Chicken salad w/ almond honey mustard dressing

chicken salad with honey dressing

So we had a couple GORGEOUS days outside in Wisconsin these past couple weeks. And by gorgeous I mean it has consistently been below zero or slightly above all winter, and it was 50 degrees and sunny the other day. Some days have only been in the 40’s, which honestly feel like summer with the sunshine. Yesterday I seriously wore crop jeans and a jean jacket, but I think baby keeps me a little warmer than normal too. Granted we still have a bunch of snow and everything is really muddy and wet, but we will take it. We have been slapping on our rain boots to go walks, going to the park, and playing outside after school gets out. Our clothes may get soaked but it’s nothing a load of laundry and a bubble bath can’t fix.

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All this “nice” weather made me want to ditch all the casseroles, soups, and hearty bakes I had planned for the week and substitute with something fresh and light. Also I have been craving salads my whole pregnancy so coming across this recipe on Pinch of Yum had me pretty excited. Besides all the delicious-ness topping this pretty salad, the dressing is phenomenal. It certainly is not your typical honey mustard–it’s tangy but sweet, and the garlic is strong but not overpowering. If you are not a honey mustard fan, have no fear! I actually altered a few ingredients from the original recipe because Ralph isn’t a honey mustard fan and it turned out fantastic! I was licking the food processor with my fingers after I made it. So one word of advice: if you are going to make this salad you have to make the dressing to go with it, don’t use a store bought, I promise you it will be worth it! It’s really simple too–basically you just toss a bunch of ingredients in a food processor and call it a day.chicken salad with honey dressing (2)

We lived on this salad all week and I am already planning on making another trip to the store so we can have again next week. Do you guys do that too? We always seemed to get hooked on something and have it a bunch of days in a row before we get sick of it.

One more thing–my kids loved this salad! I don’t know about your little ones but I know it’s hard to get most kids to eat their leafy greens. Topping them with fruit, nuts, and cheese really worked well for mine. I made a small amount of the dressing with a little extra raw honey and half the garlic for the kids–they loved it!

 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 3 cups lettuce (your choice) I used a blend
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup almonds slivers
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon liquid coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
  • ½ tablespoon raw honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic

Instructions
  1. Toss salad ingredients together.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine: chicken, grapes, blueberries, lettuce, feta cheese, and almond slivers.
  3. In a food processor or blender ( I used my ninja), prepare your dressing.
  4. Blend together: almond butter, coconut oil, orange juice, grape seed oil, stoneground mustard, honey, salt, and garlic cloves.
  5. Add more of anything after you taste it. I ended up adding more oil for the consistency.

Today’s forecast is high of 49 degrees and sunny, plus it’s Friday! What a dream!

 

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Fresh Waldorf salad

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Today is Ralph’s 27th birthday. When it’s my birthday I want the royal treatment. I want to be pampered and waited on. Not Ralphy. He woke up just like any other day, made us all eggs and toast, took all the garbages out, did the dishes that I left from the night before, and helped me get the kids off to school. Every morning his selflessness amazes me and his birthday is no exception. Among many other great qualities, one of Ralph’s greatest qualities is putting others before himself. Although his life is incredibly busy and stressful with his work load, he is always thinking of ways to not only help make my life easier ,but for everyone that he cares about. He is one of those people who does really nice things for people who he doesn’t even know and wants no recognition for it. Most times I will find out months later about something generous he did for someone because he doesn’t even tell me. 8 birthdays ago was the first birthday I got to celebrate with Ralph and he still makes my heart flutter just the same. And only people who make my heart flutter get fresh Waldorf salad in the fridge for the week!

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You know those salads with apples, whipped cream, and snickers that someone always brings to a baby shower or get together? Those are my favorite. This recipe reminds me of those salads but a little bit healthier? Maybe, maybe not. When I came across this recipe I had written down ages ago, it sounded so refreshing and I thought it would be perfect to keep in in the fridge all week for a snack. Oh and it didn’t disappoint! It turned out beautiful and so yummy. The kids thought it was ice cream with fruit in it. Jokes on you kids. This salad isn’t totally bad for you if you use the right ingredients; it’s just bad-ish for you. The sugar is the only thing really, but as long as it’s real organic cane sugar we will all live to see another day I think. So whip this up for your next get-together and everyone will want your recipe! I am curious to see how it keeps in the fridge this week, I will get back to you on that.

