Mason Jar Salads And More:Chapter Two Salads


 Mason Jar Salads & More has an variety of flavorful and unique salads.There is many simplistic and adventerous recipes in this cookbook, including lots of room to expand creativity.In this specific chapter, I chose to make Julia Mirabellas Greek Salad with Chickpeas as well as her Cobb Salad.

There are many versions of traditional Greek salad that commonly include feta,olives,cucumber and grapes tomatoes.This version makes sure that all these ingredients shine for there unique texture,flavor and color.It also includes an ingredient I thought would never be a great match up and that is chickpeas.However I found out first hand that it actually works quite well in all aspects along with giving us extra protein and zinc.The medley of flavors and textures are balanced very well and is a very refreshing take on Greek salad.

The dressing is also top notch because its simple and quick using only olive oil,lemon juice,seasoned with salt and pepper.This is really all you need to enhance the flavors of juicy sweet grape tomatoes,refreshing crunchy cucumbers and tender,smooth chickpeas.It's a pretty basic meal that anyone can make and enjoy.Its easy to prep and assemble for a quick grab to go lunch.It will give you energy during the day and keep you full,plus this recipe gives you an excuse to enjoy lots of feta cheese.This is definitely a satisfying meal and beautiful as well.I am happy to give this recipe a two thumb ups for its flavor,texture, beauty and of course simple approach.

Now with a Cobb salad I always think in my head "An everything salad" because it has so much in it and the possibilities are endless.This specific recipe includes a vast amount of delectable ingredients such as bacon,chicken,cheese,romaine and even avacado.This meal is pack full of vitamins,protein,fiber and is an excellent meal for lunch or dinner.It will give you the energy you crave and  keep you full during the day.The Cobb salad is simple to prep,easy to assemble and keeps very fresh when layered in this mason jars.Though the best part about the salad was how every flavor and texture stood out.The romaine was perfectly fresh and crisp along side the sweet,juicy tomatoes.The bacon was crisp and salty,  the chicken was very tender and excellent with the rich cheddar cheese.Also the avocado and egg came together to be very creamy and rich.

Overall,it was a delightful flavor fest and everything came together so well with the simple French vinagrette.It is a beautifully layered salad and showcased so well through the mason jar.Everyone will find something they love about this salad and get creative with there own ideas.Just thinks these recipes are simply idea starters and you can go as mad as you like.Julia Mirabeilla wants us simply to experiment and get creative with these recipes. So overall I will have to give this Cobb Salad a two thumbs ups for its great, unique flavor and texture along with simple directions and of course letting bacon in the recipe.Love it!

So now it's on to more unique ideas for lunches? The next chapter includes ideas for soups,salads,pasta, risotto and rice dishes.How exciting!

Greek Salad With Chickpeas

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing (About Two Salad portions)

2 tbsp Lemon juice
Pinch of Salt
Freshly ground black pepper,to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

In a medium bowl,I whisked together the lemon juice,salt and pepper.Then slowly added the olive oil,whisking,until thickened.

Salad (This recipe makes one pint size) Opitional:Double Ingredients for Two pint sizes

2 tbsp Lemon Vinaigrette
1/2 cup chick peas,rinsed and drained
1/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup quartered cucumber slices
2 tbsps diced red onion
2 tbsps pitted black olives,halved
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 pint-size Mason Jar

I rinsed and drained the chickpeas.Rinsed and halved the cherry tomatoes.Rinsed and quartered the cucumber slices.Diced the red onion.Halved the pitted black olives and lastly chopped the parsley finely.

I then poured 2 tbsp of the lemon vinaigrette in the Mason jar and added the chickepeas.Then I layered the tomatoes,cucumber,onion,olives and lastly feta and  parsley.Then I gently sealed the jar and refrigerated,until ready to eat.

Cobb Salad

French Vinaigrette Dressing (About Two Salad Portions)

2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp minced shallots or green onions
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
Pinc hof salt
Freshly ground black pepper,for taste
3 tbsp olive oil

I whisked together the lemon juice,minced green onion,mustard,salt and pepper.Then I slowly added the olive oil,whisking,until the dressing thickened.

