Lunch doesn’t get any yummier than this super easy Chopped Salad, aka *Chicken, Avocado, & Kale Chop Chop Salad*. Plus I’ve got lots more happy things and healthy living tips to share with you today, including my favorite new hiking/trail running spot, Mother’s Day love, and the most delicious Coconut Chia Banana Pudding recipe. Enjoy!

Happy Thing #1: Chicken, Avocado, & Kale Chopped Salad

Chicken, Avocado & Kale Chopped Salad | Got leftover chicken? You can make this yummy salad in less than 10 minutes for a super easy, healthy, and delicious lunch or dinner!I’ve been trying really hard lately to use up the food in my fridge and freezer, thanks to this inspiring post from Katie over at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook–>A Year of Less Food Waste: 10 Tips to Reduce Food Waste. And, this *oh-so-yummy* {and healthy too!} Chicken, Avocado, and Kale Chopped Salad was the result of my hard work 🙂 You could easily make this with whatever greens, protein {swap garbanzo beans for the chicken}, veggies, and cheese you have lurking around in your fridge too! Do you have a favorite chopped salad recipe? Do share!

Happy Thing #2: Hiking & Running the Bataquitos Lagoon Trail

The Bataquitos Lagoon Trail in Carlsbad is one of my favorite places for hiking or a trail run in San Diego. It's so peaceful here, yet easily accessible for all, including dogs too!The Bataquitos Lagoon Trail in Carlsbad (North San Diego), is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots for a trail run or for hiking when I’m shuttling Big Tex to and from baseball hitting practice, and I have some free time on my hands. It’s so pretty and peaceful, tucked away by the lagoon {great for bird watching!) and interspersed with fragrant eucalyptus trees. As an added bonus, dogs are welcome too, so I try and bring this guy along with me for a quick jaunt through the woods! Have you found any new trails to explore lately??

Happy Thing #3: Coconut Chia Banana Pudding Parfait

So healthy and delicious! Coconut Chia Banana Pudding Recipe | Packed with protein and fiber, this banana pudding is super easy to make, and perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a healthy snack!What’s better than Banana Pudding? This super easy, no-bake Coconut Chia Banana Pudding Parfait! It’s absolutely delicious, plus it’s packed with protein and fiber-13 grams per serving of each-for a healthy breakfast, dessert, or snack. It’s naturally gluten-free, and easily made vegan {use vegan yogurt in place of the Greek yogurt} or low FODMAP {use almond milk in place of the soy milk + lactose free yogurt}. Head on over to the Food Network’s Healthy Eats Blog to get my recipe–> Coconut Chia Banana Pudding Parfait.

Happy Thing #4: Modern Table Meals Bean Pasta + Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade pasta sauce with Modern Table Meals bean based pasta-so delicious and nutritious!Modern Table Meals sent me a couple of boxes of their bean pasta to try a couple of months ago, and it was perfect with this homemade sauce I whipped up with Pureed Tomatoes + Tomato Paste + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Red Wine + Dried Herbs + Onions + Black Olives + Garlic + Chopped Bell Peppers and Yellow Squash. The best part of the meal {other than how nutritious and delicious it was}? I made it when Mr. Spicy and I were both sick, and I was SUPER tempted to order takeout {for a second night in a row}. BUT, with these healthy pantry staples on hand, I was able to whip this up in 15 minutes. #feelingvirteous #noexcuses Have you tried Modern Table Meals before? They’ve got a delicious line-up of healthy bean based pastas and pasta meal kits that are all gluten-free {they are working on gluten-free certification right now}, so head on over to check them out! Note: I received free samples of pasta to try, but I was not asked to write this post, nor did I receive compensation-I just like to share products with you that I enjoy and think you will like too!

