Healthier Chicken Salad

Seriously the best lightened-up chicken salad.

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I really hate lunch. I hate making it, I hate eating it. I find it a complete inconvenience. So it’s always been tough for me to come up with lunch ideas that I will actually want to make and eat. I’ve got work day lunches down. Leftovers, homemade soups and salads keep me fed Monday through Fridays, but on the weekends I’m always at a loss. It results in either picking up some sort of unhealthy high calories fast food, or just skipping lunch all together. Neither are good options in my book. In an effort to eat whole healthy food (80% or the time) I knew I had to try to find some new ideas for weekend lunches. This chicken salad recipe has ben added to the weekend rotation.

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I like lots of crunch in my chicken salad, so I load it with crunchy celery, crisp apples and a sweet pop from red grapes. I love the freshness it gives. I also like using pulled chicken breast instead of chopped. I prefer the texture of pulled chicken it really makes the chicken, fruit and celery stay together and prevents the filling of the sandwich from falling out. The dressing of this chicken salad is made with greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Not only is it delicious but it isn’t your typical high fat, high calorie chicken salad.

Greek yogurt has tons of protein, combine that with chicken breast a delicious dressing and yummy add ins and you have a great high protein lunch. Skip the croissant and your lunch is even healthy…. but I highly recommend the croissant!

This recipe is a must try for lunch, or to put on a lunch buffet.

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Healthier Chicken Salad

Yields: 4 large servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Stalk of Celery, diced
  • 1/2 An Apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup Red Grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Half the Fat Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roast chicken for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Cool slightly. Shred the chicken using two forks, or the mixer method. Place chicken in the fridge to cool completely.

Whisk together greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Slice grapes, dice celery and apple.

Combine cold chicken, celery, apple, grapes and dressing and mix throughly.

Serve salad on bread, croissants or salad greens. If desired add lettuce or tomatoes to your sandwiches. Serve immediately or store in your fridge for 2 days.


Raspberry Lemon Linzer Cookies

Lemon and raspberry cookies cut in heart shapes, perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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Valentine’s Day is now less then a week away! Have you bought your sweetie a gift? If you haven’t check out my Valentine’s Day gift guides. Have you made your reservations? Planned a special date? Or are you a last minute planner? We booked our dinner reservation and I got my husband a gift a few weeks ago. This year we are going to our favourite restaurant. It’s walking distance from our house so we can enjoy a long dinner, share a few too many drinks before safely walking home.

For our first Valentine’s Day we dressed up and went out to a fine dining restaurant, ate a very expensive preset menu and ordered oysters. We thought it would be the perfect dinner. But of course Calvin hated his duck and we discovered that neither of us like oysters. The dinner was so expensive my husband still won’t tell me how much the dinner costs. We were collage kids with no money so this dinner was a really big deal. Although it wasn’t perfect we still look back at it as a great memory of our early days.

The year after that we got teen burgers from A&W, I made some treats and we had a picnic in the living room. Over the last six years we’ve done everything from fancy dinners to fast food. Last year we made homemade heart shaped pizza (my pizza dough recipe) and chocolate lava cakes (YUM!). Regardless of how we’ve celebrated we’ve spent quality time together showing our love for the other and reminding ourselves how important our relationship is.

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I love to celebrate everything, big and small. I like to show people that I care about them. I love to give gifts, but giving people something you made is so special. These cookies are perfect to give to family and friends or serve to your sweetheart. They are also just really cute and festive!

Linzer cookies are super simple to make kind of like a sugar cookie but way better! But they have almond flour and are made without leavener. They are delicate, flavourful and rich. The addition on lemon zest adds a fresh light citrus flavour to the cookie. Raspberry jam is sandwiched between two cookies to add a delicious berry flavour.

These cookies are so so so good. They are also really fun to make. They look really impressive too so they are perfect to giveaway. I love when a simple baked good makes someones day! These are totally worth it!

