Season 1 - Episode 5
October 2, 2018
Nicole: 00:00 Welcome to BFF with the Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Swiping. Aloha friends and beauties, and welcome back. Today I get to the incredible founder behind Sunny Thymes Blog, Madison Surdyke. Sunny Thymes is a fun, colorful anti-diet food blog that is dedicated to sharing delicious recipes as well as information on how to practice intuitive eating.
Nicole: 00:32 Madison is passionate about helping others make peace with food and their bodies while discovering your own definition of health. She's on a mission to help her readers unpack the often misguided messages that we given about food, and her goal is to release people from the prison of dieting and shame so that they can develop relaxed, joyful relationship with food movement and their bodies.
Nicole: 00:53 Hi Madison, welcome to the show.
Madison: 00:56 Hi Nicole. Thanks so much for having me.
Nicole: 00:59 Thank you so much. I am excited to talk to you today about this delicious blog that you have. Before we get into that, I start with every interview out with three questions. So you're ready?
Madison: 01:11 Sure. Let's go for it.
Nicole: 01:13 All right. Tell me about the last meal that you've cooked for yourself.
Madison: 01:18 The last meal I made was what I call my Sunny Bowl, it's one of the recipes that's on my blog, and basically it's usually a bowl of arugula with some quinoa on top, some roasted sweet potatoes, crushed up nuts for a little crunch, red peppers, red onion of avocado, boiled eggs, sometimes hemp seeds, stuff like that. I load it up with all these really yummy ingredients, and then cover it with what I call my Sunny Sauce, which is like a super creamy turmeric, ginger sauce that literally tastes like liquid sunshine, and this is my go to meal and make it all the time.I absolutely love it.
Madison: 02:01 I'm hoping to sell the sauce, actually, one day I have a waiting list on my blog to sign up to get notified when that goes on sale. Super excited about that.
Nicole: 02:11 That sounds delicious. How hard is that to make? How long does it usually take you?
Madison: 02:18 The long? If it weren't for this sweet potatoes, it would be super, super quick. It's just assembling everything in a bowl, you can just throw it in there. The sweet potatoes I'll roast them in the oven, and that usually takes about 25 minutes. You can be chopping up the other stuff or doing other things while you're waiting, it's pretty easy to make.
Nicole: 02:39 That sounds so yummy.
Madison: 02:41 Thanks.
Nicole: 02:42 The idea of having roasted sweet potato. All right. What's a meal that brings you back to your childhood?
Madison: 02:48 Definitely Taquitos, I was absolutely obsessed with them when I was younger. I would come home and you know those ones that come in the huge bag and you freeze. You put them in the freezer, and you can microwave them and put them in the oven. I would come home from school and make a whole playful and devour it and love it.
Madison: 03:08 I recently recreated my own Taquitos recipe, and they actually became the most popular recipe on my blog, which was super cool. Those are definitely, one thing that brings me back to my childhood.
Nicole: 03:24 Oh my goodness. My husband, he says that he used to eat to Taquitos all the time.
Madison: 03:30 No way.
Nicole: 03:31 Yes. Do you know, I didn't know what Taquitos was as a kid, I just wasn't, it's something my parents bought.
Madison: 03:38 That's so funny.
Nicole: 03:40 I'm sure, did you grow up in the '80s?
Madison: 03:42 '90s.
Nicole: 03:45 I grew up as a kid in the '80s, I was a teenager in the '90s. RIP zinc.
Madison: 03:52 You're my favorite ever.
Nicole: 03:57 I just think back to whenever I hear someone say something like Taquitos or some type of that prepackaged food from the '80s and '90s, it immediately brings me back to my childhood. Taquitos I never ... My mom, I don't know what she was thinking, why didn't she get me Taquitos because those are delicious.
Madison: 04:15 I know. I don't know if I would love those freezer ones anymore after making my own super fresh ones, but I'll have to go get them and try them.
Nicole: 04:24 You've inspired me, I have to tell a quick story about when I was growing up. I used to love Jamaican Beef Patties, love, love, love them. I remember I saw them in Costco a couple of years ago and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, this is like a bit for my childhood." You go and you buy it because you in your mind, it was delicious. I tried them and they were terrible, they were still chemically tasting and I thought to myself like, "What happened?"
