Parade.com: A Happy Lunch to Go in a Mason Jar

"Mason Jar Salads" by Julia Mirabella

The minister of my church once asked all the lawyers present to stand up. Nobody stood. “They’re all working. I should know, because I know the lawyers who are members of this church,” the minister reasoned. As an attorney, Julia Mirabella finds time to write a food blog at MyFoodandOtherStuff.com between long hours at the office analyzing data on computer screens and reading mile-high stacks of documents and forms.

While wisely managing time, Mirabella discovered the art of fine dining in a mason jar. To save time and money during the weekdays, she would concurrently pack several lunches in jars during the weekend. Once she mastered the technique of layering ingredients (such as placing vinaigrette at the bottom of the jars to avoid soggy salad leaves), she wrote a cookbook, Mason Jar Salads.

Read more

Parade Magazine: Roast Brussel Sprouts and Wild Brown Rice

Roast Brussel Sprouts and Wild Brown Rice

I personally prefer smoked over fried and roast turkey. The orange-tea smoky flavor infuses the whole bird to render even the breast meat juicy. As my father cooks at least three turkeys, each using a different cooking technique mentioned above, he’s also preparing several carb-loaded side dishes.  Read more

Parade Magazine: Watermelon and Shrimp Salad with Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette

Watermelon and Shrimp Salad with Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette

As we’re at the height of Summer’s juicy bounty, we’re also a few weeks away from the start of a crisp autumn. Continue to savor the taste of summer in a leafy salad tossed with juicy cubes of watermelon, sweet shrimp, and creamy feta cheese with a few crunchy pistachios and celery pieces. While you’re at it, drizzle a lovely Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette to bring out summer’s juicy flavors, because autumn is still weeks away.  Read more

Summer in a Hot Kitchen… Not Me!

Zucchini Flower Quesadilla

Since making a full recovery, my weekends are super busy with events, and I barely have time to catch up on household chores, running errands… and this blog. These days, my priority is to have fun outdoors to make up for being indoors during the summer solstice. I’m searching and creating recipes with prepping and cooking times totaling less than an hour. This fast and simple quesadilla recipe is long overdue as I’m hoping zucchini flowers are still on the market.

Read more

Star Anise and Orange Duck Salad: A Harmonious Lunch Bowl

Star Anise Quinoa with Oranges and Smoked Duck Salad

As a graphic designer, I want my ‘brown bag’ lunch to taste and look visually delicious. Otherwise, I’m likely to toss it in the garbage and pay for a fresher option from a restaurant. Such actions eventually add up to plenty of regret and an empty wallet. Learning to pack lunches take time and practice. When lunch containers reveal a salad of crispy lettuce and colorful, layered ingredients or a fragrant soup waiting to be heated in the microwave, my wallet stays full.

The initial inspiration for packing lunches come from bento boxes with separate containers or compartments. The separate containers help maintain the freshness of the meal (good for hot and cold recipes). Another bento-style lunch is creating a meal in one bowl, in which the ingredients harmoniously enhance each other. Read more