January 5, 2012

A Beautiful Investment....Your Health!

Did you know that almost all store-bought salad dressings contain fairly large amounts of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? Almost all store-bought salad dressings contain heavily refined soybean oil and/or refined canola oil... both of which are VERY unhealthy. Yes, that's correct, canola oil IS unhealthy. 

 One of the biggest problems with highly processed and refined vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, and yes, even canola oil, is that the polyunsaturated component of the oil is highly unstable under heat, light, and pressure, and this heavily oxidizes the polyunsaturates which increases free radicals in your body.

The reason that extra virgin olive oil is good for you is that it is cold pressed without the use of heat and solvents to aid extraction. EVOO also contains important antioxidants that help protect the stability of the oil.

The end result of all of this refining and processing are oils that are highly inflammatory in your body when you ingest them, potentially contributing to heart disease, weight gain, and other degenerative diseases.

Now come on sweeties...let's get back to basics and make our own dressings! I can just bet your family is going to love the taste and love YOU for the extra effort you took in providing a healthy alternative to that store-bought  dressing.

A Good Salad
Romaine lettuce hearts
1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
4 Belgian endives, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 cup (lightly packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
3 Roma tomatoes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 
1/2 C medium sized black olives
1 jar Artichoke Hearts
1 C croutons
1/4 C Parmesan cheese

Chop your lettuce, tomatoes and red onion. Add your olives, croutons and Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine.Pour dressing over the top. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Now, I know this is a little on the "caloric side", but Ree's Ranch is sooooo good, that I reserve this for our big Texas-sized family barbecues! A little goes a long way and it is fantastic with grilled beef tenderloins and corn on the cob. This is always on the menu at Estelle's for our backyard gatherings!

My Visual Incentive for Eating More Salad

Homemade Ranch Dressing
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash hot sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk (as needed for desired consistency)

Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle on the salt and mash it into a paste with a fork. In a bowl, combine the garlic paste, mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, dill, chives, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, vinegar, paprika, cayenne and hot sauce. Add the buttermilk to desired consistency and mix to combine, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed. Chill for a couple of hours before serving, thinning with more buttermilk if needed.

A Good Italian Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup olive oil

 Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor and mix until well combined.  

A Simple Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine the first six ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake until blended. Store in the refrigerator. Shake before serving; drizzle over fresh salad greens!

1 comment:

  1. I am loving your health posts, I have one whole shelf in the door of salad dressings. I was looking at the expiration dates and even though they are still good, I worry about their freshness. What I should have been worrying about was the canola oils. I'm taking your advice and making ours fresh, keeping my eyes peeled for ingredients on the ones I do buy that include olive oil. Wonderful post!


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