Quick Apple Chicken Salad

Aunt Linda’s Chicken Salad Recipe


Sometimes a food will bring up nostalgic feelings, this salad always takes me back to a golden time in my life. A time of discovery, growing up, and lingering in the what could be. I loved sitting around Aunt Linda’s island chatting about school, she would check on our hearts, and together we wondered and dreamt about the future. Does food do that to you? I’d love it if you shared!

Today, I give you a snack that could also be used for lunch! Serve it over a bed of greens or on a veggie board along with humus and crackers. I hope you try it and then tuck it in to your go to recipes. You are going to love how it comes together quick and easy!

Ingredients:

12 oz shredded chicken (1 can)
2 green apples diced
1cup of raw almonds
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 tbsp of dry dill
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space

2. mix all ingredients in a large bowl

3. Serve and enjoy!

4. Can be refrigerated for a day or so, may dry out but just add a bit of mayo to moisten!

La Ensalada de Pollo de Tia Linda

Ingredientes:

12 oz de carne pollo desebrada (una lata)
2 manzanas verde cortadas en cubitos
1 taza de almendras crudas
1/4 taza de mayonesa
1/2 tbsp de eneldo seco (dry dill)
sal y pimiento al sabor preferid

Instruciones 

1. Comienza recogiendo todos los ingredientes

2. agrega los ingredientes a un tazón y mezcla

3. listo! sirve y disfruta!

4. puedes guardar la ensalada en la refrigeradora por un día, si se seca le puedes añadir un poco de mayonesa!

Buen provecho,

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Book Stack

A Poem to COVID-19

Oh Covid-19, 
Spring is here in its usual SPRING LIKE JASMINE way. 
You may feel like you are still blooming 
But know that we are PRAYING TOGETHER for your eradication.

I am happy to practice THE ART OF GATHERING again
Especially gathering for the good of others with Noonday
Although, you have caused so much disruption
There is beauty emerging out of the chaos 

In these last few years I have been able to GIVE MY CHILD THE WORLD 
Through homeschooling and exploring books together
 I have also spent more time examining our propensity to live BUSY LIVES that lead to RESTLESS SOULS.

And so I am re-reading ESSENTIALISM as I continue to focus on what truly matters as we long to live a purposeful life. 
I am now more than ever convinced that creating is an act of resistance 
And so we create and continue ADORNING THE DARK left in your wake. 

Although it may seem like I AM ALL OVER THE PLACE 
The COMFORT  BOOK reminded me that “cooking is the best kind of active meditation”  so weekly I practice meditation when I Prep and Pray 
This is my active stand in THE RUTHLESS ELIMINATION OF HURRY 


With your arrival so much of our normal activities ceased 
But we continue the sacred struggle in slowing down
And I long to live free and light WHEN STRIVINGS CEASE.

We learned to live and work from home 
We have also learned to live at home with our whole self 
Giving thanks for this good body is a new rhythm for me
And I can feel that I am slowly BREAKING FREE FROM BODY SHAME 

Even though you meant to ravish our bodies 
You don’t get the last word
These bodies are meant for greater purposes 

And Black women have beautifully embodied faith 
Like they are CARVED IN EBONY showing us all 
That “there is a justice in joy” so, CALL US WHAT WE CARRY 
Because we are healing through our collective poetry of love

Here I stand to BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US 
Covid 19 your presence desired to steal our peace
And fill us with anxiety but IN THE NAME OF JESUS 
We choose RHYTHMS OF RENEWAL

THIS BEAUTIFUL TRUTH will prevail 
We are stepping into Holy Ground 
Every small unseen moment is exactly 
Where heaven abounds. 

Shalom. 

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A Go to Guacamole

Guacamole delicioso y fácil

Easy guacamole to make with your kids.

Ingredients

3-4 ripe Avocados

21/2 white onion (or red)

2-3 Roma Tomatoes

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro 

1tsp of oregano

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp paprika 

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2-1 tsp of salt

Supplies 

A bowl with a flat bottom

A fork

A spoon

Knife

Cutting board

For Serving Choose any of these

Your favorite tortilla chips

Plantain chips

Cucumber, celery, and or carrots

Or just eat it by the spoonfuls

Instructions 

1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space

2. Dice onion and tomatoes and add it to the bowl

3. Halve avocados lengthwise removing the pits and set them aside for later. You can remove the pits easily by squeezing the avocado half gingerly until the seed pops out. 

