Tag Archives: dressing

Summer Salad with Vinaigrette

This salad…is amazing!  I had a version of it while on vacation in Indy earlier this month.  Artisan lettuce (no iceberg) with fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges, pecans, crumbled/cubed cheese, and grilled chicken.  Delicious!

Salads are wonderful for a variety of things…you can get seriously creative with them.  Fruits, nuts, cheeses, meats, etc.  Nothing is really “wrong” on a salad…with the exception of dressing.  Some people go crazy with dressing, and drown the flavor (and health value) out of a perfectly good salad.

I have been experimenting with creating everyday food items from scratch.  First up…vinaigrette.  Specifically the vinaigrette that accompanied this salad in Indy.  A poppyseed vinaigrette.  The waitress was nice enough to tell me it had these things included:

-poppyseeds (of course)
-oil
-wine vinegar
-sugar*
-red onion

She followed it up with, “It’s really quite simple to mix up.”  So, I did.  I did; however, switch up the sugar for honey (as noted by the *).  I used two different kinds of oil, olive and canola.  The dressing had a pink hue to it, so I figured she probably meant red wine vinegar.  Putting this dressing together took me all of five minutes…and it is delicious!  Best of all, I know *exactly* what is in it, and I know it is fresh!

What kinds of salads do you enjoy?  Have you ever made your own dressing?

-Erica

Let’s Talk Food

The number one question I am asked when discussing my weight loss is, “What are you eating…or *not* eating?”

First of all, let me say that often people are astounded to find out I am losing weight “the hard way” (IE. no magic pills or trendy/fad diets…and no surgical intervention).  I have actually had people say something to this effect, “Really?  *That* works?!”  They have genuine shock and surprise in their voices.  How interesting.

In a society that is dominated by the quicker/faster/better option, people often overlook the best/healthiest route.  I mean, who wants to actually *work* toward something when you get snipped and tucked…one “quick and easy” procedure cures all your physical woes.  Right?  Wrong.  I have never been an advocate for weight loss surgery…ever.  Even at my heaviest when my doctor offered me a referral to the “weight loss clinic” (IE fat-removing surgeon), I turned him down.  I was not willing to risk my life when there was a *much* safer alternative – exercise and healthy eating.

Anyway…stepping off my soap box…

I have been wanting to share some of my “staple” foods that have helped me in my journey.  Not all of these choices would be right for everyone, of course, based on your own dietary needs and tastes.  So, this is not intended to be any kind of sound nutritional advice, folks.  Just what I like and what works for me.  I have posted previously about my food choices, if you are interested.

My first new discovery was Bolthouse Farms.  They have many products, but I am in love with their yogurt-based ranch dressing.  I love veggies…raw and crunchy veggies…but dipping them in ranch makes them even better (in my opinion).  I always limit myself to no more than one serving (2 Tbsp) and that is quite often *way* more than enough anyway.  Bolthouse Farms makes many other dressings and vinaigrettes, so if ranch dressing does not toot your horn, they probably have something else that will.

I have also switched to stevia as a sweetener instead of traditional granulated sugar.  I rarely used sugar anyway, but when I do I am now grabbing stevia.  Personally, I can taste a small difference between the two (maybe that is just me), but the difference does not bother me.  Sweet is sweet, right?

My next “big” find was Kashi (thanks to the nutritionist).  I was browsing the aisles of whole/natural/organic foods in my grocery store when I stumbled upon: Kashi TLC Pumpkin Spice Flax Crunchy Granola Bars (what a mouth-full).  These things are *amazingly* delicious…really.  My daughters have been having them as their mid-morning snack for days now.  They come packaged in pairs, which is perfect for each of my daughters to have one bar (85 calories, 3 g fat, 0.5 saturated fat, and 3 g protein).  Those of you watching carb intake might be less excited about these bars, though.  They weigh in at 25g of carbs per pack (two bars), so that may not be ideal for everyone.

Cooking oils are abundant these days.  Previously, I always had vegetable oil in my pantry.  Then I switched to extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO).  Then canola oil.  Recently, my friend switched to coconut oil because of all the hype it was receiving.  That, of course, led me to purchase some and start using it.  When I spent some time earlier this month with the nutritionist, I asked about all the different oils.  Ultimately, she recommended using canola oil for high-temperature cooking and EVOO for low-temperature cooking and dressings.  Although there are benefits to using coconut oil, the high (and I mean *very* high) saturated fat content make it a bad contender for regular use.  What kind of oil(s) do you use for cooking/baking?

I have mentioned previously that I have given up all white/bleached/enriched flour products (IE white bread and regular pastas).  An interesting bit of information I learned from the nutritionist, though, was that I had been eating them this whole time – unknowingly.  I *assumed* that if a product simply said “wheat flour” it meant the flour was not bleached/enriched.  However, that apparently is not necessarily the case.  The same goes for durum flour and semolina.  If the ingredient label does not include the word *whole* in front of those terms, chances are the flour *was* bleached/enriched and the manufacturer is just not putting that explicitly on the label.  This, in my opinion, is one more step to intentionally deceive consumers.  Letting us believe we are eating better food when, in fact, we are not.  I was not happy to find this out, of course.  So, I will be even more careful when selecting products that contain flour (in any form) to ensure I am not eating those bleached/enriched flours.

Some of my other blogger friends have recently discussed eating healthy and making better choices about consumption.  To see what they have to say visit with Andie and Colline.

Do you read the nutrition labels and ingredient lists when grocery shopping?  If so, what criteria must a food meet in order to land a spot in your cart?

Have you ever tried a fad diet in hopes of losing a great deal of weight quickly?  If so, which one(s) have you tried, and what was your experience with it?

-Erica