Strawberry Chicken Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette…+ some pretty exciting news!

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I have a staff meeting with my girls today. Yes, we are a department of all women, ranging in age from 19 to 64. It’s a great group of women and the management team was challenged to talk about management styles with their staff.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what management style I am…and I’ll be curious to see what they have to say. I pride myself in taking productive criticism very well, so I hope to learn a lot from the discussion. My hunch is that they will say I am a mix of democratic and permissive. No doubt, I like things to be copacetic, but I am only permissive until the job isn’t being done well or done correctly. Then…we have issues!

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One thing I’ve learned in my very brief career is that it pays to pursue the paths that make you happiest. I haven’t stayed at jobs that I didn’t enjoy and I’ve concentrated my efforts into things that make me happiest and fulfill me. For example, I was really hoping that my diabetes class last night would draw in a room full. Unfortunately, I had 6 attendees, but you know…that’s okay. I feel like I get a bit disappointed every month over a less-than-expected attendance but the fact is, I spent 2 hours of my evening with individuals looking to learn how to live and eat healthier. That is rewarding…very rewarding.

I’ve also concentrated my efforts into blogging and writing A Delicious Balance. Both blogging and writing have rounded out my career a way that I can’t imagine. My life wouldn’t be complete any longer without my connection to those I don’t even know…if that makes any sense at all. Writing touches people, whether it’s online or in a book.

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Today I hope my staff recognize that I’m a hard worker and that I love challenges. I’m always looking for the next project to fill my plate with and as much as I hate to admit it, being busy is where I am happiest and where I perform best. I’m also at a place in life where it’s me, Mr. P, Lily, and our careers…that’s it!

So, I continue to work crazy hours, play hockey like a crazy person, blog away, and as of yesterday…start on cookbook #2! That’s right, I am tackling another cookbook. I have twice as long to get everything together (a whopping 6 months!), but this book will be a welcomed challenge — gluten-free cooking and baking with an emphasis on almond flour. It should be an exciting, challenging time as I embark on this project, no doubt!

Today, an original gluten-free, Mr. P-approved creation that is willing warm weather my way!

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Strawberry Chicken Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Strawberry Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
8 oz (about 11-12 large) strawberries
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper

Salad:
4 oz mixed greens
1/3 cup Strawberry Vinaigrette (above)
8 oz grilled chicken, sliced
6 large strawberries, sliced
1 oz blue cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp pistachios
3 Tbsp pecan halves

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a blender or food processor and process until smooth; set aside.

Toss the mixed greens with ~1/3 cup of the dressing and divided the mixture onto 2 plates. Top each salad with 4 ounces of chicken, 3 berries, 1/2 ounce blue cheese, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon pistachios, and 1 1/2 tablespoons pecans. Serve immediately!

Note: The dressing makes approximately 1 2/3 cups (enough to make dinner-sized salads for 10 people)

Yield: 2 dinner-sized salads (with 1 1/3 cup leftover dressing)

Nutrition Information (per salad, as prepared above): 442 calories; 27.0 g. fat; 68 mg. cholesterol; 416 mg. sodium; 17.0 g. carbohydrate; 9.0 g. fiber; 37.0 g. protein; 7.0 g. sugar

Result: I totally winged it with this one and I loved the result. The dressing was this stunning pale pink and because it was heavy on the berries and light on the oil, it was pretty low in calories. But, I dolled up the salad with some of my healthy add-ins like pistachios, sunflower seeds, pecans, and of course, blue cheese. The grilled chicken was to appease Mr. Prevention but even HE said…the salad would’ve been fabulous without it! Bonus points! ;)

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 Thanks for all of your congrats and shared excitement! I am totally humbled by it all! :-D

Be well,

sig4

Comments

  1. says

    That’s AWESOME!!!!! Wow, another cookbook?! Good for you Nicole. Wonderful. And it’s a gluten free one? I will definitely promote it in my gluten free adventures at work!!! I can tell everyone I KNOW THE AUTHOR :) Muahaha
    So, I know what you mean about feeling saddened about a lack luster showing for a class. But, like you said, even educating a handful of passionate people is better than none at all.

  2. says

    I enjoyed your post today (and the gorgeous salad!!) but I cried when I read the part about the low attendance at your diabetes class. This is near and dear and current in my life right now. One of my very closest friends on this earth is battling diabetes. Unfortunately, he is also very poor and w/o insurance, so often goes without the medical care he needs. When he does see a doctor, it’s for some crisis emergency thing like the wound on his foot….no time for much, if any, counseling about what he eats. (BTW, we are working hard on getting him qualified for different kinds of assistance, but these things take time, AND we live in a small town where some things are just flat not available). He’s never really known exactly what to eat…we all sort of had “ideas” and read things here and there, but we knew it wasn’t exactly right and not really enough info.
    Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was, we finally found some diabetes classes/counseling for him, and we (friends and family) pooled our money together for him to attend. The classes were very small, he said. But I want you to know that it changed his life, and in extension, our lives. He (much) better understands the role that what he eats and when he eats plays in his health…his very life. We get to keep him in our lives a little longer because of someone like you. So thank you from the very bottom of my heart, and thank you from his 2 daughters, and his new 7 month old grandson who adores his Grandpa, and his 4 brothers and sisters. That’s 8 thank yous….and if the 6 people in your class also had 8 people who were happy to get to keep their loved one a little healthier and a little longer…hmmm, you just contributed to (at least) 48 people from teaching your class. :)

    I’m sorry this was so long, but I wanted to try to fully express how important it all was (and is) to us. I don’t think any one of us ever knows the *complete* extent of the good we do by helping just one person- that ol’ ripple effect. :)

    And I know you know all of this, but I just felt compelled to reiterate it, and to thank you again. :)

  3. says

    Congratulations! More power to you, sister! You certainly put out great work here, so I can only imagine the level of work in your cookbook :) Best of luck!

  4. says

    That is so very exciting!! Congrats!!
    I can’t wait to get your new cookbook in August. Just looking at the cover makes me wish I already had it :)
    I know exactly how you feel about the low attendance. It’s so hard when you put so much time & effort into teaching classes and the attendance is low. But you’re right – even just teaching 6 people is oh so rewarding.

    • Nicole, RD says

      A better cover is coming! I just saw it! Amazon should be updated soon! :) I can’t wait for you to get a copy either! ;) Thanks, Meme!

  5. Karla says

    I am a beginner when it comes to cooking. Eh, I am a beginner at many things. I tried this recipe for dinner tonight and my mother and I loved it. Cooking healthy, tasty meals for my loved ones has been a way for me to feel empowered. Thank you for your sharing your stories with us. You inspire me!

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