4. With a spoon scoop out the flesh of the avocado and place into bowl with a fork mash the avocados to chunky consistency. Add the lime juice directly on the mashed avocados then add it to the bowl with the other veggies.

5. Chop the cilantro and add it to the bowl

6. Add the spices and stir until well combined

7. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and taste. Then decide if you want to add more salt until you it is to your liking. Stir again adding the pits to help it stay fresh-then serve!

Buen provecho,

PIC Credit: Cameron Braun

Post also appeared in Eclecticshadesmagazine March/April 2019 Issue

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Quiet

#hopewriterlife Day 1 Challenge

Quiet is how my soul felt after my sister’s visit ended. It was a whirlwind of a weekend. The buzz of excitement and proximity came to a crescendo of togetherness.

There were many things I wanted to do and say but time slipped away as quickly as water through fingers. We left each place and experience already hoping for a next time…

As we sat together eating, remembering, and revisiting places familiar shortened the distance of so many years apart.

The day after their departure I found left overs in the fridge from our time together. I began to prepare them as I do my home made meals, realizing they were a special gift. They were a cord connecting me to a fulfilled longing. I loved that because of these leftovers I was able to linger in their gift of presence. It was their presence that stilled and quieted my soul in peace.

Maybe you are also navigating the murky waters of unfulfilled longings. maybe the waves overpower and you flail breathless and can’t catch a glimpse of the goodness available for you.

I want to remind you today, that you are not alone. I pray for you today. I pray that His gift of presence will supernaturally quiet and still your soul. Let those spaces tender, heal in the presence of Jesus.

As you emerge you will find your heart is ready to be available, present, and to serve wholeheartedly. With out expecting it you will begin to catch glimpses of the goodness specifically placed for you all around.

To share your space with your people is truly a generous gift from above.

Be strengthened with grace and love,

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Easy Couscous Salad

Deliciosa ensalada de cuscús

A colorful, tangy, and crunchy couscous salad.

This salad reminds me of laughter and cool breezes while dining al fresco in Greece. My family and I traveled there during my college years and the texture and unbelievable flavor of the food has never left me. Another thing I remember is how the table was central to everyday life; people gathered, they shared good food, and lingered over heart connections. 

I invite you to gather your community, set the table, and enjoy deep Christ centered conversation together. This salad will help you do it easily and without much fuss. You can grill some chicken and use this salad as a side dish and Listo! you have a healthy meal to share! 

Ingredients

1 medium sized glass jar or food storage container
1 small red onion (or a half of a large red onion)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin

1 cup of pearl couscous /(I used a tri-color Israeli toasted one)/ 

2 cups of cherry tomatoes /cut in half/

1 English cucumber /cubed into medium sized cubes/ 

1 can of garbanzo beans /drained and rinsed/

1/2 red onion /thinly sliced/

1 cup feta cheese 

1/4 cup of fresh parsley /chopped/

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp ground black pepper 

1/2 tsp sea salt

For the vinaigrette 

1/4 cup of olive oil + one tablespoon  to cut the tartness after you mix the ingredients 

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 lemon /juiced/

2 cloves of garlic /minced/

1stp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space

2. Thinly slice the red onion and put them aside

3. Take a quart sized pan and fill it with water, add salt and a splash of olive oil. (This step is flexible. Cook the couscous like you would cook pasta or follow the instructions on the package.)

4. Bring the water to a boil and then add the couscous simmer on medium until the couscous is “al dente,” not hard but not too soft. about 8-10 minutes. Then drain the couscous, rinse under cold water, and set in the refrigerator to chill. 

5. While the couscous is cooking, finish chopping the rest of the vegetables. (Keep your eye on the stove, anytime I cook pasta inevitably the water boils over.) 

6. While the couscous chills, mix the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until well blended. Taste to check the tartness and flavor. You may need to add the leftover olive oil or more salt and pepper. 

7. In a salad bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, feta, cucumbers, red onions, and parsley. Then add the chilled couscous. 

8. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to meld.

