I did some tinkering on my blog this weekend to change the layout. The banners I made are kind of obnoxiously large, but I don't have the energy to change them. All my pictures are on one hard drive, my photo editing program is on another, and I run back and forth between the laptop in my guest room and the desktop in the living room with a little memory stick so many times I am going to start counting it towards P90X points. (You don't really get points in P90X - but you totally should). Why don't I bring the laptop into the living room you ask? Because Al Gore cast a spell on my living room and I can't get online in there.
Ok. One of the *coolest* things I've finally broken into in the kitchen is making my own salad dressings and marinades. It's something I put off for ages because...I don't know why. Not only does the homemade version end up saving loads of money, your end result often tastes waaaay better and you get it sans the preservatives, additives and colorings packed into most all of the bottled stuff. Does everybody already know this? Am I way behind the curve? Anyway, I needed Kraft's Asian Toasted Sesame dressing to marinate my chicken in not long ago, so I snuck down the grocery aisle, wrote down the ingredients and made it myself. I. felt. so. smug.
The recipe that pushed me over the edge was a Maple Vinaigrette that I found in one of those little Everday Food Martha Stewart magazines. Here's what initially caught my eye.
I've been meaning to make the switch from my regular old pancake syrup to pure maple syrup for a long time, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it because it's so much more pricey. But then I read the ingredients in my normal pancake syrup: sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, distilled marshmallow creme and caramel coloring. I took this little salad recipe as an excuse to buy the real stuff.
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. cider vinegar
2 tbs. pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tbs. dijon mustard
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
These measurements are really small, so I doubled the batch to make our salads, and quadrupled it to make salads for company. Whisk this together and toss a salad of greens, thinly sliced apple, blue cheese crumbles, almond slivers and red onion. Best salad ever!
Speaking of salads, I'll leave you with a picture of our favorite meal - The Huge Salad. As you can see, it was before my homemade dressing campaign. For some reason, I really hate making salads. Suddenly I'm going to see how many times I can say 'salad' in this post. You have to drag all the stuff out, and then there's the chopping-endless-dicing-never-ending-slicing. But once these salads are assembled, they're the best - and now my homemade dressing makes them taste even better! Weehoo. The funny thing is that my standard for how good a homemade salad is, is how much it mimics a restaurant salad. I serve them in a big flat pasta bowl, and I put my dressing in ramekins on the side. My salads include but aren't limited to:
A good leafy green
One fresh herb, chopped fine and tossed in: cilantro is the best
Red cabbage, shredded
Boiled egg, crumbled
Some kind of nuts
Some kind of seeds
Craisins, always Craisins!
Tomato, tomato, tomato (my fave)
Cheese of whatever kind
Sliced grilled chicken or ham, as pictured
Next week I'll share something from the dark side. A trifle my Sis just taught me. Or brownies ganache. Or the ice cream pie recipe I just made up that would leave a lactose intolerant person in the fetal position for-eh-ver. Name that movie.