Lunch to Go: Quinoa Salad in a Jar

 Quinoa Salad in a Jar Mason jar mania is my favorite food craze since the cupcake. And to think I really didn’t catch on to this trend until after my post on refrigerator pickles! Thank you Recipe Redux! Call me a laggard. Nevertheless, I do adore this Mason jar movement which has taken a firm hold on our foodie culture.  I especially like the layered salad in a jar phenomena. It’s truly  a brillant way to pack a salad because it eliminates plastic containers, makes food look delicious, keeps all ingredients together yet keeps salad greens from getting soggy (thank goodness and why did it take sooo long!?)   If you’re tired of blah lunches, unhealthy food, and going out to lunch everyday, read on.

Here is the anatomy of my quinoa salad in a jar. It’s  a tote able lunch that will energize you through the second half of your day.

 Quinoa Salad in a Jar

When I first assembled this salad in the pint size, wide mouth Mason  jar, I didn’t think it would be very substantial.   But look below at  how it fills my dinner plate! If you’ve been making excuses for not eating healthy, break the cycle by improving what happens over your lunch hour. Now that the heat of the summer is behind us, spend your lunch hour outside enjoying  both the fresh air and a meal  that’s high in protein,  a whole grain, high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, low in fat, low in sodium, and  has no added sugar or preservatives. Remember, real change starts with the small stuff. Share the love with your friends 

 Quinoa Salad in a Jar Quinoa Salad in a Jar

Quinoa Salad in a Jar

by Diane Boyd


  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup julienne carrots
  • 1/4 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup steamed baby beets
  • 2 ounces cooked chicken
  • salad greens


1. Combine honey and lemon juice and add to the bottom of a one pint Mason jar.

2. Layer remaining ingredients in jar, one on top of the other starting with julienne carrots.

3. Finish by packing jar full with salad greens.

4. Place lid on jar. Refrigerate or pack in a insulated lunch box with ice pack.

5. To serve: Shake jar and pour into a bowl or plate, or eat right out of the jar.

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Snack Right: Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling

Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling

Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Dairy Council and the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

August is Kids Eat Right Month!  This nutrition education campaign, initiated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy’s Foundation,  encourages healthy eating and active lifestyles for children and families.  Your family’s health is important to you.  So let me ask, are they getting enough of the essential nutrients? If they’re like most Americans, they’re not. (Ninety-nine percent of Americans aren’t meeting daily whole grain recommendations and eighty-five percent aren’t meeting daily dairy recommendations.)  What does this mean? Well, it  means they’re likely missing out on  fiber, calcium,  vitamin D and potassium. Bummer.

Now don’t feel bad. As a mother, I know the frustration of having my family turn their noses up at healthy food I spent precious time preparing.  Just remember one thing:  if they don’t eat it,  you’re wasting your time. So let me save you time, by sharing a recipe that will appeal to both  kids and adults and help you boost your family’s intake of  essential nutrients important for good health. Because this recipe provides 1/2 of a serving of whole grain oats  and 1/2 of a serving of dairy, it will close the gap on missing dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin D and potassium.  This is no joke! It’s the powerful combination of dairy and oats in a snack bar that tastes terrific  like carrot cake.  Let me explain how this mouth watering,  nutrient rich snack bar evolved.  I modified a basic oatmeal drop cookie, and then  converted  it into  a bar  filled with the goodness of dairy.  If I were Emeril Lagasse, right about now  I’d say, ‘Bam’. But instead I’ll  just tell you it’s healthy and delicious. Please don’t take my word for it; make it today. Pack it into lunch and bento boxes;  serve it with a glass of cold low-fat milk for an after school snack. Your family will thank you because they’ll delight over the taste! You’ll smile because you’re doing your part ensuring their healthy future.

For even more delicious recipes that surpass the ordinary with this powerful combination of oats and dairy, be sure to  visit the links at the bottom of this post. You’re welcome to come back for ‘seconds’ because new recipes will be appearing thru August 10.

How are you investing in your childrens’ future?

Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta FillingOatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling

Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling

makes 24 bars

by Diane Boyd


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups rolled oats, quick or old fashioned
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup skim milk

for the filling

  • 18 oz. part skim ricotta cheese (1 pound+ 4 Tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts,


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil.

3. In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

4. Stir in rolled oats and raisins.

5. Beat in oil, pumpkin, eggs, honey and milk with a spoon until thoroughly blended.

6. Set aside 2 cups of dough and refrigerate.

7. Spread the remainer of the dough into the prepared 13 x 9 inch baking pan using a spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup to press the dough into an even layer.

8. Make filling by combining ingredients ricotta cheese through walnuts together in a small bowl.

9. Spread filling evenly over the bottom oatmeal layer.

10. Take out the reserved dough from the refrigerator and crumble over the filling.

11. Bake 40 to 50 minutes.

12. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Refrigerate if necessary.

Tip when cutting make long cuts the length of the pan.   Clean knife, between cuts, in hot water and dry with kitchen towel.

Store uneaten bars in refrigerator.

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