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Lemon Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Yields: 12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • Zest of One Lemon
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • Seedless Raspberry Jam
  • Confectioner’s Sugar

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together all purpose flour, almond flour and salt together. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer beat butter, sugar until pale until fluffy. About 2 minutes. Add lemon zest, egg yolk and vanilla extract, beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on low until just combined. Divide dough into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll dough a quarter inch thick. Using a medium sized heart shaped cookie cutter cut out 24 hearts. Using a smaller heart shaped cookie cutter cut the centre out of 12 of the cookies. Place the cookies on the baking sheets. Place the cookie sheets in the fridge for an hour to chill.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just beginning to turn brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Once completely cool dust cookie tops with confectioner sugar. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of jam on each of the cookie bottoms. Leave a boarder around the jam to ensure the jam doesn’t spill out the sides of the cookies. Place the tops pf the cookies on the bottom.

Chill the cookies in the fridge or 30 minutes before serving to set the jam. Store in the fridge for up to one week.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Lemon Raspberry Linzer Cookies - Valentine's Day Treats, yummy!
Lemon Raspberry Linzer Cookies - Valentine's Day Treats, yummy!

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: Him & Her

Valentine’s Day is one of my favourite holidays! I think it’s such a fun day to show your loved one’s that you love them. Single or in a relationship there are lots of fun ways to celebrate.

Coming on Saturday is my recipe for heart shaped linzer cookies which are a super fun sweet treat to enjoy with loved ones on Valentine’s Day. For a sneak peak check out my instagram! I’ll also be sharing how we are celebrating Valentine’s Day and how we have celebrated in the past.

Today I am sharing his and hers gift guides. These are some great ideas for your husband, wife, galentine, best buddy or even your parents! My husband doesn’t read my blog, but I might have to send him the link to this post!

Men's Vday Gift Guide

one / two / three / four / five / six

 

I’m really obsessed with the men’s gift guide and a lot of the gifts are unisex and just simply awesome!

  1. Watches are always a great gift and I love Daniel Wellington watches because they are super classic.
  2. Beats Headphones, don’t we all want beats head phones? We were late adapters to wireless headphones and seriously I don’t know why we waited so long! These over the hear Beats Headphones would be such a great upgrade!
  3. Yeti mugs are so great! We use travel mugs daily and I love Yeti because they are dishwasher safe!! Say what?! Yep you heard me! Men are practical so providing them with upgrades to items they use daily is always a safe bet.
  4. We have one Bose bluetooth speaker that we move all over the house to listen to music. The sound quality is fantastic and we love it!
  5. We take coffee very seriously in my house! We have a drip coffee maker, Nespresso and until recently a french press. Our french press broke recently and we’ve been looking for a good manual coffee maker to replace it. I think this pour over brew would be a great option!
  6. I have been a fan of Herschel Supply Co. for years now. I carried their backpacks in college. They are also Canadian which makes my heart happy! I think this bag it the perfect size for a weekend getaway and we need more of those!

 

 

Woman's Vday Gift Guide

one / two / three / four / five / six

 

I love that the gifts for the ladies are sweet, fun and romantic. Perfect for the special lady in your life or your Galentine!

  1. Victoria Secret PJ’s are my absolute favourite! They are worth every penny in my opinion. I have the pant version of this set and I’m obsessed! The adorable short version is on my wish list.
  2. I have a serious sweet tooth and gummy candies are my weakness! Of course Sugarfina takes candy to the next level and I can’t get enough (send me all the champagne bears!)
  3. Diptyque are one of my favourite candles to give and receive as gifts. There is something so elegant and special about them. They also go with everyone’s decor. I think the Baies scent is perfect for Valentine’s day.
  4. Silk pillow cases are fantastic for your skin and your hair. Since switching to silk I noticed a huge difference in my hair. I struggle with serious fizz and this has decreased the frizz so much! What I love about the Slip pillowcases is that they are machine washable! No one have time to dry clean a pillow case!! I also think receiving a silk item from your significant other on Valentines day is very romantic!
  5. I love the whole Barefoot Dreams line and I know I’m not the only one! It’s crazy how soft their products are. I have a cardigan from their line and I can’t get enough. So their blankets are on my wish list and is such a great indulgent gift to receive.
  6. I love to diffuse essential oils so a diffuser is a great gift that’s not only practical but provides ambiance to your space making it a romantic and special gift.

 

There you have it gift guides for the special men and woman in your life!