Cobb Salad (This recipes makes one pint size) Optional: Double Ingredients for Two.

1 egg
2 slices bacon
1/2 cup avacado
1 1/2 tbsp French Vinaigrette
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh parlsey,finely
1 tbsp chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped romaine,cut into 2 inch strips
 1/4 cup cubed chicken breast
1 ounce cheddar cheese,grated
1 pint size Mason jar
For one Quart-size,increase vinagrette to 3 tbsps and the romaine to 2 cups

I placed the egg in a sm,saucepan and covered it with water.Then I brought the water to a boil over high heat and then turned off the heat immediately. Then I coved the pot and let it sit for 11 minutes,then I removed the egg with a slotted spooned and place it in cold water.Then I peeled and chopped the egg,setting it aside.

With a frying pan over medium heat,I cooked the two slices of bacon until crispy,draining the slices on paper towel and then chopped them into small pieces,to set aside.

Then using 1/2 of the avacado,I removed the pit and gently scoop out the inside and chopped into cubes,setting it aside.I then diced the tomatoes,chopped the parsley and chives.Then chopped the romaine,cubed the cooked chicken and grated cheddar cheese.

I placed the 3 tbsp of vinagrette to a quart size jar,then layered in the tomatoes,parsley and chives,chopped egg,2 cups romaine,avocado and cubed chicken.Then I added the grated cheddar cheese and crumbled the bacon on top.Then I sealed tightly and refrigerated, until ready to eat.

Mason Jar Salads & More By Julia Mirabella!


Mason jar salads and more by Julia Mirabella is an innovative cookbook that offers us readers resourceful methods to prepare healthy, make ahead meals.There are  plenty of delectable recipes that focus on salads along with a variety of meals for lunch,dinner and even dessert.This has practical knowledge we can all utilize to produce meals that we can quickly grab,along with making it affordable and time saving.This book is great for everyone because its involves simple ingredients and methods so that we can all enjoy a fresh homemade meal on the go.

I love this idea of making meals ahead of time,especially when you are running late for work/school and you refuse to waste your money on junk.So with these recipes they will actually help you stay on budget,save time and make health priority one.Also, a great bonus to most of these meals is they can stay fresh for up to a week refrigerated giving you the option to make multiple meals at a time.Just think making everyday meals ahead of time for work,school,or even for home.So for me,I always think about what meals I should bring for work and once I saw this cookbook I just knew I had to test out these meals.

So from the first chapter for breakfast meals, I chose to make the Green Smoothie since it seems it would be a good essential meal replacement for on the way to work.It was super simple to prepare,since its basically blending fresh ingredients such as spinach,kiwi,apple and apple juice together to create a very vibrant green smoothie.Its flavor is mostly of sweet apple and has just a touch of smoothness and bitterness of fresh spinach.The kiwi is very hard to detect when overpowered by these stronger flavors;however its seeds are somewhat noticeable in the texture factor.

Overall,Its definitely a healthy smoothie with its high fiber content along with Vitamin A & C;however the taste and texture factor may not please everyone.Its slightly thicker to most smoothies and contains small seeds from the kiwi along with small contents of unblended spinach.For me,I was able to enjoy this drink because apple juice is one of my favorites and has a strong flavor component.Although, it may not be my favorite smoothie, the bonus to this recipe is you can easily experiment and bring your own creativity into the mix.So,I will have to give this Green smoothie an one and half thumbs up and suggest to always taste test your meals.So try out this healthy smoothie for yourself and let me know what you think?

So I hope you enjoy creating mason jar smoothies and be sure to stay tune for my next meal reviews from the chapter Salads.

Green Smoothie

1 kiwi fruit
1/2 apple peeled and cored
1 cup pear or apple juice,plus more as needed
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 pint-sized Mason jar

I cut the kiwi fruit in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.Then I peeled and cored one apple.Using 1/2 apple, I cut it into chunks and placed it in the blender,along with the kiwi.

