RECIPES: 10 easy, healthy ways to use zucchini

RECIPES: 10 easy, healthy ways to use zucchini

Picture courtesy of Creative Commons, used with permission from CSouza_79

Does your kitchen counter look like this? Mine does! Well, nearly. What to do, what to do with all that zucchini?

I’m here to help!

  1. Zucchini Salsa Turkey Burgers with Salsa Yogurt Dressing {GF, Low Cal}
  2. Lemon Herb Salmon Zucchini {GF, Low Cal, Paleo}

  3. Gluten Free Zucchini Blueberry Bread {GF, Low Cal}

  4. Parmesan Zucchini and Tomato Gratin
  5. Zucchini and Prosciutto Egg Muffins (Dairy free, Paleo, W30)
  6. Paleo Zucchini Hummus {GF, Low Cal, Paleo, Vegan}

  7. Zucchini Greek Yogurt Pancakes {GF, Low Cal}

  8. Chicken Zoodle Pho {GF, Paleo, Low Cal}

  9. Garlic Herb Sauteed Zucchini and Squash

  10. Zucchini Chocolate Oatmeal Bites {GF, Low Cal}

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MY LIFE: 5 things to never say to any chronically ill parent

MY LIFE: 5 things to never say to any chronically ill parent

Image courtesy of Creative Commons, used with permission from Ian

People are sometimes thoughtless. They can also be cruel. I think to think many of the ignorant comments directed toward chronically ill parents are borne from ignorance, not malice, so allow me to talk about some of the things a person should not say to a chronically ill parent.

  1. You don’t seem sick!/You look fine!/What do you mean you’re tired?/What do you mean you can’t?/Any variation on this theme.
  2. It could be worse./At least it’s not cancer./Any variation on this theme.
  3. Do you wish you had never had children?/Do you regret having to take care of someone else with the way you feel?/Any variation on this theme.
  4. Have you tried massage?/Pills?/Acupuncture?/Unicorn tears?/Any variation on this theme.
  5. Why don’t you just exercise more?/Become a vegetarian?/Hire a nanny?/Any variation on this theme.

The first invalidates our illness. The second trivializes it. The third is just plain insulting and cruel. The fourth is annoying at best because of course you’ve tried everything you can. The fifth is presumptive and dismissive.

This post is short and sweet for a reason. Normally I explain more, but these five things are some of the worst things we hear over and over. Just don’t, and educate others not to either. We can educate (like I am here), but we get tired of explaining/justifying our lives and choices to others.

Do you have any question/statement that grinds your teeth? Tell me below!

MY LIFE: 4 things I’m doing to keep my kid busy and give back

MY LIFE: 4 things I’m doing to keep my kid busy and give back

 

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, used with permission from Carissa Rogers

It’s summertime, and that means cries of “I’m bored!”, right? But what’s a chronic illness parent with low energy supposed to do about this problem? Find things for your children to do that don’t require much effort on your part. As a bonus, these five suggestions help make the world a brighter place.

  1. Buy origami paper and have your children make a bunch of simple origami animals. Take the lot of them to a hospital or homeless shelter so the kids have something to play with. I bought this paper and it should last quite a while since it’s got 1000 sheets in it! The only downside is these are small sheets, but if your child is just learning origami you don’t want big sheets anyway.
  2. Use printer or construction paper and ask your children to make cards for residents of a local nursing home. We all know how many of these people never get visitors, and knowing someone cares might mean a great deal to them.
  3. Go to the dollar store and buy some pet supplies for a shelter, then bring them there and offer to help clean, walk dogs, or whatever else the shelter needs help with.
  4. Also at the dollar store, buy some treats for children and adults alike and bring them to your local food pantry. Oftentimes the people who get supplies from food pantries don’t get fun stuff. Just remember not to buy things that require eggs, milk, etc to prepare. If you prefer to buy things most food pantries never have enough of, here’s a wish list from our local food pantry:
    1. cereal
    2. peanut butter or other nut butters
    3. canned tuna and chicken
    4. canned soups, stews and chili
    5. canned fruits and vegetables
    6. beans, canned or dry
    7. boxed macaroni and cheese
    8. pasta and rice
    9. spaghetti sauce
    10. baby food, formula, and diapers

And there you have it! What things do you like to do with your children during the summer? Tell me in the comments section below!

