Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Make Your Own Ranch Dressing It’s Easy & A Gazillion Times Better Than Anything Off The Store Shelf

Ranch Dressing –Make It at Home – As Good As the Original From California’s Hidden Valley Ranch Dining Hall

Not low fat, but ranch dressing can still help create a healthy low calorie and low fat meal.
This meal would contain about 183 calories.
If you don't drink the dressing in the jar.

      Inexpensive – Healthier- Tastier 
        Heck it Even Smells Better

I’m a Grandpa, a teller of tales, and a spinner of yarns. I pretend not to notice the looks on my kid’s faces when I start a story, but they love me so they listen.
This is the internet so I'll get right to the point. Below are the ingredients and how to mix up this iconic salad dressing. It will make you happy to eat vegetables.

 This recipe makes about
12 U.S. liquid ounces (355 ml)
Nutrition info at the end if you want to read it.


1 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods is the one used the most)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

salt and pepper to taste (I use ½ tsp of salt and about 2 grinds of the pepper mill)

Get a bowl and add the ingredients in the order listed.
Whisk them up, but if you don’t have a whisk handy, use a fork or a spoon
Pour in to a glass jar, if you have one, but any food safe container will do. It tastes best if you let it cool in the fridge for 30 - 60 minutes.

Even though you mixed them up give the jar a shake. In fact, whenever you use it give the jar a shake to mix things up.

For those who want to know more. 

Nutritional Information: Is figured on 1 US Tablespoon. Strangely Tablespoons vary between countries so you are looking for about 15 ml or 1/2 US liquid ounce. 

This equals about 3 US, Australian or British teaspoons, as a one serve size. 
A salad with ranch dressing helps compliment a main course for a fully balanced meal
A salad with Ranch Dressing can be part of a full meal

This Ranch Dressing
Recipe per 3 teaspoon serving
83 Calories
7g of Total Fat

5g of Saturated Fat

 A video explaining Tablespoons vs Teaspoons
In our world that is growing smaller       

Some more information that you may not know about Ranch Salad Dressing: You don't need to know this to make delicious creamy ranch dressing. tested 13 different brands of store bought bottled Ranch Dressing to find the best bottled one available, and had this to say: "We—gulp—tasted 13 different brands to find out. It was not an easy process and many a gag was induced, but we came away with a few answers, the most important one being: None of them. There wasn't a single dressing in the bunch that we'd heartily recommend, particularly not when a homemade Ranch Dressing or Buttermilk Ranch Dip is just a few ingredients and a whisk away."

Ranch Dressing was featured on the Simpsons:
Homer was having a dream of being entertained by belly dancers. After a while he says enough, bring me my ranch dressing hose.


Ranch Dressing was invented by a plumbing contractor/cook in Alaska and perfected at the Hidden Valley Dude Ranch. The following came from

YORK — A popular condiment on salads, burgers and sandwiches and a dip for vegetables, pizza slices and deep-fried food was developed by a former resident of York County.
Kenneth Henson of Thayer invented Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, which contains buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, herbs and spices. The Nebraska-born cowboy dreamed of striking it rich so he and his wife Gayle (Penner) did what so many before them had done -- head west.
In 1949, Henson went to Alaska for three years to work as a plumbing contractor -- a job that included cooking for his fellow workers. While cooking in Alaska, he refined a recipe for buttermilk dressing.
This dressing became the house dressing at Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch the Hensons purchased near Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1954. For many years they hosted guests from near and far who came to enjoy the ranch and enjoy the meals by Kenneth (who by then changed his name to Steve), Gayle and their staff. Income from the ranch was not enough to keep the 120-acre spread going, so Henson sold 54 acres and more Ranch Dressing to keep their heads above water.
They started to get so many requests for the dressing -- more than for ranch bookings -- that Gayle and Henson created a dry packaged mix. They sold the mix of salt, monosodium glutamate, dehydrated garlic, parsley and onions, black pepper and calcium stearate to stores and customers who lived a great distance away.
Kelley's Korner in Santa Barbara was the first store to sell the packaged mix. The packages sold out so fast that Lloyd Kelley, store owner, thought his staff was stealing it. Within no time, Hidden Valley Ranch became transformed into a salad dressing center
My History with Ranch Dressing:

I started eating it in the early 80s. We loved salad, but I couldn't stand the taste of bottled dressing. Buying the seasoning packs and mixing our own was a great way to make a good salad dressing having a little control of what we were eating.
Then I noticed that they started changing ingredients to allow it to last longer in the fridge.
It now has a few of the words you can't describe, plus one you can MSG.  I rather make min own. It isn't hard to mix up 7 seasonings.

