free, protein and healthy fat packed snack to help with blood sugar dips for the entire family.  While store bought hummus is a better snack option in comparison to other processed foods, it's still very much a processed food, typically containing sugar and various additives and preservatives. According to a highly selective 6-year-old, this hummus is better than those store bought brands.  

Get out your food processor, just a few simple ingredients, and be ready to wow a small family or large crowd.  Hush the hungry littles and put an end to the cravings, naturally, with this Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Dip!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Dip

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

1 can of organic chickpeas, drained, reserving 1/3 cup of liquid

1 clove of fresh garlic

3 Tbls. tahini

2 Tbls. fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. sea salt

2 organic roasted red peppers (from a jar)

1 Tbls. liquid from the roasted red peppers or more to taste

In a large food processor, add drained chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt and reserved liquid.  Turn on and process for a few minutes.  Scrape sides then add peppers and liquid from the jar.  Turn on and process for a few minutes more until hummus has reached desired consistency.  Serve with cut up veggies and/or organic tortilla chips.  Double the recipe and keep on hand, in the fridge, to use for a hunger emergency.


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!