I wanted to give people ideas of how to get more raw food into their diets daily and a simple process to making one change each week. I saw this posted on Facebook and thought what a great tool to use.
Real Food in 20 weeks (alexstuart.com)
1. Pick one processed food you/your kids eat
2. Pick something REAL to replace it
3. Repeat for 20 weeks. Keep a list
4. Look back and be proud
I am picking salad dressings today for this week !
I have a passion for organic unprocessed food but often get questions about how to prepare or cook veggies. Many people just don't know what to do with fresh produce, especially leafy greens and a salad many times is just romaine or iceberg lettuce with some grated carrot or a tomato sliced. People know salads are a better choice or a "healthy" choice but often it is what we put on them that makes them a not so "healthy choice". So besides trying to encourage a wider variety of leafy greens, grated or sliced veggies and fruit that are organic, lets talk about dressings.
All you have to do is pick up a bottle of store bought salad dressing and read the label. If there are words you cannot even pronounce, then don't buy that or eat it ! Now check the sugar content and I hope if you are reading this and looking for ideas on how to make some healthier choices, that by now you know that high fructose corn syrup is not good for anyone besides other forms of hidden sugars. Then look at what kind of oil is on the label. Unfortunately canola oil has been marketed to be a healthy option but if you do some research you will find it is made from the rape seed which is genetically modified and there is a lot of processing to get it to a form fit for a human to ingest. A natural oil that is good for you ? Not hardly. Highly processed with a marketing spin to make people believe this is a healthy option. So besides chemicals, preservatives, sugar and bad fats in purchased dressings, what are the options? Even some of the refrigerated fresh dressings are not a healthy choice due to soybean oil.
Why don't we just make a simple dressing at home in a couple of minutes so we know exactly what we are eating on our salad? I have four options for you. A Simple Balsamic Vinegar dressing, homemade ranch dressing, honey mustard dressing, and Divine Blue Cheese dressing with no mayo. So whatever your preference, these are a quick solution to a delicious and healthy way to dress a salad. I will address healthy oils and fats in an upcoming blog but right now lets just use the best quality extra virgin cold pressed olive oil that you can find and a good quality balsamic vinegar. If you splurge a bit here and get one that is aged, it is very much worth the improvement in taste :)
Simple Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
2 cloves garlic pressed for finely chopped
2 tsp organic sugar or honey
2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked if possible
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
4 Tbsp Olive oil
Makes 1/3 cup
add sugar or honey to the garlic and press it with a fork to make a paste
I like to do this in a small jar with a lid that you can shake
Add the salt and pepper and olive oil to the jar and shake it up to emulsify
For a variation, add some Dijon mustard or coarse grain mustard.
Honey Mustard Dressing - Alton Brown
5 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
combine ingredients and whisk to blend. Wonderful on Spinach salad. Topping ideas - sliced mushrooms, sliced boiled eggs, bacon or turkey bacon crumbled, sliced sweet red or yellow bell peppers, avocado slices. This is a delicious salad and simple dressing :)
Blue Cheese Dressing with no mayo
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
combine all ingredients except blue cheese in a blender until smooth. Add blue cheese and pulse once or twice to mix but you want it to still be chunky. Refrigerate to chill.
If you are a ranch dressing fan and just cannot do without it, then check out the Pioneer Woman's Recipe for Ranch. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/06/homemade-ranch-dressing/
The only issue I have with it is using store bought mayonnaise, so learn to make your own ! It isn't hard and I like to use grape seed oil to make mayo. Ok, another blog post, another time, but you can do it ! Just eat real food and know what you are eating :)