It is still my favorite salad dressing, and I have been know to bring my own when dining in restaurants and ordering salads with no dressing.

Just slice up a cold tomato and drizzle some dressing over it and you have yourself a real summer time treat.  It is also great as a dip for veges and soothes the heat from hot chicken wings.

I can't think of a person who has tried this and didn't like it.

Have fun and enjoy some of this dressing on some fresh vegetables.

If you have any questions just ask them below.  If you find my blog helpful, consider sharing with your friends or posting on social media.  Thanks: Grandpa

Friday, January 12, 2018

What a Winner Spend the Day at Work and Come Home to A Fully Cooked Pulled Pork Dinner. Also Great to Cook Ahead and Freeze

Crock-pot Pulled Pork

Low and Slow on the BBQ may be classic but this is really good and provided many easy meals, for short work time

The good thing about pulled pork is the fantastic taste. It takes a long time to cook but it just taste so good.
Sure the best way is low and slow in the smoker, weber or bbq, but that takes constant monitoring.
The fastest way is in a pressure cooker, but that still entails you spending time watching it.

The Slow Cooker - Crook Pot Method really has a place and time. Spend a little bit of prep time before going to work or on a day trip. When you come home you have BBQ Pulled Pork ready and waiting. 

The good thing about a slow cooker/crock pot is; you don’t have to tend to it. Prepare your food, turn it on and let it do its thing.
It’s easy. In fact you are doing yourself and the pig a disservice if you make it complicated. This is peasant food, not the food of Cordon Bleu trained chefs.

Click Arrow Above to Watch Video
  • Pork Shoulder: any size as long as it fits in your slow cooker
  • Oil: just enough to lightly coat the crock pot and enough to coat the pork so the rub adheres
  • Dry Rub: your favorite: Mine is simple and easy and further down
  • 1 to 2 Cups of chicken stock depending upon size of pot. Not critical
  • 2 Onions slice in 1/2 and put on bottom of pot.
  • 2 Cups of your favorite BBQ sauce, plus a bit extra for topping sandwiches or plates. Grandpa's Barbecue Sauce recipe is below

  1. Pat the pork dry with a paper towel
  2. Rub it with a little bit of oil
  3. Sprinkle the rub all over the pork
  4. Pat the rub into the meat. Gentle is good.
  5. Slice the onions and put them in the pot. They will keep the meat off the bottom of the pot and add flavouring
  6. Put the pork on top of the onions
  7. Pour in the chicken stock
  8. Pour the BBQ sauce on top of the Pork
  9. Cover the pot and cook on low. It could take 4 to 7 hours. When it is done the meat should fall apart when worked with a fork.
  10. When cooked remove from pot and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Use a couple of forks to pull (shred) the pork.
  12. Remove the liquid from the crock pot. Put the pulled pork in the pot and return enough of the liquid to give the look and feel you want.

Simple Rub 
Combine the following and mix, well put into a shaker jar.
  • Salt 7 parts
  • Pepper 2 parts
  • Garlic Powder 1 part
  • Paprika (Hungarian, sweet or smoked) 2 parts

Grandpa's BBQ Sauce
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • ½ Cup of golden syrup. If you don't have it use dark corn syrup or treacle.
  • ¼ Cup molasses
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (adjust up or down to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Use a whisk to blend the ingredients until smooth.
When it comes to a boil reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered. Remove it from the heat when it thickens (30 to 45 minutes)

Thank you to the You Tube Audio Library for providing the music “Sleepy Jake”

Great for Camping (If you have  electrical power)
We start the pork in the morning, before we leave on a day-trip. When we get back home we just pull out the pork, shred it and have a feast.

Is it as good as cooking it low and slow in a BBQ or smoker?  Hard to say, but it does allow busy people to enjoy it more often and is great when you are cooking and freezing for a month.

Link to Grandpa’s BBQ Sauce perfect for this dish:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Make Your Own BBQ Sauce - It's Easy - It Taste Better - You Control What Is In It - It Doesn't Cover the Meat Flavor - It Enhances It

Homemade BBQ Sauce
Enhance The BBQ and Your Cooking Reputation

Crazy About Them
The first time we cooked ribs for friends they went crazy happy. Helen and I are good cooks, and she takes advantage of her Texan roots, but the Barbecue Sauce was the real star.

People loved the blend of tangy sweetness. It was such a hit, we prepared and gave out bottles for Christmas.

You spend hours preparing the meat and sitting around the BBQ, while the “low and slow” does its magic and makes a hunk of meat into a special occasion. Don’t mask the taste with some stuff that has been sitting on the supermarket shelf. Make your own BBQ sauce. A sauce that enhances flavour rather than hide it.

