If you’ve spent any time on pinterest recently, you’re sure to have noticed the current mason jar craze taking over feeds everywhere. Oh, you haven’t seen this?!? Well maybe I just have a few jar-crazy friends Sadly, I too have now become another statistic to the mason jar epidemic.
It started innocently enough. The polar vortex has been bringing lots of cold air to my little slice of heaven in the south, thus I have been eating an inordinate amount of soup as of late. Soup is one of those weird things that I typically don’t think of as a ‘meal’ except when I am sick. Lately though I have actually been craving it, which is totally bizarre for me. Along with all this soup I still wanted something of substance to crunch on, thus the idea of a pairing salad with it. I know, revolutionary, right? Watch out world, I’ll be figuring out this whole ‘internet’ thing next!
Now I kept seeing these pins for salads in mason jars claiming that they stay fresh for days, and I finally had a friend share a post that made some sense for me out of these claims. It detailed how to layer your jar salad to keep things from becoming soggy and unappetizing. So off to the store I zoomed for salad fixing and some jars* to try this out.
So, according to eHow, the proper way to layer your mason jar salad (from bottom to top) to keep them fresh is as follows:
- Dressing (your wettest ingredient)
- Marinade-able ingredients. Examples are dried fruit, picked veggies, and/or root veggies like carrots, onion, or radishes.
- Wet Ingredients. Such as cucumber, tomatoes, corn, apple, or anything else that would make the lettuce go soggy.
- Dry Ingredients. Beans, meats, cheese, whole berries, etc.
- Lettuce and toppings. I am still experimenting if its works better to do croutons bellow or on top of the lettuce. This is also where you can include such things as edible flowers, nuts, or tortilla strips.
*Jars – I never realized how many different types of mason jars there are. I went with a wide-mouth quart jar, which has turned out to be just perfect. Easy to get things in and out of, and makes a good main entree salad serving size.
The great thing about these salads is, once you get the basics of layering down, they are infinitely customizable. Below are 4 salads I have made recently that I came up with off the top of my head. Don’t like something in my version, no worries, kick it out and replace with something you do like!
Hard Boiled Egg slices
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Strawberry Fields Salad
Honey Roasted Almond Slivers
Feta Cheese Crumbles
Warning: This is a personal feelings post. I am about to get all existential up in here. No recipe or reviews today. If you are looking for those, feel free to skip this one.
So I just saw a little bit of wisdom on one of these ‘things I learned in the last year’ lists that overflow social network feeds at the beginning of every new year. It said, “Write like no one is reading” and my first thought was, “easy! I’m pretty sure no one reads my blog anyway.” So here I am, writing with the expectation that no one will really read my blather. If you can’t tell, I am feeling even more cynical then usual lately. Life is good in general, but there are always a few things in the mix that nettle me. I am not one of those perpetually cheerful people. I would say I am pretty average in that, I have at least as many ‘bad’ days as ‘good’ days. New Year’s Eve 2013 was one of the bad days.
To preface I just want to just say, I’ve never really gotten the big deal about New Year’s Eve/New Years Day. Yes, its nice to have a random day off work and a reason to hang out with friends/family, but as for as it being of any particular cosmic significance, I don’t see that there is much of note. It’s another day, just like all the ones before it and all those after. The Universe doesn’t care how we humans divide up the orbit of one planet around it’s star. Not even all humans can agree on how to divide it (i.g. Chinese New Year). I’ve always thought of time like a river. It is a continuous flows regardless of any container our minds put increments of it in. The change from one year to another is rather arbitrary to me. Some like to use it as a chance to start over, wipe the slate clean, and/or mark the beginning of something new but I don’t see why those things can’t be done any other day. Every day is a new day that can be the start of new things.
