A Love Affair with Mason Jars

I am having a love affair with Mason Jars. It started innocently enough. I bought my first set at Wal-Mart when I started juicing to keep my juice fresh when carrying to work or on the run…

I also use them to store and freeze soup like my favorite minestrone soup mix I love to make  lately. Chances are if you live near me and get sick, I will bring you a jar of this

I heart this soup mix. I don’t add meat or pasta, but do add some vegetable base, carrots, celery and onions. So good.

Then I discovered the short one’s with the large opening…

They hold as much as the other ones… I use them for juice and soup too, but they are also perfect for the homemade sugar scrub I like to make – I’ll share that recipe with you tomorrow!

Last month I was frustrated with all the celestial tea boxes I had in my cabinet with tea bags inside that weren’t individually wrapped and thought, hmmmm…. what can I use to keep this tea fresh?

The mason jars are perfect! The only problem was I wanted to stack them on my shelves and they really are not designed for stacking – they are very slippery on the bottom. My solution? Rubber shelf liner.

I had some and traced the outline of the lid…

Then cut a square around the outline…

I folded it in half…

and then in quarters…

and then cut along the outline…

It’s a simple way to get a pretty good circle!

Place it on top of the lid, add a jar on top and voila! They stack quite well now! Yes, I know they need cute labels, but for now my trusty little labeler came through in a pinch…

A few weeks ago I had to buy these adorable little mini jars…

I had pinned this recipe for personal pies from The Family Kitchen

and this one for an Eggnog Spicecake Trifle from Today’s Nest on Pinterest

and thought they would be perfect in those petite mason jars with a pretty ribbon or twine, don’t you agree?

When I was at GiGi’s, she needed containers to store her chia and flax seeds on the counter for quick access and guess what she used? Yep! Mason Jars. I tried it at my house when I got home… Double adorable in that basket, don’t you think?

When at GiGi’s we also made meals in a jar for on the road – check out these from Big Red Kitchen

I know if I went to Pinterest, I would find a hundred thousand million more ideas for these inexpensive jars! They just make my heart pitter patter! What do you use them for? Amy xo

A Confession, Banana Smoothies and Baby Owls!

I’m just going to say it. I am was a compulsive eater. Binge-eater is probably the correct word, but I am winning the battle lately and I like the word compulsive better. Here’s the deal. I am really good during the day and into the evening, but at night… when all the little creatures are asleep… I become obsessed with wanting something sweet. Enter my newest love…

Smoothie

This is not just not your ordinary banana smoothie… it’s loaded with really good things and I choose to have this now whenever those pesky little cravings rear their ugly little heads. You really need to try one. Trust me, you will thank me! Here’s the scoop!

BANANA SMOOTHIE RECIPE

In a blender combine the following:

  • 1 cup of vanilla flax milk (you could also use soy milk, almond milk, goat milk or cow milk as well!)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 banana’s (try them frozen for a colder treat!)
  •  2-3 tsp of vanilla – make sure it’s not imitation!
  • up to a Tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • a Tbsp of Coconut Oil (in liquid form)
  • a Tbsp of Chia Seeds
  • a Tbsp of Flax Seeds

Flip the switch and blend till smooth! So why, you might be wondering, do I add all those things? Here’s why…

Flax Milk – vanilla or plain. I will tell you that I just don’t love milk. In fact, unless it was with a handful of Oreo cookies, I have never poured myself a glass of milk. Flax milk on the other hand is a different matter. I adore it. Flax milk is good for you – it has lot’s of Omega goodies, tastes great and is only 60 calories per cup. Sixty calories… I really can’t believe that, but there it is on the side of the carton – 60 calories. It’s low in sugar (7 grams) and lactose, dairy, gluten and soy free.  Some Wal-Marts are starting to carry it along with whole foods. Yum.

Banana’s – Mostly because they are good, less than  and a comfort food –  click here for 14 reasons why banana’s are good for you!

Vanilla – Tastes delicious and has some healthful benefits as well! For my smoothies I use pure vanilla extract – have you ever used a real bean? Here’s a great article on the vanilla bean

Cinnamon – Again, tastes delicious and is good for a range of things including high Cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes as well! You can click to this link for more about cinnamon!

Coconut Oil – I actually started adding this because I read it’s beneficial in the quest to slow down or even stop the onset of Alzheimer’s. It runs and my family and I thought to myself…why not? You really can’t taste it and an added bonus I find is it ensures that I am “regular” on a daily basis! I know… TMI. Sorry! Here’s a link to an article I read about coconut oil and Alzheimer’s. FYI… Coconut oil comes in a jar in a semi-solid state unless it’s warmer in your house or at the store and then becomes liquid. If it’s solid I melt on medium heat for less than minute to liquefy. Click  here and here  learn more about coconuts from my friend Lisa at PickMeYard!

Flax Seed and Chia SeedsDr Oz has been raving about them lately and when I looked into them further I decided to add them too! Here’s an article I read from Livestrong! They add a bit of a texture to the smoothie and it’s not bad at all! You can also sprinkle on salads, in soups and more!

So see… this smoothie tastes good AND is good for you! I love that!

LOOK WHOOOOO’S PEEKING DOWN AT ME!

I’m in Florida for a bit working with Gigi – my friend and business partner. She’s my inspiration for getting healthy, cooking clean and more. I’ll introduce her to you soon, I promise – she’s going to start blogging with me and I’m pretty sure between the two of us, you will be entertained, haha!

Two years ago when I was in Florida visiting, we discovered two Great Horned Owls had nested in a tree at Gigi’s house. You can read more about them here. Mom and Pop are back again for the third time (they mate for life) with new adorable little babies that hatched about 7 weeks ago and they are so stinking adorable! Here’s a few photo’s…

For the longest time Mom and Dad took turns sitting on the nest… Finally, the owlettes hatched and OMG… they are so adorable! The one peeping out above is a bit bolder. There is a second one in there, but he’s a little shy! That’s dad in the photo above – he’s a bit smaller than mom.

Once the babies hatched, momma and papa began to hunt together and sometimes watch from afar. See them above perched high on a nearby tree keeping watch?

I walked out today and saw both of them sitting in their nest! As you can see, the second one is getting a bit bolder!

And then tonight, we saw them being fed! They stopped eating when they saw me, but isn’t this a great shot? You can’t see it here, but mom is laying inside the nest watching them. So adorable!

Hope you had a great Monday! xo Amy