Salad Jar tutorial recipe

The Ultimate Salad Jar Tutorial

“Have you seen the amount you’ve spent on snacks this month?” I caught myself berating my hard-working husband again when looking over our account for the month.  Truth is, who could blame him? As a commuter he works long hours and several of those are spent navigating Kent trains and London tubes, leaving before the sun is up and returning in the dark- no wonder he needs to pick up snacks along the way. My full time job as a teacher at my children’s school not only means I’m often too busy or tired to make my husband lunches for the next day (And part of me wonders why  should I suppose, when I work full time too) but also, my children and I get fed very well during the week; hearty cooked lunches at midday, plus the little ones eat ‘afternoon tea’ at 4pm.  Yes, afternoon tea! When the girls and I get home during the week we often only need a bowl of porridge or a slice of toast to fulfill any enduring hunger. If we do cook during the week, it’s usually once the girls are in bed and always something light and easy – omelettes, baked potatoes, soup. These weekday suppers are nearly always vegetarian (Suits me, and even my carnivorous husband can’t be bothered to prepare, cook and clean up after a meat dish on a late Wednesday evening!) I began to worry though, that a clammy sandwich (If we’d bothered to make any the night before) and a simple supper in the evening were not enough to sustain my tall, meat-eater of a husband.  As a non-vegetarian, he clearly wouldn’t be getting the nutrients he needed to stay healthy and strong – as he wouldn’t be making the right choices for his diet in the way that a conscious vegetarian or dieter would; he’d already lost weight and so I needed a way to fill him up, with maximum nutrients and some meat to sustain him during the working week.  And that’s when I stumbled across the salad jar idea!

I can’t take any credit for this original idea – I stumbled across the first tutorial on the amazing website Organize Yourself Skinny, but a quick search on pinterest reveals a plethora of mason jar food ideas.  These salad jars enable me to make five lunches ahead of time and pack in a full spectrum of the vital food groups; vegetables, carbohydrate and protein, meaning that at the end of the week I can be sure my hard-working husband has eaten well and we’ve saved money on cafe snacks at lunchtime. Its now been two weeks since I began making these (Hubby even had a go!) and we’re so impressed with the results.  My husband tells me he eats “like a king” everyday and is the envy of the office at lunchtime.

The Ultimate Salad Jar Tutorial

I opted for 1L Kilner jars from my local budget store at £3 each, which is a fair price for these preserving jars. They have the typical metal seal and screw lids which keep everything inside really fresh and crisp.

You will need:
5 x preserving jars
500ml vinaigrette (approx)
Hearty vegetables of your choice: tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers
Less hearty vegetables: mushrooms, peas, avocado, fruits
Grains: pasta, noodles, cous cous or rice (Cooked and cooled)
Protein: Meat, fish, eggs, beans (Cooked and cooled)
Greens: lettuce, spinach, watercress, light cabbage such as pak choi
Extras: such as chopped chilli and herbs to increase flavour

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First, mix up your dressings – I like to vary the flavours to make it more interesting. This week I did a honey/mustard, an oriental sesame oil/soy and a Mediterranean balsamic/olive oil dressing and paired them with chicken, prawns and tuna respectively.

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Add any ‘extras’ to your dressings and let them sit, covered. Next wash dry and chop any vegetables. I like to leave them chunky – especially the baby plum tomatoes which I leave whole. The larger the chunks of veg, the better they will keep and the more nutrients you will retain.

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Chop your meats or eggs and have your grains ready.

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Layer 1 – around 100ml of vinaigrette

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Layer 2 – Hearty vegetables
Layer 3 – Less hearty vegetables

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Layer 4 – grains

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Layer 5 – protein

IMG_3735Layer 6 – Finally, add your greens of choice.

The layering process is really significant to the longevity of your preserved salad. The vegetables at the bottom of the jar ‘pickle’ slightly by the end of the week in the dressing and act as a barrier to the grains, which in turn act as a barrier to the meat and greens, which you really don’t want sitting in any moisture. The salads will keep for at least 5 days in the fridge – we’ve not tested them after this but I’d even suggest they could be stretched to 7 days, based on the freshness on day 5. The jars are strong and will withstand a perilous commute across counties in a rucksack, although do try to keep the jar upright! To serve, tip out on to a plate where the dressing will cover the salad or, eat straight from the jar with a fork – just give it a good shake first and voila! Lunch is served!

