MSG Free Ranch Dressing PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 March 2010 19:55

I like salads. And I like raw veggies. I do not eat either of those things without ranch dressing. Its a staple! And much to my surprise, I recently discovered that Zachariah will eat raw carrots, broccoli, celery AND salad... as long as he has ranch dressing on the side. (He loves to dip foods.) Here is the kicker. Ranch dressing has MSG in it. MSG is incredibly bad for you. And it is in SO MUCH of what we consume. (I will try and do a whole post on MSG sometime in the future. Your welcome.) Since I care about my son and the things he is consuming, I have tried to drastically cut out foods that contain MSG. Salad dressing is one of them.

That obviously caused a problem with the salad/veggie consumption, so I decided to make my own salad dressing. I found a super easy recipe and ended up loving it. The ingredient list, while not extremely healthy, contains no MSG. So I am a happy camper!

Here is what you need to make you own MSG free dressing. Mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, ground pepper, dried parsley, dried chives, dried dill weed, onion powder and garlic powder. I had every one of these ingredients in my pantry with the exception of sour cream. That is the only thing I had to buy. Not to shabby for a spur of the moment ranch dressing recipe!

I obviously have no rhyme or reason to the purchasing of my spices. I mean, seriously here folks. There is not a single brand that has a friend in that picture. Sad. I need to go through my spices and figure out which brand is dominating my cabinet. I'll be sure to keep you posted on this pressing matter.

Take a whole cup of mayo and half a cup of sour cream and dump them in a bowl.

Then throw in 1/2 teaspoon dried chives, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. (Oh, and if you add a splash of lemon juice it gives the dressing a better consistency.)

Whisk them together and then, wala! You have some nice homemade ranch dressing. Seriously, it takes like five minutes. When eliminating MSG out of salad dressing is that simple, why would you not give it a try?

And just so you know, I ate a whole entire head of broccoli immediately after I whisked these ingredients together.

And I enjoyed every



Homemade Ranch Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Splash of lemon juice

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Keep in airtight container in the fridge for up to three(ish) weeks.

Crock Pot Chicken And Rice PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 March 2010 12:25

I don't know about you, but I love me some crock pot dinners. They are so stinking easy to make and they usually taste great! (I say "usually" because there are some really bad slow cooker recipes out there. Trust me, I know from experience. *shudder*)

My favorite time to have a crock pot meal is Sunday for lunch. I throw some stuff together when I wake up in the morning and then by the time we get back from church our lunch is ready! Talk about perfect. This Sunday we had crock pot chicken and rice and I decided to show you how to make this super simple meal! That is, if you don't already make it on a regular basis. In that case you may want to find another blog to read for today. This may be a yawn. :)

You will need four ingredients. 3 "cream of" soups, water, rice and chicken.

*The original recipe calls for 1 cream of chicken, 1 cream of celery and 1 cream of mushroom. But my husband will die a horrible death if he is forced to eat anything with the word celery or mushroom on the package, so we use three cream of chickens.

Poor in all three "cream of" soups

and 1/2 cup of water into the crock pot.

Give it a little stir to mix the two together.

Then add 1 cup of long grain rice. I prefer to use brown rice, but you can use whatever floats your boat.

And this is where you can stir your rice into your water/cream of mixture. Sometimes I do that, sometimes I forget. This time I happened to forget. The meal is just fine either way, just know you have the option.

Now plop the chicken breasts on top and plop on the lid. Sorry. The word plop should never be used twice in one sentence. I just cant help myself sometimes.

You can cook it on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. It all depends on how much time you have. I can never get my act together in time to cook it for 8 hours, so mine is always set on high.

Four hours later, this is what it looked like. You might notice that it is a tad bit soupy looking. Have no fear. That only happened because I forgot to stir the darn rice into the mixture before hand. If this happens to you, you can go ahead and give it a little stir a five or so min. before serving.

See, I told you the meal is fine either way. :) Ring the triangle and let everyone know that dinner is ready, because now you are ready to serve this super easy meal. Just add a veggie and some bread and you should be good to go!

Unlike me, Zachariah likes his chicken completely separate from his rice. And yes... that is a Christmas plate. He just wont let me put it away with the other Christmas stuff. Trust me, I have tried.

And just in case you were wondering, here is what Zachariah's full plate looked like. Chicken, rice, broccoli casserole and a muffin. Not to shabby for a picky two year old. He ate every bit of it too. That is actually the main reason I love this meal. If my toddler will scarf it down I am a happy camper. Enjoy! :)

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup (if you have a picky eater, use three cream of chicken)
1/2 cup water
1 cup long-grain rice
4 lg chicken breasts

Directions: In a slow cooker, combine the soups, water and rice. Place the chicken on top. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Child Labor: Part Two PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 March 2010 11:18

Our windows needed washing and Zachariah needed something to do. Yeah... you can see where this is going. We definitely had an impromptu window washing lesson on this fine Monday morning.

