August 11th, 2011

Shifts and Chicken & Peach Salad

Grilled marinated chicken, sliced peaches and cucumbers, and baby spinach

Deliciously bittersweet, like life.

Last night was the first shift toward autumn.  I felt it silently creep over us in our sleep, that certain type of cold that means the season is changing.  I wouldn’t have expected it for a couple more weeks so I did not notice it other than to pull the blanket over myself in the early morning.  But when I got up, got ready, and walked out the door to go to my third chiropractor appointment this week, I noticed the change in the sky, in the whisper of the trees, and the charge of the air.

The promise of Autumn.

Yesterday we had a gorgeous day with *gasp*natural light filtering through my windows! Plus, I was feeling better.  Not great, but well enough to go back to work for the first time in a week, if only for half a day.  So I did.  And I baked muffins and took photos.  And then I made a chicken & peach salad and took more photos.  It is the salad I present to you today.

I had about as much light as my floor lamp gives me, but it was natural and pretty.  It’s sad that the most natural light I can muster in my kitchen still keeps my shutter speed at 1/20th of a second (dismally slow, in case you’re not photographically-minded), so bear with me that the photos aren’t exactly stunning.  But I’m happy with them, and in love with this salad.

Grilled chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar, orange juice, and thyme.  Sliced white peaches and cucumbers.  Baby spinach.  White wine vinaigrette with lavender and thyme.  All of these things combine to create a refreshing salad that makes a nice light dinner with some crusty bread, or turn your lunch into a sweet and happy interlude.

I overfilled my bowl

Just look at that NON YELLOW lighting!

The night I made this for dinner, Tuesday, also brought a shift in my perspective.  One of my mottos is that everything is about perspective, and I’ve been trying to get a grasp on mine, to find a new one.  I’ve alluded to it here and I will continue to do so as it is not something I can discuss publicly, but those on my (very private, as locked up and hidden as possible) facebook know about much of it.  We’ve been going through a lot of stress lately involving doctors, courts, money, and jobs.  Not all rolled into one problem, which just makes it that much more stressful.  It’s a bunch of things.  And Tuesday night brought the beginnings of the change in perspective I’ve been needing. I  was grateful for that.  Maybe, if I can really grasp it, things will start to fall into place.

Shifts in ideas.  Shifts in nature.  Shifts in healing.  They’re everywhere.  Embrace them.

Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad

Serves: 6

  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 navel orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, or ¼ tsp dried
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 lb skinless chicken tenders
  • 8 c baby spinach
  • 3 white peaches
  • 1 med cucumber
  1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, orange zest and juice, sugar, garlic, thyme, and paprika in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the chicken tenders and toss to coat. Set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is marinating, preheat your grill (I used a George Foreman grill). Pit and slice the peaches, then peel and slice the cucumbers into rounds. Set aside.
  4. Grill the chicken until cooked through, then roughly chop.
  5. In each bowl layer baby spinach, then peaches and cucumbers, and top with chicken. Drizzle with white wine vinaigrette (recipe follows).

White Wine Vinaigrette with Lavender & Thyme

  • 4 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. white wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 turns of a pepper mill, or 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp dried lavender flowers
  1. Combine all ingredients in a closed jar or bottle.
  2. Shake well before use and store at room temperature up to 3 days.


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