Shake It Real Good, Salad in a Jar

Shake it Up!

We all love a good salad. But I know I sometimes get a little tired of the same old same old way of serving the salad. Well recently my family and I decided to Shake it Up a bit. We decided we would have our salad in a Mason jar. 

The Mason jar has come along way. The jars were originally used for Canning and Preserving. Recently the Mason Jar has become much more than that. There are Mason Jar cups, Centerpieces, Desserts, etc. 

Now for a little history on the Mason Jar. The Mason jar was patented and invented way back in 1858 by John Landis Mason. The Mason Jar was known by many other names like the Fruit Jar or Glass Canning Jar. Believe it or not, Mason Jars are well sought after by many. They are sold in many antique shops. The value is judged based on age, rarity and condition.  Wow what interesting facts. Now back to our Salad Jar. 

Here are the steps we used to build our Salad in a Jar. I grilled my chicken first in olive oil. Once the chicken was a golden brown,  I chopped the chicken into chunks. The chicken was seasoned with slap yo momma, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder. 

Prep all your other ingredients. Shredded cheese mozzarella and cheddar cheese. 

Diced Tomatoes 

Fresh Cucumbers from our Garden. 

Crumbled Bacon

Garden Rotini Pasta boiled. Follow directions on the package. 

Basically I begin building the salad in the jar. Pasta at the bottom, grilled chicken next, diced tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, tortilla strips and bacon. 

Below is a side view of the everything in the salad. 

As you can see from the picture below a top view of the Salad in the Jar. 

I added the salad dressing which was a spicy ranch dressing on top, placed the lid on top. I shook the jar. I removed the lid again and added a little more dressing and shook the jar once more. At that point the salad was well mixed.

Pictured above is a top view of the salad after the mixing is done. 

The family loved this idea. Even my baby daughter enjoyed building her salad in a jar. So I would say that it was a hit at our home. Here are a few suggestions when building a salad in a jar. Prepare all ingredients ahead of time. Toss the pasta in dressing prior to building the salad. The Vinaigrette's work better. The thicker dressings are a little harder to toss. So adding a little dressing in layers works as well. 

Try your version of this Salad in a Jar, but remember Shake It Real Good!!

The Creole Creamery, Uptown, New Orleans, LA

Last Saturday we spent the day in New Orleans. Before leaving we decided to try this Ice Cream Shop called Creole Creamery that was featured on Kid in a Candy Store with Adam Gertler as well as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. We decided to try this place out. I absolutely love Desserts, so this Ice Cream Shop was right up my alley.  

We entered in the formerly known historical bakery shop; McKenzie's. The building had been renovated and transformed into an Ice Cream Parlor now known as Creole Creamery.  I loved the pink walls with all the colorful chalk on the chalkboard paint. Very cute. 

There were several walls with menu options. Not all in the same place, which I thought was a downside especially because of the way the building is made. There wasn't a clear view of the flow of how the ordering system worked.  I looked around a minute before ordering. My family was all about the ice cream on a cone or in a cup, so they immediately started trying different flavors. I was looking for something a little outside the box. 

There were so many to choose from. Anything from your traditional flavors Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate. Some of the non traditional flavors were Buttermilk Lemon Pie, Nectar Sherbet, Chocolate Pecan Pie, just to name a few. 

In addition, there are options for those who are diabetic and can't have all the sugar. Check out Creole Creamery's Sugar Free options.  

Baby Girl chose the Creole Clown. The Creole Clown is an ice cream cone that is decorated like a clown with whipped cream and a cherry. Pretty cool looking. A cool treat for kids. 

My stepdaughter ordered a regular 2 scoop cup of Strawberry Ice Cream. She enjoyed the Ice Cream. I tried a bite, it was a traditional Strawberry. Good Ice Cream.

My husband went with the Creole Strawberry Sundae. This Ice Cream treat consist of Fresh Strawberries piled on a mound of cream cheese ice cream with whipped cream and a wafer topped with a cherry. This sundae looked awesome. The taste was delicious. The presentation was on point.

I chose the Strawberry Ice Cream Soda. I wasn't blown away at all. The Soda was flat, the Ice Cream overpowered the soda. It was just ok to me. It was a pretty Ice Cream Soda Float. I was the first to order out of our group and I received my item last. I am not sure why, but I didn't like that. Service wise they could have done a little better.

There was a wall that consisted of coloring sheets for the kids. We weren't offered a sheet but it may have been for a special event or kids nights. I like the idea. 

If you are up for a challenge try the Tchoupitoulas. The name comes from a popular street name. Tchoupitoulas is a sundae that includes 8 toppings, 8 ice cream flavors and whipped cream and topped with cherries. Huge. Bring some friends with you, because there is no way that you can finish that all by yourself.

Overall our experience was good. It wasn't my favorite place that we have been in New Orleans but we thought their desserts were yummy.

