May 7, 2012

Spruce up your salads

Spring is here and that means it's time for gardening. Okay, well at least at my house. I absolutely love spending time outdoors and seeing my little plants grow. Thanks to apartment living, I've always used small potted gardens (with variable success). But now I'm in a house....and this house, oh man, a garden it has! The planters hadn't seen much TLC in the last few years, so I gave them a little face lift and bingo, a garden is reborn.

My planters currently sport spinach, bell peppers, cilantro, basil, strawberries and tomatoes. From having grown spinach and tomatoes before, I'm confident I won't kill those (sorta).The others, well that's a gamble. I'm crossing my fingers that the odds will be ever in my favor (love hunger games!).

When I'm making recipes with fresh-from-the-garden produce, I want to make sure the other ingredients are super-fresh too. I like to make raw salads because it allows you to really taste the freshness of the veggies. Homemade salad dressings are not only easy, but they really compliment the ingredients nicely and don't have that artificial taste because....they're not!

So here are a few of my favorite salads and their homemade dressings:

Asian Salad Dressing from The Pioneer Woman
Lemony Vinaigrette Dressing from me!
Apple Cider Vinaigrette from Food Plus Words
Simple Greek Salad Dressing from Shutterbean

I always make extra dressing to keep on hand. It just makes life easier so that when I pick some spinach from the garden...

It becomes a yummy salad in no time...

Do you have a garden? What are you planting?


  1. Garden already planted, Tiffany?! You are on top of it! Yay nesting! Let me know how your basil goes... I haven't had great luck with it? (My gardening skills are *mostly* luck at this point...)
    I will have to try your salad dressing suggestions! I've become a dressing snob and only like it home made. Lately I've been alternating between Buttermilk Ranch and Warm Honey Mustard Vinaigrette... both recipes I found on :)

    1. Ooooh, those sound Aaa-mazing! I need to check them out. Kudos to you for pulling out the blender to make your dressing. My laziness usually limits me to dressings that only require whisking :0

    2. Oh and I haven't had a ton of luck with basil in the past either. But I love it so much, I figured it's worth a shot. If any readers have suggestions on growing basil, do share!!

    3. Oh I never blend it properly and it still comes out well!! I guess I'm just a snob about the taste and freshness, not consistency!

      We had the first "crop" of strawberries from our garden today... a whopping 6 of them. ;) I assume they were good, the kids gobbled them up!

  2. We have a garden, also. I love fresh food from the garden in the summer. Your basil should do really well--that has been one of my most consistent "successes" during the past 10 years of gardening in Santa Rosa.

    We've got potatoes, swiss chard, lots of types of winter squash, zucchini and a couple other varieties of summer squash, bunches of tomatoes, watermelon, pumpkins (for Halloween), strawberries, green beans, yellow beans, a couple kinds of cucumbers and lettuce right now. I still need to plant radishes, turnips and carrots. Good fun and so yummy!