Monday, May 26, 2014

Salad in a jar

I posted about these years ago(maybe four or five?) but if can't locate them on my blog.  

There has been some discussion about them on fb lately, so I thought I would try them again. I'm especially curious  to see how they come out, as I have always had good luck with them. 

I'm making one of my favorite chopped salads, which I kind of made up. It's a variation of a salad they serve at Woodranch BBQ(haven't been there in forever, yum), minus their yummy croutons.  

First I chopped all of my veggies.  I use red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes(I use Roma, as they seem "sturdier") and corn that I cut right off of the cob. It's so sweet and so good.  But you could use canned corn if you wanted.  Just make sure it's drained well. 

I also use chopped chicken to add some protein.  

I love ranch dressing on this salad but I wanted it to be healthy so I used a ranch dressing made with Greek yogurt.  It was very good and I didn't even miss the whole fat ranch.  I add a teeny bit of water to the dressing to thin it out some, otherwise it tends to glob into the jar and hit the sides of the jar.  Since you don't want the lettuce to touch the dressing you want to avoid that if possible.  If that does happen, you can reach in with a piece of damp paper towel and wipe off the side of the jar if needed. 

All of my veggies and chicken ready to go into the jar.  I grilled this chicken and chopped it myself, but I have used pre-cooked/chopped chicken from the deli section in a pinch.  

Then start layering the ingredients in the jar. 

First the dressing

Then I put the chicken and the mushrooms, as they don't get mushy when sitting in the dressing.  

The tomatoes go next.  I don't really have a reason for how I put the toppings in, except I put the least "wet" veggies right next to the lettuce.  This order seems to work for me.  

Cucumbers and the corn, which will be the last layer before the lettuce.  

Lastly the lettuce goes in.  I really shove it in there, so it's a tight fit.  It keeps the veggies in their layers. I've even been know to lay these on their sides in the fridge and all of the layers stay intact.  I would recommend keeping it upright If this is your first time though, just to be safe.  

And there you have it. I can make a couple of these and pinterest says they will stay fresh in the fridge for up to five days.  I usually eat mine within four days so I've never tested that.  

They turn out perfect every time!

I have also heard you can shake these up and eat them right from the jar but I pack mine too tightly for that.  I simply pour into a bowl to eat.  The layers come out of the jar perfectly, with the lettuce at the bottom and all of the toppings and dressing on top. Just toss and eat. 

Perfect healthy, portable lunch!

You can do any variations of these with whatever ingredients you like or have on hand.  Just google "salad in a jar", or go on pinterest and you will find dozens and dozens of ideas.  I think ill branch out next time and try something different.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life is Good

My blog posts are becoming fewer and farther between.  I keep asking myself when I will be ready to give it up. 

The answer is always "not yet".  And so here I am. 

Life has been pretty great lately. 

The new place is amazing. I love it. Sometimes I pull up in front of my house and I can't believe how lucky I am to live here. Other times, on the weekends, when I'm sitting out on my deck looking up at the oak trees I feel like I'm on vacation and that in a few days I'll have to go back to reality. 

It's awesome.  I was able to decorate the deck very inexpensively and it came out great. I love sitting out there in the evenings. 

I picked up some cheap globe lights at Big Lots, and these paper lanterns are from Sophie's room. One of the only things we kept.  It's quite magical at night!

I bought myself a flower box for Mother's Day.  We paddled on that day and it wasn't so bad. Maybe I'm to the point where I am accepting of it. I did feel a little sad, but nothing compared to year's past. 

The humming birds LOVE the bleeding heart plant.  I should get a humming bird feeder. They aren't shy at all!  They'll come right up to you and buzz around your head.  So cool.  

Went to happy hour with my work family(they really are like family to me). We always have the best time. 

Almost every Tuesday the drug reps bring us free coffee and that doesn't suck.  :) We also get catered lunch 2-3 times a week which is pretty awesome too.  

Dragon boat practice is in full swing. 

It's lovely how quickly we get back into the routine of paddling.  It's weird to think it's been seven months since we last paddled. 

I love my dragonboat team. Such good people. This is my seventh year with this team, and Joe's fifth. 

We have a bunch of new team members. A bunch!  This is good for the longevity of the team, as the older girls start to go off to college(when did THAT happen?!).  

It's good, and I'm happy that so many people are interested in the sport, but selfishly I wish we could practice with just our main team. The ones who won a medal at last year's races, and placed first at the races in Los Angeles.  I love that close knit group we had at the races in L.A.  

It's hard when you have people in the boat who have never paddled before. 

But it isn't about the competiton, or winning.  It's about camaraderie, and team work and the culture of the sport. This year we are even going to have a kid's team which is beyond cool.  

