Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crunchy Chicken Salad Cups.

This weekend has been full of beautiful fall colors - trees with orange and red shades are finally starting to change in the city and there aren't too many leaves on the ground yet. I found cabbage bouquets at a local farmer's market yesterday and I wanted to take one home for every room. What a creative decor idea! The last day of the weekend started bright and early, as I was awake at 6:00am to run the RUN 10 FEED 10 10k race at Diversey Harbor. A full race re-cap is coming in my next post!

But first... let's talk food. After errands and a grocery store trip post-race, I was ready for something fast but delicious for lunch. Chicken salad is one of my favorite easy meals to throw together, especially when it's made with rotisserie chicken. I've been thinking about how to combine mini peppers with chicken salad for awhile now, and today's lunch was the perfect time to try it. We always have a bag of mini peppers on hand, as K loves to chop them for use in his daily salads. What better way to serve chicken salad than inside a few of these crunchy peppers?

There are many other fun ways to eat chicken salad, as seen on Pinterest - in lettuce wraps, on endive halves, inside wonton cups or tomatoes, and on slices of cucumber. I would also like to thank my sister-in-law of Make the Best of Everything for her inspiration to serve food in new ways - check out this fun post on 20 Edible Dish Ideas for more bright ideas.

This version of chicken salad is made healthier by substituting half of the mayo for greek yogurt. The mini peppers I used happened to be flat on the bottom, but you could also cut them length-wise and enjoy chicken salad boats instead. Please note I devoured whole wheat pita chips with hummus as a side with these tasty salad cups. Carb loading after the race, you see.

Make these cups for a quick lunch or a healthy party appetizer!

Crunchy Chicken Salad Cups
Serves 4, with leftovers.

Ingredients ~
8 mini peppers
1 rotisserie chicken {I only used the white meat, and removed the skin}
1/2 cup dried cherries 
1 celery stalk {chopped}
1/4 yellow onion {chopped}
2 Tablespoons mayo with olive oil
2 Tablespoons 0% plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon seasoning {I used Paula Deen's House Seasoning, a mix of black pepper, salt, garlic, and onion powder}

How to ~
*Chop celery and onion and shred the rotisserie chicken.
*Mix the shredded chicken, celery and onion. Add dried cherries, seasoning, mayo and yogurt and mix until combined.
*Wash the mini peppers, and slice off the top. Cut each mini pepper in half.
*Add chicken salad to each pepper cup until it's full!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

RUN 10 FEED 10 Discount + Healthy Apple Cider Muffins.

I have two healthy things to share this morning - a race discount for a 10k coming up this weekend in Chicago, and a new muffin recipe using beautifully tart fall apples. First up, the race!

{Image courtesy of Women's Health}

Women's Health is hosting the RUN 10 FEED 10 10k race in Lincoln Park this Sunday, October 19th. RUN10 FEED10 is a partnership with the FEED Foundation, a non-profit organization fighting hunger and malnutrition around the world. As part of each race registration, ten meals will be donated to those going hungry in the local community. This will be my first experience participating in RUN10 FEED 10, and I'll post a re-cap after the race. Fingers crossed for sunny weather!

If you're interested in running this local 10k, you can get a $5 discount on registration by entering the code R10F10PR. Click here to register for the Chicago race. If you want to be part of this race but don't live in Chicago or another host city, you can still participate by registering on and using the RUN10 FEED10 training app, created by WalkJogRun, to plot your own course and run a 10K anytime. 

Now let's talk breakfast. I had an itch to bake on Sunday, and this recipe is one I've been thinking about for a few weeks. I had apple cider and tart apples that were just waiting to be made into something delicious. The result is a batch of healthy muffins packed with apple flavor, with no butter in sight. Applesauce is substituted for most of the oil, and maple syrup for a portion of the sugar.

Extra apple flavor comes from the special ingredient apple cider and two chopped McIntosh apples. My favorite way to eat a muffin is crumbled on top of yogurt - am I the only one who does this? For this muffin, the Dreaming Cow Maple Ginger flavor is a perfect combination.

Healthy Apple Cider Muffins
Makes 17 muffins.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose {white} flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup apple cider
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tart apples, chopped
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons pure vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

How to~
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients - eggs, applesauce, cider, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla, until smooth.
*Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the chopped apples.
*Spoon batter into muffin cups or a greased muffin tin.
*Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

These came out at 130 calories per muffin, using the SparkRecipes calculator. Enjoy these muffins for breakfast or a healthy snack!

{Adapted heavily from Eating Well's Spiced Apple Muffins}

{I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. I received a free race registration from Women's Health for the RUN 10 FEED 10 10k race in Chicago.}