Recipes: Mason Jar Salads


These are just perfect for healthy and on-the-go lunches!

Pack them on Sundays and they keep fresh in the fridge all week.  Then, grab one in the morning on the way out the door and take it to work!

32 oz. mason jars are the ideal container for these salads because they are the perfect size, which is helpful for those that struggle with portion control.

Why a Mason Jar you ask?

  • The glass container keeps the ingredients more crisp and fresh compared to a plastic container
  • The shape allows only the wet ingredients to come into contact with the dressing on the bottom
  • The lids create a seal unlike most plastic lids
  • It looks pretty!

There is a method to constructing the perfect mason jar salad.  You have to keep the “wet” and “dry” ingredients separated to prevent sogginess.

Let’s get started:


First slice and dice all your ingredients.  Like the radish, cucumber, olives, red bell pepper, mushroom, and radicchio seen here.  The sky is the limit in this department.  You can even use protein such as egg, chicken, salmon, you name it!

Pour in the dressing at the bottom. Place about 2T or about 1/2 inch on the bottom.

First, add the wetter ingredients such as cucumber, tomatoes and olives.

Next you can add the rest of the veggies:  Radish, mushrooms and red bell pepper.

Lastly,  add the radicchio and top with the spinach.

{While you are packing, press the ingredients down to create more space}


When you are ready to eat your salad, just turn it upside down for a few minutes.  This allows the dressing to creep down and saturate all the ingredients.  You can even give it a shake or two.

* via CA Grown


Recipe: Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad

We’ve found the perfect light meal to stick to that “healthy eating” new year’s resolution! Enjoy.


Chicken marinaded with lemon, garlic and oregano, then grilled to perfection. Served over a colorful salad with a white balsamic vinaigrette, does it get better than that?

And trust me, you’ll never make grilled chicken any other way. This is my favorite marinade for grilled chicken, the longer it marinates the better.  You can even freeze the chicken in the marinade when you first buy it, then let it thaw in the refrigerator the day before you are ready to use it.

This recipe was first posted in 2008, I’m slowly re-photographing my older recipes with slight adjustments if needed to bring light to recipes otherwise hidden in the archives. Hope you enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1/4th • Old Points: 4 pt • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 183.1 • Fat: 8.1 g • Protein: 17.5 g • Carb: 11.7 g • Fiber: 3 g • Sugar: 1.7 g
Sodium: 101.7 mg (without salt)


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (3 oz each)
  • 7 oz bag baby spinach
  • few thin slices of red onion
  • 1/2 sweet red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 carrot, sliced into ribbons

For the Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • kosher salt to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

For the White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients – lemon juice, oregano, garlic puree, salt and black pepper and pour over chicken, let it marinade in the refrigerator a minimum of two hours, but preferably 4-6 hours or longer.

Place all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to medium-high, make sure your grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking. When the grill is hot, lay the chicken on the grill.Cook the chicken until well browned on both sides and firm, but not hard to the touch.Transfer to a plate when done.

Divide spinach, onions, carrots, tomatoes and peppers on 4 plates. Top with the chicken and drizzle with balsamic dressing over each.

* via Skinny Taste

Recipe: Citrus Shortbread Cookies

Impress Santa and any party guests with these decadent cookies.
Citrus Shortbread Cookies
Serves: 20-24
These cookies have a hint of orange in the dough and glaze, sending this traditional cookie to another level.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2½ c. flour
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • juice from large orange
  1. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy.
  2. Add in orange zest and vanilla.
  3. Add egg yolks and beat just until incorporated
  4. Add flour and salt and beat just until incorporated
  5. Roll into 2 separate logs. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (can be overnight)
  6. Preheat oven to 350
  7. Remove logs and slice with a sharp knife into ½” slices
  8. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 18 minutes, or until bottoms and edges just start to brown
  9. Cool on wire rack
  10. Mix together the powdered sugar and juice of orange. Blend until smooth
  11. Glaze each cooled cookie and sprinkle more zest.
  12. Allow glaze to set and serve

*via CA Grown

Recipe: Reindeer Cocoa Cupcakes

Make these cute little cupcakes for your holiday gathering!

