The Best Chicken Salad Sandwich

My kids spill their drinks everyday.

Every. Single. Day.

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On a day when it's almost bed time and the spill hasn't happened, I literally visualize the calm before the storm. A few weeks ago we went out to eat with the kids and ordered a large lemonade.

First mistake.

 Somehow the restaurant messed up and they brought us three. THREE large lemonades on a table with three kids.

Second mistake.

We let the kids all have sips.

Third Mistake.

Then...Each cup of lemonade was knocked at some point during the dinner and proceeded to spill  all over the floor, table, their clothes, my purse, my pride...

After the first spill we removed the remaining two lemonades to the other side of the table. My husband got up to go to the bathroom and some how his butt knocked the other cup off the table. The third happened when we were getting out of the booth and my 3 year old grabbed the large cup when I wasn't looking and dropped it everywhere.

You guys!! Who gave us children?!  

In my defense, I helped the waiters clean up each mess as I jokingly said we shouldn't be allowed outside and each time not one of them laughed...BECAUSE WHY WOULD THEY?

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What does this have to do with chicken salad sandwiches you might ask?

Nothing.

It's just an easy dinner for a tired mom who is holding a mop and regretting throwing away the sippy cups.

I love chicken salad sandwiches for dinner because it comes together SO easy and I don’t have to turn on my oven. It’s versatile and you could add what ever you have on hand, but the touch of fresh herbs and lemon juice take this meal over the top! Trust me, everyone will ask you for the recipe! I cannot take full credit for this recipe, because the amazing blog How To Feed a Loon came up with the original recipe. I adapted it a little to what I had on hand.

The Best Chicken Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 cup purple grapes halved

3 small or 2 large celery stalks chopped

3 scallions sliced

1 cup  candied pecans

1 cup mayo or plain greek yogurt, or half yogurt/half mayo for a lighter version 

1 1/2 TB. ground mustard

2 TB. finely chopped dill

1 TB. finely chopped Italian parsley 

Juice of 1 juicy lemon

1/2-3/4 tsp. salt

lots of fresh ground pepper ;)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl toss together the chicken, grapes, celery, scallions, and pecans together.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo or yogurt. Add chopped herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 

3. Pour dressing over salad and mix to combine. 

4. Let set in the fridge for at least an hour if able. 

5. Serve and enjoy!

Original Recipe From How To Feed A Loon

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Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

We all know that when it comes to accomplishing certain tasks, if you throw a few children in the mix things can tend to get...tricky. For example, walking out the door. What should be a simple thing which requires little to no brain activity can turn into one of the biggest trials of November. One lost shoe, 15 minutes late, someone has a dirty diaper, you just noticed you aren't wearing a bra...and then FUDGE! Where are your keys?

Every parent says FUDGE when they want to swear but can't. Unless your me, then you say shit. Then your baby says shit. That your 6 your old says, "Mom! The baby said shit!"

FUDGE.

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish
Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish

Let me talk about this morning for example. We've all been so lucky to get that extra hour of sleep this weekend, unless you have children. Because now they wake up at 5:45 instead of 6:45, and you went to bed at 10:45...(technically 11:45, but you figured you would get that extra hour in the morning.) Think.Again.

We just happened to have an extra hour this morning before we had to leave for school! An extra hour never happens, and then your mind starts to wonder about all of the marvelous things you could accomplish if you had time like this EVERY DAY!

You could shower, curl your hair, wear matching clothes, find your kids shoes in time...

cute baby messy kitchen
cute baby messy kitchen
naughty baby
naughty baby

I decided to do a yoga video. I'm trying to embrace Yoga as of lately because of stress. I'm hoping it will calm me, as well as get me toned in all the areas that seem to have just given up.

So I popped in a TWENTY minute yoga video. To some, this seems so insignificant, but to a busy mom, twenty minutes is basically like asking for Milo Ventimiglia from 'This Is Us' to show up at your door unannounced with chocolate. (P.S. why do I want to say his last name all the time?)

5 minutes in, things got dark. The baby was SCREAMING. I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure it was for no reason at all. She climbed all over me yelling in my ear as I tried my best to twist side to side and feel that deep stretch. In between screams I could hear, "Ahhhh. Just breath..."

And then, just like that, with FOUR minutes to spare I hear a cry up stairs, "MMOOOOM! COME WIPE ME!" For real.

