Friday, November 30, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen #11: Homemade salad dressings

I have been wanting to make my own salad dressings for a while now....have you read the ingredient list on store-bought salad dressings? Yipes...pretty sure I saw the chemical name for 'windshield wiper fluid' (polypropylene-glycol?) on more than one of them. Why do all those chemicals need to be in there? To prolong the shelf life. Wow. Don't think salad dressing was supposed to naturally last for two years.
So, I have discovered, made and tasted several kinds, hoping to replace the salad dressings we love with a natural version. I found 2 so far that taste virtually the same if not better.  Even if you have to buy some of these ingredients just to make these (ie: Dijon mustard), it won't be a waste because you will use them again and again to make these natural, better-tasting salad dressings from now on!
PS.....I now have a 'print' button at the bottom of each post so you can print a copy to use in your kitchen.

My fave dressing so far....
Balsamic Vinaigrette 
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Garlic clove, minced
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard and garlic.
Add the oil in slowly while whisking constantly.
Season with salt and pepper.
Store in Fridge.

**I made this directly in a tupperware container with a pouring spout and a lid so I was able to mix the ingredients by shaking them. If you make this in a bowl, just transfer the salad dressing to an old salad dressing squeeze bottle or a small glass container. This is my favorite dressing thus far.

(Found at

Ranch Dressing
Dip in some raw veggies for a quick, healthy snack 
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Sour Cream
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 pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Stir until well mixed.
Store in Fridge.

**This is a great dip for cut up veggies, topping for burgers or a green salad. One of my favorites and tastes a lot like store bought ranch! I stored this one in an old salad dressing bottle for easy pouring.

(Found at

Friday, November 23, 2012

7 days without facebook....and I actually survived!

It came down to this......I felt as if my days and nights were disappearing before me....where was all the time going? It's as if when you are on facebook or blogging or watching some TV...that time somehow speeds up and all of a sudden, it's like midnight and you are kicking yourself for staying up way too late to watch 'just the next episode' ....full-well knowing that you are going to be a grouchy mama tomorrow as a direct result of your poor decision to be up in the late hours of the night. Yup....that would be me. Anyone with me on that one? Anyways, after putting the kiddos to bed one night, I sat down at the computer to do....whatever, and decided I needed to see just how much time facebook, blogging, watching TV shows etc was stealing from me on a daily I went drastic! I yelled down to Phil "I'm going off facebook and TV and blogging for a week!!".....dead silence. Phil said "wow. that's huge. Gonna be a tough one". GULP! What have I gotten myself into....what would I do during my evenings? Well, turns out....all that time opened up lots of doors to other activities that were actually FUN, relaxing and more stimulating than my previous habits. I sewed and crafted a bunch of Christmas gifts (thank you Pinterest!!), read whilst soaking in a hot bath, played a new board game several times with Phil, emailed some old friends, skyped with family, went to bed early and got my much needed 10 hours of sleep, actually chatted with Phil in bed before falling asleep (pillow talk is my favorite!!).....and the list goes on. I found the nights went slower (in a good way) and I felt so productive.
Did I miss facebook? Well, to be honest, yes. I love reading what everyone is up to, seeing pictures of loved ones far away, kids growing and changing and reading stories of mama's who are 'in the trenches'  of motherhood just like me as my good friend Wendy would say. But at the same time, do I really need to know that 'Reba' got her hair cut, or went to the gym and had a fantastic work out or made 2 apple pies? Sometimes those things plant seeds of discontentment in my head....constantly comparing my life to the never-stopping status updates of my facebook friends and reading those 'mama' can get downright depressing. As the famous quote goes: "Too much of something is never a good thing". And so, I'm back on facebook and the blogging world....but....I am keeping myself accountable to the time I spend. I gotta run....the timer is time is up! :)

What do you think about facebook and blogging?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Homemade cough syrup

Simple, effective, cheap and natural.
T'is the season for coughs and colds and runny noses....and it has arrived at the Henderson home as well. A nasty cough has been present in 3 out of 4 family members....and since regular store-bought cough syrup isn't available for kids....I did a bit of research online and found a home-made recipe with ingredients I already had in my kitchen....and tried it out. I started giving 1 teaspoon to the girls every 4 hours and found that at the end of the 4 hours...their cough was noticeable again. I was amazed! This did not heal their cough; rather, it acted like a cough suppressant to allow for some precious sleep (for all of us!). Don't freak out about the girls dislike onions immensely and have onion radar for even the smallest piece, but the honey in this recipe overwhelms the taste of onions, so both of them drank it without too much drama. :) I stored the finished product in an empty kids Tylenol bottle after clearly labelling it to be cough syrup.

Hope this helps the 'sickies' in your home this winter....

Click here to view the recipe (from

Any other natural home remedies that are tried, tested and true? Share please!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen # 10: Healthy Fudge

When I first heard that there were black beans in this recipe.....I was could black beans make anything a dessert?? However, I was pleasantly surprised and have now served this dessert to several of our dinner guests and to my family. Everyone raves about how good it is and I usually end up giving them a copy of the this time, I am going to share it with all of you!! This is one of the simplest dessert recipes made from natural, healthy ingredients that I know of.  It takes 5 minutes to make and is certain to please even the most skeptical critic......just don't tell them what the ingredients are and see what they think.....I'll bet they'll ask for seconds. Without further adue....

Adventures in the Ktichen # 9: Black Bean Fudge

Prep: 5 minutes
Serves: 6 (very rich so small portions are best)


- 1/3 Coconut Oil melted
- 2/3 Cup Cocoa powder
- 1 Can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 Cup honey


1. Add all ingredients into blender
2. Blend until smooth consistency (approx. 1 min - scrape sides with spatula)
3. Spoon into 8x8 greased pan, refrigerate until mousse-like consistency
4. Serve Chilled

Another chocolate favorite in our house.....the kids l-o-v-e this fudge. The consistency is more like mousse so instead of cutting squares, I spoon portions into little dessert bowls.  I shake some rainbow sprinkles on top and the girls gobble it up. Many a guest has tasted this rich, creamy, decadent dessert and loved it! This is one of my 'go-to' desserts when we are having guests for dinner. 

Have you made this dessert before? If you make this, let me know how it turns out! 
Any other natural, healthy, delicious desserts out there? Please share!