I hope you enjoy this tutorial – let me know what you think of the salad jars and add any variations or suggestions in the comment box below.

Jaime xx

 

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Homemade flapjacks.

Recipe: Coconut & Honey Flapjacks

Making homemade flapjacks is a great way of filling up family members during the busy working week and although they can be fairly sweet, making them with honey as in this recipe, adds to the nutirtional content and lessens the sugar impact.  Oats are a well-known superfood and as well as containing multiple nutrients; they are easy to digest, can help to control insulin and even lower cholestrol! With the addtion of nuts and dried fruit, homemade flapjacks really can provide a healthy, but satisfying snack.

This recipe makes around 18 small flapjacks, which you can wrap individually so they are ready to grab-and-go or leave unwrapped in a cake tin (Just hide said tin from the children as in my experience they don’t last long!)

Ingredients

200g coconut oil
200g honey (Or half honey/half maple syrup)
300g whole oats (Not ‘quick’ oats)
100g chopped nuts
100g dried fruit of your choice (Chopped if necessary)
1 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 165° C/gas mark 3 or 150° C (fan assisted)
  2. Grease a large rectangular baking dish or line with greaseproof paper.
  3. Heat the coconut oil and honey in a large saucepan and stir together until hot, but not boiling. Set aside.
  4. Mix the oats, nuts, cinnamon and raisins in a large bowl.

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    Chopped walnuts.

  5. Pour over the coconut oil and honey mixture and mix until well combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and distribute it evenly, pushing down firmly with the back of a spoon to create a smooth surface.

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    Use a spoon to create a smooth surface.

  7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the oats are golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely in the baking dish.
  9. Once the flapjack is cooled down lift it onto a board and cut into rectangles.

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    Leave to cool in the baking dish.

Wrap thr flapjacks individually for tasty lunchbox treats or snacks on the go! But remember – hide the tin! Please feel free to comment below with tips, questions or  suggestions.

Jaime xx

 

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Homemade Snack Sticks

Recipe: Homemade Pizza Sticks

When you’re trying to feed a busy family of four, there comes a point where you’ll need more than a handful of carrot sticks or some fruit to satisfy the hunger of your growing children and husband. We’ve recently been trying to overhaul our expenditure on food and are trying to minimize our reliance on pre-made, packaged food which is bad for the environment, highly processed and often contains obscene amounts of sugar and salt. It makes sense; the food that we are sold in big supermarkets has got to survive long-haul travel, freezer storage, shelf stacking and then the journey home from shop to cupboard – is it any wonder it’s packed full of chemicals to keep it looking and tasting good! It can be difficult to refrain from relying on shop-bought goodies, especially when you’re a busy working Mum so here’s a simple recipe for a tasty snack that’s high in carbs and low in carbon footprint. Psst, its also really really easy!

Homemade Pizza Sticks  

Ingredients:

 

1 cup self raising flour (or 1 cup plain white flour + 1 tsp baking powder)
a pinch of sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup warm water
2 tbsp tomato puree or passata
1 garlic clove, crushed
A handful of grated cheese

Method

  1. Preheat your your oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
  2. Cover a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  3. Mix together the crushed garlc and tomato puree in a small bowl and let it sit.
  4. Meanwhile, tip flour, baking powder, salt and olive oil into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the water and fold everything in until it starts to come together.
  6. Gently knead till it forms a smooth ball. Dust in a little more flour, if needed.
  7. Roll out to a basic rectangular shape, it should be fairly thin, around 1/2 cm.
  8. Spread the tomato sauce thinly over the dough and sprinkle over the grated cheese.
  9. Using a sharp knife, cut around 12 strips into the rectangle with each strip around 2cm wide.
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  10. Carefully lift each strip and as you lay it down onto the baking tray, gently turn it at each end to form the twist.IMG_0529
  11. Cook for around 10-12 minutes until crisp and lightly golden.  Allow to cool completely before storing in a tin or mason jar,IMG_0530

The pizza sticks should keep for around 3 days and work great in packed lunches or for feeding hungry children efficiently after school! Please comment below with your tips, questions or suggestions regarding this recipe.IMG_0537

Jaime xx

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