Maybe I am in denial. Yet, a little denial cannot hurt, right? A blissful week off for spring break stretches before me and I am enjoying every moment of this morning as I lounge around in my bedclothes.
While I watch the smiling faces of my friends on holiday in Florida glow across my social network news feeds, I am genuinely happy for them. While I would love to gaze at palm trees against a turquoise backdrop of water, feel the sun kiss my bare shoulders, and dig my toes into warm sand ~ deep down I am thankful that I am tucked away quietly at home in the chilly north. The truth is that I need time to decompress and soak up the quiet of our house. Right now I am all about hot tea, relaxation, furbabies, and being soothed by the gentle click of my keyboard.
Yesterday I was thrilled when my friend Kara at Running From Perfect gave me a shout-out and recipe review of the last jarred salad recipe that I shared. Kara, like many others, felt trepidation in trying the Mason jar salads but learned that they are as great as they sound. Read Kara’s post, Mason Jar Salads…I’m Obsessed and make sure you follow her blog, and find her on other social networking avenues, because she is one busy and inspiring lady.
If you are new to Mason jar salads you might want to read one of my first jarred salad posts for tips on making these fresh and colorful creations.
So back to my denial meanderings. I am not in denial about needing time to reflect and take a deep breath from the urgency of my teaching career, but perhaps I am in denial about the weather forecast that predicts more snow on Friday in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While we all hope it is a cruel April Fool’s joke, it probably is not.
With gray skies looming outside I thought that today was the perfect time to post my Paradise in a Jar Salads with Blueberry Lemon Dressing. The brilliant colors remind me of the feathers of a tropical parrot and what could speak warm weather more than lush kiwi and the sweet, aromatic taste of blueberries? As I have posted before, living in a wild and cold climate one must learn how to manufacture rays of sunshine and what better way to do it than the food that we consume? We are what we eat, after all. I do not know about you, but I want to be vibrant, unique, and bursting with energy. This philosophy is what inspires me when I come up with my recipes. While I feel rooted by certain flavors that go together, sometimes I like to throw together something unexpected. From the sauerkraut, pickles, and hot peppers in my previous jar salad to the mellow undertones that the cinnamon imparts on the blueberry dressing shared today.
BLUEBERRY LEMON DRESSING
- 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen. I was fortunate to have wild Michigan blueberries in the freezer)
- 1/4-1/2 cup of water (depending on how thick you want the dressing. It did thicken a bit so I recommend 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (I omit the oil and add 2 teaspoons of oil into each jar for portion control)
- Juice and zest of one lemon (for a sweeter dressing you may opt for an orange)
- 3 Tablespoons of rice vinegar (or to taste depending on the level of tartness you desire)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (the cinnamon really gives this dressing an unexpected flair and depth)
- 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (or sweetener of choice. To taste depending on how sweet the berries are and how sweet you want the dressing. If you use orange you can omit the sweetener)
- Salt and pepper to taste.
PARADISE IN A JAR SALADS
I divided and layered the following ingredients in 5 ~ one quart Mason jars:
- 3-4 Tablespoons of Blueberry Lemon Dressing
- 1 quart of yellow cherry tomatoes
- 5 cups of green cabbage (purple/red cabbage would be great too)
- 1 1/2 quarts of fresh blueberries (I reserved the other berries for a snack)
- 2 1/2 avocados (I saved the other half to put in a green smoothie)
- 2 yellow bell peppers (the peppers were small so I used two)
- 1/2 cup of raw almonds (or your protein of choice…I often use beans)
- 2 kiwi
- Spinach (1 bag…I really push it into the jars for a generous serving)
Printable recipe: Paradise in a Jar Salads with Blueberry Lemon Dressing
Pin it HERE.
Trust me, this salad does taste as great as it is pretty. As long as we are daydreaming today, imagine this jarred salad with the addition of summer fruit. I can almost taste a layer of ripe and fragrant nectarines or juicy plums.
The combinations for salads are endless and presenting them in jars not only makes our greens and ingredients stay fresh (which helps reduce waste) but the salads are visually appealing. In turn, we end up eating more fruit and vegetables than if the produce was kept in our refrigerator drawers. I guarantee that the thirty minutes you spend preparing a week’s worth of salads will be time well spent.
If you try my recipes (or tweak them to fit your own tastes) let me know in the comment section or stop by my Facebook page, give it a like, and share a photo and a recipe review. I love hearing how jarred salads are transforming others’ food experiences. I know that they have encouraged my husband and I to eat a rainbow of fruit of vegetables. By the way, if you are visiting my page from someplace warm ~ please send some sunshine our way in Michigan. It will be greatly appreciated.