I am writing this blog post on our Babymoon. Ben and I went to Puerto Rico for a quick long weekend sans kids for the 4th of July to not only spend time alone but also to visit some of my family. Can I tell you how ecstatic I currently am? Can I tell you that there is nothing you can say that can ruin how relaxed I currently am? I, like everyone else, was in soooooo need of a break from life right now. Life has been so crazy and I longed to be digging my toes in that hot sand, listening to the ocean’s wave breaking, and of course sipping a non-alcoholic fruity drink with an umbrella in it. Ahhh, this is the life!
But in all seriousness if I can impart any wisdom, it is to take trips without your kids. Ben and I, of course with the help of wonderful grandparents and family, make it a point to take one mini trip sans kiddos annually. We need this trip as much as the kids do too. We need this time to reconnect as a couple and believe it or not I think kids need a break away from their parents too; so take the time and make your marriage a priority. I always thought parents who took trips without kids were selfish but now after [almost] 9 years years of marriage and [almost] 3 kids, couples NEED time alone! And of course I am very honest with our boys when they ask us why we are taking a trip without them. I no longer feel guilty and feel like I have to downplay it like I did on the heels of our first kidless vacation 4 years back. I assure them now, Mama and Dada need this time so we can be better parents. They of course look at me with a perplexed look, but I do believe it and they will too when they get older. Now don’t get me wrong, usually after the second or third day we miss them like crazy, but isn’t that a good position to be in where you MISS your kids rather than RESENT or are ANNOYED with them? It’s like I am recharging my “parent batteries;” even the Energizer Bunny needs a boost once in a while.
So let’s talk about this yummy recipe, Paleo Avocado Chicken Salad. Chicken salad and I have never gotten off to the right foot. I HATE mayo, I really do. I know it is ungodly to hate mayo and I may be one of the few people left on this earth that hates, no loathes, mayo, but I am ok with my life sans this condiment. So as you can imagine because of my disgust with anything mayo, I never liked chicken, egg or potato salad. I know, I am un- American. I steered clear of all forms of these salads until a few years back at one of my best friend’s wedding shower, I was delirious and tried a few bites of Breanne’s fave curry chicken salad. I assumed it was made from mayo so I stomached one or two bites, but I remembered vaguely liking it (just a little). Since then, I have spent the last 7 or 8 years trying to make a version of salad that I could stomach. Before Paleo (BP), I used nonfat greek yogurt and I loved making different versions of chicken salads with different “toppings.” I experimented with different varieties using apples or grapes to add sweetness and walnuts or celery to add crunchiness. The list of combinations goes on and on until After Paleo (AP), where I learned dairy causes inflammation and causes havoc on our guts so my go-to yogurt was a no no. I could no longer use my normal yogurt/ diary binder to make my yummy chicken salads and life was glum again. What on earth was a girl to do without chicken salad?
Well there is a God. Recently I found a few recipes on Pinterest talking about making Paleo versions of chicken salads using avocado and at that moment my whole world started spinning. Why didn’t I think of using avocado? I use avocado in every meal. I alone eat at least an avocado a day; I put it in my eggs, on my sandwiches, on my burgers, in my smoothies, make it as as a yummy dipping sauce or condiment, heck I even throw it in my margaritas for goodness sake. I.love.avocados. After surfing Pinterest and seeing these wonderful and creative new uses for my daily staple, I was so excited to test out new variations of a Paleo chicken salad with AVOCADO!
After a few recipe development attempts and variations, this recipe you see below is my favorite combination; sweet and crunchy, yet very creamy. If you do not like it too sweet than omit the raisins (or cran raisins) or some of the fruit (apples or grapes). If you like it more crunchier go ahead and add celery. The options are endless. Either way, whatever you decide to do or add, you will quickly realize after eating chicken salad made from avocado you will NEVER NEVER NEVER go back to eating chicken salad with MAYO. Again, I am bias but take my word for it and try it and see for yourself.
- 2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
- 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, depitted and mashed with a fork
- ½ cup of green apple, finely chopped in ½ to ¼ inch cubes
- ¼ cup of red seedless grapes, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons of raw walnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of raisins (or cran raisins)
- 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- salt to taste
- Let’s talk first how you can cook your chicken. I usually throw in 3-4 breasts in the crock pot and cook on low for 7 hours with a mere ½ cup of broth, water, healthy marinade or sometimes even nothing. I know many people feel uneasy about not putting a lot of liquid in a crock pot with fear of burning or drying out the protein but I am here to tell you, you do not need a lot of liquid. Proteins cooked in slow cookers usually release enough liquid in the cooking process. If you do not have enough time to slow cook your chicken, you can always bake your chicken in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees sprayed with a little olive oil or if you are really pressed for time, I just run out and get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shred it.
- Once you have your chicken situation square, depit your ripe avocado and mash your avocado to somewhat of a chunky/ creamy consistency.
- Chop up your apples, grapes, cilantro, and walnuts.
- In a big bowl add your shredded chicken, creamy avocado and all your fix ins you chopped in step 3 in addition to the raisins. Once you mix everything, add the juice of your lime and some salt and blend altogether.
- You are done, viola, eat it up. I usually eat it plain or scoop it over a bed of lettuce. Either way you cannot go wrong.
So what are you waiting for? Go, cook! And don’t forget to comment back on the recipe and let me know what you think! I love feedback, but only positive feedback of course! Just kidding! Bring it. 🙂
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