I've been trying to be more active.  Sitting at a desk all day is so bad for you.  We have started doing laps every hour to get us up out of our chairs.  I've been walking before and after work too.  I use a pedometer and I average about four miles a day. Not bad!  My goal is five miles but it's really hard when I sit all day and I'm so tired when I get it's hard to find the motivation.  

I've been visiting the horses on Saturdays but not riding as much as I would like. It was way too not for a couple of weekends but it's cooled down a lot now.  I'm planning on riding on Saturday.  It's good for my soul.  

We have a trip planned for the Fourth of July and I'm so excited for it. We're going to vist my Sees-ter(of  She will be going to the Russian River with some friends and we are going to house/pet sit for her.  She's renting a car for us and because we're staying at her house it's going to cost us nothing but gas money to go(I'm renting an energy efficient car, so hopefully the gas costs won't be too much)

We will drive up to the river for the day to hang out  and watch fireworks.  I love the Russian River and surrounding areas. We may go wine tasting one day. Or, we may just hang around the house and relax. We'll see.  

I'm really looking forward to it.  

Anyone have any fun summer plans?

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Plugging along

It's the first of May already.   MAY!!  How did that happen?!  I swear it was just Christmas.  

We went to my cousins wedding and got to get dressed up. Doesn't happen very often. Finally gota recent pic of us.   It was a lovely wedding.  

Dragon boat practice is starting this weekend(early....yay!).  So happy. 

Another Mother's Day is upon us. I'm going to spare you the usual "mothers-day-is-hard-for-me-post"

You've  heard it many times before and I'm sure it gets old.  I'm in a much better place this year than I think I have ever been. 

I still feel sad.  I had a good cry the other day but I'm trying not to dwell on it. 

It's not a good day for me and it never will be.  But it's just another day and we will be paddling that day and then it will be done again for another year.  

Work  Busy.  Stressful.  Busy(so busy!).  I love my co-workers though, and that makes it easier.  

Most days the drive is fine(I enjoy it actually) but there have been two occasions when they closed the road completely due to an accident and I was late to work. I'm the opener and it stresses me out.  I'm not late to work. Ever.  

Well, except for two times in the last month and like I said, it stresses me out.  I have a CHP app on my ipad now so I check every morning to see if there is an accident before I leave.  At least that way I can call my boss to come open for me.  It's problematic when I'm parked on the highway with no cell phone service and I can't call and let anyone know I'm running late.  I'm hoping checking before I leave will help with that.  

It's been terribly hot here this week, and windy. My least favorite kind of weather. It's much cooler at the top of the hill than at work though, and the oak trees shading our place keep the inside quite cool.  This makes me happy because that means I won't have to crank the air conditioner too much during the day in the summer and have to pay for the extra electricity.   

We have started thinking seriously about getting a dog.  Well, a puppy.  My Sees-ter was fostering a very sweet pup that we were actually going to rescue but she broke her leg playing with her other dogs and can't be adopted out now until she heals.   She's so cute and Lisa says she is very smart.  I'm pretty much sold on her but joe really wanted a little bitty puppy(8-10 weeks) and she will be four months old by the time she is available so I'm not sure what we will do yet.  But I'm ready to have a dog again.  I miss it so much.  

Speaking of my Sees-ter, she and the kids came and visited for a week.  I took a couple of days off and we had the best time.  We were kind of crammed into our tiny little space but we made it work. 

We went bowling and to the Spectrum and ate out too much and bbq'd and had a campfire and generally just had a really great time.  

Lisa and the kids(and even Sawyer!) got to go riding, which was awesome until Cameron fell off.  It was his first time on a horse.  Poor guy.  I felt so bad.  We didn't make him get back on, and we probably should have because now he says he never wants to ride again.  I hope he changes his mind on that some day.   

We haven't managed to get out for too many hikes, which bums me out.  We have made a pact to get out there more on the week days.   I'm just so tired when I get home.   Sometimes I forget that I have a disease that causes extreme exhaustion.   On the weekends I spend a lot of time sleeping. I hate that.  There are so many other things I would rather be doing.   It seems like such a waste.   

And I often feel like I have to make excuses for it.  I've been known to turn down invitations to events because it meant I would have to get up too early on a Saturday or  Sunday, especially if it was  going to last all day. I simply need the time on the weekends to rest and recoup.  

As for the kidney disease, along with the exhaustion I find myself more swollen than usual. I am actually overdue for a re-check.  My insurance changed so I have to change nephrologists again and I hate choosing and meeting a new doctor so I've been putting it off.  I shouldn't do that.  I know.  

My eyesight has gotten even worse(which I never thought possible!).  I got a little money back from my taxes this year and it's supposed to go towards that but our car needs repairs too and there is never enough money for everything.    Things are pretty tight.  But I'm making it, even if just barely and I'm proud of myself for that.  

I suppose that's all that's been going on around here.   Nothing too exciting.  

I hope everyone has a good Mother's Day. 

I really miss my mom around this time of year.