Deliciosa ensalada de cuscús

Ingredientes:

1 taza de cuscús de perla (yo use un cuscús de tres-colores)

2 tazas de tomates cherry cortados por mitad

1 un pepino cortado en cubitos medianos

1 una lata de  garbanzo escurridos y enjuagados 

1/2 una cebolla roja picada bien delgadita 

1 taza de queso feta 

1/4 taza de perejil picado 

1/4 cucharadita de comino

1/4 cucharadita pimienta molida

1/2 cucharadita de sal

 Para la  vinagreta 

1/4 taza de aceite de oliva + una cucharada para cortar la acidez después de mezclar los ingredientes 

1/4 taza de vinagre de vino tinto

El zumo de un limón

2 dientes de ajo picados

1 cucharadita de orégano seco

sal y pimienta a sabor

Instruciones 

1. Comienza recogiendo todos los ingredientes

2. Toma la cebolla y córtalas en rebanadas finas

3. Cocina el cuscús siguiendo las instrucciones del paquete, cuando el cuscús esté al dente, escurrirlo, enjuagarlo en agua helada, y ponerlo en la refri para que se enfríe. 

4. Mientras el cuscús se cocina termina de cortar el resto de los vegetales. 

6. Mientras el cuscús se enfría, mezcla la vinagreta en un frasco y agítalo vigorosamente hasta que esté bien mezclado. Pruébala para ver cómo está de ácido, podría ser que tengas que añadir más aceite de oliva o sal y pimienta. 

7. En una ensaladera, combina los tomates, garbanzos,queso feta, pepinos,cebollas rojas, y perejil. Después agrega el cuscús frío.

8. Sirve inmediatamente o ponlo en la refri un par de horas para que los sabores se mezclen. 

Buen provecho,

PIC Credit: Cameron Braun

Post also appeared in Eclecticshadesmagazine March/April 2019 Issue

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On Grief

From the Ranch, a Poem

High up in the sky the sun 
the heat rising from the ground 
tears close to spill
 yet our hearts were tender still 
Miracles right from the start 
prayer a constant spark
 Connecting and strengthening 
In the waiting the Lord was growing tiny seeds in the dark
now before me an expanse 
that spoke of the glory of God 
A smile of miracles seen 
blooms into a sparkle in eyes -a deeper knowing of God
High up in the sky the sun 
the heat rising from the ground
 we enter pastures dresses in beauty all around
 beauty of beasts given by the creator 
beauty in places that astound
watching, touching, loving, 
knowing all this is gift a prayer and a dream 
the shade is comfortable we huddle close seeking shade 
yet, there’s more 
this was beautiful and healing 
and yet more He has in store
an Elijah moment before me
 in the stillness of the day 
the heat rising and oppressive 
we see  the winds pick up
 the branches sway and dance to rhythm the powerful breezes relay
stronger and stronger lifting dust and leaves 
Lifting and twisting in powerful air
the openness now seems dangerous 
But surprisingly it comforts us
just as our hearts began to quake
 And we looked around for shelter and escape
 a cold breeze on our skin the wind becomes breeze 
ushering a new coolness 
ushering peace that surpasses understanding 
the evening turns into a sweet haven 
a whisper of promises from heaven. 
a gentle breeze cool 
a heart poised to hear 
a tender caress from father God whispers, 
“ I see you, I hear you I am yours and you are my delight” 
High up in the sky the sun 
below the daughters of the Son 
a Lord who comes close 
heaven caresses wind blown hair sweet 
now praises rise from the ground

It’s been a year since my grandmother went to heaven. I still as if just yesterday I stood beside her bed and read Psalm 91 over her. Loving her my whole life has been one of my greatest blessings. From the moment she first held my hand to walk to town in Honduras to the moment she last held my hand at her table I knew I was loved. I’m so glad that my children also got to hold her hand because I know they felt the true and peaceful love only she could give. I will continue to remember her in the flowers, in the quiet afternoon coffee time, and in prayer. This year when I see new life grow in the garden I remember that she is whole, new, and full of life too. Te amo, Abuela.

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Create the Easiest Pickled Red Onions

take your power bowls and salads to the next level

Cebollas Rojas Encurtidas.


One of my fondest memories growing up in Honduras was spending time cooking with my aunt. She cooked outside on a mud stove that she herself remuded and took care of every day. She always had a pot of beans on the stove and mounds of tortillas handmade everyday. All of her delicious food was garnished with one kind or another with encurtido. On my travels to the Caribbean I rediscovered this childhood favorite and vowed to figure out how to make it at home! I asked my mom to give me her recipe because in Texas we kept a Texas-sized jar of vegetable encurtido on the kitchen counter too! Sabroso! As I’ve played around with my mom’s recipe my favorite encurtido to make is an easy pickled red onion recipe.