GO NATURAL: DIY Insect Repellant

GO NATURAL: DIY Insect Repellant

NOTE: This recipe is adapted from one featured on MightyNest. I love this website, with all the natural products and informative articles, but didn’t want to pay for their insect blend when I could make my own. I looked up a bunch of others online, too, and incorporated pieces of some of those into this formulation.

MightyNest has a totally awesome program called MightyFix. It’s a monthly delivery of something eco-friendly, from wool dryer balls to dishtowels to glass containers. For me, it’s an easy way to remove more harmful stuff from my house while not spending a fortune all at once, and I love it! If you want to find out more, go here.

Back to today’s post…

Recipe for DIY Insect Repellant

In a small spray bottle (glass is best but BPA-free plastic is okay too), combine:

2 oz of water – tap is fine

2 oz of rubbing alcohol or vodka (vodka is preferred since it absorbs better)

10 drops EACH of Citronella (this link goes to a blend of Citronella, Lemongrass, and Grapefruit), Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Lemongrass, Lavender, Tea Tree, Vanilla, Grapefruit, and Patchouli oils.

This oil can be diffused indoors – just scale the recipe down to fit into your diffuser. To use outdoors, make into the spray indicated above and use just as you would any other insect repellant. It can also be placed in an oil burner around a picnic area or patio. If using directly on the skin, it’s advised to dilute with a carrier oil like almond or grapeseed. About 2 oz should be sufficient if using the recipe above.

I hope this recipe works as well for you as it does for me! If you use a different combination or have any comments about natural insect repelling, tell me below in the comments section!

STORIES FROM OTHERS: Things we hide because chronic illness depression

STORIES FROM OTHERS: Things we hide because chronic illness depression

 

 

Image courtesy of Creative Commons, used with permission from Alachua County

We all know we hide things, especially all the trials and tribulations we face on a daily basis. We feel like burdens or complainers, so we keep our mouths shut and suffer silently. See if any of these sound like you… (Source: The Mighty)

1. “I hurt, every day. And that when I back out of plans or don’t respond to you. It’s not because I want to. It’s because covering up the hurt and sadness I feel every day and painting on a smile is exhausting and takes up all of my energy — so I isolate myself because it’s so much easier… but I would never tell you that!”

2. “I need them. I hate admitting I need help or I need someone, but if it’s one thing I need to survive my depressive episodes, then it’s my friends. Even if we sit in the same room on our phones, their presence is better than nothing.”

3. “I will always have bad days, so please don’t be disappointed when I succumb to the darkness after so many good days. Just support me the way you did at the start and don’t grow impatient with me.”

4. “Every time I pretend to be strong enough and help, everybody else pick up their pieces, and some of my own crack harder and deeper. But I can’t let anyone else help me. Cause I don’t want to be a burden.”

5. “Some days I can’t leave my bed, can’t shower, can’t change my clothes and brush my hair. I’m not gross. I’m not lazy. But I don’t want to be embarrassed because I physically can’t do things that seem so simple and mundane to many people.”

6. “I spend hours in bed daily, unable to force myself to get up and shower. Conquering the day or going to work always seems like getting ready for war.”

7. “My depression makes me feel like I ruin friendships. My friends say they’re there for me, but when I reach out, I feel like I’m being burdensome. Also, I don’t need you to try and ‘fix’ me, but I just need you to sit there in the darkness with me and maybe hold a flashlight or candle until I can hold it myself.”

8. “I need you. I push you away, but it’s not my intention. I may say things I don’t mean. I may seem like I don’t care, but I do. But you need to know, all you can do is hug and try to support me. You can’t cure my depression. I don’t need it. I just need someone to hold my hand and help me get through it. I don’t say it enough, but thank you. And don’t feel guilty, cause you can’t always make it better. Just being there for me shows a lot.”

9. “When I cancel plans, there is no ‘doctor’s appointment’ or ‘poorly baby’ or ‘other plans I forgot about.’ I just can’t face going outside and having to function.”

10. “I wish I was strong enough to admit the real brutality of it so I didn’t have to deal with it alone.”

11. “If I randomly text you, I need you. Even if it’s been months. I seclude myself, but once I initiate something please, please be there for me.”

12. “I don’t want to admit how comfortable I have gotten into it. It is tough trying to crawl out of it as I sit alone, wishing I hadn’t pushed everyone away long ago. It’s easier said than done to reach out and contact you again, as I secretly hope you’d say hi. I don’t want to bother you, I think you’re busy, so I carry on alone, waiting for the next moment of distraction.”

