Decadent Pumpkin Bisque and Risk


To the creatives, artists, entrepreneurs and risk-takers who came before me--I was not one of you--I was as comfortable as my nike running shorts with the built in granny underwear.  Life was appropriate just as I was taught, hiding behind my double jogging stroller, keeping a tidy house with folded laundry and organized drawers.  Babies were breastfed, beds were made, mom groups attended and my husband praised.

With the very first thought of becoming a holistic health coach came an intense amount of angst, dread, drain, and all-out adrenaline induced paralyzing panic.

You know, that feeling you get when you realize you will have to put yourself out there.  

I. Was. Terrified.

I would have to show up and be seen.  Promote myself.  Dig deep.  

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition did not sugar coat their delivery or training when it came to encouraging a life full of passion and purpose, but at the cost of expectations, limits and a clean house(we are always adding-in and crowding-out after all).

While I held on to a lot of hope for a good portion of 5 years, I did eventually move from awareness to acceptance and founded Audrey Byker Health Coach LLC. A clock would likely never be punched again.

This pumpkin bisque recipe represents all that is me.  It was concocted completely from scratch, not following or modifying a single existing recipe.  The sweetness of squash and cinnamon are traditional and expected, but the savory broth and red pepper add an edgy, rebellious kick.

The emotion extremes hit hard the day this sent to print.  It put me on the map as a creative.  As messy and uncomfortable it can be, staying the same or never trying seems like the riskier place to hang.

Decadent Pumpkin Bisque

By Audrey Byker, Health Coach


1 Medium pumpkin pie pumpkin, cut in half and seeded

1 small butternut squash, cut in half and seeded

1/2 Tbls coconut oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4c cashews, soaked overnight

1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp. cinnamon 

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

red pepper flakes(optional)



1-2 cups vegetable broth


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9X13 glass baking dish place pumpkin and squash flesh side down.  Bake for 30-45 min. until fork tender and skin is slightly browned.  Let cool to touch.


In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Sautee until translucent and fragrant.


Scoop squash flesh out and place in blender.  Add cooked veggies/spices. Drain and rinse cashews, add to blender.  Add a few pinches of salt and pepper.  Blend on high in high speed blender until hot and silky smooth.  


Add salt and pepper to taste.  Calm your warming/sweet cravings with this grounding soup!



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