Reporting live from vacay!
And breaking news: as of our arrival yesterday, the beaches of North Carolina have re-invented my ideal vacation. Right now I’m gazing out the wrap-around bank of picture windows in this big ol’ beach house, taking in the long grass + old wood stairs + white sand + the white caps rolling in with that awesomely hypnotic ocean sound that puts you in a relaxation-trance. There’s an orange sun rising on the far side of the water and a few wispy clouds in the sky. Mmmk that’ll be just fine.
The quick story on this trip is that my sisters and I are all celebrating our golden birthday this year, and ever since we were little people running around the yard in ballerina skirts and cowboy boots, my parents have said that this would be the year that we would take a big family trip. Since that time, our family has added three siblings, three husbands/boyfriends, and one brand new baby… so here we are, all those years later, taking that golden birthday trip as a party of 12.
Fun times, you guys. Big family chaos and joy.
I happen to be really skilled at stalking my real life and internet friends’ vacation pictures online, so if you are like me and you want to follow along this week with beach vacay pics, the best place to catch them is on Instagram! And if you’re already following me on Instagram but you’re not into the vacation pictures kind of thing, I’ve made a pact that I’m only going to post 174 photos a day, so don’t even worry about it.
One of the great things about vacation is all the yummy food. Including fresh salads that are loaded with the world’s most yummy combo of chicken, bacon, and avocado. PS. California? In my mind everyone who lives in California is perpetually eating chicken-bacon-avocado-something. Or at the very least, an avocado. And bacon, because, well, duh.
Also possible: all the rest of the world is eating chicken bacon avocado so they can call their meals “California”.
Either way. It’s good food that associates you with a hip state, so win-win.
I first made this salad because I had so much asparagus leftover from this lemon pepper chicken and asparagus and I was looking for an excuse to eat more of it. I tossed it on my salad on a whim, straight out of the fridge, completely cold, and it was completely good. But then I ate all the cold stuff, so the next time I did it with the asparagus roasted just before serving and then we had that great hot-cold salad thing going on.
The combo of salty and crunchy and creamy is overwhelmingly yum. And the freshness of the basil and the beauty of the roasted asparagus –> things just went to the next level.
I would also like to take a minute to reflect on how good this week’s avocados were. There is nothing that sends me into the depths of despair more than carefully choosing produce (think peaches, avocados, and mangoes) only to cut into them and find sour//bitter//dry//hard as a rock. So when it works, there is no shortage of joy. You better believe those creamy green slices are eaten straight off the spoon.
I put one avocado on the ingredient list, but what I really meant was that you should buy 5.
Chicken Bacon Avocado Salad with Roasted Asparagus recap:
- Bowl o’ freshness.
- Hot or cold.
- Big family vacation rocks.
- 8 slices good quality thick bacon (smoked is yummy)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups chopped asparagus
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning (more to taste)
- 4 cups spinach, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 8 ounces chicken breast slices (I get it from the deli counter)
- 1 large ripe avocado
- ¼ cup good quality olive oil (I got mine from a Hampton's Lane package)
- ¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- fresh basil for topping
- Fry the bacon according to package directions (I go for crispy on this one). Drain on a paper towel lined plate and crumble or chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet over high heat. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with lemon pepper, and saute until golden brown and roasty-looking. I like the little charred pieces so I cooked it a little longer - you can cook for as long as you like depending on how you like your asparagus.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Layer the spinach, chicken, asparagus, and bacon. Cut the avocado into slices and scoop out with a spoon; arrange over the top of the salad. Drizzle or toss with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh basil, salt and pepper.