Hi, I’m Ashley!
I love to cook, eat and travel.
Working 9-5 cubicle jobs caused me to gain weight, feel sluggish and lose joy for my favorite things (food and travel of course!). I help people in a similar spot get out of that rut and learn to incorporate more healthy foods.
I’m unwilling to give up on flavor in the name of health #sorrynotsorry. Here on Bright Roots Kitchen, you’ll find colorful, uncomplicated and most importantly TASTY meals for your REAL, everyday life.
I know cooking can feel like a chore after a long day at work, but stick with me and you’ll learn to get as excited for Tuesday night meals as you do for your birthday dinner! Well nearly as excited…it’s hard to top a birthday hahaha…
Why I switched to healthier eating and cooking:
It’s not that I ever had an aversion to eating fruits and veggies. In fact I was the weird kid in the family that asked for extra okra at dinner time.
What happened was that life got in the way. Focusing on what I ate just didn’t feel like a priority over learning a new job, commuting, paying bills, social commitments and everything else life was throwing my way. I ate convenience foods, snacked on free desserts around the office and didn’t think about how any of this affected my body or health.
That is, until my pants literally busted at the seams (true story!).
At a yearly physical my doctor told me that my blood sugar level was on the cusp of the prediabetes level. The fear having of full blown diabetes before age 30 lit that fire of change.
I tweaked my food choices. I planned out what I ate on work days so that I wouldn’t be tempted by the endless stream of free donuts. I drank more water. But most importantly I learned to health-ify my favorite recipes, to trick myself into healthier eating without feeling like I was eating health food. Make sense?
I hope Bright Roots Kitchen can help you incorporate more healthy eating in your busy life. 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 also befriended other kids whose family’s were 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 in our travels. 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 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 (they made our wedding cake and cupcake tower!)
- Everything, Slow Rhode, Providence, RI
- Causa Limena, Los Andes, Providence, RI
- Everything, Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Orlando, FL
Your healthy eating blueprint:
Making healthy changes to your diet seems daunting at first, I know. The concept of healthy eating initially felt like a punishment to me too, but I learned that healthier didn’t have to mean bland.
Here a few easy, healthy recipes to start with:
|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. It uses avocados in place of milk and cream. P.S. you can’t taste
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.