Soup & Salad Challenge: Weeks 6 & 7

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It’s weeks like these that I’m grateful to have a bunch of soup stocked up in the freezer.

Conversation with the person organizing the Teacher Appreciation Day lunch that I almost forgot about at my son’s preschool: “Oh, you still need a main dish for Teacher Appreciation Day Luncheon? No problem. I’ll provide homemade Caribbean Chili.”

Conversation with friend: “You just moved into a new house? Congratulations! Can I bring a meal over for you?” (In my head: All I have to do is grab some a batch of the frozen Hearty Chicken Stew and throw a salad together and I’ll have a meal for them. Woohoo!)

Conversation with myself after running around all day, feeling exhausted and coming home to an empty refrigerator: “What am I going to do for dinner tonight? Ah! Deep breath. There’s frozen soup in the freezer. Just run it under some cold water and heat it up on a pot. I’m off the hook…Whew! Mealtime just got a whole lot easier.”

Freezer Meals

So…yeah. It’s been that kind of week. It’s actually been that kind of month! The hubs is finally graduating with his MBA (this has been a long time coming) and is taking two super intense summer classes, which means I’m on super intense mom duty. It will all pay off when it’s over, but in the midst of the chaos I’ve realized I need to throw some of my ideals out the window until things slow down and we can catch our breath. Unfortunately, that means I’ve had to make the hard decision to end my Soup and Salad Challenge three weeks early. This is so hard for me, because once I commit to something, I’m all in. I’m an achiever and a bit of a task-oriented person, so going back on something to which I’ve committed feels like failure. Thankfully, I’ve received nothing but incredibly supportive feedback from all of you who have been in on this with me. Stuff like:

So glad you are stopping if it doesn’t work right now.  I have loved the meals and totally support your stopping.


No worries at all Jen, and sending a SUPER big hug and huge dose of grace for yourself. I’m really happy that you were true to yourself and have healthy boundaries and are not continuing something that was not sustainable for this season. You are a rockstar in my eyes…

So, I may just have the best friends and fam in the entire world. Thanks, guys. 🙂

In this final post, I’ll share the three salad recipes we have tried over the past two weeks (Yes, I’m behind):

  1. Apple Pecan Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
  2. Spinach Salad w/ Nuts Apples &  Bacon
  3. Bombay Chicken Salad

I must say Tiffany over at Creme De La Crumb has an incredibly delicious recipe for Apple Pecan Salad with Maple Vinaigrette. This went over well on Mother’s Day! Since I’m not a big fan of processed white sugar, I opted to replace the cinnamon and sugar which were supposed to coat the pecans with this recipe for Candied Pecans made with Pure Maple Syrup from Feel Great in 8. 

My hubs LOVED this Spinach Salad with Nuts, Apples and Bacon recipe from Mel over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. There’s just something about bacon that makes everything better. Of course, I used high quality, nitrate-free and sugar-free bacon from Butcher Box, which made this extra delish. (You can use this link for $10 off your first order and free bacon!) I also replaced the processed white sugar in this recipe with pure maple syrup from my friend, Kristen’s family farm: Haynes Call Sugar Bush. Once again, I used this recipe for Candied Pecans made with Pure Maple Syrup from Feel Great in 8, but used walnuts instead of pecans and added a bit of cayenne pepper.

And finally, my Bombay Chicken Salad is a consistent favorite in our household. I took an old Weight Watcher’s recipe for Bombay Tuna, replaced the tuna with chicken and used a unique blend of Esther’s Seasonings to make this top notch. Enjoy the recipe below!

Bombay Chicken Salad

  1. 32 ounce chunk white tuna (packed in water) Or 4 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded, Pastured/non-GMO is best
  2. 1 1⁄3 cup mayonaise I recommend Primal Kitchen’s Avocado mayo
  3. 4 cup mirepoix (chopped celery, onion, carrots)
  4. 1 cup sliced almonds or chopped pecans
  5. 1 cup golden raisins
  6. 1⁄4 cup Lemon juice
  7. 2 tablespoon Esther’s Seasonings: Jamaican Curry
  8. 2 teaspoon Esther’s Seasonings: Gourmet Salt
  9. 2 teaspoon Esther’s Seasonings: West Indian Pepper
  10. 1 head bibb lettuce or Spring Mix

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate.