Then I poured in the 1 cup of apple juice or pear juice and the washed spinach leaves.

Then I blended the ingredients, until very smooth.While taste testing I added more juice for my desire consistency.Then I transfered the smoothie  into the mason jar and seal it tightly.Placing it in the fridge to stay fresh and cold.This recipe can be easily doubled to make more smoothies and even adaptions.

A Cake Lover's Recipe Notebook By Jane Brocket


The Cake Lover's is a beautiful old fashioned note book that is an important essential to every one's kitchen.This little jem encourages readers to save their favorite recipes and features classic cake's to get you started.Its definitely a unique cookbook with its polished photographs and excellent information on baking the perfect cake.It will be my go to booklet for future cake recipes.

So to express my love for this notebook I chose to test out a classic recipe.In the section for "Everyday Cakes" I picked a very tasty Lemon Drizzle Cake.This is a classic favorite cake that pairs so well with afternoon tea or brunch,though it can be enjoyed anytime of the day.The recipe itself is super easy to follow and definitely worth baking.Every morsel is heaven with its mixture of sweetness,tartness,and best of all a strong lemon flavor.However with its layers of flavor it is the incredible moisture and melt in your mouth texture that ties everything together.It is certainly a very special cake and is my favorite lemon cake recipe.It definitely gets two thumbs up from me.

So overall,I highly recommend this cake recipe and this unique notebook.This will be great for beginners for the simple information that is included,as well as the cake lover's that have lots of experience.It's definitely worth picking up and I am thankful to have been given the chance to review.

So I say a big thank you to author Jane Brocket for creating such a wonderful, polished notebook for us cake lover's.Also, to Lisa Trudeau from Quarto Publishing for contacting me.It was a delightful review experience and thank you for your patients.

Lemon Drizzle Cake By  A Cake Lover's Recipe Notebook 

Cake Batter

175 grams (3/4 cup) soft butter,plus extra for greasing
175 grams (scant 1 cup) caster (superfine sugar)
3 eggs
175 grams (1 1/4 cup) self raising (self rising) flour
Juice of 1/2 a lemon


100 grams (1/2 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
Juice of 2 lemons


8 inch round cake pan,grease and line base with parchment

1. Preheated the oven to 350F (180C or gas mark 4)

2.Beat the butter and sugar in my kitchen aid mixer, until pale and fluffy.Added the eggs one by one,beating well after each addition.

3. Then I sifted in the flour and lemon zest and poured in the juice.With a rubber spatula I gently folded in the ingredients until fully combined.Then I poured the cake batter into the prepared round cake pan.Cake pan must be fully greased and base lined with parchment paper.Then I gently leveled the surface with the back of a spoon.

4. Then I bake it for 25-30 minutes,until a toothpick came out clean and it was risen and golden brown.

5.When the cake was almost done.I made the syrup by placing sugar and lemon juice into a small saucepan and gently heated the pot, until the sugar dissolved without stirring.Then I let it simmer over medium heat without stirring until the mixture became syrupy and runny enough to spread all over the cake.Then I removed the syrup off heat and set aside.

6.Once the cake was done and transfered to a wire rack.I pierced about 12-15 holes in the cake, using a toothpick or metal skewer.Then I poured the syrup over the surface of the cake while it was still in the cake pan.Then I let it cool completely before removing it from the tin.

7.This lemon cake can be stored for a couple days wrapped in grease proof wax paper and foil and store in an airtight tin in a cool place.

Copykat Fan Favorites! The Final Review:)


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Dining Out At Home Two by Stephanie Manley is a charming cookbook that includes unique and simple recipes from well-known American restaurants.I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity from Ulysses Press to review each recipe chapter along with challenging myself in the kitchen.I have come so far in my cooking skill thanks to Stephanie and now I have advanced to the final chapter of her cookbook.This collection includes the most celebrated dishes amongst enthusiasts of Copykat's such as desserts,mains courses,side dishes and even dressings.I am very pleased the author has shared the most popular dishes from her website to share her appreciation towards her fans.

