Chef Amber’s Wholicious™ – Episode 5 What Are Healthy Comfort Foods

Hey y’all and welcome to Wholicious. Sometimes we don’t just eat to satisfy our physical hunger. Instead, we turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or to reward ourselves. And when we do, we tend to reach for junk food, sweets and other comforting, but unhealthy foods. Just to end up with that shameful icky feeling and not being comfortable in your own skin and body. And afterwards, your emotional issues are still there, they’re not gone. And now you’re also feeling guilty for overeating. 

I know this cycle very well, because it was me for three decades. I began my journey from living an unhealthy lifestyle to a holistic lifestyle about 12 years ago. I’m Amber Caudle, aka Chef Amber, professional chef, holistic lifestyle advocate, and your host of the show Wholicious. I will help and coach you on how to have a healthy relationship with food and your body. This Wholicious episode is going to make you feel so good because I’m going to show you some delicious and healthy cozy comfort foods. And you know what, without the guilt.


Accepting Yourself

Before it comes to food, I’ll show you a tool that can help you really love and accept yourself and your body. One of my favorite spiritual practices is my meditation and affirmation practice. You’ll find many more in my new upcoming book ‘Hungry, Why I F***ing Eat.’ I’ll provide you with tons of profound tools, mantras and insights about my journey to a healthy and holistic lifestyle. The meditation and affirmation practice is something I’ve been doing for years. It’s of such great value when you really have had a hard time loving and accepting yourself and your body. I have spent the last decade helping myself and 1000s of others to stop escaping and self-numbing with food and to really start loving and accepting their bodies. 

This meditation and affirmation practice enables you to feel connected again, and know when to pause when you want to turn to food for comfort, stress relief or to reward yourself. And I have to tell you that when I’m in acceptance with my body, I’m able to make better choices to fuel and nourish my body with the right food. Because people always ask well, ‘how did you form this healthy relationship with food and body?’ Well, this is one of the practices that really helped me, right? If I’m walking around pessimistic with a negative attitude, I’m not likely to go choose the healthiest option. Okay, I’m going to choose something so I can continue to numb my feelings. 

So this is a great practice to really shift your energy and really help heal your relationship with food and your body. 

Daily Affirmation

All right, so this is how I do my affirmation practice, I actually like to do it looking in the mirror at myself, bathroom mirrors is fine. So we’ll pick an affirmation. And you can start with two minutes, you can do it for a minute, I think two minutes is a really good window. I have about 50 different mantras that I rotate through. Really tune into your being and really connect with yourself and mean it. You can pick the affirmation that really feels in alignment with you. And my suggestion is take post it notes and I like to post my affirmations on my bathroom mirrors. I have some in my car, in my wallet, and even on my refrigerator. So you can walk by and remember, oh my gosh, I am radiant. 

This will help you whenever you’re feeling sad, triggered, or going through an emotional low. It will immediately shift your energy, it will help you get back into acceptance as your subconscious mind will adjust to your spoken affirmations. And I have to tell you, that the power of thought and the power of words really does matter. I believe that what we put out into the universe, we can really bring back and really attract to us. Meaning I’m definitely not going to say, “I feel fat or I feel ugly.” I’m gonna say, “I feel or I feel poor” right? Or “I don’t have enough money.” “I am abundant. I am prosperous. I am aluminous. I am beautiful, right? I am radiant.” And maybe you’ll have to start with this practice and fake it till you make it. That’s okay, you’re still doing it. 

Once you’ve picked your affirmation, really tune into your body. Like I said, take a bunch of deep breaths if you can really look at yourself in the mirror, relaxing all of your body parts, focusing on your breath. And then repeat your affirmation for one to two minutes and take advantage of your car, the shower, when you’re getting ready, and sometimes I’ll go into the bathroom at work when I need a little energy shift. 

I believe that we can enjoy our favorite foods and feel strong, sexy, powerful, beautiful and aligned in your body. Today our menu is plant based and gluten free of course, and we’re going to make a nacho bar than a creamy mac and cheese and then finish with a banana ice cream. So join me in the kitchen and let’s start cooking.


Vegan Nachos

Okay, are you ready to make some comfort foods? I am. I’m so excited. For years y’all I deprived myself of my favorite foods, my childhood favorite comfort foods because I was so afraid of gaining weight or getting fat, so no more of that, no more deprivation. Food is my life. I love food and food is supposed to be enjoyed. So today we’re going to make some amazing nachos. Then I’m going to make a mac and cheese and then finish with the banana ice cream. And today everything is plant based, which makes me really excited because I love to show my meat eaters and dairy eaters how satiating it can be with a plant based meal especially nachos with cheese and sour cream made out of cashews. 


