As an athlete, defender Blake Bolden brings all of the necessary ingredients to the Buffalo Beauts recipe for success. Tremendous athleticism, a howitzer of a shot, and a trophy case that includes an Isobel Cup, a Clarkson Cup, and an IIHF Women’s U18 World Championship gold medal. Bolden is the type of defender that all teams covet, and they are green with envy if they do not have her. On top of all that, she is a darn good cook as well.
If you follow Bolden’s social media accounts at all – and we encourage you to do so – you will find that she routinely posts videos and pictures of amazing dishes that she has cooked up. Sandwiches with red peppers, cucumber, sweet potato, sprouts, tomato, red onion, avocado and vegan mayo all tastily nestled between gluten free bread. Mango within melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with salted cashews. Barbecue pulled eggplant on a bun with coleslaw made from broccoli, carrots and purple cabbage. These are just a handful of the meals and treats that Bolden has been known to prepare.
Furthermore, Bolden’s meals have been a big part of how she keeps herself in topnotch shape.
“So much,” she said, regarding how much her meal prepping helps with her training. “First and foremost, I decided to just start eating cleaner a couple years ago. Being away in Switzerland, I had to read ingredients. Cook my own food, because a lot of it was Italian food. A lot of carbohydrates and pastas. Being vegetarian or plant-based, I’ve just being experimenting with eating a bunch of different colors. I think that helps my body, my mind, my energy levels. It’s really fun to cook with my teammates and have fun with them. We try to eat meals together once a week that we all cook and contribute. It’s been really fun doing that.”
Finding a “Home” in Buffalo
Bolden is from Euclid, Ohio, but a sizable portion of her hockey career has had ties to Boston, Massachusetts. From the 2009-10 season through 2012-13, she played four seasons of NCAA hockey with the Boston College Eagles. Current Beaut Emily Pfalzer – who is typically Bolden’s defense partner for Buffalo – was her teammate at BC for the latter two seasons.
Upon graduating, Bolden would play two seasons in the CWHL for the Boston (now Worcester) Blades. She would be a member of that squad’s 2014-15 Clarkson Cup championship. Then when the NWHL took shape, Bolden would become an inaugural member of the Boston Pride. In the first season of the league she and the Pride would win the 2015-16 Isobel Cup. Playing one more season with the Pride after that, Bolden would then jump over to Switzerland for a lone season with Lugano in 2017-18.
College and professional time combined, Bolden played eight full seasons in Boston prior to coming to Buffalo. For some athletes it might feel awkward to not only play in another city after such a lengthy period of time, but to go up against their former team on a regular basis. In Bolden’s case though, she has adjusted quite well to becoming a Beaut and a Buffalonian. A year playing over in Europe certainly helped too.
“It’s felt different,” Bolden told THW about going up against the Pride this current season. “I think being in Switzerland last year kind of separated me from Boston, officially. Coming here (Buffalo) and gelling well with the team, I feel very at home here. So it’s been a really easy transition. Playing Boston is fun because I just get to play against people that I used to play with.”
THW chatted with Bolden on the morning that her signing with the Beauts was announced back on Aug. 15, 2018. She had heard nothing but good things about Buffalo at the time, and was rather excited about becoming part of what “One Buffalo” is all about. While time and distance have helped her move on from Boston, Bolden’s newfound teammates have enabled her to lay down some serious roots in Buffalo. We asked Bolden if Buffalo has lived up to her expectations.
“Oh yeah, it has,” she confirmed. “Honestly, the best part about it is the girls in the locker and the camaraderie that we have as a team. I’m having so much fun, and it’s just making everything so much easier being away from home. This is now home.”
Cooking up a Storm With the Beauts
As friends and family have done for centuries, Bolden and her teammates have bonded over sharing meals together. In the midst of the cooking videos that she posts, it is fairly common to spot other Beauts like Kelly Babstock, Annika Zalewski and the whole gang alongside Bolden as she works her magic in the kitchen. While “breaking bread” is one of the simplest things we do to foster relationships, it oftentimes pays the greatest of dividends. Bonding happens naturally when sharing meals together.
“This is obviously a specialty dish, but I crushed Thanksgiving this year,” Bolden shared with THW. “With “Beyond Meat – The Beyond Burger” – these patties – I mashed them up and created a meatloaf with different peppers. Vegan sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, vegan gravy. It was so good. Everybody that ate it had their own normal meaty products, and they were crushing mine over the animal products. I was really proud of that.”
Cookbook soon?? 🌱🥬🍅🥥🥦🥕 https://t.co/C9zhpNbwH4
— Blake Bolden (@SportBlake) January 14, 2019
Bolden’s cooking and her recipes have been a hit with her team. So much so that meals have become a hot topic of conversation among she and some of her teammates. We wanted to know from Bolden – out of all of her fellow Beauts, who is the one that has enjoyed her meals the most?
“Emily Janiga. She is certified now in nutrition, so she and I like to talk about food a lot. It’s been really fun. Last week she made this incredible vegan cheesecake that she shared with us for dessert, and it was really good. She made the crust out of dates and something else that was crazy. I was like, ‘I wouldn’t have even thought of that.’
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
When it comes to the kitchen, there are plenty of novices out there (including this THW writer). You might feel afraid to try something new, especially if it is a different, healthier means of eating. Bolden gets it and nodded in affirmation that some people can feel a bit intimidated by their kitchens.
— NWHL (@NWHL) December 5, 2018
She has some sage advice (pun intended) for those who are interested in cooking healthier, but are feeling intimidated.
“I would just try to keep it simple” Bolden smiled. “I think it’s more fun to eat with a bunch of different colors. Sometimes I’ll be cooking a meal, and I’ll be like – ‘this needs green’ or ‘this needs orange’, or red. If you just try to eat the rainbow, I think you’re set.”
As we suggested in the beginning, if you’re interested in seeing some new dishes that are both very healthy and very tasty, give Blake Bolden a follow on Instagram or one of her other social media accounts – you will not be disappointed in the least.