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Grape-Chia Chicken Field of Greens Salad Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Welchs #WelchsChia #CollectiveBias
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Momma Told Me: If you eat too much of that- you're gonna turn into it!

When I was about 4 or 5 years old my father's parents, who were big into holistic living in the form of acupuncture and herbal supplements, began carrying a large shaker of flaxseed to every meal. Because they lived on the opposite side of the country, and I only saw them fora  few days twice a year, it didn't seem out of place at first. Then, a few years later, the practice my father has laughed off as 'yet another holistic fad' not only had stuck around, but intensified. My grandparents sprinkled flaxseed on everything from their morning toast to an afternoon blended coffee beverage. As you can imagine, at the time, the young girl I was I fancied it a miracle seed, the way they regarded it's presence with such importance.
Chia Smoothie
Of course, now 30 years young myself I know there is no such thing as a magical food, or even magical ingredient. That true smart eating comes from a deliberate, and somewhat complicated balance of dietary composition that changes day to day with our busy lifestyles. This being said, there has been quite a lot of talk over the past couple of years about a group of 'Superfoods' which offer magnified nutritional benefits when incorporated into a well balanced daily diet. As someone who is 1.) notorious for eating like a bird and 2.) has cut most meat out of her diet unintentionally (I just tend to eat chicken or tofu or veggies these days) Chia has been a big part of my own personal Superfood movement.
#WelchsChia Spreads at Ralph's #Welchs (AD)
So you're probably thinking why would I want to put something that traditionally sprouts out of a ceramic head (anyone else remember Chia Pets?) in my food? A serving of Chia seeds may provide up to 20% of your daily dietary protein, while being packed with Omega 3 Fatty acid ALA (but not DHA) and also offer a unique texture twist to just about anything you might sprinkle them on, or put them in. I haven't quite reached the 'carrying a shaker full of Chia Seeds' stage, like my grandparents, but I have been using this ingredient in pretty much anything I can think of- mainly smoothies and atop salads as of lately.

Recently Welch's released their new Chia spreads range of NON-GMO, real sugar, spreads free of preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup. They're jars full of the real Welch's fruit flavor your love, and packed with over 700 chia seeds in every serving. You'll currently find them in the jelly and jam aisle of your favorite major grocery retailers. I found both the Strawberry and Concord Grape varieties at my local Southern California Ralph's. In fact, if you're lucky, for a limited time, you'll find a coupon on select bottles of Welch's Chia Concord Grape Spread at a store near you. It's the perfect reason to pick up a jar and try today's featured recipe!
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
I'm pretty used to using Chia as an ingredient in my day-to-day recipes- but most curious about this Superfood might not know where to begin. Welch's new Chia spreads offer a great way to experience the texture of Chia in a delicious natural fruit spread. I found that Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread is really versatile and easy to work with, thanks to the generous helping of real Chia seeds, which makes it bind beautifully as a baste for some freshly grilled chicken. In fact, I sear off 2 grilled chicken breasts, and baste each side in a thick layer of Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread, then send them directly to the oven on a cast iron skillet to finish reaching temperature.
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
While my chicken finishes cooking I use a few tablespoons of Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread to whip up a light vinaigrette with fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and Omega 3-DHA Canola Oil. The result is a fragrant fruit vinaigrette that tosses into a bowl of fresh greens for the perfect sweet-citrus flavor to bring this delicious salad to life.
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
When your chicken emerges from the oven it'll have a gorgeous cranberry color glaze that reminds me of Thanksgiving turkey. Don't be fooled, there's only a touch of sweetness from Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread's real sugar. In fact, most of the sugars in the spread bake off during the 2nd stage of cooking (in the oven) and this grilled chicken has a wonderful flavor that is light and addictive all at once. 2 large breasts, thinly sliced will provide us with 2-3 generously portioned meals for 2. And that's perfectly fine with me, because I wouldn't mind eating this salad every day of the week.
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
As amazing as the flavors are when combining the Grape-Chia grilled chicken and the Vinaigrette, there are a few other star ingredients I suggest to make a flawless salad. While it might seem logical to put actual grapes in your salad, don't. For an extra layer of texture and natural sweet-tart that will go far to bring out the delicious Welch’s flavor, thinly slice some sticks of Granny Smith Apple and allow them to soak in fresh lemon juice while preparing your ingredients. A slivered red onion will also help to balance the acidity of the plate, while crumbled goat's cheese will bring in a bitter creamy element that I especially love when chia seeds are present. To top it off- candied pecans make this one irresistible salad, great for any season.
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Be sure to toss your greens in the prepared Grape-Chia Vinaigrette prior to building your plate- a little goes a long way and you really want that powerful vinaigrette flavor to interact with all of your ingredients! Nervous about how the chia seeds might impact your textural culinary experience? Don't be! You'll hardly notice they're there among all the other texture profiles in this dish!
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
As someone who reaches for Chia to incorporate into her meals on a day-to-day basis, Welch’s Chia Concord Grape Fruit Spread is a great way to take the mess out of a thousand tiny seeds and still enjoy the goodness that Chia has to offer. With 700+ seeds per serving, it likely is more than I'd organically put on or into my food in the first place, and it really offers a delicious flavor boost of natural grape that works wonders with smoothies, breakfast bowls, and even grilled chicken! Now, tell me, have you ever tried Chia seeds in a recipe? What might you do with Welch's new Chia spreads?

