This Week: Dress Better


Naturally, this post's heading  begs to be fashion related. Anyone who knows me,  knows better, yet  probably wishes my focus would be fashion-related for a change. Last week, I got to enjoy surprise compliments on an outfit I did indeed pick out myself. Who cares that the sort-of-capri-pants were actually Chinese pajamas I got sometime in high school? My best clothes, though, are always gifts or hand-me-downs, usually from my much more fashionable sisters; I rarely go clothes shopping, and when I do, it's typically for something second-hand. Which, we all know, is trendy and chic, after all. It's especially rewarding when you have someplace like Fabulous Finds, which happens to  truly be a fabulous find, conveniently nearby.

Moving along, obviously I do harbor a little secret wish to make over the "wardrobe", thus the lingering first paragraph. But, as long as I can keep "What Not To Wear" at bay another year, I'm going to let "dressing" refer to fun pastimes like "the Salad Challenge" instead. The Salad Challenge being: finding interesting and efficient ways to have ready-made salads and pre-prepared veggie sides available to serve as swap-ins satisfying afternoon snack cravings (most specifically Dave's).

You know the Salad Challenge hasn't really been a challenge. Nothing very novel about it at all, actually. The difficulty lies in finding time, and incorporating a little variety within that. I've said before, I'm not that bold or smooth when it comes to dressings. I have one intuitive recipe I love, a maple mustard vinaigrette that always tastes slightly different due to no measuring, and I tend to go with it whenever it matters. I'm OK with oil and vinegar--hard to mess up--and I'll make citrus vinaigrettes and honey mustard and such too, but because I always use equal or greater amounts of vinegar to oil,  my dressings tend to be a little too sharp. I think the maple syrup in the maple-mustard has a way of harmonizing the flavors into something happy.


Salad Challenge "Week 1", I played things safe, and made just easy variations of a simple vinaigrette. This week, I'm trying a couple more adventurous ideas: curry, orange tarragon, and ginger soy. The first two are taken/slightly adapted from a treasured issue of Clean Eating (love that mag!), and one is an ongoing experiment...I've been trying to come close to replicating  Annie's Light Gingerly Vinaigrette.


These three dressings haven't just dressed up salads with new twist, they've inspired easy new salads and sides. Nothing's touching my go-to fave yet, but that's just the way it is with favorites. These are more unique and less all-purpose, but I like them, and here they are:

Curry dressing (adapted from Clean Eating Mag)

This dressing is adding kick to spinach, chopped boiled eggs, and tuna this week; it'll go well with potato salads and brown rice salads, too.

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Use immediately or refrigerate until using.
Orange tarragon dressing (from Clean Eating)
This is fairly versatile, but especially nice with greens and fruits. This week it's making a "salad" out of leftover cous cous, sliced apples and raisins.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Use immediately or refrigerate until using.

Ginger soy dressing

This is lending flair to steamed vegetables this week; it'll be perfect with an Asian-style cabbage slaw, fish, or mixed greens, too.

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Use immediately or refrigerate until using.