Chicken Salad Love

My husband always tells me when I make food he likes, that I put some love into it.  I guess I put some serious love into my chicken salad because I make it all the time and every time, he acts like it’s the first time I made it for him.  I like to make things for the week when I think of it and chicken salad is just nice to have in the fridge for lunches or a snack.  I would encourage you to use what you think sounds good and I will say that I change out some of the ingredients from time to time….maybe that’s why Derrick always acts like it’s the first time I made it!!

The chicken you use for your chicken salad sets the tone of the recipe, so try to choose ingredients that will go well with the seasonings on your cooked chicken.  Sometimes I just use canned white chicken meat…in that case I’ll definitely stick with the staple ingredients and I may even add a little more spice.  This past time I used chicken that we grilled outside with a Mexican spice marinade.  In this instance, it’s nice to add some kind of pico de gallo mix, maybe some canned (washed) black beans and a little southwestern sour cream mix.  Or if you had Italian style chicken maybe you could add some flat leaf parsley, olives and pepperoncini.  Of course if you do any of these variations, I would use these things in place of some of the items listed below.  Let me know if you want additional details!   The staple recipe I tend to stick to…and the one that always gets me a million requests for because I make it for parties, is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts or 2 large cans of white chicken breast
  • 1-2 small green apples (or honeycrisp) 
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 2 table spoons of dill relish
  • 1/2 cup good quality, reduced fat mayo
  • course ground salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. First chop up your chicken.  I cut the breasts into large chunks and then throw it in the food processor.  If you would like your chicken salad a little more chunky, you can cut it yourself.  I like my chicken well chopped.  Place chopped chicken in a large bowl.
  2. Cut red onion and apple into large chunks that are similar in size, then throw into the food processor as well for a good chop, then add this to the large bowl of chicken.  Note here – if I don’t have dill relish, I’ll add a few chunks of pickle here to get that taste.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and don’t take my measurements so seriously.  Start small with the salt, pepper and cayenne…then add more to your liking.  Do the same with the mayo, I usually try to use as little as possible to keep the fat down, oh and some of the brands that I like to use are Duke’s Reduced Fat or Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil.  If you’re looking to get this close to what I make, I do use a LOT of black pepper and probably more cayenne than you would think.  I like a nice kick!
  4. Blend together and serve it a million different ways:
  • For parties, I usually buy miniature croissants and green leaf lettuce – then put together adorable little sandwiches.
  • For small gatherings or an afternoon of snacking, I place it in a bowl alongside some wheat thins or ritz crackers and celery sticks.
  • For Derrick’s lunch, I either put it on some sandwich bread or in a small container with a baggy full of crackers.
  • It’s also yummy scooped on top of a  green salad

Use your imagination and whatever you have in your fridge, but this is a great thing to throw together and have for the week.  It will be my lunch today!

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Annaul Goal Assessment: Beginner Housewife & SAHM

You name it!  I’m getting back to it.  If you wondered, ‘hey – where’s she been? why isn’t she keeping up with that blog?’ well here’s your answer…..I’ve been trying to get back to it!  All of it!  As you may know, we just moved in about 8 weeks ago so I’ve been working on the house quite a bit, I’ve also been working on a schedule for my family and my most recent ‘back to it’ efforts have been focusing on working out again.  You can’t do everything right away and you can’t do it perfectly all the time, at least that’s what I keep trying to remind myself.

So now that I’m back to it and feeling good about the direction things are going, I thought it would be a good time to refresh my thoughts on the blog.  First, as a new stay at home mom or to use an older word: ‘homemaker’, I thought I would set some goals for myself.  In the corporate world we did this annually, assessed them mid year and evaluated at the end of the year.  I’m not sure I’ll having anyone to give me my ratings, but maybe as my faithful new readers, you can help with that.

For starters, I would like to center my goals around a concept.  The name I chose for my blog is ‘Timeless Homemaking’.  The word timeless in a dictionary is defined: referring or restricted to no particular time…eg, the timeless beauty of great music.  The word used in the sentence to reference music surely refers to music by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart or even some classics by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday or by MY standards, George Strait, Dave Matthews, Jimmy Buffet…you get it.  Timeless would not refer to the once popular song called ‘I Think we’re Alone Now’…by….uh, what was her name again?  Tiffany something?  Or was it just Tiffany?  Either way, that was not timeless, that was very IN THE TIME….and now that time is gone and so is the song.  So, back to what I was saying.  I would like to make this way of life, this life I live and the way that I care for my family to be timeless.

