Store Cupboard Salad Dressings

I always know Summer is coming by the amount of vinegar and oil being added much more regularly to my shopping basket. The minute the weather picks up and the new produce comes into season, I gorge on fresh vegetables and have a constant rotation of simple dressings that add flavour and interest. 

With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of my go to recipes and a few tips for getting great results in a quick and simple way. Keeping the cupboards stocked with a few basics means you can knock together a healthy and tasty dish in just a few minutes. 

Tips for easy, yummy dressings:

Jars- I keep pesto jars, jam jars and spice jars with screw on lids. That way I can pop my ingredients in, screw on the lid and give it all a vigorous shake. It's really quick, not at all messy and any leftovers can be popped in the fridge for the rest of the week.

Ratios- The rule of thumb here is 3 parts oil to one part acid. You can mix things up by adding herbs, mustard or garlic but this basic ratio will yield a good dressing every time. 

Oil- I like to use cold pressed Olive Oil or at a push, extra virgin oil. I do use some of the nut oils like sesame from time to time but I don't think you can really go wrong with Olive Oil. 

Acid- Vinegar (balsamic, red wine, cider, white wine) or lemon fall into this category. I have been known to use limes but that pushes us into the fancy pants dressing range and that's a conversation for another day. 

Crush- When adding garlic or shallots, I like to use the flat of my knife to smash them along with a little sea salt. This helps grind them up and break them down further so you don't get that blast of onion or garlic that leaves you breathing your salad over people for the rest of the day. 

Mellow- If you are adding onion or garlic, try to allow 20 minutes for the garlic or onion to sit in the oil. This softens and mellows it a bit, infusing into the oil. 

Timing- Always try to add dressing right before you serve to avoid soggy greens. 

Store Cupboard Dressings for Salads and Vegetables

Store Cupboard Dressings for Salads and Vegetables

My go to recipes:

Jamie Oliver's Yoghurt Dressing- This one is perfect for that creamy dressing craving you have and a healthier option too. My addiction to sharp, unsweetened live full fat yoghut pays off here. Delicious. 

Whole Food's Simple Vinaigrette- I love this one for a more complex dressing over just oil and vinegar. I keep a range of herbs in a tin bath in the garden and just snip a handful of what I feel like that day. Basil with griddled asparagus and halloumi is a must!

Simple Lemon Vinaigrette- Summer is here so it's time to stock up on about a million lemons. Trust me on this tip, nothing bad every came of too many lemons (see this post on lemon and lime curd if you don't believe me!)

Chinese Grandma's Balsamic Vinaigrette- I love the taste of honey with the kick from mustard on this one. This is probably my go to on any given day. Balsamic vinegar just lifts vegetables to a whole new level!

 

So now the real question is, what salads and vegetables are you currently gorging on? I feel a trip to the farmer's market coming on!

5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration

Finding blogging inspiration has been at the heart of this month's creative theme for An Inspired 2015 so I am finishing this month with 5 tips from Blogtacular co founder Kat Molesworth, who was last week's guest on the podcast. I've loved hosting the 'Love Your Blog' challenge and would really enjoy hearing what you got up to next. Let's agree to keep in touch, ok?

In the meantime, I've been hanging out at the #blogtacular twitter chat (this was actually part of last night's chat so it seems there's lots of us thinking about inspiration and blogging) and cant wait to take part in Blogtacular 2015. If you're going, do let me know- I can't wait to meet everyone!

5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration

5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration by Kat Molesworth of Blogtacular 

When it comes to blogging you can sometimes feel like your ideas have run dry. If you have been taking part in the Love Your Blog challenge it might be a while since you were writing recently.

Generating ideas isn’t a passive activity, sometime you have to take action to get the juices flowing. Here are five places to find inspiration for new posts.

 

1.       Write a list.

List posts tell people exactly what they are getting and allow you to share ideas without much detail. You might even find inspiration for longer posts in the reactions to your list.

 

2.       Go somewhere new.

Not only will taking your camera along give you something to write about but stepping out of your normal surroundings changes your perspective. The old phrase ‘a change is as good as a rest’ has its base in truth. Go somewhere fun, inspiring or exciting – just get out and experience something different.