The Creole Creamery is located at 4924 Prytania Street, New Orleans, LA.

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Rip Van Winkle Gardens, Cafe Jefferson, New Iberia, LA

It's Summer Time, so we are always finding things to do with the children. This particularly Friday we decided to head out to Rip Van Winkle Gardens. We have heard so much about this place over the past few years but we would never think of going. 

Before touring the beautiful Rip Van Winkle Gardens we decided to eat lunch at the little, cute Cafe. The Cafe is Cafe Jefferson. So cute overlooking the water. Great spot and beautiful scenery. 

Cafe Jefferson has indoor and outdoor seating. We decided to sit inside because the clouds began to look a little overcast. So we played it safe, just in case. As we entered the restaurant we were greeted by a sweet old man. He asked us if we had a preference as to where we wanted to sit. 

We chose a table that was right near the window and we could see the beautiful Lake Peigner and Views of the Garden, which is surrounded by beautiful Oak Trees. A cute and quaint cottage.

Cafe Jefferson's Menu included Sandwiches, Po-boys, Salads, Entrees such as Seafood Dishes, Chicken, etc. My husband decided on the Chicken Sauce Piquant which included a Caesar Salad. The Caesar salad was a traditional Caesar salad with Romaine Lettuce, Caesar dressing, Parmesan cheese and croutons. The salad was fresh. 

The Chicken Sauce Piquant looked so good. The Dish included Chicken thighs with a spicy red sauce, that included andouille, tasso, red pepper that were roasted and also a vegetable mixture all cooked in the delicious sauce. Superb dish with a rich flavor served with rice on top. 

My step daughter chose the Club Sandwich. The Club sandwich included your traditional toppings, Ham, Turkey, Bacon and Cheese with lettuce, tomato and mayo. Served with chips and a pickle. She said it was good, but nothing stood out about it. Just a normal sandwich.

Baby girl decided on the Boston Ham Melt. Which is a Ham and Cheese sandwich dressed with lettuce, tomatoes and melted mozzarella cheese. She loved the taste of the sandwich, but the bread was hard. The Panini sandwich was too hard. The cooked it too long. But the portion size was good. She eventually just separated the sandwich and ate the meat and cheese.

I chose the Weezie's Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. The gumbo was pretty good, but lacked salt. A perfect portion size and a touch of Louisiana for the visitors passing through. The gumbo was loaded with meat; Boneless chicken breast, smoked sausage, pork sausage, andouille and tasso. I would have liked to see a little potato salad on the side with the dish or as an option. But it was good.

Cafe Jefferson also offers an extensive Dessert Menu with options like Tiramisu, Pecan Pie, Key Lime Pie, Bread pudding, just to name a few. I did not have Dessert that day. Which I know may come as a surprise especially since I love dessert. But I passed. Lol.

The food is reasonably priced for the portion size. There was no kids menu, so if you have multiple children, they could share a plate.

Overall our dining experience was Exceptional. We loved the environment, the scenery, the food and we had a blast at Rip Van Winkle Gardens. Minus the rain we were eventually caught in after lunch. But Rip Van Winkle is definitely a great place to take the family and enjoy a nice family outing. 

Cafe Jefferson is located in Rip Van Winkle Gardens at 5505 Rip Van Winkle Road, New Iberia, LA 70560.

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Rodizio Grill, Brazilian Steakhouse

My husband and I had the opportunity to attend a VIP Preview Party for Rodizio Grill. We were excited to be in attendance. 

Upon Entrance into the restaurant there was a very warm feel. We were immediately greeted by the hostess. My husband and I arrived early so were able to walk around, take pictures, etc. The look of the restaurant was very clean. 

I love that they didn't go overboard with the decorations. A nice clean look accented with beautiful flower arrangements and Color popping Art. Simply gorgeous. 

The Salad Bar area was stunning. The flower arrangements on top added such a nice accent to the entire bar.

We were seated shortly after arriving. Once we were seated a young lady named Jordan came to our table and introduced herself. She proceeded to tell us about the different drink options. I am a fruity girl, so she had me at Fresh Limeades. I love that they have a variety of drinks both with and without alcohol.

My husband and I ordered the Rodizio Limeade. Which is a mixture of Limes and Cream. I choose the Strawberry and he went a regular Limeade. So good. Absolutely delicious. I preferred the Strawberry over the regular Limeade.  The flavors vary from day to day. The drink is also available in Diet. The drinks were served in a big glass and accented with Lime. 

Once we received our drinks she gave us the spill on how everything works. We have dined at a Brazilian Steakhouse's before but we wanted her to get the practice, so we allowed her to go all the way through it.

For the wine drinkers there is a wall of wine dedicated to you, wine of choice. In addition, there is a bar area, which is quite nice. I like that it is in a corner separate from the restaurant. A nice touch.