Goal #1:  Put People First

I want to make sure that everything I’m doing is working towards making my family happy, healthy and loved.  So even though I may have some goals towards cleaning, cooking, working out, organizing, etc….if there comes a time when one of these other goals is causing someone in the family to feel neglected, I would like to be able to identify that and adjust so it doesn’t happen anymore.  My family is the whole reason I’m doing this ‘job’ so I want to be sure I make them happy, healthy and I want them to always know how much I love them.

Goal #2: Take Care of Myself

So this might sound like a very simple goal, but I think for a while now I haven’t been fully taking care of my own self.  If I can’t take care of me, I can’t take care of anyone else.  In taking care of myself, I will feel good, be happy and through that I will be able to accomplish the above goal much more successfully!  Within goal #2, I have some bullet points:

  • Eat healthier…you know they say that your diet makes up 75% of what you look like.  That’s huge….even if you worked out like a crazy person and just ate horribly, you wouldn’t likely see any of he efforts your making with that big 75% covering it all up.  When I worked, I ate out a lot more…I ate fast and I didn’t pay attention as much as I would have like to.  Now, I want to fix that!  I have a few years worth of damage to correct, so this is a big one.  I must change the way I look at my food!
  • Work out…..I used to always say that if I could stay at home instead of going to the office every day, I would be HOT.  Well, that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s only been 6 weeks ok?  I’m working on it!  To assist with this bullet point of the goal, my dearest friend has encouraged me to sign up for a bootcamp!  I know what you’re thinking, but this one is very different and exciting…and online!  It’s hosted by a woman who is also a mom and a personal trainer. She sets up all the work outs, provides great literature, demo videos and help via email & social media and so far I think it’s pretty fantastic.  Her name is Tina Reale and if you’re interested, you can check out her website:  http://www.tinareale.com/best-body-bootcamp/ I can’t wait to see how I feel at the end of this bootcamp – It’s only been a week, but so far I’m likin it!
  • Get some ‘me’ time….though I do love being with my son and my husband as much as possible, I also need some time to do things just for me.  I’ll say at least twice a week I need some time to do something just for me whether it’s a bubble bath, a pedicure, meeting with my girlfriends for a glass of wine…whatever, I just need to do something for myself that makes me happy!  And I shall!

Goal # 3:  Pay Attention to and Stay within the Budget

I’ll be honest, this is NOT my strong suit.  It never has been.  Though I was an actual Controller who dealt with money all day, every day…I did not and still do not do the finances for my household!  My husband does, God bless his soul!  I had no desire to look at spreadsheets all day at work and then come home and look at some more…and still, I prefer not to, thanks.  SOOO, as God as my witness (and the rest of you), I hereby declare staying within the budget my husband gives us a goal in my new job!  Lets start this one today shall we?  I’m not sure I’ve been doing this since my start date….in fact, I’m sure my husband can confirm I haven’t even asked what the budget is.  However, now I know it and now I do want to be sure to stick to it.  Getting off track with money is no fun, it causes stress & tension and it’s good for no one.  Besides, I really don’t want to go back to work yet….this goal is a biggie.

Goal # 4: Weekly Menu Planning

I absolutely love to cook!  And yet thinking of something to make for dinner can be so frustrating at times.  There have been those weeks when I go to the grocery store and I get so scatter-brained just thinking of all the things I MIGHT cook that week.  Then I inevitably forget an ingredient or two for the dish I was thinking about and I have to make two more trips, plus all that lack of organization leads to going over the grocery budget!  SO, to get this under control I have decided to put together a spreadsheet….yes, I still need a few spreadsheets in my life, to do my weekly menu planning.  This will happen each week on the same day of the week….I’ll get back to this in a separate post because it’s just so much fun!  Plus, you may want to see my ma spreadsheet skills.

Goal #5: Keep a Cleaning Schedule

As I mentioned before, keeping my house clean is super important to me.  I know it’s not at the top of everyone’s list, but for me, having a clean home makes me feel good.  There is a certain since of pride to this accomplishment and luckily, my husband and I both feel this way and to top it all off, HE HELPS!  The cleaning schedule will help us break things up into manageable time frames and make it so that our house always feels clean and comfy.  This goal will be the one I shine with….just call me Monica Geller.

Goal # 6: Live Life through God

Last, but most definitely not least I want to be sure that my family and I put God in our lives through everything we do.  Prayer belongs in every goal mentioned above and our relationship with God needs to grow stronger each day.  We are not perfect but this is a goal I want to work on just as hard, if not harder than the rest.

Since I’m so late to posting this, I’m going to get it going and I’ll let you know how all these goals are coming!  Happy Monday, and happy July!