"Honey, I can't! I'm "exercising!" Give me 4 minutes!"

"But it's DIARRHEA!!"

Baby screaming. Lady breathing. Kid yelling.

FUDGE.

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup
Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

This is why I make soup. Why, you ask? Because soup is something I love, something that comes together SO quickly. I can make a big pot with whatever vegetables I want and can store it in the fridge for a few days of lunch. Then I can store the other half in the freezer for my lunches next week.

Because sometimes as a mom, you don't have time to think about yourself. Sometimes, it's nice to have a meal ready for you in the fridge when you need it. So, hence this soup. It's warm, comforting, and has vegetables in it! Just make sure everyone is wiped and the baby is napping before you sit down to eat...because we all know what happens when moms try to sit down...

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Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped carrots
  • 3 c. diced butternut squash
  • 1/2 c. milk of choice
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 12 cups water
  • 6 boullion cubes
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 7-14 oz pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil.
  2. Add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent.
  3. Add carrots and butternut. Continue to toss and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in milk, pumpkin puree, water, and boullion cubes.
  5. Stir and come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Next add in pasta and chicken, along with spices. Cook until pasta is slightly undercooked/al dente. (The pasta will continue to retain water as it sits.)
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!
  7. (The pasta I used was rather large and took about a lot of the soup, that's why I say 7 oz-14 oz, depending on pasta size and shape.)

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The pasta I used was this CUTE pasta I purchased from Trader Joes! Those little pumpkins were the perfect match for this soup. But If you do use this pasta, be careful because it get's rather large. I think next time I might only use 3/4 of the bag. To find the pasta, you can purchase it here: (affiliate link)

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So tell me busy moms/dads/persons, what do you do to find time for YOU? I specifically struggling when it comes to exercise, so let me know when and how you fit it in! Have a great week!!

Preschool Lunch Ideas

When my oldest started going to preschool, one of the things I was most excited about was packing her lunch. And maybe the break too.

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

I loved the idea of packing her food that she would be excited about and all the other kids would be...I don't want to say jealous, but I kind of want to say jealous.

Her first year of preschool when she initially started I remember going ALL out. Like cutting things in shapes, making themed lunches, and putting a lot of effort into her lunch.

But then my youngest at the time was becoming more needy, life became more busy, and I just became too tired.

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

(Sidenote: Isn't she the most beautiful think ever? We are in trouble.)

After that I had to have a realization with myself that her lunches didn't have to be fancy/time consuming (or PIN worthy), but they could still be quick, simple, healthy, and toddler approved.

Fast forward to now I'm a busy mom of two with one on the way, which technically makes me a lot slower. I have a hard working husband and bags under my eyes.

Most likely I haven't prepared anything the night before, and we are running late because a certain someone refuses to change out of the Elsa pajamas.

So lunch prep has to be quick.

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

Here is my lunch DISCLAIMER :) :

My oldest is SUPER picky, so I try to appeal to her taste/preferences when she has lunch at school because I'm not there to monitor how much/what she eats.

I try to add one new thing a week, just letting her slowly try different foods.

Her lunches don't always have vegetables. It all depends on what I have on hand, and if I don't pack a veggie she likes, then I will make sure to incorporate veggies later on that day. (Snack/dinner time.)

I pack sweets. Some are homemade, and some aren't. She LOVES chocolate/which chocolate chips, so that's usually her 'treat'.

Here are 12 lunches that I prepared at the start of this school year. Again, nothing fancy. Just simple/quick/healthy/toddler approved.

1- Grapes, Carrots + Dip, White Chocolate Chips, Nut mix, PB + J Sandwiches

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

2-Sunflower seeds, Hummus Sandwich, Grapes, Raspberries, Fig Bar, Blueberry Greek Yogurt

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

3- Turkey, Mozzarella Cheese, Baby Tomatoes, Crackers, Berries, White Chocolate Chips

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

4- Grapes, PB+Honey+Banana+Cinnamon Sandwich, Shredded Mozz. Cheese, Carrots + Dip

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

5- Dehydrated Snap Peas, Shredded Chicken, Salad w/ tomatoes and croutons, Blueberries, White Chocolate Chips. (My daughter LOVES salad!)

