Salad Dressings »3 Ways«

Here’s a funny joke:

Q: Why did the tomato turn red?

A: Because it saw the salad dressing!

*cue laughter*
♡ Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

The Art of Salad Dressing

I typically don’t make salad dressing, as my mom makes better salad dressing than I do. I purchase Kraft salad dressings only when I am lazy or busy because they are easily accessible and convenient. However, homemade salad dressing is way better than store-bought ones – even my mom agrees. My mom lives halfway across the country, so I can’t show up at her house every day for freshly made salad. So that leaves me with two options: a) keep eating the Kraft salad dressings or b) learn how to make my own.

I’ve compiled these recipes so that you can enjoy more freshly made salads, and make salad a part of your diet. Many salads are healthy, but people don’t always like them because they’re so bland. If you dress the salad up with an interesting dressing, not only will it be more appealing to people’s taste buds, but it can also give their bodies all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. The best thing about this recipe is that it is all ready for you to use in just a few minutes and can be made using ingredients that are probably already in your house. I’m confident that these salad dressing recipes will be helpful to you, as they have been to me.

Salad Dressing Science: Salad dressing is a process where two liquids – oil and water or vinegar – are mixed together. Normally, liquid drops of oil and water remain separate from each other. If you start with just the oil and the vinegar, they won’t mix well until you add an emulsifier, which helps them to combine more smoothly. You can mix and match ingredients to create your perfect salad dressing.

𝗛𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗻 𝗰𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘇𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴!

SALAD DRESSINGS »3 WAYS«

Servings: 1 mason jar each                         Time: 10 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

1. BASIC B* VINEGARETTE

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

2. CITRUS SUNSHINE DRESSING

  • 2 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

3. SWEET HONEY VINEGARETTE

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the ingredients and mix them well using a whisk.
  2. Slowly add a little bit of oil while continuously whisking the mixture. Once you have added a small amount, start to whisk faster.
  3. Toss the dressing with a green salad, or add it to a mason jar for storing in the fridge.

Image #1: Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

Image #2: Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Peppa Pig’s Chocolate Cake

Disclaimer: Please note that I make no money from this blog and I’m not involved with affiliates. This blog post is for educational purposes only!

This chocolate cake recipe is from my daughter’s book, “Peppa Pig Loves to Bake!” I want to share it with you because she tends to destroy everything she touches, and I don’t want to lose this recipe. I want to make this recipe evergreen, and currently, my blog is a good place to do that. We got the book from a book sale at my daughter’s school but it is also available on Amazon. If you scroll down to the bottom of this blog post, you’ll see a video tutorial by no other than Peppa Pig herself. Unlike the video, the recipe in the book is vegan. Alternatively, you can also use gluten-free flour if you’re avoiding gluten.

Did I mention that this recipe is vegan-friendly? 🌱

CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

Servings: 4-6                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add in applesauce, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and water. Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour cake batter into an 8″ x 8″ square pan or 9″ round cake pan.
  5. Using an oven mitt, put the cake pan in the oven.
  6. Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Using an oven mitt, take the cake out of the oven. Let cool.
  8. Once the cake has cooled, have fun decorating it! 🎂

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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How to Quit Sugar For Good

(っ◔﹏◔)っ I have a confession: I am addicted to sugar. 🙇‍♀️

I’ve had a sweet tooth since the day I was born and given a choice between candy or food for survival without the repercussions, I would have chosen the candy 🍭 Unfortunately, I inherited a sweet tooth from my grandmother and it runs in my family. Even though I minored in Nutritional & Nutraceutical Sciences (NANS), I didn’t need to study nutrition to know that sugar is addictive. And If you’re anything like me, you probably know that sugar is incredibly difficult to quit. The last time I tried quitting sugar, I managed to detox for 21 days only to relapse during the Christmas holidays. My recommendation is not to try quitting sugar during the holidays, especially if you are just starting out.

