Thursday, April 15, 2010

Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dressing/Dip Recipe

jalapeno ranch dressing
I have a few confessions to make:
  1. I would much rather cook a luscious dessert than a healthy vegetable dish.
  2. I'm salad challenged.
  3. I love to snoop at other people's lunches.
Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I must share my new favorite recipe. It's for Jalapeño Ranch Dressing/Dip and I love it! It's fun and easy to make, full of fresh flavors, and makes everything better. Well, maybe it doesn't make a chocolate chip cookie better, but it sure does improve a plain old carrot.

I discovered this Tex Mex favorite a few weeks ago while I was gawking at my co-worker as she unpacked her lunch. First, she opened a lowly cool-whip container to reveal a fairly ordinary green salad. Not very impressed, I went back to the business of eating my own lunch, when I noticed her pouring a thick creamy dressing all over her veggies. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was not from a bottle, but something that she makes for her family almost weekly. She shared that it's not just good on salad, but also makes an amazing dip for tortilla chips and a delicious topping for burgers. Also, she had the recipe committed to memory so she was able to give it to me right away. I just love immediate satisfaction!

As soon as I had gathered my fresh cilantro, jalapeño, and buttermilk along with all the other ingredients, I got busy creating this Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dressing/Dip. It was a shocker even to me that I was this excited about making something that didn't involve chocolate. My husband chopped the jalapeño and the cilantro, I whizzed everything up in the blender, and we've been enjoying it all week. Although I was sure it would be better the second day, I immediately served it on a green salad and loved it. The next day I packed it in my lunch with baby carrots and it was even better. We've also had it as a topping on sliders, as a dipping sauce for homemade chicken tenders, and drizzled on tacos.

Making this Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dressing/Dip has taught me a few things:
  1. I can enjoy creating non-desserts.
  2. Homemade salad dressing is much better than the stuff out of the bottle and is a good start to remedying my salad challenges.
  3. Snooping at other people's lunches is very inspirational.
Although this recipe is not quite as exciting as Double Chocolate Caramel Brownies served over Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, it is delicious and fun to create. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dressing/Dip Recipe

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream (more if you would like a thicker consistency)
1 cup buttermilk
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 jalapeño, seeded (add more along with a few of the seeds if you prefer more heat)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Put all the ingredients in a blender and combine until creamy.

Serve on a green salad, as a dip for chips or veggies, on top of a burger, next to some grilled chicken, drizzled over a taco, or however else you desire.

Mommy’s Kitchen

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pokemon Pokeball Cookies

Pokeball Cookies
I remember a time, almost 15 years ago, when some Christians that I knew and saw on TV and ran into at the park were scared of Pokemon. They seemed mad and frightened that there was a new cartoon show on TV that seemed to go against God. Some forbid their kids to watch the show, others refused to let their sons and daughters play the card game, and I even encountered a few that preferred that their kids not play with children that were allowed to watch and play Pokemon. My own children were tiny at the time so I listened, but didn't formulate an opinion assuming that Pokemon would fall out of popularity before I had to address it. Similar to the Harry Potter phenomena, however, Pokemon did not go away and is still very much a part of popular culture today almost 20 years later.

If I remember correctly, the anti-Pokemon Christians were mainly opposed to the fact that these little pocket monsters that originated in Japan evolve. Pokemon change from one form to another growing more powerful and acquiring more skills. They battle against each other and have human trainers that care and teach them. I know these facts because currently my sons, daughter, and husband all love Pokemon. With some gently prodding from my loving and pop-culture informed husband, I accepted Pokemon. I resisted my tendency to ban all Pokemon related products from my home, I took my fears to God, and I came to believe that God has a much larger place in this world and in my children's hearts than Pokemon.

Now I am the proud owner of a Pokemon shirt, my kids play the Pokemon video games, and I attend a church that periodically has Pokemon battles for the elementary aged boys. My son celebrated his 6th birthday with a Pokemon party at which we served Poke Ball sugar cookies and Pikachu cookies. They were a huge hit! I made a double batch of my favorite sugar cookie dough, cut them with a circle cookie cutter, then iced them like poke balls and pikachus. My sons helped with the decorating and proudly served them to all the party guests. I'm not sure if any other Christians' opinions of Pokemon have evolved, but I'm grateful that I can enjoy Pokemon and love God too.