Nicole: 04:55 You know what, I love the fact that you decided, "You know what this was something from my childhood, I love it. It's Taquitos in the bag, probably not going to taste that great. I'm going to recreate this, so it does taste like what it was in my mind, only I'm going to make it a healthier version." Maybe I'm going to have to figure out how to wait to make a healthy, delicious version of Jamaican Beef Patties because that was one of the foods of my youth that I really loved.
Madison: 05:23 That's for me.
Nicole: 05:26 I love that you've made Taquitos that are a lot better. Real quick, since you said it was one of the most popular recipes on your blog, I have to dive into it. How do you make these?
Madison: 05:37 I have two kinds on my blog, there's sweet potato black bean ones, and then there's beef and cheese once. They're made the same way, but I'll talk about the sweet potato black bean ones. Those sweet potatoes are just roasted with oil and this homemade Taquitos seasoning I make or just whatever Taquitos seasoning you want to buy at the store. They're roasted, and then for the Corn tortillas, I wrap them in a wet paper towel and microwave them, which sounds really weird, but it actually makes them super pliable and foldable and doesn't cause any breakage when you roll them up.
Madison: 06:10 Warm them up, get them soft and pliable. I'll smear some re-fried black beans of them. You could use regular black beans, and then I'll add the sweet potato. I added some red pepper the first time I made them, and then you just roll them up super tight, brush them with olive oil. What I'll do is, I'll bake them for like 15 minutes, and then transfer them to the hot oil on the stove just to get that like extra crispy outside. Once they're done they're golden and crispy and so, so delicious.
Madison: 06:44 I'll usually ... the way I made these, as I talked to them with a bunch of really fun toppings, like tomato, red onion, avocado, cilantro, red onion. Load them up with toppings, and then whatever sauces or dips like salsa. I make this, Chipotle Cashew aioli that I pour all over them. If you have an avocado sauce, you can dip them in that, and they're just so, so good.
Nicole: 07:14 That sounds delicious I want you to make that for me right now. Let's eat that right now.
Madison: 07:18 We'll leave the podcast right now and go make Taquitos.
Nicole: 07:21 There's someone in their car going, are you serious? Now, I want Taquitos, you'll make that, you're driving home and you want to make dinner. They'll make these Taquitos I'm serious these temperatures.
Madison: 07:31 Please let me know how it goes.
Nicole: 07:33 Oh yes, absolutely. All right. Give us an ingredient you cannot live without.
Madison: 07:39 My favorite ingredient is probably avocados, I love them. I'll usually eat like half or a whole avocado everyday just because I'll put it in my smoothies, I'll put it in sauces or I'll just eat it on the side with whatever I'm eating. I just love them.
Nicole: 07:59 Avocados. You're the first person I've heard who says avocados, but you think that more people will say avocados because there's avocado. It's like avocado meal now. You can't go on Instagram, and I don't think you can have a food blog unless you eat avocados.
Madison: 08:16 Totally.
Nicole: 08:19 I know. Can a food blog exist without avocados? I don't know.
Madison: 08:24 Probably not.
Nicole: 08:29 I want to talk for a moment. Why did you want to start a food blog?
Madison: 08:33 When I was ... I've been thinking about, I had been thinking about starting it for over a year and not really knowing where to start, and it was such a process to actually make it happen. I was working at the time as an actuarial analyst, and we don't need to get into that because I will bore the heck out of everyone, but basically it's like most analytical, very math, very much like risk assessment.
Madison: 09:05 I was doing that job and just super unfulfilled at work, and really felt like I needed like a meaningful creative outlet. I've always been super into cooking and making my own recipes. After I read the book intuitive eating, which is about listening to your body to guide your food and exercise choices.
Madison: 09:27 From there, it really gave me the drive to finally get my blog up and running because I became super passionate about wanting to share that message, and also share my recipes that my friends and family were asking me about all the time. It really started as a creative outlet, from work and somewhere where I could share the intuitive eating message that I'm super passionate about.
Nicole: 09:52 Are you a self taught cook?
