Friendly Chicken Salad

Growing up one of my favorite sandwiches was a chicken salad sandwich on a toasted croissant. Just thinking about it brings back such wonderful memories. The sweet crunchiness of the croissant married with the smooth creaminess of the chicken salad was something this side of heaven. Now in my life, I cannot enjoy my childhood favorite like i used to. However, I was determined to find a way to enjoy chicken salad that would not only be healthy, but delicious, nutritious, and not send me to the hospital. For all the chicken salad lover out there, this one is for you!

Friendly Chicken Salad

2 pounds chicken breast

1 medium carrot

1 apple

1 stalk of celery

1/2 cup dried cranberries

3 tbsp Avocado Oil Mayo

 

Important Notes:

  • You can switch out the cranberries for raisins, currants, dates, dried plums, dried apricots or whatever other type of dried fruit you like
  • You can exchange out the apples for grapes, pears, or another fruit, just be mindful that citrus will seep out juices that can cause the salad to break down so avoid those if possible
  • You can also add sliced almonds, pecans, walnuts, or even sunflower weeds to this salad if you want to add just a slight level of saltiness to it

So now that we have all our ingredients. Let’s get started!

1.Lay out your chicken breast onto a prepared sheet pan. Season with your desired seasoning. (I just use poultry seasoning for this, but make sure no matter what seasoning you use, check ingredients as some will contain gluten and dairy)

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2. Bake chicken breasts in oven at 350F until they are completely cooked. This can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending upon the thickness of the breast and if it was completely thawed or not. (Make sure to check the internal temperature of the breasts to ensure that it reaches 165F for 15 seconds)

 

3. Set aside chicken breasts, once completely cooked, so that they can cool down.

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4.  Gather up carrot, apple, and celery. Make sure to rinse off all 3 under running water.

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5. Dice up the apple and the celery. (I like to keep the skin of the apple on, but you can peel it if you would like)

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6. Finely grate the carrot using a microplane or similar item. (If you prefer you can use larger grates, or even just finely dice carrot. I prefer the fine shreds of the carrot as a different level of texture)

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7. Once chicken breast is cooled completely, dice up the chicken into bite size pieces.  (For added variety, you can also shred the chicken to create a different consistency and texture.)

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8. Add cranberries into the mix. (At this time, you can add any nuts or additional items as well)

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9.  Add your avocado mayo and mix together.  (The total amount of mayo that you use depends upon how creamy you would like your salad to be. If you prefer drier salad, then use less. If you prefer creamier, then use more. It is totally flexible. )

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10. Enjoy!

You can enjoy you chicken salad in a variety of ways.

  • In a wrap of your choice
  • On toasted or untoasted bread
  • In a large tomato
  • By itself
  • With a stash of crackers to put it on
  • In a bed of lettuce

However you choose to enjoy your Friendly Chicken Salad, is totally up to you. Just remember to make sure it is Delicious & Nutritious!

Sensible Decadent Fudge Brownies

So, have you ever wanted to be able to eat more than one brownie and not really feel guilty about it? Do you have a a loved one who loves sweets but needs more nutrition in their diet? Do you miss brownies or wish you could have them, but are restricted due to special diets? Then listen up, cause these are definitely the brownies for you.

Sensible Decadent Fudge Brownies

14 oz canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

2 large eggs

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup raw sugar

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon almond milk

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

1 cup allergen free chocolate chips

1/2 cup kale, chopped

  • Special note: This recipe can be made vegan as well by substituting the eggs with an alternative , my preference for this recipe is with mashed avocado. For this recipe, you would use 1/2 cup mashed avocado.
  • You can also substitute spinach for the kale, it adds a great flavor profile.

Now, let’s get started.

1. Place chopped kale in boiling water and cook until tender(wilted). Drain when finished cooking.

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2. Rinse and drain black beans to remove the excess sediment off of them.