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

6-Apples, Blueberries, Sun Chips, Bagel w/ PB +Honey+ Cream Cheese + Cinnamon, Tomato slices, White Chocolate Chips

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

7- (Halloween Theme), Peanut Butter Spider Crackers, Tortilla chips, Bat cheese, Blueberries, Candy Corn, White Chocolate Chips, Carrots + Dip. (I wanted to use guacamole but my avocados were bad when I opened them!)

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

8- Cute Oranges, Homemade Biscuit Turkey + Cheese Sandwich, Carrots, Dehydrated Snap Peas, Craisins, Sugar Cookie

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

9- Dehydrated Snap Peas, Hazelnut Butter, White Chocolate Chips, Cutie Oranges, Turkey

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

10- Blueberries, Plain Greek Yogurt + Honey, Chocolate Chips, Dehydrated Snap Peas, Pretzel Sticks, Cucumbers +Dip

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

11- Blueberries, Shredded Chicken, Chocolate Chips, Ants on A Log, Pretzels

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

12- Berries, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cream Cheese + Crackers, Applesauce

Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish
Toddler School Lunch Ideas, The Diva Dish

Like I said, nothing fancy :)!

What do you pack your kids for lunch? This coming fall I'll be making two lunches, I'll definitely have to post more of those experiences because my girls have WAY different food preferences :)!

Pesto Zucchini Pasta

Say What?!? A Post!!!

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zucchini pasta-eleven

That's right! I'm sure there are pigs flying somewhere right?

Well today's post is featured on Venus Williams Eleven By Venus Blog!

Zucchini Pest Pasta! I am LOVING myjulienne peeler! I have so many ideas in my head on how I can play around with it!

To check out the recipe, GO HERE!

ALSO...

We are back home as of yesterday, and we aren't leaving town for another week and a half so I have PLENTY of time to share things with you! Be looking out for new recipes and etc.!

Thanks again for all of your support! Much love!!

Mexican Style Salad Naan Pizza

Often times I try and make dinners that can please the whole family, and everyone will enjoy. That's in a perfect world though...In reality, my husband wants Del Taco, one daughter is screaming for a popsicle, and the other is eating crumbs off the kitchen floor...And I just want to make peanut butter and honey sandwiches for everyone and tell them to suck it up. (And then I'll go out and have myself a nice dinner.)

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Nothing's worse than making this huge dinner to have one person try it, and the rest of the family dabble at it. So glad I spent 45 minutes making dinner for everyone to not eat it.

AM I RIGHT MOMS?!?!

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I've learned that effort is good when making dinner, but going all out crazy just isn't worth it. No matter how many sauces, dips, spreads, spices, and methods I used making that dinner, there is a chance that 50% will eat only a few bites. And then I feel bummed because all the work I put into dinner, so I finish off everyones plate to make up for it.

It's not pretty.

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So when it comes to dinner, I try and think simple. I remember that I have two kids under 3, and a husband that has the flavor palate of a 15 year old. I also usually try to stick with dishes that can easily be adapted for my kiddos. That means that I can take different parts of that dish and serve them separately to my one year old. For example, this pizza.

I made it so I can serve her the chicken separately, along with the corn, and I can make a quesadilla out of the rest of the ingredients.

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The sauce is so easy that it took 2 minutes to make, just the way I like it! It's vibrant and green due to the cilantro and avocado, which goes perfectly for a mexican style pizza! I also added this in my girls quesadillas!

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Let's not forget about the "crust" in this pizza. It's garlic naan bread, which just took a few hours off my dinner prep. On days where I don't have the will or time to make homemade dough, naan bread is the perfect sub. It's fluffy and flavorful, and when you broil it in the oven it has a nice little crunch just like pizza dough would!

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Then there is my husband and I who have completely two different food preferences. So for my pizza, I opted for no cheese to keep it a little lighter.

But for my husbands pizza, I added a little bit more chicken, lots or cheese, and a few dashes of hot sauce!

After the pizzas are baked, I drizzled cold plain greek yogurt on top, which brings it all together!

