“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” ~ Adelle Davis
I am sitting on the sofa wrapped in a blanket with a steaming cup of Egyptian Licorice tea and taking advantage of another spontaneous day off of work to blog. Nearly every school in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (aside from Michigan Technological Universty which never seems to close) has been cancelled because of blizzard conditions and dangerous wind chills (this morning’s windchill dipping to -40 in some areas). Tonight it is predicted that the wind chill will be even more severe. I refuse to let the looming winter dampen my spirits. As I said in a Facebook post this weekend, “I love to re-frame my misery over the weather and imagine how much more poignant the beauty of my summer flowers will be. The water will be that much more refreshing and the sky will ache even more blue. Positive thinking will reshape your world.”
This is day #6 off in our school district because of inclement weather. This means that any additional days (and I am sure there will be more) will have to be made up. I guess that the fierce winter weather is an opportunity cost for living in such a wild and beautiful place. Even our pup Phoebe is feeling the cold pinch and we had to buy her little booties to protect her feet from the icy conditions. She does not seem to mind them one bit and frolics around in the snow when they are on her feet.
As winter progresses I think that I am tackling a case of cabin fever by cooking up a storm. Our freezer is fully stocked with a wide selection of soups, chili, and individually portioned meals. We have a dozen Mason jar salads in our refrigerator and my husband Mike suggested that perhaps I needed an intervention. In fact, we can barely open the freezer and I think that next week I will only make jarred salads (and maybe a small batch of soup) so that we can make a dent in our frozen supply.
Planning and prepping meals is the #1 most valuable lesson that I learned when I joined Weight Watchers seven years ago. This routine not only helps me with my weight management but it also reduces stress and is kind to my pocketbook. Mid-week I figure out what our meals will be and write out my shopping list and go shopping either Friday night after work or Saturday after my WW meeting. I would like to bring back my routine of shopping mid-week but Friday evening seems to work well and it saves me valuable time on the weekend.
While I do not think that it is necessary to eat salads when you follow the Weight Watchers plan, since I try to stick to a plant-based meal plan, salads are an obvious choice for me. The combinations for salads are endless, and since I constantly rotate my ingredients and dressings, I never get tired of them. I am thankful that my salad posts have been popular because it encourages me to keep coming up with new variations. So thank you for all of your comments and feedback! Please keep them coming. It inspires me when I know that people are reading and trying my recipes.
If you are new to Mason jar salads you might find this post helpful. I make my salads in one quart wide-mouthed jars and they are filling enough to serve as a meal. They last over a week in the refrigerator and they display the salad so beautifully that I always look forward to eating them. My recent salad addiction is cabbage. I enjoy its crunch and the multiple health benefits it offers. While I love cooked cabbage, studies show that lightly steamed or raw cabbage offers up more nutrition. Read more HERE.
A couple of weeks ago I made Scarlet Salads in a Jar with Cherry Chipotle Vinaigrette. Since I froze the remaining chipotles, and have an affinity for their smoky and spicy flavor, I decided to incorporate them in another salad dressing recipe. I also wanted to impart a flavor burst with a marinated bean salad. Many people commented on photos that I posted that my bean salad looked like Cowboy Caviar and I am certain that this salad would work well as a dip for chips (though I am trying to ignore that thought since tortilla chips are one of my biggest weaknesses).
CREAMY CHIPOTLE DRESSING (printable recipe below)
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened organic soy milk (I also use unsweetened almond milk for creamy dressing. You could also use soy yogurt or if you eat dairy, Greek yogurt)
- 3 Tablespoons of vinegar (I used raw apple cider vinegar)
- 1 lime (juice and zest)
- 1 chipotle pepper (be warned, a little goes a long way. If you want the dressing extra spicy add more but taste as you go)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of onion
- Fresh Cilantro (I grabbed a handful or approximately a 1/4 cup)
- Salt and pepper to taste
(Next time I make this dressing I am going to stir in some salsa.)
Blend well and store extra dressing in a cruet or jar in the refrigerator. I have found that my homemade dressings last for over a month because the citrus and vinegar help to act as a natural preservative. I made a batch of Pumpkin Vinaigrette for a family gathering on Christmas Eve and my mom said that she had some the other day and it was still fresh.
CONFETTI SALAD IN A JAR WITH CREAMY CHIPOTLE DRESSING
I layered the following ingredients in 5 ~ one quart Mason jars:
- 2-3 Tablespoons of Creamy Chipotle Dressing (since the confetti salad is marinated you may find that you need less dressing but I added 3 generous Tablespoons)
- Green bell pepper chopped or in strips (1 used two peppers)
- Cherry tomatoes halved (I used one and 1/2 pints)
- Avocado (I used three avocados) Update: after eating the salads I will put in more avocado next time. The avocado stays fresh and is so delicious with the Confetti Salad.
- 1 cup of Confetti Salad (recipe to follow)
- Chopped kale
- Chopped cabbage (do not be afraid to push down so you can fit more cabbage in the jar)
CONFETTI SALAD (This recipe made exactly enough for five salads. However, it is so good, next time I will make extra to eat as a snack or side.)
- 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup black beans
- 1/4 cup white beans
- 1/4 cup edamame
- 1/4 lentils
- 1/4 cup corn
- 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 limes (juice and zest)
- 1 jalapeno (finely chopped)
- 1 large clove of minced garlic
- 1 bunch of green onions
- 1/8 cup of vinegar (I used raw apple cider vinegar)
- 1/8-1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Homemade Taco Seasoning (to taste. I ended up adding approximately 1 Tablespoon)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Printable Recipe: Confetti Salad in a Jar with Creamy Chipotle Dressing
Pin this post HERE.
Every week when I make a new jarred salad I think that it is my favorite one. That is exactly what I thought this morning when I had one of these salads for breakfast. Yes, that is right, I love to eat salad for breakfast. A couple of years ago when I was in Israel I really enjoyed the wide-array of raw vegetables and salad fixings that were served for breakfast at the hotels we stayed at. Now a salad is often my breakfast of choice. Today this salad really hit the spot today and I will be making the Confetti Salad at the next gathering I am invited to (it will give me the excuse to nibble on some tortilla chips 😉 )
If you like Mexican inspired food as much as I do you may also be interested in the Garden Fiesta Mason Jar Salad that I created in September.
Make sure that you check out all my other Salads and Salad Dressing recipes too.
If you try one of my recipes please make sure to let me know what you think. I love when people stop by my Facebook page and leave photos and feedback. It is also interesting to hear what tweaks individuals add to my recipes to make them their own.
Winter can be a challenge for meal choices and I find that making jarred salads really help streamline my work week and keeps me on the healthy path. I do not have to think about what I will be eating for lunch and I end up getting in a variety of fruit and vegetables that I would not normally eat if I was just throwing together a salad on the spot. I am also mindful of rotating my fruit and vegetables to make sure that I am meeting my bodies nutritional needs. While the salad makes a meal on its own, I find that I can share one with my husband Mike as a side-salad with dinner.
I will be posting more jarred salad recipes so make sure you check back often. An upcoming post will feature a salad with a layer of Citrus Berry Slaw and a Strawberry Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette. Take care, stay warm, and fill your plate with the rainbow. Your immune system, skin, waistline, and energy levels will thank you!