Monday, January 28, 2013

One Word

What exactly is in a word?

word :[wurd]noun
1.a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning

There is power in the spoken word....they can be good or bad, positive or negative, helpful or hurtful...what we say and how we say it is as important as the interpretation of what we say. There is power in the written word. They can tell a story, convince us to take a stand, or provide us with's post is about a word, just one word.

I have found myself feeling somewhat scattered the past seems that my lists are simply too long..

I should do this...
It would great if I could....
____just needs to get finished...
If only....

I think you understand what I mean...I have so much that should or could get done, so many deadlines and wish lists that I felt nothing was actually getting accomplished. As I started the new year I wondered what it would bring, what did God want from me, how could I help my kids, what needed to happen at work or in my volunteer life....what about my friends and relationships?

The more thought I gave it, the more overwhelmed I became.

I decided that praying about how to continue would be a good idea and the word 'nothing' kept coming to mind. I never make resolutions but pick one 'word' each year in hopes of clarifying what I want to accomplish. Maybe that should be my word for the year? Nothing, hmm nothing....even though I understood what it might meant to me, it did not seem like a positive word to spend a full year focusing on...and it hit me...focus...FOCUS...I need to spend this year focusing on God or I will not accomplish any of the rather large challenges I have this year. I can do nothing without He who strengthens me....therefore I need to spend more time focusing on Him.

So my friends, that is my word, focus, it has already been helpful...I seem to remember the task at hand, I am getting more little projects done and out of my way, I have been able to carve out valuable time for my kids.  I have spent time with God while driving, walking & doing dishes. I feel as though I am accomplishing so much more than I was at the end of last year...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Salad in a Jar

Well since a few of you have asked, I will post about my newest obsession...salad in a jar!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love when I saw this I cool idea I thought it may be fun to try it. As I looked closer, I found it was not only made in a jar but vacuum sealed to provide extra freshness...interesting...and that was when the obsession started.

How many could I make at once? How could I seal them without spending the money for a sealer that would take up most of my counter? What kind of salads could I make? Would fruit work too? How much time would it take? How would this turn out?

So I started to surf the net and found a few websites that gave some instruction and tips. I began looking for a small vacuum and after a couple weeks finally found a hand held vacuum at Bed Bath & Beyond for $20, although I was not sure it would work the sales clerk assured me it could be returned if it did not do what I wanted it to so I made my purchase and headed to MCC for some 'new' jars. A quick trip to the store for new seals, a roll of electrical tape, the fixings for salad and I was ready to try this at home!!

I have to tell you that this worked better than I thought....brilliant actually. I spend a short amount of time chopping my veggies and lettuce (using a salad spinner to ensure the lettuce was dry) and started to fill my jars.

1) I started by putting the salad dressing on the bottom, and then began layering --starting with the heartier veggies or fruit--working my way up to the lettuce on top. I did a couple with dill dressing, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, leftover salmon and lettuce.....I did a couple with blackberry dressing, pears, grapes, walnuts, goat cheese and then lettuce...I did some with yogurt, salsa, beans, peppers, cheese and lettuce...I also did a few jars of lettuce only as they will last longer. I did however have fun adding different ingredients to each jar as I prepared my lunches. When they were full I cleaned up the counter and started the next step in the process.

2) I put the lids on each jar, took a clean push pin and carefully poked a hole in the center of each one...yes, I put a hole in here was the part that I was not sure about but it worked!!

Cover the hole lightly with a small piece of electrical tape--if you put it on tightly, the process won't work--and place vacuum over it until sealed. (As the air is sucked our, it sucks down the tape creating a seal).

3) After about 1/2 hour, fill your fridge with numerous jars of wonderful fresh salad. Easy to store, easy to grab, cheaper than going out, better than Wendy's....I may skip putting the dressing in next time as it is just as easy to use it directly from the fridge but it is still super healthy and contains all the the stuff I like!

So there you have it, my new obsession that saves time and money.

Here are few tips from the sites I visited:
  • tomatoes do not last well so if you want to use them cherry or grape tomatoes are recommended
  • cucumber does not keep well and is best added to salad the day of
  • mushrooms last well for a couple of days while the lettuce will keep for up to 10 days depending on freshness when packaged (you can do a few of straight lettuce for use later in the week)
  • broccoli is wonderful but should be blanched in order to keep the smell factor down, there is a technical reason for this but you will have to find that yourself
If the jar does not seal:
  • Try a smaller piece of electrical tape.
  • Tape may be too tightly adhered to the lid before you start to pump. Remove and replace with a light touch.
  • The lid may not be sealing the jar completely. Twist-on lids are the most frequent offenders.