Follow the baking directions below and add these toppings to make your reindeer:
– pretzels
– vanilla wafer cookies
– icing
– chocolate candies (Red and Brown)



For Cupcakes:
– 1/2 cup cocoa powder
– 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
– 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 8 tablespoons unsalted california butter, softened
– 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
– 3 whole large eggs
– 1/3 cup Real California milk
– 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


For Cupcakes: 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour insides of 12 muffin cups or insert paper liners.

2. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next.

3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Mixture will curdle slightly.

4. With electric mixer on low speed, add one-third of cocoa and flour mixture to butter and sugar mixture, mixing until combined.

5. Add half of milk mixture and mix well. Mixing well between each addition, add another third of the dry ingredients, the remaining milk mixture and then the remaining dry ingredients.

6. Evenly divide batter between cupcake molds. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans. Cool completely before frosting.

Note: If you are using cupcake liners, insert a table knife along the inside of the cupcake mold and gently pry the cupcake out. If you are not using liners, remove the cupcakes from the pan by running a paring knife around the inside edge of each cupcake and gently lift the cupcake out.

* via Real California Milk

RECIPE: Dickens Christmas Fair Cinnamon Roasted Nuts

Every year at Christmas there is a tradition here in San Francisco called the Dickens Christmas Fair. A huge event center is literally transformed into a Victorian Era world! You get to walk around surrounded by actors dressed in top hats and petticoats while shopping for vintage books, gorgeous candles, and glassware. Everywhere you look there is something going on: Father Christmas rides through in a parade on a pull cart, the ghost of Christmas future struggles by covered in chains, Tiny Tim dashes around, and raucous scenes erupt continuously. It is so much fun and a great way to start the Christmas season!








One of my favorite parts of the fair is picking up some cinnamon roasted almonds. The smell of the nuts greets you the second you walk in the door. They are delicious! Nut vendors make them right there in front of you with big pots continuously mixing up delicious snacks. I’ve shared the recipe with you so that you can enjoy them this holiday season. They make wonderful gifts to share or holiday party appetizers.




1/3 cup butter

2 egg whites, at room temperature

1 pinch salt

1 cup sugar

3 cups whole natural almonds

4 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place butter in a 13″ X 9″ pan; place in oven to melt butter.
Beat egg whites with salt, gradually add sugar.
Continue beating until the mixture has stiff peaks.
Use a spatula to gently fold in almonds and cinnamon.
Pour almond mixture into buttered pan.
Bake about 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, until almonds are crisp.
Continuously stirring the nuts is key to keeping them from clumping up. If you are in the midst of holiday cooking and don’t have time to hover over the oven, you will simply need to add a step! There will be a gorgeous meringue encasing the nuts. Break this open and crumble the nuts out. I like doing this because it gives you a great almond flavored crumble to put on top of ice cream with a drizzle Amaretto. So yummy!
*via Sweet Tea Sweetie

7×7 Secret Recipe: Farmhouse Inn’s Peppermint Fudge

The season of pumpkin spice is over and peppermint is taking its rightful spot in the winter spotlight. Farmhouse Inn’s decadent fudge recipe calls specifically for Andes Peppermint Chunks, because we all know that no other peppermint will ever compare.


Farmhouse Peppermint Fudge

14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon butter, plus extra for buttering the dish

1 pound dark chocolate chips/chunks

⅓ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Andes Peppermint Chunks

1. Grease a 8 x 8 or 8 x 11 baking dish. Sprinkle half the peppermint chunks in the bottom of the dish and set aside.

2. Place a medium sauce pot over medium heat with 2 inches of water. Place a glass bowl over the top, making sure the glass doesn’t touch the water.

3. Pour the condensed milk and butter into the bowl, and heat.

4. Add the chocolate chips and salt in the bowl. Stir the chocolate and wait about 5 minutes until it melts and thickens.

