WIAW: Simple Homemade Ranch Dressing

First I want to start off by thanking everyone for the awesome comments on yesterday’s post! A lot of you made comments about time flying by and lots of memories of your life in college. I think those comments were spot on- I feel like I was just moving into my dorm room yesterday and now I’m getting ready to move for my first internship less than a year late

On the topic of my internship, I haven’t really explained what it all will entail. The main reason for this is that my blog is personal and I try to keep it as separated from the rest of my life as possible. I have mentioned this before, but other than my parents and brother (who do not read the blog), none of my family, friends or classmates know about Eating 4 Balance. It’s not that I’m ashamed of it. On the contrary, I’m extremely proud of the little community I’m a part of and would honestly love to tell everyone!

The problem is that I don’t know how people will react. Some may want not care and some may want to read it. Of those who would choose to read it, I think some who are close to me might misunderstand something I’ve said, while others may just not understand at all and see what I talk about on here as self-centered or pointless.

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With that in mind, it goes both ways in that I don’t want to share too much of what I do outside of my blog for fear of causing trouble. I’ve read stories of bloggers who have lost their jobs because they blogged about what they did at work. And since I make a total of $0 on Eating 4 Balance, losing money over a blog is not really worth it.

Still, I want to keep you in the loop as much as possible. Reading recipes and stomach pain tangents all day is probably not entertaining for most of you.

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Here’s the low-down:

  1. My internship is located in a city about 3 hours away from my hometown.
  2. I will work 16 weeks full-time over the summer starting May 20 and ending August 16. I will continue to work from my college dorm for the company part-time from the end of my summer term through the school year until the end of my spring term.
  3. For the first few weeks at the internship I will be learning tax law and will be trained on an accounting/tax-type software. For the remaining time until April 2014 I will work in customer service answering calls and helping out the accountants and tax professionals who use the company’s software.

That about sums it up! I’m very excited to move into a subleased apartment in less than two weeks and start this  internship. Yes, it will be hard to be so far away from everyone I know and be surrounded by unfamiliar faces, but challenges are good for me. They strengthen the soul and I think that I will become a better person for this.

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One of the main things that I’ll miss is being able to cook and bake at my leisure. Sure, my sublet has a really nice kitchen, but I really only need the stove right now for cooking soup and vegetables. I’ll miss these two weeks of baking bliss that I’m experiencing, getting to make some amazing, healthy food and experiment with recipes.

Speaking of recipes, last Wednesday I posted four pictures and asked which you would like to see first. As there was not really a consensus (let’s be real- the answers were all over the board!) I chose to share the stuffed squash first on Monday. It’s very simple and the prep time is almost non-existent. Also, the regular recipe includes a homemade beef sausage, but in the notes I gave several suggestions of vegetarian/vegan replacements that would be delicious as well.

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The second recipe that I’m going to share is perfect for the warming temperatures and all of the fresh produce that come with summer. Homemade ranch dressing!

Simple Homemade Ranch Dressing

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Egg/Nut-Free, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free Option, GAPS-friendly

1 or 2 servings (depending on how much you like dressing 😉 )

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used full fat regular organic, but you could use an unflavored yogurt– Greek, coconut, almond or goat)
  • 1 tsp honey (you could also use a few drops of stevia in place of this if you wanted)
  • 1 tsp light olive oil (you could replace this with 1 tsp of milk/water as well, but I strongly suggest the olive oil version)
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp each of dried dill, sea salt, garlic powder, and onion powder
  • a dash each of Italian seasoning and sage

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients stirring well! Double or triple for leftovers.
  2. Use immediately or let sit overnight for the flavors to meld together for an even more authentic-tasting dressing!

I usually don’t post nutrition facts for my recipes, but I really wanted to compare the stats for this one:

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The nutrition facts for my recipe is on the left while the nutrition facts for the same amount of store-bought ranch dressing is on the right. Unlike with store-bought dressing which is full of scary chemicals and additives where you’d be wise to use a small amount, if you make my homemade version you can customize it to your needs (substitute the yogurt for a version that fits your dietary requirements, increase or decrease the salt, add in additional seasonings, etc.) and you can use the entire thing! No puny little tablespoons of dressing on your salad. Use the full 1/3 cup! 😀

Thanks again to Jenn, our amazing host, for hosting WIAW this week.

Wiaw While Packing for College (Pumpkin recipe)

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How do you handle people reading your blog? Do your family/friends/classmates/colleagues follow you? Has it ever caused any problems for you?

What does your schedule look this summer?

What is your favorite salad dressing? Do you have any good homemade dressing recipes?

What I Made (And Did Not Eat) Wednesday

Catchy title, right?