Now for the more personal reflections about this most recent New Year’s Eve/Day. Not going to air any specific dirty laundry here, but I was just in a general bad mood after having worked most of the day on New Years Eve. At work I had to cover a position that I loathe, in addition, that morning I had gotten some distressing news about our mortgage, and while my husband (aka The Man) was off work and suggested going out for dinner, he offered no concrete plan of where exactly he wanted to go (I very much like to always have a plan). Also, this was the first New Years Eve I can remember where not a single friend reached out to invite us to a gathering of some sort. After coming home in a rather dark mood, The Man poked the bear one too many times and we had a nice explosive fight just before we were supposed to leave for dinner. We finally did get out the door, only to sit in general silence while eating an overpriced mediocre meal at a packed chain restaurant. We were home by 8:30 and The Man was in bed by 9, since he had to be up for work the next day before dawn. I rung in the new year alone, in bed, reading a book, and still generally pissed off with the world. Woohoo.
Don’t fret though, apologies where exchanged and feeling mended the next day between me and The Man. I keep thinking however, about the pressure (real or perceived) the usually exchanged expression of ‘Happy New Year’ puts on one. What if things are going on in one’s life that just do not make for a particularly happy new year? One of my close friends had just lost her mother to complication from Alzheimer’s 5 days prior, and while I know she would be trying, it was probably difficult for her to be really feeling ‘happy’ for the new year. I was unusually quite on my social networks, not really posting much about the New Year or my feelings, sentimental, hopeful or otherwise. A friend of mine posted the below comic and I think it is a perfect summation on the subject.
So I said all of that to really say, to all my friends and family, Survive a New Year! Happy or sad, good day or bad, I will still love you just the same.
Hey y’all. I just wanted to do a quick post to let you know, I am still here. I have just been busy and feeling uninspired lately. Real life is always getting in the way, and well yeah, I am a slacker too. I am not one to post blather just for the sake of post counts, so since nothing has struck me as outstanding enough to share, I have not. Do not fear however, I am still lurking, like the smelly sock in your closet you just can’t seem to find. I hope my mojo will be back soon and I will find some cool stuff to share. Until then, check out my Pinterest boards. No matter how lazy I am feeling, I still manage to pin things on the regular.
My Pinterest Boards (or look down and to the right)
I am not much of a soup person, and only recently have I started thinking of soup as a dinner option. I still don’t tend to think of it as a main course, but now that winter is really here, it has been more on my mind as a co-star of the dinner table.
I was feeling a little under the weather the day after Christmas this year, and was really craving some warm and hearty comfort food. We had some wonderful left over prime rib from Christmas dinner I wanted to use to make french dip sandwiches with, and when thinking about what to serve with it, Loaded Cheddar Potato soup came to mind. I recalled having made this one before, but that it turned out sub-par. I checked all my usual recipe sources to find a tried and well-reviewed recipe, but every one I came across had an ingredient I or my husband aren’t fans of, or were missing what I felt was a key component. Thus I decided to take the things I liked from several recipes and throw them together to see what came of it. Luckily, it was DELICIOUSNESS!
- 3 large Russet Potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
- 3 cups Vegetable Stock
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 16oz Velveeta Cheese, cubed
- 1 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon Pepper
- 2-4 pieces of Bacon, cooked and crumbled (for topping)
- 1 Green Onion, sliced (for topping)
- Additional Sharp Cheddar, shredded (for topping)
- Sour Cream (for topping)
- Bring a large pot of water with a generous pinch of kosher salt added to a boil. Once boiling, add potatoes and cook 12-15 minutes until soft, but not totally falling apart.
- Drain potatoes and leave in colander. Put pot back on stove.
- Add vegetable stock and heavy cream to pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
- As liquid heats up, add cubes of Velveeta, stirring often to help it melt.
- Once all the Velveeta is in and melted and liquid is starting to bubble, add 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar. Stir to help cheese melt and incorporate.
- Add cooked potatoes back into pot with the cheese liquid. Using a handheld potato masher, roughly mash potatoes in the soup, leaving a few chunks.
- Stir in salt and pepper. The measurements above are just my best guess, as I just added each to taste.
- Turn off heat and ladle into serving bowls.
- Top with generous pinches of the extra shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and green onion. Add a dollop of Sour Cream, if desired.