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Homelife, Money Saving

Homemade Balsamic Salad Dressing

I am a BIG fan of salads.  All salads.  You can throw just about anything over lettuce and I’ll love it.

In fact, my Gema (Grandmom) loved to tell me the story of the time she took me out to dinner when I was around 7 or 8 years old.  She told me that I could have ANYTHING I wanted on the menu.  Happily, I choose to have a salad to eat with water to drink.  Shocked, she told me in no uncertain terms that I was even allowed to have ice cream for dinner.  I declined and gladly ate my salad and water; both were my favorite!  My Gema couldn’t believe that a little girl choose salad over ice cream for dinner!

I guess some things never change.

Of course, in addition to making my own salads regularly at home, I enjoy making my own salad dressings.  My current favorite dressing is my homemade balsamic dressing and I wanted to share it with you!

Tangy Balsamic Dressing

1/2 oil (I use grapeseed, but olive oil works too)

1/4 balsamic vinegar

1 T dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, crushed

Mix oil and vinegar.  Add dijon mustard.  Use a fork to crush garlic clove and then toss it in the dressing.  Shake well before use.  Store in the fridge.

It is so yummy and the perfect choice for almost any salad.  Two of my kids love salad, so I usually have this dressing ready to go in the fridge along with lettuce and chopped veggies.  It is also fantastic over spinach, toasted almonds, goat cheese and strawberries in the summer!

Of course, to make my own dressings, I have to have containers.  Recently, I went on a salad dressing bottle binge and ordered quite a few to experiment with.  Here are my thoughts, starting with my favorite.

I love this OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker, Black“>OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker.  Hands down my favorite dressing bottle. I ordered the small one and it has been a perfect size.  The balsamic salad dressing recipe, as listed above, fits easily. Of course, I have every intention of ordering the larger one!  I love the little handle that you tilt to open it just a little or open it much wider.  It is easy to adjust and it seals completely so that no liquid leaks.  The top and bottom can be easily washed on the top rack of my dishwasher, which is important to me.

This Kolder Salad Dressing bottle works well as a container and it also comes with eight salad dressing recipes on the side, which is kind of fun!  One thing I immediately did not like was that it was a twist on top.  It makes it so that you have to be very careful when pouring the contents as the entire lid has to be taken off.  That being said, I LOVE the Asian dressing and the honey mustard.  They are so delicious!  Those two dressings were well worth the $6 investment!!  I did not like the Greek, Italian or Vinaigrette and I have yet to try the others.  Unfortunately, the lid on this bottle was destroyed in my garbage disposal rendering it unusable.  Instead, I plan to measure out the dressings I like and record the recipes to use in my OXO bottle!

This Cuisinox Salad dressing shaker is another bottle with recipes on the side. I have only tried the Italian Herb and didn’t enjoy it. I would like to try to Creamy Citrus Ginger soon, but am currently hooked on my balsamic (listed above). I did like this cap better than the twist off cap because it flips up and has a smaller hole to pour the dressing.

My favorite bottle is still the OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker, Black“>OXO. No question. But a simple mason jar works well too!

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Homelife, Money Saving

Sanity Savers when it comes to Summertime Spending

Summertime. The pool is open. School is finished. The schedule is more relaxed. I love this laid-back time of year.

But with the increased air conditioning bills, vacations, summer treats and extra activities it can be an expensive time that can drive your bank account batty!

Here are eight ways our family enjoys the summertime fun while keeping our bank account in a sane place!

Ideas to reduce Continue Reading

Homelife, Money Saving

Five Basic Budgeting Tips

Friends often suggest that I should write a book on budgeting.

I laugh at the suggestion.

I laugh because I am far from an expert on budgeting.  And there are plenty of experts.

But the fact is that I have learned a lot as the financial manager for a single-income family of six.  Some lessons are specific to our household alone, but there are plenty of general thoughts I can share with anyone hoping to get their finances and debts under control.

There are a million ways to budget and think about money.  Here are just some five basic budgeting tips to get you started.

5 basic budgeting tips for keeping to a budget. Continue Reading