Madison: 09:54 Yes, I would say a lot of my cooking skills comes from my mom. She is more of a traditional Southern cook, the things we make in our styles are different, but I definitely learned all the basics from her. She's an incredible cook.
Nicole: 10:10 You grew up eating a lot of Southern food, and I love Southern food. Part of my family's from the South of North Carolina, moved up to New York, but they brought those traditions with them. Did you first start out cooking like your mom? I'd say more Southern style, and then once you got into you learn more about intuitive eating.
Nicole: 10:35 I'm trying to figure out, how did you ... normally we cook what our parents teach us to cook. When did you make that switch to, "Oh, I want to add more healthy things into my cooking repertoire."
Madison: 10:48 That's a good question. I always loved the food that my mom cooked, but I just feel like it was i naturally gravitated to other foods and not that either as good or bad. That was just the way that I gravitated naturally, I-
PART 1 OF 3 ENDS [00:11:04]
Madison: 11:00 ... Just, that was just kind of like the way that I gravitated naturally. I really love ... And I don't even do it on purpose, but I've kind of noticed I'll go back and look at my blog, everything is super, super colorful. And I've kind of just noticed that's kind of the way I like to eat and the way I find the most pleasure and satisfaction is having a wide variety of foods, lots of color. So, I definitely still love my mom's cooking and I cook some of the things that she used to cook, but I kind of just found that my preferences have naturally evolved.
Nicole: 11:34 Yeah, you're on a podcast, you better say you love your mom's cooking or she's going to listen to this and be like, "What? You don't love my cooking?" No, shout out to moms, we love your cooking. My mom, she also was the basis for me learning to cook. My mom worked, I don't know if your mom worked when you were a kid. But my mom worked and so she could cook, she didn't like to do it because she was always tired. That's kind of how I got started into cooking, but I think one of the cool things about moms is they're usually the first fore way and to ... Foray, someones going to be like, "What are you saying?" Foray into learning how to cook.
Nicole: 12:18 So, let's talk a little bit then about ... Since we've mentioned moms and cooking and how we learned, what was that first recipe that kind of changed your life?
Madison: 12:28 From my mom?
Nicole: 12:29 Well from your mom or just ... For me, the first ... So, the first recipe that kind of let me know that, "Oh, I can cook," I tried years ago. My very first recipe was that I went to the library, got a Betty Crocker book and I learned ... I followed the recipe for meatloaf and mashed potatoes. This is not Betty's fault. I did not follow all the directions correctly and oh my gosh, this was the worst meatloaf, mashed potatoes in the history of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And my mom was so tired because she had worked a double shift on her job, she's a nurse, that she ate it anyway. She just put a gallon of ketchup on it.
Nicole: 13:09 But I think that if she hadn't of done that, I wouldn't be ... I wouldn't have been confident enough to try again. And I love her for that. That's kind of the first recipe that was, "Okay, I'm going to keep doing this." Even though it was terrible. So, what was that for you?
Madison: 13:27 Yeah, so for me, it probably would be homemade pizza. That's one of my classic go-to things to make whenever I have friends coming over, I'll make that super crowd pleaser. I usually just buy crust from Trader Joe's. It's like a dollar and then I'll bake the crust by itself. I'll usually add pesto, a bunch of vegetables, sometimes some chicken. And then usually like mozzarella or Gouda, whatever kind of cheese I'm in the mood for and then pop it back in the oven, and it's super easy to make and something about it is just so good. I'm also just a pizza lover. I could eat it all the time.
Nicole: 14:06 Is that what you first learned to make when you started cooking yourself or is that just something that you've gravitated to as you've gone through school and ... Or, was it something else that you learned to make.
Madison: 14:18 I can't remember what the first thing I learned to make was? I think pizza was the first thing where I was like, "Oh, wow. This is really good. I'm into cooking."
Nicole: 14:30 That's really cool. I think a lot of people start out with something simple, like pizza. Maybe don't do meatloaf. Eventually, I got better at meatloaf. My meatloaf is now pretty good. The meatloaf that I make now, I caught my husband with that meatloaf. He had mentioned to me that he likes someone who does home cooking and I really liked him from the beginning. And so I was like, "I'm going to get him." So, I made this meatloaf, mashed potatoes dinner from scratch. He's a Midwestern boy, so he likes good meat and potato recipe. And I made a chocolate cake from scratch too and I had him. That was it. I caught him.
