Cleaned-up Chicken Salad and a Peachy Personal Announcement!

by Shannon Gierl

There are few things in life that get me as excited as the prospect of warmer weather.  I love living in the Midwest where we have seasons.  The coming of summer, hinted at by the volatile and beautiful days of spring, gives all of us around here a great reason to be extra happy and thankful for awhile every single year (until of course it's late July and we're all cursing the heat and humidity and longing for the crisper days of fall).  On those first warmer days of spring everything seems brighter, hopeful, and smiles from strangers are plentiful.

For me, one of the best parts of warmer weather is the food. Warm weather means my CSA garden is producing local, pesticide-free produce for our enjoyment every week, that I can eat fruits and salads all day long without worrying about cooling my body down too much, and that smoothies and um, ice cream are appropriate at all times! One of my all-time favorite summer dishes is chicken salad.  I love the combo of crunchy-creamy-sweet and the fact that it's kind of like a smoothie in that you can pretty much throw in whatever, and make it your own.

So, chicken salad is exactly what I chose to make on this unseasonably warm weekend in April!

Mixin' it all up, pre-chicken. Ahhh doesn't it just scream summer?

Mixin' it all up, pre-chicken. Ahhh doesn't it just scream summer?

This week and this chicken salad marked my official return to the kitchen to make "real food" after a way-too-long hiatus, during which I've been living primarily on apple sauce, tomato soup with rice, and lots of citrus fruits.  Some of you may have just said "a-ha!" and for the rest of you, I'll spill the beans: I'm 13 weeks pregnant this week, the baby is currently the size of a peach, and I'm just starting to feel like a fraction of my old healthy self!

This is me on Sunday, back in the kitchen chopping with just a hint of a bump.  Photo courtesy of the hubby. Cereal in the background also claimed by hubby. ;)

This is me on Sunday, back in the kitchen chopping with just a hint of a bump.  Photo courtesy of the hubby. Cereal in the background also claimed by hubby. ;)

My official due date is October 18th, and I have been beyond thrilled in the past couple months to learn that I have several close friends who are also pregnant, some due to deliver within days of me!  I will have lots of company along this brand new road filled with weird foods, strange pains, and unspeakable joy.

So, without any further delay, below is the recipe for my cleaned-up chicken salad. Feel free to add your own goodies to spice it up - it's versatile! And make extra to have for lunch tomorrow :). Oh, and go ahead and pin the recipe image below to save to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

cleaneduplemonychickensalad.jpg

So just to get you a little heads up, the blog may favor a few things bump and baby related in the coming months, but they will all be health related!  It's been an interesting ride so far to have to learn a whole different set of nutrition "rules" and guidelines, and very humbling to be forced to put down my kale and brussel sprouts for a bit in favor of things that didn't make me want to, um, puke.  I'm eager to share what I've learned and hear from all of you moms and to-be moms out there.

In fact, in the comments section of this post, I'd LOVE to get your input on what you'd like to hear about: what are the nutrition and health-related questions you've had while pregnant, nursing, or feeding your baby? I so appreciate your opinions and help - I want to write about things you want to know about! So weigh in, share this post via the "Share" text below, and if you haven't signed up for the Radiant by Nature newsletter, go ahead and get on it