Spaghetti & Meatballs

Flavour packed meatballs smothered in tomato sauce served on top of spaghetti.

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I am constantly searching for dinner ideas that can be made ahead and frozen. Freezer meals save me during the week. I love spaghetti and meatballs. It’s such a classic comforting meal.

I like a flavour packed and tender meatball. I fill my meatballs with ground beef, sausage, herbs and parmesan cheese. They are baked not fried. I like to bake mine on a wire rack so that excess fat can be rendered off. This makes the meatballs really tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

This recipe makes 24 meatballs, so I freeze what we won’t eat and pull the meatballs out portion by portion as we need them. It’s perfect since I always have spaghetti and pasta sauce on hand. Add a side salad and you have a complete meal in 20 minutes. I don’t know about you but I need more meals like this in my life!

As for the sauce. I keep it super simple fresh and flavourful. I like the meatballs to shine in this one. They have such a delicious flavour I didn’t want a heavy marinara sauce to overpower it. If you want to keep it super simple buy a really good marinara sauce doctor is up with garlic and seasonings, tell everyone it’s a family recipe. But if you have the time make your own sauce… it really is better.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Yields: 24 meatballs

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • 1 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Milk (Use whatever you have on hand – I used 2%)
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound Extra Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 pound Spicy Italian Sausage, removed from casings

Sauce:

  • 2 28 oz Can Whole Plum Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up!), place a wire rack into the baking sheet. Spray the wire rack with cooking spray. Set

In a large bowl mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, milk, tomato paste, salt, pepper and eggs. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add ground beef and sausage. Gently mix all ingredients until combined (you can use a spoon, but your fingers are best.. I know it’s gross, but worth it!)

Roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls (about 1 ounce each). Place on the prepared wire rack. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large sauce pan on low. Add garlic to the pan cook for 30 seconds until fragrant and softened. Add tomato paste, heat through for 1 minute. Add canned tomatoes to the pan. Simmer sauce over medium low heat for 10 – 15 minutes. Use a potato masher to crush the plum tomatoes. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes.

Once the meatballs are cooked through add them to the sauce. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and toss pasta with tomato sauce.

Serve spaghetti in bowls topped with meatballs. Garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.

Spaghetti and Meatballs - Yum! Classic comfort food!
Spaghetti and Meatballs - Yum! Classic comfort food!

Blueberry Oat Muffins

Whole wheats and oat muffins, bursting with juicy blueberries.

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Every weekend I try to make muffins or banana bread. Some sort of baked good that can be grabbed on our way to work in the morning. Or thrown in my purse for a mid morning snack. Bonus points if it’s tasty enough to enjoy as dessert. Anything that keeps me away from a chocolate bar is key to keep my waist line from growing!

Blueberry muffins are one of my favourite kinds of muffins. I like that they are fresh and light while still providing the comfort of a baked good. I personally am not a fan of the baker style muffin. To me those are truly a dessert. They are more like cake than muffin and you will rarely find me baking them. If a baked good is going to be part of my regular diet as part of a meal pr snack I have a few requirements:

  • Mostly whole wheat or whole grain
  • Low in sugar
  • Healthy fat source
  • Delicious!
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These muffins fit my rules. They contain whole wheat flour, rolled oats, honey, cinnamon, apple sauce, coconut oil and blueberries! Lots of filling healthy ingredients to fuel your day.

We’ve enjoyed these so much I’m going to me making another batch on Sunday!

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Blueberry Oat Muffins

Yields: 14 Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 cup Milk (Cows milk, nut milk, oat milk – your favourite!)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen, do not defrost frozen)
  • Optional: Rolled Oats and Turbinado Sugar, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your muffin tins with cupcake liners or grease with oil or non stick spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Once ingredients are evenly distributed, set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar, honey, apple sauce, coconut oil, milk, vanilla and egg. Whisk until smooth. Pour dry ingredients into the wet. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add blueberries, fold into batter.

Pour batter into the prepared muffin tins. Fill each tin 3/4 of the way full. Do not over fill.  Sprinkle tops of muffins with rolled oats and turbinado sugar if desired. Bake muffins for 20-30 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for about a week. These muffins also freeze and defrost well.