5. The mixture should thicken to a thick cake batter consistency, almost too thick to pour.

6. Add both extracts and mix well.

7. Pour the mixture into the dish. Gently tap the dish on the counter for at least a minute to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface and smooth.

8. Sprinkle the remaining peppermint chips over the top and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, to set.

9. To cut, dip a sharp knife in hot tap water, wipe and cut quickly. Dip and wipe the knife between cuts. Cut into 1 inch squares.

*via 7×7 Eat + Drink

DIY: How to Make Pomegranate Juice

Sure, you can buy pomegranate juice from the store, but why would you when it is this easy to make your own!  Fresh and free of preservatives, you can make this in just a few minutes and use it in jellies,  juices and even cocktails!

All you need is fresh, local pomegranates and a few kitchen gadgets.

1. Cut your pomegranates in half.



2. In a container of water, submerge the pomegranate into the water and pull the skin from the arils.  You will be amazed at how easily it comes apart.



3. Pick out the white membrane pieces.



4. Strain the arils and allow to drain. Pick out any remaining membrane particles.



5. Put the arils into a baggie and remove all the air.  Using the flat end of a mallet, gently crush the pomegranate seeds making sure not to puncture the bag.  It doesn’t take much!



6. Cut a small opening in the corner of the bag and allow it to drain through the strainer.



And viola, The result:  Clean, fresh pomegranate juice.  Nothing better.


* via CA Grown

Holiday Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Are you looking for the perfect dessert to bake up for Thanksgiving and the holidays? Well then here you go:

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Filling.



The kicker to this recipe is the cream cheese center.  Yes, rich, decadent cream cheese.  What could be better?


Recipe type: Bread (2 standard loaves)
 Prep time:  20 mins
Cook time:  60 mins
Total time:  1 hour 20 mins
 Serves: 10

For the Pumpkin Batter:

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 16 oz. canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. allspice
For the Cream Cheese Batter:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 ounces softened brick-style cream cheese
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. For the Pumpkin Batter: Beat sugar and oil together. Add eggs one at a time mixing after each addition. Add pumpkin purée and water and mix until blended.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and allspice. Add to the mixer and mix only until just incorporated
  4. For the Cream Cheese Batter: In a large bowl, add all ingredients and whisk to combine
  5. Pour ⅔ of the batter into two prepared standard loaf pans. Follow by adding the cream cheese batter on top of the pumpkin batter. Make sure to divide it up into two pans. Pour the remainder of the pumpkin batter over the top
  6. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out without pumpkin batter on it. NOTE: The cream cheese will more than likely stick to the knife, but that’s okay.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan. Once cool, pull out of pan and slice.


* via CA Grown

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream!



yield: ABOUT 1 QUART


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • apple filling (recipe follows)

Apple Filling:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt


  1. In a medium pot, bring cream, milk, and 1 Tbsp sugar to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together egg yolks and remaining sugar. Once milk begins to boil, lower heat.
  2. Temper hot milk into sugar-yolk mixture.  Slowly add hot milk into yolks about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking to distribute heat.  Once all the milk has been added, transfer everything back to the pot.
  3. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture reaches nappe consistency, or 180 degrees F on a kitchen thermometer.  Let it sit at 180-185 degrees F for 3 minutes to pasteurize mixture.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and brown sugar.  Stir until dissolved.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container.  Add cinnamon stick.  Let mixture mature in fridge overnight, or for at least 3 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare cinnamon apples.  In a medium sauce pot, combine chopped apples, brown sugar, butter and ground cinnamon.  Set over medium heat.  Let simmer until sugar has dissolved and apples are soft and tender, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add salt and stir.  Transfer to an airtight container and let chill in the fridge until ready to use.
  6. Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to your unit’s instructions.  Once the volume has increased by half and has reached a soft serve consistency, add prepared cinnamon apple mixture.  Continue to churn until apples have been distributed.  Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.

*via The Little Epicurean