For the Love of Chicken Salad

1 Year.
12 Months.
52 Weeks.
365 Days.
8765 Hours...525,949 Minutes...3.156e+7 Seconds.

One year ago today, something major changed in my life.  It changed my life forever, and its a topic that I still choke up on when I talk about it.  However, this is something that will affect me forever, and I am trying to make it through each month, day, week, day, hour, minute, and second to get through it.

One year ago today, I lost my Mom.  I lost my role model, a best friend, someone to shop with, to laugh with, and to cry with.  An Angel.

I have to start off with this: If you know me, you most likely know about this situation in my life, and I can't thank everyone I know enough, for the support that has been given.   

Life is a wonderful thing - but its also strange, how it flies by so quickly.  It's easy to take those days for granted and to think bad things will never happen in your life.  As we dealt with my Mom's cancer for six years, we always seemed to be on the "up and up" and to be quite honest, even on some bad days, I never imagined I would be writing about this at some point.  Although it was a year ago, it seems like it just happened.  I can remember every.single.second.

Some of the recipes that I have posted throughout the year have been recipes of my Mom's - but just lightened up to add some healthy ingredients.  She always said she wasn't great in the kitchen, but to me, she earned ten stars.  So today, I'm sharing one of her yummiest recipes, but just in a healthier way!  I love doing this - as it makes me think of her, and it brings a smile to my face.  She used to make a chicken salad during the summer that was super yummy and a favorite of my family's!  Per usual, I switched some ingredients to make it healthy and it still tastes awesome!

Lightened Up Chicken Salad
3 chicken breasts 
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup grapes, sliced in half
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups 0% plain green yogurt
No Salt Lemon Pepper Seasoning

1.  Start off by boiling your chicken breasts until tender and easy to shred.  Let cool on a plate before you start shredding.  I was using three breasts until I dropped half on the floor, so I had to deal with a little over two.  Clumsiness.

2.  When you shred your chicken, make sure you make it very piec-ey.  I think its better to get a bite of chicken with some other ingredients.

3.  I stored my shredded chicken over night, but you can start working on your other add-ins while the chicken sits in the bowl.  Chop up your celery and grapes, and prepare your seasonings and sliced almonds.

4.  Pile everything in, give it a good stir, then add your plain greek yogurt.  My favorite is from Trader Joe's.  Plain greek yogurt is a great alternative to mayonnaise, and it has great health benefits!  P.S.  Chobani is another daily breakfast of mine - they have a substitution chart for using plain greek yogurt in place of everything, like sour cream, oil, cream cheese. etc.

5. Add your seasonings - cracked pepper and lemon pepper.  The lemon pepper doesn't have any salt which keeps your cholesterol levels low, and it gives the taste an awesome punch!

6. Serve right away, or store in the fridge. 

You can use this chicken salad for a lot of fun things - putting it on a bed of lettuce, as a sandwich (perhaps ciabatta?!) or wrap. Or you could just eat it straight off of your plate.  I think chicken salad with a side of fruit, like strawberries and pineapple is a good match.

Other fun ideas to garnish with include cilantro, avocado (I'm OBSESSED), quinoa or cinnamon.  I put some sliced almonds on my serving.

Days like these are those to celebrate, and today is one of them, with Chicken Salad!!  I hope that if you do ever have to go through a tough time like this, find the right things for YOU, to heal throughout the long process of grieving.  Mine has been keeping a good mindset, focusing on doing things for myself and taking time each day to realize how amazing and wonderful my life is.  My Mom taught me to do always be positive, laugh and realize how lucky we are.  

Stay positive...and for the love of chicken salad, stay healthy.


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