What Daughter Says: Balance is the biggest key to smart eating. There's no such thing as a magic ingredient, but smart ingredients can help make decisions easier.

Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad with Welch's Chia Concord Grape Vinaigrette- #Welchs #WelchsChia (AD)
Grape-Chia Grilled Chicken Field of Greens Salad

At Home Photo Booth Fun

D.I.Y Photo Booth for Emotional Growth and Cooperative Play
Momma Told Me: Express yourself.

I don't have kids.

Every time I say that I feel like it's a bit of a lie. Every time I fill out a survey or form and it asks me to list my children, there are at least 20 that come to mind. Sure, I can't claim them because I didn't give birth to them, and they don't go to sleep under my roof- but, whether they're blood related (nieces/nephews) or just children from the daycare, I feel a bit of a stake in the quality of their lives. I don't have children, yet, I would do just about anything to see the children in my life happy. And, really, there's a reason they say 'It takes a village.'

But, before this post gets off on an entirely different tangent, about how people can have consciously chosen not to give birth to children, at this point in their life so far, and it doesn't mean they don't like children- (Yes, that is a stereotype I get a lot) Let us all agree that it takes next to nothing to make a child happy. In most cases, simply your time. And that the time spent is always minimal compared to the rewards.
So, whether you have children of your own, or nieces or nephews, or maybe are a childcare provider- you likely know that 1. Kids can find fun in just about anything if you point them in the right direction, 2. Kids have amazing personalities and 3. As constantly changing as children are, it's important to capture every moment you can.

When I was a child I was obsessed with capturing the world on camera- Momma and Pop had a Polaroid that was my absolute favorite, but I was only permitted to take 1 photo a week, given the cost. Of course I had a disposable camera too, and it always seemed like an eternity to get my prints back from the drug store. These days it's free, and easier than ever, to capture moments and memories in images thanks to smart phones and electronic devices with built in cameras.
One would think this would make the concept of taking photos a dull one, to the modern kid- but I've found there's still something magical about having the camera turned on them. It may be a little vain, but the kind of kids I hang around just adore to see themselves on screen, or in print. This is great because, as easy as it is for the modern parent to chronicle the childhood of their children most parents often don't think to stop and take photos that will actually be displayed. Sure, you pay ridiculous prices for the digital format of your children's school photos- but do they really capture the essence of who your child is in that particular moment and year?