13. “I’m hurting. I feel trapped inside myself and have felt this way for over 10 years. Your words of encouragement, positivity, and advice are all well-intentioned; but just because I shoot down your advice and positivity, doesn’t mean I’m resisting your help. It just means I’ve either tried it already, heard it already, or it just won’t work from prior knowledge.”

14. “I actually do wish I could take you up on your, ‘I’m always here for you if you want to talk’ offers! But I don’t. Because I value your friendship, and I don’t want my depression to enter into it and ruin things. Been there; done that.”

15. “They have saved my life more than they know, and I don’t feel worthy of their love. Or that I can ever repay them. I feel forever in their debt. I’m afraid to share how bad depression and suicidal thoughts are, so I hide it.”

16. “I will always have those dark and twisted thoughts that put me in the hospital and residential treatment. I’m just too afraid to talk about them because I can’t handle losing another friend because of my depression.”

17. “I love and miss them, but sometimes just can’t do things. I can’t put on a happy face and pretend everything is OK when the demons in my head are telling me I’m worthless and nobody cares about me.”

18. “I lie a lot. I’ll never tell them how I actually feel because there are times that when I do show my true feelings it overwhelms them and I’m the one that needs to reassure them . I’ve been dealing with this myself for years so I just want them to live their lives and know I’m OK even if I’m not.”

19. “Almost every time when they have asked me, ‘Are you OK?’ and I’ve answered, ‘Just tired,’ I haven’t been just tired, I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted.”

20. “I sometimes have suicidal thoughts. I don’t share that information because I’m not actually suicidal (I never have been, death actually scares me) and I fear people will judge me for it.”

21. “Every time they make a joke about depression or even question if I’m being honest or ‘faking it,’ I can’t help but distance myself further. I don’t want my depression to be my defining ‘trait,’ but I need people I care about to acknowledge and respect such a big part of my life.”

I think you can substitute “chronic illness” in general for depression, don’t you? And doesn’t our chronic illness often cause our depression? How many of these did you see in yourself?

GO NATURAL: 10 harmful products to replace with castile soap

GO NATURAL: 10 harmful products to replace with castile soap

Photo courtesy of Natural Living Ideas

I got some information about Castile Soap from a wonderful website called The Kitchn. Yes, that’s the right name – I didn’t misspell it, though I had to check twice to make sure. See the things I do for you people?

Once you better understand what Castile Soap is and how it cleans, we can talk about how using it can replace a whole bunch of harmful chemicals you might currently be using.

What Is Castile Soap?

Named after the olive oil-based soaps originating in Castile, Spain, Castile soap can come in liquid or bar form, but it is made only from vegetable oils — i.e., no animal fats. Dr. Bronner’s, one of the most popular brands of Castile soap, is primarily made of coconut, olive, and hemp oils, but other oils like avocado, almond, and walnut can also be used.

Like most soaps, which are on the more basic or alkaline side of the pH scale, Castile soap registers at about 8.9 on the pH scale. This is around the same level as baking soda and slightly more alkaline than mild dish soap, although less alkaline than bleach or corrosive tile cleaners.

Castile soap and water can be used to clean counters, sinks, bathtubs, floors, or toilets; it can get rid of insects that infest houseplants and can even replace laundry detergent.

Because Castile soap is biodegradable and nontoxic, it’s safe to use on pets and around kids. You can even clean vegetables with it, so long as it’s diluted enough.

Pro tip: Don’t combine alkaline Castile soap with an acid like vinegar that you might also use around the house. The reaction cancels out the potency of both ingredients and can leave objects and surfaces with a white film that is difficult to remove.

Homemade Dish Soap

Simply replace your regular store bought dish soap with a squirt of Castile soap. It works better than any store bought alternative and it’s all natural!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Ingredients:

Dissolve the baking soda and salt in the two cups of warm water. Pour into a gallon container, add the liquid Castile soap and fill to the top with water. Use 1/4 of a cup per load so this recipe is good for about 64 loads!

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

Mix 8 oz of Citrus Castile Soap with one cup of water and two teaspoons of lemon juice and shake gently.

To use add one tablespoon of the above mixture into the OPEN compartment of your dishwasher and add a cup of white vinegar to the CLOSED compartment. Add more vinegar if your water is hard.

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

In a spray bottle, fill a quarter of the way up with white vinegar, add water to the top and then add a squirt of liquid Castile soap plus a few drops of tea tree essential oil.

