Octavian has officially entered into the "why" phase. You'll know your tiny human has entered this stage of curiosity when you hear them question why? after every single thing you say.
For example, I needed to call my credit card company the other night because they sent me a card with the incorrect middle initial for my name. I was folding about 5 loads of laundry on the floor while on the phone with the representative when my child comes over, sits on the pile, puts his feet in my lap and smiles.
O- "Mama, whatcha doin?"
Me- "Talking to the credit card man."
Me- "Because Mama needs to get a new credit card."
Me- "Because they sent me a credit card with Mama's old name on it. I need a new one."
Me- "Because the one Mama has won't work and I need a new one?"
Me- "Because I need it to spend money."
Me- "Because this is what I use to buy things sometimes."
O- ...thinking, thinking... "what you gonna buy me?"
And his curiosity extends to just about anyone he talks to, including his (as of this coming weekend) Uncle Dave. Octavian's new favorite thing is Facetiming his Auntie Jen-Jen in the morning over and over until she picks up. When she picked up this morning, Uncle Dave was literally walking out the door for work.
Dave- "How ya doin buddy?"
O- "You have a fan?"
(I've been working on his phone manners and encouraging him to say hello before asking about fans and gardening equipment)
O- "Good. Whatcha doin?"
Dave- "Going to work."
Dave- "To make money."
Dave- "Because the bills won't pay themselves."
Dave- "Hey, buddy, Auntie Jen-Jen is gonna show you a fan."
Yes, if I had a dollar for every time I heard the words why, Mama, and no, I would be very very rich.
Good thing my little "helper" is so stinkin cute; I mean those eyes...
His favorite thing to do is "help" me whenever it's time to take food photos. Since I have a room filled with lots of breakable dishes and camera equipment and other food props, it's basically Octavian's favorite room in the whole house. All he needs is 10 seconds in my office and I guarantee something will spill or break (just yesterday I found a jar of sesame seeds opened all over the table, floor and on a plate). Usually I keep the door locked, but he has a sixth sense for these things and just knows.
Whenever I take photos he is either napping or someone is home to play backup and entertain him (usually Nana). Sometimes, however, he gets loose; usually when Dad is on duty and just has to go to the bathroom right NOW. He storms into the room, announces his presence (literally), "I'm here!" and continues with the promise that he will "just sit and watch with my eyeballs. I won't touch anyting".
He never sits. And as he says he won't touch anything, he's grabbing the roll of parchment paper and watches unravel on the floor.
Fortunately for this salad shoot (which just so happens to be one of my FAVORITE salads and photos ever) he found a packet of old fruit snacks sitting on the table, distracting him from his usual path of destruction.
So, this salad, it's got all the good stuff, you guys.
First, and foremost, bacon. Just in case you can't see it, there's bacon. I usually save bacon for rare occasions and dishes such as this salad. You guys, bacon is the perfect salty complement to the honey mustard salad dressing. You'll also find thick chunks of juicy chicken, sweet corn and creamy avocado, ripe mango (because I'm a sucker for tossing fruit in salads), spicy red onion, protein packed hard boiled eggs and, of course, cherry tomatoes. This salad has everything you could possibly want in a salad.
You may be wondering if it's too much? NO, no no no. But, you can always add or subtract as much as you'd like depending on your own personal preference. I love eating this salad after a week of long hard workouts- it's packed full of protein, fresh veggies, fruit, and good healthy fats (minus the bacon).
Honey Mustard Chicken and Bacon Salad with Fresh Mango
Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 20 minutes / Total Time: 35 minutes (approx.)
Yield: 3-4 servings
For the Marinade/Dressing:
1/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons creamy dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water (more if needed)
For the Salad:
1.5 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts
4 thick-cut slices of bacon, cooked and chopped into small bits
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cooked corn kernels
1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, shell removed and sliced
1 large mango, pitted and chopped
In a medium bowl, whisk together ingredients for the marinade/dressing until fully combined. Place chicken breasts in a shallow dish and pour half of the marinade/dressing over the top. Place remaining half of dressing in a container and store in the refrigerator for later use. Carefully coat chicken in the marinade and refrigerate chicken for at least 2 hours if possible.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat the pan (you can also grill or bake the chicken if you prefer). Add chicken (you may need to cook in two batches to prevent overcrowding) and cook until each side is golden and the chicken is fully cooked (time will vary depending on thickness). Once cooked, remove to a separate plate and allow to rest until ready to serve.
If your bacon is not yet cooked, add bacon to skillet and cook until brown and crispy.
Meanwhile, prepare your salad- in a large bowl start with lettuce followed by onion, tomatoes, corn, sliced avocado, hardboiled egg, chopped mango, bacon bits and, finally, sliced chicken. Dress your salad with the remaining marinade, adding 2-3 tablespoons of water to dressing until desired consistency is reached.
Recipe inspired by Cafe Delites.