Thursday, January 01, 2015

Auld Lang Salad

A brief and unofficial survey of my Facebook feed reveals that pretty much no one is sad about saying goodbye to 2014. I can relate. While a few good things happened it was, overall, an underwhelming year. Outside of my small circle, the world at large didn't appear to have that great a time, either. I haven't written much about everything going on in America these last few months, but I've been deeply affected by the violence, brutality, and racism in this country, even though I'm grateful to see tough conversations taking place. Someone referred to 2014 as a building year, a time not for celebration or accomplishment but growth, the kind of year that is necessary for solid foundations and actual change. I hope this proves true and that, looking back, 2014 will be remembered as necessary, if not particularly fun. 

And even though nothing has really changed this morning, except for the fact that I will have to learn to write "2015" on my rent check instead of "2014" (good thing I just ordered more checks) the symbolism of a new year makes me feel hopeful that better things are on the way. So: Happy New Year. Let's make it a good one. 

And that is a really awkward segue into a recent revelation that I would like to share with you, which is perhaps the best thing that happened in 2014. I finally discovered mason jar salads. 

Now, I'm not the first to make a salad and put it in a mason jar. I'm sure I won't be the last. If you've visited Pinterest at any point in the last five years, you're likely well acquainted with this phenomenon and you're probably rolling your eyes at my "discovery." I get it. I used to roll my eyes, too. 

Then I realized I was a vegetarian who hardly ever ate vegetables, and if I wanted to avoid the embarrassment of telling people I had scurvy, something had to change. So I made salads, put them in mason jars, and my life was instantly improved. 

As far as I can tell, there are three main benefits to putting your salad in a mason jar. 1. You have single serving salads ready to eat at a moments notice. 2. You layer the salads in the mason jars so the dressing is at the bottom, and the most delicate things are at the top, which means nothing gets soggy. 3. You can finally rationalize all those mason jars you've been hoarding in your hipster closet. 

I like to layer mine with a homemade dressing, followed by cut up veggies (cucumbers, red bell peppers, onion), then chickpeas, then quinoa, and finally some greens. They last about a week in the refrigerator and each one has been delicious, crisp, and fresh. If you've never made a mason jar salad before, I hope 2015 is the year it happens. 

Here's to a new beginnings, fresh starts, and all the salad you can eat.