Homemade Glass Cleaner

Mix half a cup of white vinegar, two teaspoons of liquid Castile soap and two cups of distilled warm water. Optionally, add a few drops of tea tree essential oil to the mixture. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, shake and spray onto your windows and clean with newspaper for a streak free finish.

Homemade Tub Scrub

Fill a spray bottle with one third Castile soap and two thirds water. Spread baking soda liberally around the bath and spray the Castile soap mixture on. Scrub with a scouring pad or scrub brush.

Homemade Face Wash

In a foaming dispenser, add one quarter cup of liquid Castile soap, fill to the top with distilled water (approx one cup) and add five drops of tea tree oil. The tea tree oil is a great antibacterial and is particularly useful for acne prone skin.

Homemade Shampoo

Making your own shampoo with Castile soap is incredibly easy, it uses only one extra natural ingredient and it lathers unlike many other homemade shampoo recipes.

Simply mix together 1 Tbsp Castile soap with one tsp coconut milk for a single serving of shampoo.  You can make this in larger batches by storing in the fridge. It will keep for at least a week.

Homemade Hand Soap

Fill a foaming hand soap dispenser with three quarters water (boiled or distilled) and one quarter unscented liquid Castile soap.

Optional: Add 1/8 of a teaspoon of essential oil – such as tea tree for its antibacterial properties, lemon for its odor killing properties or lavender for its fragrant scent.

Homemade Dog Shampoo

Make sure your dog is wet and then squeeze a couple of squirts of Peppermint Castile Soap and rub into your dog’s fur until you have a nice lather. Then simply rinse off with warm water. Be sure to keep the soap out of their eyes and water out of their ears.

Where To Buy Castile Soap (sorry it’s not prettier, but I did my best with the HTML coding)

 

 Unscented
Peppermint

Eucalyptus

Lavender

 Citrus

Almond

Bar version

So there you have it! Do you use Castile Soap for other purposes? Tell me in the comments!

DISEASE MANAGEMENT: 10 ways to explain your illness to others

DISEASE MANAGEMENT: 10 ways to explain your illness to others

Courtesy Creative Commons, used with permission from Sofya Yaruya

We all feel like this, right? You can see it in her face – the frustration about feeling sick, the anger that no one believes her, the disappointment because people don’t understand. And healthy people can’t. They simply cannot even begin to fathom what life is like with a chronic illness. But maybe hearing some of the things on the list below will help.

  1. Imagine having the flu, and it never going away. Ever. The aches, the pains, the fatigue…and that’s on a good day.
  2. Now run a 10k and cut your grass with a pair of scissors. You’re approaching the level of fatigue we live with. And we have to repeat these two steps every day, because we don’t look sick.
  3. Pain floats through your body like a poltergeist. You can’t stop it, you can only try to hide the fact various parts of you are feeling like you’ve been stabbed. You can’t cry, because you’d cry all the time.
  4. Oh, and you can’t sleep. Well, not when you want to, anyway, but you could very well drop at a work meeting while you’re completely powerless to stop it.
  5. Your joints ache, but when you try to relax, restless legs flare up. You need to move to relieve them, so you get up to stretch, then nearly fall asleep right on the floor. That would be acceptable – at least you’re sleeping – but then you realize the stretches haven’t helped. You’re caught in sleep purgatory, just like every other night.
  6. Even showering and getting ready in the morning leaves you exhausted. Now you look presentable but dread having to go anywhere.
  7. Eating and digestion is, well, a challenge. You might have IBS symptoms, you might not be able to tolerate certain foods so you have to watch your diet, and you gain weight that you can’t lose no matter what you do.
  8. As all of this is happening to you, you know there are no good drugs out there to ease your symptoms. Some chronic illnesses have more effective drugs and some have less, but none of these illnesses are curable. That’s why they’re called chronic illness. No, we won’t “feel better”.
  9. You feel like an idiot talking to other people because your brain is so foggy. You lose words, ideas, sentences. Just today I was playing a game on my phone. I had an idea that I remembered I needed to look up. By the time I closed the game I had forgotten what that idea was. The same thing happened twice more today.
  10. Stress doesn’t just “stress you out” – it can cause truly debilitating pain that’s called a flare. A flare can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of weeks. I had a busy week last week with my daughter’s school year ending and a volunteer job I do once a year that’s very close to my heart. I’m still having additional trouble sleeping and fatigue even more easily than “normal”.
  11. And a bonus – your symptoms constantly change, so you can’t predict a darned thing about how your day will progress.