Nacho Cheese

Okay, let’s get started. This is a Vitamix episode, y’all. I couldn’t live without my Vitamix most days. So we’re going to start with our sour cream. Okay. All right. So right here, I’ve got my two cups of cashews, and I’ve already soaked the cashews overnight. I’ve strained them and I’ve rinsed them. You never want to use the water that you’ve soaked your nuts in overnight and I explain this in every episode when we soak the nuts. 


Why Do You Soak Nuts Overnight?

The reason that I soak nuts is to remove any enzyme inhibitors that are blocking the absorption of any nutrients and minerals that are active in the nuts. Especially if you struggle with a leaky gut or any gastric issues.


Definitely soak your seeds and nuts. Okay. All right, so I’ve got my cashews. Then I’m going to add some lemon juice, and hemp seeds make this so creamy. Plus, we get all of our yummy omegas and tons of plant protein. Okay, now, I’m going to add some nutritional yeast to this. This gives it the cheesy flavor the nacho cheesy flavor. And I just wanted to show you that nutritional yeast it’s really easy to find now. Loaded with B vitamins it’s actually got five grams of protein per tablespoon, so loaded with protein. And also I just want to mention it’s an inactive yeast. Okay, so if you have like a yeast allergy, this is different than like a bread yeast or yeast that they use in beer. Okay, it’s inactive. 

Alright, so we’ve got our yeast, we’ve got cashews, our lemon, I’m going to add our water in here. Okay, we’ll start with that. So I don’t want it to be too runny. I want it to be nice and thick and creamy. And then I’m going to add all of our spices. I’ve got garlic powder, chili powder, a little bit of Tumeric paprika, Okay, I’m going to add a little pinch of salt. And we’re going to blend. 


Nacho Bar

Okay. Oh my gosh. Smells just like nacho cheese y’all. Like just like nacho cheese. Look how creamy that is! It’s so delicious! Oh my god. I can’t wait for you to try this. Okay, I’m gonna add because we’re gonna make a nacho bar. I love making Nacho bars. Every time I go home or I host like a taco party. Having a nacho bar is so fun because then everybody can make their own plate of nachos. Alright, so there’s our nacho cheese. Oh, yeah. Okay, now I’m going to rinse this out really quick so we can make our sour cream.


Sour Cream

Now we’re going to make the sour cream. We just made the nacho cheese. Here we are. And let’s get set for our sour cream. Again, we’re using cashews. Now if you’re allergic to cashews, you can actually sub macadamia nuts. It’s the only nut that I’ve subbed for both of these sauces. Okay, I have not used almonds yet or any other nut just a little side note. Okay, all right. So we’ve got cashews, lemon, and apple cider vinegar for the acid. I’m going to put a little bit of salt in here. And then I’m just going to put a little bit of water. We’ll just do that because I want this to be nice and thick also. And we’re going to give this a blend. Okay, oh my gosh, look at our creamy sour cream. Amazing. Smells just like it. 


Nacho Bar Tips

Now I’m going to make a nacho platter and I’m going to show you how to make a bar at your own house. Okay, so I’m gonna pour our sour cream in here. Okay. Now when I was growing up, I’m from Atlanta, and we would go to our favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant at least once a week. And I would always come home with the worst stomachache and headache. And just the quality of the ingredients, all the GMO and all the dairy and the gluten. 

So this is just a really fun, substitution, super clean, won’t wreak havoc on your body, but you can still enjoy one of your favorites. I mean, nachos seriously is one of my favorite comfort foods. It makes me so happy. Okay, so we’re gonna make a platter. And I want to show you my favorite tips I use. 

So you can obviously use any corn tortillas, any organic corn tortillas. I’m gonna use the CFA chips. They’re made out of cassava flour. And this also makes a really great paleo meal because it’s a grain free chip, lower glycemic. Right. So let me put my chips here. All right, that’s good. All right, perfect. All right, then. So I just use some organic canned black beans. And we’re gonna put some black beans on here. And so I’m going to make a platter right now. But if you were to do in a bar, you could sit out black beans, ground bison, roasted fish, your dips. And then if you have meat eaters and plant based eaters, you can really, you know, appease both of them. 