And that's exactly why I decided our activity of the week, at the daycare, would be a carnival themed photo booth. It may sound a bit elaborate, but it really cost me less than $15. Photo props can be purchased on Amazon quite cheap; I bought a 65 piece set for just over $10. For our 'booth' we really just set up a background by clipping some leftover fabric to an oversized appliance box. To really help the kids' personalities shine I even offered to do a little face painting.
D.I.Y Photo Booth for Emotional Growth and Cooperative Play
I might not be the world's best artist, but I truly enjoyed listening to each child talk about what they wanted, and how the painting's subject inspired or empowered them. Sure Spiderman or 'rainbow triangles' (the 3 year-old's request) might not be 'in' next year, but that's the fun of capturing this day in time on film.
D.I.Y Photo Booth for Emotional Growth and Cooperative Play
D.I.Y Photo Booth for Emotional Growth and Cooperative Play
At first some of the kids were a little shy. Though we'd broken the ice with some face painting, many of the children expressed that photos were for 'nice faces' and only taken when something important happened at school, or for a holiday. As soon as they got the idea that they could truly bring any mood to life, things really began to get fun.
D.I.Y Photo Booth for Emotional Growth and Cooperative Play
D.I.Y Photo Booth for Emotional Growth and Cooperative Play
"Photo Booth" is now the most requested Thursday activity in our little group- and, while I don't want it to lose it's special charm and become novel, we're always looking for ways to take this simple concept and work it into something else.For example, a photo booth can be a great way to discuss emotions, build creative play and cooperative skills, or help boost self confidence in diversity and individuality. Of course, the best part of this little project was printing out the photos for parents to take home. Now, tell me a little bit about your favorite photo of your child, or your favorite photo of yourself from growing up! Mine is a photo of 2 year-old me with a stuffed beaver backpack, in diapers with my hair a hot mess, standing in my mother's shoes, just crying red hot crocodile tears. I always knew turning on the waterworks would get attention from my father, haha!

What Daughter Says: Treasure every moment, capture everyday character!

Inside-Out S'mores Bars Recipe

Inside-out S'mores Bars Box Mix Cooking Shortcut/Hack Recipe
Momma Told Me: Think outside the box.

This isn't a particularly pretty post- in fact, it was never really intended to be it's own blog post. I'd quite intended to mess around with a GIF or PIN strip some day- thus the lack of gooey-messy foodie shots, or excessive styling. The lighting isn't even great- it was an overcast day and half of my condo was moved into the new house, so I was really just 'working with what I had'. But, to be honest, these were actually requested by someone in my league to be posted, so here I am sitting down to type up one of the most basic, simple, recipes that has ever crossed my little space on the web.
Inside-out S'mores Bars Box Mix Cooking Shortcut/Hack Recipe
Growing up Momma loved 'boxed' recipe hacks- if there was any way she could save time while adding her own touch or twist to make something magical, she'd find it. Making 'boxed' recipe hacks are often not only time saving, but also quite affordable. Which makes them my go-to when I have to feed a large number of people (say, an entire bowling league) with only a few hours notice. After all, I am the 'dessert' lady, and blood sugar levels drop to dangerous numbers when I don't bring in the weekly fix for my bowlers!
This Inside-Out S'mores Bars recipe is so simple it doesn't require a narrated post- but the photos are still pretty to look at, right? I used to agonize over what brand or variety of boxed this or that I would choose when shopping for boxed recipes I'd found on Pinterest. The truth is most are pretty forgiving and you should always go with your personal tastes when picking 'the box.' For example, I love the triple fudge brownie variation of brownie mix from a certain big name baker brand- so that's what I use here. However, you may prefer a more malty milk chocolate flavor to compliment the s'mores theme, or perhaps something even more wild, such as a blondie mix. You really can't go wrong.
There are a few variations of this concept, and I completely endorse the variation where you layer chocolate bars atop your marshmallow layer before smothering it with the second half of your brownie batter- but, on this day, I needed a slightly less messy concept considering people would be putting their chocolatey hands in heavy balls at high velocities just after consumption. My personal 'twist' to this idea is double graham crackers- but that's always been my favorite part of the s'mores experience!
Inside-out S'mores Bars Box Mix Cooking Shortcut/Hack Recipe
You may be tempted to pull these out of the pan and start devouring them on the spot- Take my advice, let them cool thoroughly, especially if going the chocolate bar route. Not only will pretty much any cutting utensil instinctively want to stick to every inch of marshmallow, but the entire bar itself will crumble at the graham layer if you dive right in too soon. Don't worry, they're still be gooey and indulgent when cooled.
Inside-out S'mores Bars Box Mix Cooking Shortcut/Hack Recipe
So just a little further down you'll find the 'official' recipe- if the photos aren't instruction enough. Pretty much anyone can make these, and they go from box to belly in less than an hour (cool time included). Give them a try the next time you need to be a potluck/classroom mom/unexpected dinner guests hero. Now tell me a little bit about how you like to 'dress up' or incorporate boxed mixes into your cooking routine!

