Light, simple, tangy Italian dressing is so easy and delicious to make at home!
Kicking off a new year invariably brings about a boat load of healthy recipes, dinner salads, and New Year’s Resolutions all over the media. I find it nearly impossible to sip hot chocolate by the lights of the Christmas tree and not reflect on the past year and all that it entailed. It’s that reminiscent feeling that makes the beginning of a new year a natural time to reevaluate the past few months and set goals for the future. Most people that I know end up doing some sort of self-evaluation and goal setting at this time of year, as well. Although, admit it! It’s hard not to be a bit cynical when everyone and their brother resolves to kick every bad habit they’ve ever had or thought of in an effort to change everything about themselves in order to be a ________ (fill in the blank: better/stronger/worthy/etc.) person. It’s that kind of crazy that turns me off from the whole New Year’s Resolution thing.
Let’s not get crazy here, people.
Rather than monumental, instantly life alternating resolutions, I believe in taking baby steps–tiny, attainable goals that make a difference. Accomplishing these tiny, digestible goals has a cumulative effect in that one builds upon another,. Pretty soon, new habits are formed and eventually big changes happen. I start by writing all of my thoughts down on paper because it helps me think about what went well, where I strayed, etc.
Once I organize my thoughts on the past year, I then brainstorm ideas of where I would like to be spiritually, professionally, and relationship wise one year from now. From there, I set a series of small goals that lead to my desired outcome next year. After I have an idea of where I’m going, then I set a theme to live by for all that I do in the coming year. Then I stick post-its of that theme all over the dang place as a constant reminder of my focus–on the bathroom mirror, in my planner, on my laptop, on a kitchen cupboard, on the dog, etc.
My theme last year was Be Present, meaning be consciously present in all that I do so that I’m giving focused attention to the tasks and relationships at hand. It’s hard to “be present” on a date with your sweetie or when playing a game with your kids if you’re tweeting and instagramming the entire night. (Guilty as charged! I’m still working on that one.)
My theme for 2016 is: Better. Every. Day.
Better every day means that I’m going to try my best to improve on the little things each day so that every day is better than the last. If I stumble, and I certainly will, then no big deal because I can choose to be better tomorrow. The foundation of Better. Every. Day. is rooted in better self care. I need to be at my very best to keep up with all that I do as a wife and mother, professionally, homeschooling our boys, mentoring/teaching a culinary student, coaching a soccer team, and volunteering. If I’m not at my best emotionally, physically, and spiritually then my motivation plummets, making me no good to anyone else, much less myself. I have a really hard time saying no, which results in periods of me being overextended. I realize this about myself, so I’ve spent the last year trying to be really conscious of only committing to activities that align with my goals for the year. Overall, I think I did well but I’m still working on it.
This January is all about little goals as a basis to be Better. Every. Day. I’m focusing on the Big 3 in self care this month: regular exercise, eating complete meals, and staying well hydrated. I really struggle with slowing down enough to eat a real meal and drink enough water each day–both are very bad habits. I downloaded a nagging water app to my phone to remind my to drink water, and I’m committing to planning three intentional meals each day so that I don’t end up eating everything in sight after 7:00 p.m. because I’ve barely eaten all day. (Read: oatmeal or a smoothie for breakfast, and a handful of goldfish crackers and an apple for a snack with the kids.) It also helps to have friends on FitBit that will call me out if I’m not logging food and water for the day.
Who’s with me? Have you been there,too?
Spending a little time on a Sunday portioning out simple ingredients like fresh salad greens, easy add-in vegetables that require minimal chopping, and quick proteins like leftover cherry balsamic chicken or hard boiled eggs make throwing together a filling, well balanced salad a quick meal option. In all honesty, I don’t care how easy it is because I’m likely to skip the salad entirely if I don’t have a good dressing to pour over it. Then all that healthy goodness will go to waste. I’m a vinegar based dressing kind of girl, so if all I see is an old bottle of Ranch in the fridge, I’m out. Gloppy dressings and I don’t get along. Vinaigrette for life!
Easy Italian Dressing is a simple, tangy vinaigrette dressing made with only 4 to 5 ingredients, and takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Having a cruet full of this dressing leaves absolutely zero excuse not to spend another 5 minutes assembling a salad for a proper meal like an adult. Easy Italian Dressing is my go-to salad dressing that makes a great base to be dressed up to fit any mood or menu. Want a lighter Caesar salad? Cool. Add some parmesan black pepper to the base dressing for a light Caesar-ish dressing. For an earthier dressing, add balsamic vinegar instead of the apple cider vinegar, and use extra virgin olive oil in place of the canola oil. However it’s served, Easy Italian Dressing is a great vehicle for eating more vegetables to fuel your body and be Better. Every. Day.