Well, I think it’s pretty obvious from my update on Friday (by the way- thanks so much for all of your amazing comments and support!) that I will not be eating anything blog-worthy for quite a long time. No matter though, because thankfully my family doesn’t have the same food restrictions as me and are very willing for me to make all of their meals when I’m home 🙂

Today I’m going to share some pictures of what I cooked up this past weekend, and let me know which recipe you’d like to see first!

It just so happens too that I have food for every major meal of the day. Perfect.

Breakfast: Oatless Oatmeal

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If you would believe it, my dad doesn’t really miss the bread on his hamburgers or the chips for his salsa since going GAPS. No, he misses the quick and easy… oatmeal. It’s okay. Laugh a little. I sure did when I came home to find two full canisters of oatmeal sitting on our island. It turns out my dad just couldn’t take it anymore and was planning on throwing them out (he just hadn’t gotten to the “throwing them out” step yet as our trash was full 😉 ). When I reminded him that my brother makes himself No-Bake cookies practically every few weeks though, the oatmeal went back into the cupboard. A spark had been lit in my head though and I vowed to make him a bowl of GAPS-approved oatmeal that same weekend.

You may remember if you’ve been reading awhile that I made some allergy-free oatless oats for a snack last summer. This recipe is still grain-free, dairy-free and can be nut/peanut-free as well, but sadly not egg-free. For all of those of you who can eat eggs though (which is probably most of you), you will love the new recipe. Still, I gotta support my allergic peeps here (yes, I really did just call you “peeps”) and say that I’ve read that you can replace the eggs in the recipe with flax egg or tofu, but I of course I can’t guarantee the results!

Lunch: Homemade Ranch Dressing

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My mom has been complaining (okay, not really complaining but “mentioning”) for quite a while that her salads just aren’t as enjoyable anymore without a good dressing and all of the homemade recipes that she has tried were less than stellar. When I got home this weekend I made it my mission to change all of that. I did a little research online and got a good idea of some of the ingredients that others put in their ranch dressing recipes. Then I pulled out a whole bunch of stuff from my pantry and got to work. Five minutes later I had something that looked and smelled like ranch dressing. The ultimate test though would be if it actually tasted like ranch dressing. This picture shows a salad that I whipped up for my dad (romaine lettuce mix, diced onion and pepper, sunflower seeds, raisins, chopped grass-fed beef burger) with organic green beans on the side. Of course there was the ranch dressing too.

Thankfully it was a success and my dad was genuinely surprised that it tasted so close to the real thing. I have to admit that I was a little surprised (and relieved) too. It’s so hard to make something and not be able to test it beforehand.

When my mom got home from work later that day she heard of the infamous ranch dressing and asked if there was any left. Um… Whoops. But within a couple of minutes there sure was. Let’s just say that my mom was even more thrilled than my dad and asked for the recipe. Again… Whoops. It turns out my hands have a pretty good memory though and with each dash of “such and such” and spoonful of “this and that” that I threw into the mix we measured out the ingredients and had a solid recipe.

This ranch dressing can also be made allergy-free with one simple substitution, so I’ll make sure to include that in the notes when I eventually post it on this blog.

Supper: Stuffed Acorn Squash

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This will be more of a simple How-To. In fact, just from the picture you can probably already guess what the main ingredients will be comprised of. 🙂

Snack: Oh-So-Secret Snack Bars 😉

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My mom tried Larabars for the first time on Saturday upon my recommendation and really liked them. Of course the price and size probably would have made my dad’s eye twitch, but the ingredients are so wholesome and clean it would be a shame to pass them up! Once again inspired though, on Monday before I left for school I whipped up some homemade bars with an ingredient that you’ll never guess (Hint: It involves recycling). These will be similar to the Acorn Squash recipe in that it will be more of a How-To with some measurement suggestions, but I’ll be making them again and can probably get a more accurate recipe for you all next week.

That about wraps up WIAW for today. Jenn is so awesome for hosting this shin-dig so go over to her blog and leave a comment thanking her for putting up with all of us every week 😉

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I’m hoping to get up at least one of these recipes on Friday, but if I’m absent, just know it’s because I have been swallowed by the vortex that is Spring Semester Final Exams. I have one on Thursday and one on Friday so Wednesday will be jam-packed with studying and trying ever so hard to not get on Pinterest/Hulu/Facebook/Netflix. But we all know that’s not going to be possible. 

Still, I am going to be quite busy this week in preparing for these end-of-year tests, packing up my dorm room, getting ready for my internship and moving (just under 3 weeks!) and taking care of some Financial aid stuff at school. Of course I’ll still be blogging, but if I’m late in responding or commenting, you’ll know why. 🙂

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Did you make (and not eat) anything for someone this week?

Which recipe would you all like to see first?

What have you been busy with lately? Exams? Spring Cleaning? Getting ready for summer? Busy at work? Share!