Sonoma chicken salad and bad days happen…but they don’t last

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Circa December 2008…ages were 5, 3 1/2, barely 2, and 5 months 

Ya’ll see those sweet faces right there?  Oh, that is a picture full of precious isn’t it?  I never thought I would refer to those as the good ole days because in reality they were the days of feeling like I was running through the woods with my pants on fire, being beaten with reids only to slow down long enough to breastfeed a baby, but time has a way helping you forget the crazy and remember the sweetness.  Funny maybe, but so true.  They are really the crazy ole days if I am being honest.  Having 4 kids in under 5 years leaves a mama feeling blessed and a little dazed and confused.  So now we cut to a few years down the road and for the most part we rock along at a nice little pace that works for us.  The kids are all in school, the same school, all day and things usually seem a little less crazy most days.  I feel more in control as a mom most days.  Emphasis on the most here.  And yesterday did not fall under that most umbrella.  Frankly, none of the days this week fall under the most umbrella.  Yeah, it has been a rough week parenting wise.  Maybe it has been the cold weather and the kids not getting a recess at school, but ya’ll they get in the car fighting at 3 and it continues in some form or fashion until they go to bed.  I know.  It happens.  But I finally reached my breaking point yesterday.  I said some things I was not proud of.  I pitched a big ole donkey fit and needed a time out.  It was a doozie.  The sad thing is that yesterday was a great day.  The sun was shining and here is the part you will be interested in, I got the stuff to make the MOST delicious chicken salad.  The same Sonoma chicken salad recipe from Whole Foods.  I ran across it on Pinterest and since I am a sucker for any chicken salad…I had to make it.  So I came home and made some and did a happy dance and fell in love.  It was a lovely beautiful day.  Until we got home.  All heck broke loose.  And no chicken salad in the world could fix that business.  Now, as a blogger, as a friend, as a mom in general I am all about keeping it real.  I love to share the happy successes as a mom.  That is the easy stuff.  But I am more than willing to share my epic failures or my less than shining moments.  I am a big believer in sharing the not so lovely side of motherhood just as I am willing to share the not so lovely side to my shenanigans in the kitchen.  That cake (ok every cake) that comes out not like the picture.  And after I calmed down and I shared and allowed my friends on facebook to normalize my awful mommy moment for me…I remembered…bad moments don’t make bad mommies.  They don’t.  Bad cakes don’t make bad cooks.  So yeah…I have had epic failures as a mom.  And as a cook.  This Sonoma chicken salad was a solid win though.  It is one of the most delicious concoctions that I have ever put in my mouth.  So, today is a new day and that chicken salad is even tastier than it was yesterday.  Sweet, creamy, crunchy, delicious…all you could ever want.  So I am leaving the mistakes of yesterday where they belong and moving forward with this most fabulous chicken salad recipe and I am sharing it with you.  I am more than willing to share my mistakes (if one parent can read this and know they are not alone in her days of frustration as a parent then it is worth the share) , but I am oh so happy to report my successes.  This Sonoma chicken salad falls directly under my WIN umbrella.

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Win!!!

Sonoma Chicken Salad (adapted from http://www.SweetLittleBluebird.com and http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com)

Serves 6

Stuff you need:

For the dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s…always)

4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

5 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

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sweet, luscious, creamy dressing 

For the salad:

2 pounds chicken breasts, cooked (I used a rotisserie chicken deboned)

3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted (I made honey roasted pecans…I will tell you how below)

2 cups red seedless grapes

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

What to do with the stuff:

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be done up to 2 days ahead of time.

Debone  rotisserie chicken (or cook the chicken breasts until done and then shred)

Combine chicken, grapes, celery, pecan pieces in a medium size bowl.  Pour dressing over this and then stir to combine.  Serve over a bed of spring mix salad greens or between two pieces of bread (12 grain is my fave!!)

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look at those colors…oh mouth watering deliciousness 

To make the honey roasted pecans (Cajun Mama style, i.e. I didn’t google how to do this…I just did it.  lol!)~

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with foil.  Spread pieces or whole pecans all over the cookie sheet.  Drizzle honey over the pecan pieces.  Pop them in the oven until they are fragrant and slightly toasted or about 10 minutes.  Definitely worth the extra effort.

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Honey roasted yum

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