So from the favorites chapter,I decided to test out a simple recipe for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Fried Apples,which can be served as a side dish or topping.This was the first time ever cooking apples on a skillet and even given the opportunity to cook them in bacon fat.Sadly, I had no bacon at the time and had to use butter instead;however that would of a been an unique flavor concept.Something I definitely need to come back to since I was very impressed how delicious these apples were with just butter.It was a very speedy process to fried these apples and very similar to creating apple sauce.It was also very budget-friendly using simple ingredients, along with enriching the fruits flavor simply with cinnamon and nutmeg.These fried apples were mouth-watering on there own and are exquisite as a topping for meat,especially on pork chops.I can see why this would be voted as a favorite and I greatly recommend it.Who wouldn't love tender,sweet and juicy apples!?

This recipe is another favorite of mine amongst many others from Dining Out At Home Two.I have cherished every challenging experience from constructing potato soup,deep-frying chicken , along with assembling casseroles and ice cream bars.I have learned so many new cooking skills along with creating new dishes from restaurants that are only in America.I continue to be so thankful for having the opportunity and time to get really involved in this cookbook ,along with sharing my reviews with my readers.I send a big thank you to Ulysess Press for this great cookbook and I look forward to continuing this relationship.

Also,to Stephanie Manley, I thank you for sharing these impressive recipes with everyone that for a Canadian like me would of never known.I love your passion for restaurant food and I share your enthusiasm for cooking and baking.Keep up the good work and I will continue to support your cookbooks.

Now for my readers,I give this cookbook a big two thumbs up and I highly recommend picking up Dining Out At Home Two and also to pick up the first installment as well.Try out this recipe and the many others I have reviewed to see what I mean.

The Recipe

1/4 cup bacon drippings,or you can use butter
6 tart apples,cored and sliced(peeled if desired)
1 tsp freshly squezzed lemon juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

Peel and core 6 granny smith apples,then slice.

Then in a skillet over low heat,melt bacon drippings or butter.
Scatter the apples evenly over the skillet bottom and sprinkle on the lemon juice.

Add the brown sugar and salt.Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes,stirring ocassionally,until apples are tender and juicy.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg to serve.Serve on there own or for a topping. 

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

Making your own vanilla extract is not that daunting task that you might of thought.Its actually super easy to make as along as you have the patience to develop a pure product. Its the most popular extract used in baking and for someone such as I that extensively bakes goes through vanilla very quickly.So when I was finally introduce to homemade given as a gift I made a choice to never go back to store bought.It is so much better in flavor and is quite inexpensive in the long run.So, when I saw that Dining Out At Home Cookbook Two had a recipe I knew I had to learn to make my own.

I learned that making your own vanilla extract is pretty basic with only using two vanilla beans and 8 ounces of vodka.It is so quick to put together and I'm surprised I didn't make my own sooner.Through everyone has to know that this extract does take time to fully develop as I mention before and will darken with age over several weeks.The extract also has a very long shelf life and is constantly replenishable ,meaning that keeping the beans completely submerge in alcohol will lengthen its life.I'm highly impressed with this fact because now I no longer need to purchase vanilla.In the end, we have a superior flavor to store bought and is definitely a better choice for everyone.

If you love to bake then I highly recommend this recipe and to keep this extract handy in your pantry. You will definitely see the difference in flavor and see how much money you save. So try out this recipe for yourself and I'll keep enjoying it in my baking.

The Recipe

Vanilla Extract
Yield 6-8 ounces

2-3 vanilla beans
6 to 8 ounces vodka

I used a sharp paring knife and split open the vanilla beans length wise.

Then I placed the beans in an airtight container with lid and poured in the vodka,enough to fully emerge the beans.

Then I tightly sealed the container.I store it in a room temperature area and shook it every couple of days and up to the next several weeks.

It will darken with age and while using it I can top it off with more vodka which sustains the shelf life.Keeping my vanilla beans submerge in alcohol is the key.