I know that I am not the only one who struggles with this addiction and if you are reading this blog post, I am guessing that the title intrigued you. My intention wasn’t to use clickbait, and to be totally transparent, the longest I’ve gone without sugar was #21days. They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit and I want to ditch the sugar, regardless of how many times I relapse. This past weekend, I ate sugary foods and now I am paying the price with a lot of bloating, mood swings, irritability, and more sugar cravings. That being said, these past two weeks have been nothing but bad news for my family, and by now I am well aware that my coping mechanism is sweets and treats 🎂😋


Disclaimer: This blog post was inspired by blog.paleohacks.com. I added some of my own anecdotes to help emphasize the key points from their list (see image below ↓) I hope you know that sheer willpower alone will likely lead to a relapse. If you want a more sustainable, long-term solution for quitting the sweet stuff, then we need to treat sugar like the drug that it is. Let’s get started, shall we?

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👉 Image source: blog.paleohacks.com

Easy Ways to Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet

Stop Buying Processed Foods If you stop buying processed foods, over time you will accumulate much less of them in your house. If you really want to quit cold turkey, dump your sodas down the drain and toss the rest of your empty-calorie snacks in the trash. We poured the sugar-laden sodas and drinks down the drain which was very therapeutic for me. Some people might say that it is a waste of money to throw food in the trash and I agree with them. However, we should not have purchased these products in the first place.

Make Your Own Spaghetti Sauce I have not tried making my own spaghetti sauce. We try to buy brands that are low in sodium and contain the least amount of questionable ingredients. Look for spaghetti sauce when they go on sale and stock up on the good brands.

Swap Fruit Juice with Whole Fruit I quit this bad habit years ago and I don’t feel deprived by diluting fruit juice or skipping it altogether. Whenever I drink fruit juice such as 100% orange juice or 100% apple juice, I water the juice down with 3/4 water. To this day, I cannot drink non-diluted fruit juice. It is way too sweet!

Avoid Flavored Yogurt There is a lot of hidden sugar in flavored yogurts and that is scary! In a single serving of flavored yogurt, I have seen as much as 20 grams of sugar. Yikes! This doesn’t even include the hidden sugars and sneaky sweeteners that are usually added to flavored yogurts. Opt for plain yogurt and flavor it yourself. It is pretty tasty with a little maple syrup and sliced banana.

Make Your Own Salad Dressing I have not tried this yet but both my mom and husband started making their own salad dressings. I can see the appeal in homemade salad dressings and I plan on making my own one day. Please tell me that I am not the only one with 20+ bottles of salad dressing? I cannot bring myself to throw away store-bought salad dressing.

Give Yourself a Quota Going cold turkey is hard, and let’s face it: we are going to slip up from time to time. If you are used to eating fast food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, then you may want to slowly cut back on sugar and gradually introduce healthier alternatives like fruits and vegetables. If you must have dessert, save your cheat treat for a time when you will really enjoy it, such as date night. I did not grow up in a household where I ate dessert every night and I seldom ate fast food, so, fortunately, I haven’t developed a habit of gluttony and instant gratification.

Try Stevia, Monk Fruit, or Xylitol I have a hard time loving stevia. I find the taste of stevia awful but a lot of people have jumped on the stevia bandwagon and they embrace it with open arms. I don’t mind monk fruit but most often, it’s not made primarily of monk fruit. The one I have is erythritol with monk fruit extract. Erythritol on its own has a cooling aftertaste but gives me stomach aches, so I use it sparingly. I also use maple syrup and coconut sugar in some recipes to replace cane sugar. For days when my sugar cravings are intense, I might try sugar-free gum.

Set Dessert Rules Do you ever implement new rules, end up failing and feel worse than when you started? This method does work with strict discipline but even my family and friends haven’t had much success with it yet. You will likely end up relapsing if you feel too deprived, undergo an uncontrollable binge, or experience withdrawal as you wean yourself off of sugar. What is the best way to overcome potential drawbacks? Decide to make a change and commit to it for a month.

Don’t Keep Treats in the House Preach! 🙌 I stopped buying treats and we rarely have treats in our house. If we really want treats, we have to go out of our way for ice cream, or we make homemade french fries and chips (air fryer or baked). It also forces me to get creative. I have made recipes I would have otherwise never made, such as paleo mint chocolate truffles and chia seed pudding. If you’re going to make desserts, then at least make them paleo! Paleo desserts are naturally healthier and less processed compared to store-bought food.

Eat Dark Chocolate Ideally, you want to eat dark chocolate that is at least 70% solids. I do consume dark chocolate on a weekly basis, and I prefer to bake with dark chocolate which is naturally lower in sugar compared to conventional milk chocolate varieties.

