Princess & the Pantry: For the Love of Salad

So, by now you should know that I love Ball jars. But remember? We agreed to call them Mason jars because of the whole 'scream-out-inappropriate-but-accidental-word-choices' thing. There's nothing a good Mason jar can't do. Except maybe to bring me a husband. {C'mon Mason jars, he's out there somewhere!}

You know what I haven't loved? Salad.

I'm always with people who go to yummy restaurants and as we peruse the specialties and usually bread-y entrees, they decide on SALAD. I've always secretly thought something was wrong with my friends. Like, who would choose plain chicken breast tossed on some leaves with a few strawberry chunks--all drizzled in vinegar (ew)--over pasta or pizza or steak or pretty.much.anything.else.on.the.menu? Apparently ALL of the people I know. But not me, man.

Though I still feel that way at restaurants
{let's be honest, the "salad" I get at Chipotle is really just a burrito laying on its side}, I have lightened up on my general salad hate. Here is the reason why salads have become my new favorite lunch & you'll see why I brought up Mason jars earlier.

I saw several blogs devoted to this topic and if I was on Pinterest--which I'm not because that's a whole other can of hate worms--I would see several hundred pins of 'salads-in-a-mason-jar'. But hey, I can share my secrets and tweaks too because that is the very definition of blogging.

I start with 5 tall Mason jars. Get the widest mouth ones you can because mine are skinny and it ends up looking like Edward Scissorhands tried to pack my salads. But hey, I already bought them so I'm sticking with mine. But you don't have to get YOUR hand stuck in the top of yours now that you read this. See? Screw pinterest...they ain't got these Salad Secretz.

The other blogs say start with your dressing in the bottom but DON'T . DO . THAT . Unless you want to waste half of your dressing by having it stick to the bottom, I'd leave that part out. And c'mon guys, admit it: the dressing is pretty much the reason I love these salads. But I'll get to that in due time.

I start with my hard veggies: red bell pepper (because it's sweet) and cucumber (because I don't know...it's watery?) They go on the bottom in a little assembly line:

I guess you could put your teeny tomatoes here but I don't. They seem so sensitive...or maybe I'm just reading into them a little too much.

Next I stuff it packed with mixed greens & baby kale. More Salad Secretz: Get the baby kale because it won't taste like you are eating a piece of your houseplant. That was just dipped in an ashtray. Baby kale is tender and nothing like its grown version. I guess single women aren't the only ones who get bitter as they age...

Once you pack the leaves in, then I add 6-8 little cherry tomatoes. Finally on the very top, I either put a half piece of bacon (to heat up before I dump it and break it over my salad) or 2 slices of cracked pepper turkey (cut into squares...or torn into bits, depending on how much patience I have left).

My friend Ashley mentioned that you could use those little Jif-to-Go cups as salad dressing holders, as they fit right inside of the lid of a mason jar. I don't do that because of my salad shaker's dressing holder but I like the idea.

I just screw on the lids, keep them in the fridge and grab one to put in my lunch box in the morning. I use a Fit-n-Fresh salad shaker bowl (similar) to dump the salad in and it also stores the dressing. Separately, I bring a semi-hard-boiled egg and peel/cut it fresh to put on top of the salad at work. Once I put all of it in the shaker bowl, I shake and eat.

I mentioned before, that for me, the dressing makes all the difference. Because I struggle to understand why God made vinegar and praise Him instead for making milk, I tend to gravitate toward ranch. Buttermilk ranch from Penzy's spices is like the best ranch I've ever had. And schwoah, I've eaten A LOT of ranch dressing. (Fun fact: I was turned off of ranch for a long while because my dumb middle-school friends thought it'd be funny to put ranch on me while I slept. I woke up to dried, curdled and sweat-mixed ranch all over my face, hair, and clothes. Fun times. Half those friends dropped out of school so I'd say the Ranch prank did me a favor in the long run)

My mom first ordered this bag of ranch mix spices from Penzey's and I'll probably never buy a bottled Ranch again...so good. You are welcome.

That's it! I've eaten more salads this year than I have in all my previous years combined. I actually really like them now (at least at work) and I love the ease that the 'salad-in-a-mason-jar' brings to the workweek.

Who knew I'd have so much to say about salads? I probably need to get out more.