Homemade Hummus, Lunchbox ideas & Mason Jar Salads Cookbook Review

I’m a Southern girl, and I’ll admit, we do love our mason jars! But for something that was mainly used for canning (and moonshine!), mason jars are seen everywhere and used for everything nowadays. Just hit up Pinterest and you will see what I mean. What many have come to realize, and we Southern women have known for decades *grin*, is that glass mason jars are great for storing things…especially food because you don’t have to worry about any weird chemicals leaching out. Making salads ahead of time and storing them in the fridge for a weeks worth of healthy lunches/dinners has been all the rage recently, and everyone I’ve seen is stored in a mason jar. So, when given the opportunity to review the cookbook  by Julia Mirabella,  I was more than eager to check it out, as were my Pinterest loving daughters.

First I have to say that the photography in this book is AMAZING. Almost every recipe comes with a gorgeous color photo. The other thing that I loved about the book is it is not just salads in a mason jar, even though everyone in it looks delicious. It gave me ideas on storing other foods, and lunchbox ideas!! This is huge since I have 3 kids who all carry their lunches to school almost everyday. That’s a lot of lunches in a year, and ideas run out quick. So, when my 11 year old saw the Spicy Hummus and vegetables recipe, she asked could she make it and take it for her lunch. Absolutely! I was pleased that we had everything to make it, and she was able to do it almost entirely by herself. I loved the way the homemade hummus and veggies were packaged in a small mason jar. It is such a handy and unique way to carry hummus to school. AND it’s healthy, homemade, and my daughter loved it! I’m thinking I could send my dessert hummus to school for snack the same way….maybe stick apple slices in it?

Spicy Hummus and Vegetables

reprinted with permission from Mason Jar Salads and More
There’s no better midday snack than veggies with hummus — and the great thing about this snack is that you don’t need separate containers for the dip and the vegetables. All you have to do is plant your veggies upright in the dip, close the Mason jar, and voilà, you have something to see you through the afternoon at work.
Makes 4 servings
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons tahini
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
celery and carrots, for dipping
4 half-pint Mason jars
  •  Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor along with 5 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic, tahini, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Process to blend the ingredients together. If needed to achieve the desired smooth consistency, add another tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Cut the celery and carrots into strips that will fit into the Mason jar with the top closed. Scoop 1⁄2 cup of hummus into the bottom of the jar and then set the vegetable strips upright in the hummus. Seal the jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

This is just one of many recipes that I have bookmarked. Next on my list is a Blueberry Vinaigrette that sounds amazing, along with a Citrus-Soy Vinaigrette, I want to make ahead some salads for my own lunches as well. The Orzo Pasta Salad, the Cobb Salad, and the Asian Greens Salad all sound really good. I also want to get back to my overnight oats, which I always prepare in a mason jar. There are several smoothie recipes in the book as well. So, if you are part of the mason jar (my kids taught me this word) then you should enjoy this cookbook!

   I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday)  (Tuesday) , ,, (Wednesday) , (Thursday) , (Friday) ,,(Saturday) 

Apple Pie Cookies & Dessert Mash-Ups Cookbook Review

I just realized that my last post was also apple pie related, but you will want to stick around for this one too. The cookies are delish, but the cookbook it came from is divine!

It’s from Dorothy Kern, the woman behind the fabulous blog . I have been following her blog for quite a while now and love all the desserts she comes up with. This cookbook is a compilation of dessert “mash-ups”…two-in-one treats like these Apple Pie Cookies. I have several recipes bookmarked, like Chocolate Chip Cookie Toffee Bark (definitely going on my Christmas “to make” list), Cookies ‘n’ Cream Magic Bar Pie (my kids really want to make this!), Oreo Peanut Butter (holy yum) and Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars (I have a thing for magic bars and all things pumpkin. These will be made very soon!)
I’ve been given permission to share the recipe for these Apple Pie Cookies…but if apples aren’t your thing, Dorothy offers variations, like Reese Cups or Hershey Kisses. My kids came up with some of their own variations as well…

Apple Pie Cookies

Yield 30 cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Bake Time 11 minutes
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 1⁄2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all- purpose flour, divided
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced small (just about 1 1⁄2 cups)
1⁄2 cup water

Powdered sugar, for dusting *I omitted this
Tip: If apple isn’t your thing, you can simply place the cookie dough in the muffin pans, bake them, and then add a Hershey’s Kiss or a mini peanut butter cup to the top when they come out of the oven. It’s a great flavor twist!
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray three 12-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and 1⁄4 cup of the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking soda, salt, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and 1 1⁄2 cups of the flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Place the diced apple in a small saucepan with the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the apples begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Drain well and let cool for 10 minutes.
5. Scoop 1-tablespoon balls of cold cookie dough and place one in each cavity of the mini muffin pans. Press down to flatten slightly, and use your finger to create an indent in the centers for the apples.
6. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon over apples. Stir to combine. Place 1 teaspoon of apples in the hole of each cookie.
7. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the cookies are browned. Cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. It’s easiest to remove them with a knife. Cool completely on a rack, then dust with powdered sugar before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*reprinted with permission from
Needless to say, these cookies didn’t last long! If you have a foodie friend with a sweet tooth on your Christmas list, this cookbook would be an excellent gift. The recipes are awesome and each has an absolutely drool worthy picture to accompany it!
*I was given a complimentary copy of this cookbook for review from Ulysses Press. I received no compensation. All opinions are my own. 
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday)  (Tuesday) , ,, (Wednesday) , (Thursday) , (Friday) ,,(Saturday)