Avoid Mixed Alcoholic Drinks Just avoid alcohol like the plague. Alcohol won’t help you lose weight, is chalked full of empty calories and it wreaks havoc on your kidneys and liver. There are other ways to have fun, like writing blog posts *laughs* In a more serious tone, alcohol is a toxin and I have been around too many alcoholics in my lifetime to know how batshit crazy alcoholics and drunk people can be. Didn’t know alcohol is a drug? FYI alcohol is a depressant. Look it up!

Cut Out Soda If you’re going to drink soda, you might as well drink liquefied candy washed down with a glass of lemon juice. I don’t need to explain why soda is bad which is pretty much self-explanatory. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that diet soda is any better. Diet soda contains similar ingredients as regular soda plus several questionable artificial sweeteners. It’s not even the sugar that is the most cringe-worthy ingredient, or the high fructose corn syrup for that matter. It’s the caramel color that is notorious for staining and corroding your teeth, and the highly acidic nature of both diet and regular varieties. Love the carbonated bubbles but don’t want to quit soda cold turkey? Try flavored sparkly water like Perrier, Bubbly, or Spindrift. Although acidic, these unadulterated sparkling waters are still healthier options.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

Well, there you have it! If this blog post inspired you to join me on this sans sugar journey and/or you are currently embarking on a similar journey towards a healthier lifestyle, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I look forward to reading your comments!

Also, if you would like to have your recipes featured on sereneluna.net, you can get in touch with me through my contact page or e-mail me @hilary_harm_7@hotmail.com 💌 There is no set deadline for recipe submissions. Ideally, I am looking for recipes that are wheat-free and sugar-free. Stevia, monk fruit, and xylitol are more ideal than added sugars. However, I will accept recipes that use small amounts of honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc. anything of that nature. Thanks so much! 🍨💕

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Healthier Banana Muffins

Disclaimer: Now I can officially say that we are all caught up with the recipes! Any new recipes that are posted in the future will be new blog posts. I am happy about that! 😄 This recipe was originally posted as a separate page on June 10, 2019. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! 🙊🍌

Since I am trying to eat as clean as possible by cutting down on my sugar consumption, I wanted a muffin recipe that I could easily grab for a quick, easy breakfast. I crave carbs so if I am going to eat carbs, I would prefer them to be cleaner than what you would typically find at the grocery store or local coffee shop. Finally, I found a recipe that I really like so I wanted to share it with you. I modified the recipe slightly which was based on the original recipe from www.gimmedelicious.com.

My photo didn’t do these muffins much justice but I added a photo anyways. Voila! My family loves these muffins and it is so easy to whip up a batch when you need a quick muffin fix. Let’s get started, shall we? 

HEALTHIER BRAN MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 45 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 medium bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk the egg. Then add plain yogurt, maple syrup, mashed bananas, and coconut oil to the egg mixture. For a smooth consistency, use a blender to pulverize the wet ingredients. I use my Vitamix blender but a simple blender works too.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir gently with a plastic spatula until ingredients are evenly mixed.
  5. Spoon into well-greased or lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes at 350ºF.
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Mind your banana. Photo from www.pixabay.com

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Carrot Coconut Muffins

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate page on November 15, 2017. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding!

My husband and I take health and well-being very seriously. Usually, I will make several trips to the grocery store when trying a new recipe but this time, I decided to only use what was in my cupboard. I changed the original recipe I was referencing quite a bit. You can find the original carrot muffin recipe over at Genius Kitchen.

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CARROT COCONUT MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

DIRECTIONS

  1. Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk the egg.
  2. Add orange juice, margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar to the bowl. Stir well.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Stir in egg mixture and mix until dough is moistened.
  5. Gently fold in carrots and coconut. I shred the carrots using my Vitamix blender.
  6. Spoon into well-greased muffin pans. Cupcake liners are optional but I don’t recommend using them for this particular recipe. The dough is too dense, making the cupcake liner difficult to peel away.
  7. Sprinkle some of the white sugar on the muffin tops for extra shine. Again, this step is optional.
  8. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees F.
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Photo credit: Genius Kitchen, photo by Jose G.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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