This is a simple sauce but it ticks all the boxes. In all the years we have been making it the only complaint we had is about the times we didn’t make it. Some of The Boxes It Ticks
  • The actual preparation time is short; less than 15 minutes
  • The cooking time is about 35 minutes (you are required to stir occasional)
  • You control the taste: make it sweeter, adjust how tangy it is, add some heat
  • You can prepare it a day or 2 ahead of time, it will taste even better. Refrigerate it.
  • You can still use your favorite rub.

Grandpa BBQ Sauce
(from Great-Grandpa’s Notes)
1 cup ketchup
1 cup white vinegar, a lot of people think it is better with Apple Cider Vinegar
½ cup dark corn syrup (In Australia we use Golden Syrup. Corn Syrup is hard to find. Taste great with either and better to avoid High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon tabasco sauce (use the amount that best suits you and your guest)

See the Video

Make it Your Sauce
You can add some other ingredients to give it the taste you want. That will make it your own signature BBQ sauce. 
A few suggestions:
Tamarind puree
Paprika sweet, hot, Hungarian, or smoked
Pineapple juice
Orange – squeeze in some juice
Experiment with any spice you like.

Smokey Taste: you could add some liquid smoke but I prefer smoked chipotles or smoked paprika. Better yet, if cooking in a smoker,  a Weber, or covered BBQ put the finished sauce in a small pot that will handle the heat, I use a small size cast iron pot, and let it cook in the smoke for about 10 or 15 minutes.   

Healthier - Yes and No - or - Yes/But
Look this is BBQ I’m not implying that it is health food. Heck the main ingredient is probably going to be meat. the food might be cooked over coals, the sauce has sugar from 3 different sources, salt, and maybe smoke. 
But if you want to enjoy some tasty barbecue this is better than using stuff off the store shelf. Would be better if you make your own ketchup, but that is a whole different story
You know what goes in it and we all know that the less machines and hands that touch our food the better off we are. Always a good idea to eat the least processed food you can.

Advertising tries to convince us that cooking is a drag. It isn’t, it can be fun and the more you make your on food the better off you and your family will be.

If you have any questions just post in the comments. You can comment anonymously.

Next post & video will feature apulled pork, using this sauce

All The Best
Grandpa Larry

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Yes You Can. You Can Buy Quality Corn Tortillas in Australia -

Finding Quality
Corn Tortillas in Australia
Where do I buy good corn tortillas
Not in your major supermarkets, that's for sure

For years I have been making my own; I recommend that and will make a video someday, 
but I always like to have a package in the pantry or freezer. You know, for those times I want to cook something nice but don’t want to re-invent the wheel.

A few months back I found some really good ones. Much nicer than the ones you find in major grocery stores. These are really good. They match anything I was ever able to buy in Californian local Mexican grocery stores.

They make me think of camping at Punta Diggs  on the Sea of Cortes. A little bit of fishing and cooking up some fish tacos. 

I use Diego’s GoMEX® Corn Tortillas. They are made by a tortilla factory right on the Gold Coast I buy mine at a local shop in Capalaba but there are plenty of shops that stock them.
In fact you can even order them on line.

It might be good to call the location suggested just to make sure they carry the Tortillas

Wanted Breakfast Cook, No Experience Needed. Fully Paid 10 Minute Training Period

Head says coffee, stomach says breakfast

Have you ever had one of those mornings?

You wake up feeling hungry, you don’t have too much time before you have to leave the house.

Your head is saying, "No Time, Got To Get Going", but your stomach is not agreeing. It wants you to have some protein, some carbs, and a bit of fat. It wants to make sure you last until lunch time.

How About This For Quick & Simple

Some Eggs
Tortilla Chips
Grated Cheese
Splash of Olive Oil
1 Pan to Cook Them All

The last time I cooked this it took 5 minutes and 14 seconds, and I even grated the cheese. I will admit, I had the ingredients on the bench top before starting.

The ingredient amounts are flexible; vary the amounts to suit you. For 2 people I normally use
1 TBS olive oil
1 Large hand full of CC's Tortilla Chips
4 Large eggs
30 g of grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste.

In Mexico this recipe is called migas, although they would use left over corned tortillas rather than corn chips. 

Forget the Name, It Can Be Confusing
It is confusing, because the same word means a totally different dish in Spain. The Portuguese version is similar, but different to the Spanish version. 
Mexico City
Even within Mexico the word can be confusing. In Mexico City migas is more of a soup.

The Tex-Mex, or Americanized version will have other things added like garlic, onion and peppers.
I reckon they all taste good, but the version I presenting here is quick and easy, but still taste great.

