sugar free

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.  



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!