Springing Forward

Happy Sunday y’all,
Well, it has been a long and busy work week and today my sister and I indulged in some mandatory therapeutic shopping. This morning we took a long run around Town Lake (a.k.a. Lady Bird Lake) here in Austin. As I was trotting along the lakeside trail this morning I really allowed myself to appreciate the natural beauty of the earth God has given us. I could hear the birds chirping and singing their sweet little songs as if they were praising the arrival of spring. The gravel beneath my feet, the smell of local eateries cooking up fried bacon for breakfast, and the swans wading gracefully through the lake was enough to make me kneel and kiss the earth. Not to mention, I really actually felt “one” with nature when I swallowed a few gnats in the mist of my run…hey I can’t complain, they were probably a good source of iron or something…bahaha. Gross, I know. Post run, Les and I hopped on over to Whole Foods for a nice steaming cup of coffee (Les got decaf because she gave up caffeine for Lent…what a trooper) and some to-go brunch. Needless to say, I have kicked off my spring in a fabulous mood, truly appreciative for my city, Austin, Tx and all that it has to offer. I have discovered that I am truly spoiled living here and cannot see myself living anywhere else. IT. IS. BLISS. On another note, because spring has arrived, I am having to spring into action a.s.a.p. as my best friend Sanna’s wedding is in almost three months, and being her maid of honor comes with tons of responsibility. I am in the midst of helping plan her third bridal shower for late April. It’s a garden party and of course the first thing I can think about is the menu. I am the type of person that loves “tea room” food, if you people don’t know what I am talking about you need to get to your nearest tea room a.s.a.p. Sanna and I share a common love for our favorite tea room in Pearland, Tx called The Pear Tree. I have been going here for “ladies lunches” with my grandmother, mom, and sister since I was a little girl and the homemade food never fails. I love their finger sandwiches and I usually get a scoop of their chicken salad over a bed of fresh greens, a cup of cheese broccoli soup, a bowl of their spectacular fruit salad overflowing with fresh grapes, sliced bananas, melon, and strawberries, and last, but not least, two slices of homemade pumpkin bread spread with cream cheese and sandwiched together. Might I also mention that each meal comes with a small teapot of their signature hot spice tea…ahmazing! Anyhow, I was on the phone conversing with the mother of the bride and she was talking about what dishes people had offered to bring. To say the least, tea room esque food is definitely in the works for this bridal bash. This brings me to share a simple chicken salad recipe that I would serve for the fabulous ladies in my life, whether it be at a bridal garden party, a baby shower, or a ladies luncheon, this chicken salad will definitely help you ease into spring.

Ladies Luncheon Chicken Salad

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
3 stalks celery, finely diced
1 Tbs. fresh tarragon, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh chives, chopped
1 Tbs. stone ground mustard
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
1/4 c. Greek yogurt
Bibb lettuce leaves

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
2. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish.
3. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and cover with chicken broth and lemon juice. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
4. Place chicken in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
5. Take the chicken out of the oven and allow to cool completely.
6. On a cutting board, dice the chicken into small chunks using a large cutting knife.
7. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl.
8. Add the celery through the Greek yogurt to the bowl and toss everything together to combine.
9. Check the seasoning and adjust to your likening.
10. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
11. Place the chicken salad over the Bibb lettuce leaves and serve.


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