Grandpa's Mojave Eggs
I'll Call This (my version) Grandpa's Mojave Eggs. I'm pretty sure I was in the Mojave Desert the first time I made these. We didn't have any tortillas, but had some left over corn chips, we figured they would work and they did.  Refrigeration was limited so there was no cheese. They still tasted great, and filled our bellies. 

This is a great recipe to start your children or grandchildren on. Supervise them, but there is nothing difficult about this, no hot liquids, and only one pan. My grandson was capable of this when he was about 11, although his mom supervised until she was sure he could do it.
Also a good one for any young people who moved out of the parent's house and are getting tired of take away.

Knowing How To Cook Is a Dying Art

Knowing how to prepare a meal in an important life-skill. Teach your children to cook
Let you children cook with you. It will help them in life
I was about 13 when I had to take over the cooking duties at home. My Mom, Grandma and other relatives taught me a lot, Knowing how to cook is a great thing. It helps in feeling independent and capable.

If you want less processed food in your life this is a start. If you want to step up the game make your own corn tortillas; they are pretty easy to make. Slice them and fry them up; like in this post
Grandpa's Huevos Rancheros. If making your own is too much use store bought corn tortillas.  I mention a good brand in the Huevos Rancheros post.

This recipe is like a blank canvas. You can add and subtract. You can experiment and make it yours
If you are more comfortable with less fat you can have it without cheese. I had it that way many times and it is still nice.
Some avocado on the side is great. Think of adding some onion, peppers, a bit of Mexican Chorizo, or even just seasoned ground/mince meat. Mushrooms would be great.  Use your imagination. 
I lightened the color of the above paragraph because I want us to remember, this is basically a peoples recipe. Don't get too fancy. Celebrate and enjoy it for what it is: an easy to cook tasty, inexpensive meal that carries you over until the next meal. 

Thank You For Stopping By

Monday, October 16, 2017

Huevos Rancheros Recipe - Eggs, Tortillas, Beans, Great Sauce & Cheese – Make this Super Breakfast Any Time of the Day

After you eat these you’re going to think, “I just had the greatest breakfast ever, and there wasn’t any bacon”. Huevos Rancheros is That kind of meal. 

Learn to make Huevos Rancheros. This classic Mexican egg dish was created to feed hungry, hardworking vaqueros (cowboys).

A crisp freshly cooked tortilla. Layered with a rich tasting sauce, refried beans, fried egg and cheese.

Delicious – Nutritious – Energy Packed - Comfort Food
Low GI - Low Fat - Gluten Free
 This Mexican egg dish fits the above description. When you see it on the plate your eyes say, “Man look at this, oh yeah”. The ingredients just go together so well. You walk away satisfied and happy. You know this meal ticked all the boxes.

Use only corn tortillas. Homemade is best, but take time. Buying them is OK. I make my own about half of time and use store bought when I don’t.  Best to buy at a tortilleria if there is one nearby, or a local Mexican grocery store. For those of us living in Australia I have listed some sources at the end of the post.
But You Fried the Tortillas in Oil
I know, but it is healthy. I started with 1 cup of olive oil

When fried, I placed the tortillas on paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
When I was done cooking 4 tortillas; I emptied the oil back into a cup. It took only 5 teaspoons to replace oil that was used. I figured that 1/2 teaspoon had been spilled and 1/2 teaspoon was absorbed on the paper towels.
So, each tortilla would have 1 teaspoon of olive oil. That is not much oil and it is heart smart olive oil. Probably better then buttering a slice of toast.

Refried Beans
Better, tastier and cheaper to make your own, but I wouldn’t hesitate to heat up some canned ones; rather than miss out on this special treat. Black beans or pinto beans seem to be the best to use

Fried eggs; sunny side up or over easy; a runny yoke is nice. I reckon poached eggs would be ok

Ranchero Sauce
Best to make your own; it is easy, but you can buy some jarred Mexican Cooking Sauce, Ranchero Sauce (if you can find it), Enchilada Sauce, or Salsa.

Finding Quality
Corn Tortillas in Australia
Where do I buy good corn tortillas
Not in your major supermarkets, that's for sure

For years I have been making my own; I recommend that and will make a video someday, 
but I always like to have a package in the pantry or freezer. You know, for those times I want to cook something nice but don’t want to re-invent the wheel.

A few months back I found some really good ones. Much nicer than the ones you find in major grocery stores. These are really good. They match anything I was ever able to buy in Californian local Mexican grocery stores.

They make me think of camping at Punta Diggs  on the Sea of Cortes. A little bit of fishing and cooking up some fish tacos. 

