Turning Chicken Shit Into Chicken Salad

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by Amy on September 14, 2009 · 29 comments

Paul and I are smart people. Really we are. Although some of our decisions in the last five years would suggest otherwise.

Like when we both thought filling out an “anonymous” work survey, a week before our wedding, would prove to be beneficial. What it proved was that upper management no longer needed his services.


And then a year later when we decided to move 2,000 miles away from my family…while being pregnant in my first trimester. This only proved that excess hormones corrupt your ability to think clearly.


Or the time we spent $4,000 to put in a backyard deck, only to tear it down the following summer because we decided the view of our alleyway was less than desirable. This proved that I’ll never have the dream kitchen I want, because we wasted money on a deck we barely used.


So, it’s only appropriate that we have put our house on the market (in possibly the worst economic time, since I was born) and relocate back to California (a state on the brink of bankruptcy.)

Dumb? I hope not.

We do have good reason (of course, that’s what we said with all of other brilliant ideas.) It’s been three months now since Paul lost his job. That may not sound like a long time, considering there are so many people who have been unemployed for over a year now. But Paul could easily turn into one of those people. In an effort to avoid that, he has decided to make an opportunity for himself, instead of waiting for one to come to him.

He’s joined forces with two other exceptional gentlemen and they are going to take the Digital Signage Industry by storm. And you know what? I actually believe they will. Collectively, they’re unstoppable.

No more bitching about the brutal winters. No more bitching about being an airfare away from my family. No more bitching about unemployment. No more. We’re going to turn chicken shit into chicken salad.

And if our future is nearly as good as this chicken salad, we’ll be in pretty good shape.

Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

Print this recipe (adapted from Annie’s Eats)

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Annonymous October 20, 2010 at 10:35 am



Andrea@WellnessNotes September 17, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Best of luck to you and your husband! The chicken salad is gorgeous… I can almost taste it…


zerrin September 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I’ve just discovered your blog and when I read this last post, I remember how it may sometimes be difficult to afford even some basic foods. Food blogs does not mean their owners are rich enough to buy whatever food they want. this may sound like a cliche, but if you and your husband believe and trust yourselves (and each other), everything will turn positive. I’ve always experienced it in my life. Wish you good luck!


Natashya September 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Lots of up and downs. I had no idea your hubby was out of work. I wish you the best.
Such a lovely salad, I love the fall flavours in it.


lo September 16, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Oh, gosh — this post resonates like nothing else lately.
Life really does offer twists and turns, doesn’t it? Fortunately, as you so astutely point out, the proof is really less in what happens and more in our reaction. Just found your blog — but will definitely be back — no matter where you end up!!


Dani September 15, 2009 at 10:14 pm

I almost wanted to cry reading your post today, but was ready to cheer by the end! Just keep moving forward. Love your blog, and this recipe. (And the title.) Best of luck!


Jude September 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Your fan base will follow you, Amy, no matter where the Hummingbird family lands.

Great posts above, esp ‘Mom’s’ Ann Landers quote, “life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.” I’m going to print that one and put in the beige cube at corporate america. Great reminder for when the chickens, er, turkeys, are trying to get me down.


food-4tots September 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I always believe that there is light at the end of a tunnel. Your family can definitely enjoy the chicken salad as delicious as your photo in future. Winner is the one who make the most mistakes. Both of you are winners to me!


daphne September 15, 2009 at 7:18 pm

life without mistakes will be boring isnt it? =)

Hubby lost his job earlier this year just 5 months before our wedding day! But then, he landed on this fantastic job that allow him to manage his own project the way he want it. Oh, and time flexibility to build our business.

I like yours and Paul’s attitude- turn it around.Circumstances are ruler of the weak. Instead, use it to YOUR advantage the best that you can.

And I love the addition of cranberries in a chicken salad!!! Creamy with a tang of sweetness. Good one to bookmark for our summer for sure (it’s finally spring here!!!!-with storms.. haha weird weather).


Dad September 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Turning lemons into lemonade makes me salivate. Turning chicken shit into chicken salad doesn’t exactly make me want chicken salad.

That said, can’t wait to get you back. I’m not done learnin’ you all the things I didn’t git to teached you before you left. No I have to go work on my lesson plans for my grandkids.


jive turkey September 15, 2009 at 11:24 am

Woo! Here’s to new opportunities. I am wishing you the best.

Don’t beat yourself up over the ‘dumb’ stuff. We all do it, we all regret it, but it never really matters much in the end. And we always end up exactly where we’re supposed to be.

Wow. That was annoyingly optimistic. I’m going to go make a baby cry to balance things out.


