Because we travel with the Monkey Barrel, we travel with everything AND the kitchen sink… literally! This helps us to stay (somewhat) on track with our normal, healthy eating routines. Sure, we have plenty of s’mores around the campfire, and there are hot dogs and hamburgers to grill. But there are also plenty of salads, and fresh fruit keeps better in a kitchen than a cooler. I usually spin a ton of salad greens in my salad spinner before we leave. Storing them in a large ziplock bag with a few paper towels keeps them fresher longer. (Side note: I have had my salad spinner for almost 12 years now, and it’s still going strong. We received it as a wedding gift from someone who clearly knows me well, and it’s just the gift that keeps on giving. Don’t you just love items like that?!?)
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About two weeks before spring break, Kyle decided to quit sugar. He wanted to see how big of a difference it made. It made a difference alright. It made a big, big difference. I think he lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks! So, we wanted to make sure he could continue his healthy eating while on the road.
Further, I eat a salad every day for lunch. Sometimes I have some (homemade) soup or a tuna salad sandwich with it, but I eat a salad every day. People have asked me if I get bored eating “the same thing” every day. Um, I don’t eat the same thing every day. Just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean it’s the same salad, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s boring!
To help keep my salads from becoming boring, I make my own salad dressings. I started doing this a long time ago, and now it’s just second nature. I mix them up (I usually double the recipes so they last all week) and I store them in these dressing containers that are the absolute best I’ve ever found. I have two small ones and one big one, and they are in constant rotation–from the fridge to the dishwasher and back again.
I want to share with you today two recipes of my two most favorite salad dressings because I know that I am always grateful when someone shares their favorite recipes with me.
The first one came to me from one of my French professors in France. She was a lovely, august, austere woman who came from an old, old French family and had many interesting stories to tell. However, she often found herself giving us French recipes when she was supposed to be teaching us French. Ah, c’est la vie!
I call this one “Le Vrai Chose,” or “The Real Thing,” because it is the classic French salad dressing. You can modify it, such as adding a flavored vinegar (we like raspberry vinegar at our house), or keep it simple.
- About a spoonful of mustard (dijon is the best, grainy dijon works well, too)
- fresh ground pepper
- A soup spoon of vinegar
Mix well, then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I know these are traditional measurements, but you basically want a 2:1 olive oil to vinegar ratio. Just keep that ratio in mind and you can make all you want.
The second I call “Pam’s Pepper Salad Dressing” because my mother-in-law, Pam, gave me this recipe and it is a pepper salad dressing to say the least! This dressing is sharp with both the lemon juice and the peppers that are in it, and a little goes a long way. I usually reach for this when I have a lot of fruit in my salad to help balance the sweet and savory.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp Cavenders
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint (or 1 Tbsp dried mint)
- 1 heaping tsp of minced garlic
Put it all together and mix well! I like to make this in advance to give the flavors a chance to meld. Further, because of the amount of oil, it’s best to take it out of the fridge before you start making your salad to give it a chance to liquify again. I usually double this one because I don’t like to travel with all those spices. It’s just easier to make it ahead of time!
Do you have a favorite salad dressing? I’d love for you to share it in the comments section below!