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3. Add the black beans, kale, sugar, oil, baking powder, baking soda, eggs, cocoa powder, almond milk, coffee into a blender.

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4. Blend until smooth. Make sure that you mix it several times to ensure that the whole mixture is smooth.

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5. Fold in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.

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6. Now transfer batter into prepared pans. (you can use square pans, round pans, muffin tin, or even loaf pans. The possibilities are endless! If you are using muffin pans, make sure to grease them really good so that way they don’t stick and break in half. These are very tender brownies..)

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7. Top the batter with the remaining chips evenly amongst the batter.

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8. Bake at 350F until a toothpick comes out clean. The baking times will vary anywhere from 13 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on what the size of the pan is.

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9. Enjoy!

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* For extra flavorful fun, place brownie in a bowl and warm for 30 seconds, then top with your favorite ice cream and toppings for an ice cream sundae that is not only Delicious, it’s Nutritious too!!

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Roasted Veggie Medley

When trying to find variety for a healthy plate, I love to make this Roasted Veggie Medley. There is something so earthy and sweet about roasted veggies. While you can choose many different options for the veggies and spices, I like this one as a great all year round vegetable medley. You can also take this same recipe, cut the vegetables smaller , and use it to top focaccia, flatbread, or a veggie pizza. This versatility is what I love about this recipe. I often make extra so I will have leftovers to be used in other ways. So, let’s get started.

Roasted Veggie Medley

2 medium carrots

1 small zucchini (or half a large zucchini)

1 small yellow squash (or half a large yellow squash)

1 small onion

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp basil, dried

1/4 tsp oregano, dried

1/4 tsp parsley, dried

1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

 

1. Gather all your veggies, make sure to wash off vegetables before cutting.

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2. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into half moons about a 1/4″ thick.

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3. Cut the carrots in medallions about 1/4″ thick.

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4. Cut the onions into wedges that are about 1/2″ thick.

 

5. Place all the vegetables in a bowl and gather your seasonings.

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6. Place all your ingredients in the bowl and mix well together.

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7. Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet pan. Bake at 400F until veggies are the desired tenderness and slightly caramelized. This will take approximately 15 minutes but it depends on how al dente you prefer your veggies to be. Make sure to turn over the veggies and mix them around in the cooking process.

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8. Enjoy!!

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Seasoned Roasted Potatoes

When I got my gallbladder removed, I knew that fried food was going to be out of the picture for me. However, I always knew that I had my Seasoned Roasted Potatoes on my side. This recipe helps to provide a great alternative to french fries. The versatility in this recipe is incredible. You can change the way the potatoes are cut, add different seasoning, or even change up the type of potatoes, for an incredible culinary experience. So let’s get started.

Seasoned Roasted Potatoes

6 small to medium potatoes

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp complete seasoning blend

1/2 tsp steak seasoning blend

 

1. Gather up your potatoes and make sure to wash them real good to get dirt off.

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2. Cut the potatoes into dices, wedges, or whatever cut you would like.

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3. Place the potatoes in a bowl with the seasonings and oil.

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4. Stir the ingredients together in the bowl making sure coat each potato evenly.

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5. Pour the potatoes mixture onto a baking sheet pan. Bake the potatoes at 400F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and golden brown. If you want a crisper potato than leave them in until desired crispiness.

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6. Enjoy!

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Sensible Scones

This recipe is designed to allow you to create your own variety of scones that will entice your tastebuds. This recipe is one that my son loves to help come up with new flavor profiles and varieties and really get in there and get his hands dirty.  For this go around we created Lemon Poppyseed and Double Chocolate Chip Scones. With the Double Chocolate Scones I substituted applesauce for eggs. This recipe is a huge hit with all my kids, sensory friendly for them as well. They like how fluffy it is and that it does not seem gritty with the Gluten-Free Flour Blend I use, as this is an issue we have with gluten-free sometimes.  I encourage you to really have fun and play with this recipe, you never know what you can create. Let’s start with the base recipe:

Sensible Scones

2 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend

2 tablespoons Sugar

1 tablespoon Baking Powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 egg

1/2 cup almond milk

almond milk (to brush the tops of the scones with)

turbinado sugar (to sprinkle on tops of scones)

Powdered sugar(optional if glaze desired)

Any desired flavoring options (see below for ideas)

 

Some notes on possible substitutions:

– if you need to make this an egg-free recipe you can substitute the following for the 1 egg

– 1/4 cup applesauce with 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 1/4 cup mashed banana (this will cause the scones to have a slightly noticeable banana flavor)

 

Now let’s start making them

  1. Mix together in a bowl the following ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.

DSC_01212. Using your fingers, gently cut the shortening into the flour mixture by rubbing your fingers together into the mixture. This will cause the shortening pieces to break up into little fragments. This is essential in helping to create fluffy layers.

3. Add any flavor components that you will be using for your scones. (See recommended listings on chart below)

Flavor Ingredients
Chocolate Chip 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Double Chocolate 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder  1 tbsp almond milk
Lemon Poppyseed 1 tbsp Poppyseed Zest of 1 Lemon 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
Cranberry Orange 1/2 cup dried cranberries Zest of 1 Orange
Blueberry Lemon 1/2 cup blueberries Zest of 1 Lemon 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Snickerdoodle 1 tbsp Cinnamon 1 tsp Vanilla extract

 

4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg and milk

 

5. Mix together with a spoon until a dough forms.

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6. Gently form a ball and place onto a floured surface.

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7. Lightly kneed the dough with your finger tips until it comes together.

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8. Roll out into a ball about a 1/2 inch thick.

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9. Cut into 8 wedges.

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10. Place onto cookie sheet and brush the tops with almond milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 425F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

11. Once cooled down you can make a glaze to top them with. All you need to do is take some powdered sugar and just enough almond milk to make the consistency you want. You can flavor them however you like.

 

12. ENJOY!!!

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Preparing for our Trip to the Cafe

Next weekend our family will once again travel to the Annual Family Cafe Disabilities conference. We make sure to go there every year in order to reconnect with other families of special needs and learn more information to help us in our daily lives. This event is truly an experience for our family. It allows us a whole weekend where we can immerse ourselves with other families and get no judgement from anyone. No matter how many meltdowns, stimming sessions, sensory overloads, anxiety attacks, or just plain hyperactive moments we have, we are only met with helping and loving arms. Every year I go through the motions of ensuring that we have all the things we need to make the weekend successful. I have gotten into this ritual of making a list and checking it like 10 times before we leave to go. There are medications, sensory tools, snacks, cool cloths(my son does not sweat), entertainment, as well as mommy de-stress items. This year will be different however, and I am spinning dizzy in my head over just what exactly my plan will be. Continue reading Preparing for our Trip to the Cafe

My Journey Here

If you would have asked me when I was in high school if I would have ever started a blog about special diets and sensory diets, I would have probably asked why I would ever need to. Fast forward some multiple years and thanks to my 4 kids and my newfound lack of a gallbladder, I have become very accustomed to what these special diets entail.  You see, when I first got started down this path, there were not such readily available dietary options. It was a very much, “Figure it out as we go” kinda diet plan. My twins started me on this journey when they were younger. One of my twins has sensory integration disorder and it causes her to misinterpret signals that her senses are giving her. She always ate from the same color pallet, brown. If it wasn’t a shade of brown, she would not even touch it. On top of that she had a very difficult time with different textures in foods. This caused me much frustration as I knew she was not getting the proper balanced diet that she desperately needed. She also had lactose intolerance and several food allergies on top of that. I approached her pediatrician several times and the only advice we ever got was to give her a nutrition drink and go from there. I really disliked the idea of getting artificial nutrition and started searching for ways to help make the foods that she was comfortable eating, more nutritious for her. Continue reading My Journey Here