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.

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Adapting to Less Time

Spicy Tomato Sauce with Shrimp, Chickpea and Roast Asparagus

For the first two to three years of MyLifeRunsOnFood.com, I was partially or fully unemployed. My hours were spent writing cover letters, resumes and recipes. The food blog enabled me to have a routine, stay creative and hopeful. The recipes created during that time period, continue to be my favorite meals.

During that time period, I recall a conversation with several friends about how process food isn’t as fast as preparing a home cook meal. Then there’s a lone voice among us who disagreed with us as she explained, “…for working families… it’s difficult to prepare healthy meals, join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or a food co-op…” I was curious about her statement. Despite being unemployed, I wondered if my concept of time management around healthy eating was within the realities of single parents and families working full-time.

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Parade.com: Spinach Fettuccine with Basil Pesto Shrimp

Spinach Fettuccine with Basil Pesto Shrimp

The weather is cooler, but there’s still plenty of green vegetables everywhere, especially summer squash, arugula and basil. Fresh spinach fettuccine pasta (find it at an Italian store or use dry pasta) is tossed with shaved zucchini, basil pesto shrimp and baby arugula. It’s a pasta dish for enjoying the last of summer’s vibrant vegetables.

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Seafood on My Mind

Linguine with Clams and Shrimp

There’s seafood on my mind. Crawfish. Oysters. Crab. Scallops. Shrimp. Hopefully lobster. All seasoned with Southern spices and lure. I’m thinking of creole dirty rice. French cooking techniques mixed Southern flavors. Spicy red beans and rice. Gumbo seasoned with filé. Jazz music inspired from my Motherland. Warm weather on the gulf coast. Why? I’m going to New Orleans. It’s my first time. The trip is sponsored by The Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition. Besides enjoying my favorite cuisine (on location), I’m learning how the seafood industry is moving on after a disastrous oil spill.  Read more

Kitschy or Gourmet?

Truffle Mustard Mac and Cheese

This is a mix and match recipe. It’s an odd couple strangely complementing each other. The taste is bewilderingly sensual. It includes an everyday condiment commonly used as a dipping sauce for school kids’ fries mixed with the world’s most sought after ingredient, in which only a pig’s nose will find. It’s a mac and cheese recipe made with wickedly sharp white cheddar cheese bechamel sauce and FungusAmongUs’ truffle mustardRead more