Chicken Almond Chop Salad

While being pregnant with Kaeden I became obsessed with chopped salads. I used to love leafy greens like spinach, baby kale, green or red leaf, but I was repulsed by them during pregnancy and still am. Don’t know what happened, but I fell like a cow grazing in a pasture and I just can’t do it. Missing out on my greens I began to experiment with shaved brussel sprouts, broccoli slaw, cabbage and kale. The thing I love about this combo is it is CRUNCHY for minutes, crunchy for hours, crunchy for days! Nothing is worse than tossing on your favorite dressing and the salad is soggy within seconds. I need the crunch folks. Hand me a plate of cooked spinach, collards or beet greens and I, but not the greens will vanish in seconds. Anyway! Enough of my distaste for most greens. In my opinion they only belong in smoothies were you can blend them to smithereens and not even know they are there.

Aside from this delicious recipe (must try….come on you will like it), Luke and I are starting a round of P90X3 (Luke) and Insanity Asylum (me) after Thanksgiving. Time to get our unfinished basement prepped for some sweat-filled workouts. Yippee! Oh, what a fun way to work off some baby weight and curb some of that holiday weight gain! I have never really had an issue with holiday weight gain, but that is because I either run or do some sort of physical activity to counterbalance the extra calories. I always look at weight loss or weight maintenance as a numbers game. If you are putting more into your mouth (e.g. pie, cookies, fudge, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, and on and on….) than you are outputting through exercise then you are going to gain weight. I encourage you to start with exercise, but also be careful about your food choices. Skip that extra cookie and go for a walk. Or do not make the green bean casserole, so you are not tempted to eat it. Heck bring this salad to Christmas dinner and wow people with how darn good it tastes! Most importantly, I am here to help out and am going to come up with some new recipes for you all in the next couple of weeks / months!

I know you are thinking yah, yah, okay I will try not to eat the whole plate of cookies (lord knows I want to), but you can and you will not eat it if you put your mind to it! Done with my sermon now!

Oh, I also need to share our super exciting family outing, Menards. “You save big money, you save big money when you shop Menards.” That damn song! I think I heard it 100 times yesterday. The deer haunters need to pause and aim for the speakers at Menards for my sanity. Whoop, I know we are ripping it up in our 30’s! In all seriousness Mason had a blast. They have their Christmas decorations out and he was running from light displays to ornaments to snow village. If you are looking for cheap entertainment Menards is the place! Who needs the Children’s museum, whewwwwww not us. After this little adventure we put up all our Christmas decorations. The cutest thing was seeing Mason outside “helping” daddy! We finished out the evening with a visit from my sister and her better half from Alaska! Great seeing them!

Chicken Almond Chop Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. Citrus Poppyseed Vinaigrette
  2. 1/3 C Olive Oil
  3. 1 Lemon, Juice
  4. 3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  5. 1 1/2 tsp Poppy Seeds
  6. 1/2 tsp Salt
  7. 1/4 tsp Pepper
  8. 1 Grapefruit, Juice
  9. 1 tbsp Agave Nectar or Honey
Chicken Almond Chop Salad
  1. 1 bag Broccoli Slaw
  2. 1 bag Brussel Sprouts, shaved
  3. 1 bunch Kale, chopped
  4. 2 C Chicken, cooked and chopped
  5. 1 C Raisins
  6. 1 C Almonds, slivered
Directions
Citrus Poppyseed Dressing
  1. Mix together dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
Chicken Almond Chop Salad
  1. Toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in dressing when ready to serve.
Notes
  1. This salad will stay fresh for up to 3 days in the refrigerator as long you leave the dressing off. Just put on the dressing when ready to serve.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cranberry Quinoa Salad

I have been on a quinoa salad kick lately! My last two salads have been centered around this delicious little seed :) Why not when it tastes delicious right? I love this one because of the cranberries, apples and brussel sprouts. I am a crunchy salad kind of girl so this one was right up my alley! 

Aside from salads, I hope everyone had a Happy Holidays. We were blessed to have a wonderful Christmas in Alexandria! My dad bought $96 worth of king crab and boy did it hit the spot. I love, love Alaskan king crab. It reminds of me of living in Alaska and one of my favorite TV shows, Deadliest Catch. Yummy!

We also spent some time swimming with Mason at the hotel pool. They had a kiddie pool and boy did the little guy get brave at the end. He kept running, losing his balance and then doing a nose dive head first into the water. Obviously we were there to catch him every time, but his face was classic when he came out of the water! 

Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Instructions
Cranberry Quinoa Salad
  1. 1 C Quinoa
  2. 2 C Water
  3. 3/4 C Cranberries
  4. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  5. 2 C Brussels Sprouts, shaved
  6. 2 Small Apples, chopped
Apple Cider Dressing
  1. 1/3 C Olive Oil
  2. 3-4 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. 1/4 C Apple Juice
  4. 1 Lemon, juice
  5. 3 Tbsp Honey
  6. 1/2 tsp Celery Seed
  7. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Instructions
Cranberry Quinoa Salad
  1. Add two cups of water to medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Add quinoa and turn down heat to simmer (low). Cook for 12-15 minutes until water is absorbed. Set aside and allow to completely cool before adding other salad ingredients.
  2. Chop up the apples and shave the brussel sprouts either with a mandolin or food processor. Put all of the salad ingredients into a medium size bowl. Add quinoa once it has come to room temperature.
Apple Cider Dressing
  1. Add dressing ingredients to a quart sized mason jar or a food storage container. Add lid and shake until completely combined.
  2. Toss the dressing into the salad when ready to serve.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Asian Quinoa Salad

I made this yesterday and cannot wait to eat it up again for lunch! Yummy! I must say that Quinoa is one of my favorite super foods and is technically a seed (not a grain, making it Paleo friendly…you be the judge). The main reasons I love it are (source: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4994/7-Benefits-of-Quinoa-The-Supergrain-of-the-Future.html):

  1. Protein Rich – Quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
  2. High Fiber Content – Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and may help you to lose weight as it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.
  3. High in Iron – Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron some more of which include neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, aids enzyme activity and energy metabolism.
  4. Contains Lysine – Essential for tissue growth and repair.
  5. Rich in Magnesium – Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  6. High in Riboflavin (B2) – Improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.

Quinoa pretty much rocks it from a nutritional perspective and I got inspired by my cousin’s wife because she brought a Quinoa salad with a peanut dressing to our holiday party last Saturday.

Knowing many are allergic/sensitive to peanuts, I created this salad with a dressing that is nut free (and then completely negated my efforts by tossing in cashews) :) Cashews are easy to sub for some sunflower seeds though. 

Asian Quinoa Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
Asian Quinoa Salad
  1. 1 C Quinoa
  2. 2 C Water
  3. 2 C Chicken Breast, cooked
  4. 1 C Snap Peas, cut in half
  5. 2 C Brussel Sprouts, shaved
  6. 1 C Cashews, chopped (use sunflower seeds if allergic to cashews)
  7. 1 C Carrots, shredded or sliced thinly
  8. 1/2 English Cucumber, chopped
Sesame Sunflower Dressing
  1. 1/4 C Sunbutter
  2. 3 tbsp Sesame Oil
  3. 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. 1 Lemon, juice
  5. 3 tbsp Honey
  6. 1 tsp Salt
  7. 1 tsp Pepper
  8. 1 tsp Chipotle Seasoning
  9. 4 tbsp Hemp Seeds
  10. 1 tbsp Mustard
Asian Quinoa Salad
  1. Bring water to boil. Add quinoa, turn down heat to low & simmer until fully cooked. Takes roughly 20 minutes or until liquid fully absorbed. Let quinoa cool for 20 minutes before adding dressing and chopped veggies.
Sesame Sunflower Dressing
  1. Mix together olive oil, mustard, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup and basil.
  2. Toss dressing with cooked quinoa, vegetables, chicken and cashews until combined.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Pomegranate Pepita Salad

Oh what to do when your dog decides she has to wake you up at 12:43 AM to go to the bathroom. Normally I go to bed around 7 and get up around 3 am, but 12:43 is going to leave a mark today! I know you are probably thinking well, why don’t you go back to bed? There is a fine line for me when trying to go back to bed. Sometimes it works, but rarely. So, once I am up, I am up for good (unfortunately). Hopefully tonight I will get my full 8 hours or I will be a bear tomorrow! 

I decided that since I am up and already put in 30 hours for work this week as of Wednesday that I would work on my linked in profile, write up this blog post and also research becoming a Beach Body coach. I have been participating in group challenges with a high school friend, Jackie (who also happened to marry my cousin, Josh). The challenges have involved eating clean, substituting one meal per day with a Shakeology smoothie and having one meal per day be a salad. I started participating in the groups because I was looking for something socially that fit my interests. I also just flat out feel better physically and emotionally when I continuously eat healthy. 

So, wanting to engage in clean eating with other ladies I decided to give Jackie’s groups a shot and I LOVE THEM. I have met so many new and fun ladies that I decided that it would be fun to be a coach too :) Honestly I get so excited to see all of the messages, meals and inspirational messages other ladies post to the group boards on Facebook! To make a long story short, Jackie asked if I would be interested in joining her team to help run clean eating and exercise groups because I have a passion for living a healthy lifestyle. After doing some research on Skakeology and Beach Body and talking to my husband, he and I both agree that it would be the perfect complement to this blog. It will also be a great hobby for me and a way to engage with others who also want to improve their health.

After I get all set up I will add details on my blog about the challenges and products used for the various challenges. Hopefully some of you will want to join in on the fun! Cheers to living life to the fullest and taking care of your body! 