What Daughter Says: Sometimes delicious doesn't have to be fancy- boxed mix hacks make it as easy as 1-2-3.

Inside-out S'mores Bars Box Mix Cooking Shortcut/Hack Recipe
Inside-Out S'mores Bars 
***Click here for printable Inside-Out Smores Bars Recipe

Experiencing SoCal VegFest And Expanding Horizons

#SoCalVegFest 2016
Momma Told Me: Don't think different, think broader.

If you'd asked me a few years ago if I'd like to go to something with 'VegFest' in the title I'd have laughed out loud and made a snarky remark about bacon covered veggies. And the truth is, that type of mentality runs rampant among the communities outside 'that way of life.' You know the communities, 'Veg Heads,' 'Tree Huggers,' ....'Vegans'- there's us and then there's them. If it sounds like an ugly way of thinking, it is.

But, really, a few bad apples (pun intended) have given an entire way of living a bad wrap. Vegetarians, vegans, and humanitarians all have this misguided rep for being over-zealous and judgemental when, in truth, those looking outside are casting stones just as far as them. As a foodie, I've long recognized this war but it wasn't until one of our close friends 'came out' as Vegan that I was forced to look at how I so harshly judged.
There are a lot of reasons I feel I will never be a Vegan.

Do I feel there is anything wrong with those who choose to be? Absolutely not? Could I see myself as a Vegetarian, or Pescatarian? Maybe. But what it really boils down to, is I would rather choose to expand my lifestyle to be more conscious, than flip a switch overnight and commit to an entire way of living I really know so little about.

And that is how I would up at SoCal VegFest the, second annual free admittance, massive weekend event which self professes it's specially organized to "engage curiosity and inspire consciousness in people of all ages." I really couldn't put it better myself.

Organized on the sunny Orange County College Campus what might be misunderstood as a Vegetarian or Vegan festival really was an enlightening experience. With hundreds of vendors, many food trucks and food minded vendors yes, from animal free hair care to holistic living and inspirational live music. Anyone walking in with an open mind would surely find themselves delighted beyond labels and lingo.
#SoCalVegFest Donut Friend Los Angeles, CA
Prime example- Vegan Donuts.

Local North Los Angeles boutique style donut shop, Donut Friend, was arguably one of the hottest Food exhibits at the event boasting a mostly Vegan menu of flavor twisting, from scratch, donuts, with names like Bacon 182 and Drive Like Jelly (a peanut butter and jelly interpretation). Many of their menu offerings are not just animal by-product free, but gluten and or dairy free as well, making them great for those with allergies, or just a conscious sweet tooth.

Even in the SoCal heat I insisted on toting a few of these delicious donuts through the event with us, and home for dessert that night. It was well worth the wait; forget their excluded ingredients, these were easily some of the best donuts, flavor and texture, I've ever had!
Of course I was all about the food- and the seemingly endless samples the vendors had to offer only gave me more reason to 'educate' myself on culinary alternatives and potential benefits to dietary changes- but there was plenty more going on than Earth friendly hippie brands peddling food.