My First Homemade Fondant Cake!!!


It was just my nephews 7th birthday party this passed weekend and I took on the responsibilities of making his themed Mine craft birthday cake. So, with many ideas bouncing in my head prior I knew that this was the best time to take on the challenge of making my very own fondant.

So, for his birthday cake I used a very basic chocolate cake recipe,which I doubled to make two 9 by 13 cakes, along with cutting them into 24 individual squares.Then I made a very simple butter cream frosting to give a light icing on the cakes themselves.Then lastly, to decorate the cakes I used Wilton's Homemade marshmallow fondant to create the mine craft characters.

 The fondant definitely took time to create and was very hands on challenging.For example, my hands were pretty sore after kneading in 8 cups of icing sugar to 1 pounds of melted marshmallow;however it was well worth the effort to get the flawless appearance on these cakes.I put in a lot of hours to create this cake and I definitely learned some brand new skills to put towards my next decorated cake.I am also very excited how well these cakes turned out and it was awesome to see how impressed my nephews friends were when they saw them.It made it all worth it to put my time into!

So I definitely recommend to make homemade fondant for your next birthday cake.Its really easy to make along as you are in for the challenge of kneading.Its supposedly tastes way better then store bought and definitely cheaper.Also, its awesome to use to create figures and characters to match a theme.Its a lot of fun to get involved and create with fondant.So for me I"ll be definitely using my leftover fondant to use for the next birthday cake.It should be exciting! Also,If you have any questions about making this fondant? etc Just comment here on my blog or ask on The Art Of Baking page!

Dining Out At Home Two:Breakfast


We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day;however many of us cut it out, due to our busy lives.So to fix that issue Dining Out At Home Two has shared some special meals that you can easily make on your own that everyone will enjoy.This chapter includes delicious homemade recipes for waffles,omelets,pancakes and even for the popular egg McMuffin.So you better get ready to reintroduce breakfast in your morning because I want you to get your energy back and enjoy a healthy meal.

So for me,I chose to make the unique and creative Banana Bread French Toast that is inspired by the successful IHOP Restaurant.This meal is as simple as making any french toast;however this time its made with your favorite homemade banana bread to create a new flavor and texture.This recipe is very quick to make and the directions are simple to follow.There is tons of room for adaption and creativity that you can easily change the toppings or double the recipe.I just love having this opportunity in recipes to easily change and bring my own ideas to the table.

So now we all want to know how this unique french toast tastes? Right? Well when I took my first bite I was really surprised how moist and fluffy the bread was.It was still crisp on the outside as french toast should be;however it was completely different to any french toast I have experienced. The texture was heavy,chewy and very moist, along with having a buttery, banana flavor.It was also quite sweet and this kind of french toast soaks up the topping flavors very quickly creating a very aromatic meal.Its definitely a french toast you have to try for yourself and see exactly what I mean for yourself.Overall,I give this recipe and flavor experience a two thumbs up.

So now I challenge you to make yourself breakfast tomorrow or at least this weekend. Or right now you can share and let me know what your favorite go to breakfast meal is? Comment below or share on my Facebook page.I would love to hear about your unique and simple meals for breakfast.

The Recipe

Banana Bread French Toast
Adapted By Dining Out At Home Two
Makes 2 servings or double ingredients for 4 servings

2 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
4 slices banana bread
1 banana,sliced
4 tsp butter
4 tbsp caramel sauce
Whipped cream
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

In a medium bowl,I whisked the eggs and milk together.

Then heated my nonstick skillet over medium heat and added 1 tsp of butter for each slice of banana bread being cooked.

I dipped the banana slice in the egg mixture and coated both sides evenly.

Then I placed the slice on the skillet and cook it for about 1 minute each side,until browned and the egg was fully cooked.

Then I plated my french toast with slices of bananas, drizzle of butter syrup and a sprinkle of nutmeg to serve.

IHOP Version: Bananas,caramel sauce,whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg.
My Version:Bananas,butter syrup and nutmeg.
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