Pomegranate Pepita Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
Pomegranate Pepita Salad
  1. 3 C Shaved Brussel Sprouts
  2. 3 C Arugula
  3. 1 Large Sweet Potato
  4. 1/4 C Pepitas (Omit for AIP diet)
  5. 1/2 Cooked Bacon, nitrate-free
  6. 1/2 C Pomegranate Seeds
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  1. 1 Lemon, juice
  2. 1/4 C Honey or Agave Nectar
  3. 1/2 C Apple Juice
  4. 1/4 C Olive Oil
  5. 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  6. 1/2 tsp Salt
  7. 1/4 tsp Pepper
Instructions
Pomegranate Pepita Salad
  1. Peel the sweet potato and chop into 1/2 inch squares. Steam for 10-12 minutes until tender. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperate.
  2. Mix together other salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set in the refrigerator while making the dressing and allowing the sweet potatoes to cool.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  1. Add salad dressing ingredients to a quart sized mason jar. Shake until combined.
  2. Once sweet potatoes are cool, toss them and the dressing into the salad. Serve immediately.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Berry Sprout Chop Salad

Our Christmas decorations are finally up…whoop, whoop!

XMas Tree

We had several issues getting the lights to work this year. The little mother effers really pissed me off because half of the strands were out. I spent at least an hour taking out burnt lights and plugging in news ones, but much to my demise they still didn’t work. Finally I turned to my husband and said, “Combined you and I make X dollars an hour and this is a waste of our time considering we can buy new lights for less than our hourly wage!” He started laughing and said, “Oh honey you are starting to think like me!” LOL! Hence we bought new LED lights so they last longer and we do not have to go through this process again so quickly! The lights are also way more vibrant than standard bulbs. Love them! Now let’s see if the little 2 1/2 foot monster (in the photo) can keep the ornaments on the tree :) 

All right, now on to my day 2 salad for the 12 days of Christmas salads challenge I am doing with some fun ladies! This one is YUMMY! I love the combination of crunch from the brussel sprouts, peppery flavor from the arugula and sweet/tanginess from the orange pomegranate dressing. This one is winner in my opinion. 

Berry Sprout Chop Salad
Serves 2
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
Berry Sprout Chop Salad
  1. 3 C Arugula
  2. 3 C Brussel Sprouts, shaved
  3. 1 1/2 C Blueberries
  4. 1/2 C Cranberries
  5. 1/2 C Pomegranate Seeds
  6. 1/4 C Green Onions, finely chopped (optional)
Orange Pomegranate Dressing
  1. 2 Oranges, Juice
  2. 1 C Pomegranate Blueberry Juice
  3. 1/2 Olive Oil
  4. 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  5. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  6. pinch of pepper
Directions
Berry Sprout Chop Salad
  1. Toss together salad ingredients into a large bowl.
Orange Pomegranate Dressing
  1. Add salad dressing ingredients to a mason jar. Screw on the lid and shake until combined.
  2. When ready to serve, toss the dressing into the salad.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Bacon Avocado Salad

After having a brussel sprout and kale chopped salad in New York, I have been craving this combination a lot! The version I had in NYC had purple potatoes, peas, sunflower seeds, brie cheese, kale, brussel sprouts and arugula. It was incredible, but I pushed aside the purple potatoes and brie cheese because I didn’t like them in the salad.

In a quest to make my own allergy-friendly version, I took out any of the ingredients that were not autoimmune friendly (e.g. peas & sunflower seeds). To add in some flavor, I added bacon, shrimp and chopped avocado. 

The outcome was this delicious chop salad with a creamy lemon avocado dressing. On the autoimmune protocol, it is not recommended to use mustard or mustard seed because these are potential gut irritants. In order to garnish the spicy distinct flavor of mustard, I tossed in some mustard greens (they are AIP friendly and for a complete list I highly recommend the book “The Paleo Approach“). I loved this creamy dressing and thought it was the perfect complement to my salad!  

Bacon Avocado Salad
Serves 2
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
Bacon Avocado Salad
  1. 1/2 lb Nitrate-Free Bacon, chopped
  2. 2 C Brussel Sprouts, shredded
  3. 2 C Shrimp, tails removed
  4. 2 C Kale, chopped & tough stems removed
  5. 1 Avocado, chopped
  6. 1 tbsp Garlic, chopped
  7. 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  8. Salt
  9. Pepper
Creamy Lemon Avocado Dressing
  1. 2 Avocados
  2. 1/4 C Olive Oil
  3. 1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  5. 2 Limes, juice
  6. 1 C Mustard Greens
  7. 1/4 C Water (optional for thinner dressing)
  8. 1/4 tsp Salt
  9. Pinch of pepper
Directions
Bacon Avocado Salad
  1. Saute bacon, brussel sprouts and garlic over medium high heat until brussel sprouts are tender and bacon is fully cooked.
  2. Add in shrimp, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until shrimp with bacon & brussel sprouts until they are done (they are fully cooked when the tails curl up into a circle).
  3. Set aside and allow ingredients to cool to room temperature. Will take between 10-15 minutes.
Creamy Lemon Avocado Dressing
  1. Add dressing ingredients (minus the water) into a high-speed blender and combine until creamy.
  2. Use additional water if you want a runnier consistency.
  3. Put chopped kale in the bottom of large salad bowl, top with the bacon mixture, chopped avocado and creamy lemon avocado dressing.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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