 

Ingredients
  • 5 apples, your choice, diced (unpeeled)
  • 1 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits (drained)
  • 1 cup seedless red and/or green grapes, cut in half
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 8-ounce carton whipped topping or favorite whipped cream

Instructions
  1. In a small pot, whisk together sugar, flour, cream, butter and juice.
  2. Heat on medium until boiling.
  3. Remove from stove and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Fold in whipped topping.
  5. Mix with fruit and nuts just before serving.

 

Here is my favorite post I wrote last year about Ralph in case you want to know more about my Mr. Wonderful. The birthday boy requested a chocolate chip cheese cake (his favorite), my Merlot meatballs, lobster bisque (courtesy of Costco!), and loaded baked potato crisps. Works for me. Happy Monday playas.

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Crunchy Thai quinoa salad

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Heres the thing guys. I sat down to work on this post and all I wanted to do was complain about my pregnancy and being overwhelmed and the weather and everything else there is to complain about. But then I thought nobody wants to read that garbage. Everyone has things to complain about but I think we all have a whole lot more to celebrate and be happy about. I know life has its rough patches (believe me) ,but that’s what my girlfriends and my journals are for. I can fill their ears with all my baggage anytime I want! I want my blog to be a happy place, about happy things. I normally don’t like to share a whole lot of our personal life on here but can I share one thing that we are ecstatic about over here? Do you mind? It’s a really happy thing I promise.

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A couple of weeks ago our offer was accepted on the house of our dreams! We have had our eye on it for about 2 years and the way it all worked out had to be God’s plan for us. We are all pretty excited about it but it still seems a bit surreal. We are saying goodbye to our first home of 4 years and we love our home to pieces. Right now we live in a tiny, cozy , cape cod that we never want to leave. Our growing family however has caused us to search for more space and land. So although this will be an emotional move for us, it will also be a beautiful change of setting for our family (of almost 6!).

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And now this beautiful salad right!? When I saw a picture of this recipe in my Pinterest feed I knew I needed it, now. That is 20% my impulsive personality, 10% my impatience to wait another day to make it, and 70% my pregnancy cravings crying to be fed. I already had supper planned, a roast thawing and all that jazz, but that pork roast was going to have to wait. As soon as I saw this gorgeous, colorful, crunchy salad I had to have it right away. I ran to the market and gathered the ingredients and crossed my fingers that it would turn out because $$$. Buying good produce this time of the year is pricy as we all know, and decent cashews! Plus I doubled the salad for leftovers so it ended up being quite the expensive salad to throw together. But it was totally worth it, I promise! And if you’re going to be frugal about something, don’t let it be your health/food, that’s what I say.

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The crunch of red cabbage is the greatest crunch don’t you agree? Comparable to a good crunchy slab of iceberg lettuce but packed with the strong flavor of an onion. It’s safe to say I am passionate about a good crunch. I also love a good salad, in fact I will often order a salad when we go out to dinner. But during this pregnancy especially salads have been a major craving of mine. Even though a big salad does fill me up, of course I always eat a whole second, not so healthy course afterwards. Something like a burger or chicken sandwich. Lot’s of mayo. Yum. Oh losing this baby weight is going to be fun! Worth it times a million!

Head on over to Ambitious Kitchen for this great recipe. I didn’t change a thing in the recipe besides doubling it, so I didn’t feel right sharing it on my site. Happy crunching!