Mom September 15, 2009 at 10:39 am

Another easy, delicious recipe that I’ll be making. The pecans and water chestnuts add crunch, while the dried cranberries add a bit of sweet/tart flavor.
We learn through our mistakes, so maybe the more mistakes we make, the wiser we become!
Do you like that spin? From an old Ann Landers advice column: “At age 45, I learned that life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.” You and Paul are responding with all guns afire right now, and we can’t wait to have you back in CA, even though the state is going bankrupt.


Lora September 15, 2009 at 8:25 am

Sounds like this was a tough decision to come to and one you’ve put a lot of thought into. You’ve got to know that its never about the decision you make, but what you make of the decision. Hope that made sense. You seem to have a knack for making opportunities, and I’m certain you and Paul (and Haley) are an unstoppable team. I look forward to your arrival and hope you can come meet our clan.


Mike September 15, 2009 at 8:19 am

Paul’s company is gonna kick butt. Best of luck to you, Paul and the kids, Amy. And VeryCulinary will continue, no doubt, to impress with delicious recipes and photos. But I’d imagine you’ll be using more sprouts once you move out west. ;)


Dina September 15, 2009 at 9:04 am

Kick f’n ass – Amy!


Kobe September 15, 2009 at 6:27 am

Reading that, I see a pretty close parallel to our situation. Personally, I eat chicken salad and love it; but maybe it’s been something else this entire time!


nina September 15, 2009 at 6:15 am

We have gone through the same thing this year and everything in the end turned out really well. I trust it will for you too!!! The chicken sh…….sorry….salad, however belongs in a glossy cookbook, ever considered writing one???


Joanne September 15, 2009 at 5:49 am

I don’t think you are dumb rather than that you are daring. Fearless. Gutsy. You take risks. Which I think is pretty impressive. I really like the idea of making an opportunity for yourself rather than sitting around hoping that one will be handed to you. Good luck to Paul on his new career and you guys with the move. The economy is equally bad for everyone at the moment, but I like to think that it has nowhere to go but up.

I really like this chicken salad (isn’t Annie’s Eats a great blog!). Cranberries AND pecans – two of my favorite things.


Heather September 14, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Since California’s economy really started to go downhill right when you left our lovely state, perhaps it will rebound when you get back. We can all hope. We are thrilled you are coming back! Hurry up!


Kim September 14, 2009 at 10:01 pm

P.S. I also love the cranberries in the chicken salad.


Kim September 14, 2009 at 10:00 pm

The deck story is classic! I have to admit, that story alone made me feel better about the goofs my husband and I have made…and continue to make around our house. I can just see you looking out over the alleyway.

But seriously, you have such a good outlook on life! I’m hoping for the best, but it’s also good to know, if something does go wrong, you’re going to make us laugh about it.


Julie September 14, 2009 at 9:56 pm

We do the best we can with the information we have at the time… I think you and Paul are both brilliant and can’t wait to have you close again. Yes… I see good things on the horizon for you both. Now get back here and make me some pie! Love you!!:>)


Cheryl September 14, 2009 at 7:31 pm

I agree with Lisa…and hey, I’d say starting the food blog was a smart decision, no? It sure was for all of us ;-)


Lisa September 14, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Amy, as long as you keep Very Culinary alive and kicking, I don’t care what state you live in!


Melissa September 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Well said. I not only wish you and Paul and the kids the best, best, best of fortunes and ease in transition, but I also cannot wait to have you closer. ;P Lots of love, my dear.


Chopper September 14, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I wouldn’t attribute those things so much to doing anything “dumb”, but instead chalk it up to bad luck and/or bad situational circumstances. As you said, you and Paul are smart people, and sometimes being smart is realizing when the best thing to do is make changes in your situations (however major they may be). I really think Paul has a great opportunity with his new venture, and if anyone can take chicken shit and turn it into chicken salad, it’s you two. We are sad that you are leaving Minnesota, but purely out of selfish reasons (we’ll miss you!!!). But I think a Golden opportunity awaits you in the Golden State…even if it does involve a rolling power blackout or two along the way!


Jennifer September 14, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Now she’ll get to complain about the brutal summers of Sacramento. :oP Yea for me, though! Besides having my family back home, I’ll get to eat all of these yummy meals Amy is posting.


Mellissa September 14, 2009 at 8:22 am

Good for you for being flexible! I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and this was your reason to move back to California. And you already mentioned no more horrible winters!


Natasha - 5 Star Foodie September 14, 2009 at 8:19 am

A gorgeous picture of this delicious chicken salad! I wish your husband best of luck with his new company, sounds like an exciting opportunity!


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