Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Ranch Dressing

I heard of and read a study about two groups of women trying to lose weight.  One group ate dairy products, the other did not.  Both groups ended up losing the same amount of weight, but the group who ate dairy products gained more muscle mass than the other group. I found it very interesting, and while I don't shun dairy products, I just don't like some of them.  Plain, full fat yogurt is wonderful for you, but the taste and texture for me are a little off-putting (you should have seen the way my eyes bugged out of my head at my first taste of it!).

So, I did some Googling, and tweaked a ranch dressing recipe to help me get in a serving of yogurt.  Ranch is just about the only dressing I enjoy on my salads, I can't do oil + vinegar. Even in my raw-vegan days I couldn't live without a ranch dressing made with cashews as the base instead of dairy(and believe it or not, it was genuinely good!).  This one here uses full-fat Greek yogurt as the base.  The fresh herbs really add to it, but of course, if you do not have fresh, dried will suffice; just use less.

I threw this together very quickly while on my lunch break.  I went to Whole Foods and picked up some cooked chicken from the deli as I didn't have any at home.  Salad is romaine, cucumbers, green onions, and garlic chips.  Ideally it would also have some cabbage and grilled onions, but I was pressed for time. Booo.

Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of buttermilk
2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon garlic (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste 

Either place in a blender and blend, or place in a bowl and use a stick blender.  Adjust tastes as necessary.  

I drenched my salad in it and it was great.  Obviously, it's not Hidden Valley, but it's still very delicious, and much better for you.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Valentine's Day Adventure

 These are the lovely roses my hunny brought to me at work on Valentine's Day.  It was a complete surprise when he walked in the door! One dozen roses with white tulips, just beautiful!

The night before Valentine's, I picked up a gorgeous Sweetheart steak from Whole Foods!  Sure, it was pretty gimmicky, but I didn't care. I thought it was cute.  The display had roses all around the steaks, very sweet. 

 Now, this is where the fun begins.  Keep in mind, I am a recovering vegetarian, so I do not know that much about meats, I'm still learning.  It doesn't seem like it would be too complicated, but sometimes life throws you for a loop.  Still feel free to laugh at me, I did plenty of laughing after the ordeal was finished.

I took the steak and put it on a baking sheet. Typically, I broil my steaks as it's quick, easy, and the steak comes out delicious.  I preheated the broiler and got to work on a marinade.  I melted some garlic herb butter and poured it over the steak and waited until the broiler was ready.  I had put the oven rack up very close to the broiler earlier, and then everything was ready to go!  I put the sheet into the oven on the rack, closed the door, set the timer, and thought all was good.  

I went to the living room where my hunny was playing Skyrim, and I gave him a big kiss.  We were holding each other, being all romantic, when my nose picked up the smell of something burning.

I ran to the kitchen and opened the oven door.  Smoke poured out and flames were leaping from the steak. 
My eyes widened and my heart quickened as I yelled to my hunny "THE STEAKS ARE ON FIRE!".

We panicked for a quick second as we thought of how to properly put it out.  Water! No, but it's a grease fire because of the butter! Baking soda! But then the steak will be ruined! My hunny thought quick, pulled the pan out and blew on the fire and it went out.  We sighed relief. Then hunny gave me the eyebrow as he saw how close the oven rack was to the broiler. I guess it was a little close. 

The steaks turned out great, actually.  It was mostly the butter marinade (note to self, no more butter close to the broiler. Should have known that.) that caught on fire, and it was mostly off-steak.  The steak wasn't even done when we put the fire out! We still had to cook that sucker for a few minutes.

But, when the steaks were finished, they were delicious.  We enjoyed them with asparagus and Brussels (with more butter!) 

Monday, February 6, 2012


Last Friday, after work, I decided to head over to Sprouts Market to get some raw milk.  As far as I know, it's the only place in my area that has it; my Whole Foods doesn't carry any raw milk products anymore. 

The market was a good size, but I didn't look around too much.  I made a beeline for the Dairy department (something I haven't done in a long time, felt weird!) and looked for the raw milk.

At first, I didn't even see it because I had assumed it would be in glass bottles.  But, I found it! It was about $6 for the quart.  There was also raw cream, but that doubled in price for half as much, so I just got the quart of milk.

I haven't had plain milk since 2005.  I've had it indirectly in chocolates, drinks, and other foods occasionally, but I can't tell you the last time I actually drank a glass of milk.  I poured some out into a tea cup, as I didn't want too much for my first time, and very tenderly sipped my first taste of plain milk in years. 

My tastebuds weren't quite ready for the milky taste, so I was a little put off at first.  After a few more sips, I focused on the taste of the milk.  It was very familiar, but it was sweeter.  Not terribly noticable, but sweeter than I remember milk to taste.  I used to prefer the vegan milks because they were usually sweetened, but this was different.  It was a very subtle sweetness, but it was good. 

What I really like about the milk, though, is the convenience.  On Sunday, my hunny and I usually have his younger siblings over and we hang out with them.  We had been cleaning the apartment all morning, and I hadn't eaten anything yet.  I was starting to feel really hungry, as I had vacuumed, mopped, swept, and tidied up the rooms.  We were planning on taking the kids to lunch, but I didn't think I could wait that long.  So, I peeped in the fridge and grabbed the milk and had a cup of it.  It kept my hunger at bay until we went to eat lunch (at Chipotle! yum!).  I haven't had that kind of food convenience in a while, so that was nice.

While I enjoyed the raw milk, I don't think it will be something that I'll buy all of the time. Not only do I have to drive fairly far to get it, I wouldn't drink enough of it daily to warrent buying it regularly.  I have read that raw milk is good for pregnant women, so maybe when that time comes I'll be drinking it more, we'll see!