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Are You Awake?

I went to the post office recently to mail a baby shower gift to my friend.  It was a smidge too heavy for the lowest shipping rate so I took out the card, unwrapped the present, and put it back on the scale.

It worked.  I qualified for the cheapest, slowest shipping rate around.  I turned to the post office lady like “BWAHAHA! I’D LIKE THIS ONESIE TO REACH BOSTON SOMETIME THIS YEAR, PLEASE.”

Then I asked if I could borrow some scissors to cut off the tag that said “CLEARANCE — $6.99,” and the post office lady gave me a look that said wow, you’re not a very good friend, are you?

This is before it became an unidentified onesie stuffed into an envelope.

She might be right.  I’m not good at talking on the phone, I forget to reply to emails, and I lose track of urgent texts.

For example, weeks ago I got a text message from my friend Phil that said:


I wasn’t, so I didn’t reply and then I forgot. . . until now, when I called him and he didn’t answer.

I’m starting to worry that ARE YOU AWAKE is the kind of text you send from the emergency room or the police station.

I’m also going to delete the text because it’s making me feel guilty.  Is that bad?


So to make up for it, I’m sending out a bunch more onesies later today.  If you get a squishy economy-sized envelope, it’s from me.  It should arrive in about a month, by boat.  Don’t mention it.  It was my pleasure.

And happy spring!

I made a light lunch salad with chicken, avocado, celery, grapes, toasted coconut and toasted almonds to celebrate.  I had the coconut and almonds lying around because I was playing with my favorite granola last week.

I marinated the chicken in a bourbon marinade because it makes it wonderfully tender, and I threw a dash of bourbon into the honey mustard dressing.   But you don’t have to do that.  Not every day is a booze-at-lunch kind of day.

Which is a shame, if you ask me.

Light Chicken Crunch Salad {Download & Print Recipe}


For the salad:

2 chicken breasts

1 avocado

4 stalks celery, chopped

a handful of grapes

a handful of raw almonds (I used whole raw almonds that I chopped and toasted, but slivered or shaved almonds are fine too)

a handful of large-shaved coconut

salt and pepper

greens (such as lettuce, spinach or sprouts) for serving the salad on

For the dressing:

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. bourbon (optional)

For the chicken marinade (optional– you could also use left-over chicken or poach your chicken in water, or grill it with a little oil):

1/4 c. pineapple juice

1 tbsp. soy sauce

3/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 c. bourbon (optional)


For the chicken:

1. You can poach it and cut it into bite-sized pieces if you don’t want to use the marinade listed here.

2. You can use left-over chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces.

3. Or you can marinade it like I did:  for that, clean the chicken breasts.  Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken breasts.  Cover and refrigerate in the marinade for one hour.  Before an hour is up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove chicken from the marinade and place in a pyrex dish and bake until cooked through.  (I hesitate to tell you a time– my chicken breasts are butterflied so they cook faster.  Just keep an eye on it starting at about the 30 minute mark and cut into it to make sure it’s not pink).  Let the chicken cool and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

For the rest of the salad and dressing:

Combine the ingredients for the salad dressing in a bowl and stir with a fork.

Chop the almonds if they’re whole and toast them in a toaster oven or on the stove top over medium heat until they are a light brown and fragrant. Separately do the same with the coconut flakes.

Cut each grape in half and cut the avocado and celery into bite-sized pieces.  Pour some dressing over the chicken, avocado, grapes, and celery and toss carefully, so as not to mush up the avocado.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.  Add more dressing until it’s dressed to your liking.

Place the chicken salad over the greens and sprinkle with the almonds and coconut.  You can drizzle more dressing over the greens if you like, and serve.

Yield: Lunch for 4.

Notes: If you’re using the bourbon: I don’t know if the alcohol will sort of cook the chicken, like ceviche, if you marinate it for a long time.  It happened to me once by accident with shrimp and cognac.  So I marinaded my chicken for no more than 2 hours.


I think Thunder’s trying to tell me to cook from The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

I must have spilled something delicious on it, because when I walked into the living room the other day she was licking the title off.

What a weirdo.

57 Comments Post a comment
  1. Loving your post – the pic about Spring and wetting your plants – priceless – ha! Have a Great Day – I need a nap now!

    April 12, 2012
    • Hey there, thanks! I saw that sign the other day out of the corner of my eye when I was on the highway. I swerved into the parking lot of the store to get a picture because I thought it was awesome. They had a lot of great plants and flowers there, too!

