This salad is total feel good food. It is full of flavours and textures yet will leave you feeling light and clean. Assembled in 15 minutes, it is packed with lean protein (chicken, or beans if you would like to make it vegetarian) and not weighed down with any starchy carbs. Fresh herbs instead of salad leaves and crunchy ribbons of raw vegetables. The dressing is oil free and totally zings!
This recipe is especially for all the mamas out there. The ones who stand in the shower crying because they had an exciting chance advance their career that day, but the kids are sick. The ones who are overwhelmed by the mental load they carry for everyone in the family. The ones who have been running on broken sleep for years, and yet when rest is finally possible they can’t actually sleep from the urge to creep into the baby’s room several times a night to check. The ones who are constantly yogurt stained. (That includes me!)
Last night I had my monthly group call with my mentor Leonie Percy (www.leoniepercy.com) and a group of fine mamas who are all trying to move our careers forward. We chat, laugh, set goals, talk strategies and learn from each other – mainly how to navigate through the pressures of life with all the different hats we wear, and still keep giving our best to all the people who depend on us to provide our full attention and love. Last night we had lots of insight from Amy Taylor-Kabbaz, mama of 3, a former ABC Journalist and now author of Happy Mama, The Guide to Finding Yourself Again. Amy shared with us ways she juggles everything and looks after herself, because after all, she says: “A happy mama is a happy family”.
So, how DO we manage to re-charge ourselves when everyone else is constantly plugging into us? I want to share some things I took away from this group of soulful, powerful, loving mothers and some things I’ve learned on my own motherhood roller coaster.
- Fill up your cup. Do things that make YOU happy, everyday. This could be in the form of a hobby, music, working out, wearing beautiful clothes or putting on a bright lipstick.
- Spend more time in nature. Get outside. Experience the beauty of the outdoors. Pick leaves with your kids. Stop to smell the flowers and the ocean air.
- Write down mantras in a journal to yourself every day. I personally let mine flow each day without thinking too hard about it, because I feel that allows my subconscious mind to bring up those things that need attention. I do mine every night before bed. Some recent mantras of mine are: I am enough. I am strong. I am full of love and light. I can let frustrations go.
- Accept it sometimes. Just allow yourself to say “Shit, this is REALLY hard.” Go and have a cry, punch some pillows. Don’t fight against it all the time, as this can just start a vicious cycle. This helps you to be loving and caring towards yourself.
- Breathe and come back into yourself. This is the simplest and quickest way to re-charge if you’re in a bad headspace or feeling overwhelmed. Try a quick mantra in your mind while you take 3 deep breaths. My favourite one for this is: “I’m breathing in strength, I’m breathing out negativity”. I visualise strength as a beautiful glowing white and clean air filling up my lungs, and the negativity coming back out like sticky black tar.
- Get more sleep. I know this can be challenging sometimes with motherhood but do what you need to do in order to make this happen. Start your bedtime routine by 930 so that you can be ready for sleep no later than 10pm. Take naps when the kids sleep, or get someone you know to come round and keep the kids while you can have a catnap.
- Eat nourishing, beautiful food. Lots of fresh vegetables, clean proteins, whole foods and avoid anything heavily processed or unnatural.
If you are one of my readers, then you already well know, number 7 particularly calls to me. That’s why I’ve chosen this beautiful salad for YOU. Its filled with clean, vibrant tastes and textures, and just leaves you feeling light and good. It has some healthy fats but otherwise very lean – high in protein and not weighed down with any starchy carbs. What makes it even better, is that only simple arranging is required here – no cooking. I have used one of those ready-cooked, rotisserie roast chickens from the supermarket as I find them to be such a quick and handy family dinner time fix. So economical, too! You can use the leftover chicken for lunches, plus use the carcass to make broth for soups and stews and cooking grains in.
Note: if you are vegetarian, then just substitute the chicken for your favourite protein – beans, cooked lentils or tofu.
Here is your Feel Good Salad Recipe:
- ½ rotisserie roast chicken
- 2 large carrots
- 2 green onions
- 1 green apple
- 1 avocado
- 1 bunch mint
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup mixed nuts and seeds
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- juice of 3 limes
- 1 tsp salt
- Remove the meat from the chicken bones, lightly tear with your fingers and set aside. (Save the carcass to make broth)
- On a large platter, roughly tear the herbs and mix together.
- With a vegetable peeler, create ribbons of the carrot and cucumber (but stop when you get to the seeds in the middle). Slice the apple into thin wedges, then cut those into matchsticks. Pile on the chicken, the cherry tomatoes and the green onions. Slice the avocado and place on the sides of the platter.
- Place the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake for a few seconds until the honey dissolves.
- Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and scatter over the mixed nuts and seeds.
TIP: the day after you make this, use your leftover herbs to make a cous cous or cracked wheat tabouli style salad. Cook the grains in chicken broth for great added flavour.