And last, but not least, my happiest thing of all…

Happy Thing #5: Mother’s Day Love

Me and my sweet kids... I had a fabulous Mother’s Day and hope you did too! SiSi, Big Tex, and Mr. Spicy made me breakfast in bed, then SiSi and I went to the Rancho Santa Fe Farmer’s Market, and we ended the day with a BBQ at home with family and close friends, including my mom, my mother-in-law, and my kiddo’s Godmom. SiSi also made me a beautiful Memory Book {including this photo from about 8 years ago}, and I thought I would share all the things she told me she is thankful for~a perfect reminder for all of us mom’s when we think we aren’t doing “enough” but really, we are “perfect” just as we are, in our children’s eyes….

Thank you for: Making me the happiest daughter on earth…teaching me to not be ordinary…holding my hand…showing me to laugh every day…watching shows with me…teaching me that life’s an adventure…loving each other and making our family whole…showing me how much family matters…loving us and letting us love you…letting me do fun things…showing us there’s more than electronics…taking us to gorgeous places…always trying to give us the best in life…teaching us to love and care for each other…making my life so much more interesting…being there when I need you…giving me hugs and kisses…turing my bad days into bright and shiny ones…teaching me there’s always something good at the end {of the rainbow}…always trying to make me smile…taking us to new places…pushing us to always try our hardest…sitting and listening to me when I need my mom…not letting us miss out on the good times…letting us be whoever we want to be. ~SiSi, age 14

And before I go…


  1. The weather’s been a little fickle lately. We’ve had some gorgeous warm weather, but also some chilly and rainy days too, so I love this Spring Plant Powered Soup Recipe Round-Up at Sharon Palmer, The Plant Powered Dietitian. Have you been eating soup lately?
  2. Mr. Spicy and I LOVE mushrooms. The kids? Not so much! That just means more of this yummy Baked Mushroom Leek Frittata from my friend Jessica at Nutritioulicious for the two of us 🙂
  3. I’ll admit that I don’t eat seaweed a lot, but when I do, it’s in something delicious like this nourishing Sea Veggie & Tofu Miso Soup. For more reasons why you should be adding seaweed to your diet, check out this post by Danielle Omar on what makes Seaweed such a super food, and try out some new delicious recipe ideas too!
  4. Are you following all the research on gut health and what to eat for a healthy microbiome like I am? If so, you’ll love this Podcast: How to Nuture Your “Good” Bacteria with Diet and Lifestyle” at the Meal Makeover Moms. Plus, they’re giving away a copy of The Good Gut by Erica and Justin Sonnenburg if you enter by May 18th, so head on over to enter and learn more!
  5. For those days when you can’t get to the gym {or where ever you enjoy working out}, you can still squeeze in some “exercise in disguise” with these 5 calorie burning activities
  6. It’s officially avocado season, and what better what to celebrate than with these Avocado Chicken Burgers from The Lean Green Bean. For a lower calorie/carb version try ’em wrapped in lettuce, oh, and please save one for me!
  7. Last week I bought a cantaloupe, for the first time in what seemed like ages, and Big Tex and I devoured it! Now I’m craving more, and these Cantaloupe Breakfast Bowls from Eating Bird Food look divine, and SO EASY too! When was the last time you ate a good, juicy cantaloupe???
  8. On my list to learn more about…Essential Oils! I though this was a great introductory article by Marisa Moore at Food and Nutrition Magazine–>Diffusing the Benefits of Essential Oils. Do you use essential oils? Would you like to learn more about them too??
  9. Have you ever had to toss a brown, half-used avocado? This looks like a genius #kitchenhack to me!–> How to Freeze Avocados at The Greedy Vegan.
  10. And, last but not least, this Strawberry Salsa was SO delicious! We enjoyed it on BBQ Chicken for Mother’s Day, then yesterday I had leftovers on top of a quesadilla stuffed with Cabot Garlic & Herb Cheddar Cheese and Chopped Kale. Try it. Really!!! Oh, and just a warning…it’s got a pretty good kick-if that’s not your thing, you’ll want to cut back on the jalapeños 🙂