So I’ve got this and then if you go back to my bone broth episode where I spoke about gut health, I made a cauliflower rice that cauliflower rice would be amazing with this. Okay, so we’ve got our beans then I’m going to put some tomatoes on here, just like this. Oh my gosh, okay. And I want to put some scallions, lots of scallions and then I’m going to put a ton of fresh cilantro leaves, like this. And let’s get into this nacho cheese. So mix it, get a nacho cheese here. And I’m just going to do a nice drizzle, a big drizzle. And I will leave this bowl out because I always want like a little extra on the side. And this sauce y’all is so great. If you’re making like a charcuterie board, and you want to dip your veggies in it. It’s amazing. Dipping like toast points or pita points in it. Alright, so there’s our nachos and or nacho cheese. 

And then a little bit of sour cream. Okay, I’m just gonna drizzle like a little bit of sour cream right across the top. Look at that. How amazing. Okay, messy is good. Okay, what else are we putting on here? Oh my gosh, we’re putting some of our avocado on here. We’ll put some big dollops of Olive avocado right across the top. Okay, and then I’m going to do a squeeze of lime. All the way around all over, give it a little zing. I’m going to top with more scallions for presentation. And I’m going to put a little pinch of salt. Okay. Oh my gosh. How good does this look? Check out these nachos. I mean, they look like the real deal. Right? You’ve got your cassava tortillas with tomato, black beans, sour cream, nacho cheese, avocado. I mean, it’s everything. This is literally a full complete meal without wrecking havoc on our bodies. 

So the one great thing about these nachos is you can eat them at room temperature. You notice that I didn’t heat anything up. If you want these to be hot, you can totally heat up your nacho cheese. Pour the nacho cheese over the cassava tortillas first, throw them under the broiler for like one minute and then pull them out and then you can top it with all the toppings but I find that this is satiating. I love it. Exactly as is, but I wanted to give you that other option. And I can’t wait to get in here and try this. Oh my god. I can’t wait for you to try this cheese. It tastes exactly like the real deal. Oh my gosh is so delicious. I can’t wait to dive into our mac and cheese next and our banana ice cream.


Mac and Cheese

Okay, are you ready for the creamiest mac and cheese? All right. I’m so excited to do this with you guys. First of all, I grew up on mac and cheese. It was the Kraft mac and cheese that always wreaked havoc on my system. Until finally I realized there’s a different way to enjoy my comfort foods without feeling awful. And like I said before, like I don’t want to feel deprived when it comes to food. Food is my life. Okay, I restrict myself from mac and cheese for almost 30 years y’all. 



All right, so I’ve already boiled our pasta and I want to show you the pasta that I’m using today. I’m definitely using a gluten free pasta you can use whatever pasta you want. I’m using this brand that’s actually made out of garbanzo beans. One serving has 20 grams of protein. Okay, so this is a great way to really sneak in that extra protein, specially if you’ve got any picky kids. I can’t seem to get enough protein into my nephew, but he will eat this. Okay, so I’ve got my two boxes of pasta here. 



Then I’m going to add in some almond cream cheese. Now, this is Kite Hill is the brand I did not make this. This is why this mac and cheese is really easy. Okay, this dish takes under 10 minutes to make. Kite Hill has a delicious, really clean cream cheese made out of almonds. So I’m adding my cream cheese. I’m also going to add a couple tablespoons of plant based butter. So I’ll just cut off like that. And it’s the Myyoko’s brand. It’s made out of cashews, it’s delicious. Again, you can use any butter of choice here, and I’m going to give this a nice stir. Okay, the cream cheese and the butter is melting, making this nice and creamy and delicious. 


Magic Sauce

Hey, now, we’re going to make a sauce because I want this to be kind of like a version of my childhood favorite, the Kraft mac and cheese. If you want to keep this white, you can totally keep it just like this and add a little bit nutritional yeast. And then you can have more of like a white mac and cheese but I like the yellow mac and cheese. It reminds me of being a kid. Okay, I’m going to sit this behind me. And we’re going to make our mac and cheese sauce. 


What is the Secret Magic Ingredient You Use in Mac n’ Cheese?

Roasted carrots.


So I’ve already roasted these carrots, it’s about one cup a little bit over a cup. And what I love about this again, is that you can really sneak in healthy ingredients in this sauce. So like my nephew is six, he would never touch a roasted carrot. But with this sauce, he will definitely eat the sauce. We’re using cashews. So I’ve got my cashews. They’ve already been soaked and rinsed. Okay. And then I’m going to add a little bit of apple cider vinegar for the acid. Some more of nutritional yeast to give it that cheesy flavor. I’m going to put a big pinch of salt, about one and a half teaspoons here. And then I’ve got onion powder and a little bit of nutmeg. Just a little bit of fresh nutmeg really brings out the cheesiness flavor, the onion flavor and gives it that perfect zing that really reminds me of that Kraft mac and cheese sauce. 

