Monday, January 28, 2013

Michelle's Simple Vinaigrette Recipe + Eating Well in the Winter

Part of this post is a remix from last year's Neatloaf Blog--however, it's still relevant today in the brrrzzy weather we are having. I've been cutting out a lot of junk food and drinks this week in attempts to shed that winter (and post-wedding) weight. It's always shocking when you calculate what you eat in a day. Regardless, I've got some tips and tricks, plus a brilliant recipe from our best pal, Michelle at Sparky & Marie + Jot Creates. See below!

a simple vinaigrette recipe for salads
Drawing by Michelle Beilner

Bottled salad dressing is fine, but a simple vinaigrette from scratch is the BEST, and oh so easy to make. Once you have this basic recipe down, you can vary it up by switching the vinegar and seasonings. You'll be known all over town for your amazing salads!

Here's what you need:
• Small Jar with Lid
• 2 tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 tbsp Good-Quality Vinegar
• Salt & Pepper to taste
• 1/8 tsp Minced Shallot and/or Garlic
• 1/8 tsp or so Dijon Mustard

Here's what you do:
Measure everything into the jar and shake it! Taste to make sure you don't need to add more seasoning. Shake again right before dressing the salad. Please remember, salad should not be swimming in dressing. The best salads are those that are minimally dressed.

My rule for measuring olive oil and vinegar is 2 to 1 (ex. 2 tbsp of olive oil to every 1 tbsp vinegar). You can increase the recipe for more dressing by using this simple equation.


Plus, some of my tips for eating well in the winter:

It's so hard to resist the comfort foods in the grocery store when the weather outside is cold. All I want is macaroni and cheese, creamy soups, warm cookies and hot chocolate. But being in a one-room condo for over a week, eating tons of unburned calories will make for a real perfect storm. I have vowed to myself to keep eating my lean, summer foods: garden salads, smoothies, and baked chicken with vegetables.

Here are some of my tips for staying on track:

1. Tea. TEA! TEA! TEA! Have it with every meal. Eating a salad isn't the most satisfying thing on a regular day, but with a cup of warm tea, it's a filling, homey meal. Pour in a splash of non-fat milk for bulk.

2. Avoid sugars. Ever notice how a glass of wine makes you want to eat a bunch of bread and cheese? Yep. Sugars do nothing but make you even more hungry. Focus on hearty proteins like peanut butter, lean meats, wild salmon and yummy vegetable omelettes.

3. Keep exercising. A walk (trudge) in the snow with your iPod is relaxing and so good for you! Refresh your TV muscles and catch up on your This American Life podcasts. A 45-minute walk in the snow can burn over 200 calories!

4. Record every food and drink that you eat or drink to find your weaknesses. If you have an iPhone or iPad, I highly recommend my new favorite app, MyFitnessPal (it's a website too). I have never seen such a great (and free!) calorie counting app. It includes all Trader Joe's foods, plus homemade and obscure labels. It even subtracts burned calories from exercise and tracks sugars, fats and water. (My weakness is Malbec).

5. Make vegetables into comfort food. For my famous Rosemary Garlic Homefries: chop up small white or yellow potatoes into homefry-sized bits. Lay on a parchment-covered sheet pan, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic salt and rosemary (go easy on it, people). Bake in the oven at 325 for around 30 minutes or until potatoes are well-baked and browning. Enjoy! One cup is about 100 - 150 calories. Or, cover broccoli stalks with melted lite mozzarella and garlic. Perfecto!

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