So earlier this week, my grandfather told me that he calls the GPS in his car Goldilocks. Moment of panic on my part. “OMG, he’s totally lost it. Pretty sure he should not be driving. But OK, let’s just go with it.” So, “Why Goldilocks, Pop Pop?” “Well, she’s always telling me “Bear Left,” so I tell her, “Watch out Goldilocks. Don’t get too comfortable, the bear didn’t leave for good. He’s coming back.” Pop Pop’s just fine, and he gets my sense of humor! I may be laughing at GPS and Google Maps for the rest of my life!
But about those bears coming back…I’m at UF this weekend with my friends who are there for summer session. July 4th. College Campus. Lots of parties. Need to look good. Worked out like a maniac. Ate grilled chicken for like every meal, or so it seemed. And I left (actually bearing left from my house in fact) for UF feeling pretty good about how I looked in the 50 outfit choices I brought for the next few days. So, do you know people eat a lot of college campuses? And a lot of times a day? And late at night? And mostly things that I’m pretty sure don’t fit anyone’s definition of healthy choices. And just like those pesky bears, those couple of pounds that I was so happy to take off seem to be back too.
Since I would really like to NOT gain the freshman 15 on someone else’s campus before I get to my own (and I’m pretty sure that Babcock Hall ice cream is going to take care of that all by itself), it feels like a good week for some good eating.
Sometimes it’s hard to find something that’s good for you and actually tastes good too, so I like to take matters into my own hands on a week like this. I make my own lunch to take with me wherever I’m headed. I also like my food to look pretty (I think it tastes better that way), so I decided to give those mason jar salads that I’ve been seeing around a try.
Here’s what I really like about them. There are really no rules other than if you want to keep your crispy items crispy, put your dressing on the bottom and the crunchy items far away from it! Other than that, it’s all up to you. My mom told me to be sure to put the lettuce up at the top – Sometimes I didn’t even use lettuce, and sometimes, I put the lettuce in the middle, because I thought it looked prettier. You know what? It worked just fine! The mason jar does keep everything from getting mushy, and when you dump everything out onto a plate, it kind of tosses itself, and makes one great tasting salad!
There recipes don’t have quantities because it will depend on the jar you use (basically as a rule of thumb, a thin layer of dressing on the bottom is about right), and how much you like of each thing. I included some brands that I really like and that you may want to try, but if you have a favorite, by all means use it! By the way, these are all gluten free, because that’s how I roll, but feel free to change it up. Take these as “Hallie’s Helpful Hints” rather than directions that you need to totally follow, and always remember, “Bear Left!
I’m not really a big dressing fan so I substituted guac for dressing. If you would prefer dressing or hate avocado, some kind of chile lime dressing or maybe even salsa would be good.
Layer 1 – Guacamole (Sabra)
Layer 2 – Red beans (Iberia0
Layer 3 – Black beans (Whole Foods)
Layer 4 – diced red, green and yellow peppers
Layer 5 – chopped tomato
Layer 6 – Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (Mexican blend would be good too) (Kraft)
Layer 7 – Tricolor tortilla strips (fresh gourmet)
Strawberry Kale Salad
Layer 1 – Combine Raspberry Vinaigrette (Marie’s) with Plain Yogurt (Fage)
Layer 2 – Strawberries cut in halves
Layer 3 – Mandarin Oranges (Del’Monte, no sugar added)
Layer 4 – Red Quinoa (Ancient Harvest)
Layer 5 – Orange Cranberry Almondine Salad Toppers (Salad Pizzaz)
Layer 6 – Kale
Not So Classic Wedge
Layer 1 – Blue Cheese Dressing (Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Blue Cheese)
Layer 2 – Grape Tomatoes
Layer 3- Grilled Chicken
Layer 4- Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
Layer 5 – Pecans
Layer 6 – Blue Cheese Crumbles
Summer Fruit Salad
Layer 1 – Ricotta Cheese (Polly-O) with a little lemon zest mixed in
Layer 2 – Raspberries
Layer 3 – Blueberries
Layer 4 – Apples
Layer 5 – Gluten Free Granola (Udi’s)
Turkey Pasta Salad
Layer 1 – Honey Mustard Dressing (Publix – hey, it’s a Florida thing!)
Layer 2 – Shredded carrots
Layer 3 – Chopped Tomato
Layer 4 – Turkey (Purdue Short Cuts)
Layer 5 – Tricolor Spiral Pasta (For gluten free, try Tinkyada)
Layer 6 – Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
Tomato Mozzarella With A Twist
Layer 1 – Balsamic Vinagrette (Publix)
Layer 2 – Grape Tomatoes
Layer 3 – Grilled Chicken Breast
Layer 4 – Shredded Romaine Lettuce
Layer 5 – Craisins (Ocean Spray, and don’t judge until you try! It’s a good combo)
Layer 6 – Mozzarella Balls