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Mexican Salad Naan Pizza

Ingredients

  • For the Pizza
  • Garlic Naan Bread
  • Avocado Cilantro Sauce(Recipe to follow)
  • romain lettuce
  • Cooked chicken
  • corn
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • cheese
  • plain greek yogurt
  • hot sauce
  • (For the Avocado Cilantro Sauce)
  • 2 small avocados
  • 2 small limes (juice)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 c. chopped white onion
  • 1-2 gloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • salt/pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients into a blender, and blending until creamy. Adjust salt/pepper to preferred taste.
  2. To make the pizza, get the naan bread. Spread the sauce on top of the bread.
  3. Then top with chopped romain, corn, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, cooked chicken, and if desired, cheese.
  4. Turn the oven on HI broil, and cook pizza for about 5 or so minutes, until the naan bread is a little crisp and the cheese is melted.
  5. Drizzle with greek yogurt.
  6. Enjoy!

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My husband said this was his favorite dish from me. But he totally says that all the time because I'm such an amazing cook so...

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This is what the girls dinner looked like. It wasn't as colorful, but they enjoyed it! Their quesadillas had cheese and the avocado sauce.

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Don't worry, tomorrow night I WILL serve peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

Pumpkin Spice Roasted Almonds // Pumpkin Spice Roasted Almond Butter

"It's beginning to look like fall in blog land!" (Sung to the tune of "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." if It wasn't obvi...)

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I've brought out my boots, unpacked my leggings, and took the kids apple pickin'! I'm doing my best to scream, "Oh Faaaalllll! I'm READY!!" But unfortunately if I put on boots & leggings, I'd probably pass out from heat exhaustion since it basically feels like the middle of July still...

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I'm ready to sip on hot cocoa & apple cider, while I cover up my whole body with an oversized coat and frilly scarf. I'm also ready to put on sweat pants. Oversized and extra comfy with long fluffy socks.

I'm ready to be unattractive.

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So if the weather isn't going to act it's month, then I'll just do my best to bring other aspects of Fall to our life.

Like food. Pumpkin everything. Apples galore. And the smell of cinnamon...

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And maybe, just maybe...If I do just that, I will FINALLY get to put on my sweat pants...

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Pumpkin Spice Almonds // Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter

Prep time:

5 mins

Cook time:

20 mins

Total time:

25 mins

The smell that fills your home while toasting these almonds is everything fall! Eat the almonds one by one, or puree them for a great spread on whatever your heart desires! (That includes your finger!)

Ingredients

  • (For the Almonds)
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 TB. pumpkin spice
  • 3 TB. honey
  • 1TB. coconut sugar (opt. or add more honey)
  • (For the Almond Butter)
  • 2 cups Pumpkin Spice Almonds (recipe below)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp. molasses
  • 1 TB. melted coconut oil (opt.)

Instructions

  1. (To Make the Almonds)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  4. Place almonds on tray, toss a little, and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle spice, then toss to coat.
  6. Next add honey & sugar and toss to coat.
  7. Return back to the oven and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and place almonds on a covered plate. Let cool, then eat!
  9. (To Make the Almond Butter)
  10. Add almonds to a food processor and process until creamy. (This will take a few minutes. Just let it run completely until its creamy. You can scrape down the sides if you need to.)
  11. Once almond butter is creamy, then add honey, spice, and molasses. It's important to do this step AFTER the almond butter is creamy because it will ruin the almond butter if you do it before it becomes creamy.
  12. Blend until combined and creamy.
  13. If it the almond butter becomes thick after adding the other ingredients, add coconut oil and blend.
  14. Keep in air tight container in cool place.

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This is the perfect spread for those fresh picked apples that I know many of you will go pick! But of coarse my favorite way to eat homemade almond butter is with my hand a spoon. :)

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Happy Fall Everyone! Bring on the oversized sweat pants!

Stove Top Potato & Kale Dish

Ok...I know potatoes aren't necessarily the type of food that makes you excited and eager to make ASAP...But i'm on a mission in my household, and in a few weeks I'll disclose all the details of what I've been working on. But to get you somewhat excited, you should know that it's all about healthy grocery shopping each week on a LOW budget. It's about stretching food, using the ingredients you have on hand, and not over spending each week at the grocery store!

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Normally during the week I visit the grocery store 2-3 times. Eeeeeee!! Partly because my girls eat a flat of berries a day, and partly because I'm a food blogger. Sadly, I buy A LOT of food to go along with my long lists of ideas that I have planned for this 3rd child of mine (the blog), but I usually don't get to most of them.

HENCE I buy more than I need which equals...I spend more.