Towards the end of the lesson he got little fancy on me. The two handed window washing usually comes later in the course. Ah well. I just gotta roll with the punches. If my kid wants to be in the advanced class that is fine by me!

Happy Monday!

Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 February 2010 23:04

If you are a diabetic, turn away now. Just looking at this could give you some serious problems.

For the rest of you, this is one of my new favorite desserts! It is super easy and oh-so-delicious. I found this on the Pioneer Woman's site a while back and finally decided to try it, and boy am I glad I did.

I just need to say one thing before we get started: This dessert is going to be the death of my hips. The end.

Here is what you will need. Crescent rolls, sugar, butter, granny smith apples, vanilla, cinnamon and mountain dew.

First, go ahead and butter a 9x13 baking dish.

Then you will want to peel and core two granny smith apples and slice them up into eight pieces each.

Roll out the crescent rolls and separate them into eight triangles

Then take an apple slice and roll it into the crescent roll.

See? Simple. Do this until all of the crescent rolls have an apple slice.

Then line your buttered baking dish with the rolled up apples. Make sure to get them all nice and cozy or else they wont all fit.

Now melt two sticks of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.

Once the butter is all melted, dump in 1-1/2 cups of sugar.

Now just barely stir them together. Barely stir. This is important.

Remove the pot from the heat and then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Gently stir together. You want this mixture to be lumpy. Remember that.

Poor the mixture over the top of the "dumplings". Make sure you coat them all in this sugary, buttery, oh so good for you mixture. You don't want to leave any out!

Now for the Mountain Dew. Oh man. Let me just take a moment to tell you a little story.

I had a serious addiction to Mountain Dew for about four years. I couldn't live without the stuff. If I had less than three a day I would get withdrawal headaches. It was the only way I made it through college and teaching three year olds. This was pretty much my alcohol. Sad, I know. But that is beside the point.

When I got pregnant with Zachariah I stopped consuming caffeine. Due to my "morning sickness" last for the whole 9 months, I couldn't consume much of anything. Regardless, I stopped drinking Mountain Dew... cold turkey. It was rough, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Once I got past the withdrawal symptoms I was golden. After I gave birth I started breastfeeding, and then by the time I was done with that I just kind of forgot about caffeine. I probably only have about a dozen caffeinated beverages a year. Its crazy when I think about it.

Anyway. Those are the facts. I have only had Mountain Dew a handful of times since being pregnant with Zachariah. So the fact that I was holding a bottle in my hands was monumental.

Just thought you should know.

Ok, so the recipe calls for a 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew, but all I had was this massive bottle. So I only used about half of it. Pour the Mountain Dew around the sides of the pan and let it flow all around the dumplings. And yes. Yes I did drink the rest of the Mountain Dew. And I loved every second of it.

Now sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 min. Watch them to make sure they dont get too brown. You want a nice golden crispy top.

And here is the finished product! When I took them out of the oven I had a TON of liquid sloshing around. So I just drained a little bit of the excess liquid into a bowl before I served the cute little dumplings.

And that's it! Serve them warm with some vanilla ice cream. It will definitely be worth it. Trust me. Thanks again, Pioneer Woman. You rock my socks.

2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans crescent rolls (8 0z cans)
2 sticks butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon, to taste
1 can (12 oz) Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

Best.Dresser.Ever. PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 23:35

Due to this whole big boy bed thing, we realized that Zachariah needed a dresser of some sort. He didn't use a dresser as a baby because his room has a massive bookshelf. We put some green bins on the shelves and put his clothes in the bins. It worked nicely.

But for the past 6 months or so the bins have just become annoying. His clothes are bigger and he has more of them. So they just don't fit as well as 6 months onesies. I started hanging up most of this clothes in his closet and the bins were deemed useless.

I say all of that to say... the day before we took the crib down Daniel and I had the difficult task of finding a dresser for Zachariah. Dressers these days are cheap. Not the cost. The cost is never cheap. But they are cheaply made. Everything is made of particle board and it falls apart in a year or so. And with a 2 year old little boy, I doubt something like that would even last that long.

So, I definitely didn't want something made cheaply, but I didn't want some fancy shmancy thing either. I don't want to pay out the butt for a piece of furniture and then get angry when Zachariah scratches it or draws on it with a sharpie. Do you see my predicament? What is a girl to do in this situation???

So yeah. I was not looking forward to this adventure. But low and behold, Daniel found the PERFECT thing! No joke. You wanna see it?

Here it is! This is seriously the best dresser ever. It is a real piece of furniture. Its made of real mahogany, not particle board! And it doesn't have tracks that will break over time. Zachariah is NOT going to destroy this thing. It is heavy duty. It is the real deal. And I am one happy camper.

We got this from Old Mills Furniture here in town. Every single thing they own is amazing. I saw about two dozen other pieces of furniture that I must have in the future, so I guarantee you I will be back for more. Old Mills has great furniture for great prices and I recommend that you go there immediately for all of your furniture needs. And while your there, buy me the red china cabinet or the teal end table. :)

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