Hi, I’m Ashley, an experimental home cook with an intense love of spices! I make colorful, tasty and health conscious meals in my free time.
Working in sedentary office environments over the years caused me to put on weight and feel very sluggish. I was determined to get back on track and improve my quality of life. I fixed my bad habits by tweaking my food choices. Now I feel way better than I used to! I hope this food blog can help you to incorporate more healthy foods in your days, without sacrificing on flavor. My recipes are full of healthy swap ideas, so if you follow along, you’ll have the tools to revamp your food choices for a more well-balanced life.
My cooking roots:
I was lucky enough to attend “cooking school” in my childhood homes in Brooklyn and Queens. I learned from 3 generations of AMAZING Jamaican women in my family. Instead of cartoons, I spent weekend mornings studying PBS cooking shows (we’re talking 90’s, pre-cable) like it was my job. Growing up in NYC, I befriended kids from all over the world and loved TASTING food from their cultures.
My food today is of course influenced by my Caribbean roots, but it’s also a mashup of the diverse flavors I’ve encountered through the years. I have a few go-to’s but usually make “Happy accident” meals…AKA no planning required. Fun Fact: My pantry is ALWAYS stocked with curry powder, red chili flakes and smoked paprika.
So are the recipes any good?
All of my recipes are taste-tested daily by my AWESOME husband, Tim. From his BF days eating dorm kitchen dinners to his more recent hubby status, he’s had 10 years of happy eating under his belt. There was of course the infamous chicken and rice dish of 2010, but I think one bad meal a decade is allowable, right? Our spaniel/retriever doggie, Joy, likes to sneak in free samples of food too!
I’ve also won or came in runner up in a couple recipe contests (Taste of Home magazine, McCormick, Idaho Potatoes) for home cooks. Maybe my family was politely eating my food all these years, but I figure if contest judges like it, it’s probably good, right? Winning contests was unbelievably flattering but it also fueled my love of creating new recipes (hence this food blog)!
Food + Travel = Happiness
We’ve lived in 4 states throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, but now live just outside of Providence, Rhode Island (great food city, add it to your bucket list!). We also love to travel and plan most of our trips around what we’re eating. It sounds silly, I know, but a girl’s gotta eat!
Here are a few of my favorite foods for all you hungry travelers out there:
- Jamaican Jerk Wings, Kaya, Pittsburgh, PA
- Crab Cake with Cajun Mayo and RWB slaw, Maxie’s Supper Club, Ithaca, NY
- Salted Caramel Cupcake, Bleu Squid, Mystic, CT
- Everything, Slow Rhode, Providence, RI
- Causa Limena, Los Andes, Providence, RI
- Everything, Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Orlando, FL
Get started with healthy eating:
Making healthy changes to your diet seems daunting at first but if you have a few easy recipes to get you started it’ll get rid of some overwhelm.
Here’s a quick recipe meal plan just for you:
Breakfast: Easy Blueberry Overnight Oats– Refined Sugar Free, Dairy Free and Vegan
Lunch:Chicken Tostadas with Chipotle Guacamole– Baked (not fried) tostadas, lean chicken breast and fresh, homemade spicy guacamole
Dinner: Easy Sheet Pan Lemon Harissa Baked Shrimp– Baked shrimp, fresh herbs and recommendations for vegetable side dishes
Dessert: Spicy Chocolate Avocado Mousse Cups– This one is dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free and uses avocados in place of milk and cream! P.S. you can’t taste the difference.
P.S. If you’re wondering where the blog name came from, check out this post.
Did you try a blog recipe? I’d love to see how it turned out! Snap a picture and tag @brightrootskitchen or use #brightrootskitchen on Insta.