Pictured below is the Cue. The Cue allows you to control how much Meat comes to your table. If you need a break  simply turn it over to red. You are in control as to when to start and when to stop. The Cue is turned sideways for dessert.

We started with the Salad Bar first. The Salad Bar was loaded with delicious fresh salads of all kind, potato salads, green salads, fresh cheese, fresh meats, fruits and veggies. In addition, soups, many different dressings and other sides like Mashed Potatoes and Pastas. 

One important thing to note is that the Salad Bar is 100%MSG Free, 100% Peanut free and 95% Gluten Free, which I know is good to know for many people. 

The Salad Bar has over 30 items. When you purchase the salad bar, you can enjoy unlimited appetizers and unlimited salad bar. One word of advice is if you are purchasing the entire Brazilian Meal, I would suggest you walk around the salad bar to see what options are available on the bar. It is easy to get full just from the salad bar. 

Pictured below is our Salad Plates. Some of the things I had was the Caesar Salad, a delicious shell pasta salad, fresh pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, a green salad with the normal toppings like tomatoes, eggs. I even had quail eggs on my salad. Very good.

My husband had some of the same things but he had the grilled asparagus as well. With a few other different salads. The salads were so fresh. The salad bar had many different options. I would go for the salad bar.

Once we were seated from the Salad Bar, another waitress placed 2 dishes, one was Pao de Queijo which was a Brazilian Cheese bread with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Fresh bread that looks like a small muffin. Omg, delectable. I could have eaten 2 or 3 bowls of just the bread. The bread was nice and hot. Scrumptious. 

We also had a Banana Frita which was fried and topped with cinnamon and sugar. Just ok for me. Made me feel like it was time for Dessert and I was far from ready for dessert, but it was ok.  

Palm of Heart Soup was the Soup of the Day. The soup was creamy with corn and heart of palms which is similar to an artichoke. The soup had chunks of the heart of palms. It was a savory soup, but the soup lacked salt. 

A heart of palm is the inner core and growing bud of a palm tree.  This was my first time eating this. The heart of palm has a mild flavor and tender. Commonly eaten in salads. In Brazil the heart of palm is called a Palmito. 

When we were ready, we turned the Cue over to green. In a matter of seconds the Gauchos were at our table. The Gauchos are the gentlemen that come around and serve the meats at each table. 

First up pictured below was the Marinated Chicken and Chicken Hearts (Coracao De Frango). The Chicken was very moist and well seasoned. The Chicken Hearts was delicious. The texture was similar to a gizzard without being rubbery. A great source of protein too. The Chicken Heart is a Brazilian favorite for appetizers. 

We had the Presunto. The Presunto is one of the signature grilled items. Which is a ham that is trimmed and grilled to perfection and basted with a sugar glaze. The best Ham ever. Made me think of Thanksgiving Dinner.. Yum. The meat was Succulent.

This meat pairs perfectly with the Grilled Pineapple. We didn't get to try the two together but they both were very good. The pineapple was sweet and very tasty.

Linguica is a Brazilian Sausage. This pork sausage was grilled to perfection. Absolutely amazing. The sausage is made with a MSG free recipe.

Pictured below is the Center Cut Steak, known as the Miolo Da Paleta. The steak is very lean with a mild flavor. The meat is lightly seasoned. Looking for more seasoning try medium or well done.  A beautiful peace of meat.

Below is the Frango Com Bacon. The Chicken is wrapped in Bacon. A savory and juicy piece of meat. Seasoned well. One of my favorite of the night.

My absolute favorite of the night was the Sweet & Spicy Chicken. Wow. Packed with flavor. The chicken was moist and not dry and known as Frango Agri-Doce. The chicken is basted with a homemade sauce. What a kick. Amazing..

I love that there was a Seafood option. Swayfish with Red Bell Pepper. The fish was lightly seasoned. Pretty good.

My only complaint is that there was no Dessert that night to try. But I promise once I go and try the Desserts, I will update the blog with this information. 

We were able to speak with the Corporate Chef, Chef Duda. This Chef is responsible for the training at each restaurant. He was a very nice guy who was very engaging and willing to answer whatever I asked. 

One of the owners, Phil Devey came by our table and spoke with us. He is a really nice guy who has a passion for what he does.  One thing that he said that stuck with me, "it's not all about me.  Our restaurant is only as successful as our workers. Our workers are a key piece to the success of our restaurant. No matter how good I am, I can't do it by myself".  I love that! Business owners sometimes forget that they can't do it alone. So awesome. 

If you are looking for a place to host a Birthday party, family gathering, meeting room, check out Rodizio Grill. There Meeting room is very nice and private. 

Rodizio Grill is in a great spot. I think they will do well at this location. The address is 4243 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, 101. The restaurant has so many great options to offer, even a vegetarian can enjoy a delicious salad bar. 

Let me know how you enjoy Rodizio Grill. I know that you will be blown away by the Food, Service and Atmosphere. Enjoy.

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