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Quinoa Tex Mex bake

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No-fuss meals have been a staple for our family so far this year. Pregnancy is wearing me out terribly this time around. I started getting contractions at 24 weeks. No not Braxton-hicks, the lovely kind, real painful. My midwife says that is my body and baby telling me I am doing too much. Just one of the reasons why I am opting for simple recipes for my family. I have been hunting for easy recipes that keep me off my feet as much as possible. This proved challenging because if I am going to spend the time to cook dinner, I really don’t want to compromise nutrition. If I can just go through Taco John’s drive thru and pickup up food in 10 minutes, why would I spend hours in the kitchen preparing something that isn’t any better for you? It just seems hard to find meals that are easy, not super time consuming, tasty, and healthy. quiona tex mex

This casserole meets all my expectations and even has added bonuses. This dish is gluten-free, vegetarian, and uses coconut milk as it’s base. I love using coconut milk in casseroles instead of a condensed soup. You really don’t compromise any flavor by using the coconut milk , plus it just makes me feel better to know I am not putting all that condensed soup junk in my body. My kids love everything about this dish and they were begging for more. They love anything with black beans. We will definitely being having this a few more times before the baby comes, and I am sure many times after! Hopefully eating a few meals like this a week will make up for eating a lot of take-out tacos and Chinese during this pregnancy. Whoops.

 

Ingredients
  • 1½ cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 12 oz can of corn, drained
  • 3 medium-large bell peppers, diced (any color)
  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed &drained
  • ¾ cup plus ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup plus ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or Mexican
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 packet southwest taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa according to the package.
  2. Put cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a large skillet heat coconut oil. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add corn, peppers, cayenne pepper, and half of the taco seasoning packet to the skillet and sauté for about 6 minutes, stirring just a couple times.
  5. Transfer skillet mixture to the mixing bowl with quinoa.
  6. Add black beans, ¾ cup cilantro, ¼ cup green onions, the cheese (save a little bit for topping), coconut milk, salt, and the rest of the taco seasoning to the mixing bowl and mix well.
  7. Transfer mixture to a greased 8×11 baking dish and sprinkle with extra cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and then garnish with extra cilantro and green onions.

Recipe adapted from: ifoodreal

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2013 Favorites

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2013 was a great year for our family and for this blog! Thank you all for your visits, pins, comments, e-mails, and kind words. I wanted to share the most popular and favorite recipes of 2013 plus a few of my favorite other posts. I did not post nearly as much as I would have liked to this year, due to all the pregnancy sickness that was thrown my way, but I still really appreciate you all hanging on and supporting me! I love sharing our family’s favorite recipes, and bits & pieces of our life with you on here, it brings me great joy. God’s blessings for 2014 to all of you.

1. Sloppy Joe spaghetti bake-: My number one visited recipe of this year and one of my easy favorites! Eliminate that gluten as much as you can!sloppy joe bake (1)

2. Heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart: I have pregnancy cravings for this ALL THE TIME. Wish I would have froze some of those beauties.

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3. Gluten-free Mexican pizza: So delicious and fun to make with the kids! This recipe made Family Fun magazine this year which was uber exciting for me!mexican pizza4.Banana cream pudding: You will never appreciate the flavor in this pudding until you make it yourself. Trust me.

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5. Merlot Meatballs: This is my favorite recipe of the year. I make these regularly in the winter now with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes and veggies along side them. You can’t beat this sauce.

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My other favorite posts of 2013:

1.JS Conf 2013: This post will always remind of my battle with anxiety and how this trip changed my ability to deal with it on a daily basis. ameliaisland (26)

2. A halloween to remember: I love this post because years from now when the kids are grown, and I sit down and read it, I will be filled with so many emotions about them growing older and thankful I recorded how I felt on that very day. But I can’t even think about that right now because….pregnancy hormones. pumpkin rissotto (2)3. Holzmann party of 6: Because NEW BABY! DUH!! yay!

Remy14. Meet Ralph: A post I am glad I took some time to write about my incredible partner in life. I love our life together and it is only the beginning.REAL5. 20-week pregnancy update : I asked Ralph probably 10 times if he thought I should take out the rant about having more kids. I am so glad he told me to keep it in there. I can’t tell you how incredible all your sweet messages about that post made me feel. Sometimes the world needs a little honesty.

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xoxo

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