Now that I’ve depressed you (or made you feel like someone actually knows what you’re going through) go forth and share!

GO NATURAL: 5 reasons to switch deodorants right now

GO NATURAL: 5 reasons to switch deodorants right now

If you look at the top five toxic ingredients in your deodorant, you’re probably wondering why this industry isn’t better regulated. I know I did. But personal care manufacturers have tons of toxic stuff in their products and the FDA just looks away whistling, so it’s up to us as health-conscious consumers to figure out what to do.

Luckily we have websites like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and another website they operate called Skin Deep. Skin Deep is a database devoted to health and beauty products, and subsequently the pros and cons of each brand. Want to see where your deodorant stacks up? Do a search in that group.

But to make it easier for you, I’ve excerpted parts of their website for you. Thanks to Why Don’t You Try This for condensing the info!

Here’s what Skin Deep (and their parent EWG) says about their mission:

“Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 25,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind.Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn’t require companies to test their own products for safety.”… Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/02/how-safe-is-your-deodorant.html?m=1

Let’s look at some of your best choices:

Deodorant with a score of 0 having a “low hazard”:

Crystal deodorant stick, roll-on, and spray

Deodorant with a score of 1 having a “low hazard” (the chemical after the name indicates that the product DOES have that one in its formulation):

CVS Ultra Dry Anti-Perspirant Roll-On Unscented – Aluminum Chloride

Ban Antiperspirant & Deodorant Original Roll-On Unscented – Aluminum Chlorohydrate Ban Classic Original Antiperspirant & Deodorant Original Roll-On Unscented – Aluminum Chlorohydrate

Almay Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Clear Gel; Fragrance Free – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Gylcerin, Diproplyene Glycol

Almay Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Clear Gel – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Gylcerin, Diproplyene Glycol

Almay Antiperspirant & Deodorant Fragrance Free (Powder Fresh and Soothing Aloe) – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Gylcerin, Diproplyene Glycol

Lady Mitchum Clear Gel Antiperspirant & Deodorant Unscented – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Diproplyene Glycol

Mitchum Antiperspirant & Deodorant Clear Gel – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Diproplyene Glycol

Almay Stay Dry Hydro Solid Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Fragrance Free – 1 PEG-14 Dimethicone, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Diproplyene Glycol

And here are some products you should avoid:

Deodorant with a score of 7 having a “high hazard”:

Right Guard Sport Deodorant – fragrance, Triclosan, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured

Right Guard Sport Deodorant

Aerosole, Original – fragrance, Triclosan, Propylene Glycol, Butane and Propane

Dry Idea Antiperspirant Clear Gel Powder Fresh – fragrance, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured

Dry Idea Antiperspirant & Deodorant Clear Gel Powder Fresh – fragrance, PEG/PPG – 18/18 Dimethicone, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured

FDS Feminine Deodorant Spray White Blossom and Baby Powder – fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol

Propylene Glycol Deodorant with a score of 8 having a “high hazard”:

Secret Platinum Antiperspirant & Deodorant Invisible Gel Powder Fresh Scent – fragrance, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured

Dove Invisible Solid Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Powder Fresh – fragrance, Silica, PEG-8 Distearate, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Propylene Glycol

YIKES!

Naturally, I looked up the two I use. The first, a product from Tom’s of Maine, was not in the database, but I bought it originally because it was aluminum free. I just looked at the ingredient list, and it all checks out except propylene glycol, which appears to be nearly impossible to exclude from deodorant ingredients, based on what I’ve seen.

The second, a crystal deodorant (which is almost always a good choice) called Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal is aluminum, paraben, and fragrance free, so that strikes off two of the five bad ingredients right off the bat. But where did it rate? It gets a 3, but when I compared the ingredients list on my package with the one EWG/Skin Deep had, I found that their main concern was not part of the formulation I was using. Maybe they took it out when they found out it was harmful. Anyway, without that ingredient this deodorant should score a 0 or 1.

I hope you’ve found this post informative. The way I look at it, there are easy things you can change and more difficult things. This is one of the easy choices. Now I challenge you to not check all your products through that database! Good luck!

