Tag Archives: kefir

Homemade Ranch Dressing

“Maltodextrin, buttermilk, sald, monosodium glutamate, dried garlic, dried onion, lactic acid, calcium lactate, citric acid, spice, artificial flavor, xanthan gum, calcium stearate, carboxymethylcellulose, guar gum”     MMMM! Delicious! What???!!!   hidden valley ranch packets

Let’s take a look at the scary things in this ingredient list. Maltodextrin is a starch, a carbohydrate, that mostly just gives bulk to powdered things – a filler if you will. Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is an excitotoxin that has been proven to cause brain lesions and a long, long list of other horrible side-effects that are hazardous to your health. Citric acid is NOT, as the name implies, derived from citrus fruit. Citric acid is derived from Genetically Modified corn and is used to give foods a tart or sour flavor. Spice is a completely unregulated and undefined term the FDA allows food processing companies to use when they don’t want you to know the proprietary ingredients they are using. Basically it’s a loophole to protect the $ of the company and NOT to protect the consumer. Frequently “spice” means MORE MSG! Artificial flavor – again this could be anything.  Some artificial flavors are more toxic than others but since they don’t tell you we just don’t know.  Xanthan gum is a thickener made from bacteria that in and of itself is ok, but you don’t know what the growing medium for the bacteria was. Most likely it was GMO corn again. Calcium stearate keeps things from clumping, to waterproof fabrics, to make concrete pavers, to make glossy printer paper and as a lubricant in crayons. Hmmmm, is it food? Carboxymethylcellulose helps your laundry detergent clean tough soil stains better, they also put it in ice cream to make it seem thicker when they haven’t used any real cream or eggs. Again, is it food?

Thank goodness you can make Ranch Dressing at home!  Like so many, many of our modern foods this salad dressing was once both frugal and healthy.  Made from the buttermilk leftover from churning raw cream into butter it was high enzyme and had probiotic properties. The addition of a little sour cream boosted the probiotic factor and also added healthy fat that aided the digestion of the fresh salad greens and garden vegetables with which it was eaten. Try this recipe with your own homemade kefir in place of the buttermilk for even more probiotic goodness.

Ranch Dressing    minced garlic

1/2 cup cultured buttermilk or kefir

2 Tblsp quality, full-fat sour cream

2 Tblsp homemade mayonnaise or a good store-bought safflower mayonnaise

1 to 3 tsp chopped shallots or green onions

1 tsp chopped chives

1 tsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped thyme

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp sucanat or raw honey

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 small clove of minced fresh garlic OR you can use 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill for one hour to let the flavors blend. Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar for up to one week.


Customize Your Smoothies – Immune Boosting Superfoods


mango smoothie with titles

Smoothies are easy to make, healthy to eat and a great way to use fresh, seasonal fruit.  They are a tasty vehicle for your daily dose of probiotics as well as healthy fats.  Use your own homemade yogurt, kefir or coconut milk and they become quite economical, too.  What a great package! Eating in season, boosting immunity and thrifty too!

To make one generous serving gather your ingredients and a blender. I’ll show you how to make a basic version. Once you get the hang of it you can alter the ingredients to suit the season and your tastebuds.  I like to use frozen fruit or a mixture of frozen and fresh to give the end result a milkshake texture.

smoothie1Put one cup of plain whole milk kefir (coconut milk kefir for dairy free) or plain whole milk yogurt (preferably raw) into your blender.  I’ve found my hand blender works for a single serving but if I’m doubling or making more I use the large blender.  Add one frozen banana and a cup of sliced frozen or fresh strawberries.  I keep blueberries in the freezer and like to add a few of those too.  This plus an optional squirt of raw honey is all you need for a basic smoothie.

But don’t stop here – take the nutritional profile up a few notches by adding in a few other extras.  Use a half-cup of full fat coconut milk and/or a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil in your smoothie to get some healthy medium-chain fatty acids.  Add a spoonful of flax seeds for an omega-3 boost and extra fiber. A tablespoon of raw cream gives a silky texture and more fat soluble vitamin A and D. A sliver of raw ginger adds a zippy flavor and helpful anti-inflammatory properties.  Substitute an avocado half for the banana to reduce the carbohydrate count.  Add a raw egg yolk from a pasture-raised fresh egg too boost nutrient-density with B vitamins, choline and vitamin D as well as protein for healthy nervous system and cell repair. A tablespoon of nut butter or coconut manna makes it thicker plus adds more healthy fats.  A tablespoon of plain gelatin powder adds extra protein plus collagen for healthy digestion, joints and skin.

Customize your smoothies with your favorite fruits and change them with the seasons. Melons and ginger are refreshing for summer, pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon and spice keep things lively in autumn, you can even add a handful of parsley or kale for some super-green nutrition any time. Experiment and find your own favorites. I love pitted fresh/frozen cherries and a scant tablespoon of raw cacao powder or vanilla extract for a chocolate cherry or cherry vanilla treat. Or get that island feel with mango, pineapple and fresh coconut.

Customize Your Smoothies - Immune Boosting Superfoods
Recipe type: smoothie
Serves: 1 serving
smoothies are an easy, delicious way to pack a lot of nutrition into a portable meal
  • 1 cup plain full fat kefir, yogurt, or coconut milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen berries
  • 1 Tblsp raw honey (opt.)
  • Optional additions:
  • 1 Tblsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 Tblsp flax seed
  • 1 Tblsp plain gelatin
  • ½" slice fresh ginger
  • 1 egg yolk from a pasture-raised egg
  • 1 Tblsp nut butter or coconut manna
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  2. Optionally - substitute a half an avocado for the banana to reduce carbs.
  3. Customize with your favorite fresh or frozen fruits such as chunks of melon, sliced mango, pineapple chunks, peach slices, pitted cherries, etc.

Share your favorite flavor combinations or your best superfood add-ins in the comment smoothie2section! We love trying new ideas!

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