Whether you were interested in aligning your chakras, sampling homemade incense, exploring natural fabric dyed and printed clothing, learning to play a new instrument, or wished to discuss methods of at-home-composting, there was something to intrigue everyone from the curious, to the life-long-devoted Earth conscious individual. We spotted families, pets (which technically weren't allowed because of the food), couples, fashion driven college students and grunged out high schoolers. And the vibe- it was electric.
As someone not necessarily looking to convert to Veganism, I was also accompanied by my Vegan friend. That somehow sounds wrong, when I type it, as if hes 'my Vegan friend'- when, in fact, he's introduced me to many like-minded people from his circles. But, still, I associate him with my 'tipping point,' my 'eyes wide open' factor. So nearly everything we actually sampled or bought was, in fact, Vegan, despite the fact that not all the vendors were Vegan friendly.

And if I am speaking Chinese- Vegan would indicate no animal sourced products were used, rather than no animal meat (Vegetarian), and Veganism can take many forms from mild (no milk, meat, fats) to extreme (no honey, animal labor, or even animal household pets). For our purpose my friendly Vegan friend is quite easy to talk to and will happily explain that every Vegan must find their own level of comfort as to what their lifestyle means, and what path they will live.

Having said all this- yes, that is Vegan funnel cake, and it is amazing. Up top: a plant based milk substitute we found even more creamy than the big name competitor, Silk. Look for MALK at a store near you soon!
#SoCalVegFest 2016 Vegan Sushi
Speaking of expanding horizons, Vegan Sushi is something I didn't think existed, let alone thought I would ever try- so I naturally jumped at the chance when we passed by a specialty food truck known for their imitation spicy tuna-less tuna. Believe it or not, the materials cost of manufacturing this sushi was not only less on the eco-impact bottom line, but the wallet as well. And the flavor? Impressively good. The puffed rice and crispy noodles on the exterior really brought the texture and flavors of the imitation tuna to life!
#SoCalVegFest PETA
Of course it wouldn't be SoCal VegFest without the PETA booth- a booth that pops up at a lot of festivals and events I frequent, but has always had me a bit timid to approach. PETA has a bad wrap for being a little extremist, and some of their representatives have questionable tactics for shock based messaging.
On this particular day I was actually accompanied by my friend, Aaron (you know, my 'Vegan friend') who actually just began working as a social media representative for the organization this month. He really helped show me the softer side of the organization, and how they worked hard to expand not only vision but perception through creative solutions- not just the traditional scare tactics they often get a bad wrap for. With representatives such as Aaron holing their face, I really find the organization is much more approachable for mainstream consumers such as myself.
Somewhere near the PETA booth were a few animal friendly accessory and fashion vendors. I, personally, don't find that Vegan fashion in the high end market is in my budget- with the gorgeous high-top leather alternatives calling my name ever so sweetly- but I definitely found a beautiful art in thinking outside traditional materials to create gorgeous clothing. The more I pondered how truly far one had to go to be genuinely Vegan kosher in the world of clothing, the more my head actually began to spin. So many animal by products are used in the industry, much like the case used to be with cosmetics.
SoCal Veg Fest also had an assortment of events being hosted throughout the weekend, much like you'd find at your local fair. A costume contest and cupcake contest were just a few of the highlights- The criteria for the cupcake contest being that they at minimum were Vegetarian friendly. These rules didn't seem to hinder creativity at all, though- the Little Shop of Horrors inspired cupcakes were a clear front runner in my book. I only wish I could've tasted them!
#SoCalVegFest Vegan Mushroom Potstickers
We wrapped our day with one last snack- Vegan Ginger Miso Portobello Potstickers (a pricey $18 plate, but oh so worth it as it was, wok'd in from of you.) And, of course, we stopped by Southern Fried Vegan for a plate of  Chicken-less Chicken and Waffles to take home for dinner. Man, if I lived in the Los Angeles area I could easily see myself spoiled on good Vegan eats!

Of course the moral of the day was really just an expansion of possibilities and a slightly different way of thinking. The social impact of our consumer and dietary consumption is one issue- but the mentality of skewing one's self towards am ore sustainable, and greater, future, really shines with appeal to me. I look forward to attending the event again next year, and will definitely keep my eyes out for similar events more local in the upcoming year! Now, tell me, what do you think you'd enjoy most about visiting an event like SoCal Veg Fest?

What Daughter Says: Expanding your mind doesn't require commitment, it just requires an open mind.