Thursday, October 29, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Rockin' the Homemade Ranch Dressing!

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Nothin' really says "American Cooking" like Ranch Dressing. Hidden Valley Ranch made the most serene commercials of beautiful green farms and freshness. The only problem is, when you pick up a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch, there are a few ingredients you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy if you knew how they affected your body. Here's a few to consider: 

  • MSG (causes headaches, weight gain, skin rashes, nausea, heart irregularities, and even seizures in sensitive individuals)
  • Disodium EDTA ( a purin - robs your body of Vit C and important minerals)
  • Disodium Guanylate (also a purin flavor enhancer) 
  • Disodium Inosinate (also a purin flavor enhancer)
  • Other artificial ingredients and preservatives

Purines also complicate problems for people with gout (ouchie) and kidney stones (double ouchie). 

Bummer - but it tastes sooo good! I have a friend who lived for a time in China and they put MSG on EVERYTHING!! She had consumed so much MSG that she started to loose her hair. She had to have hair extensions for several years because her hair was so thin. After years of avoiding it and trying to cleanse her body, her hair began to grow back. 

So lets take a second and look at a Ranch Dressing Mix that you can make at home without all the junk mentioned above. It is food storage friendly and loaded with such amazing ingredients, you'll never look back! I found this website and I love it. I have purchased a few of her cook books. They are inexpensive and have great ideas. I got the original idea for the ranch dressing from this site:

I played with her Ranch Dressing Mix recipe and made a few changes. I cut the dill in half because it was just a little too strong for my liking. But, everything else worked great. Here is the bulk mix with my changes: 

Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

  • 1/4 cup basil (fights bacteria, reduces stress, detoxes liver)
  • 1/2 cup dill (is helpful with insomnia)
  • 1 cup parsley (reduces kidney inflammation, strengthens liver and spleen, a pint of tea daily can help remove gall stones)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic granules (anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-Nephi-Lehi...the list goes on...)
  • 1/4 cup onion powder (contains necessary minerals and vitamins)
  • 1 Tablespoon Real Salt 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Mix everything together and mash with your hands. Put (or vacuum seal in a jar - wink wink) ingredients in air tight container. Use 2 table spoons per batch of dressing. 

Now, all you need are a few more ingredients to make a dip or dressing: 

  • 1 C Mayo
  • 1 C Sour cream
  • 3T apple cider vinegar
  • Milk (rice worked just fine for me) to the consistency you want

Mix well and add dry Ranch Dressing Mix. Add more milk if you want. 

If you want to make it vegetarian, simply substitute the mayo for Vegenaise and the sour cream with  

Sunflower Seed Sour Cream:
  • 1 cup raw (not roasted) sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup water
  • 4+ Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove pressed or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
Place ingredients in a blender and blend. Done (will thicken in the fridge). 

We can treat our bodies a little better than we do. Even though it is easy to be fooled by distracting commercials that couldn't be further from nature - our tongues as well as the rest of our body need not argue. We know the real deal when we taste it. Our bodies know the real deal when it is digested. I think it is time to rethink what All American Food means to us. The Dry Ranch Dressing Mix also works great for Ranch Potatoes and Taco Soup. These are great food storage meals that are easy!!

Sources for adverse effects of additives in foods: 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - How Long Will They Last?

I have a sick boy today, so this will be short and sweet...

In 2011 I vacuum sealed Oreos to see what would happen. How long would they last? I wasn't sure, so I am always experimenting. Four years later I cracked a jar open and fed it to my teenage sons. 

"Wow, mom these are so good!" 

I thought, "Well, maybe it is because they are teenagers, they're supposed to eat anything." 

So I tried one. They tasted like I just got them from the store. If ya'll don't have a vacuum sealer and jar attachment for your favorite comfort foods - you need to get one. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Self - Reliance Tip of the Week - What's In A Name?

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Once upon a an elementary school far far away...there was a substitute teacher who thought it was so funny to write a note to me on a tennis-shoe shaped paper. On it he wrote "What's in a name?". In order to understand that a little bit, you should know that my maiden name is "Tenney" and I was called "Tennis-shoe" for many years. I felt kind of special though, because no one else got a note from the substitute might have had something to do with me being his daughter's friend. What makes us "nick-name" things? Where my family is from they have a nick-name for EVERYTHING! My mom even named our cars! 

The Native Americans have known the plants that surround us and had unique names for them. They aren't known by Latin names to them. They were known by what they did for the body. The gift they shared with the people from their "Mother" the Earth. I would like to highlight a few of these plants and what they can do for the body. 


I have talked about comfrey before, but I haven't given it any justice. The Native Americans called it "Bone Knit". When a broken bone was set, they would apply crushed comfrey leaves to the outside of the skin and they would drink comfrey tea. Bones and tissue would heal quickly. It sounds like a myth, but a friend of mine broke his leg as an adolescent (jumping out of a swing shattered it), after the bone was set, his mother had him take comfrey in capsules for several weeks. After three weeks, they went in for a check up  and the doctors were amazed because they had never seen a bone heal so quickly. There are many websites that say (thanks to the F. D. A.) that comfrey isn't safe to take internally. The Natives did for many many years. I'll let you decide. Comfrey also has other great benefits: 

  • excellent fertilizer for other plants
  • great for asthma and other bronchial conditions
  • heals skin and prevents scarring 
  • great for wounds, scratches and sunburns
  • excellent feed for goats, sheep, chickens etc.
I have also been using comfrey for a toothache with great success. Teeth are bones after all! A tooth is a tooth, no matter how small (ok, getting a little Dr. Seussy on ya....) 

Aloe Vera:

Another herb with a different name is Aloe vera. The Native tribes called it "Wands of Heaven". Aloe is so amazing for more than just sunburned skin! I shall call it "Wanda". 

  • improves cells throughout the body
  • externally it is an astringent, emollient and antifungal (Whhhaaattt?)
  • internally lowers cholesterol, improves circulation to lower extremeties
  • some studies showed that it prevented bacteria, viruses, and other invaders from multiplying 
  • it acts as a steroid for inflammation without the side effects
I don't know about you, but all those benefits sound pretty heavenly!! 

Sometimes it doesn't really matter what you call something. Some of the plants from Heavenly Father's Medicine Cabinet could be called just about anything. The point is that they are placed here for his children to use with wisdom and prudence for our benefit... AND I LOVE IT!!!