Serve on a bed of Boston or Bibb lettuce.

I won’t be posting as regularly until I can come up to breathe at the end of June. I may, however, get a moment to throw together a post entitled: Quick, Easy, Healthy Meals for the Mama Who Doesn’t Have Time to Cook. What’s that saying about necessity being the mother of invention?

Also, as promised, I will be sure to make time to tally up the comments during the past few weeks of this Soup & Salad Challenge. I will randomly pick a name from this collection of commenters and this person will receive a complimentary sampling of Esther’s Seasonings. Stay tuned!

A Well-Nourished Life From the Perspective of a Wife, Mom & Life Coach

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Whitney Post Ottos is a dear friend whom I have referred to before on this blog. She is a consistent source of authenticity and encouragement to me, frequently helping me to look at life and various challenges from a refreshing perspective. I am honored to share her perspective on a Well-Nourished Life as a wife, mom and Life Coach. I hope you enjoy her inspiring thoughts as much as I have!

Soup & Salad Challenge: Week 5

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We are coming to the end of the soup portion of the Soup & Salad Challenge right on time (at least for New Englanders). The temperature has spiked to nearly 90 degrees this week. Hello, early Summer! We’re ending on a high note: Nourishing Foundations’ recipe for Caribbean Chili. The sweet potato in this recipe gives it a surprisingly sweet note, especially when corn is also used. If, however, you are following the Whole 30 diet, you will want to make a few adaptations to this recipe: replace beans with extra sweet potato & omit the corn. Still totally delish! Enjoy!

Nourishing Foundations' Caribbean Chili

This hearty meal has a little bit of spice as well as a sweet touch. It’s a filling, tasty dish and makes an excellent meal for company!

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
  • 1 lb Ground Beef (chicken, turkey or buffalo Unless you prefer the vegetarian version, in which case, omit!)
  • 3 TBSP Esther's Caribbean Chili (or Chili Powder of choice)
  • 1 tsp. Esther's Red Hot Pepper (or hot pepper of choice)
  • 2 tsp Esther's West Indian Pepper (or pepper of choice)
  • 1 TBSP Esther's G.O.G.
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 14 oz Mirepoix (or 2 stalks celery, 2 carrots)
  • 1 TBSP Chicken or Vegetable base (Rapunzel works well)
  • 1/4 cups Water or chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups Chopped Sweet Potato
  • 3-4 cups Beans of Choice (Cooked; Replace with sweet potato if following Paleo/Whole 30 diet)
  • 24 oz Tomato Sauce or Crushed Tomatoes High quality (no sugar added, whole ingredients (we recommend (Victoria's or Rao's))
  • 28 oz Diced tomatoes (Organic is best!)
  • 12-16 oz Frozen sweet corn (Omit if following Paleo/Whole 30 diet)
  1. To Make on Stovetop:

    Heat oil in frying pan. Cook mirepoix for 2-3 minutes, add meat, then spices.

    Cook completely. (~5 min)

    Add 1/4 cup water & allow to simmer

    In large pot, combine this mixture with ~4 cups beans or sweet potatoes, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Allow to simmer, stirring frequently, for approx. 10 min.

    Add frozen corn.

    Serve with cheese, avocado, sour cream etc.

To Cook in Instant Pot:

Using the sauté function on your Instant Pot, heat oil, then cook mirepoix for 2-3 minutes.

Add meat, then spices. Cook completely. (~5 min)

Add all other ingredients EXCEPT for corn.

Secure lid and set Instant Pot to 40 minutes on manual.

Allow for natural pressure release

Add corn at end.

Since I only made one meal this week, I had a little bit of extra time to mess around with a good and good-for-you dessert. This Avocado Chocolate Mousse by Food52 is UHmazing. I love it! Definitely worth a try.

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I did this week!