The total time for this recipe from prep to table is 20 minutes to 1 hour depending how long you want to let it marinade before you use it.
I make small batches so I use either a half of a large red onion or a small red onion and that makes about 8 servings. Each serving is about 1/2 a table spoon.

Ingredients

1 medium sized glass jar or food storage container
1 small red onion (or a half of a large red onion)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper + 6 or so whole kernels of peppers
1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space
  2. Thinly slice the red onion and put them aside
  3. take the glass jar and and mix together the remaining ingredients
  4. add the onions and stir well. If you are using a jar you can give it a little shake
  5. Listo! let it sit for at least 10 minutes before you use it.
  6. Now garnish any meal especially a breakfast with a sunny side up egg!

Notas

*Making this recipe should feel very comfortable and organic for you. Do not hesitate to add more of any of the ingredients to make it to your taste.
*Sometimes my slicing is not equal and uniform and that’s ok! The sharper your knife the better your slicing technique will be.
*When I don’t have oregano I substitute Herbs de Provence instead-you will love this herb blend!
*if you would like to submerge your onions completely you can add a bit more of vinegar or even olive oil.

Enjoy,

PIC Credit: Cameron Braun

Post also appeared in Eclecticshadesmagazine March/April 2019 Issue

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A Recipe to Make Today

Crispy Carnitas

Make this recipe and make your life deliciously simple.

These crispy carnitas will not only become your favorite meal but they will also make your life easier! You can make a double batch and they will help meal  planning for the week easy peasy. You’re  welcome!

Ingredients

Rub:

  • 1 table spoon of dried oregano
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground chipotle (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 table spoon of Olive Oil, Avocado oil, or ghee

Crockpot or Dutch oven of pork shoulder:

  • about 3 lbs of pork shoulder, butt, or tenderloin
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • about 5 peppercorns
  • Juice of one orange
  • juice of one lime

For Serving

1 table spoon of Olive Oil, Avocado oil, or ghee

  • cilantro 
  • lime wedges
  • salsa
  • avocados
  • tortillas*  
  • rice*
  • Cotija Cheese*
  • cauliflower rice
  • pickled red onion
  • a greens blend 

Instructions

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space and prepping the vegetables. Prepare the meat by cutting it into about 4 in cubes and pat dry with a paper towel and place in crock pot or dutch oven. 
  2. Combine rub ingredients  and rub all over the meat.

For Crockpot

  • Prepare the Vegetables.
  • With your hands add rub to the meat covering the cubes on all sides. Then top with the prepared vegetables and remaining ingredients . Make sure to include the juiced orange and lime rinds . Cover, cook on high for four-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. When done you will find the meat separates very easily with two forks and will be very tender.
  • Once Cooked remove the meat from the crock pot place it a bow allow the meat to rest about 10 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and rinds. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Do not discard juices.

For Dutch Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and place the oven rack in lower middle position. 
  • Prepare the vegetables. 
  • Once you’ve added rub to the meat  top with prepared vegetables the remaining ingredients. Make sure to include the the juiced orange and lime rinds.  Cover and cook.
  • At 1 hour check the meat to ensure you have enough juices rendering if you find that its gotten dry you can add a 1/2 cup of broth. 
  • Cook for another hour to 2 hours until meat is tender and falls apart easily or internal temperature is at least 150 degrees.
  • Remove from oven and allow the meat to rest about 10 minutes in Dutch Oven, remove bay leaves and rinds. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Do not discard juices.

To Serve

  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil ( or preferred oil) in a medium skillet. Without overcrowding the meat cover the surface of the skillet and add a little of the carnitas’ juice. Brown just until the juice has almost evaporated and then flip them and cook a bit more. Make sure to not let them get too dry.
  • You can store the remaining meat in an air tight container and repeat these browning instructions when ready to use the left overs.
  • Use any of the sides or toppings listed above to serve. Enjoy!

Notas

  • Whole 30 approved casava tortillas 
  • Omit rice and cheese if whole 30 

Enjoy,

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Chai Tea Alfajores

Chai Tea Dulce de Leche Shortbread

This shortbread brings with it nostalgic memories of travel to Spain, these alfajores are a great blend of sugar and spice. Chai tea has always been a favorite, and when paired with dulce de leche the buttery shortbread takes on new life. Enjoy making this shortbread and always make enough to share. In this time of quarantine living, these treats are the best for porch drop offs, they will make the giver and the receiver feel close and loved with each bite!

Ingredients for the shortbread

2 cups of all-purpose flour*
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
2 tea bags of Spiced Chai Tea
1 cup of salted butter (2 butter sticks) at room temperature
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
2 sheets of parchment paper
1 cookie cutter*

Ingredients for the the dulce de leche

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 16oz canning jar with lid
1 crockpot

Instructions for the dulce de leche*

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space
  2. Prepare the dulce de leche first. You will need to prepare it the night before or first thing in the morning.
  3. Pour the condensed milk into the glass jar, leave a little space in the top of the jar. Seal the jar and place it in the crockpot, fill the crockpot with water just below the rim of the jar. Cook the jar of condensed milk on low for at least 8 hours. The clear glass jar makes it easy to see how much the milk has caramelized.
  4. After 8 hours take the milk out of the crockpot and let it cool before using it. In the sealed jar the dulce de leche can last up to a week when refrigerated.

Instructions for the shortbread

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl combine the flour and salt.
  3. Cut the open the tea bags and add them to the flour and salt mixture. Whisk until well combined.
  4. In a mixer, cream the butter until you see little peaks (about 1 minute). Then add powdered sugar to the creamed butter and mix for about 2 minutes and then add the vanilla as you finish creaming the butter.
  5. Lower the mixer speed to stir and slowly mix in the flour until the dough is mixed well and turns crumbly.
  6. Put the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out a bit thick. Put the flattened dough on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  7. Take the dough out the freezer and cut out the shortbread, because the shortbread is a bit frozen when baked it will retain its shape better.
  8. Bake the shortbread for about 10-12 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet to let them brown without getting over cooked.
  9. After your shortbread has cooled spread dulce de leche thickly on a piece and then adding another on top to create a sandwich or alfajores as known in Spain and Latin America.
  10. Sharing the alfajores with friends over tea or coffee makes them immensely satisfying.

Notas

*if pressed for time you can buy a jar of dulce de leche. I enjoy the one from Trader Joe’s .
*use your favorite cookie cutter, I prefer one with scalloped edges
*Gluten free all-purpose flour can be used but take care to cut the shortbread a bit thicker because they tend to break easier.

Hola! Hello.

Echo by Design

Daisy here, welcoming you and smiling with anticipation. I am grateful that you took the time to stop by. Here we are encountering each other because in unexpected ways our paths collided. Welcome to the table, it is set and you’re the guest of honor. Welcome to this little corner of the world that exists for encouragement, companionship and practical hospitality.

The artistry of the table is awe-inspiring yet simplifies life. It thrives on creating beauty and memories that encourage our souls to rest. Asking us to lean into slow and purposeful connections while ushering in mindful living. Gathering at the table will become a needed practice because there you will learn to savor food and delight in each other.

My journey to the table has been intricate, full of surprises, but super life-giving. Almost 10 years ago, I began documenting the start of new season of life but mainly my escapades in the kitchen and around the table. Already, it was evident that for me life happened with passion around those two spaces. Little did I know I was becoming a woman of the table. I was sending out a homing signal to the other people of the table and they got the message! Today, I am so glad you recognized that signal and it lead to our paths crossing.

A new season has begun in my life, one in which I am thrilled to claim a little corner here to create a beautiful space for you to come and belong. I will curate for you a little treasury of beauty through stories, recipes, and practical hospitality tips. But mostly I want to remind you to pay attention, be present, and still your heart with the truth that He delights over you. I am so glad you met me here, let’s link arms together in life.

In Dayton, OH I lead a team of women of the table. We host a monthly meals and we invite other women from around the city to join us for meaningful conversation, good food, and fed souls. I have discovered who I am becoming around those tables. I have been seen and heard because I created space for just that. So, as I embrace this graceful becoming I see that in all the little spaces of life I am becoming, albeit not always gracefully but always grace-filled.

It is for those same reasons that I step out to meet you here and encourage you friend, because the time invested in community is key in your becoming.

Tables are places of grace, sacred spaces of sustenance that infuse us with life, and make hospitality a practice in faith.

Daisy F. Dronen

Because community starts within your home I have created some conversation cards to encourage a richer time around the table with your family. A simple but very intentional way to be fully present right now. Find how you can join me monthly for tea here and get access to this download.