Authentic ranch with fresh herbs

This is a simple guide to creating the delicious standard the way it should taste. You will notice a stark contrast between this fresh, tangy gem and the mushy goop that passes for “ranch” in commercial bottles.

Delicious, fresh ranch

Delicious, fresh ranch


1 Cup low-fat buttermilk, shaken

1/4 Cup low-fat mayonnaise

5 Tbsp non-fat Greek yogurt, plain

4 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

3 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped

3 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

1 medium garlic close, finely chopped – or – 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp Kosher salt (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper


Combine and mix all ingredients until herbs are evenly distributed. Store and chill for at least one hour, allowing the flavors to set. This delicious dressing stores great in a mason jar, or a squeeze bottle. Try it on the usual suspects of salads and greens, or dress up plain chicken or drab sandwiches with a blast of fresh tang.

Fresh ranch

Hand-crafted corn tortillas in 3 steps

Tortillas = endless possibilities of noms. Try these hand-crafted beauties, and you will not want to go back to store-bought. The difference in freshness and taste is huge.

Lucky for us, it is so easy to make these beauties! Just 3 simple steps:

  • Step 1. Mix your masa
  • Step 2. Roll and press
  • Step 3. Heat your tortillas



Ingredients & Supplies:

2 Cups Corn masa. This is a special type of corn flour that has been treated with calcium hydroxide (“lime”) to help release the niacin from the corn. You can find it at many regular old grocery stores, Mexican food markets, specialty grocers, natural food coops, or online at Amazon.

1 1/2 to 2 Cups Fresh, clean water.

Pinch of Kosher salt.

1/4 tsp Baking soda. Use a pinch of this if you want to add a little lift to the tortillas.

Additional Items to Have on Hand:

Tortilla press + wax paper

— or —

Flat surface + wax paper + heavy, flat object to smush the dough balls down

Flat spatula (for flipping)

Skillet (preferably seasoned cast-iron)




STEP 1. Mix the masa, salt, and water using a Kitchenaid Mixer, or your clean hands.

STEP 2. Roll out the masa dough into little spheres about the size of golf balls. Line your tortilla press with wax paper and press out until each ball is smushed to about 1/6″ in width. Don’t have a tortilla press? You can grab one at Amazon, or place the spheres between two sheets of wax paper on a flat surface, and use a flat item (such as a large, stable plate) to press them out. Tortillas in the making

STEP 3. Heat a your skillet to medium-low heat. I suggest seasoned cast-iron, but a good tri-ply will work, too. Once you’ve pressed out a sphere into a smushed flat of dough, carefully drop it into the skillet. Heat on each side only about 8-12 seconds. Flip carefully with your spatula so that you don’t break the tortilla. Also, do not over-cook: you want a little bit of golden, but you do not want to see any black scorch marks. Make sure to clear out any residue that collects as you go through the heating process so that dough remnants from previous tortillas don’t scorch and mis-flavor your tortillas. Gently set each finished tortilla on a plate or in a tortilla warmer as you finish. It may take a little practice to get your rhythm down, but you’ll get it!

Tortilla press

Tortilla press

Stack of fresh tortillas

Stack of fresh corn tortillas

This salsa may change your life.

A good simple salsa is certainly a staple for weekday meals and taco nights, and a must for healthy snacking and for spicing up meals. It is tremendously easy to make your own fresh salsa. Once you try this simple recipe, you’ll be hard-pressed to go back to the jar ever again.

Before you whip up this fresh and simple salsa, make sure you stop by The Novice Gardener, and also peruse the delicious collective of Mexican food ideas through Fiesta Friday. You’ll find inspiring ideas for recipes that compliment your salsa, like the delicious Crepas de Mole posted today for Fiesta Friday #36.

Simple salsa

Simple salsa


2 cans whole, peeled tomatoes – drained

1 whole bunch cilantro, larger stems removed

1/2 yellow onion (or red for more *zing*)

3 cloves of garlic

2 jalapenos, seeded

3 limes, juiced

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin (optional)

1 tsp Kosher salt (or more to taste)


Mix all ingredients in a food processor, and blend to desired consistency. For chunkier salsa, blend or pulse just until the ingredients are broken down consistently. For smoother salsa, don’t be afraid of blending it until the cilantro breaks into small specks of green. Also, you may wish to adjust the level of heat – try adding the seed pod from one or both of the jalapenos, or experiment with different types of peppers (like habanero).

Fresh, delicious salsa

Fresh, delicious salsa

Fresh & Creamy Guacamole

Not much beats the freshness of hand-made guacamole. If you have 10 minutes and a handful of simple ingredients, this green beauty can be yours to dress up your tacos, salads, sandwiches, or chips!




1 1/2 Persian limes, juiced

3 Haas avocados, peeled and pitted

Handful of cilantro (smaller stems are okay!)

1/3 yellow onion

1 large clove garlic, peeled

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp Kosher salt


Combine all ingredients in a food processor, pulsing to achieve the level of creaminess or chunkiness you prefer. I use (and adore) the Ninja Master Prep system. Serve fresh or chilled. Great with chips, on tacos, or as a tasty garnish to enchiladas or soups.