Nicole: 15:16 So, tell me, besides your taquitos, which I'm absolutely making, that's happening. What's another recipe on your blog that you recommend people try?
Madison: 15:27 So, the next one I would say is the Sunny Bowl that I was talking about earlier and then ... Besides that, I would say the jalapeno broccoli pasta. This is something that my mom used to make, it's probably my favorite recipe that my mom would make. It's super easy. It's just pasta, olive oil, fresh garlic, jalapeno, chicken, and broccoli. And it kind of sounds weird but it's actually just really fresh because there's so many few simple ingredients and it's spicy, so it's super flavorful. So, that's like definitely another one I would say, people should checkout.
Nicole: 16:09 Your recipes sound not only just delicious but also really healthy and good for you. I know you've read the book, you mentioned earlier that you'd read intuitive eating, but what sparked your interest into kind of going into down that road?
Madison: 16:26 Yeah, so ... Reading the book was really what kind of what sparked my interest. Intuitive eating is not necessarily about choosing the healthier food or having to eat the healthier food, it's really giving yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever it is that feels right in your body, whatever it is that you're craving or wanting. And the theory is kind that. When you do that, your body has such natural mechanisms to take care of you and to tell you what it needs, that if you kind of give up diets, give up [inaudible 00:17:07]. Stop telling yourself, "You should, you shouldn't do this." And you give that up and you just really tune into what your body needs, you'll naturally gravitate to what you need. We all have that intuition built into us.
Madison: 17:19 When we're babies we're born as intuitive eaters. We know when we're hungry, we're crying. And then over time, the way our culture is with dieting and messages in the media, it really kind infiltrates that natural kind of system we have. And so, what I've been working on the last year, ever since reading the book, is really unlearning those behaviors and messages that we receive from our culture that's so focused on diet and really tuning into, "What feels good for me? What do I want to eat?" And sometimes that's a salad, sometimes that's three cookies and I don't feel bad about it. And both, I feel good in my body or I eat something that doesn't feel good in my body, then I'm like, "Well, maybe that didn't make me feel good. Maybe now, next time, I know and I can choose, "Okay, is it ..." Is getting the satisfaction and pleasure out of that food worth not feeling great?" And sometimes it is, for ice cream, it is.
Madison: 18:21 I used to be allergic to diary when I was younger, so eating ice cream and milk doesn't feel great for me but it's so satisfying and pleasurable that sometimes it is ... I don't want to say worth it, that kind of implies that you have to be worthy of having a particular food. Coming from a place of self care rather than self control. So, if I am feeling like I really want a bowl of ice cream, then I'm going to let myself have that and fully enjoy it and savor it. And then tomorrow I might want something different and there's really no kind of good or bad with that.
Nicole: 19:01 So, it sounds like ... You sound really passionate about this and going over your blog, I can see the passion that you have for that style of thinking, which I think you have the right to ... I always say this. I feel like everybody has the right to feed their body in the way that they choose. And that's one of the great things about being your own autonomous person. But in particular, I want to ask you, what drew you to that particular ... Besides the book, what made you pick up that book and go, "Yeah, I'm about this." Were you searching for a way to eat? Had you just gotten tired of ... Was someone judging you? Where did you come from, that you decided that I'm going to read a book about intuitive eating. Or, did you just go, "I need something to read, here it is. Whoa, this sounds interesting, I'm going to read this."
Madison: 19:58 Yeah. So, in the past in high school, I struggled with very disordered eating and really not just not eating enough and even after I recovered, I was still, "Oh, I can't eat this. I can't eat that." And really just wrapped up in those messages of what I should and shouldn't do. And that can honestly be really stressful and create a lot of anxiety. So, I was still experiencing anxiety around food. Like, "Oh no, there's going to be whatever at this party and I shouldn't eat that." And it would cause me anxiety and disrupt my life. And honestly the stress over eating that food, was honestly worse for my health than actually just eating whatever that food was. And I didn't even realize that I was causing that detriment to myself until I read the book and I was like, "Oh, wow. There is another way of being. You don't have to think about what you're going to or not going to eat all day. You can be free and just eat what feels right and it's as simple as that."