MY LIFE: Sometimes things get a little crazy…

MY LIFE: Sometimes things get a little crazy…

Courtesy Creative Commons, used with permission from darkday

See all those circles up there? Each one represents at least one problem/issue/need/to-do item right now. My daughter is changing schools and moving up a level in competitive gymnastics and I’m signing a five-story co-writing deal with a colleague and my husband’s job is moving offices so he has to do much of the IT stuff. Getting an idea of how things have been lately?

So that’s why there have been no new posts in a week. I apologize for that and will try to get back on my every three days publishing schedule as soon as I can.

Until then,

Courtesy Creative Commons, used with permission from Chris Jennison

RECIPES: Paleo-compliant salads for summer

RECIPES: Paleo-compliant salads for summer

Everyone likes a great summer salad, right? And us chronic illness warriors know how important eating healthy is, so here are several recipes for salads with a huge YUM factor!

The first is:

Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad

Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy
Cost To Make: Varies by season $5-$7
Serving: 4 (as a side salad)

1 lb Roma tomatoes
1 English cucumber
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
2 avocados, diced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1/4 cup (1/2 bunch) cilantro, chopped*
1 tsp sea salt or 3/4 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
*Note: if you aren’t keen on cilantro, fresh dill is a good substitute

Instructions

Place everything but olive oil and lemon in a bowl and combine, then top with the oil and lemon.

The next is:

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Chicken

Serves 2
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon golden balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh tarragon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 6-8 large strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 3-4 thinly sliced rings of red onion
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Whisk the extra virgin olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, sugar, tarragon, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl until blended.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow bowl and cover with half of the dressing, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  3. Spray a grill pan or 12-inch non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill pan. Cook for 3 minutes then flip the chicken breasts. Cook for another 3 minutes, and turn. Reduce the cooking temperature to medium low and cook the chicken for 20-25 minutes more, turning every 5 minutes or so. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken, but it will be done when it hits 165 degrees internal temperature. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes then slice into ¼ inch slices.
  4. Arrange the spinach, strawberries and red onion in a bowl. Lightly toss with the remaining dressing. Add the avocado, sliced chicken and top with feta and almond slices. Serve immediately.

And the next:

Asian Cabbage Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing
Serves
8
Author Chrissie (thebusybaker.ca)

  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons liquid honey
  • 2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • a pinch sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil coconut oil also works
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • a dash sriracha
  • 1 small green cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 small red cabbage shredded
  • 3 large carrots peeled and shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Instructions

  1. Add the peanut butter, honey, garlic, ginger, sea salt, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, oils, and sriracha to a medium bowl and whisk well until combined.

  2. Add the shredded green and red cabbage to a large bowl, along with the shredded carrots.

  3. Pour the dressing over the shredded veggies and toss well to coat.

  4. Serve with the chopped green onions and chopped peanuts on top for garnish.

This salad is best enjoyed the day it’s made, but the dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. Using coleslaw mix from your grocery store also works well for this recipe as another way to save time!

The next (mmm…steak):
Paleo Steak Salad with Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette Recipe
SALAD
    • 1/2 lb sirloin steak, (grilled or pan-seared first, then sliced)
    • 4 cups greens – we used Romaine lettuce
    • 1/4 cup red cherry tomatoes
    • 1/4 yellow cherry tomatoes
    • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
    • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
DRESSING
  • 3 Tbsp of avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp paleo mayo
  • 1 small to medium garlic clove, pressed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pat dry and season steak with your favorite prepackaged seasoning, or sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Cook on well-oiled grill or in a cast iron pan (along with 1 Tbsp of oil) over medium-high heat about 5 minutes per side for medium rare steak. Remove from heat, place on plate and tent with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes before slicing crosswise into thin strips.
  2. Arrange salad ingredients on plates as desired, or place in large bowl and toss
  3. Add dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until combined. Pour over salad as desired.

The last:

Spelt Salad with Apples, Cheddar and Scallions

Serves 6
Author Liz DellaCroce
  • 1 cup uncooked spelt prepared according to package instructions
  • 1 juice of lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cut in bite-sized cubes
  • 1 cup diced apples
  • 1/2 cup scallions minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley minced
Instructions
  1. Prepare spelt according to package instructions and place in a large salad bowl.
  2. Drizzle lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper over the bowl and toss well until spelt is evenly coated in vinaigrette.
  3. Stir in cheese cubes, apples, scallions and parsley. Toss again and check for seasoning before serving.
What’s your favorite summer salad? Tell me in the comments below – recipes welcome!