Low Fat Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and Dip

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Homemade salad dressings are so good–I’ve made a few of them, but have never made one of my favorites–Ranch!  I usually use low fat dressings on my salads, so I decided to try making a low fat Ranch. I adapted a recipe from Allrecipes.com, adjusting the amounts of some of the ingredients slightly. Since I didn’t have fresh herbs, I used dried–and the taste still turned out great! But I’m sure it would be even better with fresh herbs, which I plan on using when I make another batch.

This dressing is thick and creamy compared to most dressings–it’s hard to tell it’s made with low fat ingredients! And because it’s on the thicker side, it makes a great dip for fresh veggies, too. The only downside is, it’s best the day it’s made–you can store it in the fridge for several days, but the consistency gets thinner and runny.

I love the way it tastes, but it’s an easy recipe to adjust if you want to add a little more or less of any of the herbs and spices. Enjoy this homemade dressing on your favorite salad or as a dip with your favorite raw veggies!

LOW FAT BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING AND DIP adapted from Allrecipes

Makes 1 3/4 cups

  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill weed or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In medium size bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream or yogurt. Stir in garlic and onion powders, chives, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. You can store any unused dressing in the refrigerator for several days, but the consistency will get thinner and more runny, so it’s best not stored too long.

I think this homemade salad dressing tastes so much better than bottled dressing. It’s worth making your own if you have a little extra time. Do you make your own homemade salad dressings?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Fresh Mango Smoothie

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Since many of us are trying to eat a little healthier after the holidays, I thought I’d share this recipe for a Fresh Mango Smoothie I made the other day. Mangos happened to be half price the last time I went to the grocery store, so I thought they would be great for a smoothie! I usually use plain or vanilla Greek yogurt in my smoothies and I like sweetening them with honey. I added a little ground flaxseed in this for extra fiber, too. This smoothie is so thick and creamy! It’s perfect when you want something that tastes dessert-like but is really good for you!

FRESH MANGO SMOOTHIE by NancyC

Makes 1 (12-ounce) serving

  • 1 cup chopped ripe mango
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim or low-fat milk
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes

Place chopped mango, yogurt, milk, honey, flaxseed and ice cubes in blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes about 12 ounces, enough for 1 large or 2 small servings.

I need to make a note to myself to buy mangos more often–I really like them, but I forget to buy them when I’m at the store! Do you use mangos much in your recipes?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, Show and Share at Coastal Charm and Let’s Get Real Friday at Joy Love Food.

Veggie Black Bean Chili

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If you’re wanting something to eat that will warm you up during this chilly winter season, this Veggie Black Bean Chili is definitely the recipe to make! It’s easy to put together and healthy, too–with black beans, onion, garlic, green bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, green chiles, and corn. And I was happily surprised to find that I could find organic ingredients, even for the canned items, at the regular grocery store I go to. They’re starting to carry more organic items, which is great!

This chili is super thick and chunky with a lightly spicy flavor (if you don’t want any spiciness, leave out the crushed red pepper). The red wine vinegar gives it a little zing–I thought I’d use that instead of salt. I didn’t top my chili with anything, but you could garnish it with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, or some sliced green onions…or all three!

VEGGIE BLACK BEAN CHILI by NancyC

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium size sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium size green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (red pepper flakes)
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (7-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn
  • Optional: sour cream, cheddar cheese, and/or finely sliced green onion stems, for garnish

In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute onion, garlic, and green bell pepper in oil over medium low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika, crushed red pepper, and red wine vinegar, then cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

Add black beans, crushed tomatoes, water, green chilies, and corn; stir ingredients together, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately.

Chili is one of my favorite fall and winter dishes. And I love trying new chili recipes! Do you have a favorite chili recipe you like making?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

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Cucumber-Mint Water

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Now that it’s the new year, I know a lot of people who are trying to eat healthy and exercise away all that holiday food. And if you’re trying to get into a healthy routine, drinking lots of water is always a good idea. I actually made this particular pitcher of water at the end of last summer with some fresh mint I was growing in a large pot and some home-grown cucumbers my friend Mary gave me from her garden. I didn’t have a chance to post it back then but now, since it’s winter, you can just buy your cucumbers (use organic if you can) and fresh mint is usually available in the produce section at many stores, too.  The cucumber and mint lightly flavor the water in a soothing, refreshing way. If you like naturally-flavored water, you’ll want to try this out!

CUCUMBER-MINT WATER by NancyC

Makes 8 servings

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled or unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 to 8 large or 12 to 16 small fresh mint leaves

Put water in a gallon-size pitcher. Add sliced cucumbers and mint leaves and stir everything together. Place in your refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours to chill. When ready to serve, add some ice to the pitcher or pour over ice in your glassware. The water usually keeps for several days if kept chilled in the refrigerator.

If you don’t have mint, you can just make cucumber water–that has a nice flavor, too. Mint by itself is also good in water.

I think water tastes so much better when it’s flavored with natural ingredients. Do you like to flavor your water too?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

10 Sweet Potato Recipes

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Sweet potatoes recipes are perfect not only for Thanksgiving, but all holiday season long–and actually, some are great year-round! This Thanksgiving, I had made Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie, which was really good, and I thought I’d share a roundup … Continue reading

Pumpkin Spice Granola

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After making a few pumpkin recipes that didn’t require much pumpkin, like the Pumpkin Pie Latte and the yummy Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars, I still had some pumpkin to use from the can. So I decided to continue with the … Continue reading

Avocado Hummus and a Featured Soup!

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Avocados are so good and since I was making some more homemade hummus, I decided to experiment by making an Avocado Hummus. It came out pretty much like I thought it would–really smooth and creamy, with that great avocado flavor, but … Continue reading

7 Anti-Aging Foods

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I saw an article at Sharecare.com about seven foods they refer to as “anti-aging powerhouses.” These foods may also help cut your risk of heart disease and cancer when incorporated into a healthy diet. So if you’re interested, here’s a condensed list of the seven foods–you can … Continue reading

Spinach, Blueberry, and Blue Cheese Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

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I took a short break from the internet at the end of August, and I can’t believe we are into September already! But it’s still officially summer and the weather is still warm for many of us, so I thought I’d … Continue reading

Berry Walnut Granola

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I am a big fan of granola, and I prefer homemade–I think it tastes so much better! I’ve posted several recipes for granola bars, like Crunchy Honey Almond Granola Bars, Dark Chocolate Granola Bars, and chewier Granola Bars. I’ve also made an unsweetened Cranberry Raisin … Continue reading

Cocoa Banana Smoothie

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I think this just may be the hottest week of summer. And that calls for a smoothie–even better, a chocolate smoothie! There’s a soy and non-soy version for this recipe, so you can take your pick. The smoothie I made … Continue reading

Chilled Cucumber Soup

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Chilled soups are perfect for summer! And if you like cucumbers, you’ll want to try this one! It has Greek yogurt, green onions, fresh dill, and parsley in it. Some lemon juice and salt give the flavor a little punch and I also added some garlic … Continue reading