Nicole: 21:05 I love that. That sounds really healthy. And just looking ... When I looked through your blog, it just seems like you have such this passion and this joy for delicious things that are also good for you. And like I said, I don't particularly think of things as good or bad for you. Food is food. What you decide to put in your body is your choice. But I can't help but just think that the colorfulness of your blog, just makes it so appealing and so delicious. I want to talk about desserts for a moment because you do have desserts on there. What's your favorite dessert on this blog?
Madison: 21:50 Probably the chocolate chip banana bread. I am like super into making any sort of chocolatey bread right now. I'm going to post a recipe soon. I made chocolate chip banana bread with tahini in it-
PART 2 OF 3 ENDS [00:22:04]
Madison: 22:00 ... post a recipe soon. I made chocolate chip, banana bread with tahini in it, which sounds weird, but it's actually super good, but the one on the blog has, I think it's peanut butter in it, not tahini, but it's super good and I'll usually, like, microwave it to make it warm and have it with a glass of almond milk and it's just so chocolatey and delicious.
Nicole: 22:23 Yum. First of all, I can tell that you like chocolate because I'm looking at most of your recipes and they contain some type of chocolate. We've got almond butter date balls, we're got sweet potato chocolate chip bread, chocolate chip brownie bread, which sounds delicious. Wow, the best chocolate chip banana bread. You guys, if you love chocolate and bananas, Madison's your girl. She's gonna find a way to fit chocolate and some type of banana or some type of fruit together and I love chocolated fruit. That sounds just delicious.
Nicole: 22:58 Your sweet potato almond flour bread looks just divine, so tasty looking. It's almost not even, like, a bread. It almost looks like a brownie in a way when I look at the picture, it just looks so tasty, but I love also that you have, like, banana in a lot of things. I'm a big banana bread person, so every time somebody has a banana bread recipe, I'm going to try it. What are some of the things that make your banana bread, besides the chocolate, of course, that make your baking a little bit different then others?
Madison: 23:36 Yeah, so I really like to use coconut and almond flour, not that regular flour's bad. I just found that I love the taste of coconut and almond flour, so I would say that could be different, and then, most of my desserts include some sort of nut butter, almond butter, peanut butter, tahini, and I feel like that just adds flavor, makes them, like, extra kind of dense and gooey and delicious. So, those are the kinds of things that I would make my recipes a little bit different.
Nicole: 24:11 Oh, that sounds so good. I love the fact that you said that it makes it dense and gooey, and I, too, like coconut flour. I put some in my pancakes. Recently, met a dietician, Colleen Cox, I had a chance to chat with her and she talked to me about Kodiak Cakes, like a Kodiak pancake mix, which has some protein in it, because I love pancakes. It's one of my favorite things, but, and so, have you heard of that? Have you tried Kodiak Cakes pancake flour?
Madison: 24:44 I think I've heard of those, but I have it actually on my list of recipes I want to make, to make some homemade pancakes, so stay tuned. So, there's actually one recipe I make in the crock pot, it's called crock pot curry with red lentils and peppers and it sounds like way more complicated than it really is, but it's lentils, coconut milk, tomato paste, red onion, red pepper, kind of, a bunch of spices, some almond milk, and I throw it all in the crock pot and turn it on high for about three hours and it's done. You can serve it with garlic non or rice and it's just like a super comforting, warming, like, super flavorful meal, so that's, like, definitely a great one to get started because you just throw everything into a crock pot and you're done.
Nicole: 25:40 Lovely, that sounds so good and so delicious and so warming. That definitely sounds like something you would want to make on a cold winter day.
Madison: 25:49 For sure.
Nicole: 25:50 Yeah, or if you're going to work, you throw all that in, in the morning. You know that, on the way home, you're just kind of anticipating, "Oh, this is gonna be really good, so I'm excited to come home." So, that's a great recipe to recommend. Even though I love in Hawaii, Hawaii does get a winter, and nobody believes me when I say that, but I've been here for a year, I've gone through all four seasons, and there's definitely winter here, but you have to live here to feel, "Oh, yes, it's definitely winter."
Madison: 26:18 Yeah.