 

3.       Have a chat with your blog friends.

Whether you meet up or talk over Skype getting together with other bloggers is a great way to start the ideas flowing. If you have like-minded bloggers in your area why not plan a crafternoon once a month?

 

4.       Make something.

Get creative and make something with your hands. If you find the flow of knitting projects doesn’t feed your blog fast enough why not try another craft which gives rapid results? It doesn’t have to be craft, share your latest decorating project or a recipe you love.

 

5.       Tell us a story about you.

Blogging is all about connection and opening up can help your audience got to know you. It might be how you got into your craft or what you wanted to be when you grew up – share something with meaning and you will reconnect to your own motivations.

 

However you decide to kick start your inspiration writing something, anything, is the first step and one worth taking.

Love Your Blog: Ugly

Ok I'm throwing this one out with a genuine heart because it's time we talked about what happens when blogging gets ugly. 

What to do when blogging gets ugly

Have you ever found yourself ready a blog post and suddenly feeling really negative? Perhaps you're feeling like you're not keeping up, that your life doesn't look like what's presented in front of you or worse, you feel a rising tide of jealousy about what this blogger is achieving. 

Me too. 

There I said it and I'm saying it because it really is ok. I have a really specific memory of crying about a post I read explaining how to sew quiet time books for your child that led to me deciding I wasn't doing enough as a mum (I was). I've stared in hopeless dismay at my tights, with a big fat hole in the toe, as I read about yet another great stylish outfit that I could add to my wardrobe. I've also sat feeling like maybe I don't really like a particular blogger because they're too close to the kind of blogger I would so love to be. 

You want to know what I do when I come up against that?

First, I stop reading. Seriously, stop feeding that negative feeling. I am a big believer that if you are in a pattern that's making you feel negative, you have the power to stop that. The second I feel this ugly side of blogging, I hit delete and put myself on a little time out. 

Then I do what I do best, I use it for good. My golden rule in hosting a blog or podcast is do what inspires you and even if that inspiration originates from something negative, you can totally use that for some great content! There's so many ways you can turn a negative into a positive so here's what I do:

1. Acknowledge it and understand it- Is there something in that blog post that you actually really strive for? Identify it and think about how you can use it to improve your own blogging. For example, I have a real need for better photography and after years of looking longingly at others blogs, I've signed up to a photography class with super blogger Emily Quinton. I can't wait!

2. Let it go- Time to make like a Disney girl and sing your heart out. Stop being your own worst critic and stop comparing your worst bits to someone else's best. You don't know what's going on behind the scenes. I personally create the most exciting and dynamic content I can muster when I'm feeling low and life is a little hard. I choose to embrace the ugly and walk a more positive path wherever else I can. My blog is my happy place even when behind me is chaos and destruction and I would hope that no one ever thinks that my life is perfect. Trust me dear readers, it really isn't. 

3. Collaborate- That person you're feeling ugly about, are they actually someone you secretly admire? Why not reach out and invite that inspiration into your digital home? My working motto is 'collaboration not competition' and if someone is doing something great, I will often reach out and let them know that. We all are stronger as a whole so it's time to join up!

4. Do what you love- Maybe it's time to stop looking over our shoulders and comparing ourselves. Bake that cake, switch off the laptop and do whatever makes you happy. It's just the internet after all. 

5. Look elsewhere- There's a particular kind of blogger that always triggers me and I've accepted that I need a voice that's got just the right mix of inspirational/ aspirational content with a little drop of humanity. I can remember reading posts from Kelle at Enjoying the Small Things where she admitted that she wasn't feeling good about her ability as a mother. It wasn't so raw that it felt awkward to read but it made me see that we all put our best foot forward and it's ok to let people know when you stumble. (Kelle btw is a personal content hero of mine, go read. Take popcorn. You'll be there a while)

 

So tell me about your ugly for this week's link drop!


Next week's theme seemed pretty obvious seeing as it's the final prompt....

Gratitude

Thanks so much for joining in with this #loveyourblog challenge everyone! Don't forget to share with me @aplayfulday.