It's really a simple fix, but I've never been a simple person. Ever. Ask my husband. And my parents. I'm fantastic.

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Near the end of the week I start to notice that the few things I have left in my kitchen are no where near what I want to eat, so at that point I head to the grocery store and buy what we would rather have...

But I'm changing.

So what happens when I open my fridge and see some rotting potatoes, a handful of kale, and a lemon?  As my good friend Tim Gunn once said..."Make it work."

So I saved the lemon for the baby, and made a potato dish that was flavorful, comforting, and surprisingly didn't taste anything like 'the end of the week.'

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*I love this dish because it contains a great variety of vegetables, which is always a plus! Feel free to jazz these up as a breakfast side dish, or top them like you would a baked potato!*

Stove Top Potato & Kale Dish

Ingredients

  • 3 TB. coconut oil
  • 2 TB. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 4-5 golden potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • opt: a little veggie broth to add while the potatoes are cooking, about 1/4 cup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • preferred seasonings (We like a sprinkle of paprika, garlic, hot sauce, and cumin)

Instructions

  1. Heat your coconut oil in a pan on low/medium heat.
  2. Cook your onions and garlic until onions become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Next add in your carrots and bell pepper. Toss and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in your potatoes, toss, and cover the pan with foil. Add a little broth if you want the potatoes softer more than crispy. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked to your liking, add your seasonings to taste.
  6. Fold in the kale, cook for a minutes to warm kale.
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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These would be perfect with tons of toppings as if you were loading a baked potato, such as:

Eggs, cheese, greek yogurt, salsa, beans, hot sauce, etc...

But out of the above toppings, only one thing was in my fridge...Salsa. :)

Easy Simple Salmon

For as long as I can remember, I've never been a fan of eating fish.

Between the smell, the scales, and it's oogly eyes....no way. Not happening.

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I remember growing up my mom would make it occasionally, and each time I would SWEAR that the whole house smelled like a fishy ocean...I'd then proceed to whine and complain, while throwing myself on the couch in agony...Poor little me.

Nothing really changed until I went on a 6 week study abroad program through Central America, and a lot of times we had to eat the food we were given. I remember one night we ate at a little restaurant in Guatemala and our whole class was being served Salmon.

Obviously I wasn't thrilled that I had to eat it, but when my plate arrived I was pretty shocked.

My salmon was drenched in some sort of sauce that looked like gravy, and then there was a handful of fresh lemons on my plate. I proceeded to squeeze juice on the Salmon and take a bite...

I died.

I don't know exactly what that sauce was made of, but I have an idea it rhymes with nutter. All I can say is that it tasted like Christmas morning and Paula Deen was in the kitchen melting butter.

Some day I'll recreate that salmon...As soon as I figure out how to make a pound of butter healthier...

For now though I've learned to stomach salmon, just as long as it falls under certain guidlines.

It HAS to be fresh. The fresher it is, the less fishy it taste. It also has to have a little flavor. I know some people can eat it with just a squeeze of lemon, but like I said before...Not happenin'.

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Screen shot 2012-11-05 at 7.05.02 AM
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Ingredients:

Filet of Salmon

melted coconut oil

salt

pepper

lemons

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil, and place salmon fillets on the dish. Coat salmon with melted coconut oil, just until fully coated. (Not too much oil.) Then liberally salt and pepper salmon. (Can do both sides if the other side isn't skin, otherwise you don't have to coat skin. Also, have salmon be skin side down.)

2. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until salmon is light pink and flakes easily with a fork. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top and serve.

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We ate it over caramelized brussel sprouts and brown rice!

Of coarse Boo didn't touch the sprouts, but she did eat the Salmon.

I told her it was pink chicken...

Best mom advice like ever.. :)

Oh, and I never shared our Halloween costumes that we had this year! If you can guess what I am, I would be So surprised!

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I am not a hooker...

My husband was that one guy...from LMFAO...

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And no I'm not a clown hooker...wrong again. I'll give you a clue:

Kay-dollar sign-Ha.

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Boo was an owl, and she was sooo excited to flap her little wings! Except, I don't think she is going to be excited about this picture come 15 years...Her dad=wanna be gangsta=wanna be cool=totally not.

And Sweet Pea was a freaked out Pumpkin...

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Ok now onto the month of November, which came out of no where!!

Who is ready for Christmas?