Nicole: 26:19 If you just show up, like, from zero degrees, where you are, and then you show up in Hawaii, of course it's gonna feel amazing, but if you live here, you can ... It's a subtle winter, but there's definitely a winter, so that's something that I've put on my list to make. It seems like it's still light, but also something that would be delicious and warm on a cold winter's day. Okay, so, what is one tip, that you can give that home cook out there, that's been invaluable to you?
Madison: 26:51 So, for me, I would probably say, and this is not necessarily a cooking tip for all recipes, but just, kind of, a food tip in general, I would say, if you don't make smoothies, try to get into it, see if you like them. I love smoothies and the reason why I say that is, because you can put so many different things to them and it really allows you to get kind of, like, a variety of nutrients and flavors and tons of different stuff packed into one meal and it's super easy.
Madison: 27:24 It takes five minutes. You can take it on the go, whatever, but you can put, like, avocados in them to make them super creamy, you can put, like, frozen banana or other frozen fruits. A lot of times, I'll steam and then freeze, like, zucchini and squash, sometimes I'll roast butter nut squash or sweet potatoes and throw those in my smoothies, and it all sounds kind of weird, but it actually, it just makes it taste so good and makes it super creamy and I just think smoothies are just such a great way to really get a wide variety of food and diversity in the kind of, like, nutrients that you're getting throughout the day.
Nicole: 28:07 Lovely, that's a great tip, so you heard it here from Madison, folks. Try to learn how to make smoothies. So, Madison, where can people find you?
Madison: 28:18 So, my blog is at SunnyThymes.com and it's Sunny, and then Thymes, like the herb, so T-H-Y-M-E-S.com and then I'm on Instagram, Sunny Thymes blog, and then I'm also on Pinterest as Sunny Thymes.
Nicole: 28:35 Well, thank you so much for coming by and talking with us today. I loved chatting with you. Your Taquitos recipe sounds insane, as does your Sunny Thymes bowl and your Sunny Sauce, which I can't wait to try. Do keeps us updated about when you start selling that.
Madison: 28:54 Definitely. Thank you, Nicole.
Nicole: 28:59 Alright, so you've just listened to me chat with Madison of Sunny Thymes. She was so delightful to talk to and I wish that I could have spent more time talking with her because she just has so many beautiful and scrumptious looking recipes on her site. I could look at her site all day and I'm so inspired by it, by the beautiful colors and just how just delicious and yummy and fresh everything looks. So, I definitely recommend, if you are looking for something to cook tonight for dinner, that you check out Madison's blog.
Nicole: 29:32 One of the things that I didn't get to spend a lot of time talking with Madison about, but I wish I had, was her Sunny Sauce. It looks just like it sounds, it's a creamy tumeric ginger sauce that she's currently in the process of producing to sell. You can get on the waiting list at Sunny Thymes blog if you're interested. It looks, and sounds, like it's going to be a really delicious dressing that you can add to green bowls, salads, whatever you like to put delicious sauce on. So, I highly ... I'm going to go onto the waiting list and I'm going to check it out because it just sounds so tasty. Also, Madison recommended a book called, "Intuitive Eating." I've put a link to that in the show notes so that you can check it out for yourself.
Nicole: 30:21 Finally, I wanted to invite you all to the new BFF with the Chef Facebook group. It's a great way for us to connect, for you to ask me questions, and for you to just hang out with other foodie BFFs on the web. I'd love to hear what you want me to discuss on the show, what guests you'd like me to interview, and I also want to hear from you about your cooking tips, what things you use in the kitchen, that work for you, and I'll be putting some of my favorite things in there as well. And, I'll put a link to that group in the show notes.
Nicole: 30:52 Finally, if you like the show, please consider leaving me a five star review. That review really helps out the show. It helps other listeners, like you, find the show and well, it just allows us to be ranked a little higher in the iTunes store, and if you listen to Stitcher, or you listen to Google Podcasts, I would love a review there too. Wherever you listen to your podcast, I would love a review, so thank you in advance.
Nicole: 31:21 And, well, so this is me, Nicole Schwegman from BFF with the Chef, wishing you a great week and hoping that you've been inspired to go and make something delicious. Goodbye.