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Mason Jar Memories & Meals

When I was a little girl both of my grandmothers canned. I loved watching my Nanny Ray pick fruit off her giant fruit trees in California & can her jams & such. My Bubbie grew lots of veggies & she stored those green beans away for us to enjoy later in the year. I was fascinated with all their jars. My Nanny Ray stored all sorts of buttons & other curiousities in those jars. Both of grandmothers passed more than 20 years ago but recently my cousin in California sent me a whole box of my Nanny Ray's mason jars. That sat in the box for a while because I didn't want to ruin them but slowly I have been getting them out to stash some of my curiosities in & for my own food storage, specifically some fun mason jar meals!

This weekend I experimented with some overnight oats in the mason jars. Last week, I made a go to favorite...chia pudding parfaits. Both were amazing!

Blueberry Overnight Oats & Strawberry Cashew Cream

1 1/2 cups oats

1/2 cup unsweet shredded coconut

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup raw cashews

2 cups hot water

1 cup stawberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup all natural coconut milk

Fresh berries

Crystalized ginger

4 16 ounce mason jars

Begin by soaking the raw cashews in the 2 cups of water for 1 hour. While they cashews soak, prepare the oats. Defrost the blueberries. Place the blueberries & their juice in a blender, add 1/4 cup coconut milk & puree. Mix the oats & coconut in a bowl, then pour the blueberry mixture over the oats & stir well. If you feel you need a bit more liquid, add a little water at a time (this will depend on how much juice the blueberries put off). Let the oats sit to absorb the liquid while your cashews soak.

Now back to the cashew cream... After the hour the cashews have soaked, drain the cashews & rinse. Place the cashews, strawberries (if using frozen make sure they are defrosted and drained) & remaining 1/4 cup of coconut milk in a blender. Blend until thick & smooth making your strawberry cashew cream. It should be the consistency of creamy yogurt (plus a gorgeous pink color).

To assemble....By now your oats will have absorbed a lot of the blueberry liquid (creating lovely purple oatmeal) & will be ready to be assembled. I like to start with my berries on the bottom. I used blackberries, blueberries & raspberries. You can decide how much fruit to use & what fruit you like best. Layer the botton of the mason jar with berries, add your oat layer & top with cashew cream, repeat one more time. I love topping it with a teaspoon of diced cyrstalized ginger. Put your lid on & store in fridge overnight so the oats get soft. Enjoy the next morning for an easy breakfast, great for on the go or perfect for camping & hiking! And seriously.....something about the bright pinks & purples make it feel magical & exta fancy!

Blueberry Chia Pudding Parfaits

2 cups frozen blueberries defrosted 3/4 cup chia seeds 1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup peanut butter


Your choice fruite

4 16 ounce mason jars

To make the chia pudding, place the defrosted blueberries & their juice in a blender and pulse a few times to get the blueberries chunky, not totally puréed. Then place in a medium saucepan & bring to a light boil. Turn off heat & stir in chia seeds and coconut. Blend well (I like using a whisk). Let cool. You can store in the fridge for about 2 weeks or so. I have also made this with strawberries or fresh peaches!!!

Once the chia pudding is cooled down you can assemble your parfait. I like to start by putting fruit on the bottom layer (here I used diced banana, strawberries & blueberries). Then add a layer of chia pudding, a spoonful of peanut butter & a sprinkle of granola. Repeat the layers one more time. If you will not be eating it that same day, skip adding the granola layer & save room to sprinkle some on the top when you are ready to eat it. I make these many days in advance without the granola, they store great in the fridge. Perfect for camping or just simple meal planning! ENJOY

The possibilities for what meals you can make in mason jars in endless. They are great for salads, starting with kale or other hardy veggies with your dressing on the bottom & working your way up. Perfect for a chili, laying chili on the bottom, then rice, salsa & cheese on top. Have fun, get creative! And if you have some of your grandmother's old jar, go ahead and use them!

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