Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Changing Life

Well I did it... I actually quit my job to stay at home and actively raise my children.  For me I can't do it all... too much stress and never enough time to give to my husband and kids!  So together the husband and I decided that it was time to make a change.

Just to make this transition a little more challenging we also decided to move! So this last weekend we moved out of our 2200 sq foot house into a beautiful 1800 sq foot townhouse.  Now during this process I realized that I have a ton of interests but (it seems) not enough time.  I have a lot of half started projects, books I've never read, recipes I've never tried and a lot of things I've saved because I knew I would need to used them some day.  But that day never came!

So after a lot of painful decluttering... we have moved and I'm ready to give my all to myself and my family!

Because I was always so pushed for time, I always purchased my lunch at the company cafeteria.  Like everyone else I have my favorite lunches.  Now my challenge is recreating them at home!  Lately I have discovered that I really like fresh fruit in my salad and I used to get this great Chicken, Pear, Feta, and Walnut Salad with a citrus dressing. YUMMY!

So first I needed to cook some chicken.  I took two chicken breasts and sprinkled them with some garlic salt and onion flakes.  I baked them @ 350 for about 45 minutes and then I let them cool completely.  I then thinly sliced them and put them in a container.  My husband typically cooks chicken on Sunday to be used in his lunches all week.  It happens to be the only day of the week that he kicks me out of the kitchen. So now we spend some time together in the kitchen... SCORE hubby time!

Next I had to find the dressing, after a little searching I found a Candied, Walnut, Pear and Leafy Green Salad on  It isn't exact but with a little tweaking it is pretty darn close.  Below is where I made changes.  One word of caution... if you don't like balsamic vinegar... this isn't the recipe for you!
Chicken & Citrus Salad
Chicken Ingredients
2 chicken breasts
garlic salt
onion flakes
Chicken Directions
Preheat the oven to 350.  Place chicken breasts into dish and sprinkle with garlic salt and onion flakes.  Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked.  Let the chicken completely cool.  Once cooled thinly slice the chicken and place in a container and refrigerate until you are ready to have your salad.

Candied Walnut Ingredients
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup walnuts
Cooking Spray
Candied Walnut Directions
(Please note the original recipe does not call for water however, after a minute at medium heat... my sugar was not melting... once I added a splash of water the sugar dissolved.)
Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Add sugar and a splash of water to a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add in walnuts and stir.  Coat all of the walnuts with the sugar mixture.  Spread the walnut on the cookie sheet and set aside to cool.

Dressing Ingredients
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbls White Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard (I didn't have any mustard in the house so I used this instead)
3 Tbls Olive Oil
1/2 medium orange (Squeeze the juice into the blender don't add the whole thing to the blender)
Dressing Instructions
In a blender combine all ingredients and emulsify. Transfer ingredients to a bowl (make sure the bowl is large enough to add the sliced pears to once they are cut).

Salad Ingredients
Romaine Lettuce - cleaned and torn into bit size pieces I used an entire head of Romaine
Feta Cheese - the amount you like I usually add about a 1/4 cup
Mushrooms - optional - I add them to all my salads because they are high in Vitamin D
Pear - sliced as you are slicing them add them to the dressing bowl and coat them with the dressing.  This will keep them from turning brown. Once I am done I pull the pears out of the dressing and put them on a plate.
Craisins - I use about 2 Tbls I think.
Salad Directions
In the bowl with the lettuce add all the above ingredients.  Also add half of the candied walnuts.  I gradually add in the dressing and toss until lightly coated.  Don't forget to add the chicken... I like mine heated but it is good with it cold too.

I know it sounds like a lot of work but it really isn't.  Enjoy!