It's Wednesday! Well, I'm actually writing this post on Tuesday night in preparation for tomorrow, so I guess you could say I'm a big fat liar. I'm also really honest, which is why I confessed. Ask my friends- I can't lie. I do weird facial contortions, my mind goes blank, I say stupid non-sensical crap and slap them together into sentences in attempt to fumble my way out. I find it best to just tell the truth. Sometimes I lie on accident. It's quite funny, because I'll usually realize the truth mid-sentence, and then I have a silent conversation in my head that goes something like this:
Should I backpedal now and explain the whole truth? Explain why I didn't realize it until now, and how it was all just a misunderstanding? Is it even important? Maybe it's just better if I don't say anything. Yeah, I won't say anything. But, I'm stumbling over my words as we speak because I'm trying to think and talk at the same time. Oh, there goes the facial contortions. Better fess up now. Shoot.
Phew- Now that we have that confession out of the way let's move on to the good newsflash I have for you. Mason Jar Salads.
I'm sure you have seen these floating around on Pinterest. These salads are make ahead concoctions for a quick lunch that packs well to the office, or that you can grab out of the fridge anytime. The salads are layered, which means dressing on the bottom, hearty vegetables or beans that can stand up to the dressing on top of that, followed by all your other ingredients, and ending with the lettuce so it stays crisp and fresh on top. Sounds fantastic right?
Here are the things I've found helpful in preparing your jars:
1) Pack ingredients in pretty well. You don't want a lot of extra space in the jar where condensation from wetter ingredients (mandarin oranges, etc) can build up, plus you want to fit as much lettuce in as you possibly can.
2) Pack common toppers like almond slices, blue cheese crumbles, sunflower seeds, and the like in a seperate to-go baggie. This might seem like a pain and you don't have to do it, but for the nuts to remain crunchy you need to add them in fresh, and blue cheese will stink your jar up. Still, these things should be fine after a day or two in your jars if only kept that long.
3) If you won't be at home when you eat your salad, make sure to pack a fork and a bowl or big tupperware container to toss your salad in before eating.
4) Plan to make your salads filling, or they won't take you till snack time.
I feel so accomplished after I've made these little beauties and have them waiting in our fridge for the upcoming week.
Although Mason Jar Salads can be made up of whatever your little heart desires, here are the three I tried and had great success with.
Dressing: Annie's shiitake sesame vinaigrette
red bell pepper, diced
mandarin oranges (patted dry)
mixed baby greens
(If I had marinated super firm tofu like my local health food store makes, I'd add that too)
Field Berry Salad
Dressing: Red wine vinegar
red onion, sliced thinly
sliced almonds, roasted honey flavor
blue cheese (add on the very top)
The Salad Bar
Dressing: Chunky Blue Cheese or Italian
broccoli florets (best if used before day three)
kidney beans (dry off well, and best used before day three)
marinated artichoke hearts
sprinkle of salt and pepper
Romaine lettuce, chopped
sunflower seeds (bring along instead of putting in your jar, unless eating the next day)
Remember, Dressing on the bottom, lettuce on the top.
All the blog's I've read say these should last for five days in the fridge. I say more like three for optimal quality. Still, that's pretty cool. The lettuce really does stay crisp and fresh, even on day five, but the other ingredients start to go downhill after day three and four.
What combinations are you most excited to try? Any salad suggestions for me on my next go around?