Okay. Then I’m going to add a splash of water. I’m going to start with a little bit of water we can always add more. Okay, and now I’m going to give this a blend. Okay, let’s see our sauce. Oh, yeah. Look at this sauce. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait for you to try it. I have to taste it. Oh my god. It’s so sweet. And cheesy. Hmm. So good. 

All right. Now I’m going to grab our pasta. And we’re going to add all of our cheese into here. Okay. Really, this is going to be so decadent. This is guilt-free decadence, y’all. Nothing’s better than that. Okay, let’s do a nice stir. Look at how creamy this is. I have said this to so many cheese eaters and they really are blown away. They cannot believe how much this tastes like real cheese. It’s very exciting. Loaded with so much protein, fiber, healthy fat. Of course, we’ve snuck in our carrots, and we’ve got the protein pasta. 


Protein Hack

If you want to add even more protein, I hack that I do for my family especially my nephew’s is I add a couple tablespoons of collagen and now this would not that would not make this plant-based but I do add collagen to most things for them because it’s really hard to get in enough protein into their diets. Okay, so this is looking absolutely gorgeous. Okay, now, it’s also really delicious. If you want to bake this you can put this in a casserole dish and bake it for about 15 minutes and then top it with the crunchiness of the Brazil nuts. So I’m gonna plate us and make us a little bowl. Okay, look at how creamy this is. Oh my god. That is a nice serving mac and cheese. I am so ready for it. Oh my gosh. Okay. 

Crunchy Topping

Now we’re going to add some Brazil nuts on top. I love the Brazil nuts. It gives us an a nice little crunch. You can also use toasted breadcrumbs, but the Brazil nuts, I really liked the nuttiness and the texture. Alright, so I’m going to chop these up and it adds a little bit more plant protein. It’s all about the protein. Okay, these okay, look at this. If this isn’t a comfort meal right here, y’all, this is the creamiest mac and cheese. I cannot wait for you to try it. 

But before I dive into this, I’m going to make some banana ice cream because it really finishes off my favorite three comfort meals. And if I had one dessert left, and somebody said, “What is your last dessert that you can ever have?  It would be ice cream. I grew up on ice cream. I love ice cream. Okay, I’m gonna make this ice cream that seriously is so guilt-free and delicious. I’m going to rinse my blender really quick because we’re gonna make it in the Vitamix really fast.


Banana Ice Cream

Okay, it’s time to make dessert, the best part. All right, we’re using frozen bananas. So I want to show you what I did. I took about four bananas and sliced them into about inch thick slices. And I freeze them flat in the freezer and then whenever I want to make ice cream, you can just pull out the baggies and it’s ready to go. That’s the easiest way to do. It takes a little bit of prep, but once you get the hang of it, it’s so easy. You can also use frozen bananas obviously for your smoothies. And a couple other episodes. I’ll show you my favorite smoothie bowls. So my whole freezer is literally layered baggies of frozen vegetables and frozen fruit. Make sure when you freeze your bananas that you don’t roll them into a ball. It’ll be one huge big ice cube make sure they’re flat. I know that might seem silly, but I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened at my restaurants and then it takes forever to blend. 

Alright, so I’ve got my four bananas. Okay, then I’m going to add some cinnamon because it seriously makes everything tastes better. So cinnamon then I’m going to add about half a cup of almond butter. And the almond butter really makes this. It makes this so creamy. Okay, I’ve also made this with tahini before banana tahini ice cream. I mean, come on, it’s like the best. And then I’m going to do a small splash of almond milk. Just a little bit like a fourth a cup. We can always add more but I want this to be really thick. And I’m going to do a pinch of salt. Okay. All right. Now I’m gonna blend away this is takes a little bit of some muscle okay. Oh my gosh. So thick. So creamy. Oh my gosh. Okay. This is my favorite part.


Top it Up!

Oh, yeah. Perfect. So thick. So I want to add some of my favorite toppings. So I have some Marcona almonds, which I think are the sexiest nut in the world. So I’ve got some toasted Marcona almonds here. Okay, I’m also going to add some paleo chocolate chips that are made with coconut sugar. I mean, why not? And a little pinch of salt. Okay, oh, check out this creamy banana ice cream. 

It’s really fun to test this out on your real ice cream eaters and see if they like it. Because it really hits all the spots. I have to try this oh my gosh. It’s perfect. It’s really the perfect ending to a night of comfort food. Thank you for joining me today. Take care of yourself, your mind, your body, and your soul. And if you love this episode today, give it a thumbs up. If you have any questions, please comment in the section below so we can stay connected. Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can be an active part of my vision of a healthy world through food. And remember that healthy is the new sexy and I’ll see you next time. Bye!


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