Friday, July 19, 2013

Dijon Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Even though I spent last weekend in one of the GREATEST cities for DELICIOUS food in the country (San Antonio, TX), I found myself every now and then craving the chicken salad I'd made the week before!

David and I have been avoiding a certain smattering of foods the past couple weeks (as best we could with all of the traveling), so when I read this recipe for chicken salad I was elated to see that it didn't include any of the ingredients we've been avoiding.

I made a few tweaks when I made it for my second time this week. Although they're little changes to me, I could definitely TASTE a big difference that I ended up very happy with.

So, what's so special about this chicken salad?

First of all, there's no dairy or eggs (two things I'm avoiding right now). Usually chicken salad will include cream cheese and/or mayo.

Second of all, it's incredibly refreshing! (It has parsley and apple cider vinegar in it.)

Thirdly, the dijon mustard is completely unexpected and gives this salad a great bite!

Here is the original recipe for "Chicken Salad with Roasted Bell Pepper in Avocado Cups" from Heather at Multiply Delicious.

Here's my adaptation!



Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup unsalted, raw almonds (roughly chopped)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1/3 red onion (diced)
3 tbsp basil (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
2 bell peppers (I used one red and one yellow) - (roasted and diced)
Salt to taste
Romaine lettuce leaves
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp gluten-free dijon mustard
1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Cover a pan with thin layer of EVOO. Place your diced peppers skin side up on your pan. Bake them for about 20 minutes.

While they're baking, pull apart your rotisserie chicken. Place in a large bowl and shred with two large forks.

Add your garlic, almonds, onion, basil, parsley, cherry tomatoes, and a pinch or two of salt. When your peppers are done, throw those in too! Mix it all up.

Next, in a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together your apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and EVOO. Pour it over your chicken evenly and give the salad another good stir so everything is evenly distributed and balanced.

Serve chilled wrapped inside romaine lettuce leaves.

Delicious and easy and healthy! It doesn't get much better when it comes to lunch time!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

See you there...

I had apparently fallen asleep in my window seat before the plane had even started down the runway. I woke up, face already towards the window, and saw a blanket of light gray clouds just below our plane.

Just a week before David and I had flown away from the Rocky Mountains after spending the weekend celebrating the marriage of two dear friends in Silverthorne, CO.

I knew this time I was flying over my birth state, Texas, where there were no high, snow-covered mountains... But, that's what they looked like. Tall and majestic and perfectly smooth.

I caught the whimper in my chest before it made it's way out for my neighbor to hear. I looked at the clouds and dwelled on their loveliness, biting my lip.

That morning I'd sang old hymns with my grandparents in their church in San Antonio. One of them was about Heaven. And I smiled listening to the small voices sing about our distant home...

Two hours later I got the text message - Our dear Roxanne had gone to be with Lord...

I leaned my head on the wall of the plane and stared at the clouds.

"In my Father's house are
Many mansions
Many mansions in my Father's house..."

That old children's song we'd sung so many times... I think it was from those Donut Man videos... I can't remember... I just know it plays over and over in my head, and I cling to the truth in John 14:2.

"In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."

Today, I open my Bible to reread the verse and continue to read the rest of the passage...

"'And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.

Thomas said to Him, 'Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?' 

Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"  (John 14:3-6)

I sit back and think about the clouds I'd seen two days before. The majesty of something I could put my eyes on. I wonder how majestic Heaven must be. I wonder about the colors and the smells and the tastes. I wonder what being received by The Lord looks like. I wonder how the angels greeted Roxanne. I think about how she doesn't hurt anymore. I think about her sweet, twin daughters, Sam and Lauren...

I'd often heard others say things like, "Heaven got a good one today," or "Heaven's a little bit more lively now that they're there."

My heart can't keep it in. The sorrow I feel for all those who loved her coupled with the overwhelming gratitude I have for my Maker.

"Gratitude?" Some might ask. How could I be grateful when I'm so sad that she's gone?

Because, not only did Our Maker create a paradise for us to live in for eternity after we die, but He also actually let His only Son suffer and die in order that there could be a way for us to get to Him and live with Him in paradise.

The tears overflow as I thank God for the hope Heaven gives us. Not only has He conquered death, He's offered the same power to us.

Death is not the end.

Death is not goodbye.

For those who have accepted Christ Jesus as their Savior, Death is GAIN*! ...

Death is dead.

Death is "I'll see you when I get there, too."

That is the hope I cling to. That is the God who loves us. That is the mercy our Maker so graciously bestowed upon us. We can't get there on our own. But, we don't have to even try.

We just receive it.

How gracious.

What love.

So undeserving.

Humbling to the point of absolute puniness.

Overwhelming love.

Peace that surpasses understanding...

And as we mourn and as our hearts struggle to accept that she isn't here anymore, we thank God for the hope we have in Christ Jesus. We thank God that we know we'll see her again.

Love you, Roxanne. See you there, Superwoman.

*"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Spaghetti Squash

I had never even considered making spaghetti squash until my mom told me about how delicious her's turned out recently.

Although I'd seen it all over Pinterest, I'd never even considered giving it a try.

But, last Friday when I spotted the most beautiful butternut squash in our local produce and plant market, I decided it was time to take a stab at it!

And my goodness, we were not disappointed!

I used JJ Virgin's recipe from her book "The Virgin Diet" as my guide!

Basically, David cut one squash in half (length-wise) with a chef's knife.

I scooped out the seeds and dropped each half into one large pot of boiling water and let them boil for 20 minutes (at which point I could easily stick a fork into the flesh).

While I watched the boiling squash, David starting browning some minced garlic and red peppers. Once those were finished, we set them aside, and he started browning some lean, ground turkey in olive oil.

After that, we drained the meat, returned the meat to our pan, and added in the browned garlic and peppers and one jar of Classico Tomato & Basil marinara sauce.

By that point, my 20 minutes was up for the squash. I carefully pulled each half out of the water and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Then, I used two forks to "shred" the inside of each squash into "spaghetti" noodles.


I plated our noodles, David ladled out the meat sauce, and then we topped it off with red pepper flakes and chopped parsley.



I was delicious!! This will be a part of our weekly menu. We couldn't believe how easy and delicious it was!

Now, the kale chips I was simultaneously working on are another story. Haven't quite mastered those...



Maybe next week, we'll try again? ; ) We'll see!

If you try this recipe, I hope you like it as much as we did! (And if you have any other tips or favorite proteins to accompany spaghetti squash, comment below!)