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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Fun Idea: Mason Jar Picnic

It was hot and there was a holiday, so we planned a trip with some friends to the nearest beach.  That's a family recipe for fun!
We usually pick up KFC on the way and eat it on the beach.  But although I love the refreshing beach breezes, I really dislike crunching the sand grains that get blown onto my plate.  Blech.  Enter our next Summer Fun Idea:  A Mason Jar Picnic!  Eating our meal from a jar prevented sand from blowing onto our food.  Genius, I say!  And it was easy enough that the kiddos could help with preparation.

Our main course consisted of a chopped salad layered in a quart Mason Jar.  Layers included tomatoes, frozen cheese (to keep the chicken cool), chopped chicken, chopped veggies, and torn lettuce.  Ranch dressing and croutons came in separate jars, then were sprinkled/poured over the top.  We replaced the lids and shook until all ingredients were well mixed.  Very tasty--and no sand!
We also made fruit parfaits with layers of cantaloup, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries.  Because we kept the salad and fruit in the cooler, they were very cool and refreshing when it came time to eat.
The night before I made a basic beaten batter and baked it in these cute little 8 oz. jars.  However, it wasn't a real hit and I don't think it was worth the extra work, so next time I'll probably just plop some frozen roll dough into the jars, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and herbs and bake after it's risen.  But it was nice to have a roll to go with the salad.
For dessert we had brownies in a jar.  We used the same little 8 oz. jars as the rolls.  We dropped a scoop of brownie batter into the jars and baked them.  After they'd cooled, we frosted with mint frosting and then chocolate frosting, then topped with diced walnuts.  I must say this was by far the most popular item on the menu!  : )
We had a great day with our friends, and enjoyed a great meal in our Mason jars.  And having lids on all jars prevented that extra sandy crunch.  Mission accomplished.  Thanks to The Decorated Cookie, where I saw the idea.  We'll definitely be doing this again next time we're at the beach!

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did,