      April 12, 2012
  2. Amy #

    First off, I can’t confirm if you’re a good friend, but you’re a most excellent blogger and comment-responder 🙂 That should more than make up for your delayed text response time. Plus, being asleep is as good an excuse as any. Also, I believe the only acceptable post-bedtime texts are for booty calls.

    I LOVE chicken salad with fruit and crunch in it and this one looks amazing. I have a recipe that uses curry powder and grapes and pineapple…so fresh. Now I’m craving some!

    April 12, 2012
    • Heya, Amy– well thanks. I love responding to comments–it’s so fun! I will keep telling myself that responding to a text weeks later is justified becayse of the hour and the fact that, as a rule, I only respond to booty call texts. Obviously.

      That chicken salad you’re talking about sounds amazing. I don’t eat a lot of grapes but they’re so good in chicken and turkey salads! The Silver Palate cookbook has an awesome turkey salad with Jarlesberg, grapes, celery and sherry mayonnaise. It’s so good.

      April 12, 2012
  3. Can totally relate to the onesie by slow-boat thing. And I suspect most busy people have a hard time getting back to everyone (I’m saying that to make myself feel better). Maybe you’re not a good person, but definitely slightly better than I am? That probably didn’t make you feel good, did it? See? There I go again. ; )

    April 12, 2012
    • I’m hopeless, Anne, but at least YOU have a good excuse–you’re writing a book, raising kids, and RUNNING MARATHONS so yeah, if you don’t get back to people right away, it’s understandable. I write that from my couch, where I am–at this exact moment–not returning someone’s email, I’m sure.

      April 12, 2012
  4. Thank goodness I don’t need a onesie! Hope the baby still fits in it by the time it arrives 🙂 The salad sounds lovely, if i leave out the mustard and double the bourbon! I’m still trying to train my human to eat green stuff.

    April 12, 2012
    • I know–I hope the baby doesn’t grow out of it by the time she gets it. Next time I’ll have to plan for my own delay and clothes that are designed to fit 2 year-olds!

      April 12, 2012
  5. Fabulous I love the way you write and that salad but (sshh) what is a onesie? c

    April 12, 2012
  6. LOL @ Thunder and the cookbook. Must be a Bulldog thing. Mine lick all sorts of random things, too…. and that sounds way more disgusting and/or raunchy than I intended. 😀

    April 12, 2012
    • Hee hee. Yeah, thunder licks our hands, our faces, etc. She loves chewing on Scott’s ear. She’s crazy! I hope yours are doing well!

      April 12, 2012
  7. Hah – Thunder knows where the good stuff is – with my four dogs I never can be sure that they are licking me because they love me or I am just delicious LOL

    April 12, 2012
    • Probably both, Shelley, probably both.

      April 12, 2012
  8. LOL @ Thunder and her cookbook. Must be a Bulldog thing. Mine randomly lick assorted things, too…. and that sounded way more disgusting and/or raunchy than I intended. 😀

    April 12, 2012
    • Sometimes Thunder lunges for my armpit because she loves deodorant and I think to myself “if someone is looking through the window right now, they’re going to be seriously weirded out.” Ugh.

      April 12, 2012
      • Jenn #

        I feel a little relieved. Our goofy Boston Terrier LOVES lotion. I thought she was a total weirdo, but clearly is in good company.

        April 13, 2012
  9. So much better on the photos, thank you! And I just want to drink that marinade, yum.

    April 12, 2012
    • Oh good, I am glad it worked! Thank you and Stacy so much for all the help. I just resized them to 480 pixels in MS Paint. Let me know if you think I should pick a different size, etc. in the future. Cheers!

      April 12, 2012
      • Loaded up quickly this time! Thank you!!

        My Boxer loves to lick feet, which kind of feels good, for the not-too-ticklish. But I don’t let him do it in front of company. 🙂

        April 13, 2012
        • Good, good–thanks for your help, Stacy. That’s funny about your boxer. Thunder doesn’t like to lick feet. . . which probably says more about my feet than it does about her. 🙂

          April 14, 2012
  10. This is a fancy ass lunch. I have long been a proponent of the boozy lunchtime, at least on a Friday, but my employer is steadfastly not getting with it. Crazy, right?

    April 12, 2012
    • That IS crazy. Maybe your employer should spend a little less time “working” and a little more time watching Mad Men. Yeesh.

      April 14, 2012
  11. I seriously can’t get enough of Thunder. He makes me smile!

