Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


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Chicken Salad With Avocado and Lime Oh My!

As I have embarked on this journey to lose 100 lbs in 2014, I find myself counting every calorie that I ingest. One of my most favorite go-to recipes is chicken salad. My husband enjoys it on homemade bread while my children and I enjoy it with the Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuit crackers. Using mayonnaise in chicken salad adds nearly 400 calories, and when you’re trying to keep your calorie intake between 1500-1800 calories per day, that’s simply a setback! I was researching all-natural alternatives to mayonnaise, and I stumbled across substituting an avocado and the juice of a lime. I decided to give it a try, and the end result is phenomenal!

Ingredients:
2 organic chicken breasts
1-2 avocados (it really depends on how much you like avocado)
1 lime
1 organic Granny Smith apple
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by either boiling or grilling your chicken breast. I like to grill mine because 1. The taste is better and 2. Less cleanup! While the chicken is cooking, cut an avocado and place it in a large bowl. Add the juice of a lime then mash it up until smooth. You can use the back of a spoon, which I find extremely daunting, so I used a potato masher.

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Once the avocado and lime mixture is smooth, cut an organic Granny Smith apple into small pieces and add it to the avocado mixture.

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Shred your chicken either by hand or using a food processor. I choose to use my hands because, once again, it’s less cleanup. Add the chicken to the avocado, lime juice, and apple mixture and stir until well blended. I chose to add a second avocado because we love avocado. Finally, add your salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Cover your bowl of chicken salad and let it chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or even overnight.

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The finished product is so delightful and refreshing filled with the super food, avocado, and the Granny Smith apple adds that something special when mixed with the lime juice and chicken. So my usual 400 calorie serving of chicken salad and crackers was cut down to roughly 140 calories by simply doing a little research and making some better choices. In the end, this chicken salad was the best I’ve ever had, and I will never use mayonnaise to make chicken salad again!

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FINE With A Capital “F”

Have you ever had homemade bread? If your answer is no, then you should remedy that! Do you think because you have a full-time job that you don’t have time to bake fresh bread for your family? If you answered yes, then you’re wrong! This was my first attempt at baking homemade bread, and it was easy, smells amazing, and the taste is out of this world! The scent of fresh bread is still lingering throughout my house. Do me another favor. Look on the bag of your store-bought bread and see how many of the ingredients you can’t pronounce. That’s right, chemicals are in your bread, even the really expensive brand. How would you like to make 2 loaves of bread for what you spend on about 4 loaves of store-bought bread, and the great thing is, it only contains 6 ingredients, all of which my 12 year old can spell and pronounce.

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Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of warm water
1 Tbsp of all natural yeast
1/4 cup of sugar (I used 2 Tbsp of Truvia)
1Tbsp all natural sea salt
1/4 cup of oil (I used olive oil, because it’s amazing)
5-6 cups of organic flour (if using whole wheat flour, mix 50-50 with plain flour.)

Begin by mixing yeast and sugar in warm water. Allow it to sit for 7-10 minutes to activate the yeast. It will look nice and frothy.

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After the yeast is activated, add the salt and oil and stir those in. Lastly, slowly mix in the flour. Just eyeball whether you need a bit more than 5 cups. You don’t want your dough to be too sticky nor too dry. If you have a stand mixer, that will help with the kneading process, but I like to do it like grandma did it and knead the dough with my hands. Cover your bowl with a towel for 2-3 hours.

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When the dough has risen, punch it right in the center (excellent stress relief). Divide the dough and place in 2 greased loaf pans. I like to put both loaf pans on a baking sheet. It aids in the removal of the bread when it’s finished baking. Cover the loaf pans with a towel and allow them to rise a bit more. While you are waiting on them to rise, you can preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place your oven rack on the lowest setting. When the oven is preheated, transport the loaf pans into the oven and allow the bread to bake for 25 minutes.

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Within that 25 minutes, the aroma in your home will become intoxicating! When the loaves are finished baking, remove them from the oven and rub a little butter over the tops of them. Remove them from the pans and allow them to cool on a wire rack, or I use wax paper. It’s less to wash!

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WARNING! Warm bread doesn’t last long in a house with boys! Weston ate 2 pieces and said, “mmmmmmm” after every bite, and Banks ate 2 pieces after school and said, ” I’ve never had bread this good in my entire life!” It’s delicious, better for your family, cheaper, and super easy! So get in the kitchen, throw some flour on your cheeks, and bake some bread for your family!