I use Diego’s GoMEX® Corn Tortillas. They are made by a tortilla factory right on the Gold Coast I buy mine at a local shop in Capalaba but there are plenty of shops that stock them.
In fact you can even order them on line.

It might be good to call the location suggested just to make sure they carry the Tortillas

I hope you enjoy Grandpa’s Huevos Rancheros. Cook them for someone you love.

If you have any questions of comments just leave them below. You don't have to sign in. When it ask Comment As, select anonymous. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Moderation in Eating – A Real Silver Bullet - No Need To Give Up Your Favorites

You Can Eat Anything You Want
But Not
Everything You Want

Why should you practice moderation in your eating? If you eat all things in moderation you don’t have to totally eliminate things you love to eat.

I would rather control amounts than eliminate a food all together

You Can Keep Scones
Jam & Cream
Just Practice Moderation
Maybe just 1/2 it will still taste 
great and you can have the other 1/2 tomorrow

You Don't Have
To Give Up Sausages
Slow Down, Savor, Enjoy
Have a Limited Amount
Maybe 1 today with a good large serving of vegetables.

un poco de tacos
es muy bueno 
(A little bit of tacos is very good)
the amount of meat cheese and tortilla and adjust how many you can eat

Learn To Cook, and Prepare Your Own
Of course it is better if you make it yourself. You will be pretty sure that your home cooked treat will be healthier than any mass produced, processed food you buy in a supermarket or take-away shop.
You will know exactly what is in it and there won’t be any hidden fats, sugars or names of food you don’t recognize. Those wonderful names that food factories search for so they can avoid saying sugar, fat, MSG and chemical preservatives.

Basically, once you understand moderation no food will be off limits, you will just restrict the amount that you eat and how often you eat it. Having to restrict anything is a pain, but less of a pain than totally abstaining.

A Fantastic Woman Who Practiced Moderation
My Mother truly understood Moderation. She would buy a giant box of Snickers. I think there were 24 in the box. She would put them in the fridge and every few days she would take one out. She would eat it slowly, it seemed like she was savouring every bite.
No walking by the fridge and the Snickers calling out to her. She had a plan as to when she would eat it. Usually, during a quiet moment. Maybe right after completing a task, maybe right before one. Some time she would just eat 1/2 and have the other 1/2 the next day.

My mother could have a dozen Snicker bars in the fridge and just eat 1 a week
She didn’t just grab the bar, rip of the wrapper and eat it in 2 bites. Instead she would get out a small plate, take the Snickers bar out of the fridge, unwrap it and put it on the plate. She would take a bite, chew it (long enough to really taste it) and just proceed to fully enjoy it.
I don’t think she gave it much thought. This is just how she ate. When she was growing up a candy bar was a real treat, so she learned to appreciate and ration

Man! If I Had Just paid attention to Mom’s habit, I wouldn’t be in the process of changing my eating habits to lose weight.

Another form of moderation is portion control. Which really means controlling the amount we eat.
Our eating habits are changing. Our ancestors ate until they weren't  hungry. We eat so we will be full. These two are not the same thing.

It is pretty much a cultural thing. In Americanised countries we eat until we are very full.  In other parts of the world they stop eating when they are no longer hungry. They may eat to 65 - 80% of stomach capacity, not 100%.
They eat slower, enjoy good company with their meals, have fun preparing the food.
We derive pleasure from being full. They get pleasure from enjoying the whole process from preparation, to sharing, to savouring the taste and enjoying the company.

When looking at the Western diet we see Fuel Gauges that don't work properly. We don’t turn off the supply at the proper time.

Here we are hours after our last meal. Our stomach is empty and we are hungry. We can’t wait to eat.

Good Time To Eat

In some countries They stop when no longer hungry.  At about the 65 to 80% capacity. 
This is a good place to be

Good Time To Stop Eating

Living in the US or an Americanised culture we might keep eating until we fill our stomachs to 100% full.

This is not a good place to be.

Should have Stopped in the 65 to 80% full range

So how do we adjust our appetite gauge? 

The video, below, is a discussion between Maya Adam MD and Michael Pollan. It shares some great information. And will explain our ways to improve your moderation. The video is under 5 minutes long and worth every second you spend watching it.

Maya is an MD and University Lecturer, Dept. of Paediatrics at Stanford University Medical School. She teaches on Children’s Health and Nutrition.

Michael is a noted author on the food we should eat. He has 4 books, related to food and our health, on the New York Times Bestseller list. He is also a professor of journalism at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

If you have any comments or questions please leave them. It can be done anonymously, and requires so registering or signing in.
Bye For Now