    April 12, 2012
    • Horray! Thunder makes me smile, too. 🙂

      April 14, 2012
  12. So funny, love how your posts make me laugh. And then each one also contains a kick-ass recipe beautifully photographed. I was a little disappointed though to read that not every day is a booze-at-lunch kind of day, though. I rather like to think they are, but I’m just exercising restraint. Oh, and I hope your friend made it out of the trunk alive. 😄

    April 12, 2012
    • And a PS for Ceciliag: onesies rock! But only for babies. On adults they are a very bad idea indeed.

      April 12, 2012
      • Indeed, onesies for adults are kind of unwieldy. Those footie pajamas I wore at Christmastime were a pain to do anything in. Thanks for the kind words– I’m glad it’s a hoot to read, because I’m sure having fun on this end.

        April 14, 2012
  13. a #

    Last summer, I went to California where I developed a love for avocado. However, I just want someone else to choose it and prepare it for me.

    You can stuff up to 13 oz of items into an envelope and get that cheap rate!

    April 12, 2012
    • I’ve been obsessed with avocado lately. I’ve had half an avocado at lunchtime (with other stuff) for the past two weeks. They’re so good!

      I’m glad to see that at least one other person out there knows their cheap rate facts. Nicely done.

      April 14, 2012
  14. Thunder knows which side of the cookbook is buttered!

    April 12, 2012
    • Ha! That’s a good one, Sandy Sue.

      April 14, 2012
  15. LOL living in Australia and all my family in the states, everything seems to get there by boat or I have to float a loan to send packages. I’ve become good friends with Mr. Amazon and if I pay him enough he’ll even wrap the prezzies.

    Love the salad and the wit.

    April 13, 2012
    • Maureen, I lived in Paris for a few years and whenever my parents sent me packages, they’d get sent to a depot somewhere because if you weren’t home when the mail guy arrived, they’d hold the presents at the post office for like a DAY and then send them to some far-off depot and then return them to the United States. It was infuriating. I hope things are better in Australia. 🙂

      April 14, 2012
  16. I’ve been lurking here since Jenny the Bloggess mentioned you. I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your writing, your recipes and Thunder – who is deeply beautiful!

    April 13, 2012
    • Hi, Janet! Thank you for the kind words– it’s really nice of you to say.

      I saw on your site that you’re following a special diet. I was recently talking to someone who does Paleo and loves it. Are you as enthused about it as she is? I’m so curious about what people think of it. I’ve never had a paleo meal and was thinking of reading up on it and trying it for a week or so just to see what it’s like.

      Cheers! Katherine

      April 14, 2012
      • The Paleo thing works really well for me Katherine. I would recommend that you give it a go, but for 30 days… check out – there is so much information there! 🙂

        April 16, 2012
  17. First, that salad looks amazing. I say this despite the fact that I have a long-held belief that meat and fruit should never, ever come together. I’d actually shove my face in that salad.

    Now, there are many reasons Phil might have sent that text. Yes, it could have been sent from the trunk of a car. Let’s face it, that’s the most likely scenario. But maybe he saw some kick-ass story on PBS about… well, about whatever the hell it is that you like, and he wanted you to see it. Or, he bought new jeans at the Gap and he wanted your opinion on men wearing flared pants. So lets not jump to the worst case. Let’s just assume that he’s out there, somewhere, wearing ill-fitted jeans.

    April 13, 2012
    • Ok, so I talked to Phil. When I called him again, he was on his way to an improv class, like nothing had ever happened. He says he can’t remember why he sent me that text message, and he agrees that it would have been weird of him to text ME from inside a kidnapper’s trunk, because I live in Alabama and he lives in Los Angeles. Not an ideal start to a rescue operation. Anyway–no joke–he did start talking about jeans. Totally without prompting! Out of the blue, he said “it’s really hard for me to find jeans that fit me. My body type is weird.”

      I probably shouldn’t be publicly telling everyone that Phil has a weird body type. He has a FINE body-type. I should probably stop here.

      April 19, 2012
  18. Lan #

    i just wanted to let you know that i find your blog to be incredibly entertaining and i’ve been backtracking thru your archives and i’m not getting any work done.

    i’m now adding something else to your list of things to feel guilty about, from not answering emails in a timely manner, or erasing text messages from friends who could be reaching out for help to making a random stranger become so engrossed in your blog that she doesn’t work & loses her job.

    April 13, 2012
    • Hee hee. Thanks, Lan! I’m so glad you like it. It’s been such a hoot for me.

      Your photography is awesome, by the way. And I listened to the Dawes song– I had never heard of them but I really liked it.

      April 16, 2012
  19. (lick, lick) “Thunder, what is it? (lick, lick) “Thunder, what IS it?? Is it a recipe, Thunder?” (lick, lick, lick) “Is that it, Thunder, it’s a recipe?” (lick, lick, lick, lick) “Is it a really GOOD recipe, Thunder?” (LICK, LICK, LICK, LICK, LICK)

    April 13, 2012
    • That’s a good idea. I should just open the book up to a few different pages, see which one she licks more, and start cooking that recipe. That would be a hilarous way to run a cooking blog, wouldn’t it?

      April 14, 2012
  20. Sally #

    love this post, wetting the plants, booze at lunchtime, and Thunder desperate for some NYTimes kinda cooking.

    April 13, 2012
    • Thanks Sally! That sign cracked me up, too, when I saw it on the side of the road.

      I can’t believe Thunder licked the title off. I looked over and was like “oh, that’s cute.” And then I did a double-take and was like “wait. . . WHAT? WHERE DID THE TITLE OF THE BOOK GO?”

      April 14, 2012
  21. Chicken salad is in the air… I think we all need a little pause post Easter. I just did one substituting apples with cranberries. I like the fruit and meat thing. Your marinade is a keeper and I love the coconut and avocado together. I will put this on my eat this week list. Thanks.

    April 15, 2012
    • Yum– apples and cranberries in salads are so tasty–especially in tuna salad. I’m glad you’re in the mood for this recipe– I’m on a chicken salad spree. We bbq’d some chicken this weekend and then turned that into bbq chicken pizza the next night, and today I’m going to have some bbq chicken salad. I need to cook this way more often– cook a lot of something over the weekend and throw it into stuff all week!

      April 16, 2012
  22. The first part of this post really made me LOL. I’ve been on an avocado-spree for the past month and have started to run out of ideas on what to combine with it. Thanks for the recipe idea, I’m looking forward to trying it out.

    April 16, 2012
    • Oh good! I’m on an avocado spree, too. It’s been about a month for me as well. I actually LOVE avocado on pizza– have you ever had that? With tomatoes and basil, or chicken–or anything, really. This winter, I made a few avocado and nectarine salads, but now the nectarines are gone, sadly. Lately, I’ve been stuffing avocados in pita with honey mustard dressing and sprouts and things.

      Loving the marbled cupcakes you’ve got going on there!

      April 16, 2012
      • Actually, I’ve never had avocado on pizza but since I love to load up my pizza with toppings that one would be very fitting also! Oh nectarines, another favourite!

        April 16, 2012
  23. eliotthecat #

    Too funny! (And, obviously, I am a slow reader and commenter!) I am beginning to hate text messages. A friend texted me (and I hate that verb form) that one of our friends was REALLY sick and she was worried. So, I did something unimaginable: I called her to see what was up. “I don’t have any details” was the response. THEN WHY DID YOU SEND ME A TEXT? So I could worry?

    Deleted it too!

    Keep makin’ me smile! (Nice salad too!)

    April 16, 2012
  24. Love your blog and wanted to show that love by passing-along the nomination for The Sunshine Award. For details you may want to refer back to my recent post Smarter Than a 6th Grader. -Nikki

    April 17, 2012
    • Nikki, thank you so so much! It’s so kind of you. I’m really honored that you like eggton. It makes my day!

      April 19, 2012
  25. Um… I’ve totally deleted urgent texts I never responded to out of guilt. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake and I really didn’t see the text until much later. Other times I blame technology and pretend it was crapping out. Sometimes I just don’t know what to say back. Ugh. Life. Is. Hard.

    April 18, 2012
    • I hear you. There are some things that you have to do RIGHT THEN or not at all. And sometimes “right then” is when you’re falling asleep or in a meeting or burning a cake, so it doesn’t happen. But more often than not, I wait to say something back because I can’t think of anything good, and then it’s totally over. 🙂

      April 19, 2012
  26. April was in CT now CA #

    For some reason when I got to the part of the ingredeint list that says “large-shaved coconut” it made me giggle. I clearly have issues to solve. The salad would totally hit the spot for me right now, YUM! Thunder has excellent taste in cookbooks, adorable as always.

    April 18, 2012
    • That’s funny. Now I TOO am giggling at the large shaved coconut.